D&D 5E Multiple saves needs to go

Stalker0

Legend
Believe it or not, this is what 4e actually did, in a few different ways. You had the "poison/disease track," which would have effects that scaled up(/down) depending on how many saves you failed(/succeeded). You also had several powers and monster actions which would only trigger their full, devastating effects if you failed three saves in a row or the like, with each failed save making the problem progressively worse.

E.g. a medusa's Petrifying Gaze: it's an at-will attack, standard action, attacking all creatures within 25 feet, which causes the target to be slowed (save ends); on the first failed save, the target is instead immobilized (save ends); on the third failed save, the target is petrified (no save.) Blinded targets are immune. This is important for three reasons: one, it heightens tension, especially because this is an at-will so it can be used repeatedly; two, it allows the players to do something about it, because they can do things to try to boost their saving throw results; and three, it has a clear means of attempting to avoid it, by accepting blindness, but this specific monster is a medusa archer, and has a melee attack (her snake hair) which reduces Fortitude, making the petrifying gaze more likely to land, so you have to weigh the pros and cons of various approaches to the problem.
Something important to note about 4e for those who never played it. A saving throw in 4e is NOT a saving throw like in any other edition. Its a straight d20 roll, 10+ passes.... aka a near coin flip. While PCs and monsters can have bonuses to these saving throws, most creatures don't.

The "5e like saving throw" in 4e is actually an attack roll. A wizard made a "spell attack" against a creature's "constitution defense". On a hit, the effect went off.

This is one of my pet peeves in 4e, using familiar dnd terminology in a completely different way, so different they don't even mean the same things anymore. They should have just given it a different name, like "Escalation check" or something.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Something important to note about 4e for those who never played it. A saving throw in 4e is NOT a saving throw like in any other edition. Its a straight d20 roll, 10+ passes.... aka a near coin flip. While PCs and monsters can have bonuses to these saving throws, most creatures don't.

The "5e like saving throw" in 4e is actually an attack roll. A wizard made a "spell attack" against a creature's "constitution defense". On a hit, the effect went off.
This is correct. I should have specified, my apologies.
 

Draegn

Explorer
I dislike the three saving throws given regardless of what players do. Saving throws should be rewarded for planning and roleplay. If your players know (GM clues and hints) they are facing a medusa and one just rushes in without a thought, then that player gets the SoS/SoD. If another player plans before and wears a blind fold, has a stone to flesh potion to drink and so forth then that player should get additional saving throws to represent their planning.
 

Stormonu

Legend
FWIW, here's how we do things with our MOD/ house-rules:

If a spell requires concentration and allows repeated saves (e.g. hold person) each round, choose one or the other:

1. You choose concentration. Saves are not repeated (or auto failed).
2. You choose NOT to concentrate or lose concentration. Saves now repeat.

So, with hold person, the cleric could cast it and choose NOT to concentrate, but then the target gets to save each round to shrug off the effect. If the cleric chooses to concentrate, then the target (after failing the initial save, which is always allowed!) would NOT get to make saves unless the cleric drops concentration.

For something like flesh to stone, if you concentrate, the target WILL become stone after three rounds. However, if you lose concentration, the target begins making saves normally, but with each concentrated round being an auto failure...
Hmmm. This is interesting. I've been bothered by the change to the likes of hold person, being a bit too easy to get out of.

How do you handle monster abilities, especially things like ghoul's paralysis and a medusa's ability? Can they choose to concentrate on the effect somehow?

Does your variant require any sort of action to concentrate? If not, I'm contemplating maybe a bonus action if I try this.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Something important to note about 4e for those who never played it. A saving throw in 4e is NOT a saving throw like in any other edition. Its a straight d20 roll, 10+ passes.... aka a near coin flip. While PCs and monsters can have bonuses to these saving throws, most creatures don't.

The "5e like saving throw" in 4e is actually an attack roll. A wizard made a "spell attack" against a creature's "constitution defense". On a hit, the effect went off.

