Different ways to handle possession


In my campaign, a player created a PC with the trait possessed. I get the basic rules for possessions, but a few doubts emerged after the first sessions:

-While a character is possessed and under the demon’s control, does the demon use the PC stats, or do you substitute some of the stats with the demon’s? I’m thinking of all the movies about possessions, where the possessed characters display great strength and cunning, or even magical powers.
-I haven’t rolled dice while the demon possessed the PC, unless some other PC actually opposed him. Is this ok?

PS: I’ve found another old thread about this same thing from 2012, but it didn’t answer all my questions.

From the Possessed trait, on 341: “The player retains control of [their] character.” While the GM (I assume you) determines the demon’s beliefs and traits, so as to bestow them onto the player character. It’s on the player to actively ‘become possessed’ to make life harder for the fate points and pursue the demon’s goal for the deed. So yeah, the player should always be rolling the dice for their end of any conflict.

EDIT: Since I didn’t really answer your first bullet, my understanding is that the character uses their own stats the whole time. But… If you really want the demon to come through stronger, talk to your player beforehand and maybe you could come up with something you’re both comfortable with. For example, every time they give in to the possession to try and get artha, roll DoF and on a 1 the player loses agency and you (the GM) get control over them for a moment and can do something using a demon stat or ability. Most likely going beyond what the player would have wanted because the demon pushed harder than usual on their host. But as a player, losing agency of your character is a big deal and something not a lot of people are okay with, so definitely talk first if you plan on acting for them.


Regarding demonic traits, in movies the possessed seem to gradually become stronger and stronger? You might have a lot of fun with the PC using some form of the bargaining rules, where the possessed begins to willingly part with themselves in exchange for greater power. Maybe the first trait is for “free” to hook the PC with a taste of what lies ahead?

The Possessed trait has actually changed a little bit in the newest version of the game. Burning Wheel Gold Revised. It now just has the GM write 1 belief, and if you choose to play into it and complete it you get a Deeds point. I’m guessing because the previous version meant you could jockey for Will tests every session.

As for super strength and the like, that should probably be covered by whatever other demonic trait you got from the possession (besides Lawbreaker, which would also cover most of the classic crazy spooky magic, like in The Exorcists or whatever).

But aside from the extra trait you get. I see no implication that you should use the demons stats or skills at any point (except when you’re about to get exorcised perhaps)…

Thanks for the answers!

I didn’t know this trait had changed that much in Gold Revised. I will apply those changes to my campaign, the trait’s easier to handle now. I’ll also probably choose “The tongue” as the trait the player will receive.

The player has narrated by his own initiative how the demon took over him for a certain scene. If he still wants to do so, I might award him 1 fate for using the trait to get in trouble, and have the demon create havoc.

The Tongue is very powerful. Be ready for it.