Saving Throws vs. Defenses, An Easier Way

One of the things I liked about 4e was that instead of rolling saving throws, Fortitude, Reflex and Will were defenses that worked like AC. This made everything in the game consistent and made it possible for magic spells to work just like physical attacks. In Next, they're going to be using every ability score for saving throws, and I like that, but I think it would be better if they were a "defense" score instead of being rolled. However, having a "Strength Defense" or "Intelligence Defense" would be... odd, not to mention confusing. But then an idea occurred to me, why not just have the ability score itself serve as the "defense"? For example, in order to hit someone with a fireball, you must roll a spell attack and "hit" their Dexterity score. If a target has a Dexterity score of 15, that would be the DC of hitting that creature with a fireball. Using the ability score as the defense is very simple, easy to understand, and also gives a benefit to having odd-numbered ability scores.

It may seem a bit unfair to spellcasters, because targets are effectively getting a +1 to their "defense" for each point of ability score above 10, instead of every 2 points (which gives you a +1 modifier). But after thinking about it, I don't think it would be unfair to spellcasters at all. Casters are also getting a bonus to their magic attacks of +2 or more, and their primary spellcasting ability is very likely to be their highest ability score. A wizard with a 20 Int and a +2 magic attack bonus is rolling +7 to "hit" with his spells. An opponent would have to have a 17 in his ability score just to be on an even footing! And nobody's going to have such a high score in every ability. Most creatures will have lower ability scores that a wizard can target with various spells. There could also, of course, be magical implements that add to spell attacks the same way magic weapons add to weapon attacks.

Thoughts?
You're right, it does seem unfair.

But one thing that doesn't seem to have been considered much at all is the prospect of tailoring attack spells to opponents' low saves (or low defenses, in this case).  With the current preparation system - you prep a spell, and can use it (or other spells) as many times as you have slots (the best of both the 3.x Wizard & Sorcerer!) - it wouldn't take too long for casters to have an attack spell ready to target each stat, and, with 5e emphasis on stats 'making sense' for the monster, you could then pretty reliably hit the small ones with STR saves, the dumb ones with INT saves, the big ones with DEX saves, and so forth.  A little memorizing of monster books wouldn't hurt, either.... or, rather, it would.

Inevitably, attack spells that force each of the 6 saves are going to come out - it's just too obvious and easy a way to make a new spell 'unique' and 'interesting,' some harried designer is going to resort to it eventually.

 

 

 

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This is not the worst idea I've heard. What I like about it is that it validates having odd stats, a little bit at least. I'm definitely going to do more thinking about this and see if I come up with something to contribute, because I think it needs a little refining.
Why don't they stick with Reflex/Will/Fort having to always check the spells to see whther I roll or my players roll is a PITA (DC or Spell Attack)...personally I think both sides should roll (no 10 mod) to reflect both the attacker getting a lucky shot or the target getting a lucky dodge (or sloppy or somewhere in between) and learning what type of save to target add some much needed tactical element to the game.

So Burning hands takes Int Mod+ other mods+D20 vs. Target Dex mod + other mods + d20.

Sidenote: I'd feats like Insightful Reflexes and Force of Personality come back as well...one of the few feats that were powerful AND lore heavy
This is not an awful idea at all.
I have considered this idea myself, and even suggested it in another thread.

That said, I'm still on the fence about it.  On the one hand, it's simple and straightforward, gives a good purpose to actual ability scores, and works much better than the current non-scaling saves that get so crappy as levels go up (okay maybe that's three hands)... but on the other (fourth?) hand I'm leery about the potential to have an 18 or even a 20 in one save/defense at 1st level.  In the scheme of things, I guess the former does outweigh the latter.

I do prefer the consistency of "actor rolls, reactor uses a static DC."  I've even considered trying to extend that to things like opportunity attacks.  I play and run a lot of play-by-post, and having all your rolls occur on your own turn speeds things up immensely, because (for instance) you don't have to wait around for the DM to roll a saving throw in order to know your spell hit (we use an online spreadsheet to calculate hit success/failure).

"I want 'punch magic in the face' to be a maneuver." -- wrecan

I like the idea of Saving Throws for Area of Effect spells and resistance to effects (such as poison).

