Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes introduced the Dybbuk, a neat CR 4 Medium fiend (demon) with a peculiar ability:

Possess Corpse (Recharge 6). The dybbuk disappears into an intact corpse it can see within 5 feet of it. The corpse must be Large or smaller and be that of a beast or a humanoid. The dybbuk is now effectively the possessed creature.


What does "an intact corpse" mean in that context? A humanoid turned into pulp by a giant is probably invalid, but is a humanoid killed by a dagger in the back intact enough?


2 Answers 2


It means:

2 of a living body or its parts : having no relevant component removed or destroyed:

The relevant part here is “relevant”.

Clearly, a person who died of suffocation or drowning is “intact”. They are probably “intact” even if they had piercings, tattoos, had had their tonsils or appendix removed, had been shaved or given a haircut because we would consider such a person to be an “intact” person. If they had lost an eye or an ear or an arm or a leg, they may still be “intact” as a person even if they are not as intact as other people - the parts that are missing are not “relevant” to being a person. A person who has been decapitated or eviscerated is probably “not” intact.


Generally speaking, 'intact' should be understood to mean it's got all the limbs attached and most of the bones unbroken. All it's saying is you can't use a dismembered body or a pile of ash or something. Feel free to use a body with a caved-in skull, perforated torso, or other obviously fatal wounds. If it would be proper zombie, the dybbuk can use it.


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