Blue Skies thinking - Magic Resistance

I've been mulling over my homebrew world.

I want there to be powerful but different magical traditions with their own form of magic resistance inferior to Parma. I want these to be very different how they work. I'm looking for ideas (and workable rules if you like) for a number of different methods, specifically:

  1. an ablative magic resistance. Very high resistance but one shot only. Likely in the form of amulets, runes, spells, etc. Powerful wizards from this tradition might have many (dozens) of such runes in waiting, but there is a certain time/vis/effort cost to make them.

  2. magic resistance items. Similar to the rules for magic resistance amulets in 4th ed but ideal lasting longer, providing general magic resistance at low to mid levels.

  3. Another ablative magic resistance method, starts very high general resistance but with each spell it resists, it drops magic resistance. The caster should be able to "top up" their magic resistance fairly easily with a formulaic spell making spell duels with them all about wearing down their MR before delivering a decisive spell.

  4. some form of powerful form specific resistance, onerous enough to prevent someone having too many but powerful enough to really screw with someone who is only strong in that art (i.e. ignem MR effect should really cause headaches to the local flambeau but be hard enought to do that a wizard could not have one for each art)

Has anyone got anymore ideas or would like to venture rules for the above?

some suggestions :slight_smile: Not knowing what the traditions are about or what te+Fo combos you want to implement, not much to be said though.

1. Ablative resistance. All or nothing runes
1 month to make one. so having a lot of them is extremely time consuming. They can have 3 in a season, though, or generate 1 and do some minor lab activities as well.
If a spell activates a rune, it fries and the spell is stopped regardless of its penetation power. A single rune will stop all similar spells in a round of combat, so a multicast spell will be stopped by a single rune and will prevent the "I multicast a level 3 spell at you a dozen times in a round and leave you protection-less.
As an alternative, you can have them easier to create, but have them expire after a while. A year, maybe?

Magic resistance items
ReVi equivalents. They used to exist in ArM4, so easy to replicate. Their power is markedly inferior to parma since it requires vis and it might be that they expuire after a year (if you want that to be the case).

Ablative parma
Been there tried it. Found it too bothersome from a bookkeeping POV, so we stopped using it.

Hope that helps,

Do you have access to copies of Hedge Magic: Revised or Rival Magic? The authors on those books developed some very interesting approaches to magic resistance linked to the wizard's particular arts or abilities. You could do worse than to look at those and see if they spark anything.

Maybe have it work like Parma with puissant, MR being equal to score 10, but with to advancment totals in any resistance being lowered by 4(number of resistances -1)?

So, say, Ignem Protection 4 would cost 50XP and yield a MR of 60 (ten times 4+2), but, if developing Auram Protection, you'd substract 4 from your advancment totals? If then trying to have Terram Resistance, substract 8, and 12 if adding Corpus Resistance?

Xavi said

I hadn't considered multicast but i think thats a wise choice otherwise my crafty players would just spam little spells past them. I'd also add a cost of a single pawn of vim vis for each rune. Not much, but it turns the runes into expensive things. I'm imagining these for Tolkein-esque dwarves. Runesmiths would be the dwarven version of wizards and would function quite a bit like verditius. I'd imagine runesmiths to have lots of these (enough to make them very hard to take down via magic) but more commonly they'd be seen on the helms of elite dwarven warriors (the kings praetorians, nobles, etc), just a single rune, but on a troop of warriors it would be quite nasty. I guess area attacks would be best against these as a large group spell could cancel multiple runes at once.

The fixed magic item resistance i intend for Elves, good general resistance, maybe a little weaker than respectable parma but needs renewing every now and then and costs vis (plus lab season) to do so. I'll have to dig out my Ars4 book.

The Fixer said

I like this. In fact it leads nicely to making the race that are going to use this (a Warhammer fantasy battle esque Slann like lizard man race) specialists in their magic. With very focused forms at insanely high levels but little ability to use other forms very well. This would fit in with my view of them being slow cautious casters of very powerful magic. Because they can get off some really nasty stuff but have little ability to improvise to rapidly changing situations due to their limited arts. Nice.

