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What is the requirement for breaking out of your armor when polymorphed? Is it strictly based on monster size and if so what size do you have to be to break the armor? Are all monsters that don't break or fall out of armor able to wear it? --Mogri 21:54, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

1 size up, (medium to large or huge, or into a monster with limbs that don't fit)

I've noticed that occasionally when I'm not using a ring of polymorph control and I eat a chameleon or zap myself with a wand, I'll sometimes transform into the opposite gender. I tried it with the ring of polymorph control, but it doesn't seem to accept gender as an argument. Can anyone verify/explain this? Skylerorlando 23:41, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

With polymorph control, poly into your own race ("human", "dwarf", "elf", "orc"). It'll run the code in Source:polyself.c#newman, and you'll have a 10% chance to change gender.
Mniot 03:37, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Esoteric uses of polyself

Let's start a collection of all those creative little tweaks polyself is good for. This is more about collecting than about useful advice for real games. For a start:

  • nymph/leprechaun: re-donate the gold or get the temple priest's robe & books, but retain temple for sanctuary or future donations
stealing attacks will anger the priest wether successful or not. So be prepare to handle the priest retaliation and have the means to charm him back to being peaceful.Galehar 15:06, February 22, 2010 (UTC)
tip: sleep the priest from afar, then cast charm monster until he becomes peaceful. Tjr 17:24, February 22, 2010 (UTC)
  • xorn: phase your way to all those gems embedded in stone, hoping for a luckstone (using "detect treasure")

And of course, there are the well-known ones:

  • nymph: take your pet archon's artifact weapon in order to enchant it
I've read that elsewhere, but it doesn't really work. Stealing attacks again an Archon almost never succeed. And when they do, they reduce tameness. To get his weapon, it's much easier to bullwhip it out of his hands. You can also drop another co-aligned artifact weapon and he will eventually pick it up and drop the other, but it might not works if he already has a cluttered inventory. If you want to replace his armor, just drop a highly enchanted piece of armor and he will take it and use it.Galehar 15:06, February 22, 2010 (UTC)
The pet page is more up to date. It is good if the archon has as few possessions as possible when you give it its weapon. (Minor correction: a nymph's successful stealing attack does not reduce tameness.) Tjr 17:24, February 22, 2010 (UTC)
Testing in wizmode has led me to believe the exact opposite. Successful stealing attack on a pet reduce tameness and unsuccessful ones doesn't. But anyway, my point is using nymph self polymorph to manage a pet archon's inventory is just a bad strategy.Galehar 22:23, February 22, 2010 (UTC)
  • make silver/gray dragon scale mail (hatch eggs and wait for them to grow up)
it's quite long to grow a baby silver dragon into an adult. And when they do, they drop scales only 1 in 3 times. It's possible, but not very convenient.Galehar 15:06, February 22, 2010 (UTC)
It doesn't take as long as you seem to think. Plus the 1-in-3 can be circumvented by laying a lot of eggs, although to keep the pets afterwards you'll need either a magic whistle or a lot of power and a spellbook of create monster. Baby dragons are still usually better pets than a dog or cat, and adult dragons are nice pets. -- Qazmlpok 17:07, February 22, 2010 (UTC)
baby dragons hatch with 50 to 56 hit points (in my tests). They need to reach 120 to become adult. Also, the more eggs you lay, the slower they will grow, as they will have to share kills. I agree that laying dragon's eggs is a great way to get nice pets (especially if you have a wand of speed monster) and that you can eventually get scales from them. But as a strategy to get scales, polyself into a dragon isn't a very good one.Galehar 22:23, February 22, 2010 (UTC)
  • xorn: eat jewelry for intrinsics (late game)
  • gelatinous cube: eat jewelry for intrinsics, gain nutrition from junk Elven2006 00:02, March 9, 2010 (UTC)
  • cockatrice: lay eggs to trow on monsters ("stoning grenade")
good idea, but how do you keep the eggs from hatching? Also, each grenade would cost you 1 luck point, but it could be worth it.Galehar 15:06, February 22, 2010 (UTC)
Put the eggs into a sack. They will rot in there and never hatch. Alternatively, let them hatch and let the cockatrice die for the corpse. A wand of undead turning will let you hatch an egg after it has already rotted. And -1 luck is certainly worth killing Demogorgon, the wizard, or certain other stonable enemies. -- Qazmlpok 17:07, February 22, 2010 (UTC)
Put the eggs into a container until they stack. BTW, don't throw the egg, wield a single one.Tjr 17:24, February 22, 2010 (UTC)
  • cockatrice: petrify monsters that sting, such as Yenooghu (do people really do this?)
  • xorn: phase through walls to sneak up on the Named Demons (or the rouge quest nemesis)
  • black dragon: breath weapon
  • nymph/elemental/vortex/metallivore: get rid of punishment (do people really do this?)

