Spells of the transmutation school of magic change the physical properties of some creature, thing, or condition. These include bull's strength, eagle's splendor and the various polymorph spells. A wizard who specializes in transmutation is known as a transmuter.
An alteration spell physically changes the subject’s form. Enlarge person is an alteration spell.
An animation spell grants a temporary “life” to the affected object. Animate objects is an animation spell.
An imbuement spell grants the subject a new ability or improves its existing abilities. Totemic power is an imbuement spell.
- Imbuement: An imbuement spell infuses an object or creature with magic, granting it new abilities.. Fly is an imbuement spell.
- Polymorph: A polymorph spell changes a creature's body into a new form. Enlarge person is a polymorph spell.
- Temporal: A temporal spell manipulates time itself, speeding or slowing its passage for the subject. Haste is a temporal spell.
No school has a wider variety of spells than the school of alteration, making the transmuter the most versatile of all the specialists. The available spells can be assigned to six general groups: 1. Defensive Spells. This group of protective spells offers defensive capabilities rivaling those of the abjuration school. This group includes spells that limit an opponent's ability to attack, such as fog cloud, solid fog, slow, and darkness, 15' radius, and also spells that provide direct protection to the caster and his party, such as stoneskin and Leomund's tiny hut. 2. Offensive Spells. This group includes spells such as strength and haste which increase the party's chance to inflict damage, and spells such as Melf's minute meteors and death fog which inflict damage directly. 3. Mobility Spells. This group includes fly, blink, passwall, and teleport and other spells that improve the caster's ability to move from place to place. 4. Security Spells. This group enables the caster to protect objects and places, and includes spells such as wizard lock, guards and wards, and Leomund's secret chest. 5. Talent Spells. This group gives the caster (or a person of the caster's choice) a temporary talent, usually one that duplicates a special ability of another creature or race. Such spells include infravision, water breathing, and tongues. 6. Special Spells. This group encompasses a wide range of spells that don't fit into into any of the previous categories, such as magic mouth, mending, message, and fool's gold. Because of the variety of spells available, a transmuter can assume a number of different roles in an adventuring party. For instance, a transmuter who knows a number of offensive spells can battle effectively alongside a party's warriors. A transmuter who knows a few mobility spells in addition to some offensive spells makes an especially impressive combatant (imagine a flying transmuter soaring to the top of a tree, then casting Melf's minute meteors at an unsuspecting enemy). With a supply of defensive spells, a transmuter can assume many of the functions of an abjurer. A transmuter with spider climb, deeppockets, and knock is a good substitution for a thief; add polymorph self and passwall, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a better spy. The transmuter always runs the risk of being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of available spells and making haphazard or ill-informed decisions about which spells he learns and memorizes. Therefore, he must take care to balance his spell choices with the needs of his party. Most Desirable Spells: Low-Level: Of the 1st-level spells, burning hands is a nice choice for an offensive spell since it has a longer range than shocking grasp and does more damage at higher levels. Chromatic orb is a better choice yet. With its reversible option, enlarge gives the transmuter a wealth of options and is particularly useful in combat since it affects damage rolls. Fog cloud and pyrotechnics both have two different forms, essentially giving the transmuter two spells for the price of one. Fly expands the transmuter's strategic options and is perhaps the best allaround low-level alteration spell. Both slow and haste can influence melee combat dramatically, since a number of subjects are affected at the same time. Medium-Level: Polymorph self and polymorph other can disguise friendly characters, intimidate enemies, and in the case of polymorph other, greatly enhance the party's chance of combat success, since the subject's Armor Class and attack routines can be improved by the spell. Death fog and disintegrate are powerful offensive spells, and teleport is a first-rate mobility spell. Of the medium-level spells, there are none better than Tenser's transformation, assuming the transmuter has a dagger or staff at hand to take advantage of his increased attack effectiveness, and Mordenkainen's lucubration, which gives the transmuter access to any 1st level through 5th-level spell used in the previous 24 hours. High-Level: Incendiary cloud is a terrific