I am building a character who is focusing on their animal companion. My plan is to take one of the base animal companions, subject it to polymorph any object (PAO) into its true form or another which will allow its duration to be permanent. Yes I know that if I took the drake I could turn it into a true dragon of any age, but Ive tried to keep my character from being truly overpowered compared to the other players.

For the purpose of this question I have chosen an Allosaurus as my animal companion. I will be turning it into its much bigger "true" variant.

I have not counted the bonus from it being an animal companion, only what is listed on the chart.

  • Lv 4 Ability Scores Str 14, Dex 16, Con 10, Int 2, Wis 15, Cha 10
  • Lv 7 bonus Str +8, Dex –2, Con +4
  • Lv 7 Ability Scores Str 22, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 2, Wis 15, Cha 10
  • Real Ability Scores Str 26, Dex 13, Con 19, Int 2, Wis 15, Cha 10

So the animal companions ability scores should change to the line that is listed as "real" because PAO turns it into the actual thing. Then if I am level 7 or higher I would add the level 7 bonus(?) as well as whatever the bonus is from the chart for being that level.

So lets say I was level 7, the final stats should be str 36, dex 15, con 19, int 2, wis 15, cha 10, correct? Part of my confusion is that people do not seem to agree on exactly how PAO works or is different from the other polymorph spells. From the spell description it lists a transformation and target which is not possible with any of the others so Im on the side where its not limited to only the choices of the other spells. It would also have any special abilities if that form, so special attacks and what not, even if the animal companion version did not get it.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Keep in mind that a Huge animal companion with those stats is stupefyingly overpowered, especially at 4th level. As a CR 7 creature, it's roughly as powerful as the entire party. There's a reason why you get a much smaller one as a companion. Regardless of rules finagling, the GM is well-within bounds to just squash this idea. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 3, 2017 at 20:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Several of the players in this group are known for being overpowered so Im surprised I came up with something thats might be better than them for a change. Ive been working closely with the DM to end up with a functional and balanced (but strong) end result \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Mar 3, 2017 at 23:19

1 Answer 1


The stats themselves don't change

...but the effective stats will.

Though in the game-world, the animal becomes its larger self, with all that implies, the mechanical truth is you don't replace the stats with those of the new form, only add modifiers appropriate to it.

The flavor text along each step of the way describes in-fiction reality, but we'll have to go through a bit of a process to find the mechanical "how-to", rather than just flavor text.

The mechanical description of polymorph any object states that:

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

So, the spell exclusively changes objects and creatures into those of different types, and offers absolutely no mechanical description of what that looks like, until we get to what's almost a footnote in PFSRD:

This spell can also be used to duplicate the effects of baleful polymorph, greater polymorph, ...

To be clear this spell provides no unique mechanics for changing and animal into another form, aside from its duration table - the details of transformation are left to those other spells listed. The mechanical effects of this particular transformation would be handled under the rules of greater polymorph, as the only one that could actually do what you describe.

Greater Polymorph further redirects you:

If you use this spell to cause the target to take on the form of an animal or magical beast, it functions as beast shape IV.

So among other steps in beast shape IV's transformation process, we finally get to the stat effects:

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.

Last thing to take into account, and it's up for interpretation, is just what beast form modifiers are already applied to your creature intrinsically.

The wording of the beast form spell seems to assume the target is a Medium, humanoid race (like any PC), and thus offers non-size-related bonuses for turning from that into a Medium animal:

Medium animal: If the form you take is that of a Medium animal, you gain a +2 size bonus to your Strength and a +2 natural armor bonus.

It makes little sense and would be redundant for a Medium Allosaurus to gain these benefits if it were to simply be changed into the form it already occupies - Medium Allosaurus. Similarly, once it has grown at level 7 to become a Large creature, it makes little sense for it to gain the benefits of being Large, in addition to those of being changed into a Huge animal.

Were I GMing your game, both of these bonuses would be assumed as built into the Allosaurus stat block, and so would be subtracted from the modifers for Huge Animal.

This would leave you, prior to level 7, with the following adjustments to your stat-sheet:

  • +4 natural armor (+6 for Huge Animal, -2 for already having Medium Animal)
  • +4 Strength bonus (same calculation, +6 -2)
  • -4 Dexterity penalty (-4 for going to Huge size category, there being no bonus or malus listed for Medium Animal)

At 7th level, when your companion grows to Large size, apply the modifiers listed on its animal companion entry before applying these:

  • +2 natural armor (+6 for Huge Animal, -4 for already having Large Animal)
  • +2 Strength bonus (same calculation, +6 -4)
  • -2 Dexterity Penalty (-4 for going to Huge size category, +2 because that's already counted under Large)

Entirely subjective:

Note that instead of what I'd call the pure "size-related" strength bonus of +2 when your companion grows, it gains +8 Strength at level 7. The difference of 6 I would count as natural changes, and thus not subtract it from your Huge Animal Strength modifier, which leaves you with the one outlined above.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This spell allows you to do things which are not possible with the other spells, while also giving you the option of using those spells. But there is no clear explanation anywhere as to how this spell is different and exactly how its suppose to work. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Feb 28, 2017 at 19:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ I would also note that because you are polymorphing a creature whose size is large, it gets -4 Strength, +2 Dexterity, and -2 Constitution. This means overall it gets +2 Strength, -2 Dexterity, and -2 Constitution. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jon Claus
    Feb 28, 2017 at 21:28
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Note that there's a few things polymorph any object can turn things into that aren't covered by any of the spells listed. Undead, for instance. So it's not totally correct to say the polymorph any object spell provides no new mechanics... It's just very unclear about what they are in the cases where it does provide them. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Mar 1, 2017 at 11:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ I believe you should put an emphasis on the fact that you don't actually replace your stats, which seems to be what nearly everybody, who hasnt read pathfinder's version of the polymorph subschool, thinks about how those spells work. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Mar 1, 2017 at 12:07
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Mactrent The questions mentions the final stats at level 7, by which point the natural size of the allosaurus companion is large. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jon Claus
    Mar 1, 2017 at 18:19

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