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Magical Possession

This section explains the nuances of possession magic, as used in the possession spell, as well as monster abilities and other spells.

What Is Possession?

True possession is when a creature displaces or overrides the target’s consciousness with its own, establishing direct control over the target’s body. This game features several effects that are often conflated with possession. The section below describes several possession and possession-like effects and the differences between them.

Domination: Dominate spells are often confused with possession, as they produce superficially similar outcomes. However, domination and possession are not the same. Domination is mind-control, enslaving the target’s mind and forcing it to carry out the caster’s will; thus, the caster doesn’t directly control the target’s body. The target’s dominated mind merely carries out a mandate given by the caster with the means, knowledge, and experience it has available.

Spell Possession: The primary source for possession mechanics was the magic jar spell. Magic jar allows the caster to detach her soul from her body and place it in the body of another creature, displacing the host’s soul and leaving the caster’s own body essentially empty. Like possession, these effects belong to the necromancy school of magic, as befits magic that manipulates life force and souls. This is true possession, as the end result is control of the host’s body rather than the mind. The marionette possession spell operates under an identical principle, but does not displace the host’s soul because the target cedes control to the caster willingly.

These forms of possession carry great risk for the caster. The caster has no means of survival without a body to inhabit, so if her soul is ejected from the host’s body while her own body is out of the spell’s range, the caster dies instantly.

The possession spell follows similar rules to magic jar and marionette possession, but with a few key differences. Possession does not displace the host soul when the possessor seizes control of a creature’s body. Additionally, the caster does not perish instantly if her body is outside the spell’s range when she is ejected; the range on the possession spell pertains only to the distance the caster can be from her intended target at the time of casting. Once ejected, the caster’s soul snaps back to her body from any distance, so long as it remains on the same plane.

Incorporeal Possession: Ghosts, shadow demons, and similar creatures do not possess physical bodies. They are simply disembodied souls. They use the rules below to govern the interaction between their mental characteristics and their hosts’ physical forms. Such a creature merges with the host’s body and is unharmed when ejected. Creatures that use magic jar can often use the new possession spell instead.

Core Mechanic and Clarification

The possession spell contains the core mechanics for possession. The description of the magic jar spell states the possessing creature can use her mental abilities, and the possession spell works similarly. This term wasn’t previously defined, and has been a source of confusion in many games. The term mental abilities as used here refers to the following.

  • The possessor uses her skill ranks, along with any feats the possessor has for which she still qualifies in the host’s body. The possessor doesn’t gain any of the host’s feats or skill ranks, but does apply bonuses and penalties associated with the host’s body. For example, When attempting Fly checks, a character who possessed a bird would use her own ranks in the Fly skill, but the bird’s Dexterity modifier and racial, size, and maneuverability bonuses.
  • The possessor can use spells and spell-like abilities. Appropriate spell components and foci are still required for spells that call for them. Some spell-like abilities are racial in nature, but the soul’s essence temporarily instills the possessing creature’s quintessential nature into the host’s body. For instance, a shadow demon possessing a paladin can still use its racial spell-like abilities during that time.
  • The possessor can use non-magical and magical class abilities such as domain, hex, rage, and school powers.

Supernatural abilities (with the exception of class abilities) are not considered mental abilities, as they generally rely upon a creature’s physical form. For example, a red dragon possessing a cleric could not use its breath weapon ability to breathe fire while inhabiting the cleric’s form. The GM can choose to make a specific exception if she believes an ability is solely mental in nature.

Rule Interactions

Several different mechanics allow a creature to influence or control another creature, and sometimes it isn’t clear how these competing effects should play out, whether it be possession versus compulsion or even possession versus possession. These systems interact in the following ways.

Possession versus Charm and Compulsion: Possession overrides charms and compulsions that are in control of another creature. Neither type of effect prevents the other from functioning, but possession bypasses the mind and takes direct physical control of the body which may result in a possessor enslaving an intelligence that is essentially helpless already because of a compulsion.

