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Spell Resistance

When Spell Resistance Applies

Each spell includes an entry that indicates whether spell resistance applies to the spell. In general, whether spell resistance applies depends on what the spell does:

Targeted Spells: Spell resistance applies if the spell is targeted at the creature. Some individually targeted spells can be directed at several creatures simultaneously. In such cases, a creature’s spell resistance applies only to the portion of the spell actually targeted at that creature. If several different resistant creatures are subjected to such a spell, each checks its spell resistance separately.

Area Spells: Spell resistance applies if the resistant creature is within the spell’s area. It protects the resistant creature without affecting the spell itself.

Effect Spells: Most effect spells summon or create something and are not subject to spell resistance. Sometimes, however, spell resistance applies to effect spells, usually to those that act upon a creature more or less directly, such as web.

Spell resistance can protect a creature from a spell that’s already been cast. Check spell resistance when the creature is first affected by the spell.

Check spell resistance only once for any particular casting of a spell or use of a spell-like ability. If spell resistance fails the first time, it fails each time the creature encounters that same casting of the spell. Likewise, if the spell resistance succeeds the first time, it always succeeds. If the creature has voluntarily lowered its spell resistance and is then subjected to a spell, the creature still has a single chance to resist that spell later, when its spell resistance is up.

Spell resistance has no effect unless the energy created or released by the spell actually goes to work on the resistant creature’s mind or body. If the spell acts on anything else and the creature is affected as a consequence, no roll is required. Creatures can be harmed by a spell without being directly affected.

Spell resistance does not apply if an effect fools the creature’s senses or reveals something about the creature.

Magic actually has to be working for spell resistance to apply. Spells that have instantaneous durations but lasting results aren’t subject to spell resistance unless the resistant creature is exposed to the spell the instant it is cast.

When in doubt about whether a spell’s effect is direct or indirect, consider the spell’s school:

Abjuration: The target creature must be harmed, changed, or restricted in some manner for spell resistance to apply. Perception changes aren’t subject to spell resistance.

Abjurations that block or negate attacks are not subject to an attacker’s spell resistance—it is the protected creature that is affected by the spell (becoming immune or resistant to the attack).

Conjuration: These spells are usually not subject to spell resistance unless the spell conjures some form of energy. Spells that summon creatures or produce effects that function like creatures are not subject to spell resistance.

Divination: These spells do not affect creatures directly and are not subject to spell resistance, even though what they reveal about a creature might be very damaging.

Enchantment: Since enchantment spells affect creatures’ minds, they are typically subject to spell resistance.

Evocation: If an evocation spell deals damage to the creature, it has a direct effect. If the spell damages something else, it has an indirect effect.

Illusion: These spells are almost never subject to spell resistance. Illusions that entail a direct attack are exceptions.

Necromancy: Most of these spells alter the target creature’s life force and are subject to spell resistance. Unusual necromancy spells that don’t affect other creatures directly are not subject to spell resistance.

Transmutation: These spells are subject to spell resistance if they transform the target creature. Transmutation spells are not subject to spell resistance if they are targeted on a point in space instead of on a creature. Some transmutations make objects harmful (or more harmful), such as magic stone. Even these spells are not generally subject to spell resistance because they affect the objects, not the creatures against which the objects are used. Spell resistance works against magic stone only if the creature with spell resistance is holding the stones when the cleric casts magic stone on them.

Successful Spell Resistance

Spell resistance prevents a spell or a spell-like ability from affecting or harming the resistant creature, but it never removes a magical effect from another creature or negates a spell’s effect on another creature. Spell resistance prevents a spell from disrupting another spell.

Against an ongoing spell that has already been cast, a failed check against spell resistance allows the resistant creature to ignore any effect the spell might have. The magic continues to affect others normally.

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