Elemental Resistances

Reading through Caspar’s got me thinking about the lack of resistances and vulnerabilities in 5e. Chamomile makes a solid point, in that they just aren’t used, and the approach in Caspar’s works well enough, but it’s got some edge cases where you’ve got to eyeball a few situations. I’m always a fan of getting rid of that scenario and just making it something you can automatically do.

If you’re looking to up the impact of resistances and vulnerabilities, in your game, give this a try.

Each element now has a counter. To apply them, follow the rules below, in order.

  1. You cannot have Immunity or resistance to an element if you also have immunity or resistance to its counter. If you would gain it, your previous immunity or resistance is removed.
  2. If you ever gain immunity or resistance to an element, you immediately gain vulnerability to its counter.
  3. If you ever gain vulnerability to an element, you gain resistance to its counter.
Elements and their counters are on the same row.

Thats it. It’s pretty simple, and quick to implement, but folks will have a lot to think about in encounters, and it adds a nice counter play element to magic. You could even have folks casting offensive resist elements just to swap somethings resistances around and make it easier for blasters. It’s also something that fits pretty easy on a DM’s screen.

If you wanted to go a step further, you could add a circular rock, paper, scissors dynamic. If you’re resistant to slashing, you become vulnerable to bludgeoning. And if you’re resistant to bludgeoning, you’re vulnerable to piercing.

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