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Saving Throws in fantasy rpg

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Jam The MF:

--- Quote from: Persimmon on September 21, 2021, 09:20:57 PM ---Personally I like the Swords & Wizardry option of a single saving throw for everything.  Much simpler than ability checks, conditions, etc. 

Say your save is a 10.  You know what you need in every scenario.

Player: "Do I fall into the lava?"
DM: Roll a save.

Player: "Do I dodge the trap?"
DM: Roll a save.

Player: "Do I resist the poison?"
DM: Roll a save.

Maybe less granular,  but quicker at the table for sure.

The C&C Siege Engine is also pretty simple, but it takes awhile to get used to which ability scores go with which saves.  Plus, you need to account for levels, ability score adjustments etc.  So it can be more steps.

How does "Shadow of the Demon Lord" do it?  I've heard that's pretty rules light, but I've never played it.

--- End quote ---


A SST speeds up the game, for sure.

Lunamancer:
Something I came across that I thought was interesting.

In post-Gygax AD&D (2E), if you take more than 50 damage in one shot, you have to make a save (system shock) or die instantly.

In post-AD&D Gygax (LA), if you take more than 50 harm in one shot, you get a special save (disaster avoidance) to reduce or even avoid all harm entirely.

This seems to suggest that it's not about just making sure there's a die roll associated with any attack. It's about, in the former case, making an attack dangerous that would otherwise not be a threat to someone with triple-digit hit points. Or in the latter case, for an attack that would surely kill a character not at full health (and even some that are), giving the character a fair chance at surviving.

Seems to me saves aren't for the sake of rules symmetry or for internal coherency or anything like that. They are there to keep possibilities in play, whether to imperil even the most powerful characters, or to give a fighting chance to a target against even the most powerful attacks.

Steven Mitchell:

--- Quote from: Lunamancer on September 22, 2021, 10:34:47 PM ---Seems to me saves aren't for the sake of rules symmetry or for internal coherency or anything like that. They are there to keep possibilities in play, whether to imperil even the most powerful characters, or to give a fighting chance to a target against even the most powerful attacks.

--- End quote ---

Yes, that's part of the argument for "save or die" effects.  Specifically, the save is not your only shot.  It's your last shot after you, presumably, did something stupid to need to make the save in the first place.  I'm not sure I buy that fully for anything but really old school dungeon crawl, but I'm also not willing to toss it entirely.  Saving throws as chance to get away with it when you say, "Hold my beer.  Watch this!" kind of fits the game I want to run. 

There's also the related thought discussed I don't remember where exactly (maybe Delta's hot spot blog?) that the original saves with their names of "Death", "Paralyzation", etc. are really just colorful names for increasing severity.  Characters generally have a better save against "Death" than they do against "Spells" to give them a little edge against the most severe effects.

However the most important point to me is that as the character levels, their saves definitely get better, and it's bloody obvious to everyone at the table.

Ghostmaker:

--- Quote from: Lunamancer on September 22, 2021, 10:34:47 PM ---Something I came across that I thought was interesting.

In post-Gygax AD&D (2E), if you take more than 50 damage in one shot, you have to make a save (system shock) or die instantly.

In post-AD&D Gygax (LA), if you take more than 50 harm in one shot, you get a special save (disaster avoidance) to reduce or even avoid all harm entirely.

This seems to suggest that it's not about just making sure there's a die roll associated with any attack. It's about, in the former case, making an attack dangerous that would otherwise not be a threat to someone with triple-digit hit points. Or in the latter case, for an attack that would surely kill a character not at full health (and even some that are), giving the character a fair chance at surviving.

Seems to me saves aren't for the sake of rules symmetry or for internal coherency or anything like that. They are there to keep possibilities in play, whether to imperil even the most powerful characters, or to give a fighting chance to a target against even the most powerful attacks.

--- End quote ---
What is 'LA'?

The massive damage rule persisted into 3.5e, pretty much the same as it was in 2E except for being a DC 15 Fortitude save rather than a system shock roll.

Chris24601:

--- Quote from: Ghostmaker on September 23, 2021, 09:47:16 AM ---What is 'LA'?

--- End quote ---
Lejendary Adventures; one of Gary’s post TSR game systems that he was associated with from 1999 up until his death.

Basically the poster was showing how Gary didn’t necessarily view saving throws as gotchas so much as a way to avoid gotchas (in LA’s case it was an additional check to avoid being autoganked by massive damage; i.e. even if you only have 25 health and 50 damage comes your way, you still get a roll to miraculously survive).

Similarly, post-Gary D&D seems to have forgotten that as it was only after Gary was out at TSR that the check vs. death by massive damage was added to the system.

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