Spell Resistance when there are Multiple Targets with SR


Rules Questions


When a spell caster uses a spell such as Slow that affects multiple targets and can be prevented by spell resistance, does the caster make a single caster level roll and compare the result to each target with SR? Or should the caster roll a caster level check for each target with SR?

If there is a specific place in the rules that answers this, please provide the reference. Otherwise, what do other GMs do?


I think there should be a separate caster level check for each target.

Quote:
Spell resistance is a special defensive ability. If your spell is being resisted by a creature with spell resistance, you must make a caster level check (1d20 + caster level) at least equal to the creature’s spell resistance for the spell to affect that creature. The defender’s spell resistance is like an Armor Class against magical attacks. Include any adjustments to your caster level to this caster level check.

Since it only tals about creatures in singular form, it suggests that they should be treated individualy - a separate caster level check for each creature with SR. You can argue that the caster level check isn't something that you make when you are casting a spell, but when a spell tries to affect a creature - and if it tries to affect multiple creatures, those are multiple, separate instances when a need for caster level check arises.

You can also follow the comparison of SR to AC. Usually, when you are attacking multiple creatures, you make a separate attack roll against each creature (example: Scorching Ray). That would also suggest separate caster level checks.


separate for each target, just like how each of them would have to make a separate save vs the effect


Separate.

Sovereign Court

I would say the same. Much like when you do damage to multiple enemies with one spell, you roll damage once and then apply to each target, not roll separately for each. If they had a way to roll to avoid the effect then yes they would roll themselves separately, but as it is you casting against them, it would be just your one roll against each of their SRs.


Like playing with an old tire, everybody gets a roll.


The CRB says:

"Targeted Spells: Spell resistance applies if the spell is targeted at the creature. Some individually targeted spells can be directed at several creatures simultaneously. In such cases, a creature's spell resistance applies only to the portion of the spell actually targeted at that creature. If several different resistant creatures are subjected to such a spell, each checks its spell resistance separately."


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

"Each checks its spell-resistance separately." That refers to the resistance side of things. So if you fireball several creatures, they each have a chance to ignore the spell via SR. If they have different levels of SR, it matters. If they have the same SR, it doesn't.

I don't have a reference, but I'm sure that a caster makes their caster level check and that governs the potency of the spell they cast. There aren't weaker and stronger spots in the spell. If you cast slow and 5th level and roll a 10, the caster-level check for that spell is 15. Any creature you target with it that has SR14 or below is slowed while any with SR15 or above are not.

It's a single spell, not something like multiple rays where you might have to make multiple attack rolls. The save DC of your spell doesn't change just because multiple targets are involved (except specifics, like chain lightning). Your caster-level check against SR is similar.


Combing over the various places the CRB mentions spell resistance, I can't find any support for that interpretation.


much like if you make an attack vs multiple opponents you need to roll for each opponent to overcome spell resistance, if there are 20 opponents with sr and you hit all of them with with a spell you need to make 20 checks vs spell resistance just like you would if you were making an attack vs all of them you would need to make 20 attack rolls


Moonclanger wrote:

The CRB says:

"Targeted Spells: Spell resistance applies if the spell is targeted at the creature. Some individually targeted spells can be directed at several creatures simultaneously. In such cases, a creature's spell resistance applies only to the portion of the spell actually targeted at that creature. If several different resistant creatures are subjected to such a spell, each checks its spell resistance separately."

So once again, Paizo has managed to word the rules so as to prevent a definitive ruling. The last sentence above could mean that the caster makes a separate roll for each target with SR (since that is one interpretation of checking spell resistance separately). But it could also mean the caster roll just one Caster Level check and compares the result to each target, which is also applying the caster check separately.

Unfortunately, the only thing it really guarantees is that SR can protect some targets but not others, as opposed to affecting all or none.

One of my players pointed out that lacking a RAW that unambiguously determines which method to use, the GM must choose based on the statistical impact.

If one roll is made and applied to all targets, that makes a low roll likely to fail on all and a high roll likely to succeed on all. Rolling individually provides more chance to at least affect some but not all.

