Spell Resistance in 4e

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What are possible ways that Spell Resistance could work in 4e?

1. Same as 3.X: Creatures have a static SR and attackers roll a caster check to meet or beat it.

2. Bonus on Defense Scores vs a Spellcasting Modifier (Base Spellcasting Bonus + Caster Stat + Misc). There has been no hint (that I have seen) on anything relating to a Base Spellcasting Bonus. This just seems to best jive with Defenses as a bonus to Defenses vs Spells. In a sense, Dwarves would have SR of +2 from the race if you do a straight conversion from 3.X to defenses.

3. No SR, as Defenses are already static relating to HD, why bother.

What do other people think?
What are possible ways that Spell Resistance could work in 4e?

1. Same as 3.X: Creatures have a static SR and attackers roll a caster check to meet or beat it.

2. Bonus on Defense Scores vs a Spellcasting Modifier (Base Spellcasting Bonus + Caster Stat + Misc). There has been no hint (that I have seen) on anything relating to a Base Spellcasting Bonus. This just seems to best jive with Defenses as a bonus to Defenses vs Spells. In a sense, Dwarves would have SR of +2 from the race if you do a straight conversion from 3.X to defenses.

3. No SR, as Defenses are already static relating to HD, why bother.

What do other people think?

Considering how radically they are changing the magic system, who knows?

One proposal I have seen floated is that in the new system all attack spells will require an attack roll and the damage will be based on how much the targets defense is beat by. In that case, spell resistance would have to be a bonus to the targets defense or a flat adjustment to the damage.

Considering how much they are emphasizing streamlining, I doubt they would go with anything that requires another die roll in casting. And I expect things to be balanced out so that spell resistance is less common then in 3e.

Jay
I've always had a problem with spell resistance. What are you really resistant to? Magic as a whole? Then shouldn't you take less damage from a longsword +1 than regular people because its additional power comes from the magical enhancement?

Does SR apply to Evocation, Conjuration [creation], (because the stuff is made of "magic") but not to Conjuration [summoning] or Conjuration [binding] (because the magic is only used to summon a real creature made of non-magic)?

Are you vulnerable to Ex but not Su or Sp?

If you agree with the above, then it seems like SR is really a mini-antimagic field. An AMF that reduces magic by a percentage, as it were.

But I also have a problem with how its effects are calculated: Rolling against an SR means sometimes it works completely, other times it fails completely. That doesn't sound like a mini-AMF to me; that sounds like an AMF that flickers on and off and you never know when it'll be off. But then how do you adjudicate Charm Person etc.? Half-charmed? Lower the DC?

I mean, the whole concept is really messy. I have no idea how they'd have it make sense.
I wouldn't be surprised to find that it's entirely gone. One of the past columns about design discussed the designer dislike of "neener neener" abilities, of which SR was the most prominent.

A defense bonus vs spells would work, but as pointed out above, the very idea of SR presents a lot of thematic inconsistencies as to how and why it works. It only works against spells (and yet not all spells) but at the same time completely ignores the exact same effect produced as a Su ability... why?
I'm all for gutting SR entirely. There's lots of other good stuff (heavily 3.5 thinking not knowing what 4th Ed is bringing to the table) that one could give a critter such as better saves, resistances, more HP, whatever.
I'm all for gutting SR entirely. There's lots of other good stuff (heavily 3.5 thinking not knowing what 4th Ed is bringing to the table) that one could give a critter such as better saves, resistances, more HP, whatever.

I mean I think it would be good if more monsters were straight up immune to magic like the iron golem, and some monsters even carried around a 5' radius AMF with them, but none of this wishy-washy thing in the middle with rolling and sometimes and halfsies. It's just inconsistent and forces you to remember a billion rules about what is and what isn't included in the immunities.
Ugh. Thats even worse. As much as I want to see spell resistance go, I hate seeing monster abilties that read as
' go to the back of the party, do not pass go, do not bother participating in this portion of the game'.

Its one thing if you can switch to another spell, ability or weapon, its another if you're just called out and metaphorically forced to stand in the corner.
Ugh. Thats even worse. As much as I want to see spell resistance go, I hate seeing monster abilties that read as
' go to the back of the party, do not pass go, do not bother participating in this portion of the game'.

Its one thing if you can switch to another spell, ability or weapon, its another if you're just called out and metaphorically forced to stand in the corner.

That's the beauty of D&D: your characters should not be one-trick ponies. They ought to be prepared for all kinds of encounters. The wizard can't bust out his scorching rays against the golem? Well then, start polymorphing your buddies or buffing them or casting solid fogs.

