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In the magic jar spell effects, you can possess a body, which sends the 'life force' or 'soul' to the receptacle/magic jar.

You possess the body and force the creature's soul into the magic jar unless the subject succeeds on a Will save. Failure to take over the host leaves your life force in the magic jar, and the target automatically succeeds on further saving throws if you attempt to possess its body again.

and

If the host body is slain, you return to the magic jar, if within range, and the life force of the host departs (it is dead). If the host body is slain beyond the range of the spell, both you and the host die. Any life force with nowhere to go is treated as slain.

In the witch archetype 'beast-bonded', the ability 'Twin Soul' allows you to possess a body with a touch attack.

They can persist in this state indefinitely, or the guest can return to its own body (if available) by touch, transfer into a suitable vessel (such as a clone), or take over another body as if using magic jar (with no receptacle).

and if you or your familiar dies, you can enter the other's body,

if the witch or her familiar is gravely injured or about to die, the soul of the dying one immediately transfers to the other’s body.


Is it possible to instantly kill an enemy or yourself with this ability, as the life force has no where to go? (If the subject succeeds his save, he can't go to a receptacle, and if he fails, you can't stay in a receptacle that doesn't exist, but when you die, your soul is sent to your familiar, so it doesn't matter anyways.)

I've heard references to abilities using a body as a receptacle, so I can't think of any reason as to why there has to be 'no receptacle'

Also, the text is unclear as to whether a touch is used as the magic jar range, along with transferring to a suitable vessel, along with letting the guest return to it's own body, or if the touch range only applies to returning to the guests body, while magic jar uses its usual range.

Lastly, a 'suitable vessel' isn't clearly defined, it uses 'a clone' as an example, can you kill with magic jar, then use it as a suitable vessel as it didn't take any physical injuries? I assume it's possible to take clones made from other people, due to the wording.

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As written, the witch archetype beast-bonded's supernatural ability twin souls kills a possessed foe

The spell magic jar has a series of clauses making missteps extremely dangerous, both for the possessor and the possessed, but the beast-bonded witch's supernatural ability twin souls changes that effect with three parenthetical words. It says that

...if the witch or her familiar is gravely injured or about to die, the soul of the dying one immediately transfers to the other’s body. The two souls share the surviving body peaceably, can communicate freely, and both retain their ability to think and reason. The host may allow the guest soul to take over the body temporarily or reclaim it as a move action. They can persist in this state indefinitely, or the guest can return to its own body (if available) by touch, transfer into a suitable vessel (such as a clone), or take over another body as if using magic jar (with no receptacle).

Emphasis mine. First, for the ability to activate, the GM must determine that either the witch or the familiar is either gravely injured or about to die (which means, I assume, the creature has the condition dying but ask the GM).1

Assuming the witch activates the special ability twin souls by whittling himself to dying 1 point of damage at a time (the witch doing this to himself rather than to his familiar because the witch needs the familiar to prepare spells), the witch then inhabits the familiar's body as per the description of the ability twin souls and can use an effect like the spell magic jar "with no receptacle."2

What this parenthetical means is deeply unclear. This 2012 thread offers one interpretation. Below I present an alternative that combines the special ability twin souls and the spell magic jar stripped of all references to the receptacle. Such an ability reads...

You can attempt to take control of a nearby body, forcing its soul out of its body, killing it if it has nowhere to go. The spell ends when you send your soul back to your own body.

Attempting to possess a body is a full-round action. It is blocked by protection from evil or a similar ward. You possess the body and force the creature's soul out unless the subject succeeds on a Will save. Failure to take over the host leaves your life force in the current body, and the target automatically succeeds on further saving throws if you attempt to possess its body again.

If you are successful, your life force occupies the host body, and the host's life force is pushed out. You keep your Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma, level, class, base attack bonus, base save bonuses, alignment, and mental abilities. The body retains its Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, hit points, natural abilities, and automatic abilities. A body with extra limbs does not allow you to make more attacks (or more advantageous two-weapon attacks) than normal. You can't choose to activate the body's extraordinary or supernatural abilities. The creature's spells and spell-like abilities do not stay with the body.

If the host body is slain, you die, and the life force of the host departs (it is dead). Any life force with nowhere to go is treated as slain.

If the spell ends while you are in a host, you return to your body (or die, if it is out of range of your current position).

Alternatively, you can take a move action to touch your body to return your life force to it.

...And while that seems crazy, it's not quite as crazy as it sounds. Yes, this magic jar effect is a save-or-die, but a beast-bound witch must be at least level 10 to use this ability, which means save-or-die effects have been available for at least 3 levels (e.g. phantasmal killer). Further, the witch had to render himself dying first to have access to the ability. Also, once the magic jar effect is used successfully, the only way the witch can use the ability again is by rendering the new body dying again, transferring to the familiar, and finding another body to possess; the ability doesn't appear to work while the witch is possessing a creature, but ask the DM. Finally, the duration of the magic jar effect remains: it's 1 hour/level, and the only longer-lasting switch the witch can make is to his own body or a "suitable vessel," a term the GM must also clearly define.

(Remember, too, that once the witch fails to possess an individual, the witch can never possess that individual. That might be a hassle.)

Officially, however, what the ability should do is mysterious and in the GM's hands. Talk with the GM first before attempting to exploit it. Also, I urge you to press the FAQ button on this post—as I did—to encourage Paizo's development team to address the beast-bound witch's twin souls ability in a future FAQ.


1 This GM would rule that an effect that straight-up, flat-out kills the witch or familiar still leaves the witch ding-dong dead, and the twin souls ability goes unused. Being gravely injured or about to die is a thing, but dead is dead. This GM doesn't view the the special ability twin souls as having a kind of limited omniscience, but another GM may. Such is a risky tack to take, however, possibly making a nigh-unkillable character, one that keeps his familiar in a secure yet comfortable lair miles (or continents or planes) away from any direct engagement, and who uses acquired bodies to depart the lair and harry his foe. This is, essentially, a dirt cheap (and likely murderous) variant of astral projection yet 7 levels early.
2 My gut says that with no receptacle should've said using the witch's or the familiar's body as a receptacle yet space constraints forbade that language. But that is totally speculation on my part and isn't what the ability says.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Ouch, badly worded abilities hurt so much in tabletop - or more accurately, court ruling - games compared to everything else. Well, I'll probably be using that ability instead of the default now... \$\endgroup\$ – Teco May 10 '15 at 9:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, and that reminds me, I also interpreted the 'about to die' part as semi-omniscient, as it says 'immediately', so it's safe to assume that it takes no action (immediate action), and therefore you can go to your familiar's body before the killer's turn ends without taking any action. (Poor DM...) \$\endgroup\$ – Teco May 10 '15 at 10:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Teco Badly worded abilities in tabletop gaming hurt less than in electronic gaming; at least there's a GM to prevent the game from crashing. In theory, anyway. :-) And I'd really urge against an unkillable level 10 character unless trying to get the archetype banned. (Also, no action is far different from immediate action, and immediately is often used to mean something other than an immediate action.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 10 '15 at 20:07

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