D&D (2024) Postmortem: 10 Ideas in 5e that didn't quite work...

Stalker0

Legend
I dunno. When even the game itself struggles to find use for Str saves (Web? no, that's Ref save, then a Str check, not a save), Int saves (Maze? no that's not a save, it's an Int check you make as an action) and Cha saves (this is the most random one as 'sense of self' overlaps with Wis save so much, it's usually just Wis save)... surely it's much easier to just cut those out.
This is the crux of the issue. If they had balanced out the 6 saving throws, then alright I'm on board. But it felt like they had this idea, then in implementation it fell short, and instead of reevaluating and going "ok that was a failure, lets roll it back", they just left it in there.
 

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payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
I guess I don't see how that's different from the current system? There's a little variation, but if you're playing a specific class, you have 2 save proficiencies, and your stats are going to be fairly similar to everyone else who plays that class.
Thats true, though having saves for all ability scores is more interesting. I do wish class/feat/ability combos where more open than they have been in modern design (4E/5E/PF2). I really enjoyed being able to make a wide variety of stat arrays within each and every class back in 3E/PF1 (though im well aware of the execution issues).
 




Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Yeah exactly just go back to 4E's Fort/Ref/Will, which were respectively best of STR or CON, DEX or INT, and WIS or CHA. That would genuinely be a straight-up improvement to D&D. The whole "simplification" aspect of not having "derived" saves was destroyed by also making those saves have proficiency or not and there being twice as many of them!
Go back a step further and have the save defined by the source or type of effect - poison, spell, breath weapon, death, etc. - and leave the related-ability question for case-by-case adjudication based on the in-game situation.
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
I dunno. When even the game itself struggles to find use for Str saves (Web? no, that's Ref save, then a Str check, not a save), Int saves (Maze? no that's not a save, it's an Int check you make as an action) and Cha saves (this is the most random one as 'sense of self' overlaps with Wis save so much, it's usually just Wis save)... surely it's much easier to just cut those out.
Yeah exactly just go back to 4E's Fort/Ref/Will, which were respectively best of STR or CON, DEX or INT, and WIS or CHA. That would genuinely be a straight-up improvement to D&D. The whole "simplification" aspect of not having "derived" saves was destroyed by also making those saves have proficiency or not and there being twice as many of them!
I think it's baffling that a) WotC designed the game with 6 different Saving Throws and b) they knew that half of them were useless when designing the game, because when they gave the Classes their Saving Throw proficiencies, they made it sure that all 12 of them got proficiency with one useful one (Dex, Con, or Wis) and one useless one (Str, Int, and Cha).

How . . . how do you do that? And why? If you're designing a system with 6 different types of Saving Throws, make them all useful! If you know that half of them are useless, get rid of that half!

Overall, I like 5e. But there are some really baffling design decisions that always make me wonder what was going through the minds of the game designers when they were writing them. (Making the Versatile weapon trait when there's absolutely no reason to ever use it, creating True Strike, which is worse than just attacking twice, and not giving Divination Wizards access to the spell divination, just to name a few.)
 

If you're designing a system with 6 different types of Saving Throws, make them all useful!
For what it's worth (and though I wish we had just Fort/Ref/Wil), monsters do use Str saves quite often (making it a better class save than Int/Cha)... It's just that the effects aren't that meaningful, as it's mostly about avoiding being knocked down or forced movement. Which does make perfect sense to oppose with Str, and is something you'd expect the warriors to be good against, while everyone else dumps the obvious dump stat.

Because Con saves are already the most common save called for, if you rolled those Str save effects to use Fortitude save instead, together they'd make up the majority of saves. I can see how that kind of a thing might make WotC pause for a bit and split off the weak effects into the secondary save, makes sense... But then they didn't do it in similar numbers to Int/Cha, because how would you even. Which is when you'd hope they'd take another pause and decide to just make those regular Str checks and call it a day ( 'hey, make a Str check or the tentacles pull you this way')...

Lesson: you really shouldn't let your love for symmetry make the overall game design worse.
 
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Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
For what it's worth (and though I wish we had just Fort/Ref/Wil), monsters do use Str saves quite often, it's just that the effects aren't that meaningful - it's mostly about avoiding being knocked down or forced movement. Which does make perfect sense to oppose with Str, and is something you'd expect the warriors to be good against, while everyone else dumps the obvious dump stat.

Because Con saves are already the most common save called for, if you rolled those Str save effects to use Fortitude save instead, together they'd make up the majority of saves called for. I can see how that kind of a thing might make WotC pause for a bit and split off the weak effects into the secondary save, makes sense... But then they didn't do it in similar numbers to Int/Cha, because how would you even. Which is when you'd hope they'd take another pause and decide to just make those regular Str checks and call it a day ( 'hey, make a Str check or the tentacles pull you this way')...

At least Str saves do something, which makes them stronger as class saves than Int/Cha saves. Small mercies for poor martials.

Lesson: you really shouldn't let your love for symmetry make the overall game design worse.
Seeing from the new grapple rules, I think most spells that required a STR check to break free of a restained condition will be changed to a save (Bigby's Hand, Whirlwind, Web, Entangle etc) that would add about 15 new spells to the STR save list. Same with most illusions requiring Investigation checks which could be saves instead, adding 10 or so new Int saves to the game.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
I think it's baffling that a) WotC designed the game with 6 different Saving Throws and b) they knew that half of them were useless when designing the game, because when they gave the Classes their Saving Throw proficiencies, they made it sure that all 12 of them got proficiency with one useful one (Dex, Con, or Wis) and one useless one (Str, Int, and Cha).

How . . . how do you do that? And why? If you're designing a system with 6 different types of Saving Throws, make them all useful! If you know that half of them are useless, get rid of that half!

Overall, I like 5e. But there are some really baffling design decisions that always make me wonder what was going through the minds of the game designers when they were writing them. (Making the Versatile weapon trait when there's absolutely no reason to ever use it, creating True Strike, which is worse than just attacking twice, and not giving Divination Wizards access to the spell divination, just to name a few.)
Versatile is for small sized characters, basically. Not defending it, but that's basically what it's for. A halfling can use a longsword in both hands to get a d10 without disadvantage.

And I completely agree, there are many design choices in 5e that I can't get my head around, since they don't seem to make a lot of sense. The entire design around saving throws seems backwards to me. I would have preferred 4e's approach, or something similar, which would let you use one of two ability scores to determine a save/defense (so Reflex is based on either Dex or Int) and have three of them, which is super elegant.

Plus, the game isn't clear exactly what makes a spell need a Charisma save, either. I mean, you look at Banishment. Why is it a Charisma save? Because nothing else makes sense?
 

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