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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default (Harmless) Spells

    I was reading over Spell Resistance and I discovered a section that stated that you could lower SR as a Standard Action. Would it be necessary to lower Spell Resistance against a Harmless Spell? If this is true, than does that mean that every time a team mate casts Cure on the party I have to roll to see if I resist the effect? If Spell Resistance counts all the time, than what the heck is the point of the Harmless descriptor?

    Best of luck
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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    The target creature must be harmed, changed, or restricted in some manner for spell resistance to apply.
    So yea, harmless spells ignore SR. However, the target can simply decline to be affected by it.
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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    So yea, harmless spells ignore SR. However, the target can simply decline to be affected by it.
    Nope, you do actually have to take the standard action to lower your SR if you want to be affect by a spell. It's the down side to SR.

    Quote Originally Posted by srd
    The terms "object" and "harmless" mean the same thing for spell resistance as they do for saving throws. A creature with spell resistance must voluntarily lower the resistance (a standard action) in order to be affected by a spell noted as harmless. In such a case, you do not need to make the caster level check described above.
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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDarkOne View Post
    Nope, you do actually have to take the standard action to lower your SR if you want to be affect by a spell. It's the down side to SR.
    Sorry, but you are incorrect.

    The SRD says:

    Abjuration
    The target creature must be harmed, changed, or restricted in some manner for spell resistance to apply.
    Since a Harmless spell is not being harmed, changed, or restricted in any manner, SR does *NOT* apply.
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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    Actually, the SRD states two completely contradictory things about failing saving throws on purpose and about voluntarily accepting SR spells. So either side can quote the SRD.

    Basically, you have to choose. Were I you, or your DM, I'd argue that allowing harmless spells is fine without spending a standard action, as per: "A creature can voluntarily forego a saving throw and willingly accept a spellís result. Even a character with a special resistance to magic can suppress this quality."

    "The terms "object" and "harmless" mean the same thing for spell resistance as they do for saving throws."

    Harmless: "The spell is usually beneficial, not harmful, but a targeted creature can attempt a saving throw if it desires."

    So in fact, if you have spell resistance, you may attempt a spell resistance if you desire.

    Whatever that means.

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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    Sorry, but you are incorrect.

    The SRD says:



    Since a Harmless spell is not being harmed, changed, or restricted in any manner, SR does *NOT* apply.
    The text you are quoting is from section designed to give an idea on whether or not spell resistence should apply to an abjuration spell in a general sense. Above it notes that each spell specifically states whether spell resistence applies. The text I quoted explains how someone with spell resistence must act if they wish to be effected by a spell cast on them that is effect by SR. It's quite clear really.
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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    Sorry, but you are incorrect.Since a Harmless spell is not being harmed, changed, or restricted in any manner, SR does *NOT* apply.
    The part of the SRD you quoted was a general guideline for whether a newly created abjuration spell would check for SR. Curing is neither abjuration, nor a newly created rules mechanic. Conjuration has some wacky interactions with SR, but the cure line of spells is clearly resistable.

    RAW, you have to drop your resistance as a standard action. Probably has something to do with how saves are made by the character, while SR is checked by the caster. It's not a bad houserule to allow a character to freely and selectively let certain spells pass, but you have to really torture logic to argue that's what the books say.

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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    Did no one at all read my description of how the harmless tag works with spell resistance?

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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    Why would a spell where spell resistance doesn't apply say "Spell Resistance: Yes (Harmless)"?!

    That doesn't make any sense. What?!
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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuki_Akuma View Post
    Why would a spell where spell resistance doesn't apply say "Spell Resistance: Yes (Harmless)"?!

    That doesn't make any sense. What?!
    Why would a spell where spell resistance always applied say "Spell Resistance: Yes (Harmless)"?

    If it says No, no spell resistance, if it says yes, spell resistance. Since any creature with spell resistance can at any time choose to take a standard action to lower it's Spell resistance for all spells, the only logical conclusion is that the (harmless) tag exists to delineate choices you can make. IE, if you are an undead with SR, you might choose to take it. If you are a normy, you probably don't.

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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Dark_Scary View Post
    Why would a spell where spell resistance always applied say "Spell Resistance: Yes (Harmless)"?
    I'm not sure you quite understand the side of the fence I'm sitting on.

