This splits from my previous question: Increasing multiclass cleric/wizard caster levels

This time I'm interested in the fastest way to enter mindbender prestige class as a wizard (or cleric 1/wizard X, if it helps). Plain and straight. You may use any number of feats, alternative class features, flaws, traits, etc. the character of a given level may have. You have an amount of money appropriate to wealth-by-level guidelines. But if it is neccessary it is OK to use additional 1000 or two worth of gold pieces.

I'm not too interested in qualifying through non-permanent things like buying spellcasting servises to make 13 level sorcerer cast Create Magic Tattoo on you and leveling up "while the spell persists". Probable similar things should be you last resort - if it is the only way, than fine answer should of course adress it.

For this question's sake, "Arcane caster level 5th" prerequisite isn't fulfilled by something rising your caster level for one certain spell or a group of spells (like fire spells or spells from divination subschool) only.

I also urge you to avoid completely broken stuff like Pun-Pun. This includes (but doesn't limited to, I'm afraid) any infinite loops. High power build is OK, but something that no one sane will obviously allow in any real game is off. I know this bit is tricky, but I can't find better definition for my request. Hope it is obvious enough.

I'm asking of pure curiosity for now, if it is of interest for someone.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So... how does early-entry PunPun not qualify? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 7:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ You can do it as a level 1 wizard. Then you can set your levels to 'yes'. This includes Wiz 1/Mindbender 1. Or just Mindbender 1, but that would not meet your criteria. (you can lose levels by energy draining yourself after adding extra HD, or via retraining, and gain any level you meet the prereqs for for 0 XP and 0 days training when you are ECL 0) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 7:32
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ How has the term arcane caster level been defined by the DM? That is, is being able to cast a lone arcane spell with a caster level of 5 sufficient to meet the prestige class's requirements or must the creature be able to cast all its arcane spells at caster level 5? (I can have the requirements met at level 1 if it's the former, but that latter is far harder!) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 10:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan It's maybe not all spells, but spells which aren't affected by some other caster level altering stuff that affects only certain spells. Default caster level or something like this. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 18:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ So it's up to the DM's Mk. I Eyeball to approve each individual scheme? I'm not entirely sure that's fair to answers other than TDW's. Could you confirm a definition with the GM and edit the question with the definition? Otherwise, I'm gonna have to vote to put this on hold as unclear what [your DM's] asking. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 19:46

3 Answers 3


The easy part: skills and spells…

A typical wizard or sorcerer doesn't have as class skills the skills Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Sense Motive. This usually delays the creature's entry into the prestige class mindbender (Complete Arcane 54-6) to at least character level 5 because of the maximum ranks that can be put into cross-class skills.

The easiest way for a creature to meet this requirement early is to gain the class feature social proficiency (Unearthed Arcana 61) the creature must be a specialist wizard—an enchanter—, and the creature "does not gain bonus feats for advancing as a wizard." Ask the DM if this means the creature also doesn't gain at level 1—like a typical wizard does—the bonus feat Scribe Scroll (Player's Handbook 99-100). This DM thinks the creature would still gain the bonus feat Scribe Scroll based on the way the ability's written, but confirm with your DM that it's legit that the creature'll essentially be getting something for nothing.

Among other benefits, the special ability social proficiency has the creature "[a]dd the following skills to [its] list of [specialist] wizard class skills: Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information, Intimidate, and Sense Motive." Yes, the skill Gather Information is there, too, because why not, right?

Anyway, with the special ability social proficiency the creature—if a human enchanter with at least Intelligence 12—can meet the skill rank requirements of the prestige class mindbender at level 1. Note that the Unearthed Arcana section in which it appears is called Specialist Wizard Variants, and the special ability is supposed to be used—along with the others for enchanters and for other specialist wizards—by the DM to customize the campaign setting and not really as artifacts available generally. I can't imagine most DM's having a problem with this, but aiming for early entry shenanigans means even the smallest flaw might ruin the plan.

Alternatively, the feats Academy Graduate (Savage Tide Player’s Guide 8) and Flexible Mind (Dragon #326 80) combined can make all the necessary skills always class skills (plus another skill the creature picks—likely the skill Use Magic Device). This also allows meeting the prestige class's skill requirements at level 1 (or at level 2 under some readings of the feat Flexible Mind). (The feat Able Learner (Races of Destiny 150) isn't useful here; it's benefit says, "The maximum number of ranks you can purchase in a cross-class skill remains the same.")

