9
\$\begingroup\$

Mindsight is a notoriously powerful feat from page 126 of Lords of Madness: The Book of Aberrations.

A creature that has this feat possesses innate telepathic ability that allows it to precisely pinpoint other thinking beings within range of its telepathy. The creature perceives where the others are and how powerful their intellects are.
Prerequisite: Telepathy special quality.
Benefit: A creature that has this feat can detect and pinpoint beings that are not mindless (anything with an Intelligence score of 1 or higher) within range of its telepathy. This works much like blindsense—the creature knows what square each thinking being is in, but it does not see the being, and the being still has total concealment unless the creature can see it by some other means.
The creature also perceives several observable characteristics about each being detected with mindsight, including the being’s type and Intelligence score.The creature need not take any additional or special actions to gain this information; it is as obvious to mindsight as the being’s race and clothing would be to eyesight.
Normal: Telepathy offers no special ability to sense other minds. The creature has to know that a being is there to communicate with it telepathically.

There have been discussions on this before, and it's worth discussing on RPG SE too. Is there a way for stealthy characters to hide/remain hidden from Mindsight? If so, how?

\$\endgroup\$
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Cue disagreement over if this is telepathy and thus blocked by Mind Blank in 3, 2, 1... \$\endgroup\$ – Tridus Sep 22 '14 at 11:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Mind Blank is about as specifically written to block Telepathy and Mindsight as it can possibly be without specifying Mindsight by name. An antimagic field might also work...? \$\endgroup\$ – Resonating Sep 22 '14 at 22:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not really a standard solution, but I suppose the epic use of Bluff 100+ would work? Pretend you're an incredibly intelligent housefly and make some buzzing sounds to match. \$\endgroup\$ – Theik Sep 23 '14 at 8:14
6
\$\begingroup\$

Just to fill in the expected argument...

The issue with mindsight is that, while it requires telepathy, and the Normal section implies that it uses telepathy, the actual benefit of the feat never says that is a form of telepathy, or that it is mind-affecting. It’s also not defined as a divination. Therefore, by the rules strictly as written, mindsight works, even if you have immunity to telepathy, to mind-affecting abilities, or to divination (e.g. you are undead or have mind blank).

This is because a feat’s requirement need not actually be related to how a feat functions (e.g. you don’t need to use Combat Expertise to benefit from Improved Trip), and the Normal section is explicitly treated as “reminder text,” to use a term from that other Wizards of the Coast product, and has no rules weight (e.g. even though the Normal section on Tower Shield Proficiency claims that nonproficiency results in taking the shield’s ACP as a penalty to all skills relating to movement, that’s not what actually happens because the “real rule,” given in the Armor section, is that all Strength- and Dexterity-based skill and ability checks take the penalty). Thus, there simply is no rule that mindsight is or relies on telepathy.

In practice, in all but the strictest games, this oversight it ignored, and lots of things protect against mindsight, such as immunity to telepathy, mind-affecting abilities, or divinations. Many also extend the Darkstalker feat to cover mindsight (and the lifesight feat from Libris Mortis). As Sandwich pointed out in a previous version of his answer, the Madness ability of allips would also form a serious deterrent to the mindseer when Mindsight is treated as telepathy, as the mindseer would quickly lose all Wisdom.

Strict-RAW defenses

Even under the rules read as strictly as possible, there are still some defenses against Mindsight.

Mindlessness

Mindless creatures are immune to Mindsight. Not terribly helpful for players since you can’t play a mindless creature, but it’s worth keeping in mind, particularly as a DM. Note that intelligent creatures that are usually immune to mind-affecting things, like intelligent undead, are not immune under this super-strict RAW.

Hellbreaker

If the mindseer is put inside a hellbreaker’s Telepathic Static, as Matthieu M. discovered, it loses telepathy, and can no longer use the Mindsight feat as it has lost the requirement.

Tower Shields

As Forrestfire just pointed out to me, when you have Total Cover (as when employing a tower shield), creatures cannot draw line of effect to you. Normally, this doesn’t matter much since touch attacks and targeted spells still work against the tower-shield user, but Mindsight is not targeted, so the shield somehow blocks the Mindsight, despite being far thinner than the requisite blocking material. This is really just an abuse of the terrible wording on that use of the tower shield, more than anything else.

Cerebral Blind

As Sandwich found, the Cerebral Blind class feature of the slayer class can be read as blocking all effects that reveal location. Note that the wording is somewhat ambiguous.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ As far as the Tower shield example goes, Mindsight states that "A creature that has this feat can detect and pinpoint beings that are not mindless (anything with an Intelligence score of 1 or higher) within range of its telepathy." It never states whether or not a line of sight or line of effect has to be drawn, just that they have to be within range of the telepathic effect. \$\endgroup\$ – Sandwich Sep 28 '14 at 3:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Sandwich Ugh, now I have to look up strict definitions of "range" and things to see if things that block the line of effect count as "not in range." \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Sep 28 '14 at 3:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Another good counter for Mindsight would include the wizard spell Feeblemind, if cast on the Psion and their save is failed they would be able to communicate the presence of any enemies to their party members due to being unable to speak any language. \$\endgroup\$ – Sandwich Sep 28 '14 at 4:06
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Mindsight is noted to work "much like" blindsense, which requires line of effect. It occurs to me that when I was talking earlier, I missed the "much". \$\endgroup\$ – Forrestfire Sep 28 '14 at 5:11
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It said it works much like Blindsense, however the text doesn't specify exactly how Mindsight works in relation to Blindsense. In fact, the feat specifically mentions that similar to blindsense it cannot pinpoint creatures exactly, and those creatures still have total concealment, but it doesnt specifically mention that it requires Line of Effect. \$\endgroup\$ – Sandwich Sep 28 '14 at 5:17
4
\$\begingroup\$

