D&D (2024) 5e spell saves versus 4e spell attacks


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Grantypants

Explorer
Making more spells require saving throws instead of spell attack rolls would take a lot of the sting out of losing the ability to crit on a spell attack. It also makes using magic feel mechanically different from fighting with weapons, which is nice. At the table, you could have players roll the opposing characters' saves, but that arguably messes with the core 5e principle that rolling high numbers is always good.
 

glass

(he, him)
Attack rolls rather than saves (or more accurately, rather than a hodgepodge of attacks rolls, saves, both, or neither) is superior, but there is no way the 5.5 can adopt it now without shooting any remaining pretense of compatibility in the head.

When a player is about to get stunned or petrified or XYZ, and I asked them if they would rather roll the dice or the dm…a good majority would want to roll. Even if the math is exactly the same, rolling puts your fate “in your hands”.
That is easily addressed by not gating those things behind a single die roll, whoever rolls it. Which handily is also good practice for a whole bunch of other reasons (and what 4e did).

Players don’t want to give that up, which is why I think the 4e model ultimately failed.
Oh please, if you really think what was or was not carried forward from 4e had anything to do with the quality or functionality (or even popularity) of the specific mechanics in question, I've got a bridge to sell you.

Going a step further attacks vs defenses, not just AC or saves. Bring the back from 4E.
How is that "going a step further"? It is literally the topic of the thread since the OP.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I will say that I seemed to recall a lot of kerfluffle in the playerbase about "damage on a miss" during 4E... which was the result of turning everything into attack rolls. Attack rolls in D&D have traditionally only have two states-- you either hit or you miss. So the idea of still doing damage even when you miss seemed to bug a whole lot of people because they felt it didn't make sense.

Whereas saving throws that cause damage are almost always symbolizing that the attack has successfully gone through and the only issue is how well it did (either partially on a successful save for half damage or fully on a failed one for full.) But most players seem to be okay with that partial damage model.

It's a minor thing, but it did cause issues for a lot of players. That could be a stumbling block to reintroducing defenses and removing saves if it's still desired to have attacks that either do full or half damage.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
The issue with "damage on a miss" was due to the fact a lot of people think a successful attack roll is a "hit" and a non-successful one is a "whiff" or miss. This isn't really true, if you look at how hit points are explained.

A successful attack can be "narrowly avoided", or it's effects minimized, causing one to lose hit points.

I mean, nobody bats an eye at "half damage on a successful save" against a fireball, or even Rogues negating the damage completely, yet the idea that one can strike with such force that even a glancing blow has some threat broke some people's minds.

During the Next playtest, WotC brought up the idea of damage on a miss, and many older players vehemently objected as it "making no sense". As if AC and hit points aren't already super arbitrary concepts, lol.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Oh please, if you really think what was or was not carried forward from 4e had anything to do with the quality or functionality (or even popularity) of the specific mechanics in question, I've got a bridge to sell you.
My statement was not to imply that's what did 4e in, what I meant was "the particularly model of attack rolls instead of saves" ultimately failed because it doesn't provide players that feeling of control over their own fate.
 

Another advantage is that it opens up non-AC targeting attacks for your martial guys. I think the 4e Rogue had an at-will that gave up the modifier bonus damage to the attack in exchange for targeting REF and the Fighter often had moves that attacked FORT.
yeah giving the fighter or rouge a save for half at will sits wrong with some people for some reason...
 

FireLance

Legend
My statement was not to imply that's what did 4e in, what I meant was "the particularly model of attack rolls instead of saves" ultimately failed because it doesn't provide players that feeling of control over their own fate.
This is less of an issue if the players make attack rolls when their characters cast spells and saving throws when their characters are targeted by spells. It just becomes a spell-specific application of "the players roll all the dice".
 

Yaarel

He Mage
Spell bonus = spellcasting ability + proficiency

Add this spell bonus to a d20 attack roll.

It helps the math if one can trivially add a passive "take 10" to grant a DC for a saving throw versus the spell if necessary.

In the 5.0, there is a hiccup in the math, where the spell DC adds an "8" rather than a 10, thus is nonequivalent to a d20. The math is more friendly if a round number 10.

In any case.

In a monster stat block, the Actions section say things like:
Longsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hit [versus AC], range 5 feet, ...

Spells can use the same attack format:
Hold Person. Ranged Spell Attack: +6 to hit versus Wisdom, range 60 feet, ...

A "take 10" makes it is trivially easy for a DM to read "+6 versus Wisdom" as if a 16 DC for a Wisdom saving throw − if the DM wishes to grant players saving throws.
 
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glass

(he, him)
My statement was not to imply that's what did 4e in, what I meant was "the particularly model of attack rolls instead of saves" ultimately failed because it doesn't provide players that feeling of control over their own fate.
I got that; my point was that the only way it could be said to have "ultimately failed" is that it failed to get itself included in 5e. Which as noted in my post that you responded to was not a thing which can reasonably be called a failure of the mechanic. And even if it had failed in some way, it could not have been because people did not like being petrified without a roll of their own, because 4e did not do that anyway. (Not that I can remember anyway - there may have been the odd case but it was not typical.)
 

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