One of my players is wondering whether you lose the supernatural abilities derived from your class when changing for using shapechange. To me, the answer seemed pretty straightforward since the spell says

You gain all extraordinary and supernatural abilities (both attacks and qualities) of the assumed form, but you lose your own supernatural abilities.

But then he found this link


And at page 6 it says

enter image description here

But I couldn't find any source for this claim. I would like to know which version is right, and where I can find an official source that clarifies this (unless it's simply what the spell says, and you lose all supernatural abilities)


1 Answer 1


The guide is correct for extraordinary abilities:

This spell functions like polymorph,


This spell functions like alter self,


You keep all extraordinary special attacks and qualities derived from class levels, but you lose any from your normal form that are not derived from class levels.

Alter self

Nothing in polymorph or shapechange changes this rule.

And you are correct for supernatural abilities, because of the shapechange rule you quote. I can’t find any official source that applies any caveats or qualifications to the quoted statement—for shapechange. Notably, alter self (and by extension, polymorph) has you keep your supernatural abilities (unless they depend on physical features you no longer have), but then alter self doesn’t give you the supernatural abilities of the new form. So it’s possible that the guide author either spoke too quickly, forgetting they were discussing both supernatural abilities, or else they got confused because the statement about keeping supernatural abilities would be true for alter self and polymorph.

It is also rather weird, really, to lose something like lay on hands or diamond body, so there might have been a bit of missing it just because they weren’t expecting it.

Anyway, because shapechange can swap forms as much as you want, a lot of times it doesn’t even really matter all that much. Also, Assume Supernatural Ability can cover the cases where it does.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Lay on hands and diamond body are class features. In the text you pasted it says: "you lose any from your normal form that are not derived from class levels." \$\endgroup\$
    – Calabacin
    Feb 19, 2021 at 15:44
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Calabacin They are also supernatural class features—the quotes I have here are only discussing extraordinary abilities. The relevant rule for supernatural abilities is quoted in the question, and does not differentiate between different sources of those supernatural abilities, so those from class features are treated just the same as those from race or whatever. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Feb 19, 2021 at 17:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ My misunderstanding then :-) \$\endgroup\$
    – Calabacin
    Mar 9, 2021 at 17:19

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