All Things DnD's Story Dungeon

D&D Story: Why Polymorph Is A Perfectly Balanced Spell With No Exploits

December 20, 2020 All Things DnD
All Things DnD's Story Dungeon
D&D Story: Why Polymorph Is A Perfectly Balanced Spell With No Exploits
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All Things DnD's Story Dungeon
D&D Story: Why Polymorph Is A Perfectly Balanced Spell With No Exploits
Dec 20, 2020
All Things DnD

Why is it that barbarians, historically the characters with the lowest intelligence come up with some of the best plans? And then screw it all up.

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Show Notes Transcript

Why is it that barbarians, historically the characters with the lowest intelligence come up with some of the best plans? And then screw it all up.

The first 1000 people to click the link will get a free trial of Skillshare Premium Membership:
https://skl.sh/allthingsdnd11201


Support the show (https://paypal.me/MurtazaBohari)

I'm playing in a campaign with a dragonborn fighter, a kalashtar wizard, a kobold sorcerer, a goliath barbarian, and a tiefling paladin. My character is a human wizard named Delkesh. 
 
Delkesh is a former adventurer who retired from adventuring to take his rightful place as the King of Damara, restoring the Dragonsbane line to the former glory it knew under his grandfather Gareth Dragonsbane. After 30 years of being King, Delkesh got sick and his daughter took over as Queen. Delkesh eventually made a full recovery from his illness, but his daughter was doing such a great job that Delkesh made arrangements with the Royal Court to fake his own death so that his daughter could continue to rule. After faking his death, Delkesh left Damara and began travelling again. This reignited the adventuring urge within him and he picked up his wizarding ways once again. Soon afterwards he met the party and became their mentor/leader of sorts.
In real life I had played Delkesh in a previous campaign which ended with the group basically "winning" and retiring. The "king" things were part of his backstory but had never been explored. 
 
When my real-life friend decided he wanted to take up DM'ing again after a 5-year hiatus, I brought in Delkesh to give him an established character to lean on for story things since many of our players were going to be relatively new to D&D. I was just as much a mentor for the players out-of-game as my character was in-game.
 
At this point in our adventures, our party is tracking down a group of kobolds who are following a dragon, which is actually a demon disguised as a dragon. These kobolds have been doing a lot of random rampaging and murdering, including trying to completely destroy a town we recently passed through and helped to save. We've finally figured out where they're coming from and intend to put an end to their madness once and for all. We find the cave entrance that leads to their lair deep within this particular system of caves. It's pretty easy to spot, as it's the only cave entrance with two kobolds standing outside guarding it. Our party is perched on a precipice overlooking the cave entrance trying to decide how we're going to approach this.
 
Our barbarian who is also a chef comes up with the brilliant plan to prepare a delicious meal of cooked deer for the kobolds laced with enough poison to kill an entire goliath village. We'd all tried to convince him that this would never work, as even the kobold member of our party had stated that kobolds would be very suspicious of this and won't eat it if they find it just sitting out in the woods somewhere... But the barbarian insists that this would work, so we went along with it thinking the absolute worst thing that could happen is we end up killing a bunch of kobolds the "hard" way. As we discuss how we're going to transport the fully-cooked and spiced meal to these kobolds, our barbarian says, "I can just toss them into the cave and make a sound like a deer calling out." 
After our party finishes laughing, which took a while, we ask him the obvious questions: "Do you really think they're going to buy that deer are delivering themselves to be eaten? And if so, how are they getting cooked as they arrive? Or are we saying that other deer are delivering their dead and cooked friends like a deer delivery service?"
 
At this point somebody in the group called this "DeerDash" and we had to take a five minute break to regain our collective composure.
 
We eventually convince the barbarian that our kobold party member will have to convince the other kobolds that these cooked meats are on the level somehow in order for any of this to work. We begin to discuss how to get our kobold friend down the hill without her dropping the carcass that is literally three times her weight and so on. Finally, out of frustration over our collective indecision as to what to do from here, the barbarian picks up our kobold party member and tosses her, along with one of the deer carcasses, off the precipice towards the cave entrance. As she falls the 30-ish feet down from the precipice, she casts Feather Fall on herself. To which the barbarian responds by throwing feathers over the precipice at her. Needless to say, the kobold guards are really friggin' confused by all of this. Our kobold party member starts to explain that she managed to infiltrate a human camp and steal their food, and for a moment the kobolds don't seem to buy it, but as they smell delicious, perfectly seasoned deer, they begin to get less suspicious.
 
The guards know that one deer isn’t enough to feed all of the kobolds so they ask if there's more food and are immediately greeted by a second carcass being flung directly at them, nearly knocking them both over as it flies past them into the cave.
 
Now they're on their guard. They start questioning where the second carcass came from, who threw it, what's going on... they're about to raise the alarm and attack. So Delkesh, being the quick thinker he is, realizes that if we're going to save this situation without literally dozens of kobolds rushing out to attack us, there has to be a reasonable explanation for how this carcass just got yeeted off the hill. 
 
I quickly tell the DM my plan and wait for him to explain what happened next.
 
After a moment of frantic conversation between our kobold friend and the kobold guards, the DM says "As the kobold guards look up to see where the carcass came from, they see standing at the top of the hill a loincloth-wearing kobold with massive muscles." I shout out, "YAAAAAS! HUMAN VILLAGE COOK GOOD! WE STEAL FOOD!" and jump down from the ledge, eating the fall damage like a boss.
 
The party quickly realizes that Delkesh has cast Polymorph on himself to become a super-hulked-out kobold and starts laughing again. This illusion not only satisfies the kobolds, who no longer question where the meats came from, but it also manages to infuriate the DM who once again has had his plans foiled by Delkesh's illusions and disguises. It also got Delkesh some flirty looks from some of the female kobolds. Delkesh's new kobold form quickly came to be known as "Swolebold" among the party members, and was quickly added to the long list of crazy things Delkesh has done that have somehow worked flawlessly.
 
In the end, the plan worked much better than it should have despite the barbarian trying to sabotage his own plan multiple times, and we managed to kill all but one of the kobolds with the poisoned meats. The one we saved eventually decided to help us because he didn't like the new leader of their group anyway. It turns out we could have potentially convinced the entire group of kobolds to rebel against their leader and not had to fight any of them, but our barbarian hated kobolds so much he wanted to commit genocide. Or I guess koboldicide, in this case.
And that's why Polymorph is a perfectly-balanced spell with no exploits.