Compulsion and charm effects move with the mind or soul of the creature originally targeted. For example, if you cast mind swap on a dominated creature, the domination effect remains active but transfers with the originally dominated mind to its new host body, and a dominated creature capable of possession could possess another creature while still remaining dominated.

If the host’s mind or soul is not displaced from the body, a dominating creature can still telepathically interact with its now-possessed target, even though the target is helpless within its own hijacked body. The dominating creature can even command the target to explain what the host body is doing, if the host has access to its senses.

Conversely, a caster can target a possessing creature with a compulsion or charm effect. If the possessing creature is the only mind or soul in the host body, the compulsion or charm effect works on the possessing creature normally. If the possessing creature is later evicted from the body, the compulsion or charm effect remains active on the possessing creature when it returns to its original body. For instance, if a mesmerist is using mind swap on a bard, and a succubus uses her dominate monster spell-like ability when she meets the possessed bard, the mesmerist must attempt a saving throw against the spell. If he fails, the mesmerist becomes dominated by the succubus, and when his possession ends and he returns to his body, he remains at the mercy of his new mistress.

When both the host creature and a possessing creature occupy a body at the same time, a charm or compulsion effect can target either one.

However, the caster must be aware of the possessing creature’s presence in the host body in order to target it. Otherwise, the effect targets the host by default, generally with limited effect.

Possession versus Divination Effects: Possession does nothing to obfuscate or block most divination spells. For example, if an evil mesmerist is possessing a paladin, detect evil will sense the presence of an evil creature when the paladin’s body enters the area of effect. The Hidden Presence feat can assist a possessing creature in foiling divinations. If a creature’s body and soul are in two different locations, as in the case of a caster of magic jar, divination spells that depend on location, such as locate creature or scrying, fail to produce results. The exception is discern location; This powerful spell provides both locations unless the body and soul are protected by mind blank or a deity.

Possession versus Possession: If you attempt to possess a creature that is already possessed, the possessing creature must succeed at the possession spell’s save or be ejected, allowing you to enter the host. If the possessing creature voluntarily fails its save, first that creature is automatically ejected and then the host attempts the Will save instead. A possession effect that doesn’t allow a saving throw automatically causes the possessing creature to be ejected.

A Primer On Possession

Source PZO9446H

Haunted heroes need not be pursued or influenced by ghosts alone. Possession can be the result of pacts, bargains, and circumstances with forces beyond the material world.

A medium who opens his body to the psychic impressions of long-dead legends is no less haunted by his powers than a shaman who communes with the spirits of her ancestors.

Whether attained by making eldritch pacts with shadowy patrons, inviting spirits into their bodies, or having a close encounter with a corruptive entity, the abilities of haunted heroes are just as often a curse as they are a boon.

These heroes must work to keep the otherworldly forces empowering them in check, lest they lose themselves wholly to entities they might barely understand.

The act of possession lies at the heart of many haunted heroes, whether it’s direct control by a spell or monstrous ability, or the subtler influence of whispers and promises.

Possession occurs when one creature, the possessor, forcibly displaces or overrides the consciousness of another creature, the host, with its own. True possession occurs only when a possessor gains direct control over another creature’s body. Effects that allow a creature to merely commandeer another being’s mind (such as dominate monster) aren’t true possession effects. Two general types of true possession exist: spell possession and incorporeal possession. Magic jar and possession are both examples of spell possession, magic that allows the caster to detach her soul from her body and invade her host’s body with it. In such cases, the caster’s body is often left behind—a glaring vulnerability for the possessor’s enemies to exploit. Incorporeal possession occurs when a creature without a physical body (such as a ghost or shadow demon) merges with the body of its host. In this event, the possessor leaves no trace of itself behind for foes to target.