My feeling, given no RAW answer, to consider making a single caster level check. My reason is that you cast the spell once. The caster level check determines how well you cast it, hence one roll.

I'm still interested in which way various GMs would play this, just to see if there is some overwhelming consensus or if it's about even which would be used.

I would appreciate the opinion/ruling of someone associated with Paizo who can provide a quasi-official ruling, even if it is not addressed in an FAQ. That is if they aren't all focused on 2nd edition and not interested in improving play with the 1st Edition rules.


Clebsch GM wrote:
Moonclanger wrote:

The CRB says:

"Targeted Spells: Spell resistance applies if the spell is targeted at the creature. Some individually targeted spells can be directed at several creatures simultaneously. In such cases, a creature's spell resistance applies only to the portion of the spell actually targeted at that creature. If several different resistant creatures are subjected to such a spell, each checks its spell resistance separately."

So once again, Paizo has managed to word the rules so as to prevent a definitive ruling. The last sentence above could mean that the caster makes a separate roll for each target with SR (since that is one interpretation of checking spell resistance separately). But it could also mean the caster roll just one Caster Level check and compares the result to each target, which is also applying the caster check separately.

Unfortunately, the only thing it really guarantees is that SR can protect some targets but not others, as opposed to affecting all or none.

One of my players pointed out that lacking a RAW that unambiguously determines which method to use, the GM must choose based on the statistical impact.

If one roll is made and applied to all targets, that makes a low roll likely to fail on all and a high roll likely to succeed on all. Rolling individually provides more chance to at least affect some but not all.

My feeling, given no RAW answer, to consider making a single caster level check. My reason is that you cast the spell once. The caster level check determines how well you cast it, hence one roll.

I'm still interested in which way various GMs would play this, just to see if there is some overwhelming consensus or if it's about even which would be used.

I would appreciate the opinion/ruling of someone associated with Paizo who can provide a quasi-official ruling, even if it is not addressed in an FAQ. That is if they aren't all focused on 2nd edition and not interested in improving play with the 1st Edition rules.

No... it gives a clear answer... "If several different resistant creatures are subjected to such a spell, each checks its spell resistance separately." That's definitive. There's a different roll for each creature with resistance, just like saves.


Quote:
If several different resistant creatures are subjected to such a spell, each checks its spell resistance separately.

This part of the rule refers to each creature checking its spell resistance against the caster's check versus spell resistance. It does not say the caster must make a check versus each creature's spell resistance within the spell's area of affect.

A fireball targeted in the air is a sphere. there could be well over 40 targets in that area. Having to make that many separate caster checks would only slow the game down. Just for simplicity's sake, one caster check versus everyone's spell resistance is so much more manageable and quicker.

I'm running Ironfang and we just had a situation of fireball and 9 fey with SR. I've decided we are only going to do one caster check. My player had a low roll and failed to overcome all the feys' SR. (they all had the same SR)

It sucked for him but that's how it goes until higher levels where feats and higher casting attributes kick in and the chance of beating Spell Resistance is more of a given.


More manageable and quicker, but completely unfair.


Aye. Utterly unfair. And not how it works.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Checking Spell resistance is a two step process:

1) the spell caster caster level check, rolled once;
2) the comparison of that single die roll+bonuses against all the target creatures SR.

You make a single attack roll and compare it against the SR of the targets.

PRD wrote:
Check spell resistance only once for any particular casting of a spell or use of a spell-like ability. If spell resistance fails the first time, it fails each time the creature encounters that same casting of the spell. Likewise, if the spell resistance succeeds the first time, it always succeeds. If the creature has voluntarily lowered its spell resistance and is then subjected to a spell, the creature still has a single chance to resist that spell later, when its spell resistance is back up.

While the text is mostly about the same creature encountering the spell multiple times, it clearly say that you roll the check only once.

