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There's a running trend out there about True Polymorph/Wish and Adult Gold Dragons. My character is classified as Goblinoid, however, so I ran into a small condundrum that I think I know the answer to, but it's not one I very much like, so I wanted to outsource it: If a non-humanoid, non-beast creature were to be true polymorphed or wished into the form of an Adult Gold Dragon, would that dragon be able to turn back into its previous form using its Change Shape ability?

Relevant Quotes (emphasis mine):

The dragon magically polymorphs into a humanoid or beast that has a challenge rating no higher than its own, or back into its true form. It reverts to its true form if it dies. Any equipment it is wearing or carrying is absorbed or borne by the new form (the dragon's choice).

Side note: Admittedly, it's not like you're losing out if you're now a dragon, but it can potentially mess with certain role-playing aspects, like never being able to look like what you once did so your parents don't recognize you anymore, or a spell is cast so that the trigger is your old body entering a certain radius of it, etc.

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    \$\begingroup\$ There is no specific classification as goblinoid, for a normal goblin it is: small humanoid (goblinoid), neutral evil. Have you got that same classification or is yours homebrew? \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Commented Nov 18, 2023 at 9:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri The classification he has is the same as a small-sized bugbear, so small humanoid (goblinoid). I just completely misunderstood how creature tags work, so this corrected my understanding very simply. \$\endgroup\$
    – J Thompson
    Commented Nov 18, 2023 at 23:45

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Only if the goblinoid is a humanoid

The gold dragon can turn into a humanoid or beast. Goblinoid is a tag, not a creature type, so it has no bearing on this. If your race is humanoid (or beast), the dragon can turn into the kind of goblinoid you are. If it is not, the dragon cannot.

When Change Shape says the Dragon can change back into its true form, this is in the context of having changed into a humanoid or beast, so it means the dragon's dragon form, not whatever form you might have had before you became a dragon through True Polymorph.

So for your specific question, the creature True Polymorphed into an adult gold dragon cannot turn into a non-humanoid, non-beast creature via the dragon's Change Shape. For what happens if the spell is permanent and the creature dies, see here.


Tags on Creature Type

Goblinoid is a tag, not a creature type. Tags are explained in the MM, p. 7:

A monster might have one or more tags appended to its type, in parentheses. For example, an orc has the humanoid (orc) type. The parenthetical tags provide additional categorization for certain creatures. The tags have no rules of their own, but something in the game, such as a magic item, might refer to them.

Goblinoids typically are humanoid. For example in the Monster Manual, goblins are Small humanoid (goblinoid), Hobgoblins are Medium humanoid (goblinoid) as are Bugbears.

However, tags are not subtypes, and being a goblinoid is not limited to being a humanoid. For example, the Hobgoblin Devastator from Monsters of the Multiverse is a Medium Fey (Goblinoid), so it is a goblinoid, but a Fey, not a Humanoid.

The rules say: "The tags have no rules on their own, but something in the game (...) might refer to them". The gold dragon's Change Shape does not refer to goblinoids, so it does not interact with the tag in any particular way.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welp, I've been caught off guard. I misunderstood creature tags completely, then. \$\endgroup\$
    – J Thompson
    Commented Nov 18, 2023 at 23:43

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