When possessing a host, the possessor uses her skill ranks and mental ability scores, along with feats she still qualifies for while in the host’s body. She gains all bonuses and penalties associated with the host’s body, and uses its physical ability scores in place of her own. The possessor retains the use of her spells and spell-like abilities, and can use her non-magical and magical class abilities (such as a cleric’s domain powers, a barbarian’s rage, and a wizard’s arcane school power). However, she can’t use supernatural abilities that rely upon her true form.

Possession overrides the effects of any charms and compulsions controlling the possessed creature, as these effects target a creature’s mind rather than its body and therefore move with the mind. A creature controlled by dominate monster that casts possession is still dominated when it forces itself into the body of a new host. Conversely, if a possessor is targeted by a charm or compulsion effect while possessing another a creature, the effect targets her mind, rather than the mind of her host. For example, if dominate monster is cast on a creature possessed by a shadow demon, the shadow demon must attempt a saving throw against the spell. If it fails, the shadow demon becomes dominated rather than its host, and remains at its new master’s mercy even after it leaves its host’s body.

If both the host creature and a possessing creature occupy the same body at the same time, charms and compulsions automatically target the host creature’s mind unless the caster is aware the creature is being possessed (letting the caster choose to target either the host or the possessor).

Possession doesn’t obfuscate or block divination spells, so detect evil registers an evil presence if a host possessed by an evil creature enters the area of effect. Possessors can use the Hidden Presence feat to conceal themselves from divinations in such situations.

Divinations that target a creature fail to produce results if the target’s body and soul are in two different places (such as while possessing another creature with magic jar).

Discern location, however, provides both locations unless both the creature’s soul and its body are protected by mind blank or a deity’s direct influence.

If a creature attempts to possess a target that is already possessed, the initial possessor must succeed at a saving throw against the new possession effect or be immediately ejected, allowing the new creature to enter the host. If a possessing creature voluntarily fails its save, the possessor is immediately ejected and the host attempts the Will save instead. If the possession spell doesn’t allow a Will save, the possessor is automatically ejected.

Possession Rules from Council of Thieves

Possession Feats

Rare among common fiends, those capable of possession stand out in power above others of their kind. Mastering the ability to discorporate their forms and influence creatures and materials around them, such body thieves are masters of terror and manipulation. Typically only the most extraordinary and perverse fiends can make use of the powers of possession, learning such secrets from blasphemous masters or dark secrets of the multiverse. To represent this, fiends who increase in power beyond the common representatives of their kind gain access to the Possess Creature, Possess Location, and Possess Object feats and the host of terrible abilities they might provide.

Using these powers, even a relatively weak fiend can come to possess an area or object, while more powerful horrors might overwhelm a mortal body. Despite the similarity to mind-affecting effects, fiendish possession has more to do with the spiritual hijacking of a body or the physical corruption of objects, and thus, creatures immune to mind-affecting effects are not immune to possession (although several possession actions themselves are mind-affecting). Creatures where the body and spirit are indivisible, as is the case with most outsiders and incorporeal undead, are immune to possession effects.

Feat Name Prerequisites Benefit Source
Possess Location Cha 16, any evil outsider with 8 or more Hit Dice A fiend learns to disperse its essence over an area, gaining mastery over features and structures there and tainting the place with its wickedness. PZO9028
Possess Object Cha 18, any evil outsider with 9 or more Hit Dice A fiend gains the power to bind its malign essence to a single object, corrupting it into a relic of undeniable evil. PZO9028
Possess Creature Cha 20, any evil outsider with 10 or more Hit Dice A fiend gains the ability to merge its physical form with another creature’s body, spreading its foul influence from within a living vessel. PZO9028

Possession Actions

A variety of actions are available to fiends who possess creatures, objects, or locations. GMs are encouraged to use these abilities as guidelines and create similar abilities for their own fiendish villains and extraplanar plots. Each possession action is presented in the following format.

Name: The name of the action in question. The number in parentheses after the name lists the number of possession points (“PP”) the action costs to perform.

