Wand of polymorph

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Version 0.30: This article may not be up to date for the latest stable release of Crawl.
Type Wand
Name Wand of polymorph
Icon Wand of polymorph.png
A magical device which causes a creature to be transmogrified into another form. It is especially effective against shape-changing creatures.

A wand of polymorph will attempt to permanently transform one monster into another, or temporarily transform the player.

Useful Info

Unless resisted by willpower, a targeted monster will evaporate and instantly reform as another random creature; this will drop all of their equipment (though their new form will pick it back up, if able), heal them significantly, and clear any ongoing status effects. Their new form will be one out of three monsters of the same holiness. This is displayed when targeting the wand, and is designated for every individual monster. Polymorph has no effect on the undead or nonliving, but demons are still affected.

Normal casters lose their spells when polymorphed, and polymorph will never turn a monster into an "actual" spellcaster. The new form will gain "innate" abilities of their new form, like a dragon's breath, but not spells with the wizard (like orc wizards) or divine (like spriggan berserkers) spell slot flags. Note that most demons' spells are considered innate abilities, so the new form will have its respective spells. Uniques retain their name, but not their spells.

Followers of Zin incur piety loss and penance if they zap this wand.


  • When targeting a player, it temporarily transforms them into a bad form. While some of these have useful traits, you'll most likely become something more or less helpless in combat.
  • When targeting an ugly thing or very ugly thing, it causes them to change colour with 100% success.
  • When targeting a shapeshifter or glowing shapeshifter, it causes them to change form with 100% success.


Use with caution. While this wand can turn dangerous monsters into creatures that are easier to deal with, it can also turn them into even worse monsters.

Good targets

  • S Electric eel.png Electric eel: They'll turn into a less dangerous flying or water-capable creature.
  • y Hornet.png Hornet: Despite how dangerous they are, hornets have fairly low HD and willpower.
  • c Centaur (monster).png Centaur: Low HD and Willpower means they will most of the time be turned into a creature incapable of using their notoriously lethal bows.
  • g Boggart.png Boggart (and other low-HD summoners): Although fragile, summoners can bring lethal reinforcements into play. Fortunately, they have low enough HD that the polymorph results are usually pretty pathetic.
  • o Orc wizard.png Orc wizard and o Orc priest.png Orc priest: Usually you'll have better ways to deal with these guys, but polymorph tends to make them into something less dangerous.
  • S Anaconda.png Anaconda: They have moderately high HD, but low willpower, and whatever they polymorph into is at least likely to be something you can more easily escape from.
  • x Unseen horror.png Unseen horror: If you can get them in a corridor to line up the shot, this is a good way to make them visible. Despite their name and glyph, they are natural monsters and have only modest HD, making polymorph pretty safe.
  • y Moth of wrath.png Moth of wrath and k Death drake.png Death drake: They have very low will and HD for enemies often found around Zot; berserked monsters and miasma are almost certainly more dangerous than the end result.
  • Y Ice beast.png Ice beast (or other elementally-attuned monsters): If you're fighting something that resists all of your spells, turn it into something you can actually fight.
  • @ Sigmund.png Sigmund (and other well-armed uniques): If he turns into anything but a humanoid, his branded scythe, spells, and wands will be useless.

Bad targets

  • D Hydra.png Hydra: High HD, meaning there's a reasonable chance you could get a dragon. Most characters can run away from hydras (and should if they lack a means to kill them).
  • Y Death yak.png Death yak: Also high HD, and has unusually high willpower as well.
  • y Ghost moth.png Ghost moth: High will means that it's better to just kill them.
  • w Gastronok.png Gastronok: He has HD 20. This means he can become a titan. You don't want to fight Gastronok the titan.

Self targeting

Remember that you are also a valid target for polymorph, and you ignore your own willpower. This is usually dubious: there's 5 bad forms, so at least one can actively harm you.

But in the early game, you may have few other options. Most forms can help an early game character out:

  • Tree Form - High AC, relatively strong Unarmed Combat, poison resistance. Can't move or teleport, melds armour.
  • Fungus Form - Confusing Unarmed attacks, poison resistance. Can't move when monsters are visible, melds all equipment.
  • Bat Form & Pig Form - Fast movement. Melds all equipment, melds rings, and prevents spellcasting.
  • Wisp Form - Many resistances. Melds all equipment.

E.g. when next to a dangerous melee enemy on D:4 or so, 4 of the 5 forms can help you (Tree & Fungus increase combat ability, Bat & Pig let you run).


  • Prior to 0.26, wands of polymorph could change monsters into any eligible monster of the same holiness. Though it heavily favored forms of similar HD, monsters with few options could get weird results, like Grinder turning into a hellephant. Therefore, there was no indication of what a monster might turn into.
  • Prior to 0.21, wands of polymorph could have at most 24 charges.
  • Prior to 0.20, uniques would retain their spells post-polymorph if they became an intelligent form that could speak.
  • Wands of polymorph was added in 0.12, replacing the very similar wand of polymorph other. The latter would inflict permanent bad mutations on you instead of temporary bad forms. You also could not target yourself.

See Also

Acid / Light / QuicksilverIceblast / RootsCharming / Paralysis