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Magic Jar vs "Binding Spell"


Rules Questions


Hi,

Just curious about how it works...

I was DM and a wizard used a Magic Jar to possess a devil. The devil was binded to protect an area he cannot left, and the wizard was outside this area.

So how it works this:

¿Can the wizard possess the devil? Because the soul of the devil will go to the gem outside his binded area.

If this is ok, ¿can the wizard inside the possessed creature go outside the binded area that the devil cannot leave?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Seems like one for the GM, as the rules don't adequately cover said scenario. If you're the GM, make a ruling that seems to make sense and that promotes "fun" for you and your players and move on.

Try not to dwell on it too hard.


The devil does not have a soul. For outsiders their souls and bodies are one unit, unlike other creatures.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
wraithstrike wrote:
The devil does not have a soul. For outsiders their souls and bodies are one unit, unlike other creatures.

How does that interact with spells like Magic Jar do you think?


The spell should not work on an outsider. It has no soul to remove, and the two can not be separated.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
wraithstrike wrote:
The spell should not work on an outsider. It has no soul to remove, and the two can not be separated.

Well, I'm of the opinion that it SHOULD work on ANY creature, since target line is "one creature." Heck, it doesn't even have to be alive or sentient. You can magic jar a skeleton as easily as you could an ooze. (As far as I'm concerned.)


Ravingdork wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
The spell should not work on an outsider. It has no soul to remove, and the two can not be separated.
Well, I'm of the opinion that it SHOULD work on ANY creature, since target line is "one creature." Heck, it doesn't even have to be alive or sentient. You can magic jar a skeleton as easily as you could an ooze. (As far as I'm concerned.)

The line just says who you can target, not who it can work on. I can target an undead with a fort save spell. That does not mean it will do anything.


As an example:

Quote:

Dominate Monster

School enchantment (compulsion) [mind-affecting]; Level sorcerer/wizard 9

Target one creature

This spell functions like dominate person, except that the spell is not restricted by creature type.

Undead are immune to mind-affects though, so while you can target them it does not mean they will be affected.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The difference is that undead and similar creatures specifically state that they are immune to mind-affecting effects. I'm not even sure it's an inherent property to being mindless.

Outsiders don't say anywhere that they are immune to Majic Jar, or having their sould tampered with in other ways.


Magic Jar also does not say it can bypass the fact that the body and would of an outsider are one unit. You keep wanting to apply the separate body/soul aspect of humanoids to outsiders. You can no more do that, than you can apply the single body/soul aspect of outsiders to a humanoid. With outsiders there is no body and soul.


As far as skeletons go, they don't even have souls. They are nothing but a reanimated object(corpse), so no magic jarring them either.


It's pretty much how the Shadow Demon can possess people. It's usage of magic jar puts its own soul into a creature. Although, I do wish they were a bit more clear with it...


The Shadow Demon version is not written well since it does not have a magic jar to put itself into. It basically just takes over the host body. The ability should have just been called "possession" or something similar. The spell version actually forces the victim's soul into the "magic jar".

Shadow Lodge

Ravingdork wrote:

The difference is that undead and similar creatures specifically state that they are immune to mind-affecting effects. I'm not even sure it's an inherent property to being mindless.

Outsiders don't say anywhere that they are immune to Majic Jar, or having their sould tampered with in other ways.

This is a good point, and also Magic Jar doesn't in any way indicate that it fails if a creature's soul is inseparable form its body, even though it raises the issue:

Magic Jar wrote:
While in the magic jar, you can sense and attack any life force within 10 feet per caster level (and on the same plane of existence). You do need line of effect from the jar to the creatures. You cannot determine the exact creature types or positions of these creatures. In a group of life forces, you can sense a difference of 4 or more HD between one creature and another and can determine whether a life force is powered by positive or negative energy. (Undead creatures are powered by negative energy. Only sentient undead creatures have, or are, souls.)

Since it remarks that there are some sentient undead creatures that are souls, with no separate body, and does not remark that you are unable to target these creatures, I would assume that Magic Jar would still work in some form for these creatures. However, it would be reasonable for the DM to add some sort of complication as long as he gives you warning. For example, a good-aligned caster occupying a body made from evil takes a negative level, as if they were wielding an unholy weapon. Or you might need to make a Will save or have your alignment temporarily shift towards evil. This isn't RAW, but it would make sense for me.

As for the effect of the binding, if it's a simple compulsion that prevents the devil from voluntarily leaving the area, you should be able to involuntarily move him into the Magic Jar no problem. In this case the compulsion probably should not affect you while you are in the Devil's body since the compulsion is on the devil's mental being, not on yours (though this falls into one of the possible complications due to the soul-body problem). If the binding is powerful enough to prevent the devil from involuntarily leaving the area, this would fail. Depending on DM ruling, the spell could fizzle or you could displace the devil's consciousness but leave it wandering within the bound area rather than reaching the Magic Jar.

