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No Sell / Tabletop Games

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No-Selling in tabletop games.

  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Up to 3rd edition, monsters like Golems and Will-o'-the-Wisps are immune to most kinds of magic. In theory, this was supposed to give the more physical warrior types the chance to shine, running up and beating down on the enemy while the wizard was useless. In practice, many of these monsters were immune to sneak attacks as well, negating the primary physical damage dealing class (the rogue), while they remained very vulnerable to spells which didn't target them but the environment around them - surrounding them with a wall of stone or iron, collapsing a building on them, summoning a monster to attack them, or many dozens of other effects worked on them just fine, and if worst came to worst, the wizard could always just cast spells to make themselves into unstoppable killing machines (frequently by turning into monsters) and tearing them apart themselves.
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    • Water weirds were nearly immortal. Only one thing could truly kill them, a Purify Food or Drink spell cast on whatever source of water they lived in (usually a font or pool of some sort) after being reduced to zero hit points. Otherwise, they'd return at full strength in a few minutes. Starting with the third edition, they were retconned completely, turned into elemental spirits with female features that served as oracles. (Earth, Fire, and Air Weirds were introduced in the process.)
    • Amusingly, clay golems are No Sell to fighters, rogues and rangers relying on swords and arrows, since their clay skin resists sharp things. such as swords and arrows and spears. (Oh, and their fists can inflict cursed wounds.) They must take up a hammer or mace, often the trademark weapon of a cleric or paladin, to smash them in with bludgeoning, or let the wizards polymorph into a more vulnerable form, or the wizards can use Sunfire, which ignores magical resistances.
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    • This was also a trait of the most powerful of demons. In the earliest versions of the game, the Balrog was completely immune to spells cast by casters of sixth level or below — on top of general 79% magic resistance.
    • In the BECMI edition of D&D, Immortals are the equivalent of gods. An Immortal's true form was completely immune to even the most powerful mortal magic, and the most that even the most powerful of mortal magical weapons (+4 or +5) could do to them is Scratch Damage.
    • In D&D 4e, Gods are immune to anything thrown at them from anything below level 21. Anyone except epic level characters, who have some trace of divinity themselves, is completely incapable of affecting the gods in any way.
    • Theoretically, the sphere of invulnerability or antimagic shell gives everyone inside immunity to most magic. Practically, high-level wizards expect to confront highly magic-resistant opponents (and each other) sooner or later, so they care to get attacks that bypass these things. There are also spells immune to simple dispel, especially curses, greater enchantments and strong magic defenses, and some can even keep out 'antimagic shell' and/or prevent it from forming, if not break existing one.
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    • The magic "arms race" of Forgotten Realms produced a few spells compromising even 'antimagic shell' — it suppresses magic, not make a true magic-dead zone (or it would disable itself) — by working on a deeper level: 'Lauthdryn's Cleaving', 'Lesser Cleaving', 'Mystra's Unraveling' and 'spell shear' (elven spell never given in stats).
    • The main purpose of 'Silence' spell is to disable verbal components of other casters. What did Forgotten Realms' "arms race" do to this one? Introduced 'Vocalize' allowing its caster to circumvent this specific side of silence. And 'Dispel Silence' (obviously gesture-only), cancelling silence in the area. And 'Power Word, Silence', which trumps 'Dispel Silence' and prevents activation (yet not ongoing effect) of 'Vocalize', No Saving Throw, but affects only a single target for "the rest of this round and the next" duration.
    • Damage resistance in D&D also works as a kind of No Sell, although it is limited to low to mid level damage. Earlier editions (1st-2nd) featured "+X weapon to hit", where any amount of damage from a weapon below the threshold was negated. Worst, many of those creatures were "Outsiders" or "Extraplanar Creatures" (angels, demons, djinn, etc), and weapons were diminished away from the plane they were forged on. Hitting a pit fiend (+3 weapon to hit) with a +2 sword did zero damage no matter how good your roll to hit or damage was.
    • Some monsters have regeneration powers, which means that they can be hurt, but recover very quickly from most wounds. Trolls are the most well-known example of this. They cannot be hurt permanently by anything except acid or fire; hurt them with anything else, and they'll get up and start fighting again in a few minutes, tops (though some editions indicated that a Coup de Grâce still worked, implied to be simply by the regeneration being just slow enough that the troll dies before it can kick in enough to keep them from dying).
    • Unlike most spells, which usually give the theoretical possibility for anyone to shrug it off (with a saving throw), Power Word: Kill is impossible to resist that way. If you have a high amount of current hit points, though, you're just immune to it. Some other spells can be similarly barred by hit points or level.
    • In 5th Edition, powerful monsters such as liches, adult dragons, and the Tarrasque have a trait called "Legendary Resistance," which lets them automatically succeed on a certain number (usually three) of saving throws per day.
    • Fifth Edition also brought back some monsters having immunity to damage from non-magical weapons, but only for truly powerful beings like mummy lords, Devil Archdukes, elder elementals, or the Tarrasque.
