D&D 5E Magic Resistance Alternatives

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
I noticed that both the current and upcoming adventures in my 5e game have a lot of enemies with magic resistance. My party consists of 1 Fighter and four casters, so constantly rolling saves with advantage is going to slow down the game and be pretty obnoxious for the players.

So I'm curious if anyone has a good house rule for magic resistance to make it less onerous. I tried replacing it with "resistance to spell damage", after seeing it on the Archmage, but while that makes rolling saves faster and ensures debilitating effects will land more frequently, it has the same basic issue as "resistance to b/p/s from non-magical weapons", another plague upon the system, and the end result is combats are still a slog.
 

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Pedantic

Legend
Probably change it out for a flat reduction to damage from spells, which you could increase with CR, and then some variation of "Action: end serious condition x/day" and/or "bonus action: end less serious condition x/day."

It might also reasonable to make it a reaction or legendary action in some cases, so stacking multiple spells in a round can burn through the monster's resistance.
 
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GuardianLurker

Adventurer
IIRC, Advantage is supposed to work out as roughly equivalent to a +4 to the die roll (saves, in this case). It doesn't stop the saves, but at least it's a simple one.

If you're looking to avoid rolling saves entirely, I believe 5e uses a 50% save mark for equivalent CR combat opponents. This would work out to a constant 75% damage for the standard save-for-half spells.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Probably change it out for a flat reduction to damage from spells, which you could increase with CR, and then some variation of "Action: end serious condition x/day" and/or "bonus action: end less serious condition x/day."

It might also reasonable to make it a reaction or legendary action in some cases, so starving multiple spells in a turn can burn through the monster's resistance.
Magic resistance as a reaction sounds pretty good, at least for NPC's that don't already have an important reaction. It would let someone switch it off with a Shocking Grasp and allow someone to try and get a good spell in.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
IIRC, Advantage is supposed to work out as roughly equivalent to a +4 to the die roll (saves, in this case). It doesn't stop the saves, but at least it's a simple one.

If you're looking to avoid rolling saves entirely, I believe 5e uses a 50% save mark for equivalent CR combat opponents. This would work out to a constant 75% damage for the standard save-for-half spells.
I was considering a flat bonus as well, like proficiency bonus to saves vs. magic (+4-5 seems excessive). I want to maintain the feel that yes, these monsters are harder to handle with magic, but not shut down spellcasting entirely.

Thanks for the ideas, I'll pitch a few to my group next session.
 



I like the ideas about using damage reduction or a reaction. But I'm also concerned that any of these options will steal the Fighter's thunder a little. That player may have trouble keeping up with the casters, anyway, and nerfing monsters like this won't help.

What if you give the Fighter some magic weapon (or amulet, or ability, or whatever). Effect: After a successful hit with this weapon, the target creature's Magic Resistance is ineffective until the start of your next turn. This still let's the Fighter shine, and solves the annoyance issue, while encouraging tactical play and cooperation. I'm sure you could find a way to tie the magic item into the story if you wanted
 
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James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Sorry if this isn't helpful, but how much is it slowing down the game? Whenever I need to roll something with advantage I just roll 2d20 and pick the highest, other than having to check which is higher, it isn't all that much slower.
Well first, 4 out of 5 PC's are casters, so there's a lot of saves going around. But it really came to a head when we had a fight with these CR 1/8 fey with magic resistance- there were a lot of them, and just getting through one entangle from the Druid had me going "...this is going to be a thing for the whole campaign. My God, this is going to suck."

EDIT: you're right that I could just roll 2d20 at the same time and it wouldn't really slow things down that much. In the moment, I was irritated by all the die rolls, but my real problem is that it feels like too strong of an advantage, and one that's overused, and it doesn't feel particularly fair to my players.

Now obviously, not every fight is going to have that many opponents with magic resistance, but it feels like a lot of monsters have it, and I'm looking to kill two birds here- one come up with something that works more smoothly, and two be a touch more reasonable with my players. I don't want them thinking I'm going out of my way to nerf their characters, lol. But if an adventure says "and they fight a devil", I would like to use a devil, and not have to go find another creature because I think the party has been facing too many resistant foes.

I could just remove the trait, but I was hoping to find a middle ground.
 
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James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
I like the ideas about using damage reduction or a reaction. But I'm also concerned that any of these options will steal the Fighter's thunder a little. That player may have trouble letting up with the casters, anyway, and nerfing monsters like this won't help.

What if you give the Fighter some magic weapon (or amulet, or ability, or whatever). Effect: After a successful hit with this weapon, the target creature's Magic Resistance is ineffective until the start of your next turn. This still let's the Fighter shine, and solves the annoyance issue, while encouraging tactical play and cooperation. I'm sure you could find a way to tie the magic item into the story if you wanted
That's not a bad idea, actually. It's funny because before the game started, I made some house rules and decisions to make things easier on martials, including my approach to resistance to weapon damage.

I wasn't expecting to have a similar problem because my party chose to be magicians, lol. I guess the old adage still holds up. No carefully thought out plan will survive contact with the players, lol.
 

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