Characters that have to stand in the corner are built poorly. Systems (like many MMOs or more simplistic RPGs) that force characters into defined, one-trick roles are built poorly. 4E should not be one of them.
I guess I sort of like Spell Resistance for things like demons, dragons, and dark elves. There's some sort of magical property to them that resists magical attacks. It makes demons seem more menacing.

In 3.5, later on, when spell casters start getting a lot of no-save spells. Spell Resistance becomes a new higher-level saving throw.

I'm all for reducing mechanics to a single die roll per action so I'm happy to have SR rolled into something else or fitting in somewhere new. I just hope there is still that sort of creepy native resistance to magic that dark elves and demons have. I think there's a place for it.
SR is a bad mechanic. It punishes multi-class casters (practiced spellcaster = bandaid) and it doesn't really help that much if you can dodge it. Golems aren't nearly quite so menacing when you can pepper them with metamagic-enhanced Melf's acid arrows from high in the air. With so many powerful conjuration school spells that avoid SR entirely, it's just too clunky.
What are possible ways that Spell Resistance could work in 4e?

Personally, since saves are being rolled into Defenses, I'd tie it into that. Approaching it from a 3.X standpoint, this is kinda how I'd consider making it...

Spell Resistance (Su): You gain a +5 bonus to all Defenses when used against powers and abilities from the Arcane and Divine power sources.

Greater Spell Resistance (Su): You gain a +10 bonus to all Defenses when used against powers and abilities from the Arcane and Divine power sources. Even if the spell penetrates your Defenses, it's effectiveness is reduced (equivalent of things like Evasion, "Will partial" and all that).
I'm all for gutting SR entirely. There's lots of other good stuff (heavily 3.5 thinking not knowing what 4th Ed is bringing to the table) that one could give a critter such as better saves, resistances, more HP, whatever.

I'm with ya 100%! I think saves should designate how resistant you are. SR is redundant and unnecessary imo.
I've always thought SR was clunky too. There was, in fact, a design article a long time ago explaining the origins of SR and drow; how basically at some point in 1st edition the developers realized mages were far too powerful, but rather than nerf mages, they decided to start giving every high level creature this thing called Spell Resistance (or was it called Magic Resistance back then?).

Anyway, even before that article, that's how SR always struck me. Someone would be writing a monster, and then someone else would look at it and say "Yeah, that's cool, but I could kill it in one round by casting X", and the designer would say "Damn.... ok, I guess I'll just give it Spell Resistance. What's the correct spell resistance number to screw over casters of this CR range?"

I'd rather see smaller, more specific strengths and weaknesses. A really strong save vs particular schools, or energy resistances, or perhaps even immunities to certain things (though I always prefer strong resistance to immunity). But blanket immunity to all magic (except for a bunch of inexplicably unaffected spells) on a massive list of creatures is dumb. I wouldn't mind a few anti-magic creatures, but SR shouldn't be standard issue for mid-high level encounters.

A lot of this hinges on the new spell system though, which none of us knows anything about.
I have a question, where exactly did it say that saves were being rolled into defense? I have encountered nothing like that. Star Wars SAGA is not admissable as evidence.
Star Wars SAGA is not admissable as evidence.

So, the developers flat-out stating "Saga is a preview of what 4th will be like" isn't admissable?

Uh, sure thing.
When did they say that?
When did they say that?

At GenCon. This information has been released for a few weeks now, and you can find most of it over at enworld.org.

Also, they said on numerous occasions that Saga and various later 3.5 supplements (Tome of Magic and Tome of Battle) were used as testing grounds for 4th edition, as development was progressing.
So in other words, there is no way to know whether any given feature in SAGA is actually in 4e, dont assume that 4e is just SAGA with the serial numbers filled off. Some 4e stuff might be in SAGA, but do not assume that any given rule is.

Otherwise they would have delayed SAGA to release after 4e, not before.
Magic Resistance has been in the game almost from the beginning.

In 1st edition, Magic Resistance showed up only on (in 3e terms) Outer Planar Outsiders, some of the Fay, and Aberrations. This implies that MR is the result of a creature not being native to the Prime Material, or not being quite "real".

The fact that it showed up on Drow later on is one of the many many hints that Drow are actually demon-blooded/corrupted elves, and not just a subrace of elf...