…And the hard part: arcane caster level 5th

While there are undoubtedly other ways to meet the mindbender requirement Arcane caster level 5th, no easy method of early entry withstands serious scrutiny given the question's binds. Folks have been hunting through official texts for years in attempts to raise artificially a creature's caster level so as to meet prestige class requirements early, from the now defunct Wizards of the Coast's forums archived here, to EN World's forums here, to RPG Net's forums here, and repeatedly—over and over again, even—on the Giant in the Playground forums, searched for convenience here.

The constant is the ioun stone (orange prism) (Dungeon Master's Guide 260-1) (30,000 gp; 0 lbs.). Everything else—when subjected to the strictest reading—fails the question's test of, essentially, needing the arcane caster level increase to persist all the time forever.1

For example, the ring of arcane might (Magic Item Compendium 121-2) (20,000 gp; 0 lbs.)—the ioun stone (orange prism)'s closest competitor— specifies that its +1 bonus to the wearer's caster level applies only "for the purpose of spell penetration checks, caster level checks, and all level-based variables of any arcane spells [the wearer] cast[s]," that last part being the sticking point. So, rather than applying in general, using a really strict reading the caster level bonus of the ring applies only when actually casting spells and not when, for example, sleeping, making it situational therefore inapplicable. (Note that this DM and player doesn't encourage that the ring be read this way generally; it's read this way here deliberately to demonstrate the question's restrictions.)

Feats that increase caster level are usually even more specific in that they'll typically increase the feat's possessor's caster level for spells of a specific school of magic, spells possessing a a specific descriptor, spells cast while in a certain place or during a certain time, or even spells of a specific name. None of these feats allow the creature to meet that the prestige class requirement more quickly given the question's binds.

Entering the prestige class mindbender any sooner than as a level 4 arcane caster by acquiring early—nearly 25,000 gp early, in fact—the ioun stone (orange prism), is, I think, given those binds, impossible.

Last resort

What remains then is the question's last resort: meeting the arcane caster level 5th requirement of the prestige class mindbender through temporary means. The easiest and earliest way is by employing the standard strand of prayer beads (DMG 267-8) (25,800 gp; 0 lbs.)… perhaps absent the bead of healing and the bead of smiting. The creature may have to borrow a standard strand from a church if the creature can't get for free a standard strand with only the bead of karma.2

To use this method, the creature gets within a hairsbreadth of the XP required for level 2, cautiously acquires the standard strand, carefully constructs a CR ½ booby trap (Dungeon Master's Guide II 41) (50 gp or less; trap)—I recommend the alarm booby trap—, and succeeds on a Use Magic Device skill check to emulate the class feature spells of a level 1 cleric (DC 21), convincing the the bead of karma to activate. For 10 min. the "[w]earer casts his spells at +4 caster level," the bead not caring if the spells are arcane or divine. Then, before 10 min. have passed, the creature encounters the booby trap, earns its 150 XP, and cackles maniacally as it takes its first step along the path of the prestige class mindbender.

Of course, gaming XP gain in such a fashion is, I think, generally frowned upon, and the DM must still be convinced that the bead of karma's effect is sufficient to count as increasing the creature's arcane caster level from 1st—because the creature's still an enchanter—to 5th for this purpose, but if the perhaps-too-open-minded DM's been convinced to go this far already, convincing him of that, too, should be fairly easy.

The other, even shadier way: play a race with a spell-like ability

The prestige class mindbender's actual requirement says, "Spells or Spell-Like Abilities: Arcane caster level 5th." Thus a creature with a spell-like ability that can be employed as a level 5 wizard may be able to meet this class's requirement. For example, a duergar (Monster Manual 91, 92) can use as spell-like abilities 1/day each effects like enlarge person and invisibility with a caster level of twice its character level (min. 3). By level 3 (or 4 with its Level Adjustment +1), it sort of meets the mindbender requirement. I say sort of because the DM must agree that such a creature's effective arcane caster level for its spell-like abilities is 5th instead of just its caster level for its spell-like abilities being 5th. This will likely be difficult: this DM supposes that the inclusion in the mindbender requirements of the charm invocation means the class's authors wanted to open up the class more easily to warlocks—that also appear in Complete Arcane (5-8) and that actually have an arcane spellaster level for their spell-like abilities—rather than opening the class even wider to, for example, bald, joyless gray dwarves.