Mark (long time no see :slight_smile:
Not got either of those books, but i know a fellow who does, will shanghai him and borrow them to see whats worth using from there, thanks for the tip.

A few other random ideas...

Mana Short, when cast upon, the resistee(target) rolls his magic defense score and adds that to the caster's casting target, potentially causing failures or inflicting fatigue. This is similar, but different from regular Magic Resistance. Might also require the "raising" of some sort of magical ward with a duration of Diameter or some associated cost depending on the tradition. Additional variants might not prevent the spell from being successfully cast, but inflict additional levels of fatigue, roughly 1 per extra 10 by which it failed. There are some existant spell types with similar charts (tablets?) I forget which now, though.

A different form of Magic Resistance which would need a disambiguating name that would reduce the effect of spells cast at the resistee based on a skill (as appropriate to the spell/effect in question). If implemented as an ability some simple rules guidelines would be to have the effects of the spell reduced by the ability score. For straight damage spells this is simply a form of soak. For other spells the levels would reduce, first, the target if the target was larger then individual (so the spell would effect everyone but the target), next priority would be to reduce the duration by one magnitude per 5 ranks in the ability or fraction thereof (unless the effect was momentary). If neither of these traits can be overridden then the spell's base effect is reduced by SG interpretation, with the guideline that if the spell's base level can be matched by the resistance ability, the spell simply fails, otherwise you get reduced effect. So, for instance, "Loss of but a Moment's Memory" resisted by a rank 5 of this sort of resistance might only erase the last 2m of memory, or cause memories to be erased but slowly re-emerge as if the target were waking abruptly from a dream and having to piece together where they were and what was happening, or the inverse where the memories of the past five minutes fade like a dream where the target had only a round in which to pick one or two important thoughts to hold onto before they all faded.

Another type which I'm using in my current saga is the juju doll. That's not what I call it, but it's a secret in my game and the actual name would tell my players too much :wink:. But the idea is that the caster creates a symbolic and arcane connection to himself in the form of an idol which then acts as the first recipient of spells targeted at him (but not area effect targets). The doll takes vis and a season to construct, and by skill/lore it can only block certain forms (elemental, herbem, animal, corpus and mentem in order of difficulty, roughly). In my saga the doll can soak so much damage (again based on skill/vis expended in creation) and an otherwise unlimited number of levels of non-damage spells, although you could obviously introduce an overall spell level limit on absorption. The flaws for this resistance include its inability to protect against indirect, ae spells, including group target spells (unless the group is at its limit, then the target might get lucky), the idea being that the beneficiary of the doll is in a group with the doll, so an individual spell will hit the doll (that's its point), but a group spell will hit them both. Other flaws are, obviously, that the doll is a physical object and a profound arcane connection to the beneficiary (in the same manner as runes of a Viktir), so the doll must be carefully hidden. Carrying the doll is suboptimal as many spells (e.g. Pilum of Fire) would effectively hit the caster even redirected at the doll.

Grounding. Allow an interrupt style "magical dodge", where the defender forgoes casting in a round and instead makes a magical defense roll to redirect or shut down the spell. You could have two different version, one of which, similar to hermetic fast cast counter magics, tries to directly assault and shut down the spell (or ground it). A second more "watery" style would be to have the defender actually redirect the spell with a degree of control based on how well he beat the caster's finesse total (fun for those finesse-less pilum users), allowing him to subvert the target of the spell by magnitude of success to a nearby friendly (ah the moral dilemma's), an innocuous target, a strategic target/bystander, a strategic bystander, an enemy, the caster. (That's five magnitudes range total-0 Friendly, 1 Innocuous, etc.). The definitions of what is innocuous, what is strategic, etc. are based on the perceptions of the caster (since that's who's targeting is being subverted). So a barrel filled with greek fire might seem an innocuous target to the caster if he didn't know what was in it.

