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Old 04-15-2021, 03:15 AM   #1
johndallman
 
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Default [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Magic Resistance

Magic Resistance [2/level] is a supernatural mental advantage that, oddly enough, helps you resist magic. Its level is subtracted from the skill of anyone who casts magic on you, and also adds to all your resistance rolls against magic. You also roll against HT+Magic Resistance to resist the effects of magical elixirs. I’m not sure where this advantage first appeared, but I suspect it was the original GURPS Fantasy for 1e/2e; some early GURPS supplements call it “Magical Resistance.”

Against resisted area-effect spells, your Magic Resistance isn’t subtracted from the spell casting roll, but your bonus to resist is twice your level of this advantage.

This advantage has some substantial downsides, since you can’t turn it off to receive helpful spells or elixirs without resisting. It also has limits: it does not help against Missile spells, magic weapons, or information spells that aren’t cast directly on you. Nor does it help against things that aren’t strictly magical, such as divine powers, psi, or spirits. Your possession of this advantage, and its level, is obvious to anyone who views your aura, or who tries to cast a spell on you.

The basic version of this advantage is incompatible with Magery, and with spell casting in general, although you can still use magic armour, weapons, and so on. With the special “Improved” (+150%) enhancement, you can have Magery and cast spells. The Magic Resistance spell, from p. 123 of Magic, gives this advantage for its duration, but doesn’t affect the use of elixirs and allows spell casting, at ‑1 per level of Magic Resistance. Thaumatology provides the Switchable enhancement for this advantage, which is +100% if you’re a mage; I disagree with it being +10% for non-Mages.

Magic Resistance appears on many of the DF1 character templates, and is thereby often mentioned in the DF line. DF20 has Selective Magic Resistance, +150%, which only applies to hostile magic, but remains incompatible with Magery, etc. Magic: Death Spells has “Limited, only against death magic,” ‑75%, which is reasonably comparable to Resistant (Death Spells); Magic: The Least of Spells allows casting of IQ/A spells if you have unimproved Magic Resistance, although you’re at ‑1 per level of MR. Thaumatology explains how this advantage works against limitations on an attacker’s Magery, and provides flawed Magic Resistance, although you can’t take “doesn’t work against Healing” as a flaw. Magic Resistance works a bit differently against Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic, and is less effective against Thaumatology: Sorcery, because many Sorcery spells don’t require a casting roll.

I’ve never used Magic Resistance on a PC, although a few monsters in my Laundry campaign had it. How has it played in your games?
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Old 04-15-2021, 03:24 AM   #2
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Magic Resistance

I was annoyed enough that it didn't cover some edge cases that I created some modifiers for my campaigns - they eventually made it into Pyramid #3/75: Hero's Jackpot, p. 20.
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Old 04-15-2021, 08:21 AM   #3
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Magic Resistance

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
M

The basic version of this advantage is incompatible with Magery, and with spell casting in general, although you can still use magic armour, weapons, and so on. With the special “Improved” (+150%) enhancement, you can have Magery and cast spells.
It should probably be noted that the Improved variety no longer affects Spells the possessor casts on himself but I believe it still affects Spells cast by friends (and maybe Elixers too). So it's not as useful as "Switchable".

I've never seen it in play. A PC would only take it if hostile spellcasters were more common than friendly ones and it always seemed a cheat to me for the GM to put it on his monsters who probably weren't ever going to heal anyway.
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Old 04-15-2021, 08:32 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Magic Resistance

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
It should probably be noted that the Improved variety no longer affects Spells the possessor casts on himself but I believe it still affects Spells cast by friends (and maybe Elixers too). So it's not as useful as "Switchable".