A caster doesn't have to try to hit someone with a fireball; he just targets a point between enemies and hopes that any within the AoE take damage (because they fail to dodge or resist the damage, not because the caster succeeds in hitting them).

Spells that are used specifically as an attack vs. a specific target(s) should (and do) require an attack roll. 

With poisons, if it is from a weapon, the attacker has already succeeded in hitting the target. The target would then have to save (as in, his body would have to find a way of resisting) against the poison's effects. This would also be the case for ingested poisons or contact/insinuative poisons that are not the result of an attack.
I do like the consistent approach (i.e. saves static rather than spell DCs being static).  However, I think it would be a problem mathematically to just beat something's score.  In the context of PC stats it wouldn't matter much, but NPCs can have stats upwards of 25, making them nearly unhittable.  At the same time, if you make NPCs follow the same limitations as PCs for what their stats are allowed to be, you can't have a dragon or a pit fiend be stronger than an excellent human, which feels... weird.

In short, I like the idea in principle, but I don't think the math works out well. 
The concept could work with certain martial maneuvers as well. Trip is an example that should target Dex or Str rather than AC. Using an above example could you Trip a Dragon with 25 STR? Beat DC 25 and you can!
While a Contest rather than a Check may seem more appropriate the idea that someone is always contesting being Tripped, Mind Controlled, or whatever, in a fight would give using Ability as DC credence.

Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast is not responsible for the consequences of any failed saving throw, including but not limited to petrification, poison, death magic, dragon breath, spells, or vorpal sword-related decapitations.

I get the disconnect on AoE spells, and I could probably get behind a dichotomy of direct and indirect effect resolution, the latter needing a save, where the former are always against a DC (and resolved by the attacker). I'm glad most spells now target AC when they have a physical component to their effect, but I do like the idea of spells targeting ability scores as well. Perhaps designate an ability score for spells with indirect attacks based on school? This would make it much simpler than have "save vs X" for all of the same theme of spells (like illusions and charms). Martial maneuvers should also use a similar mechanic, IMO.

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In the context of PC stats it wouldn't matter much, but NPCs can have stats upwards of 25, making them nearly unhittable...

In short, I like the idea in principle, but I don't think the math works out well. 



You say that like it's a bad thing.  I have exactly zero problem with saying it's next to impossible to hit a storm giant's strength.  In fact, what I have a problem with is how pathetically easy it is to make a storm giant fail a strength save right now.  If you're fighting a storm giant, and you target strength, you deserve what's coming to you.  This is more or less the whole point of being a wizard: having the flexibility to choose the best spell for the situation.  That has to come with a downside that if you choose the exact wrong spell, you're worse off than the poor mundane sap who just does the same old things over and over.
Like trying to kill an ooze with a blunt weapon? Sometimes the wrong tool for the job just doesn't work. Conversely, it shouldn't be overly easy to trivialize an encounter because you are targeting the weakest ability of the target. Putting down a horde of hill giants shouldn't be as simple as using an AoE attack targetting Int, for example.

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Hold Person targets Wisdom and makes all Strength and Dexterity saves automatic fails.
It's a 2nd level spell.

I don't like the ability checks as saves at all. And their current descriptions does not help.

If you think my english is bad, just wait until you see my spanish and my italian. Defiling languages is an art.

Hold Person targets Wisdom and makes all Strength and Dexterity saves automatic fails.
It's a 2nd level spell.

I don't like the ability checks as saves at all. And their current descriptions does not help.

Hold Person has been always underleveled, but that is true of most save or suck spells.

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this is a decent idea. I do like saves but I don't like them for anything but stuff that actually has a chance of killing a character outright or otherwise requires the character to save themselves.


Saving vs a damage spell round in, round out just doesn't really feel like a saving throw. This is a decent way to keep things consistent.

One of the things I liked about 4e was that instead of rolling saving throws, Fortitude, Reflex and Will were defenses that worked like AC.


I disagree with the name of this thread. It's not easier... it's just different.

This made everything in the game consistent and made it possible for magic spells to work just like physical attacks.


I don't see the need for symetry between physical weapon attacks and magic. I don't want magic to work like physical attacks. 

