I have been talking about polymorph self on quite alot of threads, and it's by far my favorite mage spell. And it's incredible powerful if you know what every form does. So here i'm making a quick guide and some reasons why you should use these forms, and when.
You can't cast spells once your polymorphed, but you can buff up before. You can also use minor sequencer (level 4 mage spell) and later on some higher sequencers. Once you're polymorphed you're still able to click on your sequencers. As an example you can put strenght into your minor sequencer, and once you're polymorphed into a sword spider you can use the sequencer and then the spiders strenght of 16 will go up to 18.
Polymorph self makes you hasted automatically (Trilogy) Only bear, wolf and flind are hasted in BG:EE but you can ofset this by using haste on yourself first. Spider can still reach 5 APR.
5 APR - This is very many attacks, it's one more than if you have a ranger dual wielding with a haste spell. Poison - 18 damage per attack in pure poison, interrupts spell casting. [Removed in BG:EE] Immune to web spell Immune to poison Thac0 = Same Thac0 as your Base Thac0.
Theese are the most important parts about the spider. One of the best tactics with the spider is throwing web first, and then changing into your spider form. Now everyone around you is held, and you're free to wander around and hit the enemies 2-3 times each and watch them die from the poison.
17 strenght 17 dexterity 3 APR +1 fire damage Thac0 = 2 better Thac0 than your BaseThac0 [Bugged in BG:EE, until fixed do not use Flind]
Weapon enchant +3 - This is the best part with the flind, and sadly only usable once you get into BG2. If you turn into a flind you can hit things that would otherwise require a +3 weapon to hit. It says that it uses a +1 halberd but it does work as a +3 when it's about what you can hit.
The flind is the closest thing you can get to a fighter. For those enemies that are immune to poison, or just require a beating from someone that can deal out damage, this is the form to pick. Also it's fire damage will help you kill trolls.
50 cold 100 electricity (!) 100 magic (!) 50 magic cold 30 slashing 60 crushing 100 piercing (!) 105 missile (!) Thac0 = Same Thac0 as your Base Thac0
I don't think i have to tell you why this form is amazing. You're immune to magic, ranged attacks, piercing (Short sword, dagger, halberd etc) and electricity. A mage can't touch you while you're in this form, neither can any archer or bandits. If you're worried about a lightning trap, just polymorph into a jelly and walk over it. You also take less damage from other damage sources.
There are also other forms, but they don't have anything special to them, and one of these 3 will always be the better choise.
Now for buffing on your mage.
Shield (lvl1) - Gives a bonus to AC but that's not why we are using it, we are using it to get immune to magic missile. Protection from evil (lvl1) - Saving throws Mirror image (lvl2) - Once they get through your AC they still have to get through your mirror images. Blur (lvl2) - All attacks against you will have a -3 penalty (Same as +3AC) and you get +1 saving throws. Strenght (lvl2) - Is only usable if you use it with a minor sequencer. If you use polymorph after this, you'll get the strenght the form you pick has. Ghost armor (lvl3) - Puts your AC to 2 (Plate mail +1) Haste (lvl3) - You do get haste from polymorph, but it's always nice to have it as standard for when you move around without being shifted. Minor sequencer (lvl4) - If you want to put your strenght to 18 while polymorphed. Stoneskin (lvl4) - First they have to go through your insane AC, then your mirror images and last but not least your stoneskins. Flameshield blue/red (lvl4) - Not able to get this in vanilla BG1. But it's a great spell for a sorceror or in BG2.
These are only the spells you can have in BG1. There are many more fancy buffs you can put on your spider in BG2.
You can't get stoneskin and fireshields in BG1 unless you're a sorceror. You can get them in BG:EE
1.) Buff up. You might want to take a look at duration on the spells and pick what to do first and what to leave to last. 2.) Cast polymorph self, do not change yet. 3.) Cast web form if you're going to play as a spider. 4.) Polymorph 5.) Use sequencer if you something in it you want to cast (Strength) 6.) Kill stuff.
Helm - None (BG1) Chest - Robe of archmage Ring - Ring of protection +1/+2 Ring - Anything Boots - Anything (You don't need boots of speed as polymorph form has haste) Belt - Preferable one with + AC Amulet - Metaspell Influence Amulet Gloves - Anything Cloaks - Cloak of Balduran Weapon - None
Polymorphed with these items and the buffs mentioned will put your AC to -9.
My gear for solo playing :
Helm - None (BG1) Chest - Robe of archmage Ring - Ring of protection +2 Ring - Ring of fire resistance / ring of free action Boots - Boots of grounding Belt - I change belt depending on what i fight. Amulet - Metaspell Influence Amulet Gloves - Gauntlets of weapon skill (+1 Thac0) Cloaks - Cloak of Balduran Weapon - None
You can change gear depending on what you're about to fight. And the resistance gear stacks with the mustard Jelly. So if you want to give your jelly 40% fire resistance, then put on the ring while you're in jelly form and it will get added to it's resistance pool.
Any item you have that gives a bonuc to Thac0 will also work with your shapeshifted form.