I need help finding a creature to play as a player in D&D 3.5. The idea is that it inserts itself into the brains/head/control center of other creatures. I was not able to find any stats for such a creature, but maybe some of you here on this site can help me. If there is nothing (semi-)official like this, then perhaps you can help me write up some stats for this thing. The current idea is that it has it's own mental stats, and some silly-weak physical stats in its natural form (a very small body?), but uses its host's physical stats when it has taken over a body.

It need not be a psionic creature.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Have you cleared this character concept with your GM? If not, you're getting ahead of yourself: they may not accept such a character in their game; and if they're onboard with the idea, your GM may even be able to help by designing such a creature. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 19:37
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ mind/body control (dominate person & magic jar) are 5 level spells. You will likely be taking a fairly large LA for creating such a creature. \$\endgroup\$
    – Colin D
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 19:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Several years back I had a similar idea, but it didn't work out so well. The concept just popped up into my head again, and I want to be able to have something ready in case a suitable session opportunity presents itself sometime in the future. And yes, I probably will be taking a big LA with this. If I can't find any suitable sessions anytime soon to play in, I will perhaps introduce an NPC with something like in a session that I DM, just to check it out. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gameboon
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 22:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ there is also a creature called intellect devourer, it's a bit strong but you should check it out. dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Intellect_Devourer \$\endgroup\$
    – Can Canbek
    Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 7:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hey! That's a pretty awesome creature. I might consider it if I can fit it into a mid to high level party. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gameboon
    Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 11:53

6 Answers 6


Actually, there is a creature in the core D&D 3.5 rules with the ability to possess creatures! The ghost, available to player characters with a level adjustment of +5, has an ability called "malevolence" which allows it to possess any creature.

Simply re-skin the ghost as a parasite instead of an undead. Here's how I'd stat up your parasite:

Start with a kalashtar (Eberron) as the base creature. They're psionic humanoids possessed by spirits, and their racial abilities fit the concept. If you're using psionics but don't have Eberron, you can use the Elan instead.

Apply the ghost template, with the following modifications:

  • Size and Type: The parasite's natural form is Tiny (+2 AC and attack, -8 grapple, +8 Hide, 0 ft. reach). Type is aberration instead of undead. The parasite does not change its hit dice to d12, but retains its Constitution score. It is not incorporeal.
  • Armor Class: In its natural form, the parasite has +4 natural armor in addition to the +2 AC bonus to size. It does not gain these bonuses while possessing a creature. It does not gain deflection bonus to AC.
  • Attack: The parasite has no arms to wield weapons. It can touch non-ethereal creatures normally.
  • Special Attacks: The parasite always gains Malevolence (the ability to possess creatures). It does not gain Manifestation.
  • Special Qualities: The parasite does not gain Turn Resistance. It retains the Rejuvenation ability, which allows it to regrow within 2d4 days from the brain of any dead creature it has used its telepathic mindlink ability with.
  • Skills: Instead of the listed skills, the parasite gains a +8 racial bonus to Bluff, Diplomacy, Disguise and Sense Motive. It also has a +8 size bonus to Hide in its natural form for being Tiny.

Note: You can gain the possession ability at only level adjustment +4 by taking ghost template levels. This is kind of a cheap trick since the ghost level progressions only give skill bonuses at 5th level.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I had not thought about using ghosts yet, and was kinda stuck with parasitical-ish things. Thanks for this, as it gives me another option I might look into now! One thing I was wondering though, what does/can a ghost encounter in the ethereal realm in the meantime? As in, while for example the rest of the party is on the Material Plane. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gameboon
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 22:36
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Gameboon Edited post to add suggested stats for a psionic parasite based on the ghost template. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 23:31

Fiend Folio has numerous “symbionts” that have various influences, up to and including total control, when implanted in a creature’s mind (or elsewhere). The cerebral symbionts, in particular, seem quite appropriate. Eberron Campaign Setting and Magic of Eberron have a few more, as do a few Dragon magazine articles. This Fleshwarping article is a pretty comprehensive list of them.

Note that none of them are considered playable under the rules; they are actually more like (intelligent, organic) items that characters can use. There aren’t official rules for playing as an intelligent item, but people have done it nonetheless; a quick search finds this RPGnet thread and this EN World thread on the subject.

Fiend Folio also has the very interesting Fiend of Possession prestige class, which would fit this character like a glove. Will probably suit your desires better than huge Level Adjustment, too.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The symbionts are reasonably close to what I'm looking for, and I might have some use for an intelligent item as well. Perhaps both of them vying for control of a host? We'll see. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gameboon
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 22:47

The Mother Cyst line of feats from Libris Mortis have a series of necrotic cysts that, eventually, can be used to control people. (As a level 4 spell, you can use Necrotic Domination like dominate person, but for anyone who harbors one of your cysts. Given that a cyst reduces saves, it's quite quite handy as a way of forming a cult.

I see nothing wrong with forming a character around the concept that the mother cyst is "in charge" of the character. And this provides a lovely mind-control route without having to sacrifice huge numbers of levels.

I personally used a Beguiler when I went this route, though if I was going to do this properly, I'd likely use binder/caster (precocious apprentice)/anima mage instead, because Naberius provides so many options for infiltrating a cyst into people.

There also exists Necrotic Tumor, sor/wis/cleric 7 that is permanent domination.


Puppeteers (from the 3.0 Psionics Handbook) are 6-12" leech-like creatures, but they do what you want.

They dominate through a combination of charm and physical contact, and the domination is difficult to break.

Enthrall (Ex)
If a puppeteer is in physical contact with a person it has charmed (the puppeteer establishes a physical hold by means of slender infiltrating tendrils), the subject acts as if dominated. (Puppeteers often seek to charm victims first and then “ask” to be picked up.) So long as the puppeteer remains in contact with the victim, the domination remains in effect, even if a check would normally indicate that the effect is broken.

They use the host's saves and are hard to target separate from their host.

Host Protection (Ex)
A puppeteer in control of a host is treated as an attended magic item for the purpose of making saving throws, even if the puppeteer is specifically targeted. A puppeteer that is attached to its host is treated as a creature in a grapple for the purpose of striking at the puppeteer instead of the host (but the host is not considered grappled in turn).

Puppeteers are physically unimpressive except for the bonuses they get for being Fine creatures.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think Puppeteers carried over to the 3.5e psionics manual, if I remember. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 18:34

Aside from possession like Ghosts and symbiotic like Fiend Folio the best use of parasitic life forms for brain control is Nerve swarms from Dragon Magazines #337:

  • Fine aberration(swarm)
  • Hit Dice 12d8+12 (66hp)
  • Initiative +5
  • Speed: 20ft, burrow 20ft, climb 20ft
  • Armor class 23(+8 size, +5 dex)
  • Base attack +9
  • Attack (Swarm + flesh burrow) ect...

Need less to say its main abilities are once inside it has a number of neat tricks:

  • Once they burrow inside you they can dominate you, cause you pain and cause paralysis.
  • They can control you but it also allows you some resistance to their control and it provides a ton of GM Drama for anyone to have fun with without total ruination of the player who is being controlled, it also allows for a silent take over of a group or organization like Doppler's but no one is being replaced.

Tsochar from Lords of Madness page 121.

  • 8
    \$\begingroup\$ Can you amplify your answer with a discussion of why this is appropriate? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 1:36

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .