[RPG] Why does the book suggest polymorphing into a giant? Can polymorph do that?

designer-reasonsdnd-5epolymorphpublished-adventuresstorm-kings-thunder

This question is prompted by a particular passage in Storm King's Thunder:

In Storm King's Thunder on page 125 the heroes face a problem and the book suggests they might solve it by polymorphing a hero into a giant. They are level 7 at this point.

The level 4 spell Polymorph allows to transform a character into a beast with challenge rating ≤ character level and Hill Giant and Stone Giant are CR5 and CR7 respectively, so I allowed it. I only later realized that giants aren't beasts, so with rules as written in the Player's Handbook you'd need True Polymorph to polymorph into a giant. BUT, that's a level 9 spell which the players will never get in this adventure because it ends at level 11. So I'm thinking I must be missing something here.

My players now want to know whether polymorphing into a giant works or not.

So my question is: Are there any errata or author's comments or other official statements indicating that you can use the 4th level spell Polymorph to polymorph into a giant, at least in this case, or that this was a mistaken suggestion that shouldn't have been in the adventure? Please cite explicit quotes from designer statements!

Best Answer

There is a gap in this reasoning. You read polymorphed and thought of the 4th level polymorph spell. Nowhere in the book it states that. Also, the adventure makes no assumption on the party composition - no adventure should be written expecting a specific class and ability and spell. Expecting a caster with that specific spell known is a huge design fail for an adventure.

Of course the polymorph spell can't turn creatures into a giant. Of course not every puzzle, problem or situation in an adventure needs to have a solution in the PC's arsenal of spells and abilities.

There are "locks" meant to be "picked". Others meant to be "broken". And a very special few that have a tag under them saying "go on a quest to find the key".

The portal in that adventure is meant to be the third type. Go find a giant willing to activate it, or find some other creature that can take a giant's shape. The text in that page is just stating the conditions to activate the gateway.

The designer even avoided a cheesy answer to that puzzle, because

Harshnag is with the party, and the frost giant statue is missing its weapon.

But definitely the developer's intention is to have a lock of the third type: "Go on a quest to find the key".

Do not read the spoiler below if you are playing or will play this module!!!

The frost giant weapon is in room 7 - Feast Hall. Very hard to miss a 750lb steel greataxe made for huge creatures. Fetch it and Harshnag can be convinced of opening the gateway. Once you figure out the right rune...

So the adventure is exactly as intended. You don't need an errata, or a developer comment.