    If it says "Spell Resistance: Yes (Harmless)", spell resistance always applies. But you can lower it - just like you can when it's just "Spell Resistance: Yes".

    The (Harmless) is a clue to the player/DM that, yes, you want to lower your SR here.
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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuki_Akuma View Post
    I'm not sure you quite understand the side of the fence I'm sitting on.

    If it says "Spell Resistance: Yes (Harmless)", spell resistance always applies. But you can lower it - just like you can when it's just "Spell Resistance: Yes".

    The (Harmless) is a clue to the player/DM that, yes, you want to lower your SR here.
    So you are claiming in direct contradiction to the actual explanation of the harmless tag that they went through all the trouble creating an entire tag that has exactly zero effect of any kind?

  13. - Top - End - #13
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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    All (harmless) means is that it's generally a good idea to lower SR against the spell. It doesn't actually change the fact that you must take a standard action to voluntarily lower your SR (SR is actually a double-edged sword - you can't have your cake and eat it).

    If you read the description of the descriptor, it's relatively clear:

    The spell is usually beneficial, not harmful, but a targeted creature can attempt a saving throw if it desires.
    The terms "object" and "harmless" mean the same thing for spell resistance as they do for saving throws. A creature with spell resistance must voluntarily lower the resistance (a standard action) in order to be affected by a spell noted as harmless. In such a case, you do not need to make the caster level check described above.
    Remember that several 'harmless' spells can actually be pretty nasty - for example, using Cure Light Wounds on an undead. Or someone could do something like cast Spell Immunity (several beneficial spells) on you. You might want your SR to apply then.

    Or discovering that you heal from acid damage for some reason and casting Acid Immunity on you to prevent you healing by jumping in an acid vat.

    How this interacts with the guidelines on when it might be advisable to disallow SR for a spell that normally permits it is irrelevant.

    Here is the main use of the guidelines you quoted:

    Quote Originally Posted by SRD
    When in doubt about whether a spell’s effect is direct or indirect, consider the spell’s school:
    I fail to see the contradiction.

    These guidelines do not get around the rule that states very clearly that the harmless descriptor means nothing apart from as a reminder that the spell is normally beneficial. What they do tell you is that golems aren't immune to cave-ins caused by casting a lightning bolt at the ceiling.

    Unless you're telling me that there is some doubt about whether the spell effect is direct or indirect in this instance.
    Last edited by lesser_minion; 2009-06-02 at 06:07 AM.

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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    The contradiction is with the statement:

    "Harmless: The spell is usually beneficial, not harmful, but a targeted creature can attempt a spell resistance if it desires."

    If it desires would indicate that if it does not desire it does not have to. This does not require an action.

    Unless you think it also takes a standard action to not save against cure light wounds.
    Last edited by Dark_Scary; 2009-06-02 at 10:26 AM.

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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Dark_Scary View Post
    "Harmless: The spell is usually beneficial, not harmful, but a targeted creature can attempt a spell resistance if it desires."

    If it desires would indicate that if it does not desire it does not have to. This does not require an action.
    You're making that up. The mechanic of how a character implements "if it desires" is very well explained in the rules.
    A creature with spell resistance must voluntarily lower the resistance (a standard action) in order to be affected by a spell noted as harmless.
    Implementing your desire to be targeted by a spell can take either no action (if you'd previously lowered spell resistance) or a standard action (if your SR was up).

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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Dark_Scary View Post
    The contradiction is with the statement:

    "Harmless: The spell is usually beneficial, not harmful, but a targeted creature can attempt a spell resistance if it desires."

    If it desires would indicate that if it does not desire it does not have to. This does not require an action.

    Unless you think it also takes a standard action to not save against cure light wounds.
    But you're the only one saying that. The SRD says a targeted creature can attempt a saving throw if it desires. You inserted the bit about it making a spell resistance if it desires.

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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    For what it's worth, I've always played that SR attempts to block all spells and psionics (I use transparancy), regardless of whether it's helpful or not. That seems to be the intent of the rules, IMO. There even a feat in Drow of the Underdark called Reactive Resistance that lets you lower your Spell Resistance as an Immediate Action (and it returns to normal at the start of your next turn automatically). The presumed point is that if you want to lower your SR to get healed in the middle of combat, you don't have to spend a Standard Action to do so. If the Harmless modifier allowed you to bypass SR at your option, there would be no reason to include the ability to lower SR in the rules.