It may seem a bit unfair to spellcasters, because targets are effectively getting a +1 to their "defense" for each point of ability score above 10, instead of every 2 points (which gives you a +1 modifier). But after thinking about it, I don't think it would be unfair to spellcasters at all. Casters are also getting a bonus to their magic attacks of +2 or more, and their primary spellcasting ability is very likely to be their highest ability score. A wizard with a 20 Int and a +2 magic attack bonus is rolling +7 to "hit" with his spells. An opponent would have to have a 17 in his ability score just to be on an even footing! And nobody's going to have such a high score in every ability. Most creatures will have lower ability scores that a wizard can target with various spells. There could also, of course, be magical implements that add to spell attacks the same way magic weapons add to weapon attacks.


It would require reworking the math, likely removing the magical to-hit bonus and just adding your ability score. And making the spells that were formerly attack spells work the same as other spells. 
Alternatively, you could just add 10 to the ability modifier and roll to hit that. It's a pretty easy house rule. 

In the end, it makes magical attacks very static.  While the fighter gets better and better at hitting, the wizard really doesn't. 

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They should bring back 4E defenses but with the added twist:

Fortitude defense: 10 + strength mod + con mod

Reflex defense: 10 + dex mod + int mod

Will defense: 10 + wis mod + cha mod


this way ALL atributes are included and if in testing this proves too strong they can always pump up starting attack bonus for spells and/or maneuvers.

I disagree with the name of this thread. It's not easier... it's just different.

It is easier.

Currently...
Lance of Faith: Wis + class bonus
Cause Fear: Wis + 10 + class bonus. 

Suggested..
Lance of Faith: Wis + class bonus
Cause Fear: Wis + class bonus. 


You now have 1 less number to add, 1 less number to calculate, and 1 less number to remember.  It's not exactly ground breaking, but it is easier.


That said.  The difference is minor enough that you can easily make this a mod.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

I don't see the need for symetry between physical weapon attacks and magic. I don't want magic to work like physical attacks. 

All direct/targetted attacks should be use the same mechanics, regardless of source. Same for indirect attacks. If I throw a grenade or lob a fireball, I see zero value in creating two different mechanics just because one attack is alchemical and the other is magical.
In the end, it makes magical attacks very static.  While the fighter gets better and better at hitting, the wizard really doesn't. 

That's a matter of perspective. Wizards get many indirect spells, which many do half damage on a miss/failed save. Wizards also increase in the number of targets they can affect per turn, at a significantly higher rate than fighters.

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They should bring back 4E defenses but with the added twist:

Fortitude defense: 10 + strength mod + con mod

Reflex defense: 10 + dex mod + int mod

Will defense: 10 + wis mod + cha mod


this way ALL atributes are included and if in testing this proves too strong they can always pump up starting attack bonus for spells and/or maneuvers.


Wouldn't it be easier to simply take the average score of each ability pair?

Fortitude defense: (str + con)/2

Reflex defense: (dex + int)/2

Will defense: (wis + cha)/2

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I don't see the need for symetry between physical weapon attacks and magic. I don't want magic to work like physical attacks. 

All direct/targetted attacks should be use the same mechanics, regardless of source. Same for indirect attacks. If I throw a grenade or lob a fireball, I see zero value in creating two different mechanics just because one attack is alchemical and the other is magical.


Agreed. 
Throwing a grenade or alchemist's fire should be resolved via a saving throw. 

You're not targeting the people. You're not personally aiming the blast. You're aiming at a square. The active party is the creatures dodging. 
Ditto PCs. If you're the one dodging or blocking an attack, you should be making a saving throw. Be it jumping out of the way of an avalach, avoiding a pit trap, or ducking to avoid a breath weapon.

5 Minute WorkdayMy Webcomic Updated Tue & Thur

The compilation of my Worldbuilding blog series is now available: 

Jester David's How-To Guide to Fantasy Worldbuilding.

I don't see the need for symetry between physical weapon attacks and magic. I don't want magic to work like physical attacks. 

All direct/targetted attacks should be use the same mechanics, regardless of source. Same for indirect attacks. If I throw a grenade or lob a fireball, I see zero value in creating two different mechanics just because one attack is alchemical and the other is magical.


Agreed. 
Throwing a grenade or alchemist's fire should be resolved via a saving throw. 

You're not targeting the people. You're not personally aiming the blast. You're aiming at a square. The active party is the creatures dodging. 
Ditto PCs. If you're the one dodging or blocking an attack, you should be making a saving throw. Be it jumping out of the way of an avalach, avoiding a pit trap, or ducking to avoid a breath weapon.

