6
\$\begingroup\$

Shapechange is a spell that gives you most of the abilities of a chosen form. Specifically:

You gain all extraordinary and supernatural abilities (both attacks and qualities) of the assumed form

Many high-level monsters have the natural ability to cast spells. For example, Solars:

Solars can cast divine spells as 20th-level clerics.

The entry for Spells doesn't typically have an (Ex) or (Su), and shapechange specifically doesn't grant access to spell-like abilities. This makes the situation a little ambiguous.

If a spellcaster uses shapechange to assume a form with spells, does the spellcaster gain all of the spells of that form? Why or why not?

\$\endgroup\$
4
\$\begingroup\$

No.

In order for a spell to give you an ability, the spell has to say that it gives you that ability. The full list of abilities and properties that shapechange can give you is:

  • Natural size
  • Mundane movement capabilities
  • Natural armor bonus
  • Natural weapons
  • Racial skill bonuses
  • Racial bonus feats
  • Gross physical qualities (such as "presence or absence of wings" or "number of extremities")
  • The Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution scores of the new form
  • All extraordinary and supernatural abilities (both attacks and qualities) of the assumed form
  • Type

Spellcasting that comes standard with a race (like Solar Cleric casting) is considered a Natural Ability. Natural Abilities are defined in the Rules Compendium as:

Natural Ability

This category includes abilities a creature has because of its physical nature. Natural abilities are those not otherwise designated as extraordinary, supernatural, or spell-like.

Since spellcasting is not a "gross physical quality", Extraordinary, or Supernatural, it doesn't fall under any of the categories granted by Shapechange. Thus, Shapechange does not grant the spells of the assumed form.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ A rules lawyer would then ask How do you know that spellcasting isn't a gross physical quality of a solar? Fortunately, at some point someone says to him Because I'm the DM, and I said so. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Oct 3 '15 at 9:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ The examples given are "presence or absence of wings", and "number of extremities". The pattern seems to be that "gross physical qualities" are ones that you can see. Since you can't see spellcasting, it doesn't qualify. \$\endgroup\$ – DuckTapeAl Oct 3 '15 at 9:18
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan The ability to cast spells isn't physical, gross or not. It is mental. And, probably, natural. \$\endgroup\$ – annoying imp Oct 3 '15 at 16:43
-1
\$\begingroup\$

If it is a natural spell-casting ability, yes.

A Solar's cleric spell-casting is a natural ability. Shapechange would allow natural spell-casting, but not spell-like abilities. Shapechange "enables you to assume the form of any single non-unique creature (of any type) from Fine to Colossal size." by assuming the form and type of the Solar - you get its natural abilities. This is no different than shape-changing into a bear and getting a claw attack or shape-changing into a shark and being able to breathe under water.

Shapechange also states "You gain all extraordinary and supernatural abilities (both attacks and qualities) of the assumed form."

Whenever you click on "Spells" under the Solar entry, you will find, "Sometimes a creature can cast arcane or divine spells just as a member of a spell-casting class can" which means it is literally natural. Spells are also listed under Special Quality. There it states, "Many creatures have unusual abilities. A monster entry breaks these abilities into special attacks and special qualities." Shapechange explicitly mentions you gain both attacks and qualities. The cleric spellcasting is not Spell-Like, it is literal Natural Spellcasting.

We know this from the Natural Ability description of the Rules Compendium.

Natural Ability

This category includes abilities a creature has because of its physical nature. Natural abilities are those not otherwise designated as extraordinary, supernatural, or spell-like.

A Solar's cleric spell-casting is not designated as (Ex), (Su), or (Sp) - and therefore would be defaulted into (Na). Cleric spell-casting, for a Solar, is natural to its body and form. Just like a Drider having sorcerer spells. It's completely natural.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ What part of Shapechange gives you natural abilities? This is a missing component of your answer. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Oct 3 '15 at 8:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Alter Self, the root spell, explicitly gives you the natural weapons. Anyway, you should be editing your answer, not responding to me in comments. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Oct 3 '15 at 8:12
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Shapechange (through Polymorph and Alter Self) explicitly gives you things like natural attacks and "gross physical qualities" like wings or gills. It says nothing of the sort about spellcasting. \$\endgroup\$ – DuckTapeAl Oct 3 '15 at 8:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.