Friday, April 08, 2011

save versus yo mama

Later today I plan on writing up a short report on the key events of this week's D&D game, but first I wanted to talk just a tad about my new saving throw rules.  It all started a session or two back with Charles.  He's one of my groovy regular players and a very smart dude.  Charles started out with WotC's 3rd edition D&D and one of the trickier things for him to grok in my campaigns has been the saving throw system.  The old saves just made no sense to him.  So a few weeks back he asked me to explain the thinking behind the original Poison/Dragon Breath/Whatever/Whatever system.

And I couldn't do it.  I came up completely blank.  Ever since I've been brooding over this situation.  I feel certain that a logical justification for the Gygaxian saving throw can be constructed and almost assuredly has.  But a system that can be justified and one that actually makes sense are not the same things. Finally I came to the conclusion that for me the saving throw chart was a clunky matrix that didn't help as much as it should.  Every time I use it play is slowed down and someone has to be reminded whether rolling high is good or bad and someone then asks whether its roll above the target number or equal to and higher.

So it's time for me to retire the saving throw chart and replace it with some more sleek and modern.  On Wednesday I pitched two options to the group.  One was the 3.x system of bonuses for saves based upon the three categories Fortitude, Reflexes and Will.  The other was an adaptation of the Swords & Wizardry one-save-fits-all system. They opted for the latter.

So here's my new house rule for saves.

All saves are d20 roll, with a 20 or more needed to save.

Everyone adds to their roll a base +4.
You also add your level.
Magic-Users get +2 versus anything magical.
Fighters get +2 versus anything where sheer physical toughness is a factor.
Thieves get +2 versus anything that can be dodged.
Changelings get a flat +1 bonus to all saves.

So a third level magic-user could record his saves as "+7 save/+9 versus magic".  Or a ninth level changeling as simply "save +14".