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I have a personal problem with having my characters being subject to magical compulsions, specifically Dominate. I know they're part of the game, but they touch on some personal history stuff that made it an issue when it came up last time. To avoid straining the game, I have started looking at ways to get immunity to compulsions, but the only easily accessible option I found was a one-level dip in Paladin of Freedom, which carries quite a bit of baggage, with its alignment restriction and code of conduct. What better ways are there to keep my character's head on straight?

I had already determined I would not play with this GM again - he knew about the personal issues beforehand, and he had been a player in a game where it had come up, but he was quite adamant that my Charmed half-orc barbarian was suddenly inclined to attack his friends. I probably should have put that in the question, that this is for future characters so it isn't a problem again.

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    \$\begingroup\$ You might want to consider showing your GM this page. It might help persuade your GM that this is a serious issue. Or it might not; I don't know your GM. You can judge that better than we can. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe May 28 '15 at 0:06
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I believe that this problem can and should be dealt with entirely out of character. I have been a GM for a number of years, and my games often cover difficult and mature topics. In order to make this work it is essential that players feel they can talk to me when there are themes which they find difficult. It is then entirely my responsibility to be sensitive to this when I plan my campaign and what PCs are going to encounter.

In your situation you have clearly had a very difficult experience. I believe that your GM was fundamentally wrong and out of order to include this content when they already knew about the issue. This is completely unacceptable behavior. Any GM who does things like this is not worth playing a game with as you cannot trust them.

I can understand your thought processes in trying to minimise the chances of this happening again, but from my experience the only way you can approach this is to be open and upfront with any GM you play with in the future. Be clear about the bad experience you've had in the past, and that this is non-negotiable. A good GM will be absolutely fine with this and work with you to create a game where everyone is comfortable and safe. If they argue, or resist then walk away.

Another thing that works well for me is telling players that they can stop the game at any point where they are uncomfortable, for whatever reason. I call this a timeout, and the facility allows us to handle situations where things come up that suprise both me and the players. As an example of this, a recent session involved roleplaying a group counselling session for one of the PCs, where the other players temporarily took on the roles of the others attending the group. After a short period of time, one of the players called a timeout as they were finding the session difficult. This was a suprising reaction for the player, who hadn't realised they would find such content difficult. As a result of the timeout, I faded to black on the scene and we worked out a way of moving on without compromising the story.

Of course, there is nothing to prevent you also going ahead and making a character that is resistant to the effects that make you uncomfortable as well. I would just urge you not to rely on this as the only measure you take, as it is far from being foolproof. For example, some GMs will see it as a challenge to probe the design of your character for weaknesses they can exploit to make encounters suprising and unexpected. It is virtually impossible to second guess every approach a GM might take. By being open with your GM, you can be as sure as possible that you will have a safe and enjoyable gaming experience.

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I agree with what others have said - this is an issue you should be taking up with your DM, because acquiring in-game immunity is a bandaid solution at best. That aside, however, you do have a few in-game options:

  • Mind Blank (core). This is the end-all, be-all anti-mind magic effect. As long as you have it up, you're good to go.

    Pros:

    • Pretty much unbeatable unless you're stepping into epic or deity territory.
    • Blocks a lot more than just compulsion - you're immune to all mind-affecting and divination effects.

    Cons:

    • Somebody needs to cast it on you every 24 hours, and it's an 8th-level spell. You could get a huge stockpile of scrolls, but that's still inconvenient.
    • It could be dispelled fairly easily, which would leave you open until you managed to reapply it.
  • Ring of Mental Fortitude (DMG II). It's basically mind blank on a ring, minus some of the cooler immunities.

    Pros:

    • Like mind blank, it grants immunity with no conditions or contingencies. Nothing short of DM fiat will go through the protection.
    • It also grants immunity to all mind-affecting effects.

    Cons:

    • It takes up a magic item slot and requires you to wear it all the time.
    • It can still be suppressed via dispel magic or antimagic field.
    • It's very expensive, especially for a low-level character. 110k gp is nothing to sneeze at.
  • Play an undead. All undead have automatic immunity to mind-affecting effects as one of their racial abilities.

    Pros:

    • Nobody can dispel, suppress, or bypass your immunity in any way (unless you really piss off your DM and he decides to make some houserules).
    • You get all of the other undead traits, like darkvision and immunity to critical hits.

    Cons:

    • Pretty much all undead types have some sort of really glaring vulnerability, with a few exceptions, such as liches. You're also probably under the control of whoever made you, unless you're a lich.
    • Big downside: control undead or a similar ability. Your best bet to deal with this is simply to have a lot of hit dice. Greater spell immunity will take care of control undead, but only the spell - non-spell abilities will still be able to affect you.
    • You get all of the other undead traits, like dying at 0 hit points and immunity to positive energy.

