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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?

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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! ^_^

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    \$\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, 2015 at 23:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Also, D&D making a distinction between “polymorph” (any kind of shapechanging) and “polymorph” (the spell which changes shape with very particular rules) has a very long pedigree. It’s caused confusion, most likely, in every single edition. Maybe not 4th, 4th didn’t mix rules and description like that much. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Nov 19, 2021 at 4:02
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The term "polymorph" is unclear. However, since the question was asked, the changeling race from this UA has been published. The published version makes it much clearer how the the changeling's Shapechanger trait works (E:RftLW, p. 17; emphasis mine):

As an action, you can change your appearance and your voice. You determine the specifics of the changes, including your coloration, hair length, and sex. You can also adjust your height and weight, but not so much that your size changes. You can make yourself appear as a member of another race, though none of your game statistics change. You can’t duplicate the appearance of a creature you’ve never seen, and you must adopt a form that has the same basic arrangement of limbs that you have. [...]

The new reading us more clear that the change is about appearance, which in hindsight was likely the original intent of the UA.

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    \$\begingroup\$ An ability simply using a word that happens to be the name of a spell does not mean that the spell is remotely relevant to the ability. If a spell's rules are relevant to an ability, it calls out the spell specifically, eg stating that the creature "can cast the [blank] spell" (possibly with modifications stated). \$\endgroup\$ Nov 17, 2021 at 20:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ I completely agree with you, now. I don't know what I was thinking back in 2015. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 17, 2021 at 22:16

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