OneDnD Return to the 3 saves for 1D&D?

leonardozg

Because I'm the DM
Can you name some monsters with what you consider "good ac"? A fighter at that same level 20 you note is going to have +11 to hit and pointing at isolated lehsndary boss monster types ignores the reprehensible design of 5e where the gm is expected to fit six to eight medium to hard encounters in every adventuring day.... It would be quite an unusual world with support for multiple ancient dragons & tsrrasque being slaughtered by an adventuring party every day.
From Dungeon of the Mad Mage, an adventure that ends in high tier levels. Shadowdusk Hold & Mad Wizard's Lair levels (for characters above 17th level), non-boss enemies:
MonsterCRACLowest SaveChance of avoiding a martial +11 attackChance of avoiding a spellcaster DC 19 spellCantrip
Champion
9​
18​
0 (Str)
30%​
10%​
Lightning Lure
Will-O'-Wisp
2​
19​
+1 (Int)
35%​
15%​
Mind Sliver
Scaladar
8​
19​
-5 (Int)
35%​
0%​
Mind Sliver
Helmed Horror
4​
20​
0 (Wis)
40%​
19%​
Toll the Dead

Of course, there are monsters that is better to aim AC, but for these the spellcaster can have 1 attack cantrip and it's a draw.
So, when aiming AC is better, martials and spellcasters have the same to hit chance, but when aiming a Save is better, the martials can't do it so they have lower to hit chance. It happens because AC is just one and Saves are 6 and spellcasters can test for the worst Save.

What is better? To have a only one Defense (AC) 16 or to have two Defenses (Saves) 14 and 18 and the attacker being able to chose which one to attack?
 

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tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
From Dungeon of the Mad Mage, an adventure that ends in high tier levels. Shadowdusk Hold & Mad Wizard's Lair levels (for characters above 17th level), non-boss enemies:
MonsterCRACLowest SaveChance of avoiding a martial +11 attackChance of avoiding a spellcaster DC 19 spellCantrip
Champion
9​
18​
0 (Str)
30%​
10%​
Lightning Lure
Will-O'-Wisp
2​
19​
+1 (Int)
35%​
15%​
Mind Sliver
Scaladar
8​
19​
-5 (Int)
35%​
0%​
Mind Sliver
Helmed Horror
4​
20​
0 (Wis)
40%​
19%​
Toll the Dead

Of course, there are monsters that is better to aim AC, but for these the spellcaster can have 1 attack cantrip and it's a draw.
So, when aiming AC is better, martials and spellcasters have the same to hit chance, but when aiming a Save is better, the martials can't do it so they have lower to hit chance. It happens because AC is just one and Saves are 6 and spellcasters can test for the worst Save.

What is better? To have a only one Defense (AC) 16 or to have two Defenses (Saves) 14 and 18 and the attacker being able to chose which one to attack?
Here I thought by "high ac" you meant monsters that actually had high ac. Those ACs are functional at best & far too low to be considered "high AC" as characters progress through tier3 levels. You do realize that the fighter A: willbe making 4 attacks. B: will almost certainly have a +1 weapon +2 weapon or better else something like the magic weapon spell C: may have advantage on each of those rolls from pack tactics or a poorly designed flanking rule. D: may have advantage if the target is prone or stunned. E: Most importantly is not consuming anything but an action & will never run out of attack slots or something.

Amazingly you even listed a necrotic cantrip against the helmed horror which has necrotic immunity in addition to the magic resistance for advantage on the save. Advantage tends to amount to roughly a +5 to the average.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Here I thought by "high ac" you meant monsters that actually had high ac. Those ACs are functional at best & far too low to be considered "high AC" as characters progress through tier3 levels. You do realize that the fighter A: willbe making 4 attacks. B: will almost certainly have a +1 weapon +2 weapon or better else something like the magic weapon spell C: may have advantage on each of those rolls from pack tactics or a poorly designed flanking rule. D: may have advantage if the target is prone or stunned. E: Most importantly is not consuming anything but an action & will never run out of attack slots or something.

Amazingly you even listed a necrotic cantrip against the helmed horror which has necrotic immunity in addition to the magic resistance for advantage on the save. Advantage tends to amount to roughly a +5 to the average.
IME very few groups play with flanking ..... because like you said it is terrible.

There are several groups I played with that started out using it and the DM canned it after a few levels. I've only had one campaign in the last several years where the DM stuck with flanking for more than a few sessions, and that is not a combat-centric campaign. We have like 1 combat every 3 days or so.

