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How do magical immunities work?

I want to understand how magical immunities work, there are so many cases in which I don't know what to expect. Two examples:

I attack a rakshasa with a wand of frost. The combat log says "Maharajah: spell ineffective". The description of the wand says "Charge abilities: Cone of cold". AFAIK rakshasas are immune to spells up to level 7, so they must be immune to the spell Cone of Cold. However, the game doesn't say this is a spell, it says it's an ability, so it looks like the rakshasa shouldn't be immune to it.

I attack a golem with the flail of the ages and the golem gets slowed. Golems are immune to magic, so why are they vulnerable to the slow effect? Isn't it a magic effect?


  • AlonsoAlonso Member Posts: 611
    Wow, amazing answer. I'm impressed!

  • AlonsoAlonso Member Posts: 611
    edited April 17
    What about other items, like the Harp of Discord, the ring of the Ram or the ring of Fire Control (which allows you to cast Flamestrike and Burning Hands)? How do those work?

  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 12,694
    I believe the Harp of Discord is a level 0 magical effect, so it'll bypass spell protections and so forth but not MR. The Ring of the Ram is a level 0 nonmagical effect, so it'll go past anything aside from immunity to magic damage (which I don't think exists in the unmodded game). The Ring of Fire Control casts Flamestrike and Burning Hands like normal spells, so they won't bypass spell protections (though Flamestrike will be able to bypass GOI due to being level 5) or MR.

  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 10,689
    semiticgod wrote: »
    The Ring of the Ram is a level 0 nonmagical effect, so it'll go past anything aside from immunity to magic damage (which I don't think exists in the unmodded game).

    Which, when you state it in such plain terms, is ridiculous enough that I want to call it a bug.

    Sigh. BG2 is great, but it's like jumping into a campaign run by a DM who doesn't care about logic or consistency, and with whom I have constant disagreements. Can be very frustrating at times.

  • kjeronkjeron Member Posts: 1,840
    I'd say bug for Ring of the Ram - only the damage is nonmagical, while the knockback is magical.

  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 12,694
    @subtledoctor: Is that just because the effect bypasses magic resistance but the damage type is called "magic damage"? I think it would make sense if the damage type were crushing damage instead.

    It could be like Conjuration spells from later editions, which bypassed magic resistance. The logic was that the object or the impact was created by magic, but is itself nonmagical in nature--if you summon a cow to fall on your opponent, the target's MR isn't going to stop the cow from hitting them.

  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 10,689
    edited April 17
    1) It smashes people and knocks them back - we have a damage type for that sort of thing, it's crushing. It should not share a damage type with Magic Missile, Skull Trap, and Horrid Wilting. (Those three things sharing a damage type is bad enough.)

    2) It's a magic ring. Being classed as "nonmagical" is idiotic.

    I get what you say about Conjuration spells, but a) this us not a Conjuration effect of that sort; and b) if you do want to apply that logic, then you should apply it to other magical effects too. Which, realistically, means any damage type that is not "magic damage." Consistency!

    EDIT - to be clear, I get that the game might need to do some things for balance reasons, like giving you a tool to fight high-MR enemies. But in that case, just write the lore to support the item/spell design! Call it a psionic artifact or something - those did exist in canon 2E AD&D! It wouldn't be hard to at least create the appearance of consistency.

  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 12,694
    @subtledoctor: Worse yet, the Spike Trap HLA does nonmagical magical damage!

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