A séance is a ritual used to communicate with spiritual forces. While mainly used to contact the departed, a séance can also be used to connect with celestials and fiends, as well as elemental and fey spirits.
In order to conduct a séance, a spellcaster or power manifester must open itself to being inhabited by the spirit, or have an object, such as a spirit board, for the spirit to interact. A séance has intrinsic risks to the participants. With the proper tools, anyone can entice the attention of the spirits, but the chance for failure and disaster are much greater.
Enticing a Spirit
For a séance to have a reasonable chance for success, the spirit sought must be offered something to seize its attention. The most commonly used object to entice a spirit is a personal belonging; this is used especially in communicated with the dead and undead. Offerings of incense, provisions, and other objects valuable to the specific spirit sought work well for enticing celestials, fey, and fiends. Other offerings may work, as determined by the DM for a particular spirit.
A séance can be held with a general offering that could appeal to more than one spirit. This presents a serious risk of enticing the wrong spirit, including a naturally hostile one.
Conducting the Séance
To successfully contact a spirit the conductor of the séance must succeed on a DC 30 check using its power or spell attack modifier. If the séance conductor expends a spell slot of 3rd level or higher or at least 5 power points, it gains a +8 bonus to this roll. Providing an offering further increases the chance of successfully contacting a spirit by +5. If the conductor is neither a spellcaster or power manifester, it can use a séance tool, such as a sprit board, to contact a spirit, allowing it to add its Charisma bonus to check. Other creatures can participate in a séance to increase the chance of communication; for each creature participating in addition to the conductor, the check is made with a +1 bonus to a maximum of +5 for six or more participants in the séance.
If this check succeeds, the spirit will enter the conductor’s or a participant’s body to communicate (its choice). The conductor can attempt to force the spirit to inhabit a specific participant by succeeding on a saving throw against the spirits possession save DC or 10 if it doesn’t have one. The spirit will speak though the body of the creature it enters, using the creature’s voice or its own. If a spiritual communication tool is provided, such as a spirit board, the spirit will instead interact with it and not enter a creature’s body.
Each round, the séance conductor or a participant can ask the spirit a question and it will answer how it chooses, but will always answer as long as the séance hasn’t failed. If more than one question is posed to it in a single round, it will only answer the one it chooses.
An enticed spirit’s attitude is neutral if it was provided an appropriate offering, otherwise it will be hostile. If a participant has a strong, friendly bond with the spirit, its attitude may be friendly as decided by the DM.
The séance will last for a number of minutes equal to the conductor’s spellcasting or manifesting ability modifier (minimum 1 minute) or until the spirit is dismissed. If a spirit isn’t dismissed, it will linger in the area and may attack.
Once each minute, a spirit with the ability to possess a creature can attempt to possess a creature whose body it inhabits. If the conductor or the target is a spellcaster or power manifester, it has advantage on this saving throw, as long as the séance hasn’t failed. The conductor can choose to make the saving throw for the participant, but this must be decided at the start of the séance.
At the end of each minute during the séance, a new check must be made to continue the séance. The check’s DC is 5 less than the check made to start the séance. If this check fails, the spirit is freed and can choose to linger in the area; a hostile spirit is likely to attack or harass the séance members.
Dismissing the Spirit
The successful end a séance requires one of two ends. In the best case, the spirit departs amicably when dismissed. In most cases, the conductor uses its action to dismiss the spirit and must succeed on a saving throw against the spirit’s possession save DC or 10 if it doesn’t have one. It gains a +1 bonus for each participant (to a maximum of +5) and a +2 if using a spirit board or similar tool. The dismissal spell will also dismiss a spirit without a save.
If the spirit isn’t dismissed, it can choose to linger and can attack.