Also I find proned causes disadvantage more than it causes advantage because there are more people making ranged attacks typically than there are making melee attacks. Proned is actually one of the few times my casters will go to a ranged save cantrip.

I do agree with your overall point though and those "high" ACs are going to be hit by attacks a lot at appropriate levels .... a lot more than saves will land.

Even without considering this though, it hardly puts the wizard ahead. Lighting Lure is doing 19 damage, mind sliver is doing 14 damage and toll the dead is doing 26 if the enemy is already damaged or 18 if he is not. A fighter is doing about 40 on an attack routine before you consider fighting style, subclass damage, magic weapons bonuses, feats etc.

70% of 40 damage (28) is WAY more than 90% of 19 (17).
65% of 40 (26) is WAY more than 85% of 14 (12)
65% of 40 (26) is still WAY more than 100% of 14 (14)
60% of 40 (24) is more than 81% of 26 (21) even if he was already damaged and was not immune.
 
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ECMO3

Hero
I disagree. A 0 level resistance gives you +1d4 on a save.
You realy value a 1 in 20 chance higher than 5hp at level 5?
I didn'tsay resistance, I said false life. A 1st level false life is 6.5 temp hp, a 3rd level false life (which you can cast at 5th level) is 16.5 hps on average. 2 points in constitution at 5th level will give you 10 more hps.
 

ECMO3

Hero
To a degree, yes. But, at higher levels, you could also have NPCs enemies and spellcasting monsters dropping really dangerous AoE stuff on the party, so it's a wash.

No it is not awash, sure they have powerful abilities but yous spells beat those. Counter spell BEATS a spell of equal level and has a good chance of beating a spell of higher level and that is before you make the save. Death Ward Beats disintegrate beforeyou even have to roll a save.

I find 1st level to be the most deadly and this is directly counter to this hypothesis. If the hypothesis were true things would get harder as you level and they don't, they get easier. I have only had one character over level 3 hard die in a campaign in the last 3 years and he only died because he sacrificed himself to close a gate too the elemental plane of water and then drowned on the other side of it, he did not actually die in combat from failing a save.

Low level characters may have to deal with an Hold Person targeting a couple party members.
High level parties may have to deal with an enemy using Psychic Scream on the whole party, or a multitude of lower level enemies using Hold Person, Phantasmal Force, Hypnotic Pattern etc at the same time.

Hold person is going to kill 3rd level characters A LOT faster than psychich scream will kill 17th level characters.

14d6 is not going to kill anyone at that level and while the stun is significant, counterspell cast at 3rd level will flat kill it 35% of the time ON A 3RD LEVEL SLOT and chances are you are not going to counter at 3rd level, you are going to use the highest slot you have.

If you are close to the Paladin you have a +5 to your save. If it takes effect dispel magic or cleansing touch eliminates it and many characters are probably running around with a contingency if they get immobilized like that.

On top of all this your Wizard has proficiency on this save and so does his Simulacrum and both of them have counterspell, dispel magic and if you knew you were going up against an enemy with psychic scream they probably have anti-magic shell.

The point is everything I mentioned here is available LONG before psychic scream is available and before you say "only if you prepared it" ...... if I am pushed I can use wish to create any of these effects, so I only need to prepare one spell to have all of these options at my disposal.


You don't even mention non-legendary monsters (that is, 95% of monsters), so I assume you're conceding the point that the vast majority of monsters are complete trash at saves.

I was respnding to someone who made a point about legendary monsters specifically and claimed (falsely) that even legendary monsters don't have good saves other than legendary resistance. I believe I qouted him if you want to take that in context.

In play enemies make saves all the time. It is quite rare that you throw down an AOE or multi target spell and all of them fail. By contrast it is far more common that you target a single enemy and he makes that save.

I stand by my point on Legendaries, too. The examples of legendary monsters you provided say it all: a mighty Red dragon is extremely easily affected by an Int save, and you have a fair shot of nailing its Wisdom, too. Without the blunt and inelegant (but again, absolutely necessary) Legendary Resistance feature to patch things up, the red dragon would be screwed.

Not easily. For one thing he will flat make 25% of his intelligence saves against a 20th level caster, even without legendary resistance and he is a 13 CR enemy, so he should not be going against a level 20 caster. Against a level 13 caster he is going to make 35%, against a level 8 caster (which is probably when you would meet him) he is going to make 40% of them.

Why don't you tell me what spells your 8th level Cleric, Druid or Ranger are going to throw against this Dragon's intelligence that are going to completely overwhelm him and turn this into an easy fight?