But arn't you just as much trying to dodge a sword swing or bow shot as you are a breath attack or gernade?

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

They should bring back 4E defenses but with the added twist:

Fortitude defense: 10 + strength mod + con mod

Reflex defense: 10 + dex mod + int mod

Will defense: 10 + wis mod + cha mod


this way ALL atributes are included and if in testing this proves too strong they can always pump up starting attack bonus for spells and/or maneuvers.


Wouldn't it be easier to simply take the average score of each ability pair?

Fortitude defense: (str + con)/2

Reflex defense: (dex + int)/2

Will defense: (wis + cha)/2



Yes, that too. It would even make use of that hated odd ability scores(if both paired are odd Tongue Out ).


I like the idea of Saving Throws for Area of Effect spells and resistance to effects (such as poison).

A caster doesn't have to try to hit someone with a fireball; he just targets a point between enemies and hopes that any within the AoE take damage (because they fail to dodge or resist the damage, not because the caster succeeds in hitting them).

Unless you think of the roll as determining how well you cast the spell.  Perhaps that's harder to parse when rolling to "hit" each target in the area, but it seems fair that bigger spells require superior control to make sure you're covering the whole area effectively.  Right now, a wizard can always cast fireball with a consistent, unwavering level of competence, regardless of cirumstances, which is more of a problem in my mind than rolling to "hit" with a fireball.

As for using a static DC to defend against the spell, that's an abstraction to speed up play and reduce swinginess, same as AC.  If my character has an 18 AC and is wearing light armor, chances are I am actively dodging to avoid blows just as someone might actively try and evade an AoE spell, but I still use the static AC value when someone takes a swing at me.

I see no inherent superiority to DC vs. save for AoE attacks.

Spells that are used specifically as an attack vs. a specific target(s) should (and do) require an attack roll.

Right now only physical attacks require a roll.  I'd like to see all attacks require rolls.

With poisons, if it is from a weapon, the attacker has already succeeded in hitting the target. The target would then have to save (as in, his body would have to find a way of resisting) against the poison's effects. This would also be the case for ingested poisons or contact/insinuative poisons that are not the result of an attack.

I don't think anyone is arguing that you should make saves against ongoing conditions like poison.  But saves are just specialized, restricted ability checks right now, and should probably just be collapsed into checks.

"I want 'punch magic in the face' to be a maneuver." -- wrecan

It would require reworking the math, likely removing the magical to-hit bonus and just adding your ability score. And making the spells that were formerly attack spells work the same as other spells. 
Alternatively, you could just add 10 to the ability modifier and roll to hit that. It's a pretty easy house rule. 

In the end, it makes magical attacks very static.  While the fighter gets better and better at hitting, the wizard really doesn't. 

Huh?  Why would targeting ability scores require you to drop spell attack scaling?

The spell DC-to-save relationship is already broken from improper scaling.  Right out of the gate, spell DCs are higher than saves, and then spell DCs actually scale, while saves effectively don't (maybe two of your saves scale a couple points, but that's it).  If you put points into an ability score, it can actually scale more (and potentially get higher) than AC, and will definitely serve you better than a save.  This doesn't solve the problem that the only saves/defenses that scale up are those that you put points in (could be fixed by replacing a couple of instances of "+1 to two" with "+1 to all"), but it certainly doesn't effect scaling in the way you seem to be implying.

"I want 'punch magic in the face' to be a maneuver." -- wrecan

They should bring back 4E defenses but with the added twist:

Fortitude defense: 10 + strength mod + con mod

Reflex defense: 10 + dex mod + int mod

Will defense: 10 + wis mod + cha mod


this way ALL atributes are included and if in testing this proves too strong they can always pump up starting attack bonus for spells and/or maneuvers.


Wouldn't it be easier to simply take the average score of each ability pair?

Fortitude defense: (str + con)/2

Reflex defense: (dex + int)/2

Will defense: (wis + cha)/2




How about

Fort: Str Mod or Con Mod + d20
Ref: Dex Mod or Int Mod + d20
Will: Wis Mod or Cha Mod + d20

So lance of faith: wis+other mod+d20 vs. ref+other mod+d20  this would reflect the attackers ateempt to hit the opponent and the targets ability to dodge.

