Puppeteer
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Nature: Creature
Type: Magical Beast
Subtype: Psionic

Alignment: Lawful Evil
Size: Fine
CR: 1

Notable Appearances:
●5.4 "Cracking Down on Crime"
●6.4 "All Glory To The Hypno-toad"
●7.3 "A Terrible Thing to Waste"

See Also: Flesh Harrower

Description: This four-inch-long leech has no discernible anatomy or sensory organs. With large, fleshy bodies, puppeteers resemble overgrown and slightly purple slugs.

Information: Puppeteers are psionic parasites that vicariously experience the lives of their victims by taking control of their bodies and minds.

To establish control over a victim (now called a "host"), a puppeteer attaches to the host’s skin in a spot hidden by fur, hair, or clothing. It draws nutrients from the host’s blood, but since it is so small, its requirements are minimal. Only when 20 or more puppeteers ride a single host - a rare occurrence indeed - is the host’s health directly threatened.

Puppeteers seek to secretly infect the societies of other creatures and take control of them so as to ensure a continuous supply of bodies. They do not talk out loud, though they can speak indirectly by using a host body’s vocal cords in whatever language the host knows, and if they're within 20 feet they can communicate telepathically (though they prefer not to, since this reveals that they exist, and have some mental powers).

Puppeteers seek out suitable slaves and then bring these hosts back to their communal hive-nests. Most will drop down onto a passerby from a tree or precipe, or use their psionic powers to coerce a target, mentally asking them to come pick up the seemingly harmless slug. Once they establish physical contact, the puppeteer takes over its host by inserting very thin infiltrating tendrils into the flesh of the target.

Puppeteers use their psi-like abilities in conjunction with "enthrall", their innate ability to physically take direct control over a host body they're attached to. Once it is in control, a puppeteer almost exclusively relies on the host’s mental and physical abilities, although it can use its own powers to enhance their host's effectiveness in a particularly dangerous situation. Puppeteers are most commonly encountered when secretly riding hosts, their presence hidden from their opponents.

It is not in their nature to be violent or to seek out conflict, as they're cautious and heavily focused on self-preservation. If attacked they prefer to charm one of their assailants to gain a defendant, so the puppeteer itself can get a chance to flee.

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