This is one of my pet peeves in 4e, using familiar dnd terminology in a completely different way, so different they don't even mean the same things anymore. They should have just given it a different name, like "Escalation check" or something.
That having been said, replacing saving throws with defenses felt better to me. I know it's basically the same thing, but it was more intuitive to explain since now just about everything was "roll d20, add bonuses, match target number".
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Disagree. Save or suck or save or die were not fun to deal with on either side of the screen and multi-saves are one of the better ways to keep concepts like turning to stone in the game.
If it almost never actually happens, it's not really in the game. It's just words on a paper.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
FWIW, here's how we do things with our MOD/ house-rules:

If a spell requires concentration and allows repeated saves (e.g. hold person) each round, choose one or the other:

1. You choose concentration. Saves are not repeated (or auto failed).
2. You choose NOT to concentrate or lose concentration. Saves now repeat.

So, with hold person, the cleric could cast it and choose NOT to concentrate, but then the target gets to save each round to shrug off the effect. If the cleric chooses to concentrate, then the target (after failing the initial save, which is always allowed!) would NOT get to make saves unless the cleric drops concentration.

For something like flesh to stone, if you concentrate, the target WILL become stone after three rounds. However, if you lose concentration, the target begins making saves normally, but with each concentrated round being an auto failure...
That's a really good idea.
 

Stalker0

Legend
That having been said, replacing saving throws with defenses felt better to me. I know it's basically the same thing, but it was more intuitive to explain since now just about everything was "roll d20, add bonuses, match target number".
Its a situation where the theory and the experience don't match.

From a design theory standpoint, the defense model is superior. Its more consistent, working just like attack rolls do. Its also more efficient in play, as DMs can create little notes with their players defenses, and so instead of having to ask the player to make a save, the player fumbles to find their dice, rolls it, looks up their number, etc etc....the DM can just roll, check the card, and announce the result. Its also faster to roll several attack rolls versus different PCs, vs having to call on multiple PCs to roll. Defenses are superior in terms of a resolution mechanic.

However, if you polled most players when they were taking a nasty spell effect, and asked them if they would rather roll or the DM....I believe the majority would want to roll. Even though mechanically its identical, rolling the dice gives the player a feeling of control and power. That illusion ultimately adds greatly to the user experience, and so I think that's one of the reasons they shifted back to saves in 5e.
 

Stalker0

Legend
FWIW, here's how we do things with our MOD/ house-rules:

If a spell requires concentration and allows repeated saves (e.g. hold person) each round, choose one or the other:

1. You choose concentration. Saves are not repeated (or auto failed).
2. You choose NOT to concentrate or lose concentration. Saves now repeat.

So, with hold person, the cleric could cast it and choose NOT to concentrate, but then the target gets to save each round to shrug off the effect. If the cleric chooses to concentrate, then the target (after failing the initial save, which is always allowed!) would NOT get to make saves unless the cleric drops concentration.

For something like flesh to stone, if you concentrate, the target WILL become stone after three rounds. However, if you lose concentration, the target begins making saves normally, but with each concentrated round being an auto failure...
This is a cool little idea. I do hate spells that have both a save every round AND concentration, to me thats one of the purposes of concentration. Player A gets hit with nasty spell, the rest of the party tries to disrupt the spell.
 

teitan

Legend
You use multiple saves? 🤪

I haven’t run 5e in a while. I’ve been running Starfinder and DCC for the last two years and I honestly forgot that 5e use ability scores for saves but both types are equally valid in my book but the 3 saves seems more natural to me. Like a strength save couldn’t just be a con save that is just a fort save yeah? Either way it’s some granularity in some areas that is lacking in a three save system or, shudder, single save.
 

Horwath

Hero
I am all for multiple saves.


Latest example;

Last year we did a 3.5e campaign, started at 3rd level.

Friends barbarian gets hit with Cause fear(1st level spell), DM rolls 4 on d4 for number of rounds he has to flee from cause of fear.

4 rounds he must use run, 160ft per round, then he runs 4 rounds back to the fight.

fight is over just as he should have started his 9th round.

what a blast he had of a fun in those two hours....
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I am all for multiple saves.


Latest example;

Last year we did a 3.5e campaign, started at 3rd level.

Friends barbarian gets hit with Cause fear(1st level spell), DM rolls 4 on d4 for number of rounds he has to flee from cause of fear.

4 rounds he must use run, 160ft per round, then he runs 4 rounds back to the fight.
Your DM was being nice. With me, if you flee in fear - unless you go over a cliff or into some other hazard, which is very possible as you run straight away from the fear source regardless of terrain or environment - if you've run into unfamiliar territory you're lost once the fear wears off, as you have no idea how you got there. You (all too well!) remember what scared you and then nothing after that until the fear goes away.

