D&D 5E A Legendary Resistance Alternative: Delay the condition


Legendary Resistance has a number of issues. On the one hand, against a single control caster its very frustrating, as they can spend the entire fight just trying to land one good spell. On the other, a caster focused group can blow through the LRs and still apply conditions anyway.

There are a few alternatives out there, often creating custom versions of LR, or version that just knock out 1 condition every round. I think that's a reasonable approach, but I wanted to focus on a single mechanic that still lets the casters feel like they are contributing without completing hosing the boss monster. So trying out this idea.

Legendary Resistance: When this monster fails a saving throw that applies a standard condition, the monster does not gain that condition until the end of its next turn. The spell otherwise functions normally (including damage, duration and additional saving throws as normal). At the end of the monster's next turn, if the condition is no longer applicable (examples: the spell's concentration was broken, the monster has to remain in the area to have the condition but moved before hand), than the condition does not apply.

Some examples:
  • A dragon gets hit with a hold monster: The dragon is not immediately paralyzed, and the party gets no bonuses against it. On the dragon's turn it can act normally and gets another saving throw to end the spell as normal at the end of its turn. If it passes this second save, it is fine. If it does not, it is now paralyzed as normal.
  • A unicorn is entangled. The unicorn is not entangled on its turn. If it moves out of the area, the spell's effect no longer applies, and the unicorn is not entangled. But if it does not leave, it is now entangled for the spell's duration as normal.
  • A lich is banished. As banishment is not a normal spell condition and it still applies. However, the incapacitation is a standard condition and does not apply on the Lich's first turn. The lich on its turn casts dispel magic to end the spell and return to its original location.

The main advantage of this version is that it both lets the caster feel they have accomplished something (as it puts an imminent pressure on the Legendary monster) but also gives the monster a chance to try and wiggle out of it. A boss monster might teleport away rather than be paralyzed in front of a party, or move into a side room and let its minions cover it while it "deals" with the condition. It ensures at bare minimum the boss monster always gets 1 round to bring some pain to the party or to get the heck out of dodge. Further, it applies regardless of the number of casters, all casters get the same experience.

Lastly it can allow the team to work more as a unit in some cases. For example with the unicorn above, the fighter might decide to go in and grapple the unicorn to hold it in place long enough for the entangle to take effect.

It is more tracking with the conditions. As legendries tend to be a single monster set piece in a fight I don't think its onerous, but it is a factor. And there may be some gray areas on a few spells where the DM has to arbitrate how the delay impacts them.


log in or register to remove this ad


Heretic of The Seventh Circle
It’s certainly an interesting idea. I think that if more spells worked the petrification spell (flesh to stone?) with 3 successful saves to save out, or 3 failed saves to get the full effect, this would kinda already be what LR does.

I think that the unicorn example would be even worse than LR, though, in terms of frustration for casters who dislike LR. Because it landed, and then the unicorn negated it without even spending a limited resource.

What if the creature had to use a legendary action to end a condition or spell effect? That way, it has a way to keep doing things, and a caster group can’t just blow through all its saves in round one.

Or, LAs ignore conditions and spell effects, meaning you simply cannot ever fully 100% lock down a legendary creature because nothing can make them unable to use legendary actions?


This just feels like a lot more tracking of conditions, and circumstances, and areas of effect, for a result that will still often be frustrating. And it is, if anything, harder to reconcile narratively.

Remove ads


Remove ads

Upcoming Releases