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To be more specific, and add context, I started out the process of making a Pathfinder character with three major goals for the character, and the third is the subject of this question:

  1. To acquire either a single wish, or possibly three wishes, and get a clone of the character that was active, and the same in every way possible save for offering different solutions to problems.
  2. To use Daggers and Static Electricity to De-fibrillate another character.
  3. To Counter-Spell a Dragon's Breath weapon.

After doing some research though, I found out that according to Rules as Written, I cannot counter-spell a dragon's breath weapon. So I'm left wondering if there are any ways to fully protect your party from a dragon's breath weapon beyond the normal saving rolls to reduce damage.

Things like energy immunities are kinda obvious, but not outside the realm of possibility, clearly. Another possibility I considered was cover, I was wondering if there is a better option?

Whatever it is, it should work to save more than my own character. If possible, I'd like to find a way to be able to keep the rest of my party from getting cooked alive, frozen solid, zapped to powder, etc., etc.

Remember, this only needs to work once to unlock my character's third “achievement”.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ In the process of cleaning up this question I realised that it's lacking in necessary information to optimise your character for this goal. At minimum we'll need class/race/level to know what you're starting with, so that we can know what your options and limitations are. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 6, 2016 at 19:08

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Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Artifacts & Legends has just what you're looking for! Unfortunately, as the book's title suggests, orbs of dragonkind are artifacts, and not generally available. Among many other benefits, they confer the following:

A character possessing an Orb of Dragonkind is immune to the breath weapon—but only the breath weapon—of the dragon variety keyed to the orb.

Of course, this only works against one specific breed of dragon, based on the orb's type (black dragon orb, brass dragon orb, etc.). Further, orbs of dragonkind can be used, as a standard action, to dominate all dragons of the appropriate style within 500 ft, with only a Will save to resist, and suffering from no spell resistance.

Breath weapons in general, though? You'll want energy resistances, save bonuses, Evasion, Mettle, death ward, and the favour of the dice gods. Having elf immunities couldn't hurt, either, if you expect to be facing brass dragons.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Protecting more of the Party would be cool, but I get the feeling that with an Orb of Dragon Kind(As far as I've read from the AD&D version), that'd be fairly easy to accomplish. Still, other options that don't require questing to the edges of Golarion would be of great interest to me. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tarmikos11
    Sep 5, 2014 at 11:43
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Not sure if you consider this obvious: Most breath weapons demand a reflex save, and thus Evasion and Improved Evasion is one way to avoid damage. Add to that the Lightning Reflexes and Improved Lightning Reflexes feats and a high dexterity score. Also, gear up with a high-powered Amulet of Resistance plus Boots of Speed, and you've got a character which most dragons can breathe at all day and still not scorch.

Update: From comments I've learned that some dragons can use breath demanding a fortitude or will save. This, of course, subtracts from the effectiveness of my evasion-reflex suggestion. Thanks for the input!

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Well, you're not looking for the ultimate failsafe against a dragon, you just want to be the mage who stands up to a dragon's breath and saves the party from a TPK once by casting the correct spell at the right moment.

To answer that, you have a few solutions, with resist energy or protection from energy being the obvious solution, though maybe the least cinematic one.

Other solutions are:

  • Any wall spell readied to counter could work: Wall of Stone, Wall of Iron, Wall of Force, even Wall of Ice. For this to work, you need to make sure that the Wall can be cast as a standard action (so you can ready it) and must provide total cover. Total cover dosn't give you bonuses — it prevents squares on the map from being affected. That means your party doesn't have to make saves and the dragon is frustrated because he just blasted his breath on a wall.

  • A small spell called Stone Shield. While it doesn't give you guaranteed success and only affects you, it's cast as an Immediate action (which means you don't need to ready it and can use your standard normally). It's only a +2 reflex, but summoning a stone slab to absorb a part of the dragon's fire breath can be neat looking.

  • The best thing I've found so far for this kind of thing (because I wanted to do the same) is the spell Emergency Force Sphere, normally intended to protect you from avalanches. It's cast as an Immediate action and creates a sphere similar to a wall of force around you out to a 10ft diameter. Want to protect your warriors? Nothing says epic D&D action like the mage rushing forward and placing a magic ward just in time to prevent roast fighter.

  • Specifically for a dragon using a gaseous breath weapon, you can use Wind Wall as a failsafe.

  • If you really want to risk it all, try Suffocate. It's a big gamble because dragons tends to have high fortitude saves, but a dragon cannot use its breath weapon while it is trying to breath and find oxygen.

