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DtF: possessing the possessor

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  • DtF: possessing the possessor

    * Thought exercise not meant to be played in any chronicle *

    According to the core rulebook, a demon can be summoned and binded through the appropriate rituals, altough that is in no way an easy task.
    In your opinion, could a mortal occultist order a demon to enter his soul and relinquish command, which in pratice means stealing the demon's powers?


    If ALL the following prerequisites are fulfilled:

    - the True, complete Name of the demon is known
    - the summoning and binding rituals are performed flawlessly
    - the wording of the command is phrased carefully with no grey zones open to malevolent interpretation
    - the occultist is physically and mentally sane ( well, except mabye some measure of grandeur, narcissism and latent megalomania, but in no way psychotic )
    - the occultist possess a very high Willpower ( 8 or more ) and good Self Control ( 4 or more )
    - the occultist trained himself specifically to resist mind control through meditation, self- hypnosis ecc. ( Iron Will merit )

    could the deed be achieved?

  • #2
    Only the three requisites actually matter for this exercise. Sanity doesn't work like that anyway, but that's irrelevant.

    The answer is both a yes and a no. Mostly a no, but not without merit for trying.

    By DtF there is no such a thing as the powers of a Demon without the Demon's Will. The powers are a natural extension of the Fallen. It is either their bodies/nature or their knowledge of how the cosmos work. The Fallen can't give their powers that way more than you can give your body to another person. Possession is a power they have innately, humans don't.

    Yet, can the human psyche survive the possession and stay in the body? Yes, we have at least one canon example of this happening. If so, can the human bargain to remain in control of their body? In theory, yes, it would be less like borrowing powers and more like sharing an apartment or a car. The human can't activate the Demon's abilities themselves, but they'll certainly benefit of any effect of the Demon on the body, like being immune to diseases.

    Finally, with so much command over the Demon anyway, the human may exact services. They can't use all the Demon's Lores... but the Demon can, and they're right there to do so. Is like carrying the genie in a bottle, except the bottle is your own head already.

    Is it wise? Probably not. Instead of quietly lending power the Demon will be an active presence inside the mind and body of the human. They have to share their new condition, and things may evolve from that. But the human can nonetheless be in quite a position of power in the relationship, and nothing strictly guarantees that will change.


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    • #3
      About the sanity, DtF mentions that demons can only possess broken people. Brain dead from illness or drug abuse, psychologically traumatized or - at the very least according to a sidebar - someone otherwise normal but shaken after a series of sudden traumatic events.
      Mental illness is a break in the mental and spiritual armor, demons need that break.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Solomon Draak View Post
        About the sanity, DtF mentions that demons can only possess broken people. Brain dead from illness or drug abuse, psychologically traumatized or - at the very least according to a sidebar - someone otherwise normal but shaken after a series of sudden traumatic events.
        Mental illness is a break in the mental and spiritual armor, demons need that break.
        DtF says that Demons can only possess people whose souls have a weak grasp over the body. The examples given are of people whose mental state is such that they're essentially gave up living or are otherwise as good as dead. Even then, reality is more complex than that interpretation.

        It has nothing to do with psychosis or any specific diagnosis. Your interpretation on what "insanity" and mental illness is is what is off and not only inaccurate, but offensively so. Psychosis is but one aspect of mental health, have nothing to do with their examples (indeed, not one of them is of psychosis or even related), and people with mental conditions of all kinds can still be well adapted, functional and strong willed, which impedes possession.


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        • #5
          I didn't meant to be offensive. I apologize.
          I don't think that having a mental problem is the same as being brain dead or having given up on living. I'm on medication for depression since 2017 so I knew well that mental illness is not insanity.
          Yet a mental illness is a weak point that a predator - supernatural or human - can exploit or try to exploit, do you concede me that?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Solomon Draak View Post
            Yet a mental illness is a weak point that a predator - supernatural or human - can exploit or try to exploit, do you concede me that?
            No, because again, that's not what the book said.

