Friday, August 28, 2009

More On Resistances

I've been thinking a bit about resistances lately, and I think I figured out a solution that I like. I'm sure someone else has come up with this before, so apologies if I'm stealing ideas here. Anyway, here's my idea:

Energy Mastery Feats
Energy mastery feats represent a character's specific training with, affinity for, or close bond with a specific type of energy. They offer two benefits. First, they give a damage bonus when you use your chosen damage type.

Second, if a creature resists or is immune to that energy type, you gain an added bonus against it. It's basically the reverse of the idea of giving a monster a boost when you blast it with its favored energy type. So, here's an example:

Dark Soul Devourer
You get a +2 bonus to damage rolls when you inflict necrotic damage.
If you hit a creature and its necrotic resistance or immunity reduces your attack's damage, that creature is dazed until the end of your next turn.

That's not necessarily the exact mechanic I'd use, but it gets to what I'm talking about. My initial idea for this specific feat was to describe someone whose soul was tainted with necrotic energy, and in harming undead (or whatever) they draw the undead creature's life force (such as it is) into their own. But, it's Friday, I'm about to head home, and it's been a long day. You're getting what you paid for!


Greg Sanders said...

Could a target 'turn off' their damage resistance if they prefer the damage to the status effect? I don't know if you can turn off resistances under current rules but then I'm not sure why you'd want to at this point.

Anonymous said...

I like this a lot. Energy resistances, in the past, have always seemed to lead to the conclusion that your tribe of Snow Leopard Barbarians who live in the Frozen Wastes to the north use *fire* magic for everything they do.

Mike Mearls said...

@Greg - There's no rule for it, but I wouldn't see any harm in allowing it.

@iconoplast - Thanks, man!

Unknown said...

Interesting concept, though admittedly I'd rather have the daze than the +2 damage. The secondary effect should be a 'consolation prize' or uncommon effect, not the prime cut of the feat.

Perhaps make the effect only go off if the enemy is defeated or bloodied, like your 'life-force sucking' example? F'rinstance:

Dark Devourer: You gain a +2 feat bonus to necrotic damage. If you defeat an enemy whose necrotic resistance decreases the damage of your attack, you gain 3 temporary HP.

Wildfire Explosion: You gain a +2 feat bonus to fire damage. If you defeat an enemy whose fire resistance decreases the damage of your attack, all adjacent enemies take ongoing 5 fire damage (save ends).

Frigid Winds: You gain a +2 feat bonus to cold damage. If you defeat an enemy whose fire resistance decreases the damage of your attack, all adjacent enemies are immobilized until the end of your next turn.

They should probably also be Paragon tier. Just my $0.02

crs said...

Daze seems way too strong for such a thing... or maybe it would work with a "the first time in the combat" restriction.

There's currently a feat that adds damage to non-radiant powers when attacking creatures that are vulnerable to radiant (this wording seems to prevent triggering other benefits such as 'radiant damage turns off regeneration').

Could this power be modeled after that one?

Smilling DM said...

I like the idea of this feat but I'd either look into making it a feat tree (not really very 4E) or a feat that can be taken at Heoric Tear and Grows as you level up.

Resistance Affinity: Heroic
Attack power with the chosen damage ignores 5 points of resistance.

Paragon: Attack ignores 10 points of resistance. If the target has immunity against chosen damage type the immunity is treated as Resistance 20.

Epic: Attack targets creature with resistance, the resistance is ignored and the target is dazed. The attack targets a creature with immunity, the attack ignores the immunity.

Looking at it after writing it up I find this could also be an encounter power that has this as an affect against one creature lasting until the end of the encounter.

Greg Sanders said...

@Mike Mearls - Thanks for the response.

With that option I think that's a great feat without much of a balance risk as they could always just take the damage. It would be a key enabler for specialists while at the same time not being so appealing that everyone who does the relevant damage would want it.

I think the one potential concern would be to make sure that there aren't creature types resistant to the damage that also have an immunity to the status effect in question.

Bob said...

as always Mike, I love reading your thoughts on D&D...I think I may start compiling the special commemorative "D&D - The Mike Mearls Edition" for my own use, since rarely do you post an idea that I dont like.

By the way, was that you I saw at Gencon, walking al by your lonesome down Meridian towards the Irish Pub?

Unknown said...

Hi Mike,

I just wanted to say that I really like your "RULING SKILL CHALLENGES" column in Dungeon magazine since skill chalanges are somthing that i'm struggeling with since I've never had somthing like that in my old games.
Where is the right place to ask you about some clarification about specific columms?

dave said...

It always seems backwards.

Cold guys should use cold things as tools and cold things should do normal damage to other cold guys (or gals, OR GALS!). Then non cold folks would get an extra kicker applied to them cause they were not cold. Fire folks would get even more special treatment.

That way cold folks would be on an even playing field against each other... which makes sense to me.

dave said...


That is cold guys would do extra cold damage or effects to non coldies and even more to fire folks.

Normal to each other. And so on across the 'types'.