Story / example: A Harpy gets Truly Polymorphed into a wyrmling Brass dragon - albeit a bit of a weird one, what with her harpy-like personality and alignment.

As an avid reader of StackExchange she becomes a bit paranoid - what if she should lose this new form? She is concerned: should a Magical Dispelling strike, she would once again be that stupid, nasty, dirty little girl with those grimy-grubby wings... that happens to sing quite well.

She searches for, then finds, a portal into the Fell Shadows. Dragons which spend sufficient time there turn into Shadow Dragons (MM 84). Assuming success, she becomes one Shadow Dragon wyrmling well before her fifth birthday (that is to say she isn't a 'young' dragon yet).

"Aha!" she shrieks with delight, "Now I am genuinely a dragon... a DRAGON FOREVER!! Take THAT, Exchangers of Stack!" The cold hard rain falls as lightning cascades in the distance ominously. Indeed, has this mere harpy of a girl outwitted us?

Question: Does a transformation into an entirely different creature (such as changing types &/or transforming bodies) mean that Dispel Magic cannot undo a 'permanent' True Polymorph spell? Or does this apparently-totally-'new'-creature take this polymorphic-dispelability along with them?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Another consideration: Why would the transformation from wyrmling to ancient dragon be, for the purposes of this question, any different to the transformation from dragon to shadow dragon? \$\endgroup\$
    – BBeast
    Commented Aug 7, 2020 at 2:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BBeast Agreed? After 800 years... & transforming to 'gargantuan'... one would think that the only thing left of the original True Polymorph would be a bit of a fingernail or something. You are encouraged to answer that question as well / i find the RAW stuff occasionally frustrating and unfair. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 7, 2020 at 3:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TimofTime I don't have an answer (unfortunately). I'm just saying the answer to one should be the same as the answer to the other. \$\endgroup\$
    – BBeast
    Commented Aug 7, 2020 at 3:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related: Is it legal to use True Polymorph to become a really old adult dragon so that you become ancient with time? \$\endgroup\$
    – BBeast
    Commented Aug 7, 2020 at 3:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ .... and this is why that errata is such a bucket of garbage. It was a better spell before the errata. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 7, 2020 at 17:21

2 Answers 2


This is entirely up to the DM.

No rules are covering such transformation. Indeed how long they have to spend in the shadow or even how much of their original personality survives such a transformation is entirely up to the DM.

As a DM I would be fine with it because the time involved takes it well out of the scope of a normal game, and weird stuff happens in the DnD universes.

Such a creature would not be a player character but an NPC, I would also say such a transformation leaves the original personality almost non-existent - considering it can drastically change alignment and involves the plane of shadow that creates things like sorrow-sworn.


It's up to the DM

Unfortunately, your answer is predicated on picking a wyrmring and having it age appropriately. Neither of which are fully supported by the rules. While you can True Polymorph (PHB, 283) into a new form that:

... can be any kind you choose whose challenge rating is equal to or less than the target's...

It doesn't actually state that you can pick age, etc. Nor is it clear that the age categories are exact for dragons. Nor is it clear you can pick a specific age dragon. A DM could very reasonably rule you pick Red Dragon and it uses your age to determine what age dragon you are.

Ultimately, you're just picking "Red Dragon", and that's it. But it's up to your and DM to determine if picking an Age and 'aging' into an Ancient dragon is allowable at your table.

The mechanics around the transformation to a shadow dragon are also not clear, so what happens there also is up to the DM.

How would this DM approach it?

I probably wouldn't allow it. It feels too much like trying to game the system and the rules aren't clear enough for me to allow it. And becoming an Adult dragon is still pretty darn cool. But if this is for developing an NPC? Yeah, I'm all in.

  • \$\begingroup\$ 'Over eight centuries' - she started as CR1 to CR1, harpy to wyrmling red. Simpler story: Cr1 harpy to Cr1 wyrmling to Cr?? shadow dragon wyrmling, that easier? The same question applies: can her dragon-form be dispelled after she goes Full Shadow... thereby forcing her back into a harpy? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 7, 2020 at 22:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @TimofTime Because the general mechanics in the story are up to the DM, then the answer remains the same. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Aug 7, 2020 at 23:09

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