I've never seen it in play. A PC would only take it if hostile spellcasters were more common than friendly ones and it always seemed a cheat to me for the GM to put it on his monsters who probably weren't ever going to heal anyway.
I don’t find it to be cheating to give it to some monsters, having magic resistant monsters in your campaign creates interesting variety to many encounters, especially if the PCs have a tendency to solve everything with magic.
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Old 04-15-2021, 09:28 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Magic Resistance

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Thaumatology provides the Switchable enhancement for this advantage, which is +100% if you’re a mage; I disagree with it being +10% for non-Mages.
That does seem rather cheap for non-mages. I don't think I'd be happy with +100%, as it's a pretty big deal for mages (seeing as they're not allowed the vanilla version at all), but +10% is pretty low for something that otherwise messes with magical healing and also healing potions, etc., and in a setting where Magic Resistance is worth the points these are likely to be important considerations.

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I’ve never used Magic Resistance on a PC, although a few monsters in my Laundry campaign had it. How has it played in your games?
I've never seen it on a PC, but the last time it would've been a worthwhile purchase was in a 3e game over twenty years ago and the players thought having their healer able to heal them was more important than being resistant to enemy spells.
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Old 04-15-2021, 10:07 PM   #6
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Magic Resistance

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T in a setting where Magic Resistance is worth the points these are likely to be important considerations.

.
Such a setting would probably have to be some sort of Mixed Magical Martial Arts (MMMA) arena where fighters struggled agaisnt hostile mages every time but were guaranteed time to heal naturally if they won.

In other words an updated version of the combined Melee/Wizard minigames.
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Old 04-16-2021, 12:59 AM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Magic Resistance

I don't think I've ever seen this advantage used by players or npcs in 4th edition (I can't remember if it worked the same in 3rd). Resistant has come up and normally at the Immunity level. But since I've thrown anti-powers out the window, all of these types of things just don't see use anymore.


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I don’t find it to be cheating to give it to some monsters, having magic resistant monsters in your campaign creates interesting variety to many encounters, especially if the PCs have a tendency to solve everything with magic.
The main reason I'm against antipowers in roleplaying is because this often ends up meaning "I can cast spells unless it would be important to cast spells". If magic is too good, anti-magic is the least good solution.
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Old 04-16-2021, 01:38 AM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Magic Resistance

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
I’m not sure where this advantage first appeared, but I suspect it was the original GURPS Fantasy for 1e/2e; some early GURPS supplements call it “Magical Resistance.”
"Magical Resistance", Fantasy 1st edition, p.76
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Old 04-16-2021, 04:27 AM   #9
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Magic Resistance

Looked at from a pure 4e perspective, this feels like a special case of Resistant, and in an ideal world might have been re-built as such. (This brings in the great unspoken problem of variable costs per world, but Psionics is canonically Very Common, so.) Of course given its origin it has a bunch of special effects that are rolled in together.

I think I've occasionally used this on monsters, but I've never knowingly seen it on a PC; if magic is available, magical healing is too useful to give up.
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Old 04-16-2021, 07:13 AM   #10
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Magic Resistance

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Originally Posted by kirbwarrior View Post
The main reason I'm against antipowers in roleplaying is because this often ends up meaning "I can cast spells unless it would be important to cast spells". If magic is too good, anti-magic is the least good solution.
This is an interesting point. However, most magic systems are very much designed with anti-powers in mind. For example, there are plenty of spells in standard magic like Dispel Magic, Magic Resistance (the spell), Suspend Mana, etc. And they exist for good reason--magic is meant to be somewhat unreliable, and if it weren't, it would be quite unbalanced. My players have learned to expect that spells come and go for various reasons; magic usually works, but when you're facing sufficiently powerful enemies, they are often equipped with various countermeasures--after all, why wouldn't they invest in these in a world of magic?

There have been quite a few complaints on these forums over the years about standard magic being too powerful; typically I think the balancing factor has to be that there exist countermeasures.

When I first tried running RPM, I started with a different assumption (mages are rare, countermeasures are not that well-known or rarely used, etc.). When the RPM caster PC quickly figured out how to dominate every encounter with magic and turn his fellow PCs into identical godlike beings regardless of their individual abilities, I came to the forums for help, and the helpful crowd here made it clear that there need to be enemy casters who can dispel these powerful effects in crucial moments. (I eventually abandoned RPM anyway as I found it took way too much table time to negotiate the rituals all the time, but I still think I was given some good advice here.)
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