Sibriex Polymorph Any Object ability

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Bohandas's picture
Sibriex Polymorph Any Object ability

There's a contradictory statement in Fiendish Codex 1 that I haven't been able to find any errata on

On page 53 of "Fiendish Codex 1" in the description of the Sibriex demon's "Animate Chains" ability, the book states:

"Given time, a sibriex can create new chains using its polymorph any object or major creation spell-like abilities"

However, the Sibriex' list of spell-like abilities does not include Polymorph Any Object.

Does anybody know whether it is the animate chains description or the list of SLAs that is incorrect? And, if it is the SLA list that is wrong, how many uses the ability has per day?

Edited by: Bohandas on 09/18/2019 - 22:53
Fixxxer's picture

I don't have a copy of Fiendish Codex 1 in front of me to check more accurately, but Wiki seems to suggest that there are sub-types of Sibriex,, specifically the Chain Master, Flesh Crafter and Spawn. Is it possible that the Chain Master has this ability while the others do not, but the general stat block made the mistake of writing in a manner that assumes all Sibriex have it?

I found a stat block for Sibriex for 5th Edition. Polymorth any object is a 1/day ability in that edition.

Also, I found a post written in 2006 after the release of Fiendish Codex I that shines a spotlight on a great number of errors in the book, which might help suggest that the exclusion ofpolymorph any object from the stat block was just an error on the author's part.

deadDMwalking's picture

I think that providing Polymorph any object 1/day might be a reasonable compromise, but the monster doesn't need it in order to function.

I imagine that originally the author intended to give major creation so it could regenerate chains as needed, but the creation of metal items has a limited duration. Using major creation to make something that lasts for a limited time and then using polymorph any object might have been suggested as a way to make an object permanent; but that doesn't work RAW. The longest an item lasts is 2 hr/level (minor creation is 1 hr/lvl). In any case, it seems plausible that the major creation ability was upgraded to 'at will' to avoid the issue.

Polymorph any Object is a potent offensive spell, and the description does not refer to it anywhere else, so I imagine that it was really only intended to solve a problem and was abandoned after it was recognized as unnecessary. But a CR 15 creature with such low damage output could use something like that...

Ultimately, I don't think there's a clearly wrong answer. The ability descriptions are not internally consistent so it is wrong, and choosing whether to make it consistent one way or the other is a matter of preference.

My preference would be to drop polymorph. It's a can of worms that's better left unopened.

Talanall's picture

I agree with deadDMwalking. Polymorph any object is an extremely powerful spell. Probably we're looking at a case where it was included in a draft version of the sibriex, then got the chop because they thought that it'd be a little too much for CR 15.

I differ with him about the sibriex having a problematically low damage output. It has a basket of really nasty spell-like abilities, most of which synergize admirably with the obyrith subtype's Form of Madness. That represents a direct improvement in combat effectiveness for its spell-like abilities. But because it has unlimited uses of charm monster, this creature is never going to be encountered by itself. Rather, it must be fought through a swarm of minions.

On that note, it's worth mentioning that because the sibriex only has charm abilities, it's not going to be able to coerce its minions into doing its bidding. That isn't really a problem because the sibriex has high ranks in Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidate, and the descriptive text on Form of Madness gives scope for the DM to interpret its effect as making the victim feel a lowered sense of self-worth. Mostly, I point this out because it suggests a more sophisticated kind of monster than something that just takes over people's minds and uses them as cannon fodder. This monster needs time and effort to obtain fresh minions, because it gets them by a combination of charm and Charisma drain, followed by a longer campaign of bullying and cajolery to break their will.

From a DM's perspective, that's important because it really drives home the idea that this monster is all about advance preparation.

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