True Polymorph allows you to turn a creature into an object permanently, but you still can undo it with dispel magic or similar means and see through the change with true seeing. Otherwise, the object behaves like a normal object of its kind.

Because it behaves normally, you can split or break that object apart, for example, by melting down a block of gold into ingots, or forging a block of adamantine into multiple weapons and shields. I'm pretty sure that this will turn the object into multiple objects, for example, if you equip a squad of soldiers with adamantine swords, each sword would count as a separate object.

What happens if one of these objects becomes targeted by dispel magic? Do all the objects revert, or only that one? And what happens to the creature? Is it going to be a mess of chopped apart pieces, or will it reform in one place? If it reforms in one place, where does it reform?

If you have a specific, rules based answer, great. If this is a "The rules don't say, ask your DM" situation, I am looking to understand what good, workable rulings look like here, and am interested in "good subjective" answers based on actual experience with the spell -- have you used it at your table, and what did work or create problems?


3 Answers 3


Ending the spell on any part of the object ends it on them all

When refined to just your case of creature into object, the spell says:

Choose one creature...that you can see within range.

This specifies the targeting of the spell; the original creature is a target of the spell.

You transform...the creature into a nonmagical object.

The object is now under the effect of the spell. The original creature still exists as the target of the spell and is also under its effect. The creature is not physically present (or, if you prefer, it exists physically in the form of the object, because it has been transformed). However, we know that the concept of it as a creature still exists because it can be restored with dispel magic and seen with truesight. The game treats "the creature" as if it still exists in some sense.

If you turn a creature into an object, it transforms along with whatever it is wearing and carrying into that form, as long as the object’s size is no larger than the creature’s size. The creature’s statistics become those of the object...

Since the creature's statistics are now those of the object, the creature's hp are those of the object. This is important because if the object's hp become zero, then the creature's hp become zero, and this ends the spell:

The spell lasts for the duration [Concentration; up to one hour], or until the target drops to 0 hit points or dies. If you concentrate on this spell for the full duration, the spell lasts until it is dispelled.
This spell has no effect on a shapechanger or a creature with 0 hit points.

There is some disagreement about whether concentrating on the spell for the entire duration means that the "or until the target drops to 0 hit points or dies" is still relevant. Fortunately a ruling there is largely irrelevant because of the next sentence; the spell has no effect on a creature with 0 hp.

The original creature is still a target of the spell. If the target of the spell drops to 0hp, the spell ends. This is true even if the spell has been concentrated on for the full duration; it is an overarching condition that can end the spell1.

Normally the game does not worry about the hp of an object unless something is damaging the object. The DMG section on statistics for objects (246, 247) focusses entirely on how to break or destroy them, including saying:

Hit Points. An object's hit points measure how much damage it can take before losing its structural integrity.

It seems to me that splitting a hard, solid object into multiple parts involves the application of slashing damage until the object is reduced to 0hp and its structural integrity fails. Likewise, melting it until it is molten is probably applying fire damage until it has lost structural integrity or ceased to become an object2 because it is no longer "a discrete, inanimate item". Thus I would be inclined to rule that any such crafting process that altered the original object beyond recognition as that selfsame object would count as destroying it / reducing it to 0hp. Since this would then also reduce the original creature's hp to 0 it would end the spell.

However, you might have a more permissive DM who says that altering the form of the metal object is not damaging it, and as long as the new objects you are making can be recognizably traced to the original object created by the spell, then at least one of them, and possibly all of them, will be linked to the original, undamaged, target creature.

If just one crafted object is linked to the original creature (perhaps whichever one retains the most mass from the original object), then a dispel magic cast on that one will end the true polymorph spell and restore the creature, intact, to that place, but attempting dispel on any of the ancillary objects will have no effect.

If, instead, you have multiple objects, each of which is under the effects of the same true polymorph spell, then Sage Advice explains that:

If dispel magic targets the magical effect from bless cast by a cleric, does it remove the effect on all the targets? Dispel magic ends a spell on one target. It doesn’t end the same spell on other targets.

So using dispel magic on any one of the object-parts linked to the original target creature will end the spell for that part. However, unlike bless, where each of the bless effects exist independently on multiple creatures, in the case of true polymorph all the polymorph effects are tied to a single original target creature. Ending the spell means restoring that creature, intact, at that position in space. Ending the spell also means ending the link between each of the other parts of the original object and the creature, since the original creature has been restored. Thus casting dispel magic on any one of the parts will restore the creature there, but will also end the ability of dispel magic to affect any of the other parts. All of the effects of the spell will be ended at any time dispel magic is cast on any one of the parts you have made of the original object.

1One might argue that "this spell has no effect on a shapechanger or a creature with 0 hit points" refers to targeting rather than duration, but this claim is not supported by context. First, if the clause was about targeting it should go earlier in the spell description, before the effects of the spell are described ("you transform") and not after the section on duration. Second, it does not say "This spell cannot target a shapechanger or a creature with 0 hit points". It does not say "You cannot choose..." It does not say "This spell will not affect..." (future tense). Rather, it says, present tense, this spell has no effect. Thus anything that reduces the original target creature to 0hp will end the spell effect. Although I was unaware of it at the time I wrote this answer, this interpretation is supported by a JC tweet:

@DMJazzyHands once a true polymorph spell is made permanent from concentrating for the full duration, does reducing that creature to 0hp still cause them to revert to their original form?
@JeremyECrawford The text of the spell says it has no effect on a creature with 0 hit points. That statement is made after the bit about lasting until dispelled. At 0 hit points? The transformation ends.

2Of course, it might be possible to damage or alter the original object so much that it could no longer be said to exist. This is an identity problem, also known as a Ship of Theseus problem. What happens to a spell effect when the object on which the effect is fixed is disintegrated, for example? (and cf. What happens to a destroyed Pact Weapon?) One could rule that the target creature was then no longer recoverable - if there is nothing left upon which one could dispel magic, they simply cannot be brought back. However, I think this goes against the spirit of the polymorph spells, which are not meant to be 'cheap' ways of disposing of enemies. I would rule that if the object was well and truly destroyed, that would end the spell effect and thus return the original creature.

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    \$\begingroup\$ In an earlier comment I'd phrased the "no effect on 0hp creature or shapechanger" as a targeting restriction. Agreed that's not accurate; you can waste your spell attempting it because it's a valid target. But I still think it's only talking about the original form having 0 hp, not also the target form. (Also, that whole paragraph looks like things that will stop the transformation from happening in the first place: Wis save or shapechanger or 0HP creature. Circumstantial evidence they intended it as initial requirements.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 18, 2022 at 5:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think you're right that for creature into object the original creature's HP are affected by damage to the object. The part about reverting to a full-HP original form is only in the creature into creature section. (OTOH, creature into object does talk about having no memory of events "after the spell ends and it returns to its normal form", but that doesn't mention HP either way.) If the original creature having non-zero HP is an ongoing requirement that must stay satisfied (I'm not convinced of that), then yes I could buy the argument that object damage changes the base form's HP. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 18, 2022 at 5:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ But if you polymorph a 200 HP barbarian into a glass pendant with 2 HP, does 1 HP of damage to the glass bauble leave the barbarian at 100 HP when they revert? Or 199? Or 1, because that's was the current HP of the object. What if the object takes no damage before reverting; their max HP is back to 200, but is their current HP still 2? I think this interpretation opens a can of worms that needs to be considered carefully before you base conclusions like this on it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 18, 2022 at 5:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PeterCordes Since the creature-into-object doesn't mention hp upon reverting, I would likely rule that means reverting to the "normal form" with the hp present at the original time of polymorphing, and without damage carry-over. I agree that it is ambiguous and unspecified, but I think this way is both a natural reading and less prone to abuse. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Sep 18, 2022 at 6:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GroodytheHobgoblin I think this works similar to other poly spells in that it creates a link between the hp of the target creature and the new creature or object. If the new thing is a creature, the spell ends when the new creature is at 0hp. If the new thing is an object, and the object is taken to 0hp, then the target creature is also taken to 0hp because its stats are those of the object. When the target creature's hp are 0, that ends the spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Sep 18, 2022 at 7:19

Given the rules for objects, I'd say it would be fair to consider that most, if not all, situations where an object is being split into two or more "parts" as the object being broken, and therefore reduced to 0 hit points, which would automatically end the True Polymorph per the rules of the spell.

If the object is being melted down and reformed, I'd still consider that as the object breaking, since the target was polymorphed into an "object" rather than a substance. The rules describe an object's hit points reaching 0 as losing "structural integrity". Any transformative change from one object to another would certainly compromise the original object's structural integrity first.

As for removing a part of an object without smelting it first, the description of object damage is pretty open to DM interpretation as far as the rules go, but the section from Huge and Gargantuan Objects does offer some guidance that may be applicable to objects in general:

If you track hit points for the object, divide it into Large or smaller sections, and track each section's hit points separately. Destroying one of those sections could ruin the entire object. For example, a Gargantuan statue of a human might topple over when one of its Large legs is reduced to 0 hit points.

