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5E Why is there a limit to falling damage?

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
The rogue should fail the save more often when it's against more powerful enemies. An ancient dragon or a powerful lich should be more dangerous, even to the PCs, than a wyrmling or an apprentice necromancer.

edit: again, that isn't a case of the rogue getting worse at saves. They're the same. They're just facing much more dangerous enemies. Those are two different things.
You're missing the point. The issue is a level 1 rogue and a level 20 rogue will both fail the DC 12 (NOT talking powerful, here ;) ) CON save the same amount of the time. Especially in a feat-accessible game (85-90% of tables), it is unlikely the rogue with use an ASI on CON. Now, they might use it for Resilient, but then again there are a lot of other feats I see rogues taking first.

Anyway, this is despite the fact that the level 20 rogue has probably had to roll dozens, if not hundreds (well... maybe?) of CON saves during his adventures. But, he is NO better at them???

That makes no sense, whatsoever.

Now, I know the argument. Higher level PCs have more hit points (WotC's answer to everything, apparently) so the failed saves don't affect them as much. But, that is another leg of the HP bloat issue in 5E. Sure, its a "feature" of the game--a horrible one IMO.

We have a sorcerer/druid in our main game (level 15) who, naturally, lacks DEX saves. So, that DC to avoid that trap or Lightning Bolt or whatever is just as likely to fail at level 15 as he was at level 1, despite facing numerous traps, fireballs and lightning bolts, etc. during his 15 levels of adventure and danger.

Finally, back to the original claim (which is entirely accurate, BTW, since I never claimed why they are more likely to fail...):

After all, higher level PCs are more likely to fail their saving throws then at lower levels. Sad, huh?
Due to the fact they will be facing more powerful foes, AND 2/3rds of their saves are unlikely to improve in general, higher level PCs are more likely to fail their saving throws then at lower levels. I say again: sad, huh?

Our table has discussed it at length, and it makes no sense to any of us, so FWIW when we start our new campaign, the house-rules (which are not "broad" but cut "deep" into 5E mechanics) will have ALL creatures (PCs and monsters) proficient in ALL saves. PCs' selected saves will gain advantage, as will monsters with listed saves in their stat blocks. Now, don't worry, other parts of the "cutting deep" make it all work out nicely. :)
 

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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
You're missing the point. The issue is a level 1 rogue and a level 20 rogue will both fail the DC 12 (NOT talking powerful, here ;) ) CON save the same amount of the time. Especially in a feat-accessible game (85-90% of tables), it is unlikely the rogue with use an ASI on CON. Now, they might use it for Resilient, but then again there are a lot of other feats I see rogues taking first.

Anyway, this is despite the fact that the level 20 rogue has probably had to roll dozens, if not hundreds (well... maybe?) of CON saves during his adventures. But, he is NO better at them???

That makes no sense, whatsoever.
If they didn't invest at all in getting better at it, why would they be better at it? It makes perfect sense.

Now, I know the argument. Higher level PCs have more hit points (WotC's answer to everything, apparently) so the failed saves don't affect them as much. But, that is another leg of the HP bloat issue in 5E. Sure, its a "feature" of the game--a horrible one IMO.
a completely separate issue. If you don't like HP "bloat" and prefer that the accuracy numbers be what changes dramatically, that is just a system style preference. That's it. Feel free to change it or play something else, but acting like the system is wrong for preferencing one over the other is not reasonable.

We have a sorcerer/druid in our main game (level 15) who, naturally, lacks DEX saves. So, that DC to avoid that trap or Lightning Bolt or whatever is just as likely to fail at level 15 as he was at level 1, despite facing numerous traps, fireballs and lightning bolts, etc. during his 15 levels of adventure and danger.
Naturally?! LOL I've never seen a sorcerer or druid with less than 14 dex, but okay. Not to mention that they have spell solutions to dangers that a rogue would just use dex saves to avoid. But again, if they wanted to be better at avoiding those dangers, they should invest in that.

Finally, back to the original claim (which is entirely accurate, BTW, since I never claimed why they are more likely to fail...):
I really despise pedantry.



Due to the fact they will be facing more powerful foes, AND 2/3rds of their saves are unlikely to improve in general, higher level PCs are more likely to fail their saving throws then at lower levels. I say again: sad, huh?
Nope. Not only is the suggestion that something has changed on the player character side false, but also, no, it's not sad.
The character that isn't agile and coordinated is more likely to get hit by the lightning bolt from the lich than the lightning bolt from the apprentice. That's exactly right.