Then there are all sorts of colorful defenses you could envision that may or may not fit your themes. Spirit dopplegangers, where the target's actual "self"/spirit is displaced from their body, making magics run awry (similar to the meta-magic equivalent of Wizard's Sidestep), causing the first spell cast by an unsuspecting caster to fail outright and subsequent spells to take finesse or casting total penalties. You could have some fun with this, with meta spells building upon this idea both offensively and defensively, trying to spot waldo as it were, who might be displaced, masked as the spirit of something else with false additional spirit signatures implanted in the scene to throw off would be circumventionist detection spells.

You could also have the miasma resistance cloud. This would increase the fatigue cost of all spells cast on the target based on the puissance of the cloud. Masters of this defense might increase the cost to cast on them to five or more fatigue levels. Again, you could get detailed with the cat and mouse of it, allowing spells which directly attack and disperse the cloud (1 fatigue cost level at a time). You could also have the cloud naturally weaken by 1 level for each spell cast through it (potentially in either "direction"). The cloud's maximum level might be determined by an ability and require a day per level to restore or build up. Obvious defects could include an inability to affect item effects. It could also be two way, so that the creator of the cloud could not cast "out" without also paying the additional fatigue cost.

And on and on.... Really I'd say you want to list out all the traditions/people you want to create some form of magic resistance for and try to make something that stylistically matches their theme.

This reminds me of my alternate parma rules, a very similar form of which appeared in the Amazon Magic rules.

In previous editions, a lot of spells had "natural" defense rolls, some of which survived in 5th. I liked this, it made sense to me, and gave a chance to Grogs and Companions to resist these Mentem spells.
So I had some thing like this:

  • Drop the usual MR rules, keep the Parma
  • Add your MR to your soak against damage-dealing effects (A flambeau with Ignem 14, stamina 1 and Parma 2 would have a soak of 25 vs Fires)
  • Other spells have a natural defense roll with a difficulty of 09. You use Int or a suitable Trait for Mentem spells, Stamina for anything affecting your Body. You add (MR/5) to that roll. A spell can be designed (when learning it!) to be more difficult to resist, each extra magnitude adding 3 to the difficulty. So, a Tytalus with Int 2, Parma 2 and Mentem 14 would roll at +7 versus 9 to resist Mentem spells. Adding 4 magnitudes to your "Call to Slumber"(lvl 30 spell) would make it Diff 21.

You might want to:

  • Allow the additions of extra magnitudes on the fly. I loved the idea of similar spells of various potency, thus the "fixed magnitudes, but the 2 can be compatible, or not. I'd suggest the harder "+1 difficulty by each 3 points over the spell level"
  • Make this a "racial" ability, with the race gaining an auto-resist against all non-soakable spells. Replace MR above by a suitable value, such as "Age/10". This might allow you to design a race that is inherently magically resistant.

This is something similar to what i´ve used in different variations, and it works good most of the time.
Ablative Parma Ability*25=MR, with a regeneration of Ability score-fatigue per round, since you want it lesser than usual Parma you would have to adjust the numbers.
Another version was to have the ability set the amount of MR a (simple to make, a day of time needed) item added with max number of items limited by the ability score or MT score or both combined.
IIRC i think we had ablative parma be reduced by the full casting total rather than just penetration total, and if the latter was greater than the remaining a. parma it got through...
Mmm, i think there´s a few more variants as well.

Just remember, if you ever let an ablative system be possible together with normal Parma, always be specific which is "hit" first. Having the regular parma on "the outside" makes for extremely powerful defense.
Currently working on putting together another house that´s going to play around with something along these lines, based on item-users rather than item-makers.

Yeah, that´s the downside with it. Really useful to have one or another electronic recordkeeping somethings if using this.

Neat idea. However i would have them take less time to make, perhaps MT+Int/season or something, at a cost of 1 Vis each, that would still prevent spamming, but would allow a mage produce for selling.

Cute variant.

And then of course there´s always the possibility of doing some variation on the good old "magic shield" concept, ie a quickcast blocking spell or similar.

Heh, that´s a version i havent seen before. Has potential.