Glossary (4E)

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4ED&D 4E
4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons

This page provides definitions and descriptions of 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons terms and keywords, detailing rules that are not spelled out in power descriptions or monster stat blocks. See page 280 of the Monster Manual for more terms.


Alter Form

Powers with this keyword transform the physical body of the target into a shape of the same basic build, but not into a specific individual. All assume form powers also have the polymorph keyword. In many ways, assume form is a more detailed version of polymorph.

  • A creature of Small or Medium size can change into either Small or Medium size; creatures of other size categories retain their size category.
  • The new shape resembles the target's original form, and can be recognized with an Insight roll against a DC of the target's Bluff check modifier +10.
  • You must keep the same form for the entire duration, but can end the effect as a minor action.
  • Any equipment worn or carries changes only as much as required to be usable in the new form. When the power ends, any equipment reverts to its original shape.
  • Alter Form does not change game values except as indicated in the power.
  • See Monster Manual p. 280 for more on Change Shape.

Assume Form

All assume form powers also have the polymorph keyword. In many ways, assume form is a more extreme version of polymorph.

When you use a power with this keyword, the target, including all equipment and abilities, turns into another creature, hereafter called the assumed form. While the power is in effect, remove the target from play and replace it with the assumed form; whoever played the target now plays the assumed form for the duration. When the power ends, once again replace the assumed form with the original target.

  • Completely replace all abilities of the target. It is as if the target was taken of the face of the earth and replaced with the assumed form. The only game values of your original form that are retained are your hit points (including damage taken), healing surges, and action points.
  • The target immediately gain temporary hit points equal to the assumed form’s Blooded value.
  • The assumed form is not a specific individual, but a typical creature of a specific type, like the ones found in the Monster Manual. It is possible for someone who knows you closely to recognize you by mannerisms with a DC 20 Insight roll (or opposed by your Bluff if you try to mask your identity).
  • If there is not enough room on the map for the assumed form, it must squeeze. If there is not room to squeeze, the power fails
  • If there is not enough room when returning to the initial form, displace any nearby creature(s) to make room. If there is still not room, the target is stuck and might need rescue.
  • Any conditions or effects on the target or assumed form remain when transforming.


Totem powers offer benefits depending on what totem you have selected. A totem is the spirit of a certain animal.

  • The first time you are affected by a power with the Totem keyword you can select a totem. Failing to do so means you gain no benefit from the totem keyword effect. You can change your totem when you advance in level.
  • You select a specific animal as a totem, and some effects depend on the specific type of animal you picked. For rule purposes totems are divided into broad categories of animals. You must classify your totem as one of the following:
    • Gatherer: Animals that gather specific foods, such as mice, foxes, otters, or ravens. Considered deft and clever.
    • Grazer: Powerful but peaceful animals such as cattle or whales. Associated with health and fertility.
    • Hunter: Animals that rely on speed to survive; wolves and horses are in this category. Associated with speed and endurance.
    • Pouncer: Predators that rely on a sudden burst of speed. Many big cats as well as raptors are in this category. Associated with quick reactions and sudden bursts of speed.
    • Prey: Animals that rely on alertness and flight to survive, such as small deer, rabbits, and small fish.
    • Stalker: Animals that rely on stealth and surprise or are associated with the night, such as smaller cats, spiders, pikes, and bats. Associated with stealth and surprise.

See also