Our table has discussed it at length, and it makes no sense to any of us, so FWIW when we start our new campaign, the house-rules (which are not "broad" but cut "deep" into 5E mechanics) will have ALL creatures (PCs and monsters) proficient in ALL saves. PCs' selected saves will gain advantage, as will monsters with listed saves in their stat blocks. Now, don't worry, other parts of the "cutting deep" make it all work out nicely. :)
Whatever works for your table. I don't really care about other people's tables outside of getting ideas, and being happy for those who are having a good time, and having empathy for those who are having trouble making the game work for them.
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
If they didn't invest at all in getting better at it, why would they be better at it? It makes perfect sense.
So, no, it doesn't make sense. Because they've done it, used it, failed, and succeeded at it. It is called experience and that is what proficiency bonus is all about. They invested time and risked their lives in adventures, that should make them better.

a completely separate issue. If you don't like HP "bloat" and prefer that the accuracy numbers be what changes dramatically, that is just a system style preference. That's it. Feel free to change it or play something else, but acting like the system is wrong for preferencing one over the other is not reasonable.
For the record, I never said it was "wrong" so please stop trying to put words in my mouth. Obviously, I don't like it. So when it makes the game cumbersome, slow, and boring? Yeah, that is not a "feature" I want, thank you very much. If you want it, keep it. :)

LOL I've never seen a sorcerer or druid with less than 14 dex, but okay. Not to mention that they have spell solutions to dangers that a rogue would just use dex saves to avoid. But again, if they wanted to be better at avoiding those dangers, they should invest in that.
Wow, that is a lot of really dexy sorcerers and druids then. ;)

And again, they have invested in it via the times they've been tested against it. It comes back to experience, i.e. level, and the proficiency bonus that comes from that. A fighter with STR/CON save proficiency will never improve in DEX saves despite hundreds of encounters during his adventuring career? In other words, you're claiming if he doesn't "invest" in it, he's learned nothing from it. Why bother with experience or leveling at all then?

I really despise pedantry.
Good for you! :D

Nope. Not only is the suggestion that something has changed on the player character side false, but also, no, it's not sad.
The character that isn't agile and coordinated is more likely to get hit by the lightning bolt from the lich than the lightning bolt from the apprentice. That's exactly right.
So, cool, your characters learn nothing unless they are proficient in it? If that makes sense to you (as it seems to) then enjoy it. You're basically arguing "Hmm... I keep getting fried by those fireballs. I guess I should ask the rogue for some pointers." and the fighter talks to the rogue, yadda yadda yadda, and either improves his DEX or maybe picks up the Resilient feat. I guess otherwise your fighter just never figured it out after the 20th fireball and still gets nailed. Unless he's invested in it, he didn't learn a darn thing... Yep, that is SAD!!!

Also, I'm not talking about a LICH casting lightning bolt vs. an apprentice, BTW. You keep bringing more powerful monsters into the mix... I said the same DC 12 save, say DEX for a Create Bonfire spell.

If you think your 20th level fighter (rogue, or whatever) should be just as likely to fail that same save DC as he did at 1st level (which you seem to be okay with), then there's really no point in continuing the conversation.

EDIT: Besides which, this is getting well into threadjacking territory-- so, I've made my point and I'm letting it go.
 

Hriston

Adventurer
This thread reminded me of this video of the D&D Next R&D team playing Lich-Queen's Beloved. At about 54 minutes in, Greg Bilsland decides to have his character Blammo jump from some ridiculous height based on the fact that he knows he can take 20d6 damage. It takes over a turn for him to fall all the way down, so it's probably around 1,000 feet. He survives the fall, but the DM, Rodney Thompson, asks him for a CON save which I assume he failed because he falls unconscious afterwards.

It also reminded me of a situation in my current game that makes me sympathize with some of the posters here who object to the player's decision on the grounds of "metagaming". The party had found a group of creatures that I had described as asleep and had set up an ambush around them. One of the players declared that he was going to strike with his melee weapon, initiating combat. I described the creatures waking up and asked for Initiative. The player then asked if his attack was going to auto-crit if it hit because he was assuming that his target would have the Unconscious condition. I told him it would have if the target had still been asleep, but that it had woken up. The player actually ended up quitting the game because of this call.

Now, whether anyone agrees with my call or not is beside the point of my reason for bringing this up, which is that what I found annoying about this exchange was that by declaring that his character was attacking a sleeping creature, it seems the player felt that he had invoked a particular mechanical resolution, and that even when I described that the state of the fiction had changed because the creature had woken up, the player felt that I was somehow bound to honor this invocation. The impression it gave me was that the fiction didn't matter to this player, and that instead of playing the game by having his PC interact with the fiction I had presented, he, as a player, was interacting primarily with the mechanics.

