My question: why is there a Resilience passive defense at all? Why not just have the spellcaster roll his Arcanum vs. the target's Resilience or Willpower Ability each time? This would theoretically give even a relatively weak spellcaster a chance at affecting an opponent with the first casting of a spell, and mean that even after a character has been affected by an Influence or Harm spell, he'd have a chance of resisting another spell.
It was for the sake of unified mechanics between the combat and magic system, and to make it tougher to take down PCs or NPCs with a single spell. Also, I liked the idea of creatures in the campaign setting having various amounts of natural magic resistance, so it was something of a setting consideration. That's why Arcanists add their Arcanum tree MRV to their Resilience hit points. It allows one to do kewl things like drop a fireball at his feet and walk through the flames unharmed while killing all of his enemies at close range. Also, Resilience is fatique, and a *very* important source of alternative spell points for mages. I made magic expensive, and fatiquing, and tough to affect some creatures with high natural resistence.
However, your suggestion would work. To eliminate Resilience:
Increase Spell Points from Arcanum MRV tree x2 to MRV tree x5 or even x10 (unplaytested).
Harm spells would work the same way, but spells that require penetration of Resilience wouuld
need an opposed roll of the Arcanum + Source + School versus the target's Willpower or Resistance die-rank. This WILL make mages much more powerful. Most harm spells bypass armor as it is (I think we had a neat discussion about alternative Harm spells in another thread)...so with no Resilience to exceed, mages get even scarier.
As things are now (and I will point out again that I still have yet to actually play the game), it seems that if you want to affect a character with a spell that targets Resilience first, it'll probably take at least a couple rounds of casting to penetrate the victim's Resilience. Once a character's Resilience is depleted, though, he's automatically affected by everything...magic, poison, disease, whatever.
Yes, and that was done due to the nature of the campaign setting, and perhaps of wounded memories based on D&D spells like "hold person", "sleep" and "death spell"...LOL. It's a "flavor" thing.