How resistances could work in my roguelike

I'm resistant to magic are you?

Picture courtesy of NationState

In my game I want to allow the target to have the ability to resist any incoming (magical) effect (usually damage, but not always). What I’ve seen many games do is use a “resistance” value or level, which is then used as part of the evasion process for the target.

To help me gain a decent level of understanding of how this resistance level can be incorporated into my game I’ve put together some design notes.

In this first part I want to look at what I think is the fundamental question What does it mean when your character has a resistance level of 35 to fire damage?

To help me answer that question and give me a base to work my thoughts against I took this definition of resistance from


  1. the act or power of resisting, opposing, or withstanding.
  2. the opposition offered by one thing, force, etc., to another.

Games, especially in the context of magic, typically use resistance to mean:

  • Providing the target with the opportunity of reducing the incoming (magical/physical) effect/damage by a specified amount or negating it totally.

Design thoughts

I want the player to relate to resistances as a value that provides a measure of protection from incoming damage or other magical effects. Additionally there may be other non-magical effects that may require some form of resistance from the target.

Whilst my game uses stats to define the physical make-up of the character/monster it is by no means driven by those stats in my opinion. With that in mind how should I go about defining the elements needed to determine a resistance level?

The most obvious approach seems to be to derive a number from a formula which is itself based on the stats of the target; but if nothing else is taken into account then it’s possible over time to predict what the resistance levels will be for each race/class combination, and once that is known the player is more inclined to make the same choices and that means the player character growth can also be predicted.

As a reminder the base stats for all my inhabitants in the game are:

  • Intelligence
  • Wisdom
  • Willpower
  • Vitality
  • Agility
  • Strength
  • Luck

As I mentioned above relying solely on the base stats is a recipe for player boredom, so I’m proposing to add variability based on items (magic focus, clothing, spells, etc.) and the environment the player character finds themselves in.

One area of design I haven’t covered, so far, is that of incoming damage from physical sources, i.e. weapons or traps. I’m going to make resistance to physical damage based around the vitality, strength and agility stats; in addition I’ll be using the clothing worn by the target  as the main sources to derive the resistance level.

One of the leading questions that I get from this stat based approach is should there be a single resistance value or should there be separate resistance values to cover the different effects, e.g. incoming damage, debuffs, buffs, etc.

I’ve touched on the high level areas and subsequently posed myself some deceptively simple questions that cover both the design and technical implementation.

In the second part of this discussion I’ll be delving a little more into using the base stats to drive the resistance framework further.

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2 Responses to How resistances could work in my roguelike

  1. Pingback: A statistical reminder of resistances | Veneficus Schola

  2. Pingback: Resistance is just a number | Veneficus Schola

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