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The primary point was that a wizard shouldn't be able to turn into a creature he has never seen before (and possibly doesn't even know exists).
A valid limit on polymorph should be that you can only turn into a creature that you have seen and studdied granting you the neccessary knowledge for the transformation.
"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)
Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"
"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius
The problem with polymorph giving everything, more than any other spell would.
Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairnessReflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character)
How many spells does it functionally duplicate
How many spells does it functionally duplicate SpellsLight - Fire BeetleSpider Climb - Giant Spider/Carnivorous MonkeyFly - Pegasus, Pteranadon, GriffonWater Breathing - Fish/LizardInvisibility - Any extremely small creature, such as bugs (note that polymorph retains HP, preventing the wizard from getting squished.) Transforming into a common creature like a stray dog may also work.Feather Fall - Pick a lightweight creature, like a flying squirrel. Cats are not listed as a monster, but as a familiar they have reduced falling damage.Hold Person/Monster - When on land, target an opponent and polymorph them into a fish.Not spells:Acid Spray - AnkhegScent - BloodhoundDarkvision - Several creatures. Griffon, for example.Petrify - BasiliskTenser's Transformation - Allosaurus. With a couple of armor buffs, you'll even be decent in combat.Enhanced speed - HorseSave or Die - Transform the target into a creature that can't adequately defend itself on land. A sea sponge is excellent, but other players may have more fun chasing a fish, or beating on a small whale like a pinata.Skill bonuses - The griffon gets +5 to detect hidden creatures. The snake (in the Find Familiar feat) gets +5 initiative.Pass through walls/doors - Cockroach, if you can justify finding a single crack in the wall or door you want to pass throughStretching itKnock - Bashing the door down is just as noisy as a Knock spell and usually just as effective. An acid spray as an ankheg is quieter, but less likely to succeed.Web - Giant Spider, limited to single targetCreate Rope - Giant spider, using webs. Very limited in application.Paralysis - Carrion Crawler, though it requires a touch attack first, and the save DC is horrible.Disguise Self - What better disguise than the real thing? Limited to animals, making it much less useful.Learn to speak Goblin - In the bestiary, the RAW makes no distinction between abilities based on form and abilites based on equipment or training. Strictly speaking, one of the abilities of the worg form is the ability to speak Common and Goblin, providing a cheezy way to learn a language for one minute. I wouldn't allow it, but that would be a decision based on fluff and not RAW.Other stuffMany natural animals have valuable secretions and strange abilities. If you know your zoology, you can get much more from this spell. For example, as cobra, you could milk your own poison. (No cobras in the bestiary, but a Giant Snake or Giant Spider also works.)