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If I have Intimidating Glare, I can Demoralize without speaking. So I think it should work in Animal Form. However, what is my Charisma? Is it changed?

If I want to Tumble Through, how high is my Dexterity?

Can I dance (Performance) as a Swashbuckler?

I have an Athletics score of +9, but can I Trip without a free hand? (I don't even have hands). If not, why do I need Athletics?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I expect the answers to be 90% identical \$\endgroup\$
    – András
    Jun 20, 2023 at 14:21

2 Answers 2

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Battle Forms Don't Affect Ability Modifiers

Nothing in the spell or rules covering polymorph effects would change any of a character's ability scores or modifiers, so in all cases they would be the same as they were before casting the spell.

What Actions Work?

Unless otherwise noted, the battle form prevents you from casting spells, speaking, and using most manipulate actions that require hands. (If there's doubt about whether you can use an action, the GM decides.)

From those rules on polymorph effects you'd be able to Demoralize using Intimidating Glare, Tumble Through, or Perform to dance without issue. Using Athletics to Trip normally requires a free hand, though your GM might decide you would be able to in your specific form.

Even if your GM decides you can't Trip in your battle form without a free hand, the Athletics modifier could still be used for other Athletics actions like Climbing or Forcing things Open.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ However, trip isn't a manipulate action that requires hand. Polymorph doesn't really say or clarify anything about attack actions that require hands, like trip. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ruse
    Jun 20, 2023 at 22:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Ruse Yeah that's why this seems to fit the GM decision part, it's not prevented by the polymorph rules but it's less clear whether they have the free hand required for Trip in something like snake form. \$\endgroup\$
    – brandon
    Jun 21, 2023 at 0:31
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Everything is contained in the Polymorph trait description, more precisely the second section:

If you take on a battle form with a polymorph spell, the special statistics can be adjusted only by circumstance bonuses, status bonuses, and penalties. Unless otherwise noted, the battle form prevents you from casting spells, speaking, and using most manipulate actions that require hands. (If there's doubt about whether you can use an action, the GM decides.) Your gear is absorbed into you; the constant abilities of your gear still function, but you can't activate any items.

There is no specifics about a battle form in general altering your Charisma, nor your Dexterity, and it is unlikely you find one that specifically does so as short-term attribute alterations is carefully avoided everywhere else in Pathfinder 2.

Tumbling around or dancing isn't "casting a spell", not does it involve speaking, nor does it require hands, as such a battle form shouldn't forbid you from doing those.

Tripping on the other hand is more debatable: a battle form doesn't in itself remove your hands, it just prevents you from using them for manipulate actions, so if you choose the Ape form your GM could accept or not that you have free hands to trip your foes.

Assuming your GM forbids you from using Trip, this Athletics bonus still could be used: to climb, to swim, to jump, to force something open, or anything else that makes sense to use Athletics for.

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