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We had our first session with an Order of Scribes wizard the other night, from Tasha's.

Where we left off in our session is that the OoS wizard sent the Mind ahead of the party and encountered what is probably some sort of lich.

We were discussing how the Mind might be attacked, and RAW it seems pretty invulnerable, except for dispel magic.

The Order of Scribes' Manifest Mind feature says, in part:

The spectral mind stops manifesting if it is ever more than 300 feet away from you, if someone casts dispel magic on it, if the Awakened Spellbook is destroyed, if you die, or if you dismiss the spectral mind as a bonus action.

The rules specify no other conditions under which the Mind is forcefully de-manifested or destroyed. Or even attacked. It has no AC, no hit points, nothing.

Where that leaves us is that rules-as-written the Mind can only be made to stop manifesting by the methods described, and anything else is up to DM interpretation or house rule.

We want to come up with some house rules for managing the Mind.

My question:

In your games, how have you managed the Mind in combat? Has its apparent near invulnerability been a problem? Do you consider it (or did you make it) attackable? What has worked or not worked?

This is a subjective question. I think different answers can work for different tables; however, I am not asking for speculation, I'm looking for good subjective answers, based on experience. Good Subjective / Bad Subjective says, "Great subjective questions invite sharing experiences over opinions." I'm really hoping to hear how others have handled it.

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I've been playing an Order of Scribes wizard and have found that the Manifest Mind has a great deal of utility value (and plenty of flavor). However, it has fairly small combat value, at least at our table.

This may seem surprising, as one might imagine using the Manifest Mind in the following kind of situation:

While the rest of the party sits safely 300 feet away, the Mind silently floats into a locked room with the BBEG. The wizard then (say) casts Sickening Radiance and a string of fireballs through the Mind. The party arrives a few minutes later to sift through the ashes for loot.

In our 2+ year campaign, this situation has arisen exactly once. Admittedly, when we pulled it off, it felt like the wizardly equivalent of calling in a drone strike, but it was sufficiently situational that the Mind did not imbalance the game from a combat perspective.

So, why not? The Manifest Mind's combat potential seems to be held in check by several limitations:

  • The Mind "can pass through creatures but not objects". There's some ambiguity on this point (can it pass through a keyhole? under a door?), but in many situations, your Manifest Mind may not be getting as far ahead of the party as you may wish.
  • If the Mind is near the wizard (e.g., in the same room), its tactical advantage is significantly reduced. Since many Wizard spells have fairly long range, it may not matter if you cast that fireball from the Wizard's space or the Mind's space. (Of course there are exceptions; "Suggestion" comes to mind.) The fact that the mind is "invulnerable" to certain enemies doesn't make it more powerful.
  • The Wizard can only cast spells through the Mind "proficiency bonus" times per long rest. So, even in the "drone strike" situation above, your 8th-level Wizard can only cast 3 spells, so you need to be in a pretty favorable situation to take out a powerful enemy. At higher levels (e.g. 13+), it becomes much more lethal, but you may still need to expend most or all of your Manifest Mind resources for that day during a single battle-- you won't be able to do that during every combat.
  • Certain spells, such as Mage Hand or Unseen Servant, may not function the way you expect, depending on how your DM interprets the rules. See, e.g., this question.
  • Finally, to your original example of encountering a lich: they can cast "dispel magic", right? :)
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for your answer! Upvoted. Our experience since I asked the question has been somewhat similar to yours. One example, our wizard has used casting from the Mind in combat to great effect to position area-of-effect spells just so. One significantly limiting factor of the Mind is the dim light it sheds. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Sep 24, 2022 at 20:22
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An unkillable minion that doesn't do anything is unlikely to be an issue.

The Manifest Mind is an object which provides dim light, grants you the ability to perceive through its senses (which include darkvision), and allows you to cast a few spells as though you were located in its space each day.

While producing an almost-invulnerable but highly visible scout can be useful outside of combat, it's also likely to alert any enemies that it encounters, and cause them to begin taking preparations for the party.

Inside combat, besides scenarios where the party is fighting in pitch black darkness and its function as a source of light and darkvision is important, the most important ability it has is the ability to cast spells as though you were located in its space (an ability that would be strongest for things like casting touch-range spells on enemies with dangerous melee combat abilities) - an ability you're paying for by spending a Bonus Action to move it into position.

As such, I don't think its nigh-invulnerabilty is really an issue, since it basically doesn't do anything. If it was capable of doing something that would actually affect the outcome of the combat, its durability might be an issue, but as it stands, allowing it to survive for longer simply results in it doing more nothing.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The question is very explicitly about lived play experience, not theoretical evaluation. It would be good if you could add this. Maybe you underestimate the effect of being able to cast spells through the awakended mind: to me it feels more like a invulnerable missile launcher than an invulnerable scout -- but I have not played with it, so I may be wrong. \$\endgroup\$ May 29, 2022 at 5:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ If this is based on personal experience, it would be a great answer, but it reads like opinion. Good Subjective / Bad Subjective says, "Great subjective questions invite sharing experiences over opinions." RPG.SE doesn't really do opinion threads very well (and that's not what the stack is for), but it is great at collecting actual-play experience. That's what I'm looking for. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    May 29, 2022 at 11:46
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I've been playing an Order of Scribes Wizard for a while and I haven't really found it to be a problem; the main issue has been remembering to move it (since it's a bonus action).

In general I've agreed with my DM to just have it follow or stay ahead by default, unless the character needs the bonus action for something else they're doing. And I have to declare it during combat.

Otherwise no custom rules are needed IMO.


The only really questionable thing I've come up with is using it to cast spells out of an Leomund's Tiny Hut, Otiluke's Resilient Sphere or something similar; since the spell is cast as if it came from the manifest mind's space, it bypasses the normal restriction on casting out of the hut/sphere.

This is no different to casting a touch spell through a familiar, but it's a lot more flexible in the spells you can cast. On the other hand, you can only do so a limited number of times per long rest, so I don't think it's likely to be a real problem in practice unless a player abuses this tactic a lot. It's also limited by the mind's slow speed (easier to evade than some familiars).

Tiny hut does take time to setup though, and personally I would only use resilient sphere after taking a lot of punishment already, i.e- reactively rather than preemptively. But I could see a player using sphere + fireball turret or similar as a standard tactic becoming problematic, but mainly by trivialising fights (especially boss battles).

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