[RPG] Can you cast polymorph on a dead thing


Can you polymorph a dead creature? If so, would the wounds sustained by the target's original form appear on the polymorphed form?

A possible scenario would be you're hunting a stag on the king's grounds, and when the sheriff says "You're in big trouble, mister", you can say "Oh no, this, this is just a weevil. Nothing to worry about."

Best Answer

Polymorph by definition only works on creatures with 1 or more hit points

From the PHB 266:

The transformation lasts for the duration, or until the target drops to 0 hit points or dies.

The wording of the spell is important, because it specifically says 'the target'. You are targeting the original, dead creature, so once your target (the dead creature) drops to 0 hit points or dies, they revert. However, since they are already at 0 hit points or dead, the spell would necessarily fail immediately. At best, it would hit the creature and immediately fail. More than likely, you wouldn't even be able to target the dead creature, as whatever mechanism the spell uses to choose and sustain itself on a target appears to rely on the target's being alive and conscious the entire time.