I am trying to decide if racial senses are considered Ex for the purposes of wild shaping.

I had previously asked if ability scores are lost when under polymorph, and the answer was no. These ability scores are racial but not lost.

Online Ive seen many references to wild shaping into ooze's and retaining your vision. But I cant seem to find the RAW ruling which explains how this happens.

Since most racial abilities are not listed as Ex/SU/SA it seems to imply that racial senses are not lost unless specifically given a type somewhere. Under the special abilities page the sense of low light and dark vision are not given a type. The same is true when you visit the race pages for elf and dwarf.

So to me, this would imply that any racial sense I have which is not specifically listed as Ex/Sa/Su would be kept when you wild shaped, correct?


While under the effects of a polymorph spell, you lose all extraordinary and supernatural abilities that depend on your original form (such as keen senses, scent, and darkvision), as well as any natural attacks and movement types possessed by your original form.

So any Ex abilities that are dependent on your form. Dwarves have darkvision, but in the racial description its not typed as Ex/SU/SA, nor under the special abilities. Now Polymorph specifically calls out darkvision but only when it is Ex. It is possible to get darkvision via spells and other abilities.

You would generally consider your senses to be tied to your form, so any that you would naturally have.

However the desc for Ex

Extraordinary abilities are non-magical. They are, however, not something that just anyone can do or even learn to do without extensive training.

Since anyone as part of a race can "do" their senses, they should not be Ex?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Did you already try this question? \$\endgroup\$ May 13, 2017 at 18:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I had not, but it does not answer the question either \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    May 13, 2017 at 19:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ In fact, it does, but it is buried and easily missed, and this question's more specific anyway. \$\endgroup\$ May 13, 2017 at 19:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around the question, could you provide concrete examples? Such as, does a Drow shape shifted into a Lion lose ____ abilities (darkvision?) and gain ____ (keen smell) from the new form? \$\endgroup\$ May 14, 2017 at 5:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GeneralAnders In your example I know the drow would gain the keen smell, but the darkvision is whats in question. Darkvision isnt explicitly an Ex ability as far as I can tell, which is what polymorph cares about. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    May 14, 2017 at 12:59

1 Answer 1


Because the supernatural ability wild shape is a polymorph effect, "[w]hile under [such] effects…, you lose all extraordinary and supernatural abilities that depend on your original form (such as keen senses, scent, and darkvision)…."

Since low-light vision is an extraordinary ability, a typical elf using the supernatural ability wild shape, for example, loses its low-light vision. Whether a druid that uses wild shape to assume the form of an ooze retains its normal vision is, also according to the description of polymorph effects, likely the GM's call: "While most of these [changes to a creature that's affected by a polymorph effect] should be obvious, the GM is the final arbiter of what abilities depend on form and are lost when a new form is assumed."

  • \$\begingroup\$ Why is low-light described under monster rules and not the special senses. Well, since the ability is actually labeled (just not in a place I was looking because monsters) I guess I cant get around this. I will lose the racial ability see in darkness when polymorphed, and my only possible way around it was it not being typed. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    May 14, 2017 at 13:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .