5E Weak Saving Throws

Savage Wombat

Adventurer
Question - read the playtest docs but not played.

Saving Throws or whatever they're called now: To resist, say, petrification you make a CON check modified by your proficiency bonus. Correct?

If so - the wizard with the 10 Con is never going to get better at resisting petrification, 1st level or 20th, unless he's sinking level points into CON. At high levels you have the 3e problem of some characters auto-saving and others auto-failing.

Am I missing a modifier? Does the flat math just prevent this from being an issue? Is there a way for players to shore up these weaknesses in-system?

I'm thinking "magic item of proficiency" is going to be popular in this edition, myself.
 

jodyjohnson

Visitor
For a low term campaign into the teens I'll probably grant 1/2 prof to non-proficient saves (+1 to +3).

For the typical 1-5 or even 1-10 campaigns with new players I think that would be an unneeded complication.
 

the Jester

Legend
Question - read the playtest docs but not played.

Saving Throws or whatever they're called now: To resist, say, petrification you make a CON check modified by your proficiency bonus. Correct?

If so - the wizard with the 10 Con is never going to get better at resisting petrification, 1st level or 20th, unless he's sinking level points into CON. At high levels you have the 3e problem of some characters auto-saving and others auto-failing.
I think bounded accuracy solves this problem. I would be shocked if you see a DC 30 saving throw anywhere in the game, and for that matter, a DC as high as 20 will probably be very, very rare.
 

Wolfskin

Visitor
IIRC, in the playtest the highest Save DC was 15 for enemies such as Asmodeus, with the average value falling around 12.
 

SteveC

Adventurer
That does seem to be the idea: from my experiences, 5E tends to be a game where if you aren't good at something, you're not going to get any better, especially if it's outside of your basic class abilities. I think many would say this is a good thing.

The key is in the full character building rules: can you pick up new skills or add a proficiency bonus easily as you level? At what cost? We'll see, I suppose.
 

Savage Wombat

Adventurer
IIRC, in the playtest the highest Save DC was 15 for enemies such as Asmodeus, with the average value falling around 12.
Green Dragon (CL 8) in the preview has a DC 16 breath weapon, so I suspect Asmodeus is going to be higher. If a PC can reach DC 21 at max (right?) he'll probably be close.
 

Obryn

Hero
Question - read the playtest docs but not played.

Saving Throws or whatever they're called now: To resist, say, petrification you make a CON check modified by your proficiency bonus. Correct?

If so - the wizard with the 10 Con is never going to get better at resisting petrification, 1st level or 20th, unless he's sinking level points into CON. At high levels you have the 3e problem of some characters auto-saving and others auto-failing.

Am I missing a modifier? Does the flat math just prevent this from being an issue? Is there a way for players to shore up these weaknesses in-system?

I'm thinking "magic item of proficiency" is going to be popular in this edition, myself.
No, I agree. It looks like a slightly less severe version of 3e's save disparities. But still, yes, it appears they didn't learn from previous editions' mistakes.

A 20th level Wizard will have a save DC of 19. Even with Advantage, that's a hard target to hit with a +0 (or god forbid - 1) stat modifier. So Hold Person, even if it allows saves every round, will be an encounter ender vs. Fighters and other beefy targets.
 

Klaus

Visitor
Question - read the playtest docs but not played.

Saving Throws or whatever they're called now: To resist, say, petrification you make a CON check modified by your proficiency bonus. Correct?

If so - the wizard with the 10 Con is never going to get better at resisting petrification, 1st level or 20th, unless he's sinking level points into CON. At high levels you have the 3e problem of some characters auto-saving and others auto-failing.

Am I missing a modifier? Does the flat math just prevent this from being an issue? Is there a way for players to shore up these weaknesses in-system?

I'm thinking "magic item of proficiency" is going to be popular in this edition, myself.
I'm sure there will be ways to shore up a weak save. Using an Ability Score Increase seems to be the most Basic one.
 

machineelf

Explorer
No, I agree. It looks like a slightly less severe version of 3e's save disparities. But still, yes, it appears they didn't learn from previous editions' mistakes.

A 20th level Wizard will have a save DC of 19. Even with Advantage, that's a hard target to hit with a +0 (or god forbid - 1) stat modifier. So Hold Person, even if it allows saves every round, will be an encounter ender vs. Fighters and other beefy targets.

Except that I think you're forgetting that each class has certain saving throw proficiency bonuses that they get to add as well. So a fighter who has to make a con saving throw adds both his con modifier AND his saving throw proficiency bonus. That should negate some of the concerns you have.
 

Thaumaturge

thaumaturging
Except that I think you're forgetting that each class has certain saving throw proficiency bonuses that they get to add as well. So a fighter who has to make a con saving throw adds both his con modifier AND his saving throw proficiency bonus. That should negate some of the concerns you have.
Except his example was with Hold Person, which is, in the playtest, a Wisdom save. And, in the playtest, the fighter had Strength and Constitution save proficiencies.