I just accidentally ran into the HellBreaker class after reading this question. At level 1, this prestige class grants:

Telepathic Static (Su): Beginning at 1st level, you emit a field of psychic chatter out to a range of 20 feet, negating the telepathy ability of all creatures within range. [...]

This seems like a counter to Mindsight, and there might be other ways to negate telepathy.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ So if the dude within 20 ft. of the hellbreaker has the feat mindsight, the mindseer's hosed because he no longer meets the feat's prerequisites. Spiffy, if short-ranged. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Sep 27 '14 at 15:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan: The one thing that I wonder about is that, as worded, I would interpret it as negating the telepathy of creatures within 20 ft., and not negating telepathy from creatures outside of 20 ft. toward creatures within 20 ft., which does not seem very sensible... \$\endgroup\$ – Matthieu M. Sep 27 '14 at 16:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ That is how it works as written. It was probably supposed to create a telepathic dead zone in a 20 ft. radius around the hellbreaker... but it doesn't. So, yeah, it is a counter, but a really limited one. Only the best of hellbreakers can hope to stop the mindsight of, for example, a formian queen. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Sep 27 '14 at 16:13
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan To be fair, if it said that things in 20 ft. ignored or were immune to telepathy, it arguably wouldn't work at all against Mindsight, for the same reason that mind blank arguably wouldn't work against Mindsight: it doesn't eliminate the mindseer's telepathy in toto, so the feat still works, and the feat does not specify that it is telepathy. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Sep 27 '14 at 19:33
2
\$\begingroup\$

Cerebral Blind

From the slayer Prestige class:

Cerebral Blind (Su): After reaching 6th level, a slayer is protected from all devices, powers, and spells that reveal location. This ability protects against information gathering by clairsentience powers or effects that reveal location.

The ability even foils bend reality, limited wish, miracle, reality revision, and wish when they are used to gain information about the slayer’s location (however, metafaculty can pierce this protective barrier). In the case of remote viewing or scrying that scans an area a slayer is in, the effect works, but the slayer simply isn’t detected. Remote viewing or scrying attempts that are targeted specifically at a slayer do not work. This ability is active as long as the slayer is psionically focused.

Cloud Mind

Cloud Mind, From the Psion spell list:

You make yourself completely undetectable to the subject by erasing all awareness of your presence from its mind. This power has the following effects.

First, you are invisible and inaudible to the creature. It cannot even detect your presence by means of blindsense, blindsight, scent, or tremorsense. It cannot pinpoint your location by any means.

Second, the subject remains unaware of your actions, provided you do not make any attacks or cause any obvious or directly threatening changes in the subject’s environment. If you attack the subject creature, the effect ends.

If you take an action that creates a sustained and obvious change in the subject’s environment—for example, attacking a creature aside from the subject or moving a large or attended object the subject can see—the subject immediately gains a new saving throw against the power. An ally of the subject creature that is able to see or perceive you can use a move action to warn the subject and thereby grant it a new saving throw.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This only works if mindsight uses telepathy, which means this answer is incomplete without at least a reference to the problems with that. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Sep 28 '14 at 1:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ In order to verify the intellect of a target you would have to have some kind of mental communication via telepathy with it, otherwise the ability would make little to no sense otherwise. The Normal information for the feat states "Telepathy offers no special ability to sense other minds. The creature has to know that a being is there to communicate with it telepathically." Which explicitly states that the feat works via mental communication. \$\endgroup\$ – Sandwich Sep 28 '14 at 1:34
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The rules don't have to, and frequently don't, make "sense." Any sense you inject into them is your own, and it's only fair to readers to explain your assumptions and parameters. To claim that it does work in a particular way that is not directly supported by the text, no matter how much "sense" it may make to you (or me, since I agree with you on this particular point) is, in my mind, misleading to our readers and thus deserving of a downvote. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Sep 28 '14 at 1:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Added information on Allip Clarification, Added information on Cerebral blind, which foils location discernment. \$\endgroup\$ – Sandwich Sep 28 '14 at 1:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately, the Normal section is not, under the rules, authoritative, and problems arise when you attempt to use it as such consistently. They frequently misstate what normal actually is. Also, Cerebral Blind has the same problem; the bit about revealing location is close to useful, except that it specifies devices, spells, or powers, which a feat like Mindsight is not. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Sep 28 '14 at 1:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.