As for the beholder? Putting aside how exceedingly easy it would be to target its Str s

Examples of spells you would use to target strength saves and take down this beholder please.

Nevermind how easy it is to shut down a beholder with a single darkness spell casted over the party...that's just an embarrassing design oversight that has nothing to do with saves.
Sure, but this has nothing at all to do with his saves.
 

ECMO3

Hero
How many rounds it will take for a martial to figure out that the target has a good AC and then what he'll do with this information? He can only target AC, that's my point: lack of choice.

A good AC is a lot weaker than a good save and because he is making multiple attacks a round, and other party members are as well, it will be much quicker. In a party of 4 with 1 martial you are probably looking at 1-2 rounds on average to get a good idea of what AC is.

You have to take in consideration that saves scale very badly, it's not hard to have a +11 Dex save in level 20 and -1 in Int save.

Can you provide an example of a monster with this (+11 Dex, -1 Intelligence)? If it is really not uncommon then there should be many examples.


A level 20 spellcaster can easily have spell DC 19 and in no more than 6 round he'll find out the save that the target needs a 20 (95% success).

Most fights won't last 6 rounds and he will not find this out.

Give me real world examples here and tell me what spells your cleric will cast, in what order to find this out in 6 rounds.

If your cleric casts a DC 19 flamestrike spell in round 1 to probe his dex save and that strawman you mentioned above with a +11 dex rolls a 6 then he just failed, and you either know nothing about his dex save (if you saw the roll) or you incorrectly come to the conclusion he has a poor dex save (if you didn't see the roll) .... "hey guys dexterity works, target dexterity"

The opposite case where a fighter needs 2 or more to hit (95%) is really challenging to find. And against a target with good AC he has no option other than keep aiming AC.

It is actually more common than needing a 20 to save, especially when you consider ubiquitous magic weapons, fighting styles and subclass abilities.

A 20th level Samaurai with archery, elven accuracy, a +1 bow using a bonus action to get advantage will hit a 22AC over 95% of the time and that took me about 5 seconds to figure out that build. An optimized build would do even better.

At 20th level there are far more enemies you will face with better than a -1 on all saves than there will be with a 22 AC, even if you could prepare enough meanigful spells to target any save and you had metagame knowege of their saves.
 
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Olrox17

Hero
long post snipped

I could go on and write a huge back and forth reply, but at this point it would probably be a very lengthy and agonizing read. I believe we both expressed our opinions and everyone reading can figure out on their own who's right and wrong or whatever.

I will just reply very shortly to this part, which IMO encapsulates our disagreement:
If you are close to the Paladin you have a +5 to your save. If it takes effect dispel magic or cleansing touch eliminates it and many characters are probably running around with a contingency if they get immobilized like that.

On top of all this your Wizard has proficiency on this save and so does his Simulacrum and both of them have counterspell, dispel magic and if you knew you were going up against an enemy with psychic scream they probably have anti-magic shell.
If your idea of balance is assuming that every party, high level or not, should have very specific classes (like paladins or wizards) and very specific spells (like counterspell, which has its own crapton of issues btw, and would probably deserve its own thread) for the game to work properly, we have extremely different ideas on how this game should be balanced.

The game should be properly balanced, even at high levels, for all reasonably diverse parties, not just for the savvily optimized "meta" ones. Current 5e just isn't, and the saving throw setup is a considerable part of the problem (on both sides of the screen). This is my position on the matter.
 

Branduil

Hero
I have to disagree.

1. The 5e balance only holds true at low levels. Saving throw scaling is very bad, so saves cannot keep up with DCs.
At first level a typical PC will have 2 good saves it can pass with an 8 or so, another couple of decent saves where it gets a 50/50 shot, and one or two bad saves where a 13 or 14 is needed.
At level 20, the PC will usually still have two good saves (if they invested a lot in straight +2 ASIs, that is), and maybe another decent 50/50 save if they also took the Resilient Focus feat, but all other saves will be terrible, needing a roll of 18, 19 or 20 to succeed.

2. 5e monsters are usually written to be complete trash at saves. Even most (supposedly) legendary monsters would be easily bypassed, if it weren't for their (IMO) inelegant but absolutely necessary Legendary Resistance feature. So, I disagree that 5e handles monster saves well: in fact, I believe it does very poorly.

3. Are you aware that the 4e save system allows for other scores beside Dex, Con and Wis to contribute to Reflex, Fort and Will? A 10 Dex, 20 Int character would sport a +5 to Reflex. If anything, this is exactly what's needed to move away from the sheer power of Dex, Con and Wis.
A lot(but not all) of the problems with the 5e save system could be relieved by changing all class proficiencies in saves to expertise, and granting proficiency to all non-expertise saves.
 

