There’s been talk about this artifact/race, but it’s a bit scattered around the Cults thread and isn’t all complete. So I decided to put together what I could into a guide after spending some time collecting more info. Have fun with the horrors, and if anyone has anything to add go ahead!
The Parasite race is one that is unique to the Forbidden Cults DLC. Rather than it being a start choice for a character, you access it by equipping an artifact amulet named the Fanged Collar and dying with it on. Though it appears on the surface that all you gain is a Generic talent tree, there is enough going on through the game to say this is a proper race all it’s own. A Parasite character changes in the following ways:
-They cannot equip headgear at all, and anything you were wearing beforehand is gone. As this would imply, they also cannot use head Tinkers.
-They cannot change their amulet to anything but the Fanged Collar. In a roundabout way you could say that a Parasite starts with -5 WIL in exchange for 10 CUN, has +15% Blight/Darkness/Acid resistance, +20.00 max HP, and -7 Mental Save in exchange for +15 Spell and Physical Save.
-All characters lose the ability to put points into their racial tree, and gain Race/Parasite in exchange. They don’t lose the talents themselves like a character turned into an undead by Rak’Shor’s Cunning, they just can’t invest in them anymore. Cornacs do not lose the ability to gain extra Talent/Generic points however, and basically function as a normal human would through the entire game.
There’s also one other thing, there are many NPCs in the game that you automatically eat. When this happens, there are no other options. When you eat one you gain a free generic point as opposed to any other benefit they would have given, and usually you will fail the quest. The known list for the main campaign is as follows:
-All escorts. Be careful if you have a build that revolves around an escort tree or unlocking Tinkers, but on the bright side this also means all escorts provide something universally useful that you can use immediately. This can either be a very large source of generic points, or only one or three through Dreadfell and Renkor. It all depends on a lot of factors, like when you got the collar and how long you put off some Tier 1 dungeons.
-The Merchant in the tunnels. This means no merchant randarts at the last part of the game. You also automatically join the Assassin Lord, giving you access to the Tricks of the Trade Prodigy and the Font of Sacrifice in the dark portal as a trade-off. In my experience you almost always won’t even find a Fanged Collar by the time you find the tunnels. It’s possible as it’s a Tier 2, but unlikely.
-The Yeek that you save from Subject Z. The benefit here mostly depends on your confusion resist, as that is the noticeable thing you would have gotten as a non-Halfling.
-Melinda. The game has you going for a bit, but when she’s in your fortress you can eat her when talking. For some reason not even the ending changes after eating her.
-Fillarel. Kill Krogar, then talk to her. Same exact result happens as when she’s killed by some other means.
-Slasul. This is different in that you don’t actually eat him, but it forces you into a fight. You can still get the Prodigy under these conditions. You just can’t talk to him afterwards.
-You can apparently eat Aeryn, but I haven't run into it yet personally.
The tree you gain for this is as follows:
-Take a Bite: The Parasite tree is granted to you with a point in this talent. You make a weapon attack with a percentage that scales with your highest of STR, DEX, or MAG. Similar to Wyrmic’s Swallow, if the target is below 20% of health you can instantly kill it. Either way you get a small regen for 5 turns afterwards, which overrides other regen effects such as infusions. The regen’s power and instant kill chance depend on CON. Like most first talent racials, the cooldown is the only thing effected by points. This is basically a stronger bump when it scales above 100% damage, nothing spectacular here. Fungus talents influence the regen effect in length and resource recovery, and even then it’s meh.
-Ultra Instinct: This is most likely what you’re here for! This passive global speed boost is a rather large one, bigger than a Yeek’s Quickened at 25% (and it stacks if you are a Yeek and have invested in Quickened). Max this.
-Corrupting Influence: You gain a very good amount of Blight, Darkness, Acid, and Temporal resist (40% when maxed) in exchange for a minus in Nature and Light resist (-13% when maxed). Take caution here as more points also worsen the drawback, and after a few points it starts to result in diminishing returns. It can help you around the large amount of Blight damage that you’ll see in Dreadfell onward and Darkness/Temporal resist can also be very useful, but you can be Radiant and Searing Horror bait if you’re not careful with choosing gear correctly. Making up for your weaknesses is definitely doable however. 1 point in Thick Skin can help early on with one point, and maxing Thick Skin will counteract 5 points in Corrupting Influence.
-Horror Shell: It’s a shield that lasts for 10 turns, more points increase the shield's strength and decrease the cooldown. Compare this to Skeleton’s Bone Armour, except it scales with CON and (from my experience at least) it's worse in the strength total. Points should go into here only if you really need it, if CON is one of your main stats and you have the points, or you have access to the Aegis/Light tree. It’s still large under the right conditions as it scales well with points most of the time, just your other shield choices might also yield more.
-You get an achievement for maxing all talents in the tree.
-Note that the Fanged Collar is powered by unknown and none of these talents are marked as spells. You can apparently go Antimagic with this, but I haven’t tried.
-You can change the Fanged Collar to any headgear visually in the fortress, this also restores your face. Turning cloak hoods on in the options also shows your normal face. I guess that explains why no one really notices your head?
-I have no info about Embers (yet), I also don’t have any info about how Undead races/Liches are treated here. Embers would have a lot less free generics either way due to the lack of escort quests.
-There is an addon named Parasite-in-Pocket
that automatically gives you a Fanged Collar from the start. Depending on your class however, doing this from the start might dig you an early grave due to the stat deduction.