This blog aims to (finally) set in stone what resistances are and are not held by the typical Dungeons and Dragons character. As we all know, it has been considered for a long time that these characters resist practically any ability via the Saves system. So let's talk about making this official, eh?
What Are Saves?
Saves are, in essence, a set of statistics held by every single character in Dungeons and Dragons, ranging from the typical housecat and even simple insects, to powerful demons, angels, and the titular dragons, to even stranger beings such as the Aboleth Sovereignity or the strange beholder species.
The Save system is based around three statistics (as set by 3rd Edition D&D). Fortitude (listed as Fort in short hand), Reflex, and Will.
Fortitude saves are those that allow you to resist certain effects by right of sheer strength of body- common examples include sickness and poison, even magical examples of this. On a more extreme example, this allows you fully resist instant-death spells.
Will saves are those that allow you to resist certain effects by right of sheer force of will. This includes more metaphysical attacks of the verse, such as attempts to mind control, force subjects into a temporal stasis, or even alter their fates.
Reflex saves are not considered resistances in this context- as it is merely an act of dodging, it doesn't offer any actual resistances. It can be used for speed feats (and in fact is currently the basis of the speed feats of the verse, through dodging explosions and lightning) but not really much else.
It is common knowledge that much of D&D's gameplay revolves around the rolling of dice, specifically in this case the d20 (a twenty-sided dice). So, how would you quantify this without the roll of said dice? Well, as referenced in this System Reference Document (official licensed content from WotC, completely canon before anyone asks), you have the option to simply Take 10 on rolls such as these. This is a completely average roll in regards to a d20, and allows us to concretely quantify the resistances of such characters.
For an example. A character with a +11 Will save would have a default save value of 21 (10 + 11 = 21). An opposing Will-based attack would, have, say, a DC (Difficulty Check) of 23. This would mean the character would fail to resist and have whatever effects take place. If the DC was 21 or lower, the effects would be resisted entirely and the attack would fail. Make sense? Good stuff.
I'd like to state that this list is ever-growing and should be considered indefinitely incomplete. It'll be added to basically whenever we dig up another thing they'd be fully capable of canonically resisting. This is only being posted to account for the fact that no such blog is publicly available (though the prototype for this has been in my sandbox for ages).
Resistances from Saves
Let's begin talking about the actual VSBW-usable resistances gained from the Saves system. There's uh... there's a lot.
Resistances from Fortitude Saves
- Absorption/Water Manipulation: Characters can resist having the moisture from their body being sucked out of them. Can resist being absorbed by the Psion class.
- Disease Manipulation: Characters can resist being given a dreadful sickness. Contagion can be resisted, and it forces the subject to lose stats due to sickness. [www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm#disease Can resist this shit].
- Statistics Reduction: Can resist having their strength sapped by Death magic. They can also resist this bad boy.
- Death Manipulation: Can resist death magic that forces all within a set radius to die. This one instantly kills one target and can be resisted to some degree.
- Time Manipulation: Can resist being forced into a temporal stasis, in which all time is stopped permanently for the character. Can become manually immune to all effects regarding time.
- Transmutation: Can resist being turned into dust via a transmutation spell. Similarly, as opposed to actual petrification effects, targets can straight up just be converted to stone or back again. Other spells exist along these lines but you get the idea.
- Matter Manipulation: Can resist the effects of the Pestilence Ritual, which will literally liquefy vegetation in the locale. This is achieved via a disease known as "The Slimy Doom", which dissolves the victim from inside out. This is resistable as well via normal disease resistances.
- Life Manipulation: Can resist having their life force siphoned and absorbed via Battletide. Better descriptions of this can be found in the Player's Guide to Faerun (page 99) if you have access to such a copy, but the general gist is "takes the energy of others to amp yourself".
- Darkness Manipulation: Can resist attacks from Claws of Shadow. Resist the effects of Shadow Spray, which uses darkness to sap strength and daze enemies.
- Existence Erasure: Can resist having their essence being utterly destroyed. Note that only deity-class magic can bring one's soul and mind back into existence from this.
- Petrification: [www.d20srd.org/srd/monsters/gorgon.htm Can resist the effects of the Gorgon, whose breath turn enemies to stone permanently]. Same deal with the typical medusa enemies.
- Soul Manipulation: Can resist the Devourer's ability to eat and absorb the life essence (proven to be equatable to the soul via the Monster Manual 3.5e page on the same creature). The same abilities don't cause instant death when used by the Barghest, who also devours both body and soul, though this is not resistable through Fortitude.
