It’s not just the physical damage that your characters need to worry about in the world of Faerun, but also mental damage. Sure a fireball or axe to the stomach could hurt, but those blows are easy to see coming. However, psionic attacks, mind control, charm spells, and other mental effects are much harder to handle. Additionally, they often hinge on a single saving throw for success or failure, and then the result starts.
In order to improve your mental defenses, you can use an item such as the Ring of Mind Shielding, which is designed to shield your mind from any probing thoughts. It also has some other capabilities as well, and those are certainly worth a lookover! Here’s our Ring of Mind Shielding Guide!
What Is the Ring of Mind Shielding?
This ring has a few cool effects, to say the least. According to the Player’s Handbook: “While wearing this ring, you are immune to magic that allows other creatures to read your thoughts, determine whether you are lying, know your alignment, or know your creature type. Creatures can telepathically communicate with you only if you allow it.
You can use an action to cause the ring to become invisible until you use another action to make it visible until you remove the ring, or until you die.
If you die while wearing the ring, your soul enters it, unless it already houses a soul. You can remain in the ring or depart for the afterlife. As long as your soul is in the ring, you can telepathically communicate with any creature wearing it. A wearer can’t prevent this telepathic communication.”
That’s a lot of stuff to break down, so let’s get started. First, this ring shields your mind from outside intrusion. It can shield you from the effects of various spells, including the ‘Zone of Truth’ spell, ‘Detect Alignment, ‘Detect Thoughts’, and various Psionic abilities. If you have a low Wisdom score (which is often the saving throw needed to shield your mind), then this ring is invaluable.
You can also use an action to make the ring invisible, which is perfect if your character is being interrogated or is dealing with enemies like Itlithids. While it can still be detected with spells that counter invisibility, and your enemies might know that something is shielding you if they use detect magic, it’s still a very useful ability. Instead of your foes making you tell the truth or read your thoughts, they will be wondering why you are resisting them. This might buy you some time for an escape.
Finally, the last skill is really cool. If you die while wearing the ring, your soul enters it, and they can either stay there or go to their afterlife. Then they can communicate telepathically with anyone who wears the ring.
Read our full guide to DnD Rings here.
Character Death and The Ring
While most DMs do their best to not have their characters die on them, unlucky dice rolls and poor tactical decisions can cause character death. When that happens, your dungeon master might have a ruling on that. Some just say ‘roll a new character’ and that new character joins the party at the first opportunity.
Others have the old character live on as a ghost or spirit until they get their body back. Some DM’s just have the Resurrection spell handy at the nearest church, and others fudge death saving throws so the character only comes within inches of dying.
Now with the Ring of Mind Shielding, there’s yet another option for character death. Their soul can go into the ring, and another party member might pick it up and carry it with them. There are plenty of ways to put a soul back into a body, so that could easily be a sidequest the party takes on.
Where Can You Find A Ring of Mind Shielding?
Surprisingly, this ring is classified as uncommon. According to D&D lore, the rings were used by those who need protection from magical probes and attacks. These might include nobles who need to keep secrets, rebel forces who don’t want to give away their location, shopkeepers who fear being robbed, and members of magical black markets. Basically, if a character wants to keep what is inside their head secret, they will probably have a ring.
Most of the time you will be able to find a Ring of Mind Shielding if you know where to look, especially with the shadier elements of various cities and towns. The forces of law and order probably don’t want people walking around with these rings, so town guards and officials probably aren’t selling them.
The ring is very expensive, and in most cases, it is at around 16,000 GP before any modifiers. So you will certainly need to save for it.
Attuning To The Ring
The Ring of Mind Shielding does require attunement as well, so you will need to spend a short rest wearing the ring and also meditating on the ring. Unlike other items, you might find that this ring talks back to you! Once you have it attuned to your character, you don’t just get the benefits, but also the company of a soul that may or may not be inside of the ring.
There’s a lot of potential for storytelling with the Ring of Mind Shielding, and here are a few things you can look into if you want to explore that.
Finding The Ring
Let’s think about how ‘Uncommon’ the ring is for a second. Uncommon means that this ring is unusual, but it is not rare. This means that a lot of people will have access to these rings, and probably a few have passed away wearing them or are filled with a soul. Whether your characters find the ring on a dead adventurer or inside of a strange merchant shop, there’s a pretty good chance someone is inside of it.