Expression: This indicates whether or not the action has a visible effect when it manifests (physical) or if it happens entirely within the host’s head (spiritual). The listed DC indicates the Perception or Sense Motive check required by those nearby to notice the fact that the target is possessed. Note that a possessed creature does not automatically realize that it is possessed, but it gains a +10 bonus on all Perception or Sense Motive checks to notice that it is indeed possessed when the fiend uses a possession action. Duration: This lists the duration of the effect once the fiend activates the possession action. Durations listed as directly tied to HD use the possessing fiend’s HD to set the duration.
 
Saving Throw: This indicates what sort of saving throw the possessed creature, location, object, or target of the action can make to negate or reduce the effects of the action. In all cases, the DC for this saving throw is DC 10 + the HD of the possessing fiend + the fiend’s Cha modifier.

Bodily Possession

A fiend possesses a creature’s body not only to torture its victim, but to torment the possessed creature’s loved ones. More often than not, a fiend aggressively inhabits a host, but sometimes a misguided mortal might call a fiend into his body in search of otherworldly power. This rarely works to the mortal’s advantage, as bodily possession is essentially an abduction of one’s self. Occasionally fiends might grant a taste of power in order to bribe the mortal into compliance with its own wishes and punish actions deviating from their desires, but few fiends possess victims for any other reason than absolute control.

Defile Body (3 PP)

Expression physical (automatic)
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw Fortitude partial
The possessing fiend, when displeased, can cause physical harm to the target. This damage manifests in a number of ways, from searing pain to limbs physically wrenched in agonizing ways. Each fiend delivers this damage in a different way, but the damage done always bypasses any damage reduction, resistance, or immunity to damage that the host might possess. If the host fails to resist this ability, it takes 1d6 points of damage for every 2 Hit Dice the fiend possesses. If it makes the Fotitude save, the painful spasms only sicken the host for 1 round.

Elusive Presence (3 or 1 PP)

Expression spiritual (Sense Motive
DC 35)
Duration 1 hour or instantaneous
Saving Throw none
A fiend may use this action to hide itself from
detect spells or to pass through a magic circle against evil or the effects of a forbiddance spell. The fiend must make a Will save equal to 10 + the caster level of the spell + the caster’s relevant ability modifier. If it succeeds, the spell only detects the host and in no way hinders or reveals the fiend. If the fiend fails, though, the spells treat the host as if it were the fiend, providing information or barring the host as such. Alternatively, a fiend may spend an additional possession point as a swift action when activating any other possession action to make that action elusive. This supresses that possession action’s expression, increasing the DC to notice the effect by +10.

Fiendish Manifestation (3 PP)

Expression physical (automatic)
Duration 1 minute/HD
Saving Throw Will negates
The possessing fiend causes its host to undergo a terrible change. Any creature subject to the alter appearance action must succeed on a Will save. If the host fails, the possessing fiend manifests a hint of its presence, perhaps in the form of glowing eyes, an inhuman growl, a ghastly stench, or spontaneous bleeding. This manifestation is obvious to anyone looking at the host. As long as the manifestation persists, the host creature suffers a –2 penalty on all Charisma-based checks.

Subversive (3 PP)

Expression spiritual (Sense Motive DC 45)
Duration 1 hour/HD or until completed
Saving Throw Will negates
Some possessing fiends wish to remain hidden, even from their victims. To do so, a fiend and its host make opposed Wisdom checks. If the host succeeds, it is aware that some force beyond itself is manipulating it. If the fiend succeeds, it may communicate a simple idea to its host via telepathy, as per the spell 
suggestion. Alternatively, it may prevent its host from acknowledging a possession action it uses in the next round, even if such has a blatant visual effect—the host simply has no memory of having done anything out of the ordinary. This ability automatically activates the elusive presence ability and cannot be made further elusive through the use of elusive presence.
This ability is a mind-affecting effect.

Alter Mood (5 PP)

Expression spiritual (Sense Motive DC 25)
Duration 1 minute/HD
Saving Throw Will negates
The possessing fiend twists positive moods and feelings toward a foul temperament. A fiend using this action forces its host to make a Will save or experience despondent or depressive emotions. A host affected by this ability becomes sickened for the duration of the effect. This is a mind-affecting effect.