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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    When I DM I just rule that it's the character's choice; to allow a harmless spell through or not.

    The idea of needing to actively lower your spell resistance to allow a heal... just seems silly honestly; at least if it's something innate to your species. I can kinda understand it more if it's an outside effect, like a spell; then it's a power you may not have total control over.

    However if you're a Drow (for instance), and you've had Spell Resistance from the get-go... it seems to me that it'd be fairly reflexive.

    That said, I tend not to worry about RAW when things like this come up. The rules are helpful, but if they become illogical or convoluted (or even just get to the point where they're more annoying to the player and DM than they are helpful) - then the rules need to go.

    Obviously your mileage may vary in this regard; but I've personally never come across a situation where someone having to lower their spell resistance for a beneficial spell would enhance the game in any way.

    (I can think of a few dramatic circumstances specifically constructed based on this; but those are pretty narrow, and ultimately can be fudged if the plot requires it.)

    That's just me of course.
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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    If the Harmless modifier allowed you to bypass SR at your option, there would be no reason to include the ability to lower SR in the rules.
    Err...yes there would be. There needs to be a way to circumvent SR the same way there needs to be a way to circumvent having to roll saves.




    Anyways, has anyone bothered to read the cure light wounds spell itself?

    "Since undead are powered by negative energy, this spell deals damage to them instead of curing their wounds. An undead creature can apply spell resistance, and can attempt a Will save to take half damage."


    The oddity here is the usage of the word "can". Can indicates a possibility, not a certainty. It implies a choice. An undead creature can apply spell resistance, and can attempt a will save, but it does not have to do either one.

    (The rule should probably read "An undead creature will apply (or applies) spell resistance, and can attempt a Will save to take half damage")

    The interpretation of that line in the cure spell muddles the waters even more since the specific description of the spell trumps the general rule (whatever that is).




    Really, you should just have your DM houserule it.
    Last edited by Theodoriph; 2009-06-02 at 01:41 PM.

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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by wormwood View Post
    But you're the only one saying that. The SRD says a targeted creature can attempt a saving throw if it desires. You inserted the bit about it making a spell resistance if it desires.

    No, he didn't insert it really. The SRD does say that "The terms "object" and "harmless" mean the same thing for spell resistance as they do for saving throws.", which allows you to substitute the concept of spell resistance for the concept of a saving throw in those descriptions.


    I think that's the idea he's trying to communicate anyway.

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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by wormwood View Post
    But you're the only one saying that. The SRD says a targeted creature can attempt a saving throw if it desires. You inserted the bit about it making a spell resistance if it desires.
    No, the SRD told me to put it there. It says very explicitly, "The terms "object" and "harmless" mean the same thing for spell resistance as they do for saving throws."

    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    If the Harmless modifier allowed you to bypass SR at your option, there would be no reason to include the ability to lower SR in the rules.
    This makes absolutely no sense of any kind and why do people keep saying this crazy talk?

    There are two possibilities:

    1) Harmless spells allow the target to not use their SR against the spell.

    2) Harmless spells are exactly like SR: Yes spells without the harmless tag in every conceivable way.

    One of these represents including an ability for absolutely no reason. The other one does not.

    Yet three people have said that it makes no sense to include "SR: Yes (Harmless)" if you can choose to apply SR.

    They are totally wrong.

    It only makes sense to include the harmless tag in the game if you can choose to take it at your option.

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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    The way I see it, spells that are defined as harmless, yet allow spell resistance, or some form of negation, are often possibly NOT harmless, depending on the creature. This is to prevent too easy 'Revive Kills Zombies' type scenarios. For example, using Heal on undead, or Remove Blindness on some clerics of Gruumsh who pluck one eye out to gain power.
    Some PCs can get spell resistance, and that is why there is rules for lowering it voluntarily.
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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    Spell Resistance must be voluntarily lowered before you can be affected by even a friendly spell. Why else would the option to lower it even be present? If it let buffs through unconditionally and only blocked debuffs, there would be no reason to ever suppress it.

    The abjuration bit refers to the fact that some abjurations directly interfere with the subject in some way, and so can be blocked by its spell resistance. For example, Forbiddance and Dismissal are subject to this.

