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I am currently DMing the early stages of a 5E campaign in which a bad guy (level 4 tiefling warlock) nearly died in combat with the PCs as a result of repeated magic missiles. He knows he is likely to be facing them again in combat before long, and isn't too bright, but is rather paranoid and likes vendettas, so I have decided that he is likely to obsess over this defeat and try to develop specific countermeasures (even though I, as DM, realise that specialising like this could well leave him weaker against various other strategies by the PCs).

What spells or magic items are available to a character of this class and level that would specifically offer protection against magic missiles? The obvious specific counters would be 'shield', which as a warlock he doesn't have access to, or a 'brooch of shielding', which I've decided he doesn't have the resources to obtain in the time available. He does have darkness, so that's one option.

Am I missing anything more specific?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What type of preparing is allowed? Is his list of known spells "fixed"? Are you a player, or a GM planning an encounter? \$\endgroup\$ – Szega Apr 11 '17 at 21:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is the enemy a humanoid? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Apr 11 '17 at 21:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ How many magic missiles? From where? Targeting what? Why? What does it take to shut them down? How long can the missile barrage last for? Cast in what level slot? etc. We need more info. \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Apr 11 '17 at 22:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Szega DM planning a rematch between a fairly unimaginative but highly vindictive low-level bad guy (with anger management issues) and the PCs. \$\endgroup\$ – tardigrade Apr 13 '17 at 18:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast enemy is 'the PCs'. I don't really want to post details as I'm starting to worry that the players might read this but yes, they are all humanoid. \$\endgroup\$ – tardigrade Apr 13 '17 at 18:04
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Magic Missile is targeted by sight, so it only works on targets the enemy can see. So casting invisibility or darkness will protect you completely from magic missiles, with the usual caveats that you might not be able to attack effectively with those spells up. If you have the warlock invocation that lets you see in magical darkness, this combines well with the darkness spell.

Magic Missile is usually limited (ie, your opponents will have a fixed number of spell slots), so it's also viable to just use up their resources. You could try to get the attacker to squander their magic missiles against your minor illusion. (Note that this is on shaky ground rules-wise.)

You also could try healing yourself through the damage. This is normally not a viable combat tactic, but if you really can run out your opponent's spell slots it might become more viable. A first-level magic missile will do 10.5 damage per round, and a basic healing potion will heal 7 per round; we don't know enough about your situation to tell you how well this would work, but it could be pretty effective, especially in concert with casting invisibility or darkness to give yourself time to heal.

In general it's a bit strange to worry about being attacked by someone using first-level spells -- this is a bit like asking "what if we get attacked by orcs and one of them has a dagger?" (The "run out your opponent's spell slots" tactics above are viable only because the magic missile spell is just not a very effective attack.) Unless something is very unusual about the coming combat, I recommend not specializing your tactics too much against magic missile specifically, and just go into the fight ready to take down enemy spellcasters.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm requesting a comment cleanup. If you see factual errors in my answer, I'm happy to hear about them; if you want me to add your favorite spellcaster-fighting tactic, I'd prefer that you write your own answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Dan B Apr 12 '17 at 5:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 12 '17 at 5:41

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