Author Topic: Can a Pariah be possessed?  (Read 5645 times)

Offline JoelMcKickass

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Can a Pariah be possessed?
« on: January 02, 2011, 02:55:29 PM »
That's really it, does the lack of impact in the warp mean that Daemon's can't gain access to the person body? Does something need a warp presence to be possessed? If that's the case, then doesn't that mean that objects and weapons have a warp presence?
« Last Edit: January 02, 2011, 03:57:50 PM by JoelMcKickass »

Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: Can a Pariah be possessed?
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2011, 03:50:19 PM »
Firstly, it's presence, not prescience. Prescience is seeing the future.

Anyway, yes, objects have some form of warp presence. We know that daemons only see the warp, but they don't go around walking into walls - so they must be able to see the wall, and thus it must have some presence in the warp they can see. A weak one in comparison to a sentient being, but one nonetheless.

I quite like to borrow a concept from "His Dark Materials", where there's the whole concept of Dust/Shadows being attracted to consciousness, and things which it has affected. So to a daemon, a rock would only be faint and dull, but a stone statue would be brighter and more vivid simply because it had been worked, leaving warp "fingerprints" of its maker.

And I would say that Pariahs are (largely) immune to possession. All of a daemon's powers of possession are dependent on the powers of the warp, which just can't affect a Pariah. Really, really powerful daemons might be able to, but I can't see why they'd want to - they would sacrifice a huge amount of their power to do so.

In fact, I'd say that a daemon that even tried might well be destroyed. Pariahs aren't just immune to warp energy, they drain it. They are not nothing in the warp, but a negative. And a daemon being a creature of warp energy, such intense proximity could outright destroy them.
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Offline Kaled

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Re: Can a Pariah be possessed?
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2011, 04:04:33 PM »
What Marco said, remembering of course that there's a whole scale of untouchableness (sigma to omega).  Individuals at the sigma end may well be susceptible to possession, but probably not those at the omega end.
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Offline JoelMcKickass

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Re: Can a Pariah be possessed?
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2011, 04:42:50 PM »
How willing do the daemon and the possessee have to be in order for the possession to be successful?

Eisenhorn traps Cherubael, yet i can't remember if Cherubael was willing or not in Malleus (in Hereticus, it could be argued that Cherubael was willing to escape the prison Eisenhorn had put him in).

If a sigma level Pariah was possessed (unwillingly of course), what would the effects be on the daemon? It'd be limited in most facilities of course, but what about the mental state of the daemon? How would being trapped in a Pariah's body affect the sanity of the daemon?

Mostly i'm just trying to learn more about possession, and how it works. I did have an idea for an unwillingly possessed character, but i'm not really sure which way to go about it, and so if i know more about possession, then i'll be in a better position. Is there any decent reference books i could use?

Offline Kaled

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Re: Can a Pariah be possessed?
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2011, 05:02:19 PM »
Generally I use the term possession to refer to something that is voluntary on the part of the daemon - it chooses to possess a mortal in order to have power in the materium, but such possessions are generally quite temporary.  In many cases the creation of a daemonhost is not something a daemon would volunteer for - it is trapped and bound inside a prison of flesh, controlled by it's bindings.  Of course, some daemons would manipulate a cult into summoning them so they can be bound and exist in the real world, but the binding in that case are very different - designed to keep the daemon in the materium rather than to control it and limit it's power.

So, a daemon that's been bound into a host unwillingly is going to be tortured by the bindings that contain and control it - perhaps even more so if the host is a pariah.  Although again that would depend on the potency of the pariah and also on the details of the binding.  Being a pariah is an attribute of the soul rather than of the body.  If the binding has separated the soul from the body then I don't see that being bound into a pariah would be any more traumatic than being bound into any other human - it's just an empty vessel.  If the daemon and the soul are both stuck in the same body then it would depend on the relative power of the two (but it's not likely to be comfortable for either of them).

