In the MM (p. 191), it says that an intellect devourer, while using its Body Thief action:

retains its Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores, as well as its understanding of Deep Speech, its telepathy, and its traits. It otherwise adopts the target’s statistics.

Is Devour Intellect, an action that the intellect devourer has, considered to be a trait?

It appears to me that the traits are from its ability scores to the actions in the monster stat block, so it wouldn't be able to use Devour Intellect while controlling another's body.

Anybody have any insight on this?


2 Answers 2


No, it can't use Devour Intellect while controlling a creature in this way

In the intro to the MM (and the corresponding section of the basic rules) it describes special traits as this:

Special traits (which appear after a monster’s challenge rating but before any actions or reactions) are characteristics that are likely to be relevant in a combat encounter and that require some explanation.

I read that as the devourer keeping its Detect Sentience trait.

Devour Intellect is described under the actions section of its entry so not covered under what is kept.

It would be nice if the description of Body Thief were more specific about the Devourer not getting its own actions while in the other body.


I believe that Christian's answer is correct, but I think there is an additional reason why the creature cannot use its abilities: it doesn't have line of effect.

The Intellect Devourer entry says:

While inside a creature, the intellect devourer has total cover against attacks and other effects originating outside its host.

If it has total cover from attacks and other effects, then it stands to reason that creatures outside of the host's cranial cavity (i.e. all possible targets other than the host itself) cannot be targeted by the Intellect Devourer's attacks and other effects since it would not have line of effect to those creatures.


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