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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    I once read that the only reason why there are no massive computer games that follow strict DnD rules is that "most modern computers would explode from the rule contradictions." This statement seems to make sense now.

    It's the reason why (Harmless) is there that is seriously throwing me off. Take for example Polymorph: the spell offers no SR but it states that the creature must be willing to accept the transformation. If it was just going to come down to that someone could accept the change to their body, than what is the point of the (Harmless) tag?

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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Zergrusheddie View Post
    It's the reason why (Harmless) is there that is seriously throwing me off. Take for example Polymorph: the spell offers no SR but it states that the creature must be willing to accept the transformation. If it was just going to come down to that someone could accept the change to their body, than what is the point of the (Harmless) tag?
    I'm not sure I understand your question; Polymorph doesn't have the (Harmless) tag. It offers no save or resistance because it can only be used on willing targets.

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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Dark_Scary View Post
    No, the SRD told me to put it there. It says very explicitly, "The terms "object" and "harmless" mean the same thing for spell resistance as they do for saving throws."



    This makes absolutely no sense of any kind and why do people keep saying this crazy talk?

    There are two possibilities:

    1) Harmless spells allow the target to not use their SR against the spell.

    2) Harmless spells are exactly like SR: Yes spells without the harmless tag in every conceivable way.

    One of these represents including an ability for absolutely no reason. The other one does not.

    Yet three people have said that it makes no sense to include "SR: Yes (Harmless)" if you can choose to apply SR.

    They are totally wrong.

    It only makes sense to include the harmless tag in the game if you can choose to take it at your option.
    A creature with spell resistance must voluntarily lower the resistance (a standard action) in order to be affected by a spell noted as harmless.
    There's no ambiguity. It takes a standard action to lower spell resistance for a harmless spell.
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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimystik View Post
    I'm not sure I understand your question; Polymorph doesn't have the (Harmless) tag. It offers no save or resistance because it can only be used on willing targets.
    Well, the question is that "Does Polymorph only work on willing targets because of no SR" or "Does Polymorph offer no SR because it only works on living target?" My wording is terrible, but I basically mean that why would they bother putting in the (Harmless) tag if they were going to allow some spells to completely avoid friendly SR by allowing them to accept the spell. So I am able to accept someone casting a Polymorph on me but if they cast a Heal on me I can't accept it automatically?

    I'm not trying to make any arguments, I was just wondering how y'all felt about it. I've read through it and I just have no idea.

    Best of luck
    -Eddie

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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Worira View Post
    There's no ambiguity. It takes a standard action to lower spell resistance for a harmless spell.
    You missed the part where it takes a standard action to lower your SR for all spells, and so in fact, under that crazy interpretation:

    "SR: Yes" is in every conceivable way exactly and completely like "SR: Yes (harmless)" and there is still not a single reason in the entirety of the universe for anything to ever have the harmless tag.

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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Dark_Scary View Post
    "SR: Yes" is in every conceivable way exactly and completely like "SR: Yes (harmless)" and there is still not a single reason in the entirety of the universe for anything to ever have the harmless tag.
    It's an advisory note. Nothing wrong with that.

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    Default Re: (Harmless) Spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Zergrusheddie View Post
    Well, the question is that "Does Polymorph only work on willing targets because of no SR" or "Does Polymorph offer no SR because it only works on living target?" My wording is terrible, but I basically mean that why would they bother putting in the (Harmless) tag if they were going to allow some spells to completely avoid friendly SR by allowing them to accept the spell. So I am able to accept someone casting a Polymorph on me but if they cast a Heal on me I can't accept it automatically?

    I'm not trying to make any arguments, I was just wondering how y'all felt about it. I've read through it and I just have no idea.

    Best of luck
    -Eddie
    Spells with (Harmless) just denote they can be cast on (and resisted by) UNwilling targets. For example, If I'm an evil wizard holding a princess hostage, I can gag her, tie her up and cast Invisibility on her to prevent the heroes from finding her. I'm not hurting her in any way, but she still might not want me doing that, hence she gets a will save to stay visible. Polymorph, on the other hand, cannot be used on unwilling targets period; therefore no save or resistance is necessary.

    So, to answer your question, the lack of a save is because it specifies willing targets only.

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