AOE Spells - 1 attack roll vs. All Targets?


First Post
Here's my solution to rolling once for each target...


I bought a clear plastic storage box like this, and put one D20 into each compartment.

When I need to roll a lot of attacks or saves, I just shake the entire box and then read off as many results as I need. (Which is why it needs to be a clear box, rather than the more common milky white ones.)

To make things even easier, most of my monster troops tend to attack in a formation six wide and three deep.

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Ashrem Bayle

If you are looking for house rules, here's one that came to me.

Every AoE spell has a center right? So you could do it like this:

Target a square.
You get a +2 bonus on the enemy in the target square.
For every square the effect extends out, subtract 1 from the result of the casting roll.

So, for example, Evil Bob is the target of the spell. You cast your Fireball at him with a +2 to hit.

Let's say you roll a 16, which is adjusted up for Bob to 18.

Bob's Henchman, Dug, is 10' away from Evil Bob. For the purposes of hitting him, the result is 16.

Meg is a total of 25' away from Evil Bob, so the effective roll agains the is 13.

It makes things a little more tactical. Dude at the center of the effect is probably going to get lit up. Those farther away however have a better chance or surviving the spell as the effects dwindle the farther it gets from the center.

*shrug* Just a thought. It doesn't really address the conversation at hand, but I thought it as an interesting notion.


I suppose that until we see the system, it will be a challenge to discuss the merits of alternatives.

However, I suppose you could always mitigate things by splitting some differences.

You could, for instance, roll a single attack for the little group on the left, another die for the little group on the right, etc. See how it goes.

I'll probably roll every time for every target.



First Post
Nawwww, its easy..

Say you got 5 creatures in the area of effect,

thats 6 possible outcomes.. None Save, 1sv, 2sv, 3sv, 4sv, 5sv..

First you take the attack roll, compare it the defense roll and with a slide ruler, calculate the likelihood of each occurrence coming to pass. (rounding to the nearest 5%...)

Using your smartphone and excel mobile, generate a table mapping each probability to an appropriate range on a d20 (see, thats why we rounded)

email the the table to kinkos for printing, and have them deliver the print to you so you can proof read it before you send it to WOTC.. (cuz thier editing has been lacking lately it seems imho)

Then send it to WOTC to be released as a web-enhancement to the players handbook.

And all you need to do now, is look up the table online, roll ONE d20, and instantly know how many failed thier saves.

"Look Rothgar, 3 kobold minions are burning, 2 are fine tho"

"nice work, DolfGan the Teal, but which 3 are burning?"

:mad: :mad: :mad: :mad:


ZetaStriker said:
I humbly disagree on your second point. You're looking at half the party being stunned for 2 turns or more in that situation, which against a solo monster(which is all we've seen with such a powerful effect) kind of ensures defeat, if not TPK. If you can't Second Wind because you're stunned, and the Cleric/Warlord is stunned, what choice do you have but to die? AoEs might work with houserules on the one-roll ruling, but powerful AoE effects will not. They deserve seperate attack rolls, and since you don't have to roll damage anyway, why not do it?
Which is why I said one needs to see the range of powers. It only gets really problematic, if there are action denying effects for a large area. Entire party slowed, immobilized and so on? Not a problem - as long as you still have a standard action, you can do something to mitigate it.

If there is a AoE that has a full-on stun effect (as in "do nothing"), well, then it gets problematic. But my hope is that they avoid such effects, as even with separate rolling, such a effect (on a good roll, like high results against the high defence-guys and normal rolls against the mid-defence guys) could incapacitate an entire party, leading to a TPK.

Cheers, LT.


First Post
GoodKingJayIII said:
On the other hand, if all the PCs are bunched up inside an AoE... either they're in a very tight space, or they're doing something wrong.

From playtesting it, this last point is certainly true.


TerraDave said:
Ya, I think it is this. I know in SWSAGA they where having cases of the entire party being killed by a grenade on a crit and errated it to make an attack role for each target.

Actually they errated it so that area effect attacks cannot cause criticals. They kept the single attack roll. (Unless they have done another errata since).


An easy method would simply have each PC affected by an AOE to roll the attack die themselves, and tell the DM the difference in the roll.

For example, if you are attacking AC +10 in an AOE, have the PC's affected each roll their own die against their own AC. If they roll above their AC or the difference between the roll and their AC is 10 or less, then they are "hit".

Alternatively you can just tell them the bonus on the attack roll and they can figure it out themselves, if you want to disclose the monster's attack bonus in the interest of simplicity (e.g., everyone hit by the fireball roll against your Reflex defense at +10.... those who are hit take 37 damage, those who are missed take 18 damage).


Basic Action Games
A party of PCs? Roll once, since they all have different saves.

A natural 20? The person closest to the point of origin takes the crit, everyone else takes normal damage.


First Post
I'm in the category of: there's no good way to do it. It's a bad idea and don't try.

However, if you insist on trying, here is a side effect to consider. Most any "one roll for everyone" mechanic ends up punishing low defense characters relative to the rest of the party. You will never have a situation where the guy with the 22 reflex defense gets hit but the guy with the 16 reflex defense is missed. There will be lots of times where the 16 is hit but not the 22 but never the other way around. Now that's not game changing in the way that "I rolled a 20, I crit you all!" is. Nor is it game changing in the way that "my thunderburst hits defense 33; you all take 15 points of thunder damage and are stunned, save ends." But I'm pretty sure it would be frustrating to be the guy who is always hit.


First Post
From the DDE Quickstart
If you make an attack against multiple targets, you
don’t roll damage for each target – just roll that once. It’s best when you attack multiple targets to roll damage first, and then roll your attacks.

Plane Sailing

Astral Admin - Mwahahaha!
Ashrem Bayle said:
If you are looking for house rules, here's one that came to me.

Every AoE spell has a center right? So you could do it like this:

Target a square.
You get a +2 bonus on the enemy in the target square.
For every square the effect extends out, subtract 1 from the result of the casting roll.

I rather like this idea in principle (although I'd not use a +2 bonus, and just take -1 (or -2) for each square away from the main target square). As others have said, it is difficult to decide what would be the best approach without seeing the rules yet, but this would certainly be an interesting idea in principle to test out.



rolling damge first

Has one advantage: it gives the feel that its all one explosion hittting with equal power. the players may have different amounts of skill or toughness or knack for dodging, to mitigate this hit, but its still one single explosion, or whatever spell it is.

Epic Threats

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