Even if not the same thing, Greater Dispel Magic show that you make a single CL check when casting a spell:

PRD wrote:
Area Dispel: When greater dispel magic is used in this way, the spell affects everything within a 20-foot-radius burst. Roll one dispel check and apply that check to each creature in the area, as if targeted by dispel magic. For each object within the area that is the target of one or more spells, apply the dispel check as with creatures. Magic items are not affected by an area dispel.


Addressing fairness, as the roll is 1d20+N rolling once or many times gives the same statistical average. With several targets rolling individually proceeds through those numbers faster but I don't believe it increases your probabilities to affect any one target.
So it is really about humans feeling lucky and feeling that some rule which has been deemed 'fair' is being applied.

Secondly the circumstances of the situation may be different. Active spell being cast or passive spell trap. The rules are similar but not the same for cast spells versus traps(where all the particulars must be set ahead of time). I can see rolling individually versus a live cast spell and only rolling once for a trap of the same spell.

Dispel Magic has gone through two changes since PF started, so I'm not sure it is a good example.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Azothath wrote:


Dispel Magic has gone through two changes since PF started, so I'm not sure it is a good example.

What changes, as I see none in the errata of the CRB?


I see it as the SR check representing the power behind the spell. That is only done once. One spell casting isn't going to have varying power levels.


wraithstrike wrote:
I see it as the SR check representing the power behind the spell. That is only done once. One spell casting isn't going to have varying power levels.

but that shouldn't matter, whirl wind attack is one attack at highest bab against each opponent but that still needs an attack vs each opponent, rolling vs sr should be no different

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Lady-J wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
I see it as the SR check representing the power behind the spell. That is only done once. One spell casting isn't going to have varying power levels.
but that shouldn't matter, whirl wind attack is one attack at highest bab against each opponent but that still needs an attack vs each opponent, rolling vs sr should be no different

It is 1 attack against each opponent in range, not a single attack delivered against all opponents in range.

PRD wrote:
Benefit: When you use the full-attack action, you can give up your regular attacks and instead make one melee attack at your highest base attack bonus against each opponent within reach. You must make a separate attack roll against each opponent.


Then there are two conflicting statements. One says each target gets a check, the other says one for all targets. The more specific is the one used. All other factors appear equal to me, so the one that narrows down to specific targets is the appropriate one. B+$@&@+s to Paizo for being stupid.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Zarius wrote:
Then there are two conflicting statements. One says each target gets a check, the other says one for all targets. The more specific is the one used. All other factors appear equal to me, so the one that narrows down to specific targets is the appropriate one. B~%$+%#s to Paizo for being stupid.

The problem is how the English language work. Clarifying every instance where the text is ambiguous would probably require a few hundred pages more only for the CRB.

With all books ... a few thousands?


Diego Rossi wrote:

The problem is how the English language work. Clarifying every instance where the text is ambiguous would probably require a few hundred pages more only for the CRB.

With all books ... a few thousands?

Should we switch to Latin? It's much more precise.


Diego Rossi wrote:

Checking Spell resistance is a two step process:

1) the spell caster caster level check, rolled once;
2) the comparison of that single die roll+bonuses against all the target creatures SR.

You make a single attack roll and compare it against the SR of the targets.

PRD wrote:
Check spell resistance only once for any particular casting of a spell or use of a spell-like ability. If spell resistance fails the first time, it fails each time the creature encounters that same casting of the spell. Likewise, if the spell resistance succeeds the first time, it always succeeds. If the creature has voluntarily lowered its spell resistance and is then subjected to a spell, the creature still has a single chance to resist that spell later, when its spell resistance is back up.

While the text is mostly about the same creature encountering the spell multiple times, it clearly say that you roll the check only once.

Even if not the same thing, Greater Dispel Magic show that you make a single CL check when casting a spell:

PRD wrote:
Area Dispel: When greater dispel magic is used in this way, the spell affects everything within a 20-foot-radius burst. Roll one dispel check and apply that check to each creature in the area, as if targeted by dispel magic. For each object within the area that is the target of one or more spells, apply the dispel check as with creatures. Magic items are not affected by an area dispel.

The area you bolded has context. It's stating that a target doesn't need to check SR again every time it's affected by the same spell, as the following sentences indicate.

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