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Saving Throws in fantasy rpg

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--- Quote from: Vic99 on September 24, 2021, 08:33:57 AM ---The other thing I wrestle with is that if I'm going to have saves, what qualifies to get a save? As others have said, D&D  doesn't give a save when you get shot by an arrow, but does if a dragon breathes all over you.  I feel like I'm missing the way to delineate between what makes some dangers qualify for save and others not . . . remember this is a roll to hit, even for spells, system.

--- End quote ---

If you want to keep it 'rules light', you give players a pool of 'fate points' that they can use to get a save.  Outside of spending a fate point saves don't exist (and you balance the game around that). 

I walk onto the pit.  The pit opens, I fall in and take damage.  Or I say 'I'm spending a fate point', and I roll a save.  Since I'm spending it, I get to describe my action in a way that justifies it.  If I say 'I grab the edge and hang on for dear life' I make a Strength save.  If I say 'I leap to the solid ground before I fall' I make a Dex save.  Since it's rules-light you don't define it rigidly.  If the wizard player says 'As I step onto the pit trap I notice the seam in the floor growing, indicating movement.  I intelligently step back' let them save via INT.  There's still a chance they fail. 

You can offer 50/50 - full effect or no effect; or you can offer 33/33/33 - full effect, half effect, or no effect.  Or whatever. 


--- Quote from: deadDMwalking on September 23, 2021, 02:54:46 PM ---There's a psychology to saving throws.

If you roll an attack roll and kill me, it feels like it is completely unfair and I couldn't do anything about it.

If I roll a defense die and I fail, it feels like it's my fault because I could have rolled well and avoided it. 

--- End quote ---

Very true.  This is why I prefer systems where both the attacked and defender roll, despite the extra bit of work.  That feeling of empowerment makes the game a lot more fun even though I know the math is the same.  (okay, it's not exactly the same - assuming one die for an attack roll, it turns the results into a triangular distribution rather than linear, but whatever - close enough)

Steven Mitchell - good info.  I hadn't thought of saves quite that way.  Thanks.

deadDM - Fate points are an interesting idea.  I'll mull this over.  Have to pick the right number and if/how they would ever increase.  Too many will make the game too heroic, but I like this concept and am currently seeing how it fits in with the design I have.  Saw that Warhammer fantasy rpg has them.  Thanks.


--- Quote from: Steven Mitchell on September 24, 2021, 08:52:18 AM ---Vic, I found the article on saves that I referred to above.  You might find it useful, more the thoughts behind it than any direct mechanics.  It's from an OD&D perspective, but comes at the whole question from a different angle.

Saves as Severity

--- End quote ---
Thanks for the link. That's an interesting analysis. I wish he'd extended the analysis to the other classes (MUs and clerics) to see how they compare as the same inferred rule doesn't hold for those classes. There it seems the case that the designer was considering which classes would be more or less resistant to the various effects. For example, clerics (who, IIR, get the Death Ray spell if they are evil and, I think, have a Neutralize Poison spell) have the best save vs. Death Ray and Poison.

Some advice from D.H. Boggs Champions of ZED*: 

You can use saving throws instead of ability checks if you think it is something a more experienced character should be better at.
So let a character roll a save vs dragon's breath to avoid falling into pit trap -- they should get better at this at higher levels.
However, arm-wrestling isn't really about experience, it is more of a pure strength test so roll an ability check for that.

*Champions of Zero-Edition-Dungeoneering is a intriguing book that posits what if Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax worked together a little closer, and their visions were harmonized a little more by a diligent editor. It was painstakingly researched and has some interesting quotes. I highly recommend it.


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