Tjr 06:47, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

  • xorn: phase to steal from a shop, or gain nutrition from junk armor
  • giant: pick up boulders stuck against walls, especially on the astral plane
  • cockatrice: lay eggs, hatch'em, kill them for a stoning corpse to make statues. I actually did that in the astral plane temple in order to polymorph for gems, the rest of the level was filled with harmless creatures. Tjr 12:39, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

Found external links:

  • [[1]]
  • [[2]] pretty much answers this question for the early game
  • air elemental: travel form

This really takes off if you have both polycontrol and polymorph rings and/or intrinsic. Does monster magic resistance also apply to players in monster form? Tjr 13:57, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

  • black pudding: start a pudding farm. You have to let a monster hit you to divide, throwing stuff upwards will not work. Anger the single pudding before you split it. Alternatively, feed, split, and polymorph the tame ones to get powerful pets.
  • own race, combined with amulets of life saving, potions of full healing and local wraiths: polyself bug Tjr 12:23, 19 May 2009 (UTC)
  • gremlin: a pacifist atheist who lost his pet can turn into a gremlin to get a new one out of a fountain. -Tjr 17:53, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
  • vampire lord/master mind flayer/arch-lich: If you substitute polycontrol for magic resistance and then blunder onto a polytrap, these choices will not destroy your armor. Also, they are great early-game forms for speed ascenders.
  • anything: gain poison resistance, but don't suffer the strength lossTjr 17:24, February 22, 2010 (UTC)
  • master mind flayer, arch-lich: fighting form for speed runners. Mind flayers do more damage and can carry stuff, arch-liches get a full set of resistances
  • titan: air elementals can't engulf you
  • xorn: find the vibrating square with less walking -Tjr 11:59, July 30, 2010 (UTC)


So what's up with this tag? I always thought it designated those monsters you cannot polymorph into. Somebody removed that as misleading. So what is it good for? -Tjr 11:21, September 12, 2009 (UTC)

It does specify monsters you and other monsters can't polymorph into. What it doesn't specify is monsters that can't be polymorphed, as any pacifist who led their Archon onto a polytrap could tell you. That's the misleading part. I added a section listing all the NOPOLY monsters, specifying that they can't be polyed into, only out of. --Darth l33t 18:30, September 12, 2009 (UTC)

Playing with permanent polymorph

I don't think I've seen a recommendation for permanent polymorph (through an amulet of unchanging after polymorphing) for playing through the game. Playing as a handful of medium sized monsters will give the player useful attacks/intrinsics, good base AC, and still allow use of all types of armor and weapons. For example, polymorphing into a Skeleton will give stoning resistance, level drain resistance, magical breathing, as well as a slowing attack. Skeletons do not normally eat, but a player skeleton is still able to eat to gain intrinsics, and does not even need to worry about overeating due to the inherit magical breathing. Other useful polymorphs include aleax, vampire (lord)s, (master) mind flayers, (arch) liches, and gargoyles. All have a number of drawbacks, i.e. a vampire or mind flayer cannot at all attack a cockatrice, and most are slower than a regular player. They also have significantly fewer hit points than a regular character, but this can be remedied in two ways;

