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The premise is 5e D&D, setting is FR, all published sources that aren't from another setting are valid, no UA, no 3rd party. I'm the sort of caster player that looks for the funky, outside uses of a spell, like choosing the word "Mutiny" for a command spell on a hostile ship, or opening a Passwall under the enemies (especially ones in heavy armor) to put them in an unpleasant sort of falling time-out.

I've got a doozy of a new one, but I want to subject it to the masses before I throw it at my table.

BBEG has burned their 3 Legendary Resistances against the standard save or sucks, helped along by Chronurgist wizard abilities. Chronurgist has dutifully held 9th level slot, because of Legendary Resistances.

Chronurgist casts true polymorph on BBEG, and ensures it lands by taking a level of exhaustion. From True Polymorph

Choose one creature or nonmagical object that you can see within range. You transform the creature into a different creature, the creature into an object,

and

Creature into Object. If you turn a creature into an object, it transforms along with whatever it is wearing and carrying into that form. The creature’s statistics become those of the object, and the creature has no memory of time spent in this form, after the spell ends and it returns to its normal form.

Interaction with True Seeing

Casting Time: 1 action Range: Touch Target: The willing creature you touch Components: V S M (An ointment for the eyes that costs 25 gp; is made from mushroom powder, saffron, and fat; and is consumed by the spell) Duration: 1 hour

We turn our BBEG into an ointment for the eyes that costs 25 gp, made of mushroom powder, saffron, and fat. We then turn around and cast True Seeing, which thanks to its 1-round casting time and 1 hour non-concentration duration, never interrupts your concentration on the true polymorph. The ointment is "consumed by the spell." It's not 'destroyed', and doesn't reach zero HP. You never fail a concentration check.

The Question

Have I just wiped the BBEG from existence, and if so, did his soul get consumed with him?

Note that the spell Creation specifically calls out objects created by the spell causing any spell attempting to use them as a spell component to fail, and True Polymorph specifically lacks that clause.

Rule 0 trumps all, but is there anything lore-wise or RAW to suggest this shouldn't work, other than perhaps a pissed off god of the dead who maybe doesn't get a soul?

I don't have enough rep to comment, but I wanted to point out that while this was marked duplicate, I'm not asking if a creature can be turned into a spell component - RAW clearly supports that. Tangentially mentioned in that thread, someone assumes that a "consumed" spell component is the same as "destroying" an item and reducing it to zero HP, but I can't find anything RAW that supports that sentiment- and WotC is known for their explicit and intentional differentiation of terms.

So for clarity, the question is what happens to a consumed spell component? It's an object, but is it considered "reduced to zero hit points," and if so, on the basis of what text?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Given the recent clarification, the question is a duplicate of a different question. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 18 at 7:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri The clarification makes it an exact duplicate of the question I linked as dupe. Not sure how you’re getting that it’s different. They acknowledge that it can be done, then asks "what happens to a consumed spell component?", which is exactly the dupe I targeted. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 18 at 7:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ This question is being discussed on meta: Is this question about true polymorph and consumable spell components a duplicate? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 18 at 8:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ FYI, Lloyd, you can always comment on questions/answers that you posted, and answers to questions that you posted, regardless of your rep. \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage
    Sep 18 at 12:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ The question @Trish links exactly answers what it means for a component to be consumed. AFAICT, none of the answers there address whether that counts as dealing damage to the component to place it at 0hp and trigger the end of a creature-to-object true polymorph, and none of the answers there address what happens to the soul of the creature-to-component if the component was consumed without ending the true polymorph. Thus, I think there is plenty of room for an answer here that is not a duplicate. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Sep 18 at 17:01

1 Answer 1

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This will require a DM ruling

Here's what seems to be happening here. The true polymorph spell says:

The transformation lasts for the duration, or until the target drops to 0 hit points or dies. If you concentrate on this spell for the full duration, the transformation lasts until it is dispelled.

You're attempting to argue: "well, what I really want is to destroy the object. But, if I destroy the object, it will be at 0hp, which will cancel my polymorph spell, and the villain will come back. So, instead, I'll use the object as a material component for a spell, which doesn't technically count as destroying it, so it just goes away without being destroyed."

Most of this is not covered by the rules.

true polymorph and 0hp

First, it's not obvious that destroying the object will cancel your polymorph spell. My reading of the true polymorph text is that, if you spend the hour concentrating, then the 0hp clause no longer applies, and the transformation just lasts until dispelled, with no escape clause.

There are tweets from the designers clarifying how this works (1, 2) but unfortunately one of the designers says "yes it works" and the other says "no it doesn't work", so that's no help. (Designer tweets don't count as rules errata, so it wouldn't help anyway.)

You'll have to ask your DM.

spell components and 0hp

The rules don't tell us if spell components are "reduced to 0hp". The rules tell us that spell components are "consumed," but does that reduce something to 0hp? We have a whole question about specifically this interaction and there's no accepted answer.

You'll have to ask your DM.

objects and souls

The whole point of a soul is that it doesn't get destroyed when the body is destroyed. I'd think it's extremely unlikely that this trick would destroy someone's soul. My guess is that the next person to cast true resurrection can bring the guy right back.

But you'd have to ask your DM to be sure.

this seems needlessly elaborate

Once you turn the villain into an object, it seems like you could just declare victory then? Just keep the guy as a rock, stored at the bottom of your bag of holding. That will definitely stop anyone from resurrecting him; the only risk is if someone lands a dispel magic on him, which would require getting access to your bag of holding first.

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    \$\begingroup\$ *in a lead box in the bottom of your bag of holding...lead boxes stop divination magic :P \$\endgroup\$
    – illustro
    Sep 19 at 12:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sure, but being in a bag of holding also stops most divination magic. Have you got a spell in mind that would be blocked by a lead box but not blocked by a bag of holding? \$\endgroup\$
    – Dan B
    Sep 19 at 13:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ For what it's worth, I think the spells to worry about are commune and legend lore. (scrying is blocked by the bag of holding.) That's not an exhaustive list, though. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dan B
    Sep 19 at 14:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ FWIW, I view the "ruling" here to be a world-building one -- this is an opportunity for the the DM to flesh out how and what happens to magic components after they are "consumed". Maybe they end up in some other plane.... \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave
    Sep 19 at 16:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DanB also locate object (but that does depend a bit on whether or not objects within a bag of holding are "within 1000 feet" due to a constantly open portal at its mouth...which is unclear) \$\endgroup\$
    – illustro
    Sep 20 at 0:35

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