This one may require a little 5e rules-knowledge. It does provide us with a useful thought experiment though, so I think it’s worth the hassle of mechanical minutia. Let’s begin by getting on the same page:

This spell transforms a creature that you can see within range into a new form… The transformation lasts for the duration, or until the target drops to 0 hit points or dies… The target’s game statistics, including mental ability scores, are replaced by the statistics of the chosen beast. It retains its alignment and personality. The target assumes the hit points of its new form. When it reverts to its normal form, the creature returns to the number of hit points it had before it transformed. If it reverts as a result of dropping to 0 hit points, any excess damage carries over to its normal form. As long as the excess damage doesn’t reduce the creature’s normal form to 0 hit points, it isn’t knocked unconscious. The creature is limited in the actions it can perform by the nature of its new form, and it can’t speak, cast spells, or take any other action that requires hands or speech.

First of all, the actual preferred method for getting out of this situation is waiting for you allies to kill the caster. Once concentration breaks, you revert to your normal form, easy peasy. However, if the caster happens to be a short broom-ride out of range (or if your allies are otherwise preoccupied), the next best tactic is commiting critter seppuku.

This happens to be more than an academic exercise. I was in precisely this situation at my group’s last D&Doggos game. My beefy cane corso barbarian had just been turned into a dirty rat by some malicious fae. In other words, I was stuck in a classic metagaming conundrum. The encounter was taking place atop a peasant cottage, so the temptation was very real. All I had to do was rat-scurry off the roof, take 1d6 falling damage, and pop back into fighting form. Yeah it sucks to lose a turn and take self-inflicted damage, but it was still my best option given the situation.

There are some problems with this strategy though. For example, would a pit fighter untrained in the arcane arts know enough to attempt rat suicide? And even if it was late in the campaign and the nth time I’d been polymorphed, would a creature with “the mental ability scores” of a rat have the bandwidth to remember how to break the spell? Sure you can point towards the “retains its alignment and personality” clause, but isn’t that the teensiest bit against the spirit of the game? Then again, you wouldn’t insist that a sorcerer who’d transformed himself into a giant ape lay about indiscriminately, attacking friend and foe alike. Why would you go out of your way to restrict the rat’s action, especially when the spell clearly lays out what you can’t do (i.e. speak, cast spells, etc.).

So here’s the million gp question for today’s comic: How would you handle it? If you were trapped in A) the body of a rat, and B) this situation, would you take that flying leap from the cottage roof? Why or why not? Let’s hear all about your metagaming rationalization process down in the comments!


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