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I've recently discovered the Chimeric Animals from Icewind Dale on DNDBeyond. I'm really curious about what they are, what the lore is behind them, etc. I've looked on the Forgotten Realms wiki, and I can find no information whatsoever about them. I've googled every iteration of "chimeric animals 5e" that I can think of, and I've found basically nothing. I know that Icewind Dale isn't covered under the OGL, but its still weird to me that I can find nothing about them.

The reason I ask is because I'm playing a druid who has been to Icewind Dale. They're listed as beasts, so I'm assuming they can be used for Wildshape, am I correct on this? And if so, are the abilities they have worth it?

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Those creatures are beasts

The creatures you refer to do not have a proper stat block. Rather, they're listed as "Chimeric creations", which can be selected from a table. The creatures are listed as based on an existing beast, as you've correctly noticed. For example, the cat you mentioned is described as follows :

A cat with antennae that grant it blindsight and tremorsense out to a range of 60 feet.

The rest of the text does not give additional information, only designating it as "the creature" or "one-of-a-kind pet" in the rest of the relevant text.

The closest match with official monsters I could find would be the Chimera, which is classified as a "monstrosity". However, apart from the name, nothing else explicitely links the Chimera to those Chimera-like creatures, so we cannot conclude on their creature type just with this information.

As such, since it is based off a regular creature, you keep that creature's original creature type. This means that your chimeric pet is technically a beast.

As such, assuming your character has already seen said creature, which means having them visit this specific location in this specific adventure module, RAW it is possible to transform into those Chimeric creations.

This is quite a unique situation : ask your DM

Those artificial, one-of-a-kind creatures are basically beasts that you could already transform into, with additional abilities added on top. This means that allowing a druid to turn into them is giving them more tools for solving problems.

As such, depending on the situation where this rule is invoked (especially if used in another module, after running this adventure), it could have unexpected side effects, ranging from not changing much, to completely breaking a scenario.

Either way, because this is such an exotic use of Wild Shape, the best course of action is to discuss it with your DM. Only they can decide whether to allow it or not.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I’ve downvoted for this line: “it's hard to tell whether or not you would be able to transform into it.” As Carcer’s answer explains, unless the druid has already survived a trip into Ythryn, it is impossible that they have seen these creatures. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 7, 2023 at 10:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov you are correct, I did forget to mention the fact that this is all assuming you have seen the creatures before. I'll edit accordingly. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matthieu
    Mar 7, 2023 at 10:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ I still disagree with your assessment. If they have seen the creature, are think the rules are pretty straight forward that these creatures are eligible. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 7, 2023 at 10:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ “this is an edge case” Why? What does “edge case” mean to you? “this kind of creature was likely never expected to be a target for wildshaping” Again, why? It’s a beast and it is given to the party. This seems like your opinion, which you’re welcome to have, but basing your answer on an opinion without any evidence isn’t a great way to base an answer. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 7, 2023 at 11:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov we are talking about a one-of-a-kind creature, specific to a particular room in a specific adventure, so unique that it doesn't have a proper stat block, with unusual abilities that the original creature it is based on is not supposed to have. I believe this is far enough from the original rules, and unique enough, that it objectively is an "edge case", as in, one of those situations the rules were never meant to cover. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matthieu
    Mar 7, 2023 at 12:27
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These chimeric animals are only found in the ruins of Ythryn

Ythryn is a location featured in the final chapter of the adventure Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden. It was a Netherese flying city which had a big magical accident and fell out of the sky and into the glacier a couple thousand years ago. While exploring the ruins of the city, the player characters can piece together bits of lore about the ancient society, one of which being that many denizens owned chimeric pets:

Many of the city's residents owned strange chimeric pets, with winged hares and venomous baboons being particularly popular.

In the Menagerie location within the city, the PCs can find the Chimeric Creator, a magical machine which is used to create these creatures. You feed it a bunch of blood, pull a lever and out pops one of these chimeric creatures, as randomly selected from a table.

That's the sum total of the information available about these animals. There's no indication that any such creatures or descendants thereof have survived to the present day - and no indication if they can even reproduce anyway, or if their offspring would retain the chimeric traits if they did. The only way to find one of these creatures, as written, is to go exploring Ythryn and find/activate the Chimeric Creator.

Ythryn is a dangerous location - the adventure considers it appropriate for characters to be 9th level by the time they arrive there, and could potentially get them up to 12th over the course of exploring it. Moreover, it's impossible to access without first jumping through several other hoops over the course of the adventure - figuring out how to get there is a significant part of the previous chapters.

So, altogether - unless your druid is a veteran of the Rime of the Frostmaiden adventure - you would not expect to have ever seen or encountered such a creature, rendering the question of whether you can wild shape into one moot.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Might some of this need to be in spoilers? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 7, 2023 at 13:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Polymorph doesn't require you to have seen the beast you want to turn into, so the existence of more beasts can potentially affect game balance that way. (If a character has even heard of such a beast, perhaps via Legend Lore on Ythryn details...) \$\endgroup\$ Mar 8, 2023 at 6:31

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