Generally I'd say that the host is not likely to be a willing participant, at least not if he truly understands what is about to happen to him...
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Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: Can a Pariah be possessed?
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2011, 07:46:28 PM »
What Marco said, remembering of course that there's a whole scale of untouchableness (sigma to omega).
True, but it's unusual for those much below Omega to be described as Pariahs. The term seems to describe only the most intense psi-negatives.

~~~~~

As far how effective Sigma individuals are, consider they are just the first step on the six inbetween Pi (normal human) and Omega (full Pariah, excluding Omega-minus), so the difference between them and a normal human is probably irrelevant most of the time.
The only real difference is that they'll probably be insensitive to the warp. They won't get that feeling that this funny cup with this eight pointed star on it is probably bad news.

I've got a low level blunt/untouchable character (probably around Upsilion). She's too weak to have any effect on those around her, so she's not unlikeable, but she's usually distant and like I suggest above, she can't perceive build-ups of warp energy. So she doesn't have a gut instinct for a place being tainted - but she's not thick, so she knows that when she's walked into stone circle with arcane runes, sigils and goetic symbols daubed in blood, it's probably time to get out of there.

In game, this means she has a moderate resistance to Telepathy (because of the limited connection between her mind and the warp, but her negativity is not strong enough to affect other powers), is slightly harder for daemons to see and isn't affected by "dread auras" - which loosely that means that abilities like Soulless don't affect her, she treats some cases of Terrifying as only Fearsome and doesn't know that she's walking over an Eldar burial ground.
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Offline JoelMcKickass

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Re: Can a Pariah be possessed?
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2011, 08:20:30 PM »
Isn't it known as the Pariah gene though? If that's correct (i'm going on something i may have half read years ago), then the daemon would effectively be trapped in it's own hell.

Would it be plausible for a daemon to function if it was trapped in the body of a Pariah? A lower level one obviously, but would a powerful daemon be able to function, albeit with massive problems, in the body of a lower level Pariah, and would a lower level daemon exist in a higher level Pariah's body? Even as a tiny voice at the back of the Pariah's head, something that, every now and  then can get a suggestion out to the main psyche, even if it is ignored? Would a daemon who is as equally strong as a Pariah be the same person? Or would that create something new from the two of them?

Written pre Marco's response.

My idea was effectively to create a sort of Nuisance Player Character, a daemon who either once inhabited a Pariah's body, or currently does, and thus has lost what little mind the daemon had. It's sort of a hook to add to a campaign, a daemon character who is unpredictable, and could either be a viscous mouth foaming monstrosity, or fairly convinced that he's a door, and needs to find an empty doorway to fill so he can do his job of being a door. I was just wondering if being in a Pariah's body for a few decades would do that to him, or if he'd slowly gain control?

Offline Kaled

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Re: Can a Pariah be possessed?
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2011, 09:26:43 PM »
True, but it's unusual for those much below Omega to be described as Pariahs. The term seems to describe only the most intense psi-negatives.
In my experience it depends a great deal on the source - some treat the terms untouchable and pariah as being interchangeable, others use pariah as the extreme end of bluntness with untouchable being somewhere between the two.

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I've got a low level blunt/untouchable character (probably around Upsilion).
Around that level (or a point or two towards omega) is where I'd put characters with the Blunt ability (assuming people don't want to make up their own rule).

Would it be plausible for a daemon to function if it was trapped in the body of a Pariah? A lower level one obviously, but would a powerful daemon be able to function, albeit with massive problems, in the body of a lower level Pariah, and would a lower level daemon exist in a higher level Pariah's body? Even as a tiny voice at the back of the Pariah's head, something that, every now and  then can get a suggestion out to the main psyche, even if it is ignored? Would a daemon who is as equally strong as a Pariah be the same person? Or would that create something new from the two of them?
