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See also Resistance Checks in Combat Mechanics and Immunities.

Resistance measures a character's ability to withstand or reduce the effects of an opponent's attack. There is one type of resistance for each damage type in the game: Mental, Physical, Spell, and Elemental, which is itself divided into five types (Fire, Cold, Electric, Nature, and Spirit). Each point of resistance generally reduces damage (of that type) by 1%. In some cases, a target is given a chance to offset some of the effects of an attack if they pass an appropriate check for the relevant type. There are also displacement/dodge and missile deflection ratings, signifying a percentile chance to completely ignore any physical attack and a percentile chance to ignore any missile of non-spell origin, respectively.

Some abilities, skills, or items allow combatants to enhance their resistances; they are also enhanced at higher levels and ranks.

Types of Resistances

Type Ability to withstand... Formula to Calculate Resistance Examples & Other Notes
Mental Bard songs and mind-control spells.
Possible to completely resist or take a limited debuff.
(Willpower+Magic+Cunning-30)/2

rounded up

up to 100

(up to 150 in Awakening)

Captivating Song, Blood Control, Horror; not a percentage (score of 100 or more does not confer immunity)
Physical Direct attacks on the body.
Possible to completely resist or take a limited debuff.
(Strength+Dexterity+Constitution-30)/2

rounded up

up to 100

(up to 150 in Awakening)

Knockdown, Earthquake, Paralyze; not a percentage (score of 100 or more does not confer immunity)
Spell Hostile magical spell attacks.
A percentage denotes a chance to completely resist a hostile spell. Friendly fire spell effects are applied normally.
up to 100%
Elemental

Attacks based on each of the five elements.
This will reduce the damage by % you have.
Minimum elemental resistance is -100% (attainable with hexes).

up to 75%

(up to 85% in Awakening)

Fireball, Cone of Cold. There are distinct resistances for Fire, Cold, Electric, Nature, and Spirit effects.

Resistance Check Reference

The following table includes a list of Talents and Spells and the relevant resistance check.

Tree Threat Type Resistance
Blood Mage Blood Wound Spell Physical
Creation Glyph of Paralysis Spell Physical
Creation Glyph of Repulsion Spell Physical
Creation Grease Spell Physical
Entropy Mass Paralysis Spell Physical
Entropy Miasma Spell Physical
Entropy Paralyze Spell Physical
Primal Blizzard Spell Physical
Primal Cone of Cold Spell Physical
Primal Earthquake Spell Physical
Primal Fireball Spell Physical
Primal Petrify Spell Physical
Archery Pinning Shot Talent Physical
Dual Weapon Cripple Talent Physical
Dual Weapon Riposte Talent Physical
Duelist Upset Balance Talent Physical
Rogue Below the Belt Talent Physical
Two-Handed Mighty Blow Talent Physical
Two-Handed Pommel Strike Talent Physical
Two-Handed Sunder Armor Talent Physical
Two-Handed Sunder Arms Talent Physical
Two-Handed Two-Handed Sweep Talent Physical
Two-Handed Sweeping Strike Talent Physical
Blood School Blood Fury Talent Physical
Weapon and Shield Overpower Talent Physical
Weapon and Shield Shield Bash Talent Physical
Weapon and Shield Shield Pummel Talent Physical
Blood Mage Blood Control Spell Mental
Entropy Horror Spell Mental
Entropy Sleep Spell Mental
Entropy Waking Nightmare Spell Mental
Bard Distraction Talent Mental
Bard Captivating Song Talent Mental
Templar Holy Smite Talent Mental
Dog Growl Talent Mental
Dog Dread Howl Talent Mental

Notable Monster Resistances/Weaknesses Reference Sheet

General Enemy Types

Demon type: +50% fire resistance, +5% spirit resistance.
Darkspawn type: +25% nature resistance, -15% fire resistance.
High Dragon type (High Dragon and Flemeth): +75% fire resistance.
Undead type: +75% cold resistance, -25% fire resistance.

Specific Boss Monsters & Monster Sub-Types

Abomination: +25% electricity resistance.
Arcane Horror: +20% spell resistance.
Archdemon: +75% cold, electricity and spirit resistance, +60% fire resistance,+25% nature resistance.
Broodmother: +75% nature resistance, +75 mental resistance.
Genlock: +5% spell resistance, +3 mental resistance.
Hurlock: +5% cold resistance, +5% spirit resistance, +1% dodge.
Ogre: +20% cold resistance, +15% spirit resistance, +10% spell resistance.
Revenant: +75 mental resistance.
Steel Golem: +50 physical resistance, +50% electricity and cold resistance.
Stone Golem: +50 physical resistance, +50% fire and cold resistance.
Wild Sylvan: -50% fire resistance.

Shapeshifter Forms

Bear (monster and Shapeshifter form): +50% nature resistance.
Flying Swarm (Shapeshifter form): +40% dodge, +100% missile deflection, -75% fire resistance.
Spider (monster and Shapeshifter form): +75% nature resistance, -10% fire resistance.