This makes it so both sides roll every time no need to continually check which side is supposed to roll.
But arn't you just as much trying to dodge a sword swing or bow shot as you are a breath attack or gernade?


True, there are two active parties in a melee strike: the person swinging the sword and the person trying to block. But the best way to represent that is a parry roll (or rolling your AC against every strike) and that slows down the game. For people who like that, it's a valid house rule (remove 10 as the baseline AC and substitude a d20 roll). 

There is one active party in avoiding a spell: the person dodging.
If a wizard targets a 20x20 room filled with 10 goblins with a fireball they're not aiming at all 10 goblins individually. They're aiming at the middle of the room. The only attack roll the wizard would have to make is the immobile square being targeted. 
If they're aiming at one particular goblin, maybe they should have to make an attack roll. As a DM thinking about a situational bonus, I *might* allow the players to try and hit the goblin.  

The PC rolling all the attack rolls or the DM rolling all the saving throws is pretty much the same for table drag. Same dice, same addition, etc. Except... the wizard player needs to convey each and every roll across the table. The DM doesn't, he just needs to say who fails and saves.
And the DM can also make judgment calls. If the fireball would kill certain mobs even on a save he doesn't need to roll. And since the results aren't being spoken across the table, the DM doesn't need to add all the results, just the ones that might be close. 
So everything else being equal, it's a hair faster to have AoE spells use saving throws than attack rolls. Which means it's a better baseline option. 

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The compilation of my Worldbuilding blog series is now available: 

Jester David's How-To Guide to Fantasy Worldbuilding.

How about

Fort: Str Mod or Con Mod + d20
Ref: Dex Mod or Int Mod + d20
Will: Wis Mod or Cha Mod + d20

So lance of faith: wis+other mod+d20 vs. ref+other mod+d20  this would reflect the attackers attempt to hit the opponent and the targets ability to dodge.

This makes it so both sides roll every time no need to continually check which side is supposed to roll.

That's a lot of extra rolling for questionable gain. I'm not a fan of the stat X OR stat Y because it makes one of the two scores irrelevant. Here's a relatively simple formula using a similar idea:

d20 + [attack ability*] - [defense ability*] >= 10 is a hit/success.
* this could be the score or mod, as long as it's the same for both.

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How about

Fort: Str Mod or Con Mod + d20
Ref: Dex Mod or Int Mod + d20
Will: Wis Mod or Cha Mod + d20

So lance of faith: wis+other mod+d20 vs. ref+other mod+d20  this would reflect the attackers attempt to hit the opponent and the targets ability to dodge.

This makes it so both sides roll every time no need to continually check which side is supposed to roll.

That's a lot of extra rolling for questionable gain. I'm not a fan of the stat X OR stat Y because it makes one of the two scores irrelevant. Here's a relatively simple formula using a similar idea:

d20 + [attack ability*] - [defense ability*] >= 10 is a hit/success.
* this could be the score or mod, as long as it's the same for both.



this both needlessly slows down the game,

also having to pick between mods for defense again goes to dumping stats.
The biggest reason to make defenses core (rolling saves can be the module) is it simplifies and streamlines so much of the game.


Why can a drunk blindfolded wizard cast fireball while standing next to an enemy berserker and hit his foes without fail 100% of the time and be no way impeded? 
Why does there need to be a Save DC chart and a spell attack bonus chart?
Why does advantage/disadvantage no interact with spells (except in corner cases)?
Why are saving throws ability checks with additional rules to make them not quite ability checks?
Why does ray of frost target AC?
And many more questions...

Having defenses as core simplifies the rules, removes some unnecessary steps, and makes the game easier and run smoother overall. The saving throw module can be added for additional complexity and "that old school feel".

I would suggest these changes: Spells target a defense and the caster always rolls. Saving throws no longer exist and are completely subsumed by ability checks. A few game mechanics would still call for an ability check where before they called for a saving throw. (For example, a poisoned dagger targets AC and if it hits the target makes a Constitution check to resist the poison. Compare this to a paralysis spell that a caster casts at a targets Fortitude Defense - the caster is attempting to overcome the targets defense with his magic so he rolls an attack).