Based on the framing presented there, it would be reasonable to say that if a removed section does not ruin the entire object, then that section is a section, not the object and therefore not a valid target for something like dispel magic. I'd consider that as being roughly on par with losing hair or dead skin cells, which also wouldn't be valid targets for dispel magic once separated from a creature.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is an elegant solution avoiding the issue entirely. It is not clear to me however if an object that has been made permanent would revert when brought to 0, from the way the spell is worded. Could you expand on why it would? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 17, 2022 at 9:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ It doesn't seem to me that the clause stating the changed duration after concentrating on the spell for the full hour negates the clause about the spell ending after the target drops to zero hit points, especially since the spell elsewhere states that it has no effect on creatures with 0 hit points. It seems like objects with 0 hit points would fall under the same category. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 17, 2022 at 9:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ As evidenced by your own first sentence "this is a logical leap", none of this is supported in any way by either rules or gameplay experience. This is purely an idea based on your own personal considerations. -1 \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented Sep 17, 2022 at 13:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GroodytheHobgoblin It's not because one question has a certain answer accepted that it makes it a rule. That answer is also very vague and does not take in consideration the fact that an object losing all of its hit points is destroyed, which melting down could be considered as such. A piece of metal, melted or not, could certainly still be viewed as an object in one piece, but separate pieces will definitely destroy the original object. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 17, 2022 at 16:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AlexisWilke, Yes, my point is not to argue here one way or the other. Currently this is the only answer given. My impression is just that there are other valid views on this, so I'll wait and see if someone will answer representing one of them. This one clearly has the advantage of getting rid of all the complications, by disallowing you to do it to being with. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 17, 2022 at 16:53

The RAW are a hot mess...

Even if we assume that you can use True Polymorph to turn a creature into an object, and then turn that object into other objects, there's a lot left to adjudicate, and the rules don't fully cover it.

I'll start by citing the targeting rules for dispel magic...

Choose one creature, object, or magical effect within range.

...and the extended ruling in Sage Advice:

If dispel magic targets the magical effect from bless cast by a cleric, does it remove the effect on all the targets? Dispel magic ends a spell on one target. It doesn’t end the same spell on other targets.

Under the RAW, if you turned a creature into raw adamantine and then forged that into a bunch of swords, you could probably only target one sword at a time... but that conflicts with the implicit expectation in the description of True Polymorph that the entire spell will go at once.

(On the topic of RAW being murky, I also want to shout out Kirt's analysis as well as Peter Cordes's replies in the comments for their good points, illustrating how there's a lot of room for interpretation.)

...but that's why we have GMs.

There are a lot of good ways to adjudicate this in-game. Personally, I would use one or all of the following three options:

Simple: Dispel one to dispel them all

If you want a no-mess solution that you can breeze by without spending an entire scene or sub-plot on it, rule that dispelling magic on one object instantly restores the creature in its original form at that location. All the other objects made from the creature disappear at the same time.

Story-rich: Reunite the parts to restore the creature

Allow the creature to be completely restored if all (or at least most) of the objects made from its transmuted form are gathered.

This is my personal favorite for its story potential: it's the perfect setup for a multi-part fetch quest as either the party or their adversaries race to collect all the pieces and restore a polymorphed creature.

This probably even works under the RAW - if you fuse all of the objects back into one piece, then you can dispel True Polymorph as normal.

If you don't mind spoilers for Critical Role campaign 2, Matt Mercer allowed a solution like this for a similar situation.

Least complications: Processing either ends the spell or makes it permanent

Depending on your RAW take (or needs of your table), you could say that destroying the object by processing it or even straight-up smashing it resolves matters one way or another.

Either the creature is restored (albeit possibly damaged or dead) when the object is functionally destroyed, or the object becomes normal mundane material. In both cases, you don't have to worry about tracking the spell's effects across objects - for example, if the creature is turned into ice and the ice melts, you don't have to worry about tracking fragments of the spell through the entire water cycle of your fantasy world.

This is my least-favorite because I like complications, especially when 9th-level spells are in play, but it's by far the safest for your table because it avoids awkward edge cases.

Besides, True Polymorph was made for shenanigans

Finally, remember that True Polymorph isn't meant to be exact or balanced. It's on the same level as wish, after all - and, like wish, it's exactly as powerful as your table wants it to be.

If you want to put the potential of some creature into object application like forging adamantine weapons to the rest of the spell's capabilities, here are some examples:

  • Create any expensive spell component by turning creatures into rare materials of equal size

  • Turn your pirate ship into a pet for easy transport over land

  • Turn a boss monster into a permanent portable "creature grenade" to lob into the middle of your next fight

  • Use simulacrum to create a construct with your same level, then turn that into a creature with a CR equal to your level. (This is a slight RAW grey area, but one of my GMs let me do it at the end of a high-level game, so it works for some groups.)

  • Spend a couple months of downtime to build an entire village of CR 9 living, breathing, (leveling?) spellcasting followers through repeated use of Object into Creature

  • Construct legions of helmed horrors with immunity to dispel magic and antimagic field

  • Turn an ancient dragon's last egg into a human infant and foster them off somewhere as a plot timebomb for the next generation of adventurers

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for the thoughtful and thorough answer. Lots of nice ideas to try out… \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 22, 2022 at 22:19

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