1 The effects of multiple ioun stones (orange prism) don't stack according to the FAQ (62). Make of that what you will.
2 The Dungeon Master's Guide (2003) says to reduce the price of a standard strand of prayer beads by 9,000 gp if it's missing the bead of healing and by another 16,800 gp if it's missing the bead of smiting, hence a net cost of 0 gp for a standard strand with only a bead of karma. The Dungeon Master's Guide (2012) stealth erratas the price of the standard strand of prayer beads to 45,800 gp, so that a standard strand that has remaining only the bead of karma has a price of 20,000 gp.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I’m pretty sure that the racial SLA approach fails explicitly; see Complete Arcane where it talks about how the warlock’s caster level for invocations (which are spell-like abilities) is specifically arcane; it will, I believe, state that most spell-like ability caster levels are neither arcane nor divine. Certainly, the lack of such a statement for those abilities is already enough anyway. The mindbender requirement is for the sake of warlocks, and maybe (can’t recall) dragonfire adepts. I don’t think any other spell-like ability caster levels are called out as arcane. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 17:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan I didn't like that section either, relying as it does on an extremely shady reading, but spell-like abilities in Complete Arcane don't seem to seem to mention what you're remembering, and core doesn't say that either. I'll happily delete the section if that reference can be found. Seriously, I remember it, too, and I'd like that section gone; it makes me uncomfortable. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 17:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan As it is basically your answer on linked question what inspired me to ask this question, I'd like to know if you are aware of something beyond this answer. Because as is it looks like there is no sure way to accomplish the task. There is currently no DM who can disallow such an entry, but I know at lest one or two DMs who would disallow it (through Bead of Karma) be it in their games. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 14:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @annoyingimp Pretty much every DM shouldn’t allow entry into mindbender early, because early-entry is pretty high-scale abuse not appropriate for actual games. There could easily be exceptions out there, but a free 100’ telepathy is not one of them. Anyway, inspire greatness + Practiced Spellcaster probably gets you another +2 over orange ioun stone, so that’s qualifying at 2nd (to take the first level at 3rd). Not sure if another +1 can be found; probably. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 14:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan Thanks for the reply. While it is highly unlikely one can have inspire greatness affecting him for realy long periods of time (say a week) it is probably still possible, not sure if it is better then recasting of magic tatoo every day, though... but I got the point. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 3, 2017 at 14:37

Wizard 1/Mindbender 1/whatever 1

Start as a Wizard. You will need to select charm as one of your spells, and have at least 14 intelligence. Max out each of the required skills.

Pick your favorite 4HD animal. I like dinosaurs, so lets use deinonychus. Any 4HD animal is workable, but a neutral or evil one is easier. Find a were-deinonychus and spar with him until you catch lycanthropy. With your shiny new dinosaur HD, max out the four skills, and take the Practiced Spellcaster feat.

Gain a giant pile of xp and level up, taking Mindbender. You are now a wizard 1/animal 4/Mindbender 1.

Get your lycanthropy cured: remove curse or break enchantment during one of the three days of the full moon. After receiving the spell, succeed on a DC 20 Will save to break the curse.

You are now wizard 1/Mindbender 1. Depending how your DM thinks xp works, you probably immediately gain an additional level and also have your xp set to 5999.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, it seems more or less OK from RAW perspective, so here is your +1. Also, looks mostly unworkable in most real compaigns. Still, thank you! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 3, 2019 at 18:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Depends what you’re trying to do, which is why I asked about levels vs. xp. If you’re starting at 12th level, do this + thought bottle to start off only a few xp behind. Or use dead-werewolf tricks to catch up. Etc. \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Commented Dec 3, 2019 at 18:25

The spells should not even need mention: you can get those on your first Wizard level, no questions asked.

The skllls required are the easiest to attain: one simply becomes an Enchanter and takes social profieciency (Unearthed Arcana). Alternatively, with your cleric dip, you could take the Dragon and Pact domains (not an unlikely combination) and the Apprentive(entertainer) feat (DMG2).

The hard part will be blowing up your caster level. My favored method is Reserves of Strength (feat from Dragonlance Campaign Setting) which in return for up to 3 stun turns will increase your caster level by an equal amount, and allows you to break the caps of spells that would normally be capped by caster level. It does require Iron Will as a prerequisite, so you'd need flaws to take this early enough for it to matter (Cleric or no cleric).

This gives us at worst an entry at lv 3, but can we do better? Absolutely. The Primitive Caster feat (Frustburn) will allow you to raise the caster level of spells by supplying the components (material, vocal, somatic) they normally would not use and raise your caster level for that spell by +1 each.

This means that with flaws (or as a human with one flaw) an Enchanter 1 / Mindbender X is entirely possible: Iron Will, Reserves of Strength, Primitive Caster.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I appreciate your participation, but I'm not sure how do Reserves of Strength and Primitive Caster qualify one for the prs. Both increase your effective caster level for one particular casting only. At best, to make it work character should probably level up mid-casting. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 12:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @annoyingimp I suppose it depends on how you interpret PrC prerequisites. In most games I've been in they are abilities you have to exhibit to existing members of the class, in which case it being possible for every spell you cast or all the time is really the same thing. \$\endgroup\$
    – Weckar E.
    Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 23:19

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .