This is a site for discussing roleplaying games. Have fun doing so, but there is one major rule: do not discuss political issues that aren't directly and uniquely related to the subject of the thread and about gaming. While this site is dedicated to free speech, the following will not be tolerated: devolving a thread into unrelated political discussion, sockpuppeting (using multiple and/or bogus accounts), disrupting topics without contributing to them, and posting images that could get someone fired in the workplace (an external link is OK, but clearly mark it as Not Safe For Work, or NSFW). If you receive a warning, please take it seriously and either move on to another topic or steer the discussion back to its original RPG-related theme.
NOTICE: Some online security services are reporting that information for a limited number of users from this site is for sale on the "dark web." As of right now, there is no direct evidence of this, but change your password just to be safe.

Author Topic: Saving Throws in fantasy rpg  (Read 3095 times)


  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 664
Re: Saving Throws in fantasy rpg
« Reply #30 on: September 26, 2021, 08:45:37 PM »
Saving throws were originally for things which either didn't have an attack roll (medusa's gaze or dragon's breath) or things where an attack did damage with the possibility of extra effect (spider's poison or ghoul's paralysis). If you are making a home brew, there's no need to have saving throws if there is already some method for character to avoid the specific damage effect.
For attacks that cause secondary effects you could consider it in a single attack roll.
Snake rolls to hit for regular damage.  If the snake exceeds the roll by 4 plus the targets constitution modifier, then the target is poisoned.
Less rolls more math.
*choose your poison*


  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • R
  • Posts: 81
Re: Saving Throws in fantasy rpg
« Reply #31 on: September 27, 2021, 03:16:11 PM »
4e's Saves as Defenses originally came from Star Wars Saga Edition. So that's probably the game to look at on how/why WotC really changed how saves would work.

The original idea for why Saving Throws came about is because Gygax and Arneson saw them as another chance for the characters to Survive. To them, only heroic characters had saving throws because saving throws let these PCs survive against supernatural forces, special abilities, and things that are magical where a normal, non-class character couldn't.

That's why the Saves were against things like Magic, Dragon Breath, Wands, Petrification, and so on. These are all non-normal and very much supernatural in origin.

When WotC changed them to Fortitude, Reflex and Will, they lost their significance. Now ANYBODY could try and Save. It was no longer special to just PCs. PCs lost a bit of their heroism.


  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2345
Re: Saving Throws in fantasy rpg
« Reply #32 on: September 27, 2021, 05:27:02 PM »
When WotC changed them to Fortitude, Reflex and Will, they lost their significance. Now ANYBODY could try and Save. It was no longer special to just PCs. PCs lost a bit of their heroism.

In my opinion - first off, tying saves to abilities makes sense.  Someone who is dodgy can probably jump out of the way of a blast of fiery breath than someone who is not.  If that's what saves represent, then it makes sense that natural ability factors in.

Secondly, I strongly disagree with the proposition that a PC is less special because they do something everyone else does better.  PCs and NPCs should both be able to kill a dragon by stabbing it with swords - PCs should be better at it because they have levels. 

There are things that highly trained people should do that untrained people should not, but saving throws are not one of them.
When I say objectively, I mean 'subjectively'.  When I say literally, I mean 'figuratively'.  
And when I say that you are a horse's ass, I mean that the objective truth is that you are a literal horse's ass.

There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all. - Peter Drucker


  • SeƱor Wences
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7480
Re: Saving Throws in fantasy rpg
« Reply #33 on: September 29, 2021, 08:56:34 AM »
It is a way to divorce from AC benefits without feeding into stat inflation or progression.

Meaning you can separate from Armor, enchantment, or DEX benefits (AC) completely.

And though Stat (a.k.a. Attribute or Ability) is a logical supplement -- because those 6 stats are just sitting there -- you need a way to show advancement over time (Levels) without thresholding (you need stat this high to ride the game) or focus fire bloating (stat raising over time your class strength &/or weakness, e.g. 5e D&D ASIs).

Further, the separate chart of class progression allows additional class differetiation without a heavier imprint upon core play. It basically becomes an addendum for exceptional situations.

It allows different thematic interpretations for your core rules without getting stuck on cascading problems due to the Elegance Trap. That trap is: just because it looks clean, integrated, and easy, you can end up with less flexibility and more problems due to less adjustable levers from more interconnected functions. i.e. Ravenloft Masque of the Red Death works better (IMHO) in its Priest Poision/Paralysis/Death acceptable favortism because of a gapped and typically ungameable progression rate, whereas (IMHO) Will save is far too chargen gameable.

Sometimes discrete (separated) functions give a clearer designing space with less headaches.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2021, 09:00:00 AM by Opaopajr »
Just make your fuckin' guy and roll the dice, you pricks. Focus on what's interesting, not what gives you the biggest randomly generated virtual penis.  -- J Arcane
You know, people keep comparing non-TSR D&D to deck-building in Magic: the Gathering. But maybe it's more like Katamari Damacy. You keep sticking shit on your characters until they are big enough to be a star.
-- talysman