    • The 3.5 Edition "Entropomancer" Prestige Class uses Entropy and Chaos Magic to fairly lacklustre effect, with one exception: when fully trained, they are completely immune to a Sphere of Annihilation, which otherwise renders anything that touches it unrecoverably Deader Than Dead barring literal Divine Intervention.
  • Subverted by Paranoia, where the rulebook specifically tells GMs to disregard any and all inconvenient dice rolls, including rolling dice in plain view and ignoring the results.
  • The Tau in Warhammer 40,000 have so little Warp presence that it grants them some protection from Chaos's mind-affecting abilities, although a Chaos creature manifested in the physical world can still eat them without difficulty.
    • More powerful daemons and psykers have the raw power to burn through the Anti-Magic of blanks. This is prominently displayed in the Eisenhorn books when the power of a Chaos Titan is too great for Alizebeth to negate.
    • In previous editions of 40k, the Grey Knights went through Training from Hell to develop enough Heroic Willpower to resist the influence of Chaos, and were so dedicated that none of them had ever fallen to Chaos. In the much-reviled 5th edition Grey Knights Codex, this was changed to where the Grey Knights were simply immune to Chaos altogether, even when wielding a daemonic weapon, palling around with Daemonhosts, wandering through the heart of Hell, or slaughtering a convent of faithful Adeptus Sororitas and painting their armor with the innocents' blood.
    • In the game proper, any creature with a Toughness that's 4 points higher than the attack's Strength Value completely no-sells the attack. This is due to the way the game mechanics work. Similarly, vehicles can no-sell attacks with Strength Values that are 6 points under their armor value as you determine the result of an attack on a vehicle by rolling a 6 sided dice. There are special rules that are made specifically to avert these though (Fleshbane and Poison for creatures, Armorbane, Melta and Haywire for Vehicles, and Grav for both).
    • The latter is averted in 8th edition, as they realized this made things un-fun. As such, Banes were reduced in effeect, though not eliminated, and any attack can succeed on a 6+. It may be statistically unsound? But it's POSSIBLE to destroy certain things.
  • The Cosmic enhancement in GURPS lets you ignore one normally ironclad limitation and often gets used like this. Static also makes you totally immune to the effects of one powerset.
  • Exalted:
    • Any mid-level or higher character will most likely have some form of perfect defense, which allows the character to dodge or block any attack, even attacks that are otherwise unblockable. These require motes, so you can't use them forever, but it still tends to turn high-level combat into battles of attrition waiting for one of the combatants to run out of motes.
    • Solars have so many Charms of this nature that some fans build "Paranoia Combos", which contain as many different No Sell powers as possible. This can get up to lists like "1st Melee Excellency, Seven Shadow Evasion, Reflex Sidestep Defense, Integrity-Protecting Prana, Leaping Dodge Method, Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness Technique, Kitchen Sink Meditation". One of their charms is even explicitly called Immunity To Everything Technique.
  • Mundanes in GURPS IOU can do this to anything "weird", going so far as to turn aliens into guys in rubber suits at high levels.
  • Scion gives us Ultimate Stamina. Its use? Pay thirty Legend points and any damage to you just... doesn't work that round. At all. Its weaker cousin is Solipstic Defense, where one attack per scene (you choose which one) passes harmlessly through you.
  • Berserkers in Iron Heroes have this as a class ability. It's described as just ignoring the effects of things like, say, that goblin's sword. (And they can enhance this ability the same way any proud tanking knight enhances his plate armor, too.)
  • One of the advanced Dementation abilities in Vampire: The Masquerade (available only to characters of sixth generation or lower, which generally includes only NPCs and diablerists) allows the character to completely ignore an object for the duration of an encounter. For example, everyone else may see a perfectly ordinary sword pass straight through him harmlessly, but the character himself will wonder why the unfriendly chap is swinging his empty hand around like that.
  • In BattleTech, this was part of what made the Clans' Elemental battle armor troopers so fearsome against Inner Sphere opponents who didn't know what to expect during the early days of the invasion. Seeing odd-looking jump infantry, they naturally opened up with their anti-infantry weapons like flamers and machine guns...only to see their targets simply shrug off multiple hits and keep coming. Even in the board game it takes some fairly heavy 'Mech-scale firepower to reliably take down a single armored Elemental quickly, let alone a five-man Point with random hit allocation.
    • Several armor types simply ignore the special abilities of certain weapons. For instance, Hardened Armor will basically deny any Armor-Piercing Attack, forcing the opponent to get through several thick layers of armor to reach the sensitive inner components.
    • In the fiction, the Leviathan class Warship basically refused to acknowledge being nuked. It's 1.7 kilometers long, masses over 2.4 million tons, and didn't so much as flinch when the Blakists tried (and failed utterly) to bring it down with a nuclear missile.
