Volo's Guide to Monsters contains the following about Nilbog spirits:

A goblin targeted by the spirit must succeed on a DC 15 Charisma saving throw or become possessed. While possessed by the spirit, the goblin's alignment becomes chaotic evil, its Charisma becomes 15 (unless it was already higher), and it gains the nilbog's Innate Spellcasting and Nilbogism traits, as well as its Reversal of Fortune reaction.

Can a Goblin player character be possessed by a Nilbog spirit, and thus gain a Nilbog's Nilbogism, Innate Spellcasting and Reversal of Fortune traits ?


3 Answers 3


Yes, if all the other requirements of Nilbog possession are met. (the spirit must be within 5 feet of the target Goblin, and the target has to fail its saving throw)

However, I believe this mechanic is meant to represent the Nilbog spirit overtaking the host's body, so the player character possessed by it would probably become an NPC under the DM's control for as long as the possession lasts. (so until the hosts dies, has a spell cast on it such as hallow, magic circle, or protection from evil and good, or the spirit is somehow persuaded that a better host is nearby and leaves willingly)

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Hmmmmmmm...... so the player could not play his Nilbog possessed Goblin ? Unfortunate. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gael L
    Feb 18, 2018 at 22:01
  • 10
    \$\begingroup\$ @GaelL The DM could always decide to allow the player to play the possessed character. As a DM, it's not something I'd allow for all my players, but there are some who I'd trust with it. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 19, 2018 at 8:55
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @GaelL I don't think it's a good idea to force your player to hand control of their character to you. But I think you could likely ask your player to play their character as though it were possessed, even without getting permission beforehand, as long as you gave them opportunities to end the possession later. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kevin
    Feb 19, 2018 at 15:30

Adding onto Mark's excellent answer, you could play as a Nilbog spirit possessing a goblin... So you can control it.

However, if you or a player are already a goblin, then you cannot. Keep in mind that this is D&D, and the DM has the final say. Talking to them about what they'll allow is always recommended.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Try to keep your answers self contained, this seems more like a comment than an answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cubic
    Feb 19, 2018 at 13:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ Righr, as it would have been had I had the reputation at the time. Will remember in future. \$\endgroup\$
    – Wharf Rat
    Feb 19, 2018 at 21:58

It really depend on the dm and the players. My table has a few that if given that, would run with it. So you got to ask yourself, is your player able to handle the craziness that is a Nilbog? If you do, do it. If not, just let them be their character and don't take them away from control.

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    – V2Blast
    Feb 6, 2019 at 2:07

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