You're asking things that have never really been covered in the canon. How did the daemon end up in the body of a a pariah in the first place? It's not likely to voluntarily possess a pariah - there's likely to be plenty of easier prey out there (plenty of unprotected psykers out there). And attempting to bind a daemon into a pariah is likely to make the process of binding a daemon even more difficult than it already is. Binding a daemon involves a weakening of the barriers between warp and real-space, and the presence of a pariah is going to seriously disrupt that.

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My idea was effectively to create a sort of Nuisance Player Character, a daemon who either once inhabited a Pariah's body, or currently does, and thus has lost what little mind the daemon had.
I don't think sanity is a concept that is really applicable to daemons.  You could have a daemon that acts in a manner that we'd classify as insane, but it wouldn't be insane in the way you're thinking.  A bound daemon is going to be tormented whether it's bound into a pariah, psyker or normal human.

To be honest, I don't think the concept will really fly...
« Last Edit: January 02, 2011, 09:34:04 PM by Kaled »
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Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: Can a Pariah be possessed?
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2011, 04:11:00 AM »
Isn't it known as the Pariah gene though?
To be honest, Pariahs and psykers probably aren't decided on the basis of a single gene. The wide range of abilities would imply that there are a considerable number of genes involved.

Around that level (or a point or two towards omega) is where I'd put characters with the Blunt ability (assuming people don't want to make up their own rule).
I'm not a huge fan of the way the Inquisitor rules represent psi-negatives, so I wrote my own version.

Firstly, I think the blunt rule should have included some resistance to psychic powers.
Secondly, I think by the time you get near Omega, daemons would not have any real trouble telling where the individual was - the nothingness they caused in the warp would stand out.

On this kind of note, reading the Eisenhorn books, I found Abnett's take on untouchables and daemons quite jarring. In short, the daemons seemed to be seeing the mundane world. They could see the untouchables without trouble, could tell the difference between untouchables and didn't seem to know they were untouchable until they got close. Also, simply being around a strong psi-negative should cause a daemon pain - not a "I can't use my powers, but my claws are still plenty sharp" boast.
So anyway, cutting off from yet another "Abnett has desecrated the background" rant...
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Offline Swarbie

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Re: Can a Pariah be possessed?
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2011, 04:20:55 AM »
Just a thought: most daemonhost bindings are supposed to include a rune/sigil that ensures that the host's soul departs before the daemon enters, correct? (Going off the Eisenhorn series here).

But the soul could be defined as the positive impact a person's mind has on the Warp. They can draw energy from the Warp, but they also act as a food-source for daemons and other Warp-entities, both literally (the daemon pops out and consumes their soul) and sort of spiritually (the person knows a certain daemon exists, so their belief in the daemon feeds it power). Pariahs have a negative impact on the Warp; their impact drains energy from Warp-entities and the Warp itself, reducing or nullifying the warp-impact of those around them. Thus, pariahs possess an "anti-soul".

Now, a rune designed to wipe out a person's positive warp-impact to allow a daemon to take over their body could have a very different effect on a pariah. It is possible that the effect of the rune would in fact wipe out any small positive impact the pariah's presence was having or even amplify their negative impact. I think that it is quite possible that attempting to bind a daemon to a pariah's body simply would not work, as the pariah's negativity suddenly grows to a point where it could actually consume the daemon before it materializes. Only the strongest daemons could withstand a powerful pariah being boosted in such a way, and would have their powers temporarily (while bound) or even permanently (after release from the host) diminished. A greater daemon could have their own energy absorbed to the point where they have the powers of a minor imp while bound and would struggle to compete against a lesser daemon once released.

And, of course, all daemon summonings require some level of psychic activity. The presence of a pariah would make completing the ritual very difficult, and many cultists might not realise that the summons failed because of the host.

Overall, I think it would be unlikely for a daemon to be bound to a pariah's body. However, I just had a thought: an Inquisitor realises the boosting effect of binding rituals on a pariah's abilities and sets off to permanently destroy every daemon encountered by the Ordo Malleus. Armed with a Grimoire of True Names and the most powerful pariah he could find, he sets off on his quest. The rituals take place over a course of years, and as the pariah consumes and diminishes more and more daemons, and is exposed to more and more banishing runes, his power grows. Eventually, his impact has grown to a point where his powers are unknowable, and nurtured within the black-hole of his Warp presence, an infant anti-Warp-entity slumbers . . .