In short, it's a tricky issue that the rules can't fully resolve. Ask your DM and be prepared for your character to make some Knowledge checks to figure out the likely effect.

EDIT: Interesting. Typo left out the 'f' in 'shift' and the forum auto-censored.


It is quiet simple. The rule is that the body and soul are one unit. If Magic Jar wants to bypass that limitation it needs specific language that allows it to do so.

I will give an example, assuming all of you have seen the cartoon Transformers.

There are robots known as combiners. Examples are Devastator and Brutucus. These are made from 5 smaller robots combine to form one large robot. If they are significantly damaged they can be broken down into their individual robot forms. This works because the combiner robot is the sum of smaller parts. This is my comparison to creatures that consist of a body and soul as two separate things.

You can't do that to a normal transformer because it is just one unit. There are no smaller or separate units to break it down into. That is also how outsiders are. The soul is the body, and the body is the soul.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I really don't think that undead and outsiders are NOT immune to the spell. If a GM wants to say ripping a soul from an outsider's body, being one unit, is akin to ripping the arm off a humanoid (traumatic to say the least), than that's all well and good. However, I believe that saying it can't be done at all is a house rule.

I suppose we won't really know for sure the intent of the rule short of developer input.


How can you take the soul out when the soul is the body, and the body is the soul? They are one in the same. Skeletons, and zombies don't even have souls. You can't take what someone does not have. Liches keep theirs in a phylactery so targeting them does no good. Vampire, ghouls, and similar monsters are a question mark though. When you create them are they reanimated with negative energy or does it call their original soul back to them?

Let us see what the book says.

Create Undead wrote:
A much more potent spell than animate dead, this evil spell allows you to infuse a dead body with negative energy to create more powerful sorts of undead: ghouls, ghasts, mummies, and mohrgs. The type or types of undead you can create are based on your caster level, as shown on the table below.

They are powered by negative energy, not souls.

The spell clearly requires a soul.

PS:Vampires are not on that list so I am curious as to how that would work. RAW there is nothing saying they are powered by negative energy instead of a soul. I will check the interwebs to see if something can be found for them.

edit:My reading of the rules has always been that unless an exception is mentioned a rule can't be broken. As an example you get an AoO if someone tries a combat maneuver, but that does not allow you to break the rule saying you must be threatening the opponent. Since that section does not say you get to make an AoO against an opponent you don't threaten then you can't. By the same logic this spell does not say you can treat the outsider as if its body and soul are separate.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
wraithstrike wrote:
How can you take the soul out when the soul is the body, and the body is the soul? They are one in the same.

Magic.


Ravingdork wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
How can you take the soul out when the soul is the body, and the body is the soul? They are one in the same.
Magic.

LOL. You know what I mean. Even magic needs permission to break the rules. :)


5 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

The spell's description (which is a right mess), intermixes "soul" (which some creatures are, and others don't have at all) with "life force" (which all creatures have, otherwise they'd be inanimate objects). I imagine that since Devils can't be stripped of a soul, it is instead their "life force" that gets forced into the jar.


Good point VRMH. I still don't think undead have a life force, but that does not matter except for this spell. FAQ time it is.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Undead have a life force, it's just of a different kind.


There is no rules quote for that. :)

Personally only locking undead or constructs is not that bad.

I am curious as to what the devs intended though.

Star Voter 2013

Well a hungry ghost monk can at 11th level steal life force from non living things.

Unwilling shield uses the targets life force and should be usable on undead. Shadow projection uses the casters life force and doesn't list a non undead requirement for the caster.

While certain spells like chill touch and death knell reference life force and can only be used on living creatures.

Do we need a life force FAQ?

Star Voter 2013

Looking at the evolution of the language of the spell:

The original version back in Dungeons & Dragons, Volume 1, Men & Magic, pp.28-29, referred to the caster's "life force" and "spirit", but never considered the issue of the target.

1st edition AD&D (Player's Handbook, p.81) moves this to "life force" throughout, but again is solely in reference to the caster. That non-use of either soul or spirit makes sense because the edition actually mechanically distinguished souls (which, for example, humans had) from spirits (which, for example, elves had).

The mention of "life force" for targets was added in AD&D 2nd (Player's Handbook, pp.169-170 in the earlier printings, p.216 in the later), and there specifically included "negative" ones, which would indicate it worked on undead.

Then, in D&D 3rd (Player's Handbook, p.224), some but not all of the "life force" references were replaced with "soul" references. This version still specifically references positive and negative life forces (the undead having the latter), but clarifies that "Only sentient undead creatures have, or are, souls". This wording remains for 3.5 and Pathfinder.