  • The Immunity power in Mutants & Masterminds allows a character to No Sell anything if they have enough points. In addition to environmental and condition immunities, the more points you're willing to invest into the power, the more you'll be immune to. For two points, you can be immune to your own fire powers. For 5 points, you can be immune to fire damage. For 10 points, you're immune to any power that involves fire as a significant component, even if it isn't touching you. For 20 points, you can be straight up immune to Lethal Energy Damage. At 30 points, immunities start extending to entire categories of Saving Throws. For 180 points, you can make a character immune to everything short of direct DM intervention. For 3 more points, you can even No Sell the DM if you have a hero point. Of course, if you invest this many points into one skill you won't be doing much of anything else.
    • So, can play Mr. Immortal from Great Lake Avengers.
  • Star Wars: Saga Edition has the previous Star Wars examples, but in game form!
    • Various (typically Force related) talents allow characters to No Sell everything from Poison to the Jedi Mind Trick. Specific Force powers like Rebuke and Negate Energy allow characters to reflect Force Lightning or ignore Lightsaber attacks.
    • As mentioned in the Star Wars Expanded Universe entry above the Yuuzhan Vong are disconnected from (and thus immune to) the Force. Specifically any aspect of the force that targets Will Defense. Like in the novels, Telekinesis and Force Lightning work perfectly well. Unlike in the novels, abilities like Battle Strike, Malacia, Force Track, Cloak, and any other power that doesn't target Will defense also works fine. They're also completely locked out from learning Force Powers or Talents, or gaining Force Points (the game's Luck Manipulation Mechanic), and any talent that uses them. It's not easy being a Force-Immune invader in Saga Edition.
  • The ability of supernatural beings, particularly vampires and werewolves, to outright ignore or regenerate from weaker attacks in The World of Darkness games is one of their most useful abilities. Vampires, however, get powers particularly appropriate to the trope. In Requiem and Masquerade both, a combination discipline (or "devotion" in Requiem), requiring both Fortitude (vampiric toughness) and Obfuscate (mystic stealth), allows a vampire to appear unfazed by an attack that, in reality, hurt like hell. In Masquerade, the high-level applications of Fortitude got more and more like this, such as Personal Armor (which would cause some weapons to break when they struck the vampire's skin) and Adamantine (an even more powerful version, which made it so that when a weapon broke in such a fashion, the vampire took no damage at all).
  • An odd example crops up in the Fate version of Achtung! Cthulhu (classic Lovecraftian horror set in WW2) — as per their writeups virtually all Mythos creatures have the "Inhuman Mind" trait that renders any attempt to use social skills against them null and void. That's right, their minds are apparently so alien that even if you can somehow find a common language to communicate in, it's utterly impossible to make a good impression on them, intimidate them, or even figure out their motives. Which enters Plot Hole territory when the same book also establishes several background examples of non-player characters managing to negotiate with Mythos monsters just fine (an at least somewhat "tame" immature Color Out Of Space actually works for the Allied side, for example), demonstrating that while the task may be hard it can't actually be outright impossible...
  • There are several examples of this in Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution.
    • Telekinetics that are Levitating are immune to being Grabbed or Pushed by other telekinetics of equal or lesser power levels.
    • Dodging automatically succeeds against grapples, TK Grab, and Improved TK Grab.
    • Master Heat Shield makes you immune to having your temperature altered against your will, even by other master level pyrokinetics.
    • Psychokinesis does not work on animals, mindless creatures, or other non-human minds.
    • Espers with a high enough level of biofeedback are immune to necrokinesis.
    • Undying makes you immune to the necrokinetic talents of espers with a lower or equal level of necrokinesis.
    • If you can Atomize an opponent, you are immune to someone else trying it on you.
  • Several card events playable in Twilight Struggle explicitly cancel out other cards' events once they're played.
    • Most of these cards explicitly cancel specific events. For the Soviet side, "De Gaulle Leads France" and "Willy Brandt" cancels "NATO" for France and West Germany respectively (they also aid the Soviets in the influence battle in those countries), while "Quagmire" cancels "NORAD" if it's been played already. The US has a few more: "Camp David Accords" cancels "Arab-Israeli War", "Iron Lady" cancels "Socialist Governments", "An Evil Empire" cancels "Flower Power", "Tear Down This Wall" cancels "Willy Brandt" (effectively uncanceling "NATO" for West Germany), "AWACS Sales to Saudis" cancels "Muslim Revolution", and "North Sea Oil" cancels "OPEC".
    • "UN Intervention" allows a player to cancel any event associated with their opponent when both are played, allowing them to play the ops value without consequence.
    • The US' "Defectors" card also allows them to cancel any card played by the Soviets during the headline phase of a turn.
  • In X-Wing Miniatures, Chewbacca is immune to all critical effects - they're just downgraded to regular hits - and anyone with Determination isn't even damaged by any critical damage that has the Pilot trait, discarding it entirely.
  • The One Ring: Dunlendings have the unique racial ability to negate an Endurance loss that would render them Weary or unconscious, at the cost of a point of Shadow.


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