I like the idea of Fort = (Str + Con)/2 etc. It uses all 6 ability scores so no score is a dump stat. It also allows 2 odd ability scores to provide benefit when paired together.
How about

Fort: Str Mod or Con Mod + d20
Ref: Dex Mod or Int Mod + d20
Will: Wis Mod or Cha Mod + d20

So lance of faith: wis+other mod+d20 vs. ref+other mod+d20  this would reflect the attackers attempt to hit the opponent and the targets ability to dodge.

This makes it so both sides roll every time no need to continually check which side is supposed to roll.

That's a lot of extra rolling for questionable gain. I'm not a fan of the stat X OR stat Y because it makes one of the two scores irrelevant. Here's a relatively simple formula using a similar idea:

d20 + [attack ability*] - [defense ability*] >= 10 is a hit/success.
* this could be the score or mod, as long as it's the same for both.



this both needlessly slows down the game,

also having to pick between mods for defense again goes to dumping stats.



I fail to see how two people rolling a d20 each is slower than 1 person rolling a d20...its takes the same amount of time (assuming equal abilitiy for simple addition) and makes more sense in the context of the attacker and the defender

As for dump stats...I'm the opposite I hate being forced to be a decent number in all stats...what if I want my barbarian half-orc to be a blithering moron or a wizard that is incredibly frail...or hell the other way around it's fun to role play (a moron with fireballs is hilarious) besides saves aren't the only reason to use stats.
How about

Fort: Str Mod or Con Mod + d20
Ref: Dex Mod or Int Mod + d20
Will: Wis Mod or Cha Mod + d20

So lance of faith: wis+other mod+d20 vs. ref+other mod+d20  this would reflect the attackers attempt to hit the opponent and the targets ability to dodge.

This makes it so both sides roll every time no need to continually check which side is supposed to roll.

That's a lot of extra rolling for questionable gain. I'm not a fan of the stat X OR stat Y because it makes one of the two scores irrelevant. Here's a relatively simple formula using a similar idea:

d20 + [attack ability*] - [defense ability*] >= 10 is a hit/success.
* this could be the score or mod, as long as it's the same for both.



this both needlessly slows down the game,

also having to pick between mods for defense again goes to dumping stats.



I fail to see how two people rolling a d20 each is slower than 1 person rolling a d20...its takes the same amount of time (assuming equal abilitiy for simple addition) and makes more sense in the context of the attacker and the defender

As for dump stats...I'm the opposite I hate being forced to be a decent number in all stats...what if I want my barbarian half-orc to be a blithering moron or a wizard that is incredibly frail...or hell the other way around it's fun to role play (a moron with fireballs is hilarious) besides saves aren't the only reason to use stats.



You can still have that, but if lets say you have wis and cha 12, and they both count for will you'll have will defense of 12.
if you have one 10 and other 14, you'll have will defense 12,
if you have one 16 and other 8, you'll have defense 12, etc...

but if you pick only one of those your defence will get better the more you pump up only one score.


4E allowed for stat dumping; 3E did too, as the non-save stats were easier to dump than others (Strength and Charisma were the big ones; at least Int had skill points behind it). Averaging modifiers for saves or defenses, or adding them, would help aleviate this.

Having separate saves (or defenses) for each of the 6 abilities makes it easier to find a weak point. At first, I liked this, but I think it's going to be problematic. If the Wizard is balanced at having something like a 40% chance opponents will fail their saves, on average, then going after a stat that's significantly lower than the average quickly gets you to 90% or higher chance of the opponent failing their save. I like that it will make players feel their low stats, but it might be too much.

As for using the score as the defense, I would really love to see this done in a way that works. If attacks scaled with level and started with a significant enough bonus, it might be able to keep up with ability score scaling. I'd really like to see the ability scores worth something again, and not be throwbacks that we can toss aside and just use the modifier (hi M&M3E).

Poe's Law is alive and well.

Sorry Xeviat but with the averaged defenses you may as well have everything just auto-hit since no on would ever say from anything unless their str/con, dex/int or wis/cha based that they can auto-miss of fort, reflex, will respectively since nothing will ever hit it.

It doesn't HAVE to be complicated to work

Str or Con = fort
Dex or Int = reflex
Wis or Cha = will

All attacks both the attacker and defender roll a d20 (two for dis/advantage) than any relavent attack/defense and than any misc mods.
In favor of 4th edition, I saw more classes with high charisma scores in it than in any previous editions. A lot of players chose to up their Cha scores to pump their will defense, even knowing that Wisdom would have helped the almighty perception checks.

