From an in game standpoint is there anyway for a character to differentiate the two?
Example Wizard Jimbob finds a tome, uses detect magic to see it is magic, goes and picks it up. Battle of wills (normally instant if intelligent item if handler doesn’t align, normally last resort if possessed) happens. Is there a way for Wizard Jimbob to be like hey this is intelligent vs hey this is possessed?
Also I’d imagine a crafty enough possessive entity could make someone think they are an intelligent item to manipulate.
I believe that detect magic allows to distinguish an aura coming from a magic item from an aura from an active spell like magic jar or possession. Additionaly, the aura of these spells can be distinguished as belonging to necromancy school, which most of intelligent items would have.
A crafty possesive entity can mask itself with magic aura spells.
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Ah, thanks, found 'em. For some reason I don't see those rules on AoN so I had to fall back to d20pfsrd (my book is not handy at the moment).
Looks like analyze dweomer would be the typical method of figuring it out, as it should be able to both identify the properties of the magic item and note that the possessor's aura is, in fact, not a property of said item but a separate thing inhabiting it. (This all assumes the possessor failed their Will saving throw.) In contrast, an intelligent item would only have the item's aura, as the intelligence is a property of the item itself.