So I'm a level 8 sorcerer and I love the spell polymorph for all those situations where fireball isn't the answer. Usually it involves me polymorphing myself and maybe one other party member into a Great Ape or Great Shark and then we go to town on whatever we're fighting. My DM pointed out however that as a Great Shark, my intelligence score becomes 2, so he should gain control of my character until I change back because with that score I wouldn't even know that I'm not a shark. Now in the spell it says that I maintain my personality and alignment, and I have to maintain concentration on the spell. So my point is that there's noway I could maintain all of that and not know that I'm currently shapeshifting. I don't think I should be able to do complicated maneuvers or battle tactics with the rest of the party while my int score is that low, but I also don't think I should have to lose control over my character. What do you guys think?

I am talking about 5th edition D&D. The question is largely one of control perspective. When I polymorph into a low INT creature, do I maintain control or is it so low that the DM needs to take control until the spell ends?

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    \$\begingroup\$ If this is D&D 5e (which I suspect is the case), this question is related. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Dec 7, 2015 at 5:36

1 Answer 1


You retain control over your character.

I'll make three arguments for why:


The text of polymorph does not make any mention that you lose control over your character. It also does not say that your goals or personality are replaced by the creature's - only your intelligence score. Thus, you are still the same person, just with sharper teeth, fins, and a less smart brain. If your GM is dictating that a character with an intelligence score of 2 can only be an NPC, your GM is creating a house rule to do so.


You retain your personality and memories, and there's no reason why your shark-brain would suddenly forget what you planned to do. An intelligence score of 2 is not so low that you don't remember you're not a shark, and sharks have a non-negligible wisdom score, so they aren't slaves to instinct. You would still remember being a wizard. You'd remember turning into a shark, and you'd remember what you planned to do. You might not be able to think back and understand why you made the plans you did (nor would you be able to come up with a new plan easily), but you'd remember that your wizard-brain is a lot smarter than your shark-brain, and you have no reason not to trust yourself to have your best interests in mind.

Group Dynamics

I do not believe such a house rule is a good idea. That ruling means either, "I do not trust you to play a character with an intelligence score of 2" or, "I don't like that you're using polymorph and want to weaken it." Neither leads to savory group dynamics.

If your GM doesn't trust you to roleplay your characters under anything besides ideal conditions, that's his problem. He is no more qualified than you are to play a character with such a low intelligence score, and you know your character better than he does - thus, you're more likely to know what your character would do in a situation, even if that situation includes "and they have a low intelligence score.

If your GM doesn't like you using polymorph to solve a problem that polymorph is perfectly capable of solving, he should bring that up outside the game - not deny it midstream.


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