There are a number of alternatives to the RoMF option that are various other implementations of "mind blank on a magic item", but RoMF is the best one I found that doesn't bundle in other unnecessary abilities at an increased price.

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    \$\begingroup\$ A method of acquiring protection from evil might be easier and cheaper. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan May 27 '15 at 19:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Aren't there control undead-type spells? \$\endgroup\$ – user11450 May 28 '15 at 9:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ The other downside of undeads is a (generally) low HP pool; a d12 for an undead is equivalent to a d8 + Con 14 for anyone else, it makes for somewhat squishy characters. Actually, I probably need to ask on here how to circumvent that issue. \$\endgroup\$ – Matthieu M. May 28 '15 at 17:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Hurkyl That's a good point, I forgot about those. Edited to mention. \$\endgroup\$ – Hydrothermal May 28 '15 at 17:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ Necropolitan from Libris Mortis is worth mentioning as the option for being undead with (by far) the fewest drawbacks: it costs a little gold, and a fair amount of XP, but there is no LA, no special weaknesses, no unseemly or problematic hunger. Rebuke Undead, control undead, and so on, however, remain big problems. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan May 28 '15 at 18:44
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This is one of those situations where even if your character is immune to compulsions, there is still the effect of the situation arising. Things to consider as well is how you feel when another character is affected by some form of compulsion.

You are probably better off taking some time to talk to your DM and explain it to him so the whole thing can be avoided in general. While it is part of the game, it is not necessarily one that has to come up every single game, or even at all. Your DM really needs to understand as while you may be immune, if something does try to compel you he could describe you shaking off the effect off in a manner that may still cause an issue.

Making your character immune is only a small part of the solution and does not guarantee that the subject matter will not come up or affect you, even if indirectly.

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Talk to the DM.

While they are indeed a part of the game, having problems with them because of out-of-game experiences in your life can make you have big problems with the idea of having someone use the spell on you. Talk to the DM and explain that the idea makes you very uncomfortable for personal reasons (though you are not required to explain those exact reasons to your DM if you do not want to) and ask them if extensive use of the Dominate X spell comes up. If not, then there's no harm done and you can continue. If such spells are an important part of the DM's story and rewriting it becomes not an option, you should consider if you want to remain part of the game for your sake.

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Take the feat Shape Soulmeld (planar ward)

The character must have a Constitution score of 13 to meet the feat's prerequisite, but that's all that's required for the feat Shape Soulmeld (Magic of Incarnum 40-41). Take that feat and pick the soulmeld planar ward, which says that it

protects you from mental control. It blocks any attempt to possess you (by a magic jar attack, for example) or exercise mental control over you, including enchantment (charm) effects and enchantment (compulsion) effects that grant the caster ongoing control over you. The protection does not prevent such effects from targeting you, but it suppresses the effect for the duration of the planar ward’s effect. (83)

According to Magic of Incarnum on Shaping Soulmelds (49-50), once such a character's had one night's rest ever, he can take 1 hour to meditate, shape the soulmeld planar ward, and for the remainder of the character's career gain the ward's benefits. However, an effect like the spell dispel magic et al. can for 1d4 rounds suppress the ward as if it were a magic item (52), and the ward's meldshaper level (equivalent to caster level) of half the character's level (that's zero at level 1) means that, while an area dispel will likely affect another high-level magical effect first, a targeted dispel will almost certainly render the ward briefly inoperative.

But unlike a potentially career-defining choice—like, for example, taking 5 levels in the prestige class church inquisitor (Complete Divine 26-8), taking 2 levels in the prestige class reaper's child (Dragon #299 47-8), taking the feat Insane Defiance (Elder Evils 13), or playing a needlefolk (Monster Manual II 158)—, the feat Shape Soulmeld (planar ward) is only a lone feat with minimal prerequisites and very few drawbacks, allowing plenty of room for character customization.

A note on magic items

While a magic item can provide the same effect, the price is usually prohibitive at the game's early levels (e.g. the eye of winking (Magic of Faerûn 158) (120,000 gp; 0 lbs.); the eyes of the spider (City of the Spider Queen 129) (212,000 gp; 0 lbs.); the phylactery of protection from evil (Dragon #342 68) (30,000 gp; 0.5 lbs.)). However, the banner of law (Heroes of Battle 133) (8,000 gp; 0 lbs.) is remarkable in its effect and reasonably priced.

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