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I'm looking for the most efficient way to get energy resistance for my character. He's a level 18 caster, wizard, sorcerer & ultimate magus.

I don't want to have to take any levels in anything else in order to gain the resistance, however items are perfectly acceptable. I currently have 16,500 gold, but obtaining more isn't difficult at my level.

I would ideally like to be able to be resistant to all 5 energy types at resistance 30 all the time, but that's probably not practical. I would like to be able to be resistant to two or three during combat. Combat could be spread out over 12 hours, we generally rest the other 12.

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What does summoner mean here? It's also unclear if you're aware of the spell resist energy, which you could trivially have running a lot of the time. –  starwed Oct 6 '13 at 16:45
    
Summoner meant sorcerer, typo. I've corrected that. I'm perfectly aware of resist energy, however to keep that running through all combats for 12 hours would use up more than all of my eight 2nd level spell slots. I could manage some of it with casting that spell, and if that is the best way so be it, however I would like to know if there are alternatives that don't use all my slots as I do use them for other spells at times. –  Styphon Oct 6 '13 at 17:35
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A ring of wizardry (II) would double your available spell slots for cheaper than a single ring of resist 30. –  starwed Oct 6 '13 at 18:03
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2 Answers

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There is one item that fits your bill perfectly (and one that's even better), but there is a minor catch, the price.

I'm talking about a genuine, bona fide, certified, Ring of Universal Energy Resistance, Greater. It does provides an amazing 30 points of resistance to your common energies like fire and cold. But wait it also takes care of your pesky acid, shock and sonic (but not hedgehog) problems as well. You, good sir, can have this fine product for 10 easy payments of 30,800gp. Call in the next five minutes to inquire into upgrading the to the Ring of Universal Energy Immunity for 10 easy payments of 216,000gp.

The source is the Epic Handbook.

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Well, 2M gold may be a little out of my price range. However the 308K should be manageable in time. Thank you. –  Styphon Oct 8 '13 at 20:37
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The Frostburn spell mantle of the icy soul permanently grants the cold subtype, making the recipient immune to cold damage at the price of being vulnerable to fire. Anything that made you immune to fire would also protect you from the extra damage, giving the mantle no backdraw.

The Sandstorm spell mantle of the fiery spirit permanently grants the fire subtype and everything I said about the cold subtype is valid in reverse.

So if you get both spells on you, you're immune to cold and fire without spending spell slots (the two spells are of course dispellable so you'd better have an high level caster with +CL rings cast them). The process could be costly and involve having someone cast a spell on you (it's both cleric or druid spells and the latter is high level) but the effectiveness is unrivaled.

Energy immunity is a Complete Arcane level 7 wizard/sorcerer spell that gives you immunity to one of the five energy types for 24 hours. In the words of the SRD:

Same Effect with Differing Results
The same spell can sometimes produce varying effects if applied to the same recipient more than once. Usually the last spell in the series trumps the others. None of the previous spells are actually removed or dispelled, but their effects become irrelevant while the final spell in the series lasts.

This means different energy immunity spells don't overlap so this can protect you from one energy type only.
The same is true for protection from energy and similar spells.

Obtaining long-term resistance to the other elements is made through persistent spells applied to the low level protection spells you already know (whether applicable) or through multiple castings (with pearls of power or similar items) of the same low level spell many times per day.

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I'm not so certain "varying effects" was intended to include spells like resist energy. You can make the argument that it was intended to resolve situations where the effects could not overlap; the use of the word "irrevelant" kind of implies this. I'm able to find scores of internet flame wars about this, but not any official guidance. It's possible the rules compendium has something? –  starwed Oct 6 '13 at 20:22
    
The rules compendium has nothing -- it repeats the same terse text as the SRD. –  starwed Oct 6 '13 at 20:29
    
I know, it's probably used to adjudicate things such as overlapping instances of polymorph spells but nevertheless I've had DMs who ruled it that way. The best way to go is to talk with your DM and listen to his version. –  Zachiel Oct 7 '13 at 9:32
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