Fiendish Force (5 PP)

Expression physical (automatic)
Duration 1 minute/HD
Saving Throw Will negates
The possessing fiend causes its host to rise into the air, manifesting a degree of its malign control over its victim’s body. This effect is similar to the spell
levitate, which the fiend has complete control over and may end at will. The host may make a Will save to resist this effect.

Read Thoughts (5 PP)

Expression spiritual (DC 25)
Duration concentration, up to 1 minute/HD
Saving Throw Will negates
The possessing fiend taps into the mind of the creature
it possesses. Like the spell
detect thoughts, a fiend may peruse the surface thoughts of the host. Unlike the spell, a fiend automatically skips the first and second round results and immediately reads the target it possesses if the host fails a Will save.

Vile Gout (5 PP)

Expression physical (automatic)
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw Will negates, Reflex half
The possessing fiend causes a blast of unnatural force to explode from its host’s body. This takes the form of a 15-foot cone of acid, fire, cold, or sonic energy—typically mixed with bodily fluids or unnatural expulsions—that deals 1d6 points of damage for every 2 Hit Dice the fiend possesses. The host may make a Will save to negate this effect. Those within the area of the gout can make a Reflex save to take half damage.

Read Memories (7 PP)

Expression spiritual
Duration instantaneous or 1 round/HD
Saving Throw Will negates
A possessing fiend can use this action to learn more about its host’s past experiences. Fiends using this action essentially ask a question of a host’s mind, forcing the host to make a Will save. If the fiend succeeds, it gains the answer to its question if the host possesses such information. Alternatively, a fiend might merely seek painful memories or vague details pertinent to an event, location, or individual. If the host fails its save, the painful memories stagger him for 1 round per HD of the possessing fiend.

Drain Host (7 PP)

Expression physical (Perception DC 10)
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw Fortitude negates
The possessing fiend decreases its host’s ability scores. If the host fails to resist this ability, it takes 1d4 points of ability damage to an ability score chosen by the fiend. A fiend cannot reduce a single ability score below 1 by using this ability. Typically, a fiend uses this ability to punish unfavorable actions its host takes.

Empower Host (7 PP)

Expression physical (Perception DC 20)
Duration 1 minute/HD
Saving Throw Will negates (harmless)
The possessing fiend enhances its host’s prowess by granting a +2 profane bonus to one of its host’s ability scores chosen by the fiend. A host can resist this benefit by making a Will save. A possessing fiend may grant this bonus multiple times to either the same or different abilities (additional profane bonuses to the same ability stack when granted by a possessing fiend). Typically, these bonuses also cause some subtle side effect, such as writhing veins rising from one’s muscles or a subtly forked tongue. These expressions of fiendish influence have no additional effect and are only noticeable to those who closely examine the host.

Dominate Body (9 PP)

Expression spiritual (Sense Motive DC 15)
Duration 1 round/HD
Saving Throw Will negates
The possessing fiend takes control over its host’s body and actions. If the host fails to resist this ability, the fiend can direct the creature to attack, cast spells, or otherwise perform any other action so desired. Every round, a dominated host may attempt an additional Will save to break the fiend’s control. A fiend cannot dominate a creature more than 4 Hit Dice higher than itself. This is a mind-affecting effect.

Erase Memories (9 PP)

Expression spiritual (Sense Motive DC 35)
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw Will negates
This powerful ability allows a possessing fiend to selectively alter a host’s memories. When using this action, a fiend can manipulate the memories experienced by the host as per the spell
modify memory. The host may make a Will save to avoid this effect. This is a mind-affecting effect.

