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RPG Superstar 2015

How Good is Energy Resistance?


Advice


So, I've been seeing discussions about Aasimars and Tieflings and how good they're, in part due to their multiple energy resistances.

I've also been discussing with a friend if a human paladin would be better taking extra HP, skill ranks or energy resistance.

In the end, I can see people's opinions on the subject can be pretty different.

To make it short, what's your opinion on the following?

1) How useful is Energy Resistance at low, mid and high levels?

2) What's the best type of energy to be resistant to? Fire? Cold? Another one?

3) How high must it bt to make an actual difference?

4) s it usually better have one very high energy resistance or 2 medium ones? (e.g: Would you rather have Fire Resistance 10 or Fire/Cold Resistance 5?

Personally, I always considered resistance quite useful, although not overpowered, and I like the idea of being able to walk into a fire and leave unharmed; or being capable of struting around into a blizzard.

What do you guys think?

EDIT: Maybe this should be in General Discussion, since I'm not exactly giving or looking for advice. I'm not sure, though... Could a moderator move this, if necessary?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

I personally don't think energy resistance 5 is that big of a deal. I do, however, have a tiefling cleric for whom I'm considering eventual purchase of a darksire amulet, which boosts all his resistances from 5 to 10. I think that could be worthwhile, though I admit I could be wrong.

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It's nice. It is not ridiculously powerful. It gives them a big advantage at very low levels where especially fire damage can be common (though it depends on the circumstances) and your resistance at that level will negate most of that damage.

At higher levels where when elemental damage is dealt, it will be dealt in amounts that the resistance will only help a little--though a little is always better than none at all.

The better thing to consider is is it worth it for your character concept in lieu of, say, a human bonus feat or orc ferocity or elven magic or whatever else you might be thinking of? The other abilities planetouched have aren't that spectacular (though neat) so the resistances are the big shine. If it suits your concept best and you can't find a race that would give your concept a better advantage, then it's worth it.


Well a Fireball from a 10th-level caster deals an average of 35 damage, so Fire Resistance 10 could really help, especially if the targeted character has a real chance of succeeding on the Reflex save, in which case, that damage would be reduced to 8~10, instead of 35. Situational, but not bad at all.

I don't have this in mind for any character creation, I just found it to be an interesting discussion, since I've seen so many differents PoVs on the matter.


It's a neat thing to have but it's situational and it's not immunity so it's dependent on your level at low levels Resistance 5 will nearly negate any elemental damage you suffer and 10 would probably get most of it but unless you have a way of increasing it it's just going to be an amount taken off the top.

So I'd say it's not bad but it's sufficiently unreliable that it wouldn't be a priority.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

So who thinks a darksire amulet is worthwhile? Does it depend on the level you plan to reach? If so, what level does it stop mattering?


At low levels energy resistance 5 is good, but it quickly becomes near-negligible. My 8th-level party just suffered a 57-point cone of cold; 5 points of resistance would have made little difference to the outcome.

Resistance 10 will be good into mid-levels, since you'll often take little damage if you make your reflex save. Resistance 20 is very good at mid-levels (where a save will mean 0 damage, and a fail will mean 15-20 damage), and still useful at high level.

I would much prefer a single resistance 10 over a double resistance 5, at anything above 3rd-level or so.


Jiggy wrote:
So who thinks a darksire amulet is worthwhile? Does it depend on the level you plan to reach? If so, what level does it stop mattering?

I think it's useful enough, it does increase 3 elemental resistances. The only problem I have is that you can probably get more useful stuff for the amulet item slot. I think it can be particullary good if you plan to enter a place where there are lots of creatures that deal elemental damage.

IMO, resistance stops being useful when if deflects less than 25% of the average energy damage you expect to take. (Resist Fire 10 could mean a Ranger completely negates that Red Dragon's breath weapon, but it won't make much of difference for a Fighter or Barbarian if they take 42 or 52 HP damage.)

