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I've been looking into angels today, the solar specifically, and they get a lot of vs. evil bonuses that have me confused. What exactly does evil resistance mean? I think it means that they get the bonus vs.

  • the natural attacks of creatures with the evil sub type
  • evil weapons
  • spells from the evil domain.

So is this correct? My friend thinks it's a bonus vs. anyone with an evil alignment.

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1 Answer 1

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So the solar entry includes this:

Fort +25, Ref +14, Will +23; +4 vs. poison, +4 resistance vs. evil

The first three are pretty straight-forward: they indicate what the solar’s bonuses are on saving throws.

However, the solar also gets bonuses to saving throws against certain types of effects, as indicated by the “vs. X” terminology. Note that this format is heavily abbreviated: left out is the phrase “bonus on saving throws” just before the “vs.” If we include this, it instead reads:

Fort +25, Ref +14, Will +23; +4 bonus on saving throws vs. poison, +4 resistance bonus on saving throws vs. evil

This is much clearer, but also much longer, which is why they haven’t done this. Here, we can see that the solar gains a +4 bonus on saving throws vs. poison, and a +4 resistance bonus on saving throws vs. evil. The resistance term is the bonus’s type; it would not stack with other resistance bonuses, like those from a clock of resistance (so a solar with a cloak of resistance +4 or cloak of resistance +5 would see no benefit from the resistance bonus vs. evil).

The solar’s AC is similar,

AC 44, touch 11, flat-footed 42 (+14 armor, +1 Dex, +1 dodge, +19 natural, –1 size; +4 deflection vs. evil)

And again, the “+4 deflection vs. evil” is a “+4 deflection bonus to AC vs. evil.”

But still, what counts as a saving throw “vs. evil”? When does an AC bonus “vs. evil” apply? For this, we have to understand where that bonus is coming from: notice this line in the top section of the solar’s statblock:

Aura protective aura

(also note that the link on “protective aura” on d20pfsrd.com is broken)

The protective aura is a feature of all creatures with the angel subtype (and this link is the one that d20pfsrd.com meant to use), and it reads

Protective Aura (Su) Against attacks made or effects created by evil creatures, this ability provides a +4 deflection bonus to AC and a +4 resistance bonus on saving throws to anyone within 20 feet of the angel. Otherwise, it functions as a magic circle against evil effect and a lesser globe of invulnerability, both with a radius of 20 feet (caster level equals angel's HD). The defensive benefits from the circle are not included in an angel's statistics block.

(emphasis mine)

And that is what the “+4 resistance vs. evil” and “+4 deflection vs. evil” lines refer to. They provide bonuses to AC and saving throws against the attacks and abilities of evil creatures. Note that this does not provide any protection against evil weapons or evil spells1 used by non-evil creatures. This is arguably an oversight, and a GM can easily change the protective aura to cover that case as well, but as written, non-evil creatures can use evil weapons or evil spells against the solar without difficulty (and, in fact, if it is an epic evil weapon, it actually helps, by overcoming the solar’s damage reduction).

Also note that this is an aura, and these benefits also apply to anyone (friend or foe!) within 20 ft. of the solar.

  1. Also note that the Evil domain is not the sole source of evil spells; any spell with the [Evil] descriptor in its statblock is evil. In fact, in the case of the Good domain, the 6th-level spell blade barrier isn’t actually a [Good] spell despite appearing on the Good domain, and wouldn’t count as a good spell for a creature with a bonus on saving throws vs. good spells.
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    \$\begingroup\$ Now I want my next character to have a "clock of resistance". That's a very funny typo :P \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Apr 6, 2016 at 15:17

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