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One of my players is using an acid elemental ray against a creature with spell resistance.

There is nothing in the elemental ray or the acidic ray that suggests whether spell resistance applies or not. Other ray spells like scorching ray or ray of frost apply spell resistance, but most acid spells do not, like acid splash or acid arrow. Thus, I am confused whether spell resistance should apply or not.

The spell-like entry seems to suggest all spell-likes are subject to spell resistance, but I do not know how well that applies to spell-likes directly based in existing spells.

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Yes, they are affected by spell resistance

Even though those spell-like abilities, elemental ray and acidic ray, have no spell to base themselves on, spells (in general) and spell-like abilities are subject to spell resistance, unless otherwise noted.

Spells from the conjuration school can mostly ignore spell resistance, and spell-like abilities based on those spells follow the same rules. So a spell-like ability that duplicates Create Pit, which ignores spell resistance, would also ignore spell resistance. This can be seen on the topic When Spell Resistance Applies:

Effect Spells: Most effect spells summon or create something and are not subject to spell resistance. Sometimes, however, spell resistance applies to effect spells, usually to those that act upon a creature more or less directly, such as web.

But spell-like abilities that do not duplicate a spell (like elemental ray and acidic ray) follow a more general rule, with their spell level based on the highest spell the character can cast, as per this FAQ on SLA's:

Cleric domains, sorcerer bloodlines, wizard schools, and certain other class features give spell-like abilities that aren't based on spells. What's the effective spell level for these abilities?

The effective spell level for these spell-like abilities is equal to the highest-level spell that a character of that class could normally cast at the level the ability is gained.

For example, a 1st-level elemental bloodline sorcerer has elemental ray as a spell-like ability. Because a sorcerer 1's highest-level spell available is 1st, that spell-like ability counts as a 1st-level spell. A 9th-level elemental bloodline sorcerer has elemental blast as a spell-like ability. Because a sorcerer 9's highest-level spell available is 4th, that spell-like ability counts as a 4th-level spell.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1ed! That FAQ answer was exactly what I couldn't find when researching an answer to this question. Nicely done. Man, I wish 3.5 had a rule like this. (It's all Just compare it to an existing spell!) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jul 6 '18 at 14:15
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Elemental Ray or Acidic Ray are spell-like abilities, and thus according to the table you have shown, they are affected by spell resistance.

Just because they are similar to another spell does not mean they have any relation in mechanics.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thus an acid arrow spell-like will also apply spell resistance? \$\endgroup\$ – Balacertar Dec 13 '16 at 23:14

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