Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Saving Throws

Sometimes one thing will lead to another thing, and then another, until you are looking up things on the Internet again and trying to figure out how you are going to get out of this one.  It all started for me with updating monster stat blocks.  Well I guess since monsters play a large part of the mechanics of the game it's only natural that when you are dealing with them you will run into the rules.  In particular in this case I  ran into the rules about saving throws.  Well I thought I had it all figured out - anytime you needed to roll a 'reactive check' (basically a saving throw) such as fortitude or reflex you would simply roll physical skill + STR or DEX bonus against a DC.  Nice and simple.  Well it then made sense that for things like level drain or strength drain that you would roll physical skill + CHA bonus right?  It does make sense to me anyway.  Then I thought well resisting mind control and distractions could be physical skill + MIND bonus.   It even makes a nice table for reference:
Voila!  It all makes sense and the problem is solved.  Well not quite.

The problem now is that you have placed a real premium on the Physical skill.  As fighters are the only class to get bumps to this skill as a class advancement you have given fighter's a big bump as well.  This in itself isn't so bad but I can see this really cutting into the skills that players would otherwise take.  If the only way to increase your saves is to spend points on physical then people won't want to spend them on knowledge or communication as often.  Meanwhile that fighter with her built in class increase is becoming a better public speaker than the cleric and a better tracker than the hunter...  You could use other skills as the base for different checks to mix things up a bit, but it really doesn't solve the problem because some checks are going to be more common than others and it also makes things complicated.  Damn.

The solution I am thinking of for this is to instead use level + STAT bonus to do these saves.  I'd still use the same breakdown but instead of basing the advancement on the skill I'd use level (or half level actually) to model the character's increasing resistance to things.   This is nice cause it's simple and lets players increase their resistance without having to sacrifice skill choice. In someways I hate to do this cause it takes away a little from the skill system, (you can't build up your character to resist poisons or have amazing concentration) but in other ways it does bring experience into the equation and I think can live with that idea.

I think...  And just when I thought everything was all figured out too.

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