Supplement Review: Playing Possessor (4E) by Rick Martin from Rattlesn@ke Games

Body snatchers. Demonic possession. Schizophrenia. Mind control. It’s time to get out the tin foil hats folks. Somebody’s out to get you… But what happens if it’s you trying to snatch the body?

Rick Martin at Rattlesn@ke Games has a solution with Playing Possessor for your 4E game. Though short, the PDF details some intriguing options to explore if you’re a disembodied spirit on leave a body. If you’ve ever had a PC die prematurely in a campaign and not had any options to bring them back from the dead, the idea of a ghostly PC who can possess a newly dead or still living body has definite possibilities!

What I really like about this supplement is the way its laid out… Martin starts with a bit of background on why you might want to play a “possessor” and what qualities you might possess as someone who exists as one. But he goes beyond that, offering tips on how to play a possessor and really get into the mind of a being who exists only in spirit form. And then he focuses on the inevitable death of such a character and how they might survive such an event.

The possibilities for both PCs and NPCs are largely endless. I can imagine scenarios like one mentioned in the book for the kobold rogue who lives on as a spiritual being until he charges headlong into an adventurer at the scene… and walks out. What if one of these “possessors” encounters the party a few times in one body as an NPC and then encounters them again in another body later on? Remember the movie Fallen with Denzel Washington? Or The Tale of the Body Thief by Anne Rice? Imagine a body-hopping villain or trickster tormenting a group of PCs in a campaign the same way!

The rest of the book deals with feats for the Heroic, Paragon, and Epic Tiers, including a Paragon Path. The more powerful a possessor becomes, the more power they can wield. From simply possessing a foe and blending in once you assume the role of the body you inhabit… to becoming incorporeal in combat. And then there are all the cool powers – from Spirit Tendrils (think mini-Cthulhu), Warp Will (mind control of your enemies), Guide the Strike (take control of a foe’s arm to direct a blow meant for a friend onto a foe), and more…

The Tale of the Body Thief

Image via Wikipedia

So now let’s talk about page layout and graphics a little bit. Beyond the cover from artist Ralph Grubbs that Martin colorized there really isn’t any art to speak of. The layout is in landscape mode, which works to broaden the three columns a bit. And really I think it works pretty well for the content.

I would really have liked to have seen something indicating that this book was from Rattlesnake Games on the cover and on the copyright page. And I would have liked to have had a hyperlinked table of contents as well as a bit of a “summary of purpose” for the book. The content just dives right into what it is to be a possessor, and though I appreciate the direct approach I might have liked a little forward just to more gently get us into the world of the body snatcher.

Honestly however, Playing Possessor is a solid product that offers some intriguing ideas to explore in many 4E campaigns. Who knows? The next body you meet in a game may not be possessed by its original owner!

For more about Rattlesn@ke Games, check out their website. And be sure to pick up a copy of Playing Possessor at RPGNow!

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