L&L 3/05 - Save or Die!

Boarstorm

First Post
I really like Mearls' proposed system.

The only issue I have is that the wizard is always more likely to be turned to stone/disintegrated/etc, due to lower health pools. ( I am assuming that pretty-much-universal-mechanic will remain in Next).

While this may make sense that the wizard is more likely to get hit (and paralyzed) by a ghoul, I think he should have some advantage when dealing with, say, a soul trap.

I hate to bring up "Physical HP" and "Mental HP" again, because it's redundant, but SOME acknowledgement of classes areas of strength needs to be built into the system.

Perhaps the answer is in saving throw modifiers once again?
 

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UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
I like the idea and I line Crezy Jerome's idea of spending hit points as expenditure of luck to avoide the gaze.

On the players side then Save or Die effects should only work on bloodied creatures.
 

Incenjucar

Legend
OK, see, that was a better way to phrase it. I understand what you're saying now.

It also makes me think that if that's the way 4th Ed battles go, no wonder people complain about fights taking forever.

In 4E, when you're knocked out, attacks against you auto-crit when they hit. Basically the DM can finish you off you in one round unless the battle is nearly won already, if your team isn't protecting you properly. Otherwise, even with nothing attacking you, you can die in three rounds by yourself. People die in Encounters all the time, and that's way before the really crazy stuff shows up.
 

Chris_Nightwing

First Post
Further to my earlier suggestion I think it's worth analysing: What would make one able to avoid petrification at the hands of Medusa..?

Canonically, it's having the knowledge of her gaze and the wherewithall to bring a mirrored shield. This is a bit gimmicky, sorry Perseus. So, being able to fight her without looking in general - you can fight blind, incurring suitable (considerable) penalties. You can fight normally, in which case one might argue that weapon skill, or fighting prowess in general, or perhaps just luck prevent you from seeing into her eyes.

At the end of the day, a saving throw (particularly a 4th Edition saving throw) is a character having no choice but to leave it up to fate as to whether they make it or not. In the hack and slash, there's plenty of luck to determine how often you're hit, how many hit points you're on, but to get to a save-or-die dice roll is a character's absolution of responsibility - no skill, no spell, no weapon or armour can save them. This is dramatic, inherently dramatic and it seems to me that a fixed hit point threshold diffuses some of that drama. So do multiple saving throws really.

I suggest.. you have to make a save when you take a given amount of damage. What would make you accidentally look more than a smack in the face? The threshold could be your level + x, your con + x, some combination, but you would have no control over the moment when it happens. As for those poor 1st level commoners - they don't know Medusa, they wouldn't even try to look away..

Oh and I'll throw in an alternative.. you have to make a save when you're critically hit. In fact, the irregularity of criticals is a great way to make these save-or-die effects tense, but no so frequent that everybody dies. For Medusa, I'd have her immobilise you as a matter of course, but you're only going to lithomogrify if you get really hurt. Works for ghouls too!
 
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Dausuul

Legend
You seem to be having problems with your "narrative smell test" because you're trying to shoehorn the effect into a hit-points-as-wounds narrative, whereas D&D has always used a hit-points-as-general-fighting-ability narrative.

I'm not going to wade into that argument again on this thread. But 4E lost a ton of players because it failed this exact "smell test." The 4E treatment of hit points is one of the most common complaints I've seen among people who went to Pathfinder. If 5E treats hit points the same way, those people won't come back, no matter how many times you tell them they're smelling it wrong.
 

BryonD

Hero
The problem with save or die is it brings a lot of baggage with it. It assumes that you want a level of lethality and threat that may not jive with your particular playstyle ...
This gets down to the idea of what constitutes a "playstyle".
My opinion on it has nothing to do with desire for a high or low level of lethality and everything to do with creating a simulation of actually being in the story.

If you were writing a story and would never do it that way, then it shouldn't happen that way in the game either. But in this case "shouldn't" applies to the creative experience value of the game. If someone has a "win the game" approach then they are talking about something only tangentially related to that at best.


and necessitates easy resurrection.
No it doesn't.
 

nightwalker450

First Post
I'm not going to wade into that argument again on this thread. But 4E lost a ton of players because it failed this exact "smell test." The 4E treatment of hit points is one of the most common complaints I've seen among people who went to Pathfinder. If 5E treats hit points the same way, those people won't come back, no matter how many times you tell them they're smelling it wrong.

I think after reading enough of comments like this, 5e is dead already. Those that are playing earlier editions are not open to anything except a reprint of their own edition. WotC created another excellent edition with 4e, that was what a lot of people were looking for from their game. So they are just going to create another fragment, filled with more new players, and those that look to the latest and greatest only.

I'm usually latest and greatest, because that means improvement. But this reeks too much of retreading things already done (and failed in many people's eyes), with many articles (most Monte) being not so subtle hate on 4e.

Your edition is great, for you. My edition is great for me. If we can't embrace that there's a chance that maybe our games can both benefit from some of the other editions qualities then WotC is publishing their last edition.
 

grimslade

Krampus ate my d20s
Maybe you save vs medusa's gaze with your Int, if your a wizard, quick thinking and book training make you a tougher opponent to petrify.
The nice thing with the periodic damage is that you can scale the SoD threat. Fighting Medusa, Queen of the Gorgons? The damage threshold is 75 to turn to stone with 75 hp of petrification damage each round on a failed save. Fighting an ancient medusa crone with terrible cataracts? The threshold is 5 with 5 hp/rd petrify damage on a failed save.
 

CM

Adventurer
Besides the old Power Word spells, I seem to recall the 3e Death domain having a similar power. Let's see:

You may use a death touch once per day. Your death touch is a supernatural ability that produces a death effect. You must succeed on a melee touch attack against a living creature (using the rules for touch spells). When you touch, roll 1d6 per cleric level you possess. If the total at least equals the creature’s current hit points, it dies (no save).


So it's not unprecedented for such a power to be in the hands of PCs. I think the rule as presented is simple and works pretty well. If we're talking about a PC's one-shot spell, I would hope that there is some kind of compensatory effect if the target isn't below the HP threshold.

For example, flesh to stone spell: If the target is below the HP threshold, it must save or turn to stone. If above the HP threshold or the save is successful, it is slowed (turning to stone) and can attempt to save each round on its turn to shake off the effect. If the target drops below the HP threshold while under this effect, it must immediately save or turn to stone. A paralysis, sleep, or death effect could use the exact same rules (perhaps with a different save type being required) except you could sub out different effects: sleep would weaken instead of slow, death effects could stun, paralysis effects could daze, and so on.

Disintegrate: If the target is below the HP threshold, it must save or be immediately disintegrated. If above the HP threshold or it successfully saves, it takes 10d6 damage (or whatever is appropriate).

Death poison: If the target is below the HP threshold, it must save or die. If above the HP threshold or it successfully saves, each round on its turn it takes poison damage and can attempt a save to shake off the effect. If the target drops below the HP threshold while still poisoned, it must immediately save or die.

I think this could work well for a number of types of effect. It combines a little bit of 4e's multiple-save concept but still allows for instant effects if the target is vulnerable.
 


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