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Lemmy wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
So who thinks a darksire amulet is worthwhile? Does it depend on the level you plan to reach? If so, what level does it stop mattering?
I think it can be useful, it does increase 3 elemental resistances. The only problem I have is that you can probably get more useful stuff for the amulet item slot.

Actually, I was thinking of it partly because my tiefling cleric already has natural armor (Armor of the Pit feat) and was thinking an Amulet of Natural Armor wouldn't stack. Upon review, however, I see I was mistaken...

Hm, that makes it a tougher decision.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013

Handy, especially if you have good Reflex saves already.

Better 10 in one type than 5 in two types.

Fire, cold, acid, electricity, sonic, in that order, IMO. Acid used to be rarer than electricity, but I think it's the other way around now. I believe electricity resistance is more common than acid resistance, though.

Not worth spending a feat to get resist 5 unless, for instance, the campaign takes place in a cold environment.

The actual resist energy spell is so flexible and scales so well with levels that it's usually what you want rather than innate resistance.


Lemmy wrote:
I've also been discussing with a friend if a human paladin would be better taking extra HP, skill ranks or energy resistance.

I think the resistance is the least effective choice because the hp helps you no matter what kind of damage hits you. Resistance only protects if the right energy type hits you.

So if you don't know what will come your way and you distributed your resists evenly you'd end up having 1/4 of the amount of hp you could have had.

It's different if you know which energy type will be the one you encounter often.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Resistance 5 does nearly shut down most energy stack-on weapon enhancements though.

Sczarni

1 person marked this as a favorite.
TwoWolves wrote:


Resistance 5 does nearly shut down most energy stack-on weapon enhancements though.

But how often as a PLAYER do you encounter this? Enough that its something a character would legitimately want to add them if it cost a feat? Probably not.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It depends on the campaign. I've gone multiple games without encountering any energy-based attacks.

Other times, it's all over the place.

Resistance, like DR, is much more effective when you are being bombarded by lesser attacks rather than a single powerful one.

If you have resistance 10, and are making your saves, than you are likely only suffering about 5 damage from each of those fireballs the dragon's minions just hit you with last round.

However, when the ancient dragon breathes fire, however, you are looking at an average of 100 damage after resistance (45 on a successful save). That will kill weaker characters outright and put most others into "running mode."

Against the minions repeated attacks, resistance can be awesome. Against the dragon (or meteor swarm, or similar powerful attacks), not so much.

Higher resistance is always better that multiple lesser resistances.

As a rule of thumb, 5 is only good for low levels. 10 is great for medium levels. 20 is terrific for medium high levels. 30+ is beat only by immunity at all levels.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

Ravingdork wrote:
10 is great for medium levels.

Could you define "medium levels"? And when you say "great", is that "9,000gp great"?


A Tiefling's resistance package is fantastic at low levels. It virtually negates the failure penalty of environmental hazards and can dramatically impact your survivability.

By mid-levels, 5 resistance is fairly negligible, save for spells that have save for half that you're reasonably going to make the save on. 10 is solid, but nothing to send home about. There are a lot more things than damage to worry about by level 5 and, by level 9, a situational resistance is no match for a single preparation of Resist Energy or Protection from Energy.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Jiggy wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
10 is great for medium levels.
Could you define "medium levels"? And when you say "great", is that "9,000gp great"?

Getting Resistance 10 against multiple energy types for only 9,000gp is a pretty good deal I think.

Where the item falls flat on its face is in its opportunity cost: the slot it uses up. Increasing your energy resistance using up an amulet means you are giving up a potential +5 natural armor bonus to AC from an amulet of natural armor, or a +5 to attack and damage on multiple natural attacks with an amulet of mighty fists.

It can be quite difficult for many characters to have a competitive AC or damage output without those bonuses.

That's not to say the resistance is not useful, it's just competing against one of the big six, which means it will generally lose the survivability test.