Resistances from Will Saves
- Mind Manipulation: Just one example of a mind-controlling spell that can be resisted through will. Can resist a spell that forces the subject into a trance where all they can do is watch the user. Weird, but animals and plants can resist being awoken, as in, brought to human-like sentience. Here is a version that works explicitly on humans, as these spells will work on one subset of entity. It too can be resisted. They can also resist confusion effects. Another spell that forces subjects to follow one command to the best of their ability. MOAR MIND SPELLS. This will be the last mind one, since we have tons of backing for this. Basically, this one clouds the mind, preventing complex cognitive thought.
- Empathic Manipulation: A Will save can help you resist a spell that makes creatures want to get close to a subject or leave the area immediately. Additionally, people can resist powers that calm their emotions. Can resist a spell that causes people to experience great sadness.
- Memory Manipulation: The subject can resist losing their memories due to Baleful Polymorph. Can resist Memory Rot, which specifically drains the memories of the user. Can resist Recall Death, which causes the target to remember their future death somehow, killing them instantly.
- BFR: Characters can resist being forced out of the plane. Same deal, can resist being forced out of the plane again. Can resist being sent to the past/future for brief periods of time. Can resist being dragged onto a quasi-real path along the Plane of Shadow, which then shunts you in random directions. Can resist the effects of Shadow Well, which creates a small pocket realm that drags the opponent in.
- Curse Manipulation: You can literally resist curses that inflict mass stat decreases. Can resist having your water (and presumably items) cursed, too.
- Telekinesis/Sleep Manipulation/Sealing/Transmutation/Size Manipulation: Can resist a spell meant to hold a subject in place. Additionally, this spell can force foes into a comatose state or keep them in some place that is inescapable, or even force the subject to become gaseous or very small.
- Paralysis Inducement: Blasphemy can be resisted- it has a chance to instant kill a target or leave them paralyzed. Can similarly resist Ghouls and their touch, which paralyze the target.
- Illusion Creation: Will allows the user to see past the effects of Blur. And Displacement, which causes the user to appear two feet to their left/right/etc. Can willfully disbelieve the effects of Dead End, which supernaturally covers the environment. Can resist the illusion of light offered here.
- Fear Manipulation: Will can let you remain unafraid. Will allows you to resist being afraid of the feeling of impending doom. Resist the fear effects of the Shadow Realm.
- Ice Manipulation/Conceptual Manipulation: People can resist having their stuff frozen, somehow. Can survive the effects of the Elemental Plane of Ice, which is so cold it can freeze concepts such as goodness, nearness, and even so cold that light and fire can freeze solid.
- Death Manipulation/Energy Absorption: Can resist having their energy absorbed by death magic. Can resist being killed instantly at low health.
- Perception Manipulation: Can resist being forced to see in the dark, for whatever reason (again). Can resist being forced to stare blankly at nothing.
- Madness Manipulation (Types 2 and 3): Can resist the maddening gibbering of the Allip, and can negate the madness effects that are caused by trying to read its thoughts. Can resist the effects of the Insanity spell.
- Fate Manipulation: Will saves can resist this spell, which bends the fate of a target that wronged the user and causes them to fail. Can potentially negate the Choose Destiny spell, which allows the user to pick one of multiple possible "destinies" for some time.
- Age Manipulation: Can resist various spells listed here, including Aging Touch and Temporal Jolt, each of which instantly age the user considerably.
- Causality Manipulation/Reality Warping: (Note that this is questionable depending on the edition) Can resist some effects of Wish, which alters past, present and future to achieve a certain effect now.
- Darkness Manipulation: Can resist darkness interacting with them physically. And again.
- Dream Manipulation: Can resist the effects of Nightmare Terrain, which forms an area of a total nightmare. Note that this is listed as a semi-real illusory effect and is implied to be made of the nightmares of enemies.
- Duplication: Can resist having clones of themselves made. Can also ignore duplicates of enemies with great enough will, essentially ignoring all but the real one. More proof of being able to disbelieve duplicates out of existence.
- Sealing: Can resist being imprisoned- this imprisonment is so strong it negates even Wish spells from freeing you.
- Use Prevention: Characters can will themselves into being able to use portals (and presumably other things) that they otherwise were unable to use.
- Telekinesis: Can resist being grappled by shadow. Characters can also directly grapple against telekinetic force.
- Willpower Manipulation: The Allip's gibbering directly attacks the will of their foes. This is considered a side-effect of Madness in-verse, as the gibbering of the Allip is considered to be something that erodes the target's sanity.
- Absorption: A Brain Collector can absorb mind, body, and soul- though this can be resisted.
More to come.
Resistance from Misc. Sources
- Social Influencing: [www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/bluff.htm Can resist this dumb ability, which is literally the power to make a target believe the outrageous]