EDIT:
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On this kind of note, reading the Eisenhorn books, I found Abnett's take on untouchables and daemons quite jarring. In short, the daemons seemed to be seeing the mundane world. They could see the untouchables without trouble, could tell the difference between untouchables and didn't seem to know they were untouchable until they got close. Also, simply being around a strong psi-negative should cause a daemon pain - not a "I can't use my powers, but my claws are still plenty sharp" boast.


Well, the daemons presented are daemon-hosts, they could simply be using their host's eyesight, especially if some subtle part of the binding accidentally prevented them from connecting to the Warp properly. As for the pain thing, it's entirely plausible that daemons have a much higher pain threshold than anything on the material plane; they probably felt the pain, but concealed it to appear more intimidating and to fool Eisenhorn as to the extent of an untouchable's effects on them.

Cause if he'd found out how weak they felt around psi-negatives, he would have used that against them. He's that kind of guy. 
« Last Edit: January 03, 2011, 04:26:30 AM by Swarbie »
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Offline MarcoSkoll

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Re: Can a Pariah be possessed?
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2011, 05:00:37 AM »
And, of course, all daemon summonings require some level of psychic activity.
That's sorcerous activity - important difference. Still, a Pariah would interfere with that.

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Well, the daemons presented are daemon-hosts, they could simply be using their host's eyesight
That would seem logical, but I'm pretty sure I've seen examples that show that daemonhosts still have only the warp-sight.
Perhaps a daemon simply cannot interpret sight as a sense, and they can no more know what yellow looks like than you can know what the 4th space dimension looks like, in a direction perpendicular to all the ones we can see. (Don't try imagining that, it's a good way to get a headache.)

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They probably felt the pain, but concealed it to appear more intimidating and to fool Eisenhorn as to the extent of an untouchable's effects on them.
Pain is usually more than just a feeling - it's an indicator of damage. It actually injures daemons to be around a psi-negative, as it's eroding their warp stuff. (Much like sticking my hand in boiling water is painful because it's eroding my flesh stuff).

And the pain tolerance of a daemon is unimportant- we have no reference for equivalent pain. But what we do know is that it's painful enough to hurt them, incapacitate them, even kill them.

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Cause if he'd found out how weak they felt around psi-negatives, he would have used that against them. He's that kind of guy.
You mean "An Inquisitor"?
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Offline Swarbie

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Re: Can a Pariah be possessed?
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2011, 06:20:07 AM »
I'm sure that there is an Inquisitor out there somewhere that, upon learning on the effect psi-negatives have on daemonhosts, would actually avoid bringing the two together. A Radical attempting to get the best, most willing results out of a long-bound servant, for example.
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Offline JoelMcKickass

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Re: Can a Pariah be possessed?
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2011, 04:17:19 AM »
I've been reading Nemesis lately, the Horus Heresy novel, and it appears a character is a Pariah (he out Pariah's a Culexus, so i'd say an Omega too), who has been possessed, and it would appear as though rather than being totally taken over, they live in a sort of harmony. He was a sociopathic nutcase to begin, the daemon just makes him better at killing.

Offline Ynek

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Re: Can a Pariah be possessed?
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2011, 04:04:05 PM »
In short, the daemons seemed to be seeing the mundane world.

In the book 'Daemon world', there's reference to the fact that Daemons CAN see the mundane world, but only if they CHOOSE to see it that way. They just consider it to be an experience which is below them. However, this information is only as reliable and 'canon' as Ben Counter, the author of the book. (Of whom I have limited experience.)

The exact passage to which I am referring: "To Lady Charybdia's jaded eyes, people all looked the same, unless she forced her senses down to a normal, mortal level."

However, on the subject of a daemon possessing a pariah...

