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I am looking for a way to gain permanent or at least regularly usable (eg. daily) spell resistance, that preferably scales with character.

Because of the character concept, I'd like to avoid using the following as a source of the SR:

  • Divine magic
  • Primary spellcaster classes (although bard-ish casting is fine)
  • Races (and templates if possible)

Magic items are fine, but they usually seem too pricey to be useful. If there is a magic item that grants such an ability and isn't overpriced, I'd be glad to hear it.

Allowed sources are all, but anything that seems to be exploiting loopholes or the like may and probably will be banned.

I am not looking for an entire build, but rather, if possible, bits and pieces that grant SR that I could incorporate into my character.

Is there a way to gain such powers?

Secondarily, anything that grants bonuses against spells or gives a different defensive advantage against them and fulfills given criteria will also be appreciated.

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Yes, I have. I might be wrong, but to me, it always seemed like by the time you had enough wealth to buy it, the SR value granted by it would already be too low to be useful. –  kravaros Aug 11 '13 at 11:29
    
I think you're right that the SR items are a bit overpriced. I've turned my comment into an answer, it may perhaps serve as a baseline option against which usefulness of other options can be weighed. –  Jeroen Aug 11 '13 at 12:22
1  
Keep in mind that Spell Resistance is a double-edged sword, one that is often more negative than positive for player characters. Remember that it applies to buffs and healing, and takes a Standard Action to lower, and then another Standard Action to raise again. These can be very serious problems for a player character. Then notice that, as you and the (current) answers indicate, SR is extremely expensive. –  KRyan Aug 11 '13 at 13:36
2  
@KRyan Nitpick: SR doesn't require a second standard action to un-lower, that happens automatically. Your point remains. –  Ernir Aug 11 '13 at 17:21
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Depending on why you want to scorn divine magic and get spell resistance, have you looked at the ur-priest? –  starwed Aug 11 '13 at 19:25

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

There are a few options if you're willing to take certain classes to get them:

The simplest way would be to be a Monk. At level 13, Monks get SR equal to level + 10, which will stay good forever. The only downside is that Monk is considered by many to be an underpowered class, and might not be powerful enough in other areas. There's also the Tattooed Monk prestige class, which gets a whole bunch of short-duration buffs, including SR equal to class level + 15, which isn't quite as good as the regular Monk gets.

The Occult Slayer from Complete Warrior is a 5 level prestige class that gives several anti-spell bonuses: you get +3 to saves against spells, you can use spell turning on 2 spells per day as a free action, passive nondetection and immunity to mind-affecting spells. It's a melee combat style class.

The Gray Hand Enforcer is a Faerun-specific class that grants SR equal to 5 + character level, and is a melee/caster class.

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The first thing that comes to my mind is Incarnate with its Soulmelds. Most of them are some pretty neat spellikes with sometimes inadequately good bonuses (for example, fly speed at level 1 (but not for too long of a distance). Among those soulmelds there is a Spellward Shirt - a vestment that grants you base SR of 5 + 4/essentia invested. More levels of Incarnate give you more investment points, so regardless of your race, you'll get that SR and it would be pretty strong (later, it can get even stronger - like, giving you immunity to some spells of your choosing, given that you have the corresponding chakra opened). Besides those soulmelds, Incarnates by themselves are pretty decent fighters and the soulmelds give you high versatility.

Their Binder counterparts, as far as I know, don't get great SR (I think, there is one vestige that grants divine SR, but that's it), but they do get some energy resistances and immunities. Other than that... I can't remember anything good enough

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+1 to this. There are many, many ways to get SR in 3.5, the Incarnate and Totemist might be the only ones who can do it well. Of particular interest is that un-investing the SR soulmelds of essentia is only a swift action. –  Ernir Aug 11 '13 at 21:39

For reference, here's the option of using Spell Resistance Armor from the core game. As you mention, these items do seem a bit overpriced as I found out below.

Suppose we go with it, you can get the following:

BASE ENHANCEMENT BONUS     SPECIAL ABILITY               TOTAL      PRICE
-------------------------  ----------------------------  ------  ---------
+1                         SR 13, +2 bonus equivalent    +3       9.000 gp
+1                         SR 15, +3 bonus equivalent    +4      16.000 gp
+1                         SR 17, +4 bonus equivalent    +5      25.000 gp
+1                         SR 19, +5 bonus equivalent    +6      36.000 gp

To find out how good this is, let's relate this to the wealth by level table:

LEVEL       WEALTH        LEVEL       WEALTH
------- ----------        ------- ----------
1st          :) gp        11th     66,000 gp
2nd         900 gp        12th     88,000 gp
3rd       2,700 gp        13th    110,000 gp
4th       5,400 gp        14th    150,000 gp
5th       9,000 gp        15th    200,000 gp
6th      13,000 gp        16th    260,000 gp
7th      19,000 gp        17th    340,000 gp
8th      27,000 gp        18th    440,000 gp
9th      36,000 gp        19th    580,000 gp
10th     49,000 gp        20th    760,000 gp

If you're building a character around this SR concept, let's say you spend about 1/3 of your money on the SR-armor-item. That would mean you'd get the items at certain levels. Also suppose you'll be combatting against an NPC Wizard of your own level:

RESISTANCE     ATTAINED AT LEVEL    SPELL FAILURE FOR NPC WIZARD AT THAT LEVEL
-------------  -------------------  ------------------------------------------
SR 13          8                    20 %
SR 15          10                   20 %
SR 17          12                   20 %
SR 19          13                   25 %

I guess that's decent but not great: having about 1 in 5 chance of deflecting a spell with just resistance. If we continue this however, the armor becomes less useful against opponents of equal level:

SR 19          14                   20 %
SR 19          15                   15 %
SR 19          16                   10 %
SR 19          17                    5 %
SR 19          18                    0 %
SR 19          19                    0 %
SR 19          20                    0 %

The above shows stats against opponents of equal level. The other situations:

  • Many weak opponents will have a harder time beating your SR. If you encounter six lvl 5 wizards at level 10 they'll all have 45% failure.
  • One stronger opponent will outlevel your SR quickly. Any one with a caster level of 4 or more above your own level will just about laugh off your SR.

All in all not a terrible option to go with SR items, but not entirely useless either.

Note that using a shield instead of armor only matters a little bit, gaining the mentioned SR-levels only about 1 or 2 levels earlier.

All this does assume you can somehow easily "upgrade" to the next level of SR. In our games the DM usually allows upgrading from one level of an item modifier the next by paying the gold difference to a crafter, which may help in progressing the SR along with your character.

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Also, mantle of spell resistance, 90000 gp, SR 21. However, all of these rely on divine magic for crafting, which is a thing a wanted to avoid as much as possible. Good info, nevertheless. –  kravaros Aug 11 '13 at 12:43
    
@kravaros I believe that e.g. a warlock could craft the items, and in general you aren't supposed to assume that these items are automatically divine. (They could, for instance, be created directly by a wish spell.) –  starwed Aug 11 '13 at 19:24
    
Oh, you are right. Sorry. –  kravaros Aug 11 '13 at 19:28

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