Lantern Lodge

Innate resistance is nice only at low low level, otherwise the resistance spell takes care off all your needs. Personally though having resistance of any form is great because its dr but against spells and I do not know about you but I do not like taking full damage or any damage that can kill me.


Energy resistance is nothing to complain about if you're picking it up "along the way." While Energy resistance 5 might not seem like much, 5 is still better than 0 and will sometimes be the difference between lying on the ground or one more round fighting. Often? Most likely not. But sometimes.

Energy res fire and cold have the added benefit of negating hot and cold weather effects. Might not seem like much, but that can translate to valuable resources in the long run. Not needing to make the saves vs exhaustion is better than almost always making the saves, since a natural 1 is a natural 1.

What's the best energy type to resist? Obviously it depends on the campaign, but in general it is fire. Fire is just the most common form of energy damage, coming from mundane sources to low level spells to high level spells to high CR demons, devils, and dragons. Cold is probably second, followed by electricity, then acid, then sonic. While there are sonic attacks out there, they're just so few and far between.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014

I could be mistaken, but the damage dealt from weather conditions is, I believe, untypes nonlethal damage, not fire damage or cold damage.


*shrug* I could be wrong. I often am.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

Huh. An inspection of the PRD reveals that technically only the damage from super hot conditions (140 F+) counts as fire damage, and none of the environmental damage from cold conditions counts as cold damage. We've alwasy played that resistances do help against these dangers; it makes sense that they should.

House ruled in my game. White dragons are not going to freeze to death out on a glacier, and fire giants are not going to pass out from desert heat. That's just silly.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Energy resistance 5 is good at 1st level. Most damage will be around 5. Stuff like Frost Rage or Acid Splash. By 3rd you are seeing resist energy 10 from spells or magic items and it just goes up from there. Still it's nice have 5 energy resistance for those times when you haven't got resist energy on.


I'd say it is good but so conditional that it is never "great".

I have seen encounters with creatures that add fire damage to every attack and since they made multiple attacks, the fire resistance was golden saving tons of healing. However, when the enemy is not using fire, it's no use at all.

I kind of agree with some other posters in that innate resistance is nifty, but if I can find a way to get it from a spell, I'd rather have something that is always helping me such as a combat feat or other ability.


ryric wrote:

Huh. An inspection of the PRD reveals that technically only the damage from super hot conditions (140 F+) counts as fire damage, and none of the environmental damage from cold conditions counts as cold damage. We've alwasy played that resistances do help against these dangers; it makes sense that they should.

House ruled in my game. White dragons are not going to freeze to death out on a glacier, and fire giants are not going to pass out from desert heat. That's just silly.

I know I've seen a rule somewhere stating that any amount of resistance to cold/fire will prevent the normal effects of a cold/hot environment.

I can't find it right now, though. Might have been from a 3.5 book.


Jiggy wrote:
I could be mistaken, but the damage dealt from weather conditions is, I believe, untypes nonlethal damage, not fire damage or cold damage.

Upon closer inspection, you are correct. That seems...idiotic. If I can take a Burning Hands to the face without even a singed eyebrow, why can I not handle a hot day?

Sczarni

Serisan wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
I could be mistaken, but the damage dealt from weather conditions is, I believe, untypes nonlethal damage, not fire damage or cold damage.
Upon closer inspection, you are correct. That seems...idiotic. If I can take a Burning Hands to the face without even a singed eyebrow, why can I not handle a hot day?

Two completely different forms of damage. A blast of fire is an external magical blast, while increasing heat temperatures raises internal temperatures beyond operating ranges.

What is more deadly:
A quick flask of fire?

Spending hours out in 100+ degree temps?

