D&D 5E Multiple saves needs to go


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.
Yep, that was our issue as well.

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?
Since the don't have concentration as an option, they allow repeated saves.

I could maybe see adding something like concentration to the medusa, but I don't see ghouls' ability working like that.

Does your variant require any sort of action to concentrate? If not, I'm contemplating maybe a bonus action if I try this.
No, concentration doesn't require an action of any kind for us, since it is still already self-limiting.

I'll add that spells cast on others, such as shield of faith, which have concentration, allow the caster to choose to concentrate OR pass the concentration off to the target of the spell.

Such spells still require someone to concentrate on them...

That's a really good idea.
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.
Thanks. I thought it was and the group has liked it. We've been using it for a few years now.

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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.
Hmm, having looked it up, I'm not seeing a ton of powers which meet the description. Certainly some allow saves, but being at-will is a pretty big restriction. As far as I can tell, only Ardent, Cleric, and Shaman had such powers. Bard, Warlord, and Artificer did not, though they certainly had other ways of granting saving throws or bonuses to them.


(he, him)
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.
TBF, saves in 4e were occasionally used in a "last-ditch way to save you after all else has failed", which as I understand it is more in tune with how saves were originally intended to work in OD&D than the general-purpose defence they evolved into by 3e. For example, if a power tried to teleport you into open space (causing you to fall), you would get a save in addition to the power already having hit the relevant defence.

OTOH, given the most common use "save" is probably not the ideal term, but I so far failed to come up with a better one. "Escalation check" is not terrible, but it is a bit long winded (and "de-escalation" would be more accurate). Ooh, I just though: Maybe "ramp check"?

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.
The OP is talking about multiple rolls of a given save, not multiple different saves for different things.


I've liked this design ever since I first saw the Power Word spells.
way back in 2e I thought power word spells needed to be more numerous and faster to cast... by 3e with quicken spells I thought that power words should all count as quick (single word) and there should be 1-2 per level...

of course doing so is dagerus in making wizards stronger... I wish combat non spell casters had better odds of saving in general now adays

If it almost never actually happens, it's not really in the game. It's just words on a paper.

I don't necessarily disagree with your premise here but I think the power of Flesh to Stone (or similar abilities) as defined in 5e lies more in the fact that it is terrifying in the moment. That turning to stone could happen is terrifying to the PC and, very likely, to the player rolling the save - most especially after that first failed save - regardless of the probability that turning to stone actually will happen.

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
I would love a system…although not appropriate to the streamlined design goals of 5e…in which there was a whole array of concentration options, which in turn affect the saving throws, both on your target and your own if you take damage. So you could (for example) forego movement, forego actions, and close your eyes, and be pretty darned sure the target won’t save.

Maybe a simple version, in the spirit of the game, would be akin to Recklessness: until the beginning of your next turn, attack rolls against you have advantage, but saving throws against your spells have disadvantage.


Morkus from Orkus
I don't necessarily disagree with your premise here but I think the power of Flesh to Stone (or similar abilities) as defined in 5e lies more in the fact that it is terrifying in the moment. That turning to stone could happen is terrifying to the PC and, very likely, to the player rolling the save - most especially after that first failed save - regardless of the probability that turning to stone actually will happen.
I think that's true in the short term, but the players will learn fairly quickly not to fear it. I'll use 3e/3.5 as an example. At first energy drain scared me. All it took was too failed saves and no restoration. Then I noticed that I would make one of the two saves and those few times I didn't, restoration was low level and easy to have on hand. I played and ran 3.5 for nearly 20 years with undead being used often, switching to 5e in late 2019. I never saw anyone permanently lose a level. It didn't take long for me to realize that it was a false fear.

James Gasik

4e saves were specifically used for spells with durations beyond one round. Imagine two powers- one says "target is dazed (save ends)" and the other is "target is dazed until the end of your next turn". The second power was better in most cases because you knew how long it would last.

The first could theoretically last longer, but it generally didn't, as everyone had a 50% chance to save by default, and things that boosted saves did exist, plus Elite and Solo enemies had saving throw bonuses baked into them.

However, on those rare occasions an enemy did fail two saves against a (save ends) effect, it was disastrous and generally spelled the doom of that opponent. I saw this first hand with my Ranger, where I had an ability that (assuming I could land three hits), would leave an opponent dazed (save ends) and stunned (save ends). Fighting against a Solo enemy (with a +5 bonus on saving throws!), the DM failed the stun save twice- and basically called the fight there, as the combat advantage for us, and the fact that the enemy couldn't act or even use it's juicy immediate actions made it about as challenging as shooting fish in a barrel.


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.
I mean, they seem OK with not getting an armor class save...


Pathfinder also has a bunch of save ends effects, though they also present it in the more clunky manner of saying the target can make a save each round as an X action.


Victoria Rules
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
For AoE spells I completely agree; but not for targeted spells unless the target is hard to see and-or actively trying to avoid a touch-range spell.

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