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A Lamia is a Large monstrosity that can innately cast disguise self at will to appear in any humanoid form.

Given the limitations of the disguise self spell, how is this possible? Is this more like an alter self?

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It's possible because the entry literally says so. The entry says:

At will: disguise self (any humanoid form)

That is a modified disguise self ability that allows the lamia to use it to appear as any humanoid form (and only a humanoid).

As the spell says, it wouldn't stand up to inspection. Anyone trying to walk behind the disguised lamia would bump into its hindquarters.


Of course, at close proximity, likely the disguise has already served its purpose of luring the victim into danger. Lamia use their disguised voice and appearance to lure victims into reach or into other dangers, so a disguise that will only work at a distance is plenty good enough for their purposes.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ So the language in the Stat Block overrides what Disguise Self says it does (can seem 1 foot shorter or taller, can't change body type, etc.) Or is this a Large Humanoid rather than Medium? \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Oct 3 '16 at 18:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @NautArch The Large-ness of a lamia appears to be due to its substantial big-cat lower body rather than height. (My understanding of lamia, which granted dates back several editions, is that they are normal-human height.) It would make sense to this DM that they wouldn't be suddenly taller when disguised, but I guess that will be up to the DM on the scene. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Oct 3 '16 at 18:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, 7. Appreciate the direction, and the lure description for it. I can work with that :) \$\endgroup\$ – NautArch Oct 3 '16 at 18:39

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