Go have an intelligent conversation with someone that has done roofing for 20+ years. No offense to those guys but high temps causes some SERIOUS internal damage to organs and brain function.


ossian666 wrote:
Serisan wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
I could be mistaken, but the damage dealt from weather conditions is, I believe, untypes nonlethal damage, not fire damage or cold damage.
Upon closer inspection, you are correct. That seems...idiotic. If I can take a Burning Hands to the face without even a singed eyebrow, why can I not handle a hot day?

Two completely different forms of damage. A blast of fire is an external magical blast, while increasing heat temperatures raises internal temperatures beyond operating ranges.

What is more deadly:
A quick flask of fire?

Spending hours out in 100+ degree temps?

Go have an intelligent conversation with someone that has done roofing for 20+ years. No offense to those guys but high temps causes some SERIOUS internal damage to organs and brain function.

And then look at someone who spent 5 minutes in a burning house without protection.

I fail to see any "logic" of why they're different. If sticking my face in a bonfire that's around 500+ degrees does nothing to me, even if I sit in for 12 hours, why does 12 hours of 120 degrees do something to me?

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

ossian666 wrote:
Serisan wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
I could be mistaken, but the damage dealt from weather conditions is, I believe, untypes nonlethal damage, not fire damage or cold damage.
Upon closer inspection, you are correct. That seems...idiotic. If I can take a Burning Hands to the face without even a singed eyebrow, why can I not handle a hot day?

Two completely different forms of damage. A blast of fire is an external magical blast, while increasing heat temperatures raises internal temperatures beyond operating ranges.

What is more deadly:
A quick flask of fire?

Spending hours out in 100+ degree temps?

Go have an intelligent conversation with someone that has done roofing for 20+ years. No offense to those guys but high temps causes some SERIOUS internal damage to organs and brain function.

Two objections to this reasoning: Current RAW, a fire resistant creature is more harmed by 130 degree temperatures than by 140. 130 F causes nonlethal untyped damage, so that internal organ stuff you're referring to, whereas 140 F causes lethal fire damage so he's fine. Huh?

Secondly, the level of damage type granularity you imply with your argument exceed the precision of the basically abstract hp system. Are we also going to start tracking different types of acids and how the chemistry of each interacts with acid resistance?


Seeing all these arguments made me consider getting Fire Energy Resistance with my Paladins... Unfortunally, it's only a +1 per level and it can't go above 10... And I so love those extra skill points... delicious extra skill points...

Sczarni

No. The point I was making was that up to the 130 point it really isn't "fire" damage you are getting dealt. You are getting hit with everything that comes as a result of spending time in extreme heats.

And there isn't a spell out there that you would be spending 5 minutes on fire in. Most of the spells doing fire damage are a 2-3 second burst of fire and thats being generous.


You also get Resist Energy as a second level spell as a Paladin. With one of those memorized, if you encounter a seriously energy source, cast it on yourself. If it allows a save, you pretty much become immune to it, since paladins have awesome saves. You're slightly behind on the level scaling of the spell, but it's still pretty awesome.

I had two up on myself when we faced Karzoug in RotRL. I pretty much brushed off everything he did... even though everyone else in the party died. (I also saved against all his other spells and he flubbed his check to dispel the fly spell on me). I think I took like 6 points of damage from his meteor swarm.


ossian666 wrote:

No. The point I was making was that up to the 130 point it really isn't "fire" damage you are getting dealt. You are getting hit with everything that comes as a result of spending time in extreme heats.

And there isn't a spell out there that you would be spending 5 minutes on fire in. Most of the spells doing fire damage are a 2-3 second burst of fire and thats being generous.

So, you're saying that those dangers go away when you're inside a bonfire?

Spells can cause you to catch fire. Typically doing 1d6 or 2d6 damage per round. Does being on fire at 200-300 degrees not carry the same danger as being in 130 temps outside?