  • Potions of full healing can be prepared in advance to gain a large number of hit points
  • A level 30 character polymorphing into a grid bug will have the same HP as a level 1 character polymorphing into a grid bug. However, after polymorphing, the player will still gain HP and Power (although it seems to be at a reduced rate, especially for some monsters). Furthermore, level drain will reduce power but not maximum HP; thus it is possible for a polymorphed player without level drain resistance to repeatedly cast drain life to reduce their experience level and kill a weak monster to regain the level, resulting in constant HP gains.

Thus polymorphed players can potentially enjoy multiple attacks (Aleaxes have two weapon attacks and a kick), unobtainable intrinsics such as stoning resistance or flight, and low base AC that can be supplemented still with armor and divine protection. The cost of this is the amulet slot, a fixable reduction to HP, and if non-chaotic and polymorphed into a demon or undead, loss of prayer (however, a lawful undead will be able to use this to return to human form when near death, even with the amulet of unchanging). According to enlightenment, any polymorph was also giving me the aggravate monsters intrinsic, which was not there when a regular human. Certain forms will also have extreme weaknesses, especially to cockatrices and creatures with passive attacks (a master mind flayer attacking a spotted jelly will potentially take 6 passive attacks, each for (level+1)d6; easily hundreds of points of damage at higher levels).

Is this really the only negatives for polymorphing into a medium sized monster? I was not able to see any noticable decrease in weapon or armor effectiveness. The speed penalties are rather minor in most cases, and the skeleton even has the ability to slow enemies when attacking. Am I simply missing something because I was using wizard mode? There seem to be a ton of advantages for polymorphing into a skeleton and very few disadvantages, yet I haven't seen it ever mentioned here. I did see an RGRN (IIRC) post about playing through the game polymorphed as a black dragon; so it is certainly possible, and that form results in the loss of your hands. The forms I am thinking of seem to have almost no downside to them and tons of bonuses. Am I simply missing something? It even looks like a player could obtain or wish for an amulet of unchanging and ring of polymorph control, turn into a Skeleton, and take advantage of their inediate ability to complete a foodless ascension; doubly so if playing as a monk, as they receive a large number of useful intrinsics through level up. So is there a reason this strategy isn't more documented? -- Qazmlpok 22:55, February 20, 2010 (UTC)

