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All Rules in Possession

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Core Mechanic and Clarification

Source Occult Adventures pg. 205
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 nonmagical 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 of Iomedae 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.