Can Polymorph + Awaken give any creature intelligence and language?

If you cast Polymorph on a non beast creature then cast Awaken on their beast form how much carries over after polymorph ends?

Polymorph does not give any explicit information on what happens to your statistics when the polymorph ends:

The transformation lasts for the duration, or [drops to 0 hp]. […] The target’s game statistics, including mental ability scores, are replaced by the statistics of the chosen beast. (Basic Rules, pg. 266)

So this leaves ambiguity when game statistics are altered during polymorph,

The charm effect of Awaken seems pretty clear from the logic shown here and reinforced by the specific wording referring to the target as a beast or plant during effects and a creature afterwards:

The awakened beast or plant is charmed by you [longer than polymorph.] When the charmed condition ends, the awakened creature chooses […] (Basic Rules, pg. 216)

The other two effects of awakening (other than making a plant mobile) are less clear-cut:

The target gains an Intelligence of 10. The target also gains the ability to speak one language you know. (Basic Rules, pg. 216)

I would guess the modification to intelligence would apply to the beast’s stats and therefore end with polymorph.

Language has been classified as being independent of creature statistics and act more as the character’s experience. I’d argue the experience of a stranger turning you into a mouse, then gifting you the ability – as a mouse – to speak a language you have never used before would be an experience you couldn’t lose I’m not sure if the language and intelligence granted from awakening should remain linked.

These are two examples I can see this having significant impact on my campaign:

  1. Meet an NPC I don’t share a language with, Polymorph them then Awaken their beast form so they can speak my language. Can I now communicate with them when they turn back? If their original intelligence was higher then 10 is it reduced to 10?
  2. Say I use find familiar to get an owl (classified as a fey) familiar, then polymorph it to an owl (classified as a beast) so my druid friend can cast Awaken on it, does my familiar keep an intelligence of 10 and/or the ability to speak?

So after reverting from an awoken polymorphed state would you keep the 10 intelligence and a new language, only the new language, or not keep either?

In D&D 3.5, how does Awaken Undead interact with Bloodhulks?

D&D 3.5’s Monster Manual 4 introduced "Bloodhulks", three new kinds of mindless undead which are not templated from a base creature.

The Spell Compendium has the most updated version of the spell "Awaken Undead", which adds intelligence to an undead creature, "subject to the limitation that an undead cannot be more intelligent than is typical of a living creature of the same kind." It also gives it a bunch of feats and abilities, based on what it had when alive.

How does this spell interact with mindless undead that don’t have a base creature? I’m looking specifically at bloodhulks, but there are other mindless undead that this could apply to as well.

Can I use True Polymorph and Awaken to upgrade my familiar?

The idea of using Polymorph to get around the limitations on Awaken has been covered before. It has a bunch of issues, having to do with the fact that eventually you’ll want to unpolymorph the thing back into its original state and (preferably) keep the int boost and the free language, and there’s a lot of reasons that might not work the way you want. Find Familiar, though, gives you a critter that basically is a low-CR beast, other than the fact that it’s not actually a beast, so there’s much less incentive to change it back when you’re done. You can’t normally abuse True Polymorph to permanently upgrade your familiar in a meaningful way, because you can’t increase CR with that spell… but changing it into its actually-a-beast version, or into some other beast of the same CR should still be doable, and that seems like it would make the creature a valid target for Awaken. At that point, it seems like you could just… leave it as it is. It would be a beast instead of a celestial/fey/fiend, but that seems like a small enough price to pay for cranking the int up to 10 and giving it the ability to speak a language. There are a number of other useful features of familiars, but those all seem to be facts about what the caster can do, rather than things that would be disrupted by True Polymorph.

Basically, this looks like cheese. It’s a way to permanently upgrade your familiar with spells, and it seems pretty clear that the authors have made efforts to try to prevent exactly that. At the same time, as far as I can see, it’s viable-within-the-rules cheese. Is there anything I’m missing here?

The argument "it’s obviously cheesy so as DM I wouldn’t allow it" is not a acceptable answer to this question unless you can also find some in-the-rules way to challenge its validity. If doing this would cause you to lose out on any of the standard features of a familiar, that would be useful additional information.

Can I repeatedly Awaken something in order to give it a variety of languages?

So, the Awaken spell must be cast on a beast or plant with int of 3 or less. For beasts, it has the following permanent effect: "The target gains an Intelligence of 10. The target also gains the ability to speak one language you know." It has a casting time of 8 hours.

The Feeblemind spell will, among other things, reduce the target’s int to 1 for a duration measured in months. The 4d6 psychic damage is nontrivial, but still manageable. Feeblemind does not appear to do anything to known languages, and can be cured with Greater Restoration, Heal, or Wish.

Would it be possible, then, to repeatedly Feeblemind and Awaken something so as to give it an arbitrary number of spoken languages? (Assuming you could get the assistance of reasonably high-level druids who knew the various languages in question.)