My personal take on it is: Yes, polyself does offer great opportunities. Some of the great speed ascenders play as master mind flayer or arch-lich. Feel free to document it, perhaps start a new article. However, by the time I can pull off what you are describing, I usually am ready to ascend anyway. At that stage, my natural form deals much more damage and has few disadvantages. Also, speed really is very important, don't underestimate that. When I do polyself, it is usually to do some specific task, such as eat jewellry, acquire certain pets or cockatrice eggs, get poison resistance without the strength loss etc. For temporary uses, it isn't worth the resources to up my max HP. See also above for ideas how to use polyself. -Tjr 16:00, February 21, 2010 (UTC)
I was thinking of coming across an amulet of unchanging and method of controlled polymorph early on. Sinks can provide a source of polymorphing, a wizard has a chance of starting with a ring of polymorph control (which isn't necessary, as it's always possible to get lucky), and the amulet can sometimes be found early on, or simply wished for from a lucky fountain. It would certainly take a lot of luck to get all of that stuff, but it's probably not significantly less likely than finding a wand of wishing in a shop. So what I'm asking is; If a level 1 player were to manage to stumble upon all of this equipment and decided to play through the entire game polymorphed into a single form, would this be a viable strategy? And considering the resistances immediately gained, HP increase, bonus attacks, and possible stat increase if the target monster is strong result in a significant combat advantage, even for a mid-leveled character? Polymorphing into an Aleax doesn't seem to have any disadvantage besides the reduced speed (8 instead of 12), but unless I'm misunderstanding how weapon attack works, they should be able to do more than double the damage per attack. And for the speed, how about riding? The article states that it uses the speed of the steed, so a slow creature should end up moving as fast as a normal human with speed boots, correct? Of course, this results in another required item, and riding has drawbacks of it's own.
You mentioned that your regular form would do more damage. Does this mean that I am misunderstanding how weapon attacks work? If an Aleax has 1d6W 1d6W 1d4 Kick, doesn't that mean two weapon attacks and a kick, thus the same damage (assuming all hit) as two normal attacks when unpolymorphed plus a kick? If I'm wrong, I'd appreciate it if you could correct me. I don't believe there's an article that explicitly explains what the various attack types means, just how to interpret base die rolls. -- Qazmlpok 19:43, February 21, 2010 (UTC)
I specialize in wizards, so I don't know too much about weapons. But level 30 magic missile (with bounces from corridors...) is more powerful than anything else I've had in practise.
Polyself & weapon: People report neat tricks. A marilith gets two weapon attacks to simulate many arms. Combined with #twoweapon, that makes 4x artifact to-hit bonus and 2x artifact damage bonus.
If you have the chance, perma-polyself can be quite nifty.
IMHO, wishing for the polyself kit is a waste of wishes. DSM and a decent artifact look better. Altogether, I think the opportunity to play the early game in monster form is quite rare (without wishing). Even more rare than an actual wand of wishing, which is more of a meme than a viable strategy anyway. -Tjr 23:03, February 21, 2010 (UTC)
Well, I decided to try it out in explorer mode, using the wand of wishing to get everything needed to play as a skeleton. As expected, the early game is an absolute breeze. Inediate, 50 HP at level 1, low AC, and 18/** str. Speed certainly is a problem; it's very easy to get surrounded and have them whittle away at my HP. The normal offenders for this, i.e. ants, have been remarkably simple to take care of, for whatever reason. Then there's the biggest concern; my HP regeneration is dreadful. I don't know why, but I see to be regaining HP at about the rate a character would at level 1. It may be because I polymorphed at level 1, I'm not sure. But it's very bad to have 100 HP after gaining some levels and regenerate at speeds more suitable for 15. The other big problem is that exercise is impossible. A skeleton is a strong monster so strength isn't an issue, but con and dexterity remain at low levels. They could be fixed with potions of gain ability, but it'd require 10 to max out my attributes. It's certainly not as easy as I thought it would be, but that might be because I chose a skeleton. I get the feeling that even at level 1, with decent supplemental equipment, I could kill a dragon one on one. A vampire lord probably would've been a better choice, as they regenerate, move faster, and have lower AC. They don't have a weapon attack, so I'm not sure how that affects their damage output (they certainly can use a weapon), and I could just kick a cockatrice to avoid that problem.
I'd say that the best way to describe playing permanently polymorphed is an extreme version of the barbarian class. You get great bonuses to combat, but Nethack isn't just about combat so you end up suffering in the long run due to decreased flexibility. It's definitely not worth burning a single wish over, even though there are many advantages to polymorphing. However, as I suggested earlier, polyself is probably the best way to preserve other conducts. Being inediate takes away half the problem of foodless and bonus intrinsics help with the other half, polymorph can give a great boost in the early game that some players would try to get from a wish, the increase in AC and attacks would ease the lack of enchantment from playing illiterate or the lack of divine protection and artifact weapons from playing athiest, and early game pacifists/protection racket runners would benefit greatly from the high defenses and from being inediate. The big problem, of course, is finding all the necessary materials to pull this off, plus the problem that polymorphing at level 1 simply isn't safe. -- Qazmlpok 00:24, February 22, 2010 (UTC)
  • healing rate: polymorphed players always regenerate at the monster rate (1 per 20 turns).
  • hunger: the amulet of unchanging makes you hungry. It's no better than a ring of slow digestion.
  • gain ability: get Lucky and quaff fountains (in native form) instead. Those are available earlier. However, you do need to put your entire inventory in a sack to dodge curses, and you need to be prepared for several moccasins.
  • exercise: I believe it is very well possible. However, you lose the gains when you un-polymorph.
  • Vampire lord, master mind flayer, arch-lich are my favorites if I stumble on a trap. Unfortunately, silver/gray dragon would break my armor.
  • conducts: If you get the means early enough, why not go for it. However, in my experience, playing style is much more important than equipment for conducts. Atheist is already quite easy IMO. -Tjr 00:55, February 22, 2010 (UTC)