offensive spell, and shape change and time stop are both helpful in a variety of situations. The most useful high- level spell is probably polymorph any object, since it can duplicate the effects of many other spells, including polymorph other, transmute rock to mud, and stone to flesh. Ethos: Wizards drawn to the specialty of alteration are typically curious, sharp-minded, and deeply analytical. Fascinated by putting things together and taking them apart again, they are natural tinkerers, more interested in objects than in people. Transmuters generally aren't prone to profound philosophic insights, as their minds are more attuned to how things work than how a society functions. To a transmuter, a person is essentially a complicated, difficult-to-understand machine. They are obsessive collectors, excellent scholars, and clear thinkers. According to a transmuter, the only constant in the universe is change; concepts of good and evil are relative, dependent on existing conditions, and seldom permanent. Forces of good and evil are constantly at work on neutrality, but since good causes less disruption than evil, good is preferable. Consequently, many transmuters are of good alignments. Eager to explore the world around them, transmuters are willing members of adventuring parties. They are loyal followers but reluctant leaders, since they have trouble making decisions based on instinct alone. Although loyal to their friends, they seldom establish close relationships. Married transmuters are few. Transmuters are most comfortable in large cities where they have access to a variety of supplies, consultants, and other resources for their studies. Most societies welcome transmuters, generally considering them to be emotionally distant but harmless eccentrics. Transmuters commonly earn their livings as teachers, advisors, inventors, and manufacturers of medicines, potions, and other preparations
- Polymorph: Spells of this type change the subjects physical form into that of another.
Characters cannot continue to cast spells in their new form unless it is capable of speech and fine gestures (for example, a giant would be able to cast spells, but a dire lion would not). Even if the new form can cast spells, the caster suffers a -2 penalty to caster level, due to his unfamiliarity with his new body and the difficulty of controlling magical energies in an unfamiliar body. (Reduce the penalty to -1 if the form is of the same type, and increase it to -4 if the form is drastically different, such as an elf who transforms into a dragon).
Changing your body and brain is an inherently risky business. Every [interval]* a character spends in a form with a type other than his own, he must make a Will save, with a DC equal to normal DC of a spell of this level, +1 for each [interval] they’ve spent in the form, +1 for each of these saves they’ve failed. As they start failing these saves, they begin forgetting their own identity. Each failed save causes the caster to lose 1d4 random spell slots or prepared spells. If the caster fails 5 saves, he becomes permanently convinced that he is a creature of the type they've shapeshifted into. They discard all memories of their past life (including feats, prepared spell slots, spells known, and more) that don't "fit" with their new form, and begin acting in a manner appropriate to the new creature, even if the spell ends. This condition can be cured by any spell capable of curing insanity. A caster who’s failed at least one of these saves must make an additional save to dismiss the spell.
It's especially difficult to maintain your mental balance in the heat of battle. Even if a spell's duration is more than one minute/level, when in combat, the subject must make a save every two rounds.
A druid's Wild Shape is subject to these limitations. A class without strong spellcasting, however, like the Wildshape Ranger or Beastman treats the interval of his Wild Shape as one step higher-- without prior access to such strong magic, they have to train much more intensely to make use of the ability, training which includes expertise in maintaining their mental balance.
The [Interval] is based on the normal duration of the spell, and shown on the table below.
Spell Duration [Interval] 1 round/level 1 round 1 minute/level 2 rounds 10 minutes/level 1 minute 1 hour/level 10 minutes 1 day/level 1 hour
Aside from SMALL dimensional warpings (think: Bag of Holding, or the space at the top of a Rope Trick spell), the problem with tesseracts and other "bigger inside than out" magics is that they tend to be unstable in the presence of the Weave. That is, they don't last long, or even collapse (spilling anyone and anything inside them into random dimensional destinations), unless bolstered by wards or mythal-like webs of multiple wards (which have to be adjusted and augmented fairly often). So it can be done, but longterm successes are always going to be limited to wielders of magic who have power, skill, and time to spare for the upkeep of such creations.