The soul inside of the ring (if it hasn’t gone to the afterlife) can communicate with whoever is wearing the ring telepathically, and the talking cannot be stopped. The soul inside the ring can be anything the DM wants, and there’s a lot of story hooks that can happen with this ring.
You could have a benevolent adventurer who knows the area and offers advice and support for your character. There could also be a sassy voice who gives bad advice or simply prattles on about random things, or the ring could house an evil soul looking to take over the character’s body. The ring could even house a mentor figure.
It’s just a voice in the ring, but perhaps the voice has unfinished business and needs someone with a body to take care of what they haven’t done. That could be a quest as your characters complete that business and then the soul departs, perhaps leaving them with secrets or treasure.
Perhaps your characters could even run into an old friend or someone that they know inside the ring and get a quest that way. There’s a lot that you can do with this ring because it’s reasonable to think that the ring could be full of a soul about 75% of the time. A good DM can take these ideas and run with them, and add another story hook for the PCs to figure out.
You can also just have the ring be empty as well because the description does say the soul has two choices. It can either remain in the ring or leave for its afterlife, so perhaps a ring that was owned by a devout figure would be empty as they go to seek their God.
When Should You Use This Ring?
Some of the best enemies to use this ring with are Mind Flayers and those that serve the Ilithids. These squid-like enemies are all about getting inside your brain and in some cases they devour it, and if they manage to interrogate you they will be using their physic abilities to get into your brain.
Additionally, the ring can be used against Paladins and other holy orders that might try to use holy magic to make your character tell the truth. If you are facing telepaths, then that’s another reason to use the ring as you can simply deny them access to your brain.
What Happens To The Soul If The Ring Is Removed Or Destroyed?
As we’ve discussed before, magical items can be destroyed. They are very durable and have damage resistance to everything, so things that destroy standard non-magical items won’t do too much when it comes to your magical items. Still, the Ring of Mind Shielding can be destroyed with enough force and damage, and if that happens then the soul inside is set free to go into the afterlife.
If the ring is removed from the person it is attuned to, then the effects vanish and while the soul remains in the ring it cannot telepathically communicate with anyone else. Other than that, once the ring is returned to its owner and is re-attuned, then the soul inside will be able to speak to the person again.
Ring of Mind Shielding Guide: FAQs
Question: How Does Time Pass In The Ring?
Answer: If an NPC or perhaps a player character finds themselves inside of the ring, it could be a valid question. After all, let’s say an NPC character named Barbarian Bob wore this ring while battling a monster and died to it, and his soul hasn’t left the ring. Decades pass before someone picks the ring up again, and Bob’s soul is still inside.
In this case, since souls are technically not alive, Bob’s soul remains the same as it was on the day of his death.
Now for a PC, such as Randolph the Rogue, if he dies and goes into the ring, time freezes for him as well. For example, he could be 33 when his soul goes into the ring. If it takes 2 years for the party to find the ability to get him back into a body, then he is still 33 when he gets out.
It’s a bit complicated and might require some DM homebrewing and intervention, but for most people time freezes in the ring.
Question: Can Multiple Souls Inhabit The Same Ring?
Answer: If one character dies while wearing a ring that already has a soul, the official ruling is that only one soul can be in the ring at any given time. Of course, a savvy DM can play with this.
The characters can switch places with one another when the attuned owner dies, the soul inside the ring can be banished to their afterlife, or perhaps the wearer’s soul doesn’t go into the full ring. You can do just about anything if you want to have some fun with it, and it could even be determined by the person inside of the ring.
An evil wizard might want to take over the character’s body, while a fallen adventurer might seek closure for his death before willingly departing for the afterlife. Think about it when you give the player the ring because this item is ripe with storytelling potential.
Question: What About Technology?
Answer: Now the ring says that it protects your mind from magical intrusion: “you are immune to magic that allows…” While most of Faerun is magic-based, you can have races or cities that eschew magic in favor of technology. It’s not that much of a stretch to have a steampunk-esque lie detector or good old non-magical interrogation be used to get the information.
If this is the case, then the ring will not aid you. It only protects from magical intrusion. That being said, having places that aren’t magic based in D&D is pretty rare, and is much more likely to be found in homebrew games. Still, if you are a DM and want to get around the Ring of Mind Shielding’s abilities, then this is the way to do it.