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

Hussar

Legend
How is "I jump onto Bob's spear" an event that through "blind luck/serendipity/whatever happened to do something improbable that broke the spell and saved the day, "?

I've been around frogs a fair bit. I've never seen on jump onto a spear. In fact, even jumping in front of a car is pretty rare. You generally see them sitting on the road and getting run over rather than committing suicide by front tire.

There is a mechanical issue here too. Damage that breaks the polymorph carries over. So, how do you jump on a spear deliberately and only do 1 point of damage? I mean, we're talking about deliberately killing yourself here. Why doesn't the instant death damage simply kill the fighter all the way?

"Oh, you jumped onto the spear, impaling your heart? Ok, you are dead dead. Your corpse is now hanging on Bob's spear."

Oh, wait, that's being a bad DM isn't it? That would be a totally dick move by the DM, right? After all, the player claimed he was doing something that the character has absolutely no way of actually doing (I want to do 1 hp of damage to myself), but, as a DM, I'm supposed to just suck it up and go with it?

Look, I'm the last person to talk about DM entitlement and whatnot, but, sheesh, talk about a player abusing the rules. A character that has no actual idea how to break the spell is performing an action that the character would have no way of knowing how to do.

At the very least, this should be a critical hit on the fighter character. Deliberately impaling yourself has to count as a crit, at the very least.
 

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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
How is "I jump onto Bob's spear" an event that through "blind luck/serendipity/whatever happened to do something improbable that broke the spell and saved the day, "?

You've added the "saved the day" bit to this example. All it does is break the spell on the fighter, potentially having cost the fighter some amount of movement and action which might have been put to better use. And as you correctly note, any damage that spills over. The fighter's return to his normal form may or may not turn the tide of the battle - it depends on many things. Edit: Withdrawn with apologies after [MENTION=6801328]Elfcrusher[/MENTION] 's clarification.

I've been around frogs a fair bit. I've never seen on jump onto a spear. In fact, even jumping in front of a car is pretty rare. You generally see them sitting on the road and getting run over rather than committing suicide by front tire.

I don't particularly buy into arguments about plausibility or realism in a game about storytelling in worlds of swords and sorcery, one that shares elements with childhood games of make-believe. We don't even need to go to that length to make the point. What I would want to know is this:

Can you imagine an exciting, memorable situation in a fictional world where an Int-1 toad does something to get itself killed? Fictional toads aren't all infallible, right?

There is a mechanical issue here too. Damage that breaks the polymorph carries over. So, how do you jump on a spear deliberately and only do 1 point of damage? I mean, we're talking about deliberately killing yourself here. Why doesn't the instant death damage simply kill the fighter all the way?

"Oh, you jumped onto the spear, impaling your heart? Ok, you are dead dead. Your corpse is now hanging on Bob's spear."

Oh, wait, that's being a bad DM isn't it? That would be a totally dick move by the DM, right? After all, the player claimed he was doing something that the character has absolutely no way of actually doing (I want to do 1 hp of damage to myself), but, as a DM, I'm supposed to just suck it up and go with it?

Here you might just apply the carry over damage for a normal spear attack. The fighter pays a price in hit points, and some measure of movement and action for a turn. If that price isn't high enough for the DM's preference, he or she can choose a killer whale as the fighter's polymorphed form then. This will provide for greater difficulty for the PC and the party.

Look, I'm the last person to talk about DM entitlement and whatnot, but, sheesh, talk about a player abusing the rules. A character that has no actual idea how to break the spell is performing an action that the character would have no way of knowing how to do.

At the very least, this should be a critical hit on the fighter character. Deliberately impaling yourself has to count as a crit, at the very least.

What rule is the player in this example abusing exactly? He or she described what he or she wanted the fighter in toad form to do: Make a panicked leap away from its current position and into mortal danger due to an oncoming sword or, as I suggested in another take, the bard's swift-moving boots. Squish!
 
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Guest 6801328

Guest
You've added the "saved the day" bit to this example. All it does is break the spell on the fighter, potentially having cost the fighter some amount of movement and action which might have been put to better use. And as you correctly note, any damage that spills over. The fighter's return to his normal form may or may not turn the tide of the battle - it depends on many things.

He was taking "save the day" from my post. And I was just being colorful.

If I were in this situation and the frog/fighter got himself killed in a creative, messy way I'd laugh and cheer. Soooo much more interesting than just following the script.

Does make you wonder why all the princes-turned-into-frogs in fairy tales didn't just tell this princess, "Hit me with a mallet."
 

Iry

Hero
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.
I encourage your DM to have these kinds of conversations after the session is over, preferably in private.
 

