I'm aware of this question but it hasn't really come to any solid conclusion. Additionally, that question is more concerned about spell stacking in general, and I'm interested in this specific case.

So imagine that you've just defeated the BBEG, and you and your party wade hip-deep into the overflowing treasure room. After sorting it all out, you've found a fabulous magical weapon, with all of the enchantments you've been hoping for. It's perfect!

...except the random treasure generator rolled it up as a Ranseur.

"A what? Is that even a thing?"
"It's a thing. It's a polearm."
"I've never heard of it."
"It's right there in the PHB, next to the Lance."

And so on, back and forth with the DM, and you Google it because nobody else knows what it is either, and you look at the stats, and you realize... this is not the weapon you wanted.

But you're a party of high powered adventurers, and you're not about to let this set you back! You turn to the mage...

So. You have a magic weapon, and for whatever reason, it would be just that much nicer if it were a different type of magic weapon.

Polymorph Any Object
Magic items aren't affected by this spell.

Well drat. But...

Dispel Magic
Targeted Dispel: If you succeed ... A suppressed item becomes nonmagical for the duration of the effect.

Well this is great! It's a nonmagical item now! (For a few moments, anyway.) We quickly follow that Dispel up with a Polymorph Any, and bam! A shiny new longsword! We just wait a few moments...

And this is where it gets confusing.

So, what happens to a magical weapon that has been dispelled and then polymorphed, once the dispel expires?

  • The simple solution: The magic comes back, and tada, an amazing magical [whatever]!

  • The "it never happened" solution: The Universe (aka DM) can see what you're trying to pull, you sneaky bugger, and the Polymorph won't take in the first place.

  • The "self-retconning" solution: The magic weapon, now being a magic item, cannot be affected by Polymorph Any and reverts back to its original shape.

  • The "it only works for a while" solution: (If the DM rules a non-permanent duration for the Polymorph) It appears to work for a while, but after a time the Polymorph expires and it reverts to the original shape.

  • The "you done mucked it up now!" solution: You broke everything! The new weapon is not the same as the dispelled weapon. The enchantments were bound to a weapon that no longer exists, and so have nowhere to return to. They evaporate into the Aether, and you are left with a completely mundane weapon (and a very sad party).

Or some other outcome I haven't considered?

Obviously a RAW answer would be best, or a "Word of God" style ruling.

If you can't find RAW, which of the above options would you rule for at your table, and why?


1 Answer 1



"One Effect Makes Another Irrelevant" idea means that the following happens.

  1. The mage casts dispel magic. The item is now a nonmagical, masterwork ranseur.

  2. The mage casts polymorph any object. The item is now a nonmagical longsword. It may or may not be a masterwork item, depending on how you rule "cannot create material of great intrinsic value".

  3. 1d4 rounds later, the dispel magic wears off. Because the item is now not a legal target for polymorph other then the polymorph is cancelled and the item turns back into a magical ranseur.


This means that if the GM gives you a magical ranseur then it is always going to be a magical ranseur.

If you want a magical longsword, just ask the GM. I'd be happy to change a polearm into a sword for someone whose character took feats that don't work with two-handed weapons.

I wouldn't, however, do this for themed or archetypal weapons (like a water-themed opponent with a magical trident, or Thor's hammer).


If you go with the "you now mucked it up" idea, then the combination of dispel magic and polymorph any item becomes a simple way to destroy magic items. No need to take the One Ring to Mt Doom - just polymorph it into a lead button. :-)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Regarding #2, I would counter-argue that you are not creating any material of great intrinsic value, because that intrinsic value already existed in the masterwork ranseur. Absolutely agree on the themed weapons. No Poseidon's Spiked Chain, etc, lol. I suppose the real problem lies in that PAO is "permanent" and not "Instant". Thank you. \$\endgroup\$
    – tzxAzrael
    Jul 20, 2016 at 23:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not persuaded by this. The cannonical example of a magical effect making another magical effect irrelevant is multiple spells that change the shape of the target - but that's not what's happening here. More importantly, why do you believe a magical effect ends if its target becomes invalid? The rules are notoriously silent on this issue. In other words, what reference or argument do you "Back It Up!" with? \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Jul 21, 2016 at 0:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ On an unrelated note, artefacts can't be dispelled, only disjoined, so you'd have trouble polymorphing the One Ring. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Jul 21, 2016 at 0:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would suggest that it polymorphs one non-magical item into another non-magical item, so even when dispel wore off, the second item would still be non-magical. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 21, 2016 at 15:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ Umm... I'm sorry, maybe I'm dumb. But pages 175 and 176 of PHB. Duration of spell says about duration in rounds that it ends only when time is out. Nothing about stopping when target shifted invalid aiming type. In the aiming section on 175 there is requirement for aiming is only at the "casting" step. Nothing more. That means you are restricted by "Target: One creature, or one nonmagical object of up to 100 cu. ft./level" only when casting spell, when STARTING (not PROPAGATING) the process. When target polymorphs nothing in the rules say it must break any effects that were already cast. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 31, 2016 at 20:31

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