Detect Thoughts, Mind Thrust, and Intelligent Undead


Rules Questions


Alright, so after reading the rules entries for undead and comparing it to constructs and plants, I want to make sure I'm interpreting the rules correctly.

The entry...
Immunity to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, morale effects, patterns, and phantasms).
... specifically defines mind-affecting effects as those that would explicitly influence the behavior of the target creature.

Mind Thrust has the exact same spell descriptor (Divination [mind-affecting]) as detect thoughts and, like detect thoughts, does not effect targets without an intelligence score. That would indicate intelligent undead are affected by mind thrust. Am I interpreting the entry correctly?

I am assuming detect thoughts works on undead given a previous thread on the 3.5 rules from 2005 involving a Dungeon Magazine 126 Waterdeep adventure.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I'm under the impression that ALL mind-affecting effects are completely useless against undead.


Undead have immunity to mind affecting spells, SLA, or SU.

This includes:

Quote:
•Immunity to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, morale effects, patterns, and phantasms).

as examples, but is not an exhaustive list.

Mind Thrust has the descriptor Divination(min affecting). This means it's mind affecting, and that all Undead are by their Undead nature immune. Regardless of being mindless or not. Being mindless is a separate ability and has different implications.

So no, Mind Thrust will not work on any Undead. Regardless of whether they have an Int score.


For no sensible reason, intelligent undead are immune to mind-affecting spells.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Casual Viking wrote:
For no sensible reason, intelligent undead are immune to mind-affecting spells.

Their minds are wholly alien to us and our spells. In fact, their minds are either rotted or are altogether nonexistent. Their psyche exists only as part of the horribly twisted animating spirit left behind, and isn't a mind at all in the traditional sense. So why would you expect things that target minds work on them?


Also, Threnodic spell is totally a thing.


And Will of the Dead phrenic amplification, which can affect even mindless undead.


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There is a Psychic Phrenic Pool power that gets around this.

What grinds my gears is that all of the really good psychic-flavored foes are almost universally immune to mind affecting. I understand originally it was so you can't charm/dominate then interrogate these master manipulaters, but now it means that if you are getting ramped up for a big Occult-themed campaign and you make a mind-bending psychic, you'll then see that you can't use hardly ANY of your new toys.

"I Mind Thrust the serpentman occultist!"

"He's immune."

"Ok, I start a Psychic Duel with him!"

"He's immune."

"So what you are telling me is that in order to be effective in this Occult-themed campaign full of horrors beyond time and space I should have made a barbarian?"

"..."


TwoWolves wrote:


There is a Psychic Phrenic Pool power that gets around this.

What grinds my gears is that all of the really good psychic-flavored foes are almost universally immune to mind affecting. I understand originally it was so you can't charm/dominate then interrogate these master manipulaters, but now it means that if you are getting ramped up for a big Occult-themed campaign and you make a mind-bending psychic, you'll then see that you can't use hardly ANY of your new toys.

"I Mind Thrust the serpentman occultist!"

"He's immune."

"Ok, I start a Psychic Duel with him!"

"He's immune."

"So what you are telling me is that in order to be effective in this Occult-themed campaign full of horrors beyond time and space I should have made a barbarian?"

"..."

Yeah, that's one of the reasons I was asking. The very theme of the book tends to bring the rules into question when things don't add up. Also, undead don't have alien thoughts unless they're from an alien species. They have pretty normal thoughts for diabolically evil creatures minus a few new urges. Either that or they are just roving hate and despair elementals like a shadow.


I can see a Lich being immune, it's a good benefit of becoming one and you have to research HOW to do it. It's not an accident, it's a choice.

But vampires? Alien minds with unknowable motivations? Ghouls? C'mon, I'd say "lust" or "hunger" are really pretty easily understood, being the two most basic of human urges behind "survival". Nope, no way Mr Mindbending Psychic can wrap his big brain around those esoteric concepts...


Yup, Pretty clear that it is a blanket immunity all undead share. Likewise it doesn't seem fitting for many types of undead. But there are the work arounds already mentioned above.


It never mentioned illusions either though, but I guess this answered my questions

Sovereign Court

It gets even stupider when you have creatures like the Cerebric Fungus that do bad things to you if you try to read their mind, but why would you, because as plants they're immune to that anyway.


Claxon wrote:
Also, Threnodic spell is totally a thing.

+2LA still is a big ouchie... charm person taking a fireball slot, suggestion a teleport, geas boosted to 8th...


Ascalaphus wrote:
It gets even stupider when you have creatures like the Cerebric Fungus that do bad things to you if you try to read their mind, but why would you, because as plants they're immune to that anyway.

I guess it works when you're using Detect Thoughts as a scouting tool. Keep concentrating on it in a dungeon, when you detect thoughts, it means enemies are nearby/behind a door. If that person suddenly starts punching himself in the face, there's probably a Cerebric Fungus around. It's also a relatively low CR monster, so you might not have encountered plant creatures before. It might be a punishment for when you don't roll/make the knowledge check.


Yizzik Uhari wrote:
It never mentioned illusions either though, but I guess this answered my questions

Not all illusions are mind affecting. Figments Glamers and Shadow spells are not mind affecting. Patterns and Phantasams are mind affecting.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Claxon wrote:
Also, Threnodic spell is totally a thing.

Better yet would be the Undead sorcerer bloodline. Its arcana lets you cast mind-affecting spells against most undead.


What about constructs? makes no sense to me that you wouldn't be able to detect their thoughts if they're sentient... I wonder why there's no 'will of the dead' equivalent...


GM PDK wrote:
What about constructs? makes no sense to me that you wouldn't be able to detect their thoughts if they're sentient... I wonder why there's no 'will of the dead' equivalent...

Most constructs are immune since most aren't sentient. They don't have independent thoughts, they follow the programming of the magic used to animate them the way a complex robot does. The two examples of sentient constructs, The Beast of Lepistadt (Carrion Crown) and The Scarecrow (Rise of the Runelords,) are both explicitly stated to be weak to mind-affecting effects. (That said they are both flesh golems so magic still doesn't work.)


What about robots and stuff? as they get more intelligent, should the immunity disappear? they conveniently made the android a creature with the humanoid type... :)


Most robots still are not sentient. While their programming can be complex, they are just responding to their software not developing their own thoughts. Androids, on the other hand, are wetware. Their bodies are an artificial recreation of a human body. They have an artifice brain that mimics that of other humanoids and have their own thoughts, albeit their thought process is a bit alien and thus reflected in their bonus against mind-affecting effects.

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