Having an active an passive state of defense would not be new, Perception and Sense Motive were two more defenses.

Active defenses (1d20 + save mods) could be limited to special cases, like saves against a DC, or a player using full defense.

And instead of limiting the choice of abilities between Str/Con, Dex/Int, and Wis/Cha, it can be interesting to go back to more specialized saves, we can easily create six defenses including AC, and adding choices like Cha/con when some stubborness is required, Dex/wis when reaction is the key of the save, or even Str/ Dex to save against push or prone effects.
This would limit the destruction of characters through their unavoidable weaknesses, like hold person targetting a mental stat to nullify the benefits from two physical stats on future saves.

The abilities as saves are problematic even from a more conceptual point of view. For example, Intelligence is described as only active against spells, and "intellect" means that most effects targetting Wis or Cha could be saved with Int if spells descriptions weren't imposing the targeted defense.

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I would prefer each class have the ability to target different saves and AC. Whether this is based on seperate saves for each ability, or 4E based groupings has pros and cons. Along the same lines the attack or DC bonuses should be based on one primary ability, or spread out to each ability as well. So if a wizard has a charm spell, its DC would be modified by the wizards charisma, and the target would resist it based on their charisma.
One of the things I liked about 4e was that instead of rolling saving throws, Fortitude, Reflex and Will were defenses that worked like AC.


I disagree with the name of this thread. It's not easier... it's just different.



You misunderstand me. I wasn't suggesting that using static defenses is easier than rolled saving throws, I was suggesting that using the ability score itself is easier than having a separate defense stat for each ability, i.e. "Strength Defense", "Dexterity Defense", etc. the way that 4e had Fortitude Defense, Reflex Defense and Will Defense.

 
I don't see the need for symetry between physical weapon attacks and magic. I don't want magic to work like physical attacks.



You're entitled to your opinion. I think it's better that magic requires some kind of roll from the caster and has a chance to fail, crit, etc. like weapon attacks can.  For example, I could see a charm type spell that charms that target on a regular hit, or dominates them on a crit. You can't really do stuff like that with saving throws, at least not as easily. Also, it's alot easier to add penalties to casters' attack rolls than their save DCs. A drunk wizard should have disadvantage on casting his spells, for example. But how do you do that with a saving throw? Do you give the target advantage on his save? That's just odd. It's much more intuitive to have the caster be the one who rolls the attack. That said, I still want there to be saving throws in the game. I don't think a pit trap should roll to "hit" your character and make him fall in it, for example.
One of the things I liked about 4e was that instead of rolling saving throws, Fortitude, Reflex and Will were defenses that worked like AC.


I disagree with the name of this thread. It's not easier... it's just different.



You misunderstand me. I wasn't suggesting that using static defenses is easier than rolled saving throws, I was suggesting that using the ability score itself is easier than having a separate defense stat for each ability, i.e. "Strength Defense", "Dexterity Defense", etc. the way that 4e had Fortitude Defense, Reflex Defense and Will Defense.


Ah. That does make sense. Although, it occurs to me now that having 6 defences means everyone will have 2 or 3 dump stats that could be targeted.

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One of the things I liked about 4e was that instead of rolling saving throws, Fortitude, Reflex and Will were defenses that worked like AC.


I disagree with the name of this thread. It's not easier... it's just different.



You misunderstand me. I wasn't suggesting that using static defenses is easier than rolled saving throws, I was suggesting that using the ability score itself is easier than having a separate defense stat for each ability, i.e. "Strength Defense", "Dexterity Defense", etc. the way that 4e had Fortitude Defense, Reflex Defense and Will Defense.


Ah. That does make sense. Although, it occurs to me now that having 6 defences means everyone will have 2 or 3 dump stats that could be targeted.



It means that it will be pitifully easy for wizards to hit their foes more than anything else. Especially with how wizards memorize now. Consolidation to 3 defenses would help that immensely (especially if the defenses drew on 2 attributes each to make dumping stats less viable).
especially if the defenses drew on 2 attributes each to make dumping stats less viable).



Why is this an issue, what makes it so imperative that dump stats should be