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Suppose you managed to cast True mind switch in a juvenile golden dragon. As with a polymorph you don`t get supernatural or spell-like abilities. But then you remain a badass psion in a large dragon body. Imagine then, that you get enough XP to lvl. Could you use that lvl to upgrade your dragon template instead of getting another class lvl, as would be possible if it were a monster player character from the beginning?

In this case, i have a few questions.

Do you need to wait until you live long enough as a dragon to hit its next age increment (young adult in my example?) before you could spend your next lvl to improve your dragon characteristics?

If so, when you do use the lvl to upgrade dragon traits instead of leveling as a psion, do you get dragon supernatural and spell like abilities (including breath) as if you were a wyrmling, even though you`re in a body larger and older?

I assume it to be so, since you`d be learning those things fresh, even though you have an older body. Also, it would prevent you from getting too many abilities while giving out only one lvl.

Assuming the answer to the first one is that yes, you can give up a lvl to get those supernatural dragon abilities, and that you get them as a wyrmling, since you`re already in a juvenile body, must you wait until you age before you can spend that lvl or can you do it as soon as you get a new lvl, which would allow you to "catch up" to your dragon age?

Let me give you an example. If you have a juvenile body, must you wait 25 years until young adult before you can use a lvl getting dragon stuff, and then another 50 before you can do it again (which means your dragon supernatural abilities will be always behind your size physical abilities), or, assuming you managed to lvl several times in that period of time, could you choose not to lvl psion several times in order to get your dragon side to actually represent a juvenile dragon with regard to breath weapon spell-like abilities and the likes?

So, in a nutshell, after you true mind switch a dragon, can you spend lvls to get dragon stuff? If so, does it begin as if you were a wyrmling? Must you wait for your dragon body to hit a new age before you can do it? And finally, if not, can you use your new lvls to bring your dragon powers back to the age lvl of the body you possessed with true mind switch?

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    \$\begingroup\$ @Lares, this question, while it appears to be a good question, is not presented as clearly as it could be. You've got a bunch of questions intermingled with the musings about the scenario you're wondering about... which increases the effort required to work out a good answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Simon Withers Oct 27 '12 at 5:03
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Taking Dragon HD

I’m reasonably sure you couldn’t find rules for this because Wizards never wrote rules for this.

Personally, I’d rule “no,” since you are not a dragon, you just have the dragon’s body for a while. In dragons’ case in particular, advancement by HD seems to be a matter of it simply aging and coming into their natural powers. Dragons age slowly so on the timescale that most campaigns take place in, I’d rule that the body you have has not aged significantly.

But I’ll admit my reluctance to allow it would be informed in large part by a desire to not have to answer the rest of your questions. Realistically, the rules do not require that a dragon age to Advance by HD within its age category (so a Juvenile Red Dragon with 17 HD could get one more, for 18 HD, without aging at all; moving on to Young Adult, and getting 20 HD, requires aging though). But I probably still wouldn’t allow it.

Since I’m not actually DMing you, though, I’ll give the other questions a shot.

Supernatural Abilities

Definitely not. True mind switch does not let you access those, at all. Your body has the abilities appropriate for its total Racial HD; if you let the original dragon’s mind return to the body, it could use them. But you cannot, because your power does not let you use them.

The concept of starting from the beginning even though you have an older body might work as a houserule (though I tend to doubt it), but it’s definitely not the actual rule anywhere.

Side note, players getting access to creatures’ Supernatural abilities is one of the quickest ways to break a campaign. Polymorph and body swapping effects are immensely powerful (probably the single most powerful “type” of effect), and the lack of Supernatural abilities is one of the few major limitations on it.

It pains me to do so, but I will point out that Assume Supernatural Abilities (Savage Species) does exist. The greater metamorphosis power, the shapechange spell, and the Master of Many Forms prestige class can also get your Supernatural abilities. Even Wizards admitted that these things were broken (Rules Compendium).

Aging Dragons

Here the rules get... a little murky. One of my previous Q&As, Is a Dragonwrought Kobold a True Dragon? addresses this somewhat, and gets into a few of the problems with the rules here.

But long story short, I would say yes, you have to wait. A dragon does not age due to experience, it ages due to time like everything else. There are limits on how many Dragon RHD a dragon of a given age can have. When a dragon ages, it changes into a new creature which has its own base HD and Advancement limits. The formatting in the True Dragon monster entries is a shorthand for fitting all those related creatures into a smaller amount of space, but ultimately they are separate creatures from the rules’ point of view.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ As for the separate creatures, I'm not that sure. A Master Transmogrifyst can choose "Bronze Dragon" as one of his favourite forms and morph into a Juvenile dragon, an Adult dragon and so on according to his own HD and spellcaster level. \$\endgroup\$ – Zachiel Sep 1 '16 at 17:29
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Yes, and Not without Effort.

The answer will depend on which part of your question it is.


Is it your body?

In the case of True Mind Switch, the answer is, "Yes, yes it is".

You permanently exchange bodies with the subject.


Gaining Racial Hit Dice

Yes, you could gain RHD, as you are now of the dragon type (see below), but you would have to wait until the age category was reached the same as a dragon. You could always allow yourself to be cursed in order to speed the aging process, but that's another story.


Gaining (SU) or (SP) abilities

True Mind Switch references Mind Switch and works the same (with any exceptions being listed under the True Mind Switch entry). Therefore the following applies:

  • You gain the type of your assumed body.
  • You gain the Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution scores of your assumed body.
  • You gain the natural armor, natural attacks, movement, and other simple physical characteristics of your assumed body.
  • You gain the extraordinary special attacks and qualities of your assumed body, but you do not gain supernatural or spell-like abilities.
  • You gain the possessions and equipment of your assumed body.
  • You retain your own hit points, saving throws (possibly modified by new ability scores), class abilities, supernatural and spell-like abilities, spells and powers, and skills and feats (although skill checks use your new ability scores, and you may be temporarily unable to use feats whose requirements you do not meet in your new body).

Gaining (SU) abilities has a recourse, however, with effort. The "Assume Supernatural Ability" feat would allow you to pick up (SU) abilities, one per feat.

I do not believe there is any equivalent method to pick up (SP) abilities, however.


In summary, the answer is mostly yes, with the caveat of having to take a feat per (SU) ability, and not being able to acquire any (SP) abilities.

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For gaining native Su. From d20srd 3.5: Re: Mind Switch/True Mind Switch

Your “natural” body is always considered to be the last one you switched out of. If you exchange bodies with a chain of multiple subjects, you need worry only about the welfare of the last body you switched with. In other words, if your mind is expelled from your current body, your mind returns to the last body you switched with, not to your original body. Similarly, if your original body dies but you have since switched minds with a second subject, you take no penalty. You lose a level only if the body you inhabited immediately prior to your current body is killed.

So, all one needs to do is True Mind Switch, Mind Switch back again and have another Caster (or contingency power) or w/e cast a Time Stasis on the Dragon's body before it regains it's senses, so to speak..until the secondary 'Mind Switch' expires. At the culmination of which your PC is now a...Dragon Psion & it is considered by the Laws of Creation to be your natural body, not that of a subject consciousness [read: assumed body.]

To the first part [and main] though, I'm not sure where you're getting the idea that you can generate True Dragon age progression with xp, xp is for Class levels??

I'd argue then also that such a course of action should lead to the Psion losing any (and all) Supernatural and/or Spell-like effects dependent upon the physiology of the PC's historic racial type. That quite aside from how annoyed Bahamut is gonna be with you.

Further: (from Pathfinder Bestiary, don't have WoTC rulebooks)

A young dragon’s effective cohort level equals its CR + 8. Dragon cohorts do not advance via aging as normal dragons do, but by gaining class levels (typically in fighter or sorcerer).

Young Creature (CR –1) Creatures with the young template are immature specimens of the base creature. You can also use this simple template to easily create a smaller variant of a monster. This template cannot be applied to creatures that increase in power through aging or feeding (such as dragons or barghests) or creatures that are Fine-sized.

@KorvinStarmast: Have now. Two things then that comes to mind as an addenda to the post is that for regular 'Mind Switch:'

"You can move your mind back into your own body whenever you desire, which returns the subject’s mind to its own body and ends the power. If the manifestation succeeds, your life force occupies the host body, and the host’s life force takes over yours."

Which means that Time Stop/Stasis is unnecessary, further, one can simply cast Mind Switch to swap back to the original body (which is now the 'assumed' and then return to what is now one's natural and native form....the Dragon..waiting for the Duration to expire is unnecessary.

For the HD/Age progression : The description of the [regular] spell explicitly refers to:

"You can call on rudimentary or instinctive knowledge of the subject creature, but not upon its acquired or learned knowledge (such as skills and feats it possesses). The same is true for the subject in your body. The mind switch brings about the following changes."[bullet-points]

That looks like a rule almost specifically made to provide for a PC becoming a True Dragon in everything but history and xp/class..

The regular distinction made by the spell texts between natural & assumed is of course pivotal.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Did you compare the dndwiki entry to the freely available SRD(3.5e) on line? It's usually better to cite the rules/sources that directly fit the edition asked about. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 10 '17 at 13:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your last quote -- beginning with "You can call on rudimentary... -- is missing an ending quote punctuation mark. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Feb 11 '17 at 0:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks guys.. Whilst I doubt there's a rule on the subject, anybody doing this should probably consider some rather severe penalties to such things as Listen, Hide, Spot and anything really that requires precise interaction with the 'body' of the creature in question. Whilst a character's lifeforce is now entwined as fully with the new body as it ever was with the old, hospitalization in the same old body requires a period of readjustment, one can only imagine how much it would take to adapt to this. DM's might give breath weapons a misfire chance & suchlike. \$\endgroup\$ – mensenisevirem Feb 11 '17 at 0:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Lordy. Dreamscarred Press, it turns out, not only built a Prestige Class Body Snatcher (in Psionics Expanded (for pathfinder, conversion is simple as.) ) but also a Monster Classes: True Dragon supplement. I wonder if Lares works there? \$\endgroup\$ – mensenisevirem Feb 11 '17 at 4:36

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