Magic Jar spell allows possession of another body in most versions of D&D. Is there a magic item or ritual that allows possession in 4e?

I tried searching but the only information I could find regarding possession in 4e is that cacodemons have this ability (Demonomicon), which does not really help. I want a magical effect that (high-level) player characters can in principle use to possess the body of another character (like an NPC).

Official WotC sources would be best, but data from third party print sources, and tested homebrew are also welcome.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Wouldn't using Magic Jar be enough or are you looking for something more specific? Unless there is some mechanic in 4e that doesn't allow players to use it. I frequently use items from older editions and they work fine. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 26, 2019 at 8:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ @iaminsensible DnD 4e has very different design sensibilities and balancing than the other editions of DnD. Using items and spells from previous editions is unlikely to end well without heavy homebrewing. \$\endgroup\$
    – kviiri
    Commented Aug 26, 2019 at 9:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Some way to reliably impersonate another character would also be ok, but that would make another question; I did not want to keep this one very broad. I know of the Change Self ritual for instance. \$\endgroup\$
    – ZwiQ
    Commented Aug 26, 2019 at 9:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Given how, in D&D 3e, Magic Jar was often used to possess an enemy and go killing other unsuspecting enemies while the party hid in a safe place - no, I don't think there is anything similar in D&D 4e. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zachiel
    Commented Aug 26, 2019 at 13:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ I found a homebrew level 18 binding ritual on the web, but I am not sure if it is reasonable or not. Perhaps I should turn that into a question instead. \$\endgroup\$
    – ZwiQ
    Commented Aug 26, 2019 at 14:53

1 Answer 1


Such kind of magic is unlikely in 4e philosophy.

I have gone through the whole list of 4e rituals as summarized on the dnd4 fandom wiki website. This list appears to be rather comprehensive, including over 270 rituals from the Player's Handbooks, Forgotten Realms Player's Guide, Monster Manual, Manual of the Planes, Dark Sun Campaign Setting, Eberron Player's Guide, many Dragon magazine articles and some more. And there is not a single ritual that allows possession in the way Magic Jar did in all the other editions of D&D.

I have also attempted an extensive web search, which yielded a homebrew level 18 binding ritual. The fact that someone tried to concoct such a ritual can also be considered as supporting the argument that an official version does not exist.

While doing this research and reading through essentially all the rituals in the fandom wiki list, I have become convinced that the way D&D 4e is constructed makes it unlikely to have this sort of magic. 4e is quite a tactical game, and magic-jar type of possession is way too "smooth".

As a demonstration of this design philosophy, we can compare the descriptions of ghosts in various editions of the game. Ghosts have been quintessential examples of magic-jar kind of possession in D&D. For example the Possession power of the ghost in 5e is described as:

Possession - ... ghost then disappears, and the target is Incapacitated and loses control of its body. The ghost now controls the body ... it retains its Alignment, Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma, and immunity to being Charmed and Frightened. It otherwise uses the possessed target's Statistics, ...

Let us compare this with the 4e ghost, described in the 4e Monster Manual (page 116-117):

Ghostly Possession - the target is dominated

And dominated condition is very "mechanical":

You can't take actions. Instead, the dominator chooses a single action for you to take on your turn (standard, move, minor or free).

In short, even a monster that has been known throughout D&D history as a possessor can only act like a clumsy puppet master, issuing one action at a time. Placing your spirit into another creature's body and using it smoothly appears to be even beyond the abilities of ghosts.


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