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D&D 5E How the crap do you explain the rogue's Evasion ability?

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
You could go another step and ask how a high level fighter can get hit by several fireballs and be running around with less penalties than from a forced march (exhaustion). Each of those fireballs would easily kill an entire crowd of peasants, so clearly it isn't because a fireball isn't deadly.

(My answer is because this is an abstraction in a game, and just flavor it however you prefer.)
I like the explanation proposed in the Warspell series of books, that if you survive a violent near death experience the resulting interaction with the magic field makes you harder to kill next time.
 

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Fanaelialae

Legend
I like the explanation proposed in the Warspell series of books, that if you survive a violent near death experience the resulting interaction with the magic field makes you harder to kill next time.
I was once toying with the idea of a magic system that was entirely based on shadow magic (all spells are partially illusions). Successfully disbelieving the spell would lessen or negate the spell's effect on you, explaining why a fireball might have full impact against one person and reduced impact on the guy standing next to him. Of course, actually implementing that would require some rather significant changes to a game like D&D.
 


UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
I was once toying with the idea of a magic system that was entirely based on shadow magic (all spells are partially illusions). Successfully disbelieving the spell would lessen or negate the spell's effect on you, explaining why a fireball might have full impact against one person and reduced impact on the guy standing next to him. Of course, actually implementing that would require some rather significant changes to a game like D&D.
Or you could consider hit points a partial framing in that manner. I kinda do. And i had similar thoughts about the illusionary nature of magic.
 

TwoSix

Dirty, realism-hating munchkin powergamer
Iirc, Frostmaiden has a scroll that makes a comet hit the ground and destroy everything in a 500 foot radius, including buildings and such. A Rogue or Monk can just take no damage from it while standing in the middle of the giant crater.
To be fair, an easier way to handle it is to simply not have the spell trigger a Dex save for half damage. If a spell has a 500' radius, Dexterity simply isn't the rational way to handle avoiding it.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
I have thought about require a reaction to move out of the area of effect to avoid all damage.

That's a massive nerf to the ability:

1. It requires that you CAN move out of the area ;

2. Requiring your reaction means you can only do it once per round (and also can't uncanny dodge that round, can't take an opportunity attack, etc.) which means it doesn't apply to the 2nd+ Dex save of the round.

I prefer to just accept that sufficient level rogues take less damage from effects that allow Dex saves and allow the player to explain HOW in the fiction.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
The real issue here is what does damage mean. This is one of these situations that exposes the absurdities relating to hit points.
A fireball is supposed to be set alight unattended objects but anything that hot is likely to kill a human. If only by damage to exposed mucous membranes and eyeballs and such.
There was a discussion* not very long ago** about the nature of damage and hit points. Folks seem to be divided*** into three**** groups on the matter.

The first group insists that hit points represent the amount of physical damage a body or object can take before falling unconscious or breaking apart. That fireball burns you a lot, or it burns you only a little, or it barely burns you at all, but the point is that fireballs burn you. They don't scare you or exhaust you or bum you out, because that's not how fire works. So now everyone in the world has super healing powers and can bounce back from nearly being burned to death in just 8 hours, and a fighter can just decide to not be burned anymore as a Bonus action. Uh huh. Sure, whatever keeps the game moving.

The second group insists that hit points are more abstract, that they represent an aggregation of physical, psychological, and physiological effects that can vary depending on the situation, and requires you to play fast and loose with what "reality" looks like. Did you take full damage? It probably burned you. Did you take only a little damage? Probably just stressed you out. Unless the cleric healed you with magic, which means you were actually were burned after all. Unless the cleric ran out of spells and needed to rest to get those spells back: when you wake up it turns out those burns are gone, so they must have just been exhaustion. UNLESS you slept in your armor; you wake up exhausted at full HP so it must have been, I dunno, depression or something? Schrödinger's Burns: they're both present and absent and you never know which until you heal them.

The third group mostly just shakes their heads, crosses off one number and writes down a new number, and tries not to think about it. Damage and hit points and ability scores and stuff are all just numbers that move around behind the scenes anyway, and all of them are nonsense from a narrative perspective. The City Guards don't brag about who has the highest Strength score, and wanted posters don't have Challenge Ratings of the various villains printed on them, after all. So they try to stay immersed in the story and not let annoying little things like math district them. Did that fireball burn you or not? Who cares, just cross off 22 points from a box and move on.

I'm usually in the third camp as a player, and the first camp when I'm a DM (I'm fickle). But really, all three are perfectly acceptable if you want my honest opinion. Is fire a chemical reaction or a philosophical quandary? Both hurt my head.

-----

*argument
**every three months
***willing to die on this hill
****at least
 
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Vaalingrade

Legend
The real issue here is what does damage mean. This is one of these situations that exposes the absurdities relating to hit points.
A fireball is supposed to be set alight unattended objects but anything that hot is likely to kill a human. If only by damage to exposed mucous membranes and eyeballs and such.
So many 'problem's in D&D disappear when you accept that HP are plot armor and D&D isn't simulating reality, it's simulating D&D novels.
 

Nebulous

Legend
I think the problem is in the description. Clearly the spell didn't fill the entire corridor, as the rogue found a spot where they could be safe from harm.
Oh it filled the corridor. The DM was quite clear. There was nowhere to hide except fall flat. Which, apparently, is enough to dodge napalm. I would have been absolutely fine with him ruling it as an autofail save. It made no sense to escape unscathed.
 
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