The Puppet Masters
rating: 0+x

Basic Information

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.

To make the story just a little creepier, they'll often be Scary Dogmatic Aliens, and function as a metaphor for Communism or Venereal Disease.

Signs that Puppet Masters might be at work:


2. Novel: The Puppet Masters by Robert Heinlein — The movie wasn't bad either; even if it did try to make the Iowa State Capitol look futuristic

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".
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License