I want to play a wizard who specializes in the charm and dominate spells. But all those Enchantment spells saving throws are Will saves, and I'm worried about my spells not being effective. What are some ways I can lower an opponent's Will save or Wisdom?

I looked through this list but didn't find what I'm looking for.


At 4th spell level, crushing despair is the go-to for area-effect, while bestow curse is the preferred single-target. Note that bestow curse can be applied to Will saves (or any save you want) twice, once with the general -4 to most d20 rolls and again with the -6 to a target stat.

Earlier than that, you can use mad hallucination. Ray of sickening deserves special mention for being even earlier at first level and targeting Fortitude instead of Will, it's nice to get you started. If you have a cleric in the party, doom is also first level.

The Enchanter wizard's Aura of Despair class ability (or the Enchanter-Manipulator wizard's Shape Emotions class ability) can debuff saves as well.

Don't forget you can also buff your spell DC rather than (or in addition to) debuffing their Will. Increasing your casting stat (Intelligence for Wizards) is the obvious way (permanently with items or levels or temporarily with spells like fox's cunning), but feats like Spell Focus (Enchantment) also make it harder to resist your magic.

If you're willing to consider other arcane classes, for my controllers I usually prefer Fey bloodline Sorcerers, who get +2 to their Compulsion save DCs. Kitsune sorcerers can also spend their favored class bonuses for a +1 to enchantment save DCs every 4 levels. These two bonuses can be used together. A friendly witch can use their Evil Eye or especially Misfortune hexes (this could be you, most debuffs and control spells are on the Witch list as well) to penalize Will saves. Arcanist is probably a poor choice for controllers, but they can boost their save DC a point using their arcane reservoir.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I immediately thought of the sickened/shaken conditions when I read this question, +1 \$\endgroup\$ – GreySage May 12 '16 at 22:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Edited to add other class options in case the OP isn't married to Wizard - a Kitsune Fey-bloodline Sorcerer seems about equal to a Witch (Misfortune is so powerful when it hits), although best is clearly running the Kitsune alongside a friendly debuff-specialized Witch. I don't know the OP's party composition, obviously, but witches get nearly every debuff LegendaryDude and I mentioned on top of those hexes... control ALL the things! \$\endgroup\$ – gatherer818 May 12 '16 at 22:32

Here are two spells at your disposal that will reduce a target's Wisdom score, resulting in a lower Will Saving Throw modifier.

Touch of Idiocy is a level 2 Wizard spell that, on a successful melee touch attack reduces your target's mental abilities (INT, WIS, and CHA) by 1d6. A good roll on this spell will give you a much greater chance of charming the target, but might also reduce them to gibbering idiot.

Enervation is available as a level 4 Wizard spell that will apply 1d4 negative levels on a successful ranged touch attack resulting in a -1 cumulative penalty on all ability checks, attack rolls, combat maneuver checks, Combat Maneuver Defense, saving throws, and skill checks for each negative level affecting the target.

I'll also note that both of these spells were on the list you linked to.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Ha, there are so many ways we didn't overlap at all. I didn't consider negative levels. What's nasty is that most of these ways stack, too, in case you only have one control spell left and need to bring down someone big. \$\endgroup\$ – gatherer818 May 12 '16 at 22:10

Looking through the list, most Will reducing spells are negated by Will and as such are only useful for making an opponent's difficult but beatable Will Save even worse. My research indicates that supposing you rolled perfectly, or alternatively Maximized the spells you could get a maximum of -11 if you used Enervation (-4), Touch of Idiocy (-3), Cause Fear (-2) and Aura of Despair (-2). This reduction is also applied to attack rolls and saving throws. Which is really good. I mean if you used a Heightened Spell to ramp something up to 9th level and fox's cunning that gets you a DC of 36. That's enough to get better than 50/50 on a Great Wyrm. You could probably get an additional 8 if your willing to burn a 9th level spell like Symbol of Vulnerability (-4) and have a good race and magic items. But that gets expensive.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ hello and welcome on the Stack! I suggest you take the tour! Also, you should write an answer that does work on its own - referencing other posts works, but usually is not the best way. Also, while your list and idea seem solid, please try to explain on a level so someone not familiar with each spell can understand it. \$\endgroup\$ – Trish Dec 2 '17 at 0:02

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