Another point: you cannot #twoweapon while polymorphed into most creature. -- 23:08, 6 December 2011 (UTC)


There are a number of bizarre polymorph corner cases I've been wondering about for SLASH'EM. I don't have wizard mode so I'm not able to try these myself. Personally, I'd say that SLASH'EM's polymorph is sufficiently different from vanilla's to warant a Polymorph (SLASH'EM) page, although I'm not about to try writing one with my fairly meager knowledge of SLASH'EM and no wizard mode.

So, I'm just going to shamelessly list off a bunch of things that have made me think, but never had a good enough chance to test in a real game.

  • A polymorphed minion still acts like a minion. What about a polymorphed spell being? It wouldn't destroy itself on attacking if it's not a sphere/light; would you still get the experience from kills from a spell-being Titan? Would it gain levels normally?
  • A polymorphed monster getting hit with a wand of death will revert it. This is not the case with you when polymorphed. Stoning, however, doesn't cause the victim to revert. I didn't see a special case for causing the timer to extend to the statue; does this mean that it's possible to polymorph a pet, stone it (preferably by conflict to avoid the abuse and murder problem), and then stone-to-flesh it to get a permanently "polymorphed" pet? Or polymorph a statue and revive that?
    • And is there anything other than stoning that will immediately kill the monster, without first causing it to revert?
  • Polymorphed items that get used up do not have any special effect when they would have reverted. What happens if you polymorph an item and upgrade it, either through gain level, alchemy, or cancellation/dilution (none of which causes reverts). Will the item simply return to it's original form, wasting the upgrade?
    • On the subject of alchemy, normally to "perm" an item you dip it into a potion of restore ability. Will dipping a polymorphed potion into a !oRA cause permanence or alchemy?
  • Being zapped with a wand of cancellation while polymorphed (if not also unchanging) will revert you and lower your hp/max hp. I'm not seeing anything to do the same to monsters, except weres in animal form. Does it really not revert them?
  • The caveman has a technique that temporarily "polymorphs" all nearby pets into the next growth, if available...
    • If the pet's hp is brought to 0 during this time, does it die or simply revert?
    • How does this "polymorph" interact with regular polymorph? E.g. If I take a housecat, polymorph it into a baby gray dragon, and use Primal Roar, it should turn into a gray dragon for a few turns... and then turn into a housecat? permanently into a baby gray dragon? into a baby gray dragon and then a housecat?
    • And what about the pet's HP? I recall having a warhose with maximum HP. It polymorphed, and when it reverted it had new HP, as if it was a newly created warhorse; which of course meant it lost a few levels and a lot of HP.
  • Player vampires have intrinsic drain resistance and magical breathing. Polymorph should lose drain resistance, as it's not actually intrinsic (usually; SLASH'EM actually does add a MR_DRAIN), it's just something inherent to being undead. Do they lose magical breathing as well?

Most of these are just curiosities and odd enough to have no impact on normal gameplay. If anyone that can actually get SLASH'EM to work on their computer is willing to take the time to answer some of these questions I'd appreciate it though. -- Qazmlpok 03:04, May 25, 2010 (UTC)

figher form advice

Arguably, arch-liches, vampires, mariliths, and aleaxes should be removed altogether. Opinions? --Tjr 00:39, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

