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Is there any means for a character to pretend to be subject to a mind-effecting spell or ability after resisting or being immune, so as not to alert the caster?

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    \$\begingroup\$ You may already be aware that "if a creature’s saving throw succeeds against a targeted spell you [the caster] sense that the spell has failed. You do not sense when creatures succeed on saves against effect and area spells" (see here). That is, no matter how good you are at pretending, the caster still knows you're faking if it's a targeted spell. Or should the question specify nontargeted spells or something? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 28, 2023 at 2:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ I am aware of that. I am also aware that there is a changeling feat that mildly circumvents this, and I recall there was some way of doing it even to spells like Dominate Person, I just can't recall what it is. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 28, 2023 at 2:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Related: youtube.com/watch?v=HvIboQev_8M&ab_channel=WaltDisney \$\endgroup\$ Nov 29, 2023 at 3:03

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There's a spell that does exactly this from Complete Scoundrel, called Disobedience. It's 3rd level (bard, sorcerer, wizard, spellthief) lasts 1 hour/level, and suppresses any spell that grants mental control. Anyone using such an ability has to make a will save or think the effect worked, and you still get to receive the orders so you can fake being controlled

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This seems to be what the OP is looking for, more than a rules based answer, +1. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 28, 2023 at 14:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you. I was scouring for magic items, but that is what I was looking for. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 28, 2023 at 22:12
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Not if it was targeted: the caster can sense you succeeded

The core rules state under Saving Throws/Succeeding on a Saving Throw

A creature that successfully saves against a spell that has no obvious physical effects feels a hostile force or a tingle, but cannot deduce the exact nature of the attack. Likewise, if a creature’s saving throw succeeds against a targeted spell you sense that the spell has failed. You do not sense when creatures succeed on saves against effect and area spells.

Most mind affecting spells target a single creature (for example Charm Person and Dominate Person target a single humanoid, Suggestion one living creature). Enthrall targets any number of creatures. Because these spells target the creatures, the caster can sense that the spell has failed, and any pretense to the opposite is not going to bluff them.

However, you can fake being affected by a spell like hypnotic pattern, because that is an area spell, and thus not subject to the caster sensing the spell has failed. How to resolve this is up to the DM -- either through roleplay, or most likely, using a bluff check against the caster's sense motive.

Likewise, there is no explict rule that says the caster senses it if the spell fails due to immunity, so if you are immune, you probably could also bluff (although the DM might of course rule otherwise).

Lastly @StevenTG found a spell that allows you to specifically override this behaviour, Disobedience (available to Bards, Sorcerers, Wizards and Spellthieves at spell level 3):

In addition to protecting the subject, disobedience sends false information to the creature that is attempting to gain control of the subject. The would-be controller must succeed on a Will save or believe that its spell or ability has taken effect and that the target is now under its control. The spell's subject becomes aware of commands issued by that creature and can choose to act however she pleases, disregarding the would-be controller's orders or going along with them in a pretense of obedience.

If you have such a caster in your group, that is a good way to pull it off.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What if a spell fails due to a targeted creature’s spell resistance or spell immunity (like, for example, an elf’s immunity to sleep spells). It seems reasonable to assume that, in any of these events, a caster senses that a targeted spell has failed – but, as far as I can see, the rules don’t explicitly say so... \$\endgroup\$
    – Peregrin
    Nov 28, 2023 at 14:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Peregin There is no explicit rule that the caster senses it, so probably if you are immune, you could bluff all you want. (Although I can see a DM ruling otherwise). Also StevenTG came up with a good solution in form of a spell, which I think is another way to do it if you have access to someone who can cast that. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 28, 2023 at 14:47
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A bluff check opposed by the caster's sense motive check is the best way. The DM would add a modifier based on whatever they thought was appropriate.

The DM might choose to use the casters spellcraft or knowledge: arcana, too, since they might be more realistic/favorable to the caster.

Note that, even for a single target spell, bluff is still appropriate. It won't be easy, though:

The bluff is way out there, almost too incredible to consider. +20 [bonus to opposed roll]

Note that someone sensing that the target succeeded their saving throw is not the same as knowing a target succeededed their saving throw. Even if it were, a character with high bluff can very well convince a less-skilled opponent that something that person witnessed first-hand was something else entirely, at least for a time. Bluff is powerful, so it is up to the DM to regulate much as they do with allowing researched spells or new magic items.

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    \$\begingroup\$ RE: "Note that someone sensing that the target succeeded their saving throw is not the same as knowing a target succeededed their [sic] saving throw" (emphasis mine). If sensing isn't enough, what is? I mean, if sensing an event transpiring is insufficient to know that an event has taken place, what alternative means are available to know that an event has taken place? Hey, is this answer actually trying to make some kind of high-minded epistemological argument? Because then I'm on board, but it needs to go all in. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 28, 2023 at 2:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan The public demands the high-minded epistemological argument! \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Nov 28, 2023 at 3:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan it's no different than if somone sees (i.e. senses) that a character steals something, then the character bluffs to them that it's not really what happened. I.e. the bluffer makes the caster doubt their own senses and believe the bluff. I mean, convincing people they are wrong is a huge part of bluff, but it should carry the requisite penalty to success \$\endgroup\$ Nov 28, 2023 at 5:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @WannabeWarlock I get where you're coming from. Still, no matter how much the doctor tells me that the shot didn't hurt, I know that it did. Further—although I know it's borderline guy-at-the-gym fallacy—, how is that dude supposed to make the Bluff check to convince the caster that he's under mental control when that dude is already supposed to be under the caster's mental control? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 30, 2023 at 5:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I mean, there have been other topics on this subject, but you cannot really apply realism to D&D skills and abilities. It's all fantasy based. Bluff is, admittedly, a broken skill. Much like diplomacy, it can be used to easily overcome many scenarios. However, it is what it is. The skill can do all kinds of crazy things. There are comic strips about using bluff to tell NPCs that the color of a thing you're holding in front of them is a different color. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 30, 2023 at 5:05

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