Does the Awaken spell give or create a soul?

The Awaken spell adds sentience – granting ‘intelligence’ of 10 to either one beast or plant target (one that starts with an int score of 3 or less). It also adds mobility, ambulatory function, perceptions – and even capacity to grasp an entire bonus language. It can even talk. Yet inquiring minds want to know:

Under what conditions does Awaken grant &/or create a soul – if any?

Points of Interest & Confusion

  • This Awakened target (‘huge or smaller’) may be a beast. Beasts are both ‘living’ and ‘creatures’ – but does that mean they start with a soul?

  • Not everyone gets a life force! Animated creatures such as zombies, flesh golems and spell simulacra are specifically & expressly devoid of soul.

  • Are plants even creatures to begin with? Note: a single Mirage Arcane ‘illusion’ spell makes up to one mile square of plant-life.

Why this is of interest: Night hags, Liches, various raise-style spells, magic items and many other game-rulings pivot around this soul-spirit stuff. Even role-playing wise: should a dog require Awaken in order to get to heaven, many inquiring minds (& their characters) would like to know.

How to cast 5e / 5th lvl ‘Awaken’ (spell) on ‘highly intelligent’ plants and beasts?

The 5e Awaken spell allows a gain of intelligence and ability:

After spending the casting time tracing magical pathways within a precious gemstone, you touch a Huge or smaller beast or plant. The target must have either no Intelligence score or an Intelligence of 3 or less. The target gains an Intelligence of 10.

How does one get this Awaken spell to work on plants or animals with more than three (3) intelligence score?

The baboon and some giant creatures have four (or more) intelligence. Even the Shambling Mound would be an amazing pet (for a month) were it not so deeply clever. Yet, if high school taught us anything, baseline and expected intelligence is NOT guaranteed. Perhaps there is a work-around?

  • Give the target a Feeblemind spell first.

  • Enroll them in high-contact American sports.

  • Polymorph them into a more-stupid beast, then they change back smarter! Though StackExchange gave this one a complicated answer.

  • Admit that the author is probably making a bigger deal out of this than necessary and just House Rule the damn thing.

Repeat of Question for Exchangers of Stack: how does one imbue bonus intelligence (and myriad abilities) to plants &/or beasts with a wee bit ‘too much’ intelligence?

Can the 5e Staff of the Woodlands (magic item) be subject to an Awaken (spell)?

A Staff of the Woodlands can take the form of a healthy tree (60 feet tall / 5-foot-diameter trunk / branches spread 20-foot radius).

The Awaken spell can give sentience to a tree, turning this item into an Awakened Tree. This would make a really nifty, helpful and interesting magic item for players – and also turn it into an NPC, controlled by the DM in about 30 days time. Win-win.

Would this work – or does the pre-existing magic in the tree-version of the staff repel this spell?

Awaken on creatures that are not animals or trees

The party druid wants to cast Awaken on a magical beast friend it made. Because magical beasts are not animals or trees, I said no, but it got me thinking… is it possible?

Suppose the druid made a bunch of potions of Aspect of the Wolf (CL 14). That spell specifically changes the target’s type to Animal. Each potion would last 140 minutes per use. Awaken is a 24 hour casting. So, if the hippogriff must be an animal throughout the casting, that is at least 11 potions.


  1. By RAW, would this work?
  2. Would the hippogriff need to be an animal throughout the entire casting? Or only for the last 140 minutes when the spell is finally cast?
  3. Does this seem overly complex? Might there be an easier way? A hippogriff is very close to an animal. It even has animal intelligence. But, I want to be careful about allowing this. The last thing I want is for them to hunt down a tarrasque, feed it some potions, spend 250 XP, and have an intelligent colossal killing machine as a friend.

Rules-as-written, does an attempt to tie up a creature affected by Sleep awaken it?

When playing PFS, I used Sleep on a group of thugs and disabled them all. When I declared tying up one of them, our GM told us that the thug awoke and was now trying to fight. This left us with no choice other than finishing the thugs, which was rather unpleasant: I don’t like to make my characters murderous cretins, and I try to spare any non-mindless enemies that I can and report them to local authorities.

The situation happened rather long ago.

However, just now, rereading the description of Sleep, I remembered this situation and looked at the list of things that can awaken an affected target:

  • Wounding: I understand that as dealing HP damage
  • Slapping: “Awakening a creature is a standard action (an application of the aid another action)”

It is also explicitly noted that “normal noise” is not enough.

  1. Is it RAW to rule that tying someone up awakens them?
  2. Is it reasonable (beneficial for the game) to make such a ruling?

I want to remind everyone that the first question is about rules as written (RAW) and needs to be based on rules alone, no interpretations allowed. The second question is subjective and requires the answerer to state their experience regarding the Sleep spell vs. taking prisoners, or regarding taking prisoners in general.