Thaumaturge.
 

Obryn

Hero
Except that I think you're forgetting that each class has certain saving throw proficiency bonuses that they get to add as well. So a fighter who has to make a con saving throw adds both his con modifier AND his saving throw proficiency bonus. That should negate some of the concerns you have.
No, that's kind of exactly the problem. :) You end up with 2 good saves and a bunch of bad ones.

(Oh, that poor, poor Bard...)

Ability score increases are an unsatisfying solution, since it basically sacks your ability to pick up new fun stuff for a 5% bigger chance to not suck at one of six saves. :)
 

Thaumaturge

thaumaturging
Tomorrow we'll find out!

At least some of it.

Thaumaturge.

I'm tempting to post this in every 5e thread on the first page. :)
 

machineelf

Explorer
I am a little concerned about saves. I may just let all PCs be proficient with all saves.

I think you should try it before you go and make changes like that. You're likely going to break the game. For example, if everyone is proficient in every saving throw, you're going to render a whole lot of spells mostly useless because everyone resists them a high percentage of the time. In my experience the way they did saving throws works fine. Each class is good at certain saving throws, but aren't good at the rest. It's designed that way for a reason.
 
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machineelf

Explorer
Except his example was with Hold Person, which is, in the playtest, a Wisdom save. And, in the playtest, the fighter had Strength and Constitution save proficiencies.

Thaumaturge.

Ok, sure, so the fighter doesn't make a save very well, but a cleric does (and maybe some other classes I can't remember). Hold person I believe is a concentration spell. You can try to break concentration if that's the case. But yes it's designed to be able to hold the tough martial classes. It forces the group to adjust their tactics.
 

ccooke

Explorer
No, I agree. It looks like a slightly less severe version of 3e's save disparities. But still, yes, it appears they didn't learn from previous editions' mistakes.

A 20th level Wizard will have a save DC of 19. Even with Advantage, that's a hard target to hit with a +0 (or god forbid - 1) stat modifier. So Hold Person, even if it allows saves every round, will be an encounter ender vs. Fighters and other beefy targets.
... you know, I don't see an issue there.

Hold Person in 5e is concentration-based, which means your 20th-level Wizard can only Hold one Person at a time. There will be disruption mechanics for that, so the rest of the party can attempt to free them. They can't cast it on the entire party and, if they could, that would mean you had an entire party's worth of 20th-level Wizards.

If you're fighting a group of - or even one - Wizard with 20 PC levels, you're facing a serious challenge and you should be seriously strong. For a start, it's not at all unreasonable to think that if you're facing a 20th level challenge, even your *secondary* stats might be close to 20. Even without proficiency, you could have a +5 saving throw. That would give you a one in four chance of breaking the spell every round.

This all looks entirely reasonable to me. We're talking about an epic battle, probably the climax of an entire campaign. There *should* be amazing powers flying about the place. Hell, let's look at this the other way around - imagine a Wizard facing a 20th level Fighter. Given the Wizard in the Hold Person example got to cast first, let's make the fighter win initiative.

So, the Wizard probably has a low armour class and the Fighter probably has picked up one of the weapon specialisation feats - let's make the Fighter an Archery specialist, to make up for Hold Person being ranged...

The Wizard might have an AC of 18 (mage armour with +5 DEX). The Fighter has +13 to hit (+6 proficiency, +5 DEX, +2 Archery fighting style).

The fighter uses an Action Surge to take two attack actions for a total of 8 attacks. With +13 to hit and getting a critical hit on rolls of 18, 19 or 20, that would do an average of 70.4 damage in a single turn and (statistically speaking) at least one "Devastating Critical" - which means until it gets treatment, healing or dies it's taking 1d6+10 damage at the end of every turn.

A 20th level Wizard with a CON of 10 would have, on average, 82 hit points - which means it would be guaranteed to die after taking its first action, unless it's able to get treatment or healing (which would almost certainly cost it an action). If the Wizard has a CON of 20, it would still have lost nearly half of its 182 hit points in a single round (over half if you include the devastating critical effect). The fighter can take another action surge next round... things are not looking good for the poor 20th level Wizard.
 
... you know, I don't see an issue there.

Hold Person in 5e is concentration-based, which means your 20th-level Wizard can only Hold one Person at a time. There will be disruption mechanics for that, so the rest of the party can attempt to free them. They can't cast it on the entire party and, if they could, that would mean you had an entire party's worth of 20th-level Wizards.
The bolded part is not confirmed. Several spells they've spoiled (Command and Charm Person) have the ability to add targets by casting it as a higher level spell. If Hold Person has this, then a 9th Level spell slot could hit a 7 person party. Still not seeing an issue myself, but I wanted to clarify the point.
 

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