Some creatures had straight immunities, certainly, but immunities worked differently than magic resistance; MR was a "chance to dispel", while immunity was just that. Blanket immunities also had a justification of sorts, since it was a matter of looking back at myth and saying "well, x doesn't work, y wouldn't work, z would have no effect," etc. Golems are hard to mind control, not having a mind. Iron golems don't take damage from a lot of things simply because it's a huge lump of animated iron with some reinforcing spells. Flesh golems were based off of a mindless version of Frankenstein's Monster, and so forth. Will-o-the-wisps are almost completely incorporeal energy creatures; the only thing that hurts them is Magic Missile, being an unerring Force spell effect.

Further, magic resistance could be bypassed by being a higher-level spellcaster. It originally worked so that MR was a base chance for a spellcaster of 11th level; for every level below 11, 5% was added to the MR. For every level above 11, 5% was removed.

A 30% MR means a 17th level caster completely bypasses that creatures MR.
That's what the "spell penetration" roll of 3e is supposed to represent.

An MR creature could walk through a Wall of Iron in 1st edition if it made its MR roll, considering that Walls had a permanent duration and not an instant one. Summoned creatures would 'bampf' if if bit into/hit the MR creature and didn't bypass the MR. MR Resistant creatures were potentially unaffected by "spell like abilities".

The rules for how SR works in 3e never quite made sense to me.
So in other words, there is no way to know whether any given feature in SAGA is actually in 4e, dont assume that 4e is just SAGA with the serial numbers filled off. Some 4e stuff might be in SAGA, but do not assume that any given rule is.

We know iterative attacks are gone (Saga), saving throws will not exist in their current form and will be something new (presumably incorporating them entirely into Defenses), a level-based damage bonus (Saga), no skill ranks (Saga), a collapsed skill list (Saga), talent trees (Saga), triple HP at first level (Saga)... just to scratch the surface.

And Saga was just a beta version of 4th that was polished to work for Star Wars, not the other way around.

Otherwise they would have delayed SAGA to release after 4e, not before.

Uhh, no. They would not have delayed Saga for... whatever non-existent reason you never bother to give.

They used SAGA as an opportunity to take all the new mechanics they had developed for 4th edition, polish them, then put them out as a new game. Yes, 4th will be different, obviously, because they have had a year longer to revise mechanics and incorporate feedback.
You didnt actually watch the Youtube video did you? The guy who was writting for SAGA didn't even know 4e was being worked on at first. One of his higher ups was passing along info. Basically SAGA has SOME things from 4e in it. But SAGA was not written by the same people doing 4e. So anything that is in SAGA COULD be in 4e, they havent said what exactly in SAGA came from what they have been doing on 4e and what they came up with themselves.
We know iterative attacks are gone (Saga), saving throws will not exist in their current form and will be something new (presumably incorporating them entirely into Defenses), a level-based damage bonus (Saga), no skill ranks (Saga), a collapsed skill list (Saga), talent trees (Saga), triple HP at first level (Saga)... just to scratch the surface.

There is no way to know if any of those were handed down from 4e or if they are Star Wars only things. From everything I have read from Design and Development from the DnDInsider site says that iterative attacks ARE still there, but based on your weapon, not you. There has been no information on saving throws released yet. There is nothing to suggest they will look anything like what is in SAGA. Level based damage bonus really doesnt sound DnD to me, but it could be in there. That honestly sounds like something the Star Wars guys came up with on their own, but they haven't said anything about it yet. No skill ranks is completely non-dnd and probably will not be in 4e. A collapsed skill list does seem likely. Talent trees are probably in there. And triple HP at first level MIGHT be in there. If not, then something similar.

SAGA has somethings in it that came from 4e, yes, but SAGA was not written by the same guys who are working on 4e. Expect some things introduced in SAGA to be there, but not everything.

You shouldn't assume anything, it is far too early.
Oh, and the reason they would have had to delay it if it really was based that much on 4e is because if it was, it would have ruined the suprise for 4e. No offense to Star Wars role players, but DnD 4e is a more important product. The only thing that WotC would probably put ahead of DnD would be Magic. But since thats a card card, not an RPG, they don't really interfer with one another. Unless they release a Magic The Gathering RPG.
You shouldn't assume anything, it is far too early.

Have you watched the interview with the gentleman who actually actively worked on the design of SWSE... you know, the interview where he states that after it was announced to him, the D&D developers frequently came to him and asked to see what he had going for saga, and frequently passed him ideas and mechanics to try?