            Regardless of irl issues, the books handle whatever you have through some mechanics. Weaknesses that can be exploited are either represented by a Flaw with this specific effect or by a low Willpower stat. Mental illness can affect it, but doesn't necessarily do so, so it has no effect.

            On the specific matter at hand, Fallen possession, it is even more dramatic. Except for some rules meant for specific circumstances, a Fallen is limited to extremely compromised people. The kind that isn't viable as a PC anymore. It is not about what the character has, but how much it destroyed them.

            Put in another, relevant way: they can only possess at this moment a body whose soul is either absent or won't resist at all.


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            • #7
              Demons basically posses those mentally compromised and weakened in some fashion normally. But, you can also just summon demons into people. So, far universal. Having a strong willed vessel is literally a flaw in the dark ages book. Player's Guide makes some suggestions that a strong willed mortal could dominate a weak willed demon as well. So, it's viable. Now, being able to use their lores is another matter. But, you could definitely be the dominant partner.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by angryicecream View Post
                Demons basically posses those mentally compromised and weakened in some fashion normally. But, you can also just summon demons into people. So, far universal. Having a strong willed vessel is literally a flaw in the dark ages book. Player's Guide makes some suggestions that a strong willed mortal could dominate a weak willed demon as well. So, it's viable. Now, being able to use their lores is another matter. But, you could definitely be the dominant partner.
                Yes, but his question wasn't just about being the dominant partner, but having complete control over all the demon's powers as if the possessed were the demon itself without actually being.


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                • #9
                  Occultists offering themselves for possession willingly and human souls dominating the Demons who possess them are both presented as options in Chapter 1 of the Demon Player's Guide.

                  It's really just up to the player and storyteller to agree to it, but I might suggest creating the resulting character with zero dots in the Legacy background to reflect that the Demon isn't the one in the driver's seat and the mortal's soul with no memories of the Fall is at the forefront.
                  Last edited by Reasor; 03-18-2022, 03:27 PM.

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                  • #10
                    I feel like having a sound mind going into the process would be important, a normal human mind isn't meant to deal with torment which I imagine the new houseguest may intentionally or unintentionally expose their warden to.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Devidramoth View Post
                      I feel like having a sound mind going into the process would be important, a normal human mind isn't meant to deal with torment which I imagine the new houseguest may intentionally or unintentionally expose their warden to.
                      To be honest, the Demon mind isn't meant to deal with Torment either. Considering how their minds brake during the War because of exposure to what we are capable of, it wouldn't be too wild to imagine that human minds are actually better prepared to deal with it than an Angel/Demon's.

                      Of course, at face value they have literally thousands, maybe millions of years in experience feeling it, which counts for something, while a human would feel it for the first time. But given that Demons' sense of time in Hell was weird, you can hardly say they "handled" Torment in any meaningful way before escaping (and maybe not even then), and just recent human memories are enough to instantly reduce Torment all the way down from 10 to 3 for a good chunk of recently arrived Demons, you can just as easily assume that a human mind would instantly break out of shock, or that it would be able to handle it all with little change in its usual state, or anything in between varying from person to person.


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                      • #12
                        I mentioned the Player's Guide earlier in this thread, but It's worth mentioning again for the amount of thought that went into the book's discussion of what having dots in Courage, Conscience, Conviction, Torment, and Legacy means when translated into character, and what types of characters would have what combinations. It's one of the more impressive and useful player's guides White Wolf ever published for one of its game lines, and I find a lot of its authors' arguments compelling.

                        One idea that comes up a couple of times is that a high Legacy score - a Fallen managing to squeeze a lot of its memories into its host's monkey brain - is likely to have much more difficulty with Torment than a Fallen who mercifully forgot a lot. These creatures have spent most of their lives with nothing to do but traumatize one another in the dark, and the ones who remember the most are the ones most likely to become Raveners and want to either destroy it all or provoke the Creator into destroying them. The penitent Reconcilers end up being the ones who remember the least and start out with the lowest Torment, reflecting the amount of sanity they've been able to regain by letting their human hosts rub off on them.

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