I think this is similar in a way to how even though the OP is clearly not about a Christmas special themed campaign in which the barbarian is a half-bumble, and therefore just bounces, there seems to be an expectation on the player's part that by interacting directly with the hit point mechanics and essentially paying in hit points to overcome the obstacle of the chasm, there's no obligation on the part of the player to explain in the fiction how that's supposed to work out because he considers it sufficient to have interacted with the mechanics.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Dude, a 20th level Fighter, literally the greatest warrior in the kingdom, has an 8/20 chance (action surge, extra attack 3) of stabbing himself in the face or tripping over a deceased imaginary turtle, or disarming himself in a six second combat round.
First off, you don't fumble by just rollign a 1/d20, you need to confirm it (1/d6).

Second off, while maybe it's white-room theoretically possible a Fighter could get 8 attacks every round in my game (and it'd certainly involve a Haste spell!) I might throw in my DM hat if I ever see this arise in play.

Thinking it through, unless I'm missing something the best a 25th+-level Fighter could do here if fully tricked out and Hasted would be 7 attacks per round.

Third off, in your example those 8 attacks in one round are probably going to put the foe down just as dead as the 1st-level Fighter's 8 attacks in 8 rounds, assuming you're scaling your opponents to more or less agree with CR guidelines. Which means, the number of attacks over the combat are the same.

At 1st level his chance is 1/20 of fumbling, a chance that doubles when he uses Action surge.

His chances of screwing up increases as he gains experience.
Within a given round, yes. Within either a given combat or on any individual swing, no.

Crits work the same way, for what it matters.

I strongly suggest limiting 'fumbles' to only be applicable to the first attack roll, saving throw or ability check you make in a turn.
You can't fumble on a saving throw. Soemtimes depending on circumstance you can critically fail, but that's not the same thing. On a few types of ability checks you can fumble, but not all of them by any means.
 

Gammadoodler

Explorer
It also reminded me of a situation in my current game that makes me sympathize with some of the posters here who object to the player's decision on the grounds of "metagaming". The party had found a group of creatures that I had described as asleep and had set up an ambush around them. One of the players declared that he was going to strike with his melee weapon, initiating combat. I described the creatures waking up and asked for Initiative. The player then asked if his attack was going to auto-crit if it hit because he was assuming that his target would have the Unconscious condition. I told him it would have if the target had still been asleep, but that it had woken up. The player actually ended up quitting the game because of this call.

Now, whether anyone agrees with my call or not is beside the point of my reason for bringing this up, which is that what I found annoying about this exchange was that by declaring that his character was attacking a sleeping creature, it seems the player felt that he had invoked a particular mechanical resolution, and that even when I described that the state of the fiction had changed because the creature had woken up, the player felt that I was somehow bound to honor this invocation. The impression it gave me was that the fiction didn't matter to this player, and that instead of playing the game by having his PC interact with the fiction I had presented, he, as a player, was interacting primarily with the mechanics.
I sincerely hope there are some details missing here. Because it sounds like you pulled the old Charlie Brown football gag on your party.

If it truly was that the creatures just woke up at that precise moment for no particular reason, you're training your party that there is no advantage to engage with the fiction. Their choices don't matter, because in the the end you will just alter the fiction to ensure that your preferred scenario will occur.
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Well, except that if I can get a boulder dropped on me, solidly enough that I am pinned by it, without any actual injury, I...probably can walk away from big falls. And I know it.
Which merely shouts very loudly that there's a problem with the injury rules.

Well, that's not accurate. Rather, higher level enemies have harder abilities to save from, as they should. It always bothered me that my character had the same chance to save from the abilities of a lich as from the abilities of a low level necromancer.
I kind of agree, but the solution 3e put in where spell/ability level went into the save DC only served to help steepen the power curve far too much between low level and high.

0-1-2e's idea of saving throw matrices where each save gradually improves with level is a start, but doesn't answer your power-of-source point.
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
0-1-2e's idea of saving throw matrices where each save gradually improves with level is a start, but doesn't answer your power-of-source point.
FWIW, my changes to 5E bring this idea back into line: that as your PC raises in levels, they get better in all saves (not just the "proficient" ones). The power-of-source gets harder as the monsters get stronger of course (we all expect that), but at least now the PCs can at least somewhat keep pace.
 

First off, you don't fumble by just rollign a 1/d20, you need to confirm it (1/d6).

Second off, while maybe it's white-room theoretically possible a Fighter could get 8 attacks every round in my game (and it'd certainly involve a Haste spell!) I might throw in my DM hat if I ever see this arise in play.

Thinking it through, unless I'm missing something the best a 25th+-level Fighter could do here if fully tricked out and Hasted would be 7 attacks per round.
Im talking 5E here.

A 20th level fighter has 4 attacks per Attack action, and can Action surge for 4 more, plus any additional attacks for class features, as a bonus action or Haste and similar.
 

Well, except that if I can get a boulder dropped on me, solidly enough that I am pinned by it, without any actual injury, I...probably can walk away from big falls. And I know it.
No, you dont.

People have survived being shot at, being pinned by boulders drop on them, and large falls before. That doesnt make them immune to being killed on account of being shot at, having boulders drop on them, or large falls from that point onwards.
 

