Possession And Exorcism

Spirits, some demons, and spellcasters using spells like magic jar have the capability to possess living beings. Some spirits can even inhabit objects (intelligent or otherwise); these cases are very rare, but are also covered here. Note that these rules do not cover use of the magic jar spell, since that spell replaces the victim's soul with that of the caster; it does, however, apply to a ghost's malevolence ability. For simplicity's sake, all possessing entities are referred to hereafter as spirits.

When a spirit attempts to possess a being, the victim must make a Will save using its Charisma modifier instead of its Wisdom modifier, with the DC being equal to the spirit's Personality score. If the save succeeds, the victim has resisted the spirit's incursion, and gains a +1 resistance bonus to further saves (though the spirit can only try once per day). If the save fails, the spirit takes over the victim's body.

Each day thereafter, the host may make another Will save to force the spirit out (it may add any bonuses it received from resisting possession); each failed save incurs a –1 circumstance penalty as the spirit becomes more and more entrenched in the host's body. Depending on the relative strength of will of the spirit and the host, the host may be able to force the spirit out, or the spirit may overwhelm the host, forcing its personality back into a tiny corner of its mind.

In the case of a spirit inhabiting an object, the spirit automatically possesses the object, unless it is a construct. Unintelligent constructs cannot be possessed, as the magic that sustains them also prevents magical and supernatural effects like magic jar and possession. Most intelligent constructs must make an opposed Will save as above; intelligent magic items, however use a different system. In this case, the spirit is the one making the Will save, with the DC being the item's ego score. An item possessed by a spirit is treated as an intelligent construct with the spirit's Int, Wis, and Cha scores.

Once the spirit has control of a living being or object, there are only a few methods of getting it out without killing or destroying the host. The first - and easiest - is a simple dispel evil (or, in the rare cases when the possessing spirit is good-aligned, a dispel good) cast on the host; the spirit must make a Will save against the spell or be forced out. The second is the ability of Spiritblades to either exorcise or draw forth the spirit. The third is a nonmagical exorcism.

A nonmagical exorcism can only be peformed by a person capable of casting divine spells. He must have, at the minimum, a symbol of his faith, some holy water, and a scripture of some sort.

The process of exorcism varies according to what must be exorcised. If a person or creature, the subject must be confined – magically held, tied down, or caged (preferably the former). If a location, the exorcist must walk about the place, chanting and sprinkling holy water (if he has any). The actual process of varies from church to church, but most involve the exorcist reading passages from the scripture while sprinkling holy water on the host. Some also include epxosing the host to sunlight, starlight, or moonlight, or making long thin slices (freeing the spirit along with the blood; this method is usually used only among the Savage Tribes, as it tends to kill the host).

Each round, the exorcist must make a turn check; the spirit, in turn, must make a Charisma-based Will save. If the exorcist wins the check, the spirit is forced out of the host, though it is not destroyed. If the spirit wins, it remains in the host and gains a +1 resistance bonus to further saves.

The exorcist receives a +1 circumstance bonus for each hour he spends attempting to exorcise the spirit; he receives an additional bonus for using hoy relics of the church (a swatch of cloth from the shroud of a powerful cleric, for example); these bonuses are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis, but the total gained from such items should be no more than +4.

The spirit receives a +2 bonus if the host willingly accepted it (say, he attempted to channel the spirit, and it took over); +1 for each year it has possessed the host (this applies more in the case of objects and places than people); and +2 if it has completely dominated its host (that is, the host cannot force the spirit out with a Will save).

Just because the spirit has been forced from the host does not mean the host is immune to being possessed by that same entity again; oftentimes, the spirit is immediately trapped and/or destroyed before it can possess someone/something else and start the process all over again.

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