I am confused as to what exactly how Polymorph Any Object (POA) is different from all the other polymorph spells which have clearly stated rules. Even the guide which talks about all the polymorph spells and how they are used does not talk about POA.

The other spells all have limits on the size change, ability score changes, what abilities from the base form are acquired and so on and the guide covers these nicely.

The line which makes me believe PAO works differently is

This spell functions like greater polymorph, except that it changes one object or creature into another.

Because you are changed, do you actually become it, and thus gain all everything that the target form has?


2 Answers 2


Yes, the way the spell is worded in the srd, you (the target) actually become the creature or object that the caster chooses to turn you into, and you gain (and lose) everything that the target form has (and does not have).

The major exception seems to be ability scores, which non-magical objects do not have. If the object being targeted does not have ability scores it will gain str/dex/con of 10 and int/wis/cha of 5. For creatures being polymorphed into objects, they will keep their existing ability scores.

However the polymorph line of spells require the target to be willing and the target can still choose to resume its regular form as a full-round action even if the targeted creature could remain permanently polymorphed.

  • \$\begingroup\$ If you turn an object into a creature, it recieves mental scores of 5. Not the other way around. If you turn a pebble into a human, it gains 5 int/wis/cha. But a human turned into a pebble retains their mental scores. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 18:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oops, I thought it went both ways. I'll edit my answer to fix that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Visfarix
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 18:21
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Interestingly, this implies that if you PaO something into an undead, it'll still have a con score. It can't use that con score, but it'll have it. \$\endgroup\$
    – ChrisPy
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 18:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ You cannot polymorph to using templates though, so most undead are out of question as a polymorphed form, but they can be polymorphed from, they are no longer undead that way, which is represented by their new con score. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Commented Feb 24, 2017 at 19:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ PaO can be used to duplicate baleful polymorph. That means it can be used on unwilling targets, and they can not opt to change back. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zach
    Commented Jan 28, 2020 at 3:11

All limitations were given by the spell's description:

This spell functions like greater polymorph, except that it changes one object or creature into another.

So, with the exceptions of everything after that, refer to the text on Greater Polymorph, which functions like Polymorph.

Greater Polymorph then says that if you assume the form of an animal, it works like Beast Shape IV. If you assume the form of a dragon, it works like Form of the Dragon I. If you assume the form of an elemental, it works like Elemental Body III. If you assume the form of a plant, it works like Plant Shape II.

The stats bonuses are all given by each of those spells, the difference is that Greater Polymorph will allow you to become creatures or objects of sizes different from those allowed by those spells, so size modifiers might apply. Also, the duration of this effect potentially much better.


So, for instance, you decide to turn into a Huge Mammoth, you refer to Beast Shape IV and see the benefits you gain from it, such as:

Huge animal: If the form you take is that of a Huge animal, you gain a +6 size bonus to your Strength, a -4 penalty to your Dexterity, and a +6 natural armor bonus.

And also:

If the form you assume has any of the following abilities, you gain the listed ability: burrow 60 feet, climb 90 feet, fly 120 feet (good maneuverability), swim 120 feet, blindsense 60 feet, darkvision 90 feet, low-light vision, scent, tremorsense 60 feet, breath weapon, constrict, ferocity, grab, jet, poison, pounce, rake, rend, roar, spikes, trample, trip, and web. If the creature has immunity or resistance to any elements, you gain resistance 20 to those elements. If the creature has vulnerability to an element, you gain that vulnerability.

Everything else is covered by the text on Greater Polymorph. This transformation's duration is much higher than 1 minute/level from Beast Shape IV, probably going to last permanently (5 from same kingdom, 2 from same class, 2 from same or lower intelligence, total 9 or permanent duration).

Alternativelly, if you decide to turn yourself into a Huge Mammoth Statue (not an animated statue), the duration factor would be only 4 (2 same int or lower, 2 mammals) and last up to 3 hours.


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