FireLance

Legend
I'm a rules guy. To me, taking 20d6 damage you could have easily avoided is punishment enough.

To me, the more serious underlying problem is that the player seems to want to play a fantasy supers game, and the DM wants to run one based on fantasy realism. IMO, this is the issue that needs to be resolved, not changing the rules on falling damage.

I thought one of the earlier suggestions was pretty good: ask the player to narrate how the character "only" took 20d6 damage when he reached the bottom, whether it is hitting the ground so hard at the point of impact that it slowed the character's fall, or clawing at the side of the cliff to slow his descent while laughing maniacally at the adrenaline rush.
 

Hriston

Adventurer
I sincerely hope there are some details missing here. Because it sounds like you pulled the old Charlie Brown football gag on your party.

If it truly was that the creatures just woke up at that precise moment for no particular reason, you're training your party that there is no advantage to engage with the fiction. Their choices don't matter, because in the the end you will just alter the fiction to ensure that your preferred scenario will occur.
That's not how I play. I don't have a "preferred scenario", and I'm very careful to honor the established fiction. I think you may have missed the point of my anecdote, but I realize how it might look from what I've described. The reason the creatures woke up is because they were attacked. I didn't intend this as a gotcha moment, and it didn't carry any heavily negative consequences for the players. They wanted to fight these creatures, and finding them asleep allowed the PCs to get into position around them and gain surprise quite easily. I think the player that was unhappy with my ruling may have seen it differently though, and my point was that I think this was because he had already made up his mind about how he thought his action should have been resolved, whereas my expectation is for the players to commit their PCs to an action and then be alright with finding out what happens next. The "what happens next" for the player's declaration of "I attack the creatures" was "The creatures wake up. Roll Initiative." I think now that I could have done a better job of foreshadowing that this was going to happen, but it really hadn't occurred to me that someone might have the assumption of a guarantee that a creature is going to stay asleep while being attacked, and it certainly wasn't my intention to mislead anyone in that direction.
 


Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Anyway, this is despite the fact that the level 20 rogue has probably had to roll dozens, if not hundreds (well... maybe?) of CON saves during his adventures. But, he is NO better at them???

That makes no sense, whatsoever.
I feel like over all 5e abandoned the generalized adventurer advancement angle ... I think that does not make sense that my adventurer barely gets better on a lot of adventuring skills.
 

FireLance

Legend
You're missing the point. The issue is a level 1 rogue and a level 20 rogue will both fail the DC 12 (NOT talking powerful, here ;) ) CON save the same amount of the time. Especially in a feat-accessible game (85-90% of tables), it is unlikely the rogue with use an ASI on CON. Now, they might use it for Resilient, but then again there are a lot of other feats I see rogues taking first.

Anyway, this is despite the fact that the level 20 rogue has probably had to roll dozens, if not hundreds (well... maybe?) of CON saves during his adventures. But, he is NO better at them???

That makes no sense, whatsoever.
This is a consequence of "bounded accuracy" (which is something I've never liked). It was a reaction to 4E's approach of "add half level to everything". The criticism then was "Why should my character get better at skills that he does not practice?" For example, Stealth for a paladin or Arcana for a barbarian.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
No, you dont.

People have survived being shot at, being pinned by boulders drop on them, and large falls before. That doesnt make them immune to being killed on account of being shot at, having boulders drop on them, or large falls from that point onwards.
Yes, I do. Because I can reliably survive having a boulder dropped on me and pinning me. It isn’t a fluke. It’s absurd to posit that the character doesn’t understand hat they have experienced. I’ve survived failed saves vs dragon fire that would have incinerated a common guard even on a success. I can keep coming up with examples.

The character knows that they can survive things that other people can’t. To suggest otherwise is entirely preposterous.
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
But you cant reliably survive having a boulder dropped on you and pinning you, and neither can your character!
Sure they can, it doesn’t deal that much damage.

Look,either the experiences of the character aren’t real from the perspective of the character, or the character has a decent idea what they’re capable of.
 

Sure they can, it doesn’t deal that much damage.
When you take damage from a 10 tonne boulder being dropped on you, (I dunno, 10d6 damage or whatever) and it doesnt kill you (on account of you having a lot of HP) the boulder doesnt land on you squarely.

You're saved by some lucky contrivance (being pinned in soft mud under the boulder), you resolutely leap out of the way at the last second, are saved by your experience telling you to look up in time, or the boulder lands next to you only just scraping your arm or whatever, trapping your cloak underneath it or whatever narrative contrivance the DM goes with to narrate your loss of HP.

Thats what HP are, an abstraction of luck, resolve, health and experience.

Its like saying 20th level characters can know they cant be killed by a dagger because a dagger only deals 1d4 damage. They get killed by daggers all the darn time.
 

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