Reduced Skills, No Skill Ranks, Much more general classes with multiple "Talent Trees" to further define, No inherant iterative attacks. (There have been developer posts where they have said the concept of the full attack was basically going away), increased damage as you level just for being higher level, 3xBaseHD + Con starting hit points, the "Second Wind" mechanic, and defenses instead of saving throws are all things that I think are pretty safe to say we can expect to see in 4th Edition.

It has been stated many times, by both the D&D devs and the SWSE devs, that Saga is a significant preview of 4th edition. Does that mean everything is going to make it? No. Does that mean a lot of the basic structure is? Yes.

As for SR... Gut it. Get rid of it. It is a worthless mechanic that has no place in D&D. Replace it with DR that applies only to magical effects or something, I don't care. The whole concept of "oh, you didn't roll high enough on a D20, so your spell goes 'Poof'" is absolutely rediculous.

Here's a suggestion. Go sit down and roll a character for Saga edition and play a game. Once you see how much more fludily it plays then 3rd edition, you will understand that there is no reason for virtually everything in that book to not transfer over to 4th.
Above all else, the most dangerous thing that can ever be said during any sort of testing scenario is "It's just the test." Assumption that an issue, no matter how glaring, will be fixed in the final product is the most devastating assumption that any tester can make, and the most disastrous of excuses for any flaw.
my suggestion for SR:

giva a monster that had SR either

may reroll a failed save

or may reroll a failed save 1/encounter
my suggestion for SR:

giva a monster that had SR either

may reroll a failed save

or may reroll a failed save 1/encounter

There's a big chance that saves will be static defenses in 4E, so that mechanic wouldn't work.
What do other people think?

I think that in concept SR could be replaced by a bonus to ST vs spells.

After all the net result is usually a reduced % chance of being affected by a spell... The exception is spells with "save for half" or "ST: partial" which SR can negate completely while ST can only negate partially.

However, in practice SR is implemented in a fairly simple way in 3e, so I'm not sure whether there is a huge need to change it.
I mean I think it would be good if more monsters were straight up immune to magic like the iron golem, and some monsters even carried around a 5' radius AMF with them, but none of this wishy-washy thing in the middle with rolling and sometimes and halfsies. It's just inconsistent and forces you to remember a billion rules about what is and what isn't included in the immunities.

I think that would only make things worse, especially using Golems as the prime example.

How does a Wizard or Cleric using magic make a permanent item/creature that is nearly invulnerable to all magic? If he could do that, why would he not make him an item that grants that instead that he could wear or one of his companions could wear? Especially as the near immunity to magic does not in any way limit the Golem's ability to use magic. So it's all the benefits of anti-magic with none of the penalties.
I guess I sort of like Spell Resistance for things like demons, dragons, and dark elves. There's some sort of magical property to them that resists magical attacks. It makes demons seem more menacing.

In 3.5, later on, when spell casters start getting a lot of no-save spells. Spell Resistance becomes a new higher-level saving throw.

I'm all for reducing mechanics to a single die roll per action so I'm happy to have SR rolled into something else or fitting in somewhere new. I just hope there is still that sort of creepy native resistance to magic that dark elves and demons have. I think there's a place for it.

The problem with the current spells are that they have a haphazard mix of "no save" spells" and "no SR spells" as a mix of bad meta-gaming ideas. That big creature has great saves across the board, let me find my handful of no save spells. That creature has high SR, let me find my handful of spells that do not allow SR. I hope they clean the whole way spells are resisted/defended against in 4th Ed. And getting rid of the separate mechanics for saves and SR would be a good start.
So in other words, there is no way to know whether any given feature in SAGA is actually in 4e, dont assume that 4e is just SAGA with the serial numbers filled off. Some 4e stuff might be in SAGA, but do not assume that any given rule is.

Correct. There has been no confirmation of any of the rules from SWSE nor from ToB:BoNS being "directly" ported into 4th Ed or ported at all for that matter. They have said that those rules had examples of "where" they were at with 4th Ed rules at that time.
About all they said, is that some ideas were being passed along from one of the developers of 4e to the developer of SAGA. This means that some little nuggets of 4e are in SAGA, but most likely in the form of broad ideas, not exact rules. I don't think you will be able to take the 4e PHB and compare it to the SAGA book and find many places where things match up word for word. They took some ideas that they were experimenting with for 4e and ran with them, thats all. Skills are probably being condensed, but I doubt they are going to get rid of skill points in favor of trained and untrained. Iteritive attacks will probably be no longer based on your BAB, but unlike SAGA, I bet they will be based on your choice of weapon, not feats.