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The level 4 spell Polymorph requires concentration to maintain. The subject retains their personality and alignment, but they have the mental statistics of the new form, which must be a beast and cannot speak or cast spells.

If a caster targets themselves with this spell, can they concentrate to maintain it, or does this depend on the mental statistics of the beast form they choose?

This situation certainly occurs in practice, since Wizards reaching level 10 in the School of Transmutation gain the Shapechanger feature. This allows them to cast Polymorph, but only upon themselves and only to change into a beast of CR 1 or lower. Beasts with CR 1 or less range in Intelligence from the Giant Eagle (Int 8) to the Frog (Int 1).

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You maintain concentration, regardless of the form. Your ability to concentrate on a spell does not depend on any mental statistic. You can also continue to concentrate on a spell, even if you cannot cast spells. For example, Silence, Druid Wildshape, and the Antimagic Field spell all restrict spellcasting, but not do not restrict your ability to concentrate. If, hypothetically, your concentration were tied to your ability to cast spells, then a cleric who casts Antimagic Field would immediately lose concentration, and the spell would be incapable of having an effect. From this we can safely conclude that these two mechanics are not intrinsically tied to one another.

Page 203 lists the requirements for concentrating on a spell. You lose concentration if you:

  • Cast another concentration spell
  • Take damage
  • Are incapacitated or killed
  • Are subject to environmental phenomena (DM's discretion)

Being polymorphed does not fall under any of these categories. A character can therefore maintain concentration while polymorphed.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What that intel drop does is prevent a lot of other things, but the act of concentration isn't one of them. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Aug 20 '15 at 1:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ What if the person was forced into there current form against there will? \$\endgroup\$ – IronHide77777 Aug 25 '17 at 3:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ It still doesn't fall under those categories. RAW they would not lose concentration, although a DM could certainly choose to give them a concentration check for whatever unusual circumstances they deemed fit. \$\endgroup\$ – Strill Aug 25 '17 at 7:46
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The latest Sage Advice clears this up authoritatively

Can you concentrate on a spell while transformed by polymorph? You can’t cast spells while you’re transformed by polymorph, but nothing in the spell prevents you from concentrating on a spell that you cast before being transformed.

Since "nothing in the spell" prevents you from maintaining concentration, and taking on the mental stats of the creature you transform into is part of the spell, clearly there are no particular mental stat requirements on the target form required to maintain concentration.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ That seems to authoritatively clear up a different question. The OP is asking about whether the form, as opposed to the spell prevents concentration. \$\endgroup\$ – Lexible Aug 20 '15 at 1:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Lexible the Sage Advice makes it clear that "nothing in the spell" (including taking on the mental stat block of the creature you polymorphed into, for example) prevents you from concentrating on a spell you cast before you transformed. I think that totally answers the question. \$\endgroup\$ – PurpleVermont Aug 20 '15 at 1:50

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