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Spell Resistance (SR) is a special anti-spell defense possessed by some creatures. Spell Resistance is an additional layer of defense against most non-damaging magical attacks, in that it adds an extra roll that the caster has to make for his magic to "land" on that target.
Spell Resistance only matters if the spell's creature actually has it, and the spell being cast is one that can be stopped by Spell Resistance. In DDO, spells that most purely cause damage ignore Spell Resistance.
The most common creatures with Spell Resistance will be Drow, Duergar, Devils, anything with "Fiendish" in the name and some bosses. (Anticipate spell Resistance to be at least CR plus 10 for regular monsters. Red and purple named bosses tend to have a much higher CR, and generally have spell resistance within 0-5 points of their CR.)
1d20+caster level+spell penetration bonuses (Includes Feats, Enhancements, and Items.)
Caster Level check do not automatically succeed on a 20, neither automatically fail on a 1.