Make Pact (9 PP)

Expression spiritual (Sense Motive DC 35)
Duration see below
Saving Throw none
A possessing fiend and its host constantly struggle for mastery of the body they both possess. Sometimes, though, these two opposing spirits reach an accord, coming to at least a temporary understanding and degree of shared control. In such cases, a fiend and its host may agree to a pact. Both parties must agree to the terms of a pact, usually taking the form of an arrangement where the host allows the fiend to perform some act without his resistance and the fiend allows the host freedom to undertake some act without its interference. This effect takes the form of two
geas/quest effects, both affecting the same body but under different terms—one stated by the host and one by the fiend. The host and fiend decide in advance in which order their goals will be pursued. As this arrangement must be voluntary, no save is required. This is not a spell effect and cannot be removed by spells that normally affect geas/quest; rather, the fiendish or mortal personality compels the body to a certain stated course. When both parties have completed their goals, the pact ends. Fiends typically attempt to mislead or confuse their host with the terms or weight of their side of a pact, but so long as the host agrees to a pact and the stated goals of the pact remain the same, the host cannot renege due to specifics. A pact does not necessarily represent cooperation between a fiend and its host, however, as some fiends use this action as a contract in order to ensure the host fulfills obligations.

Transfer Spell-Like Ability (9 PP)

Expression Physical (Perception DC 30)
Duration 1 minute/HD
Saving Throw Will negates (harmless)
The possessing fiend grants its host a taste of its unnatural powers. The fiend imbues its host with the ability to utilize one of its spell-like abilities (chosen by the fiend) for the ability’s duration. Utilizing this spell-like ability is a standard action for the host, but is treated as being used by the fiend for the purposes of determining caster level and save DCs. A host might be able to utilize this ability multiple times, but cannot use it more times per day than the fiend itself could. Typically a fiend uses this action as a way to endear the host to its presence or as a way to show the greater power of its fiendish ways.

Object Possession

A fiend possesses objects either as a way to control them or as a way to infiltrate a body in a clandestine manner. A fiend in possession of an object can perform the following possession actions. Unless otherwise specified, these actions take a full-round action. While possessing an object, a fiend retains its normal senses, and may sense in every direction around the object, but otherwise perceives its surroundings as normal. Often a possessed item exhibits unusual characteristics, such as an unnatural tarnish, an accumulation of greasy film on its surface, or an unnaturally temperature. Even when these effects are not present, a creature can detect something strange about the item by utilizing spells like detect evil.
 

Seed (3 PP)

Expression spiritual (Sense Motive 30)
Duration 1 hour
Saving Throw none
The fiend weakens the will of a creature in contact with the object it possesses. This action causes a creature holding the possessed object to gradually become more vulnerable to the possessing fiend’s influence. Upon using this ability, a fiend subtly invades the mind of a creature touching the item it possesses. After 5 minutes, if the same creature has remained in contact with the possessed object, the target takes a –4 penalty on Will saves made to resist attempts by that fiend to possess its body. This effect lasts for 24 hours. The target does not receive a saving throw against this effect.

Read User (5 PP)

Expression spiritual (Sense Motive 15)
Duration concentration, up to 1 minute/HD
Saving Throw Will negates
The fiend taps into the mind of a creature in contact with the object it possesses. This action mimics the
detect thoughts spell, except that the possessing fiend immediately picks up on the surface thoughts of the creature touching the object. The target may attempt a Will save to block the fiend from its mind. This effect continues for as long as the target remains in contact with the possessed object.

Animation, Minor (7 PP)

Expression physical (automatic)
Duration 1 round/HD
Saving Throw none
A fiend possessing an object can cause that object to move at its command. This allows a fiend to cause any object of Large size or smaller to function as an animated object for a number of minutes equal to its Hit Dice. Alternatively, a fiend can merely cause the object to
levitate, as per the spell, for the same amount of time.

Corrupt User (7 PP)

Expression spiritual (Sense Motive DC 30)
Duration 1 hour/HD or until completed
Saving Throw Will negates
The fiend influences the actions of a creature in contact with the object it possesses, telepathically implanting a suggestion (as per the spell
suggestion). While acting upon this suggestion, the target’s alignment is detected as being the same as the fiend’s. This does not change the way in which the target acts, merely how alignment-revealing magic perceives him. This is a mind-affecting effect.

