Not to be confused with The Puppet Master
This Horror Trope is a subtrope of Body Snatchers and Body Horror. Some sort of alien or supernatural creature takes over the minds or bodies of large numbers of people, ranging from most of a town all the way up to an entire planet. Typically the monsters are some sort of worm, grub, or plant, which can't defend itself without using a human body. If the authorities just detected the problem soon enough, it could have been defeated (or at least contained) easily.
Signs that Puppet Masters might be at work:
- Orifice Invasion
- Glowing Eyes Of Doom or Glamour Failure
- Overly emotional, or a recent lack of emotion. He's Not Himself.
- Festering sores or The Innsmouth Look due to radiological or mutagenic damage.
Game and Story Use
- A single psychic entity could be possessing an entire town. The PCs come to this week's Adventure Town, and are greeted by a fairly creepy person. They stay at the hotel, run by a similar creepy person (who's probably a relative, or something, let's not worry about it). They go to pick up supplies, and the Shopkeeper (who has the same creepy mannerisms or catch phrase) offers them a free exotic plant or a worry doll to put in their room or under their pillow.
- What might start as a single case of Demonic Possession could grow into a The Puppet Masters scenario, and then explode into a Zombie Apocalypse
- In the Cosmic Horror subgenre, this might be a sinister form of Mental Time Travel. Aliens invade without every setting foot (psuedopod?) on Earth.
- In the Cthulhu Mythos this was the standard MO of the "Great Race of Yith".