Part of the description of the Ghost's possession ability says:

[The ghost] retains its Alignment, Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma, and immunity to being charmed and frightened. It otherwise uses the possessed target's statistics, but doesn't gain access to the target's knowledge, class features, or proficiencies.

Since it does not gain the target's proficiencies, it may not be proficient with the weapon the target wields.

(The description of the ghost does not specify whether or not it has any weapon proficiencies. RAW I would rule that it has no weapon proficiencies, but as a DM I would probably rule that this would depend on what the creature's proficiencies were in life.)

If the ghost is not proficient with the weapon, I assume it can still use it using the creature's relevant attribute (strength or dex) but without adding their proficiency bonus.

Now, what if the weapon is a magic weapon that is attuned to the possessed creature?

DMG p. 136 on attunement:

Some magic items require a creature to form a bond with them before their magical properties can be used.

Can the ghost use the attuned body it is possessing to use the weapon? If not, what happens if it tries? For example, let's imagine that a PC is wielding an attuned sunblade, and has already caused the the blade to spring into existence when the ghost possesses his body. What happens if the ghost tries to attack using that weapon?

I think it's clear that the ghost can't bring the blade into existence, or dismiss it, or change the radius of its light. But can it swing it like any other sword? And if so, does it get the sword's +2 to hit? (I think not, that is a magical property of the sword.) And what kind of damage does the sword do? (The fact that it does radiant damage is also a magical property of the sword, but I can't imagine it doing any other kind of damage.)

So does the sword just turn into a flashlight in the hands of the possessed creature, or does it function as a sword to some degree?


1 Answer 1


... the creature gains an intuitive understanding of how to activate any magical properties of the item, including any necessary command words.

The ghost has not done this and so lacks the "intuitive understanding". The brain/soul/mind/whatever inhabiting the body is not the one that did the attunement.

Without becoming attuned to an item that requires attunement, a creature gains only its non magical benefits, unless its description states otherwise.

The ghost is not attuned to the item so it functions as a non-magical item of that type.

The sun blade (aka light sabre) would vanish leaving only the hilt. The ghost could use this as an improvised weapon with no magical bonuses if it wants.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not convinced that the blade would vanish. It usually takes an explicit action to dismiss the blade. The weapon is still in the hands of the creature attuned to it. The creature's brain is still there; it's just no longer in control of the body. The possessed/attuned character can't take the action to dismiss the blade. The ghost doesn't know how. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 15, 2016 at 22:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PurpleVermont what happens to the blade if I let go of it? \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Commented Feb 15, 2016 at 22:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ It doesn't say what happens if the attuned user of a sunblade puts it down. There's no reason to assume it automatically extinguishes. Plus... the attuned use doesn't let go of it. The brain is still there (but in input only mode) and the body is still there. The sword may not be able to tell that the brain it is attuned to is not currently controlling the body that it is attuned to and that is still holding it. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 2:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ Attunement also doesnt say anything about what happens to possessed or dominated people. I think the only time you would have a problem with this is if the item was sentient, because it might recognize that the person it is attuned to has been possessed. Other than that, theres nothing under attunement, possession or domination that speaks to breaking the bond that was previously formed. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 18:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree with Lino here. Unless item is sentient, let it work like before. Why? Recomputing everything is splitting hair, would slow down the game, and hint too much at what is really happening. The general RAI and RAD (Rule of Drama) idea of possession, is that you can't easily tell that your friend is possessed, or you have to fight him, both which could become trivial if his best items stop working. I see Attunement as like you (soul) plugging a monitor (item) to your PC (body), installing all drivers. If someone knocks you out and takes your place at your PC, the monitor still works ok. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pat
    Commented Dec 3, 2020 at 1:58

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