Horwath

Hero
A lot(but not all) of the problems with the 5e save system could be relieved by changing all class proficiencies in saves to expertise, and granting proficiency to all non-expertise saves.
that would be too much.
but having half prof bonus to non proficient saves(round down) would work.
 

Branduil

Hero
that would be too much.
but having half prof bonus to non proficient saves(round down) would work.
If you're having to roll an 18 or 19 to save with your worst saves (or higher), this change that number to 12 or 13. I don't think that's unreasonable for a worst save at high levels when any save failed is likely to be highly debilitating. Since spellcasters get to add proficiency to their save DCs, this merely helps players tread water on their worst saves. Realistically, even with proficiency characters will still fall behind since they're not likely to bump their worst save stats to 20.
 

Horwath

Hero
If you're having to roll an 18 or 19 to save with your worst saves (or higher), this change that number to 12 or 13. I don't think that's unreasonable for a worst save at high levels when any save failed is likely to be highly debilitating. Since spellcasters get to add proficiency to their save DCs, this merely helps players tread water on their worst saves. Realistically, even with proficiency characters will still fall behind since they're not likely to bump their worst save stats to 20.
Since AC does not scale with prof bonus, so most saves should not.

Spells get more reliable as levels goes on, unless you target that specific save.


there are few solutions to failing too much on spells;

1. Make resilient give two proficiencies and make it so you can take that feat twice. One save must be from dex, con or wis and other from str, int or cha.

2. make hard crowd control effects on failed saves little bit weaker, so players are not out of the game for several rounds.

3. don't dump stats

4. my suggestion on ability usage:
 

I didn'tsay resistance, I said false life. A 1st level false life is 6.5 temp hp, a 3rd level false life (which you can cast at 5th level) is 16.5 hps on average. 2 points in constitution at 5th level will give you 10 more hps.

Yes. You said false life gives easy hp, this 15hp are not a lot. I said, resistance gives easy saving throw bonuses, so +3 to a saving throw is also not a lot.

Edit: also imaine using false life on someone with already high hp... They don't care if they make a dex save or not.
 

Audiomancer

Adventurer
One idea I’ve kicked around in my head would be to give characters one additional save proficiency whenever they would get a Feat/ASI—so, new proficiencies at levels 4, 8, 12, etc. (This would be in addition to the Feat/ASI, so I’d probably nuke Resilient altogether)

All characters would eventually be proficient in all saves… but it takes a while. Until you reach epic level, you’re going to have one or two weak saves. Plan accordingly, adventurer!
 




Gorck

Prince of Dorkness
I never really thought about how AC doesn't scale with PB like Saves do. In 3e, your AC started with a base of 10 + your various modifiers (DEX, Armor, Shield, Magic Items, etc.). 5e just baked that 10 into the armor itself, so 3e's Studded Leather armor was +2, while 5e's Studded Leather armor is 12. They could revert the armor bonuses beck to the 3e method (5e - 10) and do something similar to Saves and Spells Saves where your AC would be 8 + PB + DEX + Armor + Shield. Then your AC would scale with PB, but then AC's might get too high and ruin BA or something. I don't know, I'm just spit-balling on a slow afternoon at work . . .
 

the problem is that things (mostly) that are saves are MORE deadly then attack rolls.

You can get attacked twice by a fighter for 1d8+5 damage or take 8d6 fire save for half

If the fighter only does 1d8+5 damage, he does something wrong.

But I do agree, the saving throws do fulfill both the 3e and the 4e function: prevent an effect and determine the duration respectively.

I like it for the latter, but I think it is too weak for the former.
I already proposed adding your proficiency bonus on top for the initial save.
I used to have an even better Idea, that makes HP do what they are supposed to:

For every 20hp you have, you get bonus of +1 to the initial saving throw with a cap of +5.

That way, a fighter will eventually have great saving throws if they have full hp. Wizards
 


wait...what? thats a 18 stat a +1 longsword how much more do you think they do?!? there isn't a lot of options for fighters.
I guess they could go 2 handed and do 2d6+5 (reroll 1s and 2s) but they loose out on shield or off hand weapon then

This is definitely not an 18 stat.
It is a 16 stat with duelling. Or 20 stat without.
You also have an action surge for 4 attacks and you have battlemaster maneuvers... So yes, I expect a bit more.
 

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