The new shape can be any animal whose challenge rate is adequate to or less than the target ’ second .
Beast is a defined character of animal within the game, as per page 6 of the Monster Manual :
Beasts are nonhumanoid creatures that are a natural function of the illusion ecology. Some of them have charming powers, but most are unintelligent and lack any company or language. Beasts include all varieties of ordinary animals, dinosaurs, and colossus versions of animals.
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A reasonable interpretation is that the personal computer needs to have cognition of the beast.
But how much cognition ? It seems reasonable that the caster can turn the target into a frog, even if the caster is not a frog expert. The caster may not even know a lot about frogs at all, except possibly that they hop. To my heed, it seems reasonable that the charming fills in the gaps. That if frogs say ribbet, then the transform creature probably says ribbet, excessively, tied if the caster does n’t know that frogs say ribbet.
Regarding your question about a little information in an old bible, that is an concern question. What if the old ledger is wrong ? Old books are often filled with creatures which never actually existed. What if it is a new book ? What if the book is fabrication ? What if the book is fiction and the caster wrote it ? What if the book is fiction and the caster wrote it just now ?
In the end, it is up to the players, particularly the GM to determine whether what the caster intends fits within the definition of “ any beast ” .
As a GM, I would tell the player, that ‘s an concern theme, I suppose you could give it a try if you wanted. I would let the player function any source of in-game information, including the character ‘s own imagination. I would besides expect the character to be able to hold the concept of the prey animal in its mind and that the player be able to department of state the target fairly succinctly. After all, it has a vomit time of one action. If the intend results were out of balance with the baron of the spell, I would modify those results. “ I transform the big bad wolf into a cunning kittycat ”, might work pretty well, at least the kittycat character. “ I transform the bad bad wolf into a hoggish ” would probably work. “ I transform the big bad wolf into a flying hoggish ” might even work. Of course, if it were a chaotic evil wolf inclined to eat first and ask questions late, then the kitten, hoggish, and flying hoggish, would all be chaotic evil inclined to eat beginning and ask questions late, besides. Having a side full of avian fantastic wild boar might not have been what the caster intended. The more absurd the caster ‘s intention, the more absurd the results would be. That seems like rules-as-fun .