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From my time spent reading answers here, it seems relatively commonly accepted that in Pathfinder, AC is a weak defense. One claim I've seen put forth is that it's entirely possible to obtain a miss chance that equals or exceeds the protection granted by any level of AC; I find this believable given spells like mirror image, blur, and displacement. I'm currently playing a Pathfinder campaign that's just hit 14th level where I've been making decently heavy use of miss chances in place of AC1, and I've personally noticed that some form of sense capable of negating most miss chances (generally blindsight or true seeing) is increasingly common.

Two cases that I think generally illustrate my observations (spoilers for War for the Crown):

The first encounter involved an astradaemon in the Astral Plane near a dead constellation. In addition to constant true seeing, it has access to greater teleport to allow it easy access to melee with a target of choice, and while its natural weapons don't do particularly much damage, they inflict negative levels. It can also summon lesser daemons, but those lack true seeing and in that particular encounter my mirror images foiled several attacks from those. The second series of encounters was a variety of enemies inside a funerary hall. The notable ones were two spellcasting oozes and one froghemoth, all of which had blindsight. Freedom of movement would have handled the primary threat of the froghemoth's attacks, and death ward one of the oozes, but in both cases the party lacked enough time to apply those prior to the encounter.

What ways are there in Pathfinder for a character to make effective use of miss chances at high levels in the presence of supernatural or magical senses that bypass conventional sources of miss chance? Options for any character are acceptable, though given Pathfinder's large number of two-thirds casters, I'd especially like to see answers not limited to full casters.

I'm also entirely open to a frame challenge of the form that "miss chance is simply not effective at higher levels in Pathfinder," in which case an answer that elaborates on alternative defenses at high level would be preferred.


1 In case anyone's curious, I'm playing a silksworn occultist in a War for the Crown campaign. We are using basically all first-party sources as well as Path of War from Dreamscarred Press. The specific issues I've been observing are a combination of enemies bypassing miss chances and mirror image as well as either enclosed spaces or highly mobile and proactive dangerous melee enemies.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! Take the tour. This may be too broad for the site's format: covering every sense and every miss chance, for instance, is at least complicated and I'd expect many omissions and exceptions… too many to make the answer useful. Consider describing the specific scenario wherein the miss chance was negated then asking if there was something that the PC could've done, owned, or used that would've helped reinstate the miss chance. Also, out of curiosity, has the DM ruled whether or not mind blank stops true seeing? Anyway, thank you for participating and have fun! \$\endgroup\$ Dec 2 '20 at 6:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks! Would it be better to have two separate questions, one on true seeing, see invisibility, and similar anti-illusion magic, and one on blindsight and similar alternative senses? \$\endgroup\$
    – Klinkin
    Dec 3 '20 at 0:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the anecdotal question might work best. I suggest framing it specifically: "Last session, my PC was relying on mirror image as his sole means of defense—AC often being a sucker's bet as per [links to other questions]—, but the monster used tremorsense [or whatever] to hit me anyway. Is there a different spell or effect my PC should use as a defense, or is there something my PC should do to eliminate the threat of tremorsense [or whatever]." The problem with the question now is too many moving parts. Instead, let the site solve just your specific problem… \$\endgroup\$ Dec 3 '20 at 0:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ …And the site'll usually end up solving several others you might not've realized you'll have shortly. Don't try to delete this question, though. Instead, provide a link back to this question from the new one. (If you choose to pose it, of course. It's really all up to you.) \$\endgroup\$ Dec 3 '20 at 0:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good suggestion. I'll try that, then; as you can see, I've edited it to add the two anecdotes that prompted this, and it's basically one of each; one encounter where true seeing was the dangerous problem and one rapid-fire series of encounters with multiple strong enemies with blindsight. \$\endgroup\$
    – Klinkin
    Dec 3 '20 at 0:41
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Mind Blank is your best option

Mind Blank is a tremendously powerful spell (rightfully so at 8th level or 9th for communal) that renders you

protected from all devices and spells that gather information about the target through divination magic (such as detect evil, locate creature, scry, and see invisible).

Contrast this to your other option, Nondetection, which does not list see invisibility under its list of protections

difficult to detect by divination spells such as clairaudience/clairvoyance, locate object, and detect spells.

Looking at these lists, its unclear if Nondetection will block self-cast detection spells, but Mind Blank clearly does. Additionally, Mind Blank is positive protection whereas Nondetection allow Caster Level checks to overcome it (although at DC 15+Cl when cast on yourself).


Note that this solution specifically works against the spell True Seeing. Many spellcasters and monsters (up to and including Great Wyrm dragons) have to cast True Seeing for its benefits, but others (usually Outsiders) will have innate True Sight that may be (as determined by the GM) completely unaffected by Mind Blank. However, it is a question worth posing as even these have Constant: [...] True Seeing in their spellcasting section, implying that it is, in fact, a version of the spell that provided the benefits (and would therefore be subject to Mind Blank/Nondetection)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a solid answer with regards to true seeing, and I'll admit I didn't realize it could actively foil true seeing like this. It doesn't, however, seem to do anything with regards to blindsight and similar senses that don't belong to the school of divination. If I wind up splitting this into two questions, one for see invisibility/true seeing and one for blindsight and similar, this would be the accepted answer for the former half. \$\endgroup\$
    – Klinkin
    Dec 3 '20 at 0:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'll edit in if I come across a solution for Blightsight, but I figured I'd put what I had so far out there for anyone coming by \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Dec 3 '20 at 13:49

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