Since the spell goes to the trouble to distinguish intelligent and non-intelligent undead, deliberately says intelligent undead have souls, and the spell is not labeled "mind-affecting", it would seem to be the intent of the soul language added in 3rd is that, in fact, you can use it to posses intelligent undead, but not mindless undead (since they don't have souls). You can argue that back and forth as to whether the wording actually does that as written, but the addition of the soul distinction between types of undead doesn't make sense unless it was specifically intended.

That leaves the question of whether you can posses intelligent incorporeal undead (who would not have a corpus to seize), or outsiders (whose soul and body are a single unit). I would say definitely not in the case of incorporeal undead; logic and common sense say you can't seize a body that doesn't exist.

On outsiders? The explicit soul=body claim is not in the 3rd edition SRD; so there's no particular reason to expect that you couldn't magic jar an outsider in 3rd. But that declaration was made for 3.5; does that make magic jar no longer work? I wonder if anybody even thought as to how the declaration might possibly interact with the spell.

Shadow Lodge

Actually, I think you can Magic Jar an incorporeal undead. You force their soul into the Jar, but since they have no body to take over you end up a bodiless soul yourself for the duration. Remember, the spell mentioned undead that "are" souls, presumably the incorporeal undead such as ghosts, and doesn't say you can't target them.

The outsider issue does feel like it's an unintended problem caused by edition changes. It doesn't say they're immune anywhere (and should state so explicitly if they are), but it doesn't make logical sense for the spell to work normally if there really is zero distinction between an outsider's body and its soul.

Maybe add the Wizard's soul to the outsider, but fail to push the outsider out? Make him struggle for control, or at least have the outsider fully aware of everything and commenting on it?

Star Voter 2013

Weirdo wrote:
Actually, I think you can Magic Jar an incorporeal undead. You force their soul into the Jar, but since they have no body to take over you end up a bodiless soul yourself for the duration.

The action the spell lets you take isn't forcing another soul into the jar; the action it lets you take is "attempting to posses a body", and you don't force a target's soul into the jar unless and until you've taken over the target's body. If the target doesn't have a body, obviously you can't posses the body, so you never have the chance to push the target's soul anywhere.

One could make the argument that the incorporeal have an incorporeal body that you can posses. That seems rather strange to me, because the literal meaning of incorporeal is "not having a body".

Shadow Lodge

Actually, the spell refers repeatedly both to possessing a body and imprisoning the target's soul within a jar. It's not clear that the lack of the former implies it is impossible to attempt the latter.

There's also the line stating "you can sense and attack any life force within 10 feet per caster level," not "you can possess any body within 10 feet per caster level."

There's also the fact that it states "Only sentient undead creatures have, or are, souls." Since it doesn't distinguish between the ability to target undead that have souls (and bodies) and those that are souls (and have no bodies), it seems likely you are intended to be able to target incorporeal undead, forcing their soul into the Jar.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Adriel Naur wrote:

Hi,

Just curious about how it works...

I was DM and a wizard used a Magic Jar to possess a devil. The devil was binded to protect an area he cannot left, and the wizard was outside this area.

So how it works this:

¿Can the wizard possess the devil? Because the soul of the devil will go to the gem outside his binded area.

If this is ok, ¿can the wizard inside the possessed creature go outside the binded area that the devil cannot leave?

It doesn't work because the soul of a true outsider is one with it's body.


James Jacobs answered Ravingdork's questions about this.

Here and here.

Hopefully that helps your decision OP. Remember it's not an official Paizo answer, but it's from someone with a great deal of experience with the rules and GMing. So take that as you will.

Silver Crusade

Both those links are broken. For me anyway.


They should work now. Not sure why they broke *shrug*

Silver Crusade

Odraude wrote:
They should work now. Not sure why they broke *shrug*

yep, that did it. Thx


There is also a hidden link in there. Hehehe...

Silver Crusade

Odraude wrote:
There is also a hidden link in there. Hehehe...

I don't know what I just watched...


Mwuahahaha

Dark Archive

Odraude wrote:

James Jacobs answered Ravingdork's questions about this.

Here and here.

Hopefully that helps your decision OP. Remember it's not an official Paizo answer, but it's from someone with a great deal of experience with the rules and GMing. So take that as you will.

Hmm, that's odd..., he specifically stated that it did work on Demons and devils the last time this was asked. and that was outside of the ask james thread where it WAS considered an official answer.

magic jar & demons

Outsiders and souls wrote:


deinol wrote:

Does anyone have examples of demons or devils using Magic Jar in an adventure or source book?

Shadow demons can use magic jar as a spell-like ability.

And demonic possession is all over the place, so I'd say that demons/devils/all outsiders can use (and be used by) magic jar. They can in PFRPG and in Golarion, in any case.


I think ours was in terms of someone using it on a demon/devil. And in my first link, he does mention that he'd probably allow it with Outsiders.

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