There are some other solutions if you're imaginative enough, and as a DM I would rule that some actions are just too cool and too fun to play to let the rules interfere. Nothing says a Cone of Cold counters a dragon's fire breath, but when these clashes occurs, I usualy make the two throw their damage dice and whoever deals more damage has his spell/breath work and do damage minus the damage it took from the other one. (For example, a Cone of Cold 11d6 doing 44 damage vs. fire breath 13d6 doing 55, the fire breath wins and forces a reflex save, but only deals the difference of 11 fire damage. The rest was absorbed by the cone of cold.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Since this isn't a forum with threaded topics, but rather a Q&A site, it doesn't make sense or work to reply to anything other than the question. Fortunately, it already pivoted quickly to focus on the question instead of other answers, so it was an easy fix to just remove the reply material. (I did some other formatting and languages fixes while I had the edit screen open, too.) Take the tour to learn more, and welcome to the site! \$\endgroup\$ Nov 6, 2016 at 19:17
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Duck and cover.

Total cover gives you immunity from almost all breath weapons. Improved cover gives you +4 Reflex and Improved Evasion against the typical cone/line breath weapons that many dragons have. Even normal cover gives you +2.

Tower shield is one way to get cover. You can use ready action and then have it give you total cover against the triggering breath weapon attack. Conjuring up some kind of wall could also work and even cover multiple creatures.

Beware: spread effects, like the acid cloud of a green dragon will ignore cover, except for total cover that has no way around it, AKA being in an airtight box. Or another room, I suppose.

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If you are strictly looking for defense to get past or away from the dragon a Wall of force could be your answer. There is also a prismatic wall or sphere if you want protection and to still be able to battle the dragon. If you need to protect a party member that is in trouble Resilient Sphere may be something you might consider while you draw the dragon's attention elsewhere. These all withstand everything except Rod of cancellation, rod of negation, disintegrate, anti-magic, Disjunction or dispel magic. These are methods of helping to protect your party instead of just yourself. You might even use a Windwall to deflect the breath. Things like pepia sigil or entomb might also work.

Reflex saves don't help the rest of the party even improving DEX of giving bonuses to everyones reflex saves they will still take damage unless everyone has Improved Evasion and gets a successful save. Improved saves, resistances and immunity all are good and yo uprobably want all you can get going in, but they still reduce not eliminate the party taking damaage. Walls and spheres can block the breath from ever getting there.

The most obvious answer would be kill the dragon, but not a practical answer since you have to get by the breath to do that. Someone might try binding the Dragons mouth closed as a more mundane method of stopping the breath attack.

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This may be a bit obvious, but you can be protected from a breath weapon just by not being hit by it...

Spread the party out so it cannot hit multiple people at once, hide behind a pillar, use evasion and improved evasion to dodge it, get items that allow you to teleport out of the way, etc.

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Outside of the more obvious suggestions here involving magic items or even artifacts... I have seen some interesting ideas tried out. As a DM I have often awarded bonus to people who prepared for the fight. A barbarian covered in blubber and extra layers might lose a few points of dex, but gain to saves involving cold damage. It's a trade-off. I had a team that fancies themselves dragon hunters and sought out relevant immunities, and found out that a charm against a red dragon's breath does nothing if the dragon cast a fireball or used other attacks.

As for your original objective of counter-spelling a breath weapon, the obvious answer is, it's not magic. Now, you could place enchantments and contingency spells to account for all the situations. Or you could spend one of your wishes on immunity to dragons' breath and die to a gorgon. But honestly, any time a player reaches the 'immunity to everything' phase of their life, it is time to retire. So really it's between you and your DM. I rarely like handing out blanket immunity to a player and any intelligent monster (most dragons rank in at Genius levels) will quickly stop using an ineffective attack and go for other attacks (the 'stepping on people' example is a classic).

It is usually assumed in D&D that the concussive blast of most magic/breath weapons is included in the normal damage for simplicity, but that does not mean that a fire explosion does not toss a player around or break glass from a lightning bolt passing inches by. However there is a dragon from AD&D 2ed that is very relevant here. The Amethyst dragon was always a favorite and is the only dragon that has NO resistance to its own breath weapon since the weapon was a concussive projectile. No elemental resistance would apply since it was only concussive force.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your answer! As the question-asker's potential GM, this answer interests me, but I feel like it might be a bit of work to port something from 2E to Pathfinder. \$\endgroup\$
    – Firebreak
    Sep 8, 2014 at 9:19

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