Monster Resistances and Immunities Analysis

An obvious conclusion one can draw from this reference sheet and the Immunities list is electricity and spirit are most rarely resisted types of elemental damage, with no enemies immune to them, while nature is (a) most commonly resisted, (b) an unparalleled number of creatures are immune to it, and (c) not a single enemy in the game has a nature damage weakness**. Consider also the stamina draining effect from electrical damage and the fact the most damaging spells and spell combinations in the game are spirit-based (Mana Drain, Entropic Death, Virulent Walking Bomb, Blood Control). Fire damage is quite frequently resisted, but this is offset by the fact both Darkspawn and Undead type enemies have weakness to fire. Cold damage is also commonly resisted, but since cold-based spells also have the ability to Freeze and Slow targets, this is less of a problem (see Cone of Cold for more information). It is also noteworthy spell resistance is extremely rare, and even when present, its value is quite low, so certain spells/spell combinations (Paralysis Explosion, for example) are almost guaranteed to work under any conditions.

Note that on Casual Difficulty, spell resistance is reduced by 10% (to a minimum of 0%) and on Nightmare it is increased by 10%. All resistances to damage schools remain unaffected.

  • Note: The Archdemon at the end of Origins is a notable exception to the general rule. While it does not have a "weakness" to nature damage, as such, its resistances to all other forms of elemental damage are much higher (60 to fire and 75 to the others) than its nature resistance, which is only 25. However this does not in itself justify altering character build strategies, as there are other ways to inflict nature damage that can be used for this one major fight.

Items List

Spell Resistance

Name Enhancements Acquisition
Templar Armor
Requires: 27 strength
+3 willpower
+20% spell resistance
+5 mental resistance
Restriction: Templar
Knight Commander's Plate
Requires: 39 strength
+5 willpower
+40% spell resistance
+10 mental resistance
Sold by Faryn in Frostback Mountain Pass for 27DAO goldpiece trans 42DAO silverpiece trans 0DAO bronzepiece trans.

Restriction: Templar
Armor of the Divine Will
Requires: 38 strength
+20% spell resistance
-5 magic
Sold by Ruck in Ortan Thaig.

Restriction: Templar
The Spellward +5 willpower
+8 health regeneration while exploring
+30% spell resistance
+10% chance to dodge attacks
+6 defense against missiles
Origins: Sold by Bodahn Feddic at the Party Camp
Leliana's Song: Dropped by Weapon Master in the Noble's Estate (2nd time)
Witch Hunt: Sold by Sandal in the Apprentice Quarters
Key to the City +2 to all attributes
+4% spell resistance
+10% to healing effects received
Found in the Assembly Cache in the Chamber of the Assembly, Orzammar Diamond Quarter after completing The Key to the City side quest.
Athras's Pendant 4% spell resistance Obtained from Athras in the Dalish Camp as a reward for completing the Lost to the Curse side quest
Mark of Vigilance +6 defense
+2% spell resistance
+5 mental resistance
Requires the Mark of Vigilance DLC
Spellweaver
Requires: 27 strength/magic
+5 magic
+1 or +2 mana regeneration in combat
+10% spell resistance
+3 electricity damage
Dropped by the Arcane Warrior Cultist Overseer in the Mountainside Caverns, during The Urn of Sacred Ashes main quest.

Restriction: Arcane Warrior
Antivan Leather Boots
Requires: 18 strength
+4% spell resistance They come from Antivan Leather Boots (gift) in Origins, and purchased from the Bartender and looted from the Smuggler Leader and Crow Assassin in Awakening.
Blackblade Boots
Requires: 24 strength
+4 dexterity
+4 willpower
+4 cunning
+8% spell resistance
Cannot be acquired via normal means.

Restriction: Rogue
Havard's Aegis
Requires: 22 strength
+4 spell resistance
Chance to avoid missile attacks
Looted from the Ogre at the top of the Tower of Ishal.
Reaper's Vestments +6 constitution
+20% fire resistance
+16% spell resistance
+10% chance to dodge attacks
+12 armor
Sold by the Tranquil Proprietor at the Wonders of Thedas

Restriction: Mage
Ancient Elven Gloves
Requires: 22 strength
+2 armor
+4% spell resistance
Found in the Ruined Temple.

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Other

Notes

  • Dwarves have an extra 10% spell resistance, for the same reason that they cannot become Mages and do not enter the fade when they dream; because of their close contact with Lyrium, they have developed a natural resistance to magic.
  • Note that some abilities (e.g. Dirty Fighting) are absent from the above list and are not subject to a physical resistance check. They are subject to immunities (i.e. stun, knockdown, etc.) however. This can be misleading because even if a creature/player is immune to a given effect, "Resisted" will still appear above the character when an immunity protects that player from a physical effect such as stun and knockdown.
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