Yeah, fear in my game is nasty. :)
fight is over just as he should have started his 9th round.

what a blast he had of a fun in those two hours....
For him it wasn't two hours though; even in 1e that would have only been 8 minutes, and in 5e it's less than a minute.

For you as player, though... :)
 

Horwath

Hero
Your DM was being nice. With me, if you flee in fear - unless you go over a cliff or into some other hazard, which is very possible as you run straight away from the fear source regardless of terrain or environment - if you've run into unfamiliar territory you're lost once the fear wears off, as you have no idea how you got there. You (all too well!) remember what scared you and then nothing after that until the fear goes away.

Yeah, fear in my game is nasty. :)

For him it wasn't two hours though; even in 1e that would have only been 8 minutes, and in 5e it's less than a minute.

For you as player, though... :)
he ran back on the road we entered the village few moments ago.


We usually mostly use "soft-CC" on PCs and "hard-CC" on NPCs.
Fun factor is better that way.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
he ran back on the road we entered the village few moments ago.
Ah. Got it. :)

The last time I had any major fear effects rear up was when running S1 Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth and had some PCs fleeing into unexplored parts of the caverns. One or two headaches for them but in general they got hella lucky in that nobody ran into anything really dangerous; but it did take some time to get everyone rounded up.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Which is why I prefer skill based spell casting - the caster should be rolling to hit, not autohit and require the victim to save or suck
 

Horwath

Hero
Which is why I prefer skill based spell casting - the caster should be rolling to hit, not autohit and require the victim to save or suck
that is more or less the same, it just moves "active" roll from defender to attacker.
It's not about who rolls, but what are the effects and if there are saves/attacks for every round of effect.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Its a situation where the theory and the experience don't match.

From a design theory standpoint, the defense model is superior. Its more consistent, working just like attack rolls do. Its also more efficient in play, as DMs can create little notes with their players defenses, and so instead of having to ask the player to make a save, the player fumbles to find their dice, rolls it, looks up their number, etc etc....the DM can just roll, check the card, and announce the result. Its also faster to roll several attack rolls versus different PCs, vs having to call on multiple PCs to roll. Defenses are superior in terms of a resolution mechanic.

However, if you polled most players when they were taking a nasty spell effect, and asked them if they would rather roll or the DM....I believe the majority would want to roll. Even though mechanically its identical, rolling the dice gives the player a feeling of control and power. That illusion ultimately adds greatly to the user experience, and so I think that's one of the reasons they shifted back to saves in 5e.
Unless you're the spellcaster, of course. Then you're the one rolling and getting that feeling of control and power...
 

delericho

Legend
I like the multiple saves. That said, I'd prefer an escalating step up/down towards the full effect - so maybe the first failure leaves you restrained, the second paralysed, and the third petrified, and successes move you back up the track but the spell doesn't end until you're completely clear.

Flesh to stone is a partial example of this (first failure leaves you restrained, but then additional success/failure have no effect until 3 of one time are rolled). That's okay - but I suspect that not all petrification effects work consistently.
 

Staffan

Legend
E.g. a medusa's Petrifying Gaze: it's an at-will attack, standard action, attacking all creatures within 25 feet, which causes the target to be slowed (save ends); on the first failed save, the target is instead immobilized (save ends); on the third failed save, the target is petrified (no save.) Blinded targets are immune. This is important for three reasons: one, it heightens tension, especially because this is an at-will so it can be used repeatedly; two, it allows the players to do something about it, because they can do things to try to boost their saving throw results;
As I recall, Leader-type classes often had at-will attacks that allowed an ally either a bonus on an upcoming save or to make an out-of-sequence save to remove an effect (and these bonus saves would never progress an ability). But it means that instead of the cleric using the attack that gives an ally an attack bonus, they use the attack that gives an ally an extra save.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
Save or suck or save or die were not fun to deal with on either side of the screen
True

and multi-saves are one of the better ways to keep concepts like turning to stone in the game.
For petrification, ongoing saves seems fine.

There can be a visible struggle about whether petrification is taking hold or not.

First save: failed − incapacitated, starting to turn to stone.
Second save: successful − condition removed, living flesh replaces areas where stone was forming.

But three failed saves would be permanent.
 

Dungeon Delver's Guide

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top