As I understand it, a Daemon's power comes directly from their patron chaos entity, which is an effectively limitless source of power, provided that their patron deity "likes" them at the time. So, if a daemon decided he wanted to possess a pariah, for whatever reason, he would most likely need the backing of his Chaos God.

In theory, if a daemon possessing a pariah is like a bucket with a hole in it (the hole representing the pariah's warp-energy draining abilities) and the water in the bucket represents the daemon's power, then the Chaos God's backing would be akin to using a garden hose to continuously 'top up' the bucket. So, the amount of energy required to keep the daemon in the pariah host would be relative to the strength of the pariah (the size of the hole in the bucket). Just how long the Chaos God is willing to keep topping up the bucket is another matter entirely, and the daemon would have to have done a very good job convincing the Chaos God why the possession of the pariah was necessary, instead of possessing someone more.... suitable.

So, on that note, it's probably only likely to happen in the absolute most necessary and unlikely circumstances (Such as - the fourteenth black crusade will fail unless shield generator X on Cadia goes offline, but the only person within a hundred miles of that shield generator is a pariah, and for some reason, the daemons cannot manifest their own temporary physical forms near the generator, but can possess people.... Like I said, it's very unlikely), and even then, only the most powerful or foolhardy daemons would ever attempt it.

Additionally, in Eisenhorn, there is mention of a rune used in binding daemons to hosts which removes the soul. (He used it to banish Basian Verveuk's soul before forcing Cheubael into his corpse.) It is not entirely unfeasable that such runes MIGHT be able to remove a pariah's 'negative' soul, but I think that might be a bit of a stretch, considering that these runes are psychic in nature.

Perhaps a daemon simply cannot interpret sight as a sense, and they can no more know what yellow looks like than you can know what the 4th space dimension looks like, in a direction perpendicular to all the ones we can see. (Don't try imagining that, it's a good way to get a headache.)
I like to interpret the 'uninterpretable' dimensions as being like a TV screen or photograph (which shows a 2D image, with the illusion of being a 3D image) To move on the X axis would move you to the left or right of the screen, to move on the Y axis would move you to the top or bottom of the screen, to move on the Z axis would move you into the background or foreground of the screen, and to move on the hypothetical W axis, you would actually be coming out of the screen towards the viewer in a manner similar to Sadako in the Japanese hit movie 'Ring'. And when you consider that the universe exists in eleven dimensions, and we can only interpret four of them, you can imagine just how complicated things can get.

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They probably felt the pain, but concealed it to appear more intimidating and to fool Eisenhorn as to the extent of an untouchable's effects on them.
And the pain tolerance of a daemon is unimportant- we have no reference for equivalent pain. But what we do know is that it's painful enough to hurt them, incapacitate them, even kill them.

True... But that's all relative to the strength of the psy-negative and the daemon in question. It's a bit like spider bites in the real world. Most humans will survive a tarantula bite, but won't survive the bite of a black widow. However, a weak human (such as a child or elderly person) might not survive a tarantula bite.

Similarly, Daemons might feel the presence of a pariah, and be hurt by it, but not necessarily harmed in any serious way. To a being like Cherubael (who was able to crush a warlord titan like a tin can, as I recall), the psychic negativity of someone like Bequin (whose mind, in spite of her psychic negativity, was crushed like a tin can by that same warlord titan, as I recall) would probably be less than a nettle sting.

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Offline Necris

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Re: Can a Pariah be possessed?
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2011, 11:11:14 PM »
I've been reading Nemesis lately, the Horus Heresy novel, and it appears a character is a Pariah (he out Pariah's a Culexus, so i'd say an Omega too), who has been possessed, and it would appear as though rather than being totally taken over, they live in a sort of harmony. He was a sociopathic nutcase to begin, the daemon just makes him better at killing.

Yes Spear is an oddity supposedly the ultimate pariah (He is called a black pariah and was created by the cullexus) he is shrouded in a daemonic entity that acts as a second skin which I would have thought would have been impossible (with him being a pariah) however throughout the whole book the cullexus are referred to a psykers and are described as using psychic powers

it was a rather confusing book to read (entertaining yet confusing)

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