D&D 5E Polymorph is a bad de-buff spell

I address this sort of thing in my game's table rules: "'Metagaming,' defined as using player skill or knowledge that a character might not necessarily have, is fine as long as it's fun for everyone..."

And this is where it breaks down.

I mean, not for your table. It clearly works for you, and that's good. But in more general terms.

The whole idea of the the fighter-frog happening to leap onto his friends' blades because the player knows that suicide ends polymorph? That's the sort of metagaming that is absolutely not fun for me, as either a player or DM. In fact, it can straight-up ruin an entire scene, if not an entire gaming session.

Unless we're playing a 100% slapstick comedy, it shatters all sense of fictional cohesion for me. I would sooner change the rules of the spell, even if that made it clearly mechanically broken, than want to participate in a game that included this sort of "solution."

(And no, we don't run "serious business" games, either. We spend far more time laughing than doing deep-immersion RP, even if I'd love to see more of the latter. But there are limits.)
 

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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
And this is where it breaks down.

I mean, not for your table. It clearly works for you, and that's good. But in more general terms.

The whole idea of the the fighter-frog happening to leap onto his friends' blades because the player knows that suicide ends polymorph? That's the sort of metagaming that is absolutely not fun for me, as either a player or DM. In fact, it can straight-up ruin an entire scene, if not an entire gaming session.

Unless we're playing a 100% slapstick comedy, it shatters all sense of fictional cohesion for me. I would sooner change the rules of the spell, even if that made it clearly mechanically broken, than want to participate in a game that included this sort of "solution."

(And no, we don't run "serious business" games, either. We spend far more time laughing than doing deep-immersion RP, even if I'd love to see more of the latter. But there are limits.)

What fictional reason would work for you to explain why the toad leaped into the way of a sword?

To use a slightly different example, what fictional reason would work for you to explain why the toad leaped in front of a car?
 

Satyrn

First Post
"I can't face life as a toad, not even for one more second!"

Oh and I'll claim inspiration for my flaw "when the going gets tough, I give up" and use it right away to make sure I land on the pointy end of that sword.

. . . That's how to end polymorph? I did not know that.
 

So turn him into something big but not dangerous like a slow moving ooze or shark (in the desert) something less threatening than the fighter but with some HP.

I was actually thinking this very thing the other day because I'm playing a caster who just got polymorph. I was going to ask: what aquatic creature has the most HP, that is totally useless and will 'drown' before the party can undo the polymorph. (I should probably look up the drowning rules...)

Edit: it turns out you can hold your breath for a really, really long time in 5e...would you allow the person to hold their breath before they get polymorphed or surprised by the spell?
 
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Satyrn

First Post
I was actually thinking this very thing the other day because I'm playing a caster who just got polymorph other. I was going to ask: what aquatic creature has the most HP, that is totally useless and will 'drown' before the party can undo the polymorph. (I should probably look up the drowning rules...)

Whales. Go with whales. They breathe air. And you can block all the passages if you make it a Norwegian Blue . . .


. . . wait, that's a parrot, isn't it?
 


G

Guest 6801328

Guest
At my table, this would shatter suspension of disbelief like an extinction event comet.

This is functionally the same as reading a module beforehand and knowing where to go for the best treasure because (after a long sigh) you just got lucky. Or encountering a new troll freak for the first time and using its weakness immediately because (again, long sigh) you just felt like changing things up today.

Know what shatters my suspension of disabelief? Interrupting the game so the DM can accuse/lecture a player over how the DM defines 'roleplaying' and what he thinks the player 'should' do.
 


G

Guest 6801328

Guest
On the fighter/frog/metagaming thing:

If you were reading a story and a witch turned the hero into a frog, and the herofrog (froghero?) by blind luck/serendipity/whatever happened to do something improbable that broke the spell and saved the day, wouldn't you enjoy that sort of unexpected twist to the story? Would you call that 'good storytelling'?

So why wouldn't you want that in your D&D game?

I'm with iserith: stop worrying about what the player is thinking and why they choose the actions they do. You're breaking your own immersion when you do.
 

If you were reading a story and a witch turned the hero into a frog, and the herofrog (froghero?) by blind luck/serendipity/whatever happened to do something improbable that broke the spell and saved the day, wouldn't you enjoy that sort of unexpected twist to the story? Would you call that 'good storytelling'?

While there are exceptions to everything, and it's ultimately based on the skill of the author...

No. No, I probably wouldn't.

I despise stories where a single stroke of absolute blind luck wins the day. The hero happens to draw the straight flush in the last round of poker, the villain's gun jams at the last second, the flustered cop happens to yanks the proper wire out of the bomb when he had four out of five chances of getting it wrong and blowing up a city block? Hate those. Hate 'em.

If a main character is turned into a frog, I expect (if the spell lets her keep her wits) that she puzzle a way out, and if the spell doesn't, I expect one of the other characters to puzzle a way out, or kill the witch, or something. Randomly stumbling into the solution because she hopped one way instead of another? You'll get an eyeroll from me if the rest of the story has been brilliant, and can count me out completely otherwise.
 

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