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The Form Of The Dragon spell (and similar ones) declares that you can choose a smaller size when using a higher level spell (A.K.A. a medium-sized dragon for Form of The Dragon 3 for example). But which benefits derive from the ACTUAL size you choose and which from the spell?

To clarify, if I choose to polymorph into a medium-sized dragon with Form Of The Dragon 3 do I get the effects of a Form of The Dragon 1, or do I get everything stated in Form Of The Dragon 3 (size bonus to ability scores, +8 natural armor bonus, blindsense 60 feet, darkvision 120 feet, damage reduction 10/magic, etc...) except for the size and consequently reach on attacks?

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But which benefits derive from the ACTUAL size you choose and which from the spell?

None of the listed benefits depend on the actual size of dragon you choose. There are a few things that depend on the actual choice of dragon type though:

Form of the Dragon

You gain […] a breath weapon, and resistance to one element. […] Your breath weapon and resistance depend on the type of dragon. […] In addition, some of the dragon types grant additional abilities, as noted below.

However, nothing depends on the chosen size, a Medium dragon gets the same benefits as a Huge dragon from Form of the Dragon III.

The "size" of the bonus is just the name of the bonus type (like enhancement bonus, competence bonus, dodge bonus, …), and is unrelated to the "size" of the creature.

This confusion comes up frequently, due to the fact that the bonus type "size" unfortunately uses the same word as the physical space rule element "size". Whenever you are unsure about these things, just mentally rename every "size bonus" into an "awesomeness bonus" (or something like that).

do I get everything stated in Form Of The Dragon 3 (size bonus to ability scores, +8 natural armor bonus, blindsense 60 feet, darkvision 120 feet, damage reduction 10/magic, etc...) except for the size and consequently reach on attacks?

So yes, this is the right answer, you get everything from Form of the Dragon III (abilities, damage with your natural weapons and breath attacks, …), except for things that rely on a creature's actual size like natural reach, CMB & CMD modifiers, attack & AC modifiers, fly & stealth modifiers, and so forth.

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To answer this we must dive into the rules of magic itself.

So Form of the dragon itself is a polymorph spell (not all are, but most are). So we must look at its rules.

First, you must take into account your original size and apply the changes as listed in the chart.

Second comes the spell. So in your case, you are using FotD3 to change into a medium dragon. So you would take the ability score modifiers listed under FotD1, but use FotD3 for any special abilities. Keep in mind that the abilities are fly 120 means you take the worst of the two. So if the dragon picked only has a fly of 30, your stuck with 30, and if its 200 then your stuck with 120. Same with how good the flying is, you cant fly better than poor.

Remember that saving throws against special abilities like Frightful Presence is based on the spell DC you used to change into the dragon, and not how its listed in the dragons description.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ But isn't the chart only useful if you need to be brought to small or medium size BEFORE the spell? For regular characters it won't be of any use. \$\endgroup\$
    – Snakehelm
    Sep 29 at 20:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Snakehelm I believe that's accounted for with Fering saying "First, you must take into account your original size and apply the changes as listed in the chart." I think that sentence could be expanded on, but the original link is just to make sure everyone is reading the actual rules about Polymorph (which, in my browser at least are directly below the table). \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Sep 30 at 14:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ That being said, this doesn't address the Ability Scores portion of FotD, so I think it needs more information before I can upvote it \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Sep 30 at 14:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ifusaso How did I not address the ability scores? I said you take from the spell level which describes that size. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Sep 30 at 20:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ I... don't know. I thought I read your answer but I can see now that I must have been under a Confusion effect \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Oct 2 at 15:01

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