D&D 5E D&D Next Blog - Wizards Like to Roll Dice Too


First Post
Can't we have it all?

Conjurations (Acid Arrow), Transmutations (Polymorph), and Illusions (Color Spray) are Attacks vs DCs

These would be Str or Dex based as they are aimed attacks. Int is just used for more spells and learning requirements.

Evocations (Fireball), Necromancy (Scare), and Enchantments (Hold Person) are DC vs Saving throws.

The target saves against the wizard's Int score.

Everyone wins!
Well, everyone except the ones like me that would like a unified mechanic. ;)

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First Post
My preference: one target - wizard rolls attack; multiple targets - wizard rolls effect, targets roll save.

Basically attack rolls for ray and touch spells, saves for area spells.

It's fine if some powerful spells include both an attack and a save against some part of the effect. Disintegrate, for example. However, I don't want either the attack roll or the save to become an automatic fail/success, like often happened with (ranged) touch attacks in 3e.


As long as the math is right, I don't see much reason to get worked up over this. Easy to adjust who does how much rolling without throwing off the game at your own table.

I do like static defenses, especially because of the rock-paper-scissors aspect of 4e. If anything I felt they didn't go far enough in that direction; it would be nice to have to adapt one's tactics more rather than less to a given monster. I dislike the "everything is effective against everyone" approach.

Despite my preference for static defenses, two things went wrong with 4e's base system. One is that duration is unrelated to the underlying defense. So, e.g., once a strong-willed character is hit with a charm spell they don't get free any faster than a weak-willed character.

The second is that save ends effects were generally awful. You had to hit them first, and then they lasted on average 1.5 rounds. Yipee.

So what I'd like to see is:

1) Caster rolls for instant durations.

2) Target rolls for everything with a duration on their turn. So at least give one round of effect before they break free for daily powers. (You can have it get worse after they fail a save, like 4e Sleep, but round 1 should be an Effect.)

3) Saves apply ability bonuses and are against appropriate modifiers, so that high-Con characters shrug poison effects more quickly, etc.

Any of those could be opposed rolls, e.g., a continuing battle of wills between a caster and someone he's mentally dominated. As I said, that's easy to change at any given table if the math is right.

You know, he's probably never even read the books. I bet he can't even read.
And he punched kittens.


I heard he punched Bill Cavalier in the face at Gen Con. He may look meek, but Monte is a pugilistic badass :)

Seriously though, i dont understand folks who accuse him of not having read 4E. I am quite certain reading and playing 4E was something of a requirement for everyone involved.

Tony Vargas

It doesn't really matter who rolls, mathematically, so long as there's only one roll, and the DC is set propperly.

For instance, if my DC to hit a monster is 18, and I have a +7, I hit him 50% of the time. If you wanted to have the monster 'save,' instead, you'd just reverse those numbers.

Opposed rolls change the math, though. So that would be yet another thing to take into account...

Mechanical resolution is ultimately abstract and gamist, not something that matters 'within the story.' You'd never talk IC about any mechanical difference between saving throws and attack rolls, for instance, so having differences for the sake of difference is pointless.


First Post
I think it's another psychological element. Some players don't like being told "you get hit with fear and run away" without being at least able to try to resist. Even if the resistance was their Will Defense. The roll is more powerful for them.

Back in 2e I had a character who got turned by a high-level cleric, and I remember being vaguely upset that I couldn't roll something to resist the effect.

This. It's more annoying to get hit with something nasty with no chance to roll against it than it is to cast a spell and have your opponent save.

Opposed rolls slow down the game. They also add randomness, which usually favors the PCs adversaries.

Also, saving throws worked much better when they were static numbers that rarely were influenced by the power of the attack. It made high-level play more viable. Spellcasters didn't become all-powerful at high levels since most adversaries rarely failed their saving throws. Also, it kept save-or-die effects from killing off PCs except in those rare instances when they failed a saving throw.


First Post
Ok, I confess, I like 4E's magic system... is very easy and intuitive... whatever Wotc decide to do, please, make it simple and elegant...

And I would love if some conditions stay... ongoing damage is nice, very nice.


Lots of great insights in this thread.

Could the older "fighter rolls against a defense, magic-user casts while giving the target a save" dichotomy be at all reflective of the Swords & Sorcery sensibility, wherein magic was mysterious and mainly evil, so the swordsmen were the good guys (PCs) and the spellcasters were the bad guys (NPCs)?

If that were the case, then the older dichotomy could have been a roundabout way to let the PCs do more of the dice-rolling: to attack with their swords on their turn, and to save against the BB Evil Sorcerer's subversive and detrimental machinations on the DM's turn.

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