Monday, November 15, 2010

When Saving Throws Stop Being So Safe...

In the last few weeks I have been on a quest to make my DnD campaign better. I have been trying to focus my attention on all aspects of gaming and have started focusing on some of the aspects of 4e with which I am not pleased. I have started brainstorming ideas about how to manage the rules in a better manner: house ruling some better solutions. We always have to keep in mind that the rules themselves, in any edition of any game, are not sacrosanct... the rules work for us, we do not work for them.

One of the first rules changes which I have decided to make is to dump 4e's system of dealing with saving throws. In 4e saving throws are usually only required when a character is afflicted with an ongoing effect or symptom. There are no longer any save-or-die type circumstances. The current system gives a character pretty much a 50/50 chance of making a save.

I have started playing around with two ideas. The first, and probably simpler, option is to bring back the 3/3.5 saving throws: fortitude, reflex, and will. They each correspond to the defense which is targeted by an attacking power. e.g. An attack that targets a character's will defense which requires a saving throw will be saved against with a character's will save. I have created a table which my players have all taken a look at. In most cases their chance of saving will suffer under the new system. Even so, they are willing to give it a whirl.

If the aforementioned system does not go well, I will begin experimenting with using ADnD saving throws, or at least something pretty close. I have actually already put together a table for this as well. This system may require much more tinkering as I will have to determine which powers require which saves.

I hope that this change to a more class and level based saving throw system will bring a little more danger or lethality to my game while making giving players' choices regarding class and race a little more of an edge. 


  1. Will dwarves still get +5 to poison saves? What about humans with Human Perseverance?

  2. Good points. Hmmm. I will have to take a look.