Lore wise, spirits, ghosts and demons have powers of ownership & possession - and this translates readily into game mechanics. In fiction-fantasy: ghosts, spirits and demons take over various things from cars, to people or even entire houses. In literature, plays and shows spirits can habituate wherever they please.

In 5e, Ghosts have this mechanic for humanoids. It is not clear if 5e also has ghosts of other sentient creatures such as dragons, giants or fae - if so, they would logically possess their own types. We are aware that this mechanic works specifically for goblins, with the nilbog. In many editions, clay golems seem to suffer from possession from 'evil spirits' as well.

In the demon-description blocks (MM) these creatures can possess objects via a specific summoning and enchantment. Demons then possess sentient beings by transferring out of these object-devices - though the mechanics for these steps is not clear, listed &/or obvious.

Main concern: given a mature 120+ day Clone, what allows any soul, spirit, demon or sentience to take over? Why would this inert body key ONLY to the original humanoid soul-spirit? Consider that demons are far more adept at taking over inanimate or 'inert' objects than any soul-spirit would be, original owner or not.

Assuming that this 120 day+ Clone could be taken over by another sentience, where or when does this end? If this invasive spirit or demon takes over, do they stay until natural death of the target body? Would a Ring of Mind Shielding or a sentient magic item qualify as allowable body-snatchers? Are there any RAW or RAI rulings that aught to be considered?

In Short How do ghosts &/or any alien spirit interface with a mature 120 day+ clone body? It seems odd and unfair that ONLY the original spirit-soul of origin has the 'keys' to this inert body.

Imagine the D&D version of Altered Carbon - it would be fun, interesting and at least as enjoyable as the Netflix series.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Why must you respect the RAW in this, who is we? \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Feb 23, 2020 at 18:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ I personally don't mind the "story-telling" style of writing of your question, only the questions in parentheses are rather irritating (confusing? annoying? distracting?), as well as the numerous exclamations ("so many ideas!", "easy!"). Frankly, that's just unpleasant to read - in my opinion - as it interrupts the flow of reading, regardless of whether you had asked this on SE, an RPG forum like GiantITP or Reddit. Regardless of my personal opinion: if you're aware that this is not how a good question is written, why did you write it like that in the first place? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 24, 2020 at 1:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your question would be improved by stripping it down to just the relevant info: necessary background info, and the question itself (with only necessary details). If you wish to discuss your campaign ideas or other topics, that might be better suited to Role-playing Games Chat. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Feb 24, 2020 at 1:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PixelMaster (and V2Blast) - removed lots. Removed concerns: how this original soul-spirit transfers over to this clone-body. Added concerns: how would 'inert' bodies gain defence against invading spirit-forces. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 24, 2020 at 8:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ Generally we do not signal edits unless to give credit to someone. \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Feb 24, 2020 at 10:12

1 Answer 1


Yes, if the ghost can disturb the clone's vessel he can even use the body

If your ghost can see a clone in a crystal vat, it can possess it. Nothing in the clone spell states it cannot.

The contentious part is whether the clone can "wake up" inside the vat.

The clone spell states that a resulting duplicate

[...] remains inert and endures indefinitely, as long as its vessel remains undisturbed.

While inside its own vessel the clone is inert and essentialy in a state of suspended animation.

Once taken out prematurely the clone is no longer enduring indefinitely and (fully) inert.

And from here it goes into interpretation territory.

Without a mind or soul the newborn clone is nothing but a ragdoll. Physiologically, since the clone's body is "fully developed" its autonomic nervous system (responsible for keeping your heart beating, your breathing steady, etc.) should at least allow it to slowly starve to death. A ghost could reasonably possess and use this body like that of a normal living person.

A little disclaimer:

The spell doesn't mention anything about a prematurely born clone breaking the bond between it and its original. Imagine the suprise of the original when its soul slingshots into the clone's body in the middle of his own wedding, or whatever the ghost is up to using this body.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It would be wonderful to know what counts as a 'disturbance'. Brilliant catch on what is essentially suspended animation on the part of the body's preservation. Thank you. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 24, 2020 at 23:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ Since the spell specifies the vessel must be sealable you could argue that simply opening the vessel (if it's air-filled) or draining a sufficient amount of mud or salt water would count as a disturbance. A mild shaking of the vessel / transporting it someplace without it breaking / leaking wouldn't constitute a disturbance to me. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 25, 2020 at 6:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ To your disclaimer: the origin-donor can chose ANY clone body available (assuming more than one). Would it take one of the spare 'empty' bodies - or go All Spite & take down that resident ghost not paying rent? To avoid this problem: clone a humanoid with no soul / unwilling to return / trapped / moving to The Great Beyond. rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/141441/… \$\endgroup\$ Apr 2, 2020 at 1:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ If the origin-donor does indeed have several clones at the ready you'll have to figure out how to rule it. While the question you linked states there is no RAW ruling, the rulings on the combination / stacking of magical effects can provide an answer. In short, the most potent (in this case, the most recent) use of the spell takes effect first, then the second most potent, and so on. dndbeyond.com/sources/basic-rules/… \$\endgroup\$ Apr 2, 2020 at 6:23

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