Sczarni

Of course being on fire is more troubling, but again you are saying that you are CONSUMED with fire. No spell does that. The spells that make you catch fire specifically say that your combustibles catch fire. I've had my shirt and pants catch fire before. It sucks but if handled correctly BEFORE you are consumed with fire its not nearly as bad as spending 2 hours in 130* weather.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
ossian666 wrote:
Of course being on fire is more troubling, but again you are saying that you are CONSUMED with fire. No spell does that. The spells that make you catch fire specifically say that your combustibles catch fire. I've had my shirt and pants catch fire before. It sucks but if handled correctly BEFORE you are consumed with fire its not nearly as bad as spending 2 hours in 130* weather.

Spending 2 hours in a permanent wall of fire isn't as bad?


Applying real world logic to a game where magical beings have innate ability to stick their hands in lava without a singed hair or withstand a magical conflagration is pretty silly.

Silver Crusade

Lemmy wrote:

To make it short, what's your opinion on the following?

1) How useful is Energy Resistance at low, mid and high levels?

Energy Resistance's usefulness depends on level and the amount of resistance. At low levels, having energy resist 5 is very useful because most enemies do 1d6 of energy damage. Therefore your energy resistance is almost always negating damage. Now fast forward and your party is fighting a adult red dragon, doing average of about 60 damage with it's breath. Yeah, your energy resistance is not helping much.

Lemmy wrote:


2) What's the best type of energy to be resistant to? Fire? Cold? Another one?

Fire is the most common

Lemmy wrote:


3) How high must it bt to make an actual difference?

At higher levels, 30.

Lemmy wrote:


4) s it usually better have one very high energy resistance or 2 medium ones? (e.g: Would you rather have Fire Resistance 10 or Fire/Cold Resistance 5?

More resistance to one type is more useful at higher levels. Regardless, I don't think energy resistance is something to look for at character creation. It's far better to get a staff of energy resistance and apply it to the party as needed. The spell will scale with you.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My skim of the environmental rules appears that FR 6 or CR 6 would prevent you from exposure penalties and allow you to operate without fear of exhaustion, heatstroke, or frostbite.

Alternate comparison, endure elements gives you increased temperature tolerance range, and resist energy (the higher level version) actually prevents damage. (i would say in addition to be tolerance range, because it simply makes logical sense to me.)


ossian666 wrote:
Of course being on fire is more troubling, but again you are saying that you are CONSUMED with fire. No spell does that. The spells that make you catch fire specifically say that your combustibles catch fire. I've had my shirt and pants catch fire before. It sucks but if handled correctly BEFORE you are consumed with fire its not nearly as bad as spending 2 hours in 130* weather.

Boiling water does 10d6 while immersed (212* depending on elevation). With Resist Energy (Fire) cast by an 11th level cleric, you think that should be less dangerous than 110* heat outside?


Lemmy wrote:

/

1) How useful is Energy Resistance at low, mid and high levels?

2) What's the best type of energy to be resistant to? Fire? Cold? Another one?

3) How high must it bt to make an actual difference?

4) s it usually better have one very high energy resistance or 2 medium ones? (e.g: Would you rather have Fire Resistance 10 or Fire/Cold Resistance 5?

Personally, I always considered resistance quite useful, although not overpowered, and I like the idea of being able to walk into a fire and leave unharmed; or being capable of struting around into a blizzard.

What do you guys think?

EDIT: Maybe this should be in General Discussion, since I'm not exactly giving or looking for advice. I'm not sure, though... Could a moderator move this, if necessary?

Short answer: It Depends

How common is typed energy attacks in your campaign?

What types show up most often?

Fire will usually be the most useful. it's usually the most common plus there's more mundane fire all around and taking damage because you get pushed into the campfire in the middle of a fight is no fun.

For an example of how circumstances can effect your choices...
Personally I'm currently in a party that seems to be filled with pyromaniacs including a tiefling who likes to sleep in the campfire, blast large areas full of fire and summon magma beasts often without worrying who's in the way, so I'm looking for some ways to get some nice fire resistance just to survive my party let alone enemies.

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