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I'm aware that the typical advice for playing a Focused Specialist Enchanter is "just play a Beguiler instead". Regardless, I've still been reading up on it. It seems like the theory for such a build is:

  • If the enemy isn't immune to Mind-Affecting stuff and doesn't have a high will save, hit it with any good Enchantment spell and add it to your thrall.
  • If the enemy isn't immune to Mind-Affecting stuff and does have a high will save, either delay it with battlefield control or with your thrall and either spam a good Enchantment spell until it's in your thrall or use normal Wizard spells until you've killed it.
  • If the enemy is immune to Mind-Affecting stuff, fight it like a normal Wizard would and throw your thrall at it until it dies.

Assuming that I've got this right, and assuming that it would be played as described (e.g. as opposed to just playing a normal Wizard build that happens to be lacking a few spell slots), is this actually viable? I've got the following concerns:

  • At low levels, you either won't have a thrall or it'll be useless.
  • As levels increase, permanent immunity to Mind-Affecting goes from rare to commonplace to mandatory.
  • There's plenty of ways to remove possession. A single skilled Cleric could end you just by spamming Protection From X, a first level spell!

Basically, I'm worried that these builds are often unable to make a meaningful contribution. Are my worried well founded?

Note: For balance purposes, assume a party of tier 1/2 classes without any significant optimization.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you know the campaign's setting? Or should answers assume a generic monsters-everywhere-yet-towns-still-somehow-exist D&D environment? \$\endgroup\$ Apr 5, 2020 at 16:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Let's assume generic D&D. \$\endgroup\$
    – J. Mini
    Apr 5, 2020 at 17:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ It can not be viable, for the exact same reason the Leadership feat turned out to be a bad idea. If you did find a viable build, chances are the GM has to block it out for the exact same reasons as the leadership feat (unless your GM is okay with having LS). At least for necromancy, I can poin you to Ashtoshan. He does seem to have found a way around some of the limitations: youtu.be/cWLFc2z5xS4?list=PLZelVUbwx6r6U7pV4mfIqwgm2InEq_DAZ \$\endgroup\$ Apr 7, 2020 at 18:24

2 Answers 2

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I mean, wizards are stupidly, phenomenally powerful. You could be a focused enchanter and then just straight-up ignore your enchantments and still be “viable.” But yes, protection from alignment is common, and for that matter, between constructs and the undead, permanent immunity to mind-affecting effects can be common even at low levels, to say nothing of mid-to-high levels. So even if you are viable, you may find yourself not actually getting to play an enchanter much, depending on how well-prepared your foes are.

There isn’t really a good solution to this, either; protection from evil et al. do allow Will saves to negate, but that can be hard to rely on (after all, you had to beat that Will save to enthrall your target in the first place). And magic circle against evil et al. don’t allow the save anyway. There is also no option for piercing mind-affecting immunity, either—dread witch will do so for fear effects, but that’s not the same thing.

You might consider going with psionics and the thrallherd prestige class, instead. Then your thrall is bound to you by an Extraordinary ability, and nothing will ever undo it. Or simply take a cue from thrallherd, and take Leadership yourself and fluff it as mind control. The Unearthed Arcana variant enchanter gets a cohort à la Leadership for free at 6th level, even. But of course, these solutions have all the problems of Leadership, which are considerable.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Magic Circle against Evil appears to offer a save the same way that Protection from Evil. Namely, "Saving Throw: Will negates (harmless)". \$\endgroup\$
    – J. Mini
    Apr 6, 2020 at 17:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @J.Mini That applies to the target, not to anyone who ends up in the circle. Well, probably. Though I suppose it is unclear. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Apr 6, 2020 at 17:38
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It's not viable for the reasons you mentioned, the key one being the ease the spell can be suppressed. It's the sort of tactic that will gain you more and more power until a single Magic Circle Against X lets half of them turn on you.

Short term mind control however can be viable at the lower to mid levels, you only need to control an opponent for a couple of rounds to swing a battle.

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