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Source Pathfinder #28: The Infernal Syndrome pg. 56
Fiends prey upon the people of Golarion, slaughtering mortals, catching them in their nets of betrayal, and turning allies against one other. From the abyssal pit of the Worldwound to the diabolical nation of Cheliax, the encroachment of fiends upon mortal lands, minds, and livelihoods has reached staggering heights within the past age. While encounters with these manifestations of true evil typically come in the form of desperate battles, heretical summons, or plane-spanning manipulations, the denizens of the outer planes' most horrifying reaches know no end of corruption, possessing ways to twist the very truths of existence and physicality to defile the mortal realm. Fiends with the power to loose themselves from their forms to prey upon the minds and souls of the living practice a terrible blasphemy known as possession.

Fiendish possession allows horrors from realms beyond to encroach upon specific locations, objects, and creatures, tainting their victims with fundamental evil and reshaping natural life to their terrible whims. The motivation for such possessions differs among the fiendish races, though even upon shedding their forms, evil outsiders operate and seek to defile mortality just as bodied members of their kind. While a devil might utilize the powers of possession to corrupt and manipulate, daemons typically seek to sow death and destroy lives, with demons spreading dramatic terror and ruin. Yet while such fiends might be directly combated and slain in their bodily forms, possession grants such evils the shield of innocence and the mask of virtue as their corruption spreads not from a nightmarish abomination, but from a familiar face.

This article describes the methods and powers of possession in a variety of forms, as well as powers utilized by the living to combat such affronts. Possession is a supernatural ability.

While this article uses the word “fiend” extensively, it should be noted that fiends are not the only creatures that might attempt to forcibly manipulate mortals to their whims. Other extraplanar creatures—good or evil— various forms of undead, unknowable entities from the depths of space, and other even less fathomable beings all might seek to take control of frail mortal bodies or other base physical shells. As such, GMs might easily alter or add to these rules to use them for any manner of possession-like effect they require.

Possession Feats

Source Pathfinder #28: The Infernal Syndrome pg. 57
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.

Possession Actions

Source Pathfinder #28: The Infernal Syndrome pg. 58
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.


Source Pathfinder #28: The Infernal Syndrome pg. 61
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.