Feeblemind requires an Int save: on a fail, the target's Intelligence and Charisma are set to 1. This pretty much destroys any Int or Cha-based caster, but the fact that the latter have low Int (and are not proficient with Intelligence saving throws) makes them especially vulnerable.

What are some ways to handle this? The route I've taken with a Sorcerer concept is to start as a Rogue for my 1st level (for Int proficiency) and then go Sorcerer from 2nd level. Other ideas welcome.

My goal is to learn what options there are to prevent getting Feebleminded, be it at character creation, or a magical item, or... anything that helps resist it. E.g., it just occurred to me that, while expensive, L9 Globe of Invulnerability will prevent it (and duration could be doubled for 1 sorcery point).


6 Answers 6


The 8th level spell mind blank grants outright immunity to the spell feeblemind.

Mind blank says,

Until the spell ends, one willing creature you touch is immune to psychic damage, any effect that would sense its emotions or read its thoughts, divination spells, and the charmed condition. The spell even foils wish spells and spells or effects of similar power used to affect the target's mind or to gain information about the target.

Feeblemind says,

You blast the mind of a creature that you can see within range, attempting to shatter its intellect and personality.

Now, feeblemind is an 8th level spell, but mind blank is written to specifically counter this when it says "the spell even foils wish spells and spells or effects of similar power used to affect the target's mind.

  • \$\begingroup\$ There's also Intellect Fortress now, from Tasha's \$\endgroup\$
    – Khashir
    Feb 12, 2023 at 1:19

Assuming you are vulnerable to 8th level spells (meaning no 9th level Globe of Invulnerability), the only way to prevent the Ability Drain effect from Feeblemind is to succeed on the Intelligence saving throw.

There are several ways to improve your Intelligence saving throws. Here is an attempt at an exhaustive list in ascending order of inconvenience according to my own humble opinion with the first item being the best or least inconvenient option and the last item being the worst or most inconvenient option.

  1. Become proficient with Intelligence saving throws.

    • Take the Resilient feat (PHB page 168). This feat allows you to choose an additional type of saving throw with which to become proficient. It has the additional perk of granting a +1 bonus to an ability score of your choice. If your Intelligence score is odd, choosing it will further increase your Intelligence modifier and thus your saving throw bonus by an additional +1. This can be done as early as your 4th level in any class or as late as your 19th level in any class, unless you picked Human in which case you can do this at 1st level.
    • Pick Druid, Rogue, or Wizard as your starting class at 1st level.
    • Pick Monk as your starting class, and get to 14th level. At 14th level, Monks get the Diamond Soul class feature which grants proficiency with all saving throws.
  2. Resistance cantrip. Allows a Druid or Cleric to give a touched creature a d4 bonus on their next saving throw (max 1 minute concentration). The Magic Initiate feat can be taken to get this cantrip while playing a class other than Druid or Cleric. Also, Warlock's can get this through their Pact of the Tome expansion feature at 3rd level.

  3. Paladin's Aura of Protection. At 6th level, Paladins get the ability to add their Charisma modifier to the saving throw of any ally including themselves within a certain radius which improves as they gain class levels.

  4. Bard's Bardic Inspiration. Bard's can use this class feature a number of times per day equal to their Charisma modifier to give any ally within 60 feet a minimum of a d6 bonus on their next ability check or saving throw for 10 minutes.

  5. Warlock's Dark One's Own Luck. Warlocks with Fiendish patrons get this class feature at 6th level which allows them to add a d10 to one ability check or saving throw of their choice per short or long rest.

  6. Gain advantage on the saving throw.

    • Be under the effects of the 9th-level spell Foresight. Bards, Druids, Wizards, and Warlocks have this spell on their class spell lists. It lasts for 8 hours without concentration, provides advantage on all d20 rolls, imposes disadvantage on enemy attack rolls, and prevents you from being surprised. It's basically God Mode.
    • Be a gnome. Gnomes automatically gain advantage on Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws made to resist a spell or magical effect as a racial trait.
    • Take the Mage Slayer feat (PHB page 168). You gain advantage on any saving throws against spells cast within 5 feet of you. Close range on spell-slingers quickly!
    • Take the Dungeon Delver feat (PHB page 166). Take this if you suspect that Feeblemind spell traps are likely. Grants advantage on saves to resist traps.
  7. Increase your Intelligence modifier.

    • Use the Ability Score Improvement class feature to boost Intelligence.
    • Take feats that provide an Intelligence bonus. Examples: Keen Mind, Linguist, Observant, Resilient.

Other answers have discussed ways your fellow party members can help you recover if you fail your save and are hit by Feeblemind despite your best efforts. One additional option you might explore is to speak to your DM about the Paladin's Cleansing Touch feature. At 14th level, a Paladin can use his action to end one spell on himself or a willing creature that he touches a number of times per day equal to his Charisma modifier (minimum 1). Feeblemind explicitly states that when a creature succeeds on its saving throw, the spell ends. So presumably, the Paladin's feature should be able to cure someone afflicted with Feeblemind since it is capable of arbitrarily ending spells.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @Khashir: I've rolled back your edit, as it substantially changes the answer by giving undue weight to one way to protect against feeblemind over all the other methods listed by the answer author themselves, citing a Crawford tweet (which are no longer official rulings) and phrasing the edit as an "update". If you want to suggest this as an answer to the question, you should either suggest in a comment on an existing answer (like this one) that it be added to that answer, or you should post it as a separate answer yourself. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Aug 18, 2020 at 0:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Aside from Gnomes, other useful races include Yuan-Ti Pureblood and Vedalken, both having advantage on mental saves against magic \$\endgroup\$
    – BlueMoon93
    Aug 18, 2020 at 12:07

There's a limited amount you can do proactively to prevent this. The fact that your int save isn't going to be very good is pretty much a fact of life. If you're targeted by this spell, there's a really good chance you're going to get hit with it. You can take a starting class as something that gets proficiency, but that may not fit every build (and it's a big investment to pick up a save prof). A much smaller (though still costly), investment would be to take the Resilient feat. This feat gives you +1 to the ability of your choice and an extra saving throw proficiency.