Dispel Enhancement (7 PP)

Expression physical
Duration 1 hour/HD
Saving Throw none
A fiend possessing a magic item can suppress the imbued magic of the object for a short period. To use this action, the fiend makes a special dispel check (1d20 + the fiend’s HD, maximum +10) against the caster level of the magic item. If the fiend succeeds, all magical properties of the item are suppressed for a number of hours equal to the fiend’s Hit Dice, or until the fiend chooses to end the effect.

Reinvigoration (7 PP)

Expression physical (automatic)
Duration 1 hour/HD
Saving Throw none
A fiend possessing an object may transpose a portion of its being into a corpse within 10 feet per HD of the object’s possessing fiend. This allows the fiend to raise skeletons and zombies as per the spell
animate dead. The possessing fiend’s Hit Dice serve as the caster level for the purposes of this effect. This use of animate dead does not require a material component, but the undead created are not permanent, collapsing back to corpses as soon as the ability’s duration expires.

Enhance (9 PP)

Expression physical (Perception 20)
Duration 1 day
Saving Throw none
A fiend possessing an object can imbue the item with its profane energies to mimic magical enchantment. When a fiend uses this action, it grants the possessed item magical properties equal to 1,000 gp per Hit Die the fiend possesses. This action is typically used on weapons and armor, though a fiend can duplicate other magic items if it possesses an appropriate item. The possessed item does not need to be of masterwork quality for the fiend to bestow these magical properties. For example, a 9-HD erinyes can imbue an item with up to 9,000 gp worth of magical properties. Thus the erinyes can make a normal longsword perform as if it were a
+2 longsword or even a +1 vicious longsword. Likewise, the same erinyes could possess an amulet and cause it to act as an amulet of natural armor +2.

The fiend, and not the user of the object, is in control of the properties of the item, even if it has been forced into possessing the item via a spell like
planar ally or planar binding. Each use of this ability lasts for 24 hours or until the fiend dismisses the effect. The fiend can remove these properties at will, and when the fiend leaves the item, the magical properties immediately vanish. A fiend cannot cause an item to take on properties other than those typical to its shape (one could not create a +1 vicious helmet, for example).

Animation, Major (13 PP)

Expression physical (automatic)
Duration 1 round/HD
Saving Throw none
A fiend possessing an object can cause that object and those around it to move at its command. This effect is identical to the 
animate objects spell, except that the object the fiend possesses  must be included among the items to be animated. The possessing fiend’s Hit Dice serve as the caster level for the purposes of this effect. In addition, all animated objects gain a fly speed equal to the fiend’s highest movement speed with perfect maneuverability.

Possessed Locations

A fiend can nestle itself within a location in order to taint the place with evil and potentially corrupt or assault a number of targets. Fiends possessing places generally choose locations already welcoming of evil, or mundane sites with little worry for matters otherworldly. A fiend possess a distinct, roughly spherical space based on its Hit Dice. This location might be as simple as a single room in a building, or an entire castle. An imp spy might possess the town’s well, while a maralith might influence an entire demon-tainted grove. While in possession of a location, a fiend can perform a small number of actions, usually in the interest of finding a suitable creature for bodily possession. Some fiends possess their lairs as a way to maintain awareness throughout an area and more easily enslave interlopers and minions.

A fiend in possession of a location can perform the following possession actions. Unless otherwise specified, these actions take a full-round action. While possessing a location, a fiend sees everything within the area it possesses, using its own senses. It perceives areas outside of this space as if it were a viewer standing at any edge of its possessed area. Often a possessed area exhibits unusual characteristics, such as strange temperature shifts, eerie noises, or noxious scents. Even when these effects are not present, a creature can detect something strange about the location by utilizing spells like
detect evil.

