Say a creature has polymorphed itself. For instance, a dandasuka using its Change Shape ability. If it dies, will it naturally revert to its true form? If so, when? I don't see any info about this in the Polymorph trait's rules.

If there aren't any cut-and-dry rules about this, does any official literature suggest one way or another?


1 Answer 1


Each ability will specify when it ends.

There is no rule that covers all polymorph abilities. Rather, each ability describes when the effects end.

For example, the Aerial Form spell (Core Rulebook, pg. 316) has a duration of 1 minute. It's only traits are polymorph and transmutation, neither of which influence when the effects end. If you use this spell to polymorph into a bird, which is promptly killed by a raptor, then you are dead and a bird until the 1 minute duration is up.

Some abilities include this in the outcomes of the ability. Baleful Polymorph lasts:

  • On a success, the target is polymorphed and sickened 1. When it recovers from sickened, the condition ends.
  • On a failure, the target is polymorphed for 1 minute or until it spends a turn and passes a will save.
  • On a critical failure, it lasts forever.

One trait that may be relavent is concentrate. The barbarian's Dragon Transformation feat (pg. 93) includes both polymorph and concentrate traits. The description of concentrate says:

An action with this trait requires a degree of mental concentration and discipline.

To my knowledge, there is no rule that says the effects of an ability with the concentrate trait disappear when the user is unconscious or dead. On the other hand, the abilities do require mental concentration which may be impossible in those cases. Reasonable GMs may differ on how they interpret these facts.

The Dandasuka

So how about that dandasuka? It's Change Shape ability doesn't have any explicit end. Additionally, the Bestiary entry for Change Shape says:

The monster changes its shape indefinitely. It can use this action again to return to its natural shape or adopt a new shape.

So for the Dandasuka, it will stay in its polymorphed shape until it decides otherwise.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I thought of concentrate too, but it is a tag of the action and not the effect, I think. I only see mentions of "an action with the concentrate trait" and such, and none for an effect. For spells too: any with a V component acquires concentrate from that, but because it is needed to form the component. Also the description starts with "An action ...". \$\endgroup\$
    – Szega
    Sep 6, 2020 at 5:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Szega I agree that the concentrate tag isn't clear. Until we see something more explicit about it, I think GM interpretation is the key to whether it's important or not. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 6, 2020 at 5:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ You may want to include the rules about spells " Spells with an unlimited duration last until counteracted or Dismissed." and the overarching rules about Change Shape "The monster changes its shape indefinitely.". \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Sep 8, 2020 at 18:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso Thanks for the tip on the Bestiary. I don't have that book, so I missed it. It's been edited in at the end. As far as spells, I'm reticent to because the question covers both spell and non-spell polymorphing. The general premise of "the rules of each ability tell you how to handle it" seems to cover that. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 8, 2020 at 18:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, but it may be relevant for some spells is all I meant. In all likeliness, there isn't an unlimited duration polymorph spell \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Sep 8, 2020 at 19:10

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