The Changeling race from Unearthed Arcana: Eberron has the Shapechanger trait, which lets it innately shapeshift:

As an action, you can polymorph into any humanoid of your size that you have seen, or back into your true form. However, your equipment does not change with you. If you die, you revert to your natural appearance.

Do you get the physical stats of the new form you hold? If you transform into the party's rogue, would you get its Dexterity? If I became an Aarakocra, could I fly?


I would argue that the Changeling's Shapechanger ability is only skin-deep, in that it allows you to take the form or "shape" of the target humanoid, and nothing else. At best, it allows the Changeling to disguise herself as a different humanoid at will.

Taking into account that "you can polymorph" and "you can cast polymorph" are two very different things, we cannot equate the term "polymorph" as used in the Shapechanger ability with the Polymorph spell. As such, we define the term as we define most other terms that are not otherwise defined by the rules: as English words. And "polymorph (verb)" simply means "to take a different form".

To allow the Changeling to use the Polymorph spell at will is crazy and game-breaking. You've essentially achieved the Druid's capstone ability as a racial trait! ^_^

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This is how changeling shape-shifting worked in earlier editions. It also makes sense in terms of the lore that changelings get their shape-shifting ability from doppelganger ancestors; Doppelgangers are noted for using their shape-shifting as a disguise, and not for using it as a way of assuming awesome and powerful forms. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Oct 22 '15 at 23:38

Since it specifically uses the term "polymorph" I'd assume that it is the case you'd get all the stats of creature/species you polymorph into.

As the PHB says in the polymorph spell, "The target's game statistics, including mental ability scores, are replaced by the statistics of the chosen beast. It retains its alignment and personality."

Edit: I'd add that the only differences between the innate abilities and the spell are ones listed. That death is real, not just changing back, and that your clothes/gear don't change. Both of those seem like reasonable limitations to prevent this ability from being OP.


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