The things you can do to ameliorate this are as follows:

  • Make sure your Dex is good enough that you can use a ranged weapon. This doesn't scale well, but it's something you can contribute if you've got nothing else. That's about it.

However, this is mostly a case where you're going to be relying on your cleric friend. two of the three spells that can fix this are on their list (Heal/greater restoration. The wizard can also use Wish to take care of it. Neither of the cleric spells are a huge investment, and if they don't happen to have them prepared on a particular day, the effect will still be there for them to remove tomorrow.

This is not something that you should be expected to deal with on your own. If you fail this save, you must rely on your party members. And you're right, there's a really good chance that if your character gets targeted, he's going to fail it. Hopefully your party is ready to help you out, because that's the true answer here.

RS Conley (10k only sorry) makes a very good larger point though. It's unwise to prepare a strategy against one high level spell when there are dozens of spells that are as bad or worse than this one. This class of spells is termed "save or suck" and this is certainly in line with the expectations for those spells. But, ultimately, I would class this as one of the easier spells to deal with in this class. At most you'll be in a bad way for an encounter or at most a day (if your cleric doesn't have the right spells prepped, or high level slots left).


1. Don't play D&D alone.

No one character can be proof against everything. Even without digging in the whole ruleset, I think it's fairly likely that there are various attacks which hit the Int-based casters particularly hard too. If you're playing with a balanced party, they'll have your back. Specifically,

The spell can also be ended by greater restoration, heal, or wish.

None of these are low-level (and greater restoration does have a token cost), but if you're at the level where this is a threat, the party should have these available. Greater restoration is a 5th level spell available to bards, clerics, and druids; heal a 6th level spell for clerics and druids; and wish, of course, a 9th level spell for sorcerers and wizards.

And, if you have none of those in your party, having a scroll of heal or greater restoration seems useful anyways (although the rules there don't seem to be in final form yet).

2. If your DM keeps doing it, ask them to stop

If you are playing a solo game, or for other reasons the above doesn't apply, talk to your DM about it.

Spells which shut you down with little opportunity to do anything to prepare or respond aren't fun. Nothing wrong with it being a real threat sometimes... it's an 8th-level spell, and it should be serious. But if your DM is casting this at you all the time... have a talk about that not really being a fun way to spend your time.

3. Talk to your DM (different approach)

The basic rules include a Ring of Evasion, which gives advantage on Dexterity saving throws and some other benefits. A Mantle of Spell Resistance gives advantage on all saves against spells. Other magic items might help as well.

In fact, I don't see a strong reason why your character couldn't have (find, commission, create, etc...) a magic item which specifically protects this spell, like a Brooch of Shielding does for Magic Missile. The DMG has guidelines for creating custom magic items which your DM could use. Since it is so situational, I really don't see this as controversial. It'd probably take up one of your three "attuned" items as a balancing factor, and were it my game that'd seem perfectly reasonable.


Get a headband of intellect

Magical items always require cooperation by your DM who controls access, but you are asking also for magical items that can help.

A headband of intellect will set your intelligence to 19, improving your chances to make that saving throw. It has the added advantages that it is only uncommon, so you could find it or procure it as a quest reward relatively early in the game, and that it is an ongoing effect that works around the clock.

It has a downside in requiring attunement, which at high levels where you may have several items competing for it can be a real cost. As an item it does not use up one of your feats, and you could combine it with a features that give you proficiency on the save like the Resilient feat or like the first level Rogue dip that you took, to nearly be on par with a maximized Intelligence-based caster like a wizard.

What's more, the headband is a generally useful item that will give you a boost to all Intelligence releated ability checks such as Investigation or the various knowledge checks (History, Nature, Arcana).

P.S. If you think about it, it is not a great idea to invest too many resources to defend specifically against only feeblemind. High level spells can all be pretty bad. The odds are it really does not matter that much which 8th level spell is hitting you -- when it happens early in the game, an upcast fireball can destroy you just as well.

Even lower level spells like plane shift (Cha save), flesh to stone (Con save) or disintegrate (Dex save) can remove a character from play, and yet not everyone is trying to shore up all of these saves with their precious feats. You cannot avoid all of them all of the time, so consider tactics that allow you to recover from setbacks, like allies that can restore you.


Spending resources (Feats, Ability Points, etc.) to defend against this will likely cripple your character. My suggestion is to play your characters strengths, not its weaknesses.

If you absolutely must have some way of defending against it or making it less effective, you have options, but they're costly.


If you get hit, get out of Dodge. You should never engage when you're at a disadvantage. Invest options that will allow you to safely retreat.

Use it first

If you can identify which enemies are likely to be able to cast it, use it against them first. Invest in having a good Initiative so you can insure you can get it off before they do.

Be a better fighter

If you're formidable without spellcasting, it won't effect you as much.

Play a Bard

Bards can basically defend against anything. It's quite ridiculous in my opinion. If you're clever you'll always go first, always have ample defenses, and won't be crippled if you do get hit.


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