Seed Area (5 pp)

Expression spiritual (Sense Motive DC 30)
Duration 1 hour
Saving Throw none
A fiend possessing a location weakens the willpower of those within its area, allowing an easier path to bodily possession. Upon using this ability, a fiend subtly invades the mind of a creature within the location it inhabits. After 5 minutes, if the same creature has remained within the possessed area, the target takes a –2 penalty on Will saves made to resist attempts by that fiend to possess its body. This effect last for 24 hours. The target does not receive a saving throw against this effect.

Read Inhabitants (7 PP)

Expression spiritual (Sense Motive DC 15)
Duration concentration, up to 1 minute/HD
Saving Throw Will negates
A fiend can tap into the mind of creatures in the area it possesses. This action mimics the spell
detect thoughts with a caster level equal to the fiend’s Hit Dice. The targets of this action can attempt Will saves throw to resist this effect.

Dominion (variable PP)

Expression physical (Perception DC 20)
Duration see below
Saving Throw see below
A fiend possessing a location can manipulate the area it controls to terrifying ends. At will, the fiend can make use of any of the following spell-like abilities to affect creatures within the area it possesses. It can “cast” these spell-like abilities from any physical point within the area of its possessed location.
0 (1 PP)dancing lights, ghost sound, open/close, prestidigitation, whispering wind
1st (3 PP)animate rope, grease, hold portal, hypnotism, obscuring mist, sleep, silent image, unseen servant
2nd (5 PP)command undead, darkness, gust of wind, magic mouth, make whole, misdirection, phantom trap, shatter, sound burst
3rd (7 PP)dispel magic, major image, nondetection, suggestion
In every case, the caster level for these spell-like abilities equals the possessing fiend’s Hit Dice and the cost in possession points equals 1 + the spell’s level. None of these effects, regardless of its potential range or space, extends beyond the space of the fiend’s possession.

Exorcism

Combating possession ranks among the most unusual and dangerous acts heroes might ever have to perform.
 
Detecting Possession: Spells like detect evil reveal contradictory information when targeting the victim of fiendish influence, revealing multiple auras emanating from one being. Skilled exorcists might also detect a possession. Both Perception (for physical effects) and Sense Motive (for spiritual effects) might reveal a fiend as its possession actions influence an individual, though they do nothing to detect a dormant fiend.

Ending Possession: The most direct way to expel a possessing fiend is via banishment, dismissal, or dispel evil (or dispel law or dispel chaos, depending on the type of fiend). These spells drive the fiend from its host, but do not return the creature to its home plane, typically causing the monstrosity to manifest in its true form nearby. Many fiends, however, find this kind of exposure counterproductive to their ultimate goals and flee to seek another suitable host, while others might become enraged and attack the meddling exorcist.

A far riskier method of ending a possession involves an invitation by the exorcist to the possessing fiend to leave its current host to take up residence in the exorcist’s body (or in the body of a nearby volunteer). An exorcist can force a possessing fiend to leave its current host and attempt the new possession by making a successful Intimidate check to demoralize the fiend. Typically, the exorcist taking such a bold risk hopes to make his own saving throw to resist the possession or protects himself with magic before making this risky attempt. If the fiend fails to possess the exorcist, it can immediately try to repossess its original host, who can attempt to resist this possession by making a Will save. If the fiend fails to return to its host, it manifests in its physical form in a space adjacent to the host, and is typically infuriated.
 
Section 15: Copyright Notice

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Occult Adventures © 2015, Paizo Inc.; Authors: John Bennett, Logan Bonner, Robert Brookes, Jason Bulmahn, Ross Byers, John Compton, Adam Daigle, Jim Groves, Thurston Hillman, Eric Hindley, Brandon Hodge, Ben McFarland, Erik Mona, Jason Nelson, Tom Phillips, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Thomas M. Reid, Alex Riggs, Robert Schwalb, Mark Seifter, Russ Taylor, and Steve Townshend.

Pathfinder Adventure Path #28: The Infernal Syndrome © 2010, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: Clinton Boomer and James Jacobs.