Arch liches aren't very useful for combat for the same reason a pet isn't very useful. Mariliths are useful primarily for demon gating IMO. Aleaxes are useful for the extra attacks and resistances, and since they're humanoid mediums they can get excellent AC. I personally prefer skeletons over aleaxes for a slow combatant, though. Compared to an aleax or skeleton, vampires are faster, fly, level drain resistant, but can't fight cockatrices.
I'd say Mariliths are situationally useful (for easily getting a decent pet) and vampires make good fighting forms. Aleax is questionable, so you could drop it.
Also, self-polymorph really messes up the damage calculations. From what I've seen, if your first attack is a claw, touch (and not lich), or weapon attack you do normal weapon damage with no bonus. This is at lot easier to see in SLASH'EM thanks to showdmg, plus the insane weapon bonus of the crystal golem, which doesn't seem to make attacks any stronger. Trying it out in vanilla, jabberwocks don't get any weapon attacks at all (their first is a bite), so if you have a good weapon they're likely not the best damage dealers. -- Qazmlpok 02:02, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

If you're going for demon gating, a pit fiend is more useful. Their slow speed doesn't really matter in pet-hostile combat. As for the rest, I'm mainly interested in speed runners, which don't have ascension-kit quality amror and weapons anyway. But a mind flayer is listed without any weapon attack, and I do positively remember attacking as a mmf with my quarterstaff / Magicbane. --Tjr 03:40, 5 June 2011 (UTC)

No, they have a weapon attack. The first attack is Weapon 1d8. Also, regarding a pit fiend; while a pet pit fiend may be more useful, it's much easier to get a pet marilith and mariliths aren't that bad. I've tried getting a pet pit fiend in SLASH'EM doppelganger games; the poor speed and lack of torso armor tends to result in me getting killed before I can successfully get a pet. A marilith is much faster and has 6 attacks, making it much easier to get a pet. -- Qazmlpok 12:28, 5 June 2011 (UTC)


Monsters can always wear rings and amulets

what, even ones without heads or hands? -- 11:45, 4 August 2011 (UTC)

Sort of. Unlike armor/weapons, worn amulets and rings are not lost when you polymorph into a form that has no hands/neck. You won't be able to put on or take off jewelry without proper hands, but anything already worn stays worn. The same works for polymorphed monsters; a monster wearing an amulet of life saving will not drop or take off the amulet upon polymorph into a new form (however undead can't use the amulet, allowing you to recover it). -- Qazmlpok 11:50, 4 August 2011 (UTC)
A polymorphed player without hands cannot put on or remove rings, but rings from before the morph will continue being worn. Non-player monsters cannot wear rings at all. --Tjr 19:00, 4 August 2011 (UTC)

SLASH'EM polypiling question

Are all polymorphed object will revert? I have =oLev from polypiling around 1500-2000 turns in SLASH'EM, and it's still =oLev.


It should, though I'm not sure how the timer code works so I can't rule out the possibility that the timer might be thrown off by something. Are you certain it was a polymorphed ring? If you identified after polymorphing it, it may never have actually been polymorphed (IIRC that can happen). If you want to be absolutely sure it doesn't revert, just dip it in a potion of restore abilities: they're mostly useless anyway. -Ion frigate 06:33, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
Playing around some more in wizard mode where you can see the "hazy" status, it seems that items that polymorph back into what they originally were through repeated polymorph are no longer "hazy." So it seems likely that you had an un-ID'd ring of levitation in your pile of polyfodder. -Ion frigate 09:12, 26 December 2011 (UTC)

Polymorphed items status

Does BUC and enchantment of polymorphed objects stay the same? I think it should be included here and in Polypiling article. --Stevko (talk) 21:00, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

Both stay the same. The polypiling article implies this through mention of certain strategies, e.g. enchanting elven armor to get +7 speed boots and mass-blessing the polyfodder. This also doesn't belong on this page, as it deals solely with player/monster polymorph. -- Qazmlpok (talk) 21:07, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

oil lamps never change back in SLASH'EM

If you polymorph any tool into an oil lamp in SLASH'EM, it won't revert back. It won't even show the "hazy" status in wizmode.