Monday, April 16, 2012

Save Or Die, Suckers!

The much-maligned "Save Or Die" mechanic could use a facelift.  In old-school Dungeons and Dragons, your saving throws are disassociated from your character attributes, instead connected to your class.  This results in extra record-keeping, as at the time of character creation you must consult a special saving throw table and record your saving throws, and then reference that table each time you level, to see if your saving throw scores have changed.  It seems to me that if saving throws are tied to classes, and each class has a prime attribute, that it would be much simpler to connect the saving throws to attributes instead.

I'm sure the idea of connecting saving throws to character attributes is not a new one.  Here is an optional saving throw system, which I found in an old binder of mine.  I can't take credit for this system, as I don't recall developing it.


Your saving throw versus a particular threat is based on the attribute related to that threat (see below), modified by your level.  In order to pass a saving throw, roll either a d20 or 3d6 (whichever is the agreed-upon method) and subtract your level.  If your dice roll, modified by the subtraction of your level, is LESS than your attribute, you pass the saving throw.

Strength: save versus paralysis and constriction

Dexterity: save versus breath weapons, gaze attacks and traps

Constitution:  save versus disease, energy drain and poison

Intelligence:  save versus magic and illusion

Wisdom:  save versus demon/devil/divine magic, confusion, polymorph/pertrification

Charisma:  save versus death attacks, charm and fear


Tom said...

Castles and Crusades pretty much uses this very system

Tom said...
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Tom said...
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Tom said...

Strength: Paralysis, Constriction

Intelligence: Magic, Illusion

Wisdom: Confuse, Gaze, Petrify, Polymorph

Dexterity: Breath Weapons, Traps

Constitution: Disease, Poison, Energy Drain

Charisma: Death, Charm, Fear

Aaron E. Steele said...

Thanks. Then C&C has a good saving throw system.

Brendan said...

AD&D does this too! Sort of:

Based on the 5E commentary I have read, this is likely the direction they are going too.

I'm really fond of the traditional level-based saves myself, because they are totally immune to character optimization. One must earn better saves by surviving to higher level. I also like the sound of "death ray."

James Maliszewski said...

I'm really fond of the traditional level-based saves myself, because they are totally immune to character optimization.


-C said...

Wouldn't it be more interesting and historically accurate to have the saving throw statistic be based on class, instead of generic for every class.

Strength: Paralysis, constriction, gaze
Constitution: Breath weapon, confusion, Illusion

Intelligence: Traps, Magic, Illusion, paralysis
Wisdom: Disease, Poison

Tom said...

Well in C&C your prime score for your class gives you a better save in that particular Saving Throw department.
Saves for all areas are base of 18 ( not including level, attribute adjustments, etc). If it is a prime stat for you ( lets say like wisdom for Cleric), then your base is a 12 instead of an 18. Humans get to choose three prime stats, one of which has to be their class prime requisite. Demi Humans get to only choose two.
Ive seen another rule that says that the Half elf and half ork get one at 18 one at 15 and the third at 12- but this is more a house rule I believe.

Sean Robson said...

This is the saving throw system that I use. Since I use the '3d6 in order' method of character generation, and a maximum attribute bonus of +1 for an exceptional score, attribute-based saving throws make attribute scores relevant to the game to the extent that a score of 11 is measurably better than a score of 10.

For my system, you need to roll under your (attribute score + character level - level of effect) on 1d20 to save.

Aaron E. Steele said...

I recall toying with the following idea for saving throws.

Take your attributes and subtract 10 to establish your "remainder". If your remainder is less than 0, use 0. Then subtract that remainder from 20. That resulting number is your saving throw. So, for example:

Str 12 - 10 = 2 ... 20 - 2 = 18
Dex 9 - 10 = (0) ... 20 - 0 = 20
Con 14 - 10 = 4 ... 20 - 4 = 16
Int 15 - 10 = 5 ... 20 - 5 = 15
Wis 11 - 10 = 1 ... 20 - 1 = 19
Cha 17 - 10 = 7 ... 20 - 7 = 13

In order to pass your saving throw, you need to roll equal to or higher than the indicated number.

Aaron E. Steele said...

Of course, it would be a lot easier just to subtract your attribute from 30 to determine your saving throw...

Tom said...

Yes I kind of like a combination of C&C and what Sean suggests. I like the idea of saves being tied in with all ability scores. I dont mind the saving throw system used in B/X and AD&D though probably more to dow with nostalgia than anything.