Iry

Hero
I find it helps if you just don't think about what the player and character know about a particular thing. It's not useful information anyway except as needed by the DM to lay out the basic scope of options in the context of describing the environment.
Your scenario goes much further than that, and into a situation that would quite likely ruin the fun and enjoyment of the other players at my table. You're communicating to me that you strongly advocate an "All Metagaming Is Accepted" approach. I'm not going to tell you how to run things at your own table, but my players don't consider the type of metagaming you are proposing to be the positive kind.

Putting a situation in the game and then demanding the player forget everything he or she knows about it is setting up a very strange dynamic that is prone to error in my view.
This is not a problem for my players. We've filtered through them over the years until we have a nice stable of 20ish that can compartmentalize very well.
 
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Hussar

Legend
He was taking "save the day" from my post. And I was just being colorful.

If I were in this situation and the frog/fighter got himself killed in a creative, messy way I'd laugh and cheer. Soooo much more interesting than just following the script.

Does make you wonder why all the princes-turned-into-frogs in fairy tales didn't just tell this princess, "Hit me with a mallet."

To be fair. In the original iirc the princess chucks the frog across the room to break the spell :)
 

G

Guest 6801328

Guest
I encourage your DM to have these kinds of conversations after the session is over, preferably in private.

I was (again) taking poetic license. Such interruptions don't happen in my games. I was imagining what happens at tables that worry about such things.

But even without the actual interruption at the table, think about what's going on here: if another player 'metagaming' is breaking your immersion, it's because you are letting yourself worry about what the player is thinking, not what their character is doing. You are either breaking your own immersion by going there, or you weren't really immersed in the first place because you were already in the mindset of thinking of the other characters as their players, not as the characters themselves.

@Mouseferatu: so when Bilbo just happened to put his hand on the ring in the dark and absentmindedly pocket it, and then later just happened to stick his hand in his pocket at the right time, and then just happened to blurt out "What have I got in my pocket?" and Gollum just happened to interpret this as a riddle, it broke your immersion?

Oh, and let's not forget Bilbo just happening to pull his hand out of his pocket when Gollum guessed "Handses".
 
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iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Your scenario goes much further than that, and into a situation that would quite likely ruin the fun and enjoyment of the other players at my table. You're communicating to me that you strongly advocate an "All Metagaming Is Accepted" approach. I'm not going to tell you how to run things at your own table, but my players don't consider the type of metagaming you are proposing to be the positive kind.

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on how my scenario "goes much further than that." It seems to me that if the player at your table was brand new to the game and legitimately had no idea how polymorph worked, his or her proposal of the toad jumping under the running bard's boot and being squished would not be suspicious. So what you're actually doing here is policing the thoughts of other people at the table - by choice - and allowing your opinions about how a player arrived at the action declaration to "ruin the fun and enjoyment." Whereas someone like me would only be focused on the toad's action in the context of the scene rather than what the player may or may not know (or his or her character).

This is not a problem for my players. We've filtered through them over the years until we have a nice stable of 20ish that can compartmentalize very well.

It doesn't sound like the players are able to compartmentalize their thoughts about what another player or character knows, however. Otherwise they might be able to deal with the confused, dimwitted toad accidentally killing itself in the heat of an unfolding battle between multiple combatants acting of their own accord.

On that subject, I'll ask you what other posters who appear to share your position have so far steadfastly refused to answer: Can you imagine an exciting, memorable situation in a fictional world where an Int-1 toad does something to get itself killed?
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
But even without the actual interruption at the table, think about what's going on here: if another player 'metagaming' is breaking your immersion, it's because you are letting yourself worry about what the player is thinking, not what their character is doing. You are either breaking your own immersion by going there, or you weren't really immersed in the first place because you were already in the mindset of thinking of the other characters as their players, not as the characters themselves.

Exactly! What's more, my experience in such groups is that regularly take it a step further and present situations where "metagaming" of the sort they say they don't like is of such a advantage that the incentive to do it is huge. But if you take the bait, you're a filthy metagamer.

If you don't like that outcome, don't lay out the bait, I say.
 

[MENTION=6801328]Elfcrusher[/MENTION], I didn't say stories can't have blind luck. I said I dislike when blind luck saves the heroes. Happening to put his hand on the ring was setting up future plotlines.

As for happening to coincidentally take his hand out of his pocket at just the right time, I actually did roll my eyes a bit at that. But at least it's something that people normally do all the time, as opposed to a frog happening to leap into the path of a [mild expletive] sword.

More to the point, I'm not interested in arguing this or that specific example from this or that piece of fiction. I specifically said there were occasional exceptions if the author or story were brilliant enough.

But unless it's parody, a human saving himself from being turned into a frog because he happens to accidentally kill himself, and that happens to actually break the spell (which, as I also said above, I already find incredibly nonsensical as an element of the fiction, even though I understand it as a game balance mechanic) will never, ever be one of those exceptions.
 

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