I have to disagree, perhaps wrongly but here was my thought process(I was the GM)!
This is why...to me, the evil eye and hypnotism spells must meet the following criteria. Eye contact must be made and have cognitive recognition behind it. Looking at someone's eye ball - which the Scholar was saying he was doing, does not in my opinion met the requirements. If the ape had looked at the scholar for even a second with cognitive thought then I would have accepted his attack. As it was, the ape was looking directly at Raz trying to turn his head into grape juice, I ruled that these requirements were not met. They were engaged in a battle of strength - Raz is very strong also so their concentration was on eachother. Either of the other apes as I said would have been given a % chance of catching the Scholars eye. The scholar's mistake was in choosing the wrong target. In fact Abaddon to his immediate front was in just as bad a condition at that time.
Respectfully I must disagree. For starters the RAW are against you. The Evil Eye descriptor says nothing about meeting the target's gaze "with cognitive recognition" all it says is
Conan p 197 said:
The Evil Eye: Some spells require the caster to meet the target's eye. This can affect a target within 30 ft. The caster simply chooses a target within range, and the opponent must attempt a saving throw.
If the target is able to avoid meeting the caster's gaze during the round the spell is cast, the evil eye spell has no effect.
The rules also detail the two ways in which a target can avoid meeting the caster's gaze, both of which require an affirmative action on the target's part which I still argue that a target whith no reason to suspect an evil eye spell or no knolwedge of how to defend against one would have no reason to take such action.
Which brings us back to the discussion of weither or not a target engaged in melee is so distracted that he is incapable of making eye contact. Once again the RAW are against you. There are no rules for a combatant "concentrating" on an opponent to the exclusion of other targets. Quite the opposite. The no-facing system dictates that a combatant is capable of awarness in all directions at all times. And the AoO system practically demands that that awarness be excercised constantly.
None of which means that you as a GM can't house rule differently of course. But I still dont' think you have clearly thought through all the reprecussions of your ruling. For example, if I were your sorcerer player and you told me I couldn't meet the gaze of this ape I would simply stroll over and cast a touch spell on him with no fear of AoO. I mean, if he is so busy concentrating on the "life or death combat" he is engaged in there is no way he is going to notice his chance to take his Attack of Opportunity
on me right? You say that in your game the sorcerer used his round to make an attack with his bow instead? I do hope that you remembered not to add the ape's Dex bonus to DV then and the sorcerer hit. After all, if the ape is looking only at the opponent he is fighting such that he can't even meet the sorcerer's eyes for a instant
then there is no way the ape could be watching the sorcerer closely enough to deserve his Dex bonus to dodge an arrow. He should really be considered flat-footed. Hell, I've got some advice for your sorcerer player: give up on the scholar thing and start taking levels of thief. Use a bow and demand that whenever an enemy is engaged in melee with an ally you be allowed to apply your sneak attack damage. If the GM says no, the enemy is watching you closely enough to get his Dex bonus then cast hypnotisim instead.
You see my friend, awarness is a sword that cuts both ways. It is a combatant's awarness of the battelfield that lets him do things like make AoO's and defend himself effectievly against all attackers. The downside is that once in a while you subject yourself to a gaze attack. If you still wish to rule that some combatants may be so engaged with their opponent that they aren't subject to a gaze attack (your perogrative as GM) then the only
correct intrepretation is to also rule that they are blind with regards to the rest of the battlefield (ie: treat all other combatants as invisible).
One more point to consider. From a purely gammist standpoint it is not a good thing to nerf player abilities on a whim. Scholars have a hard enough time contributing to a battle as it is, there is no reason to go taking away what few combat abilities he has at random. And no, ruling that one opponent is not subject to gaze attacks while two others have a % defence and another sorcerer in a different combat has no problem executing gaze attacks is not consistent. It is inconsistency
and it means the player never has any idea weither or not his class abilites will be of any use to him until the moment his initative comes up in a combat. It is not up to you to decide which targets are the "right" targets and which are the "wrong" targets. If your player wants to help Raz instead of helping Abaddon that is his
choice. If Abaddon dies then he can deal with the consequences but it is not up to you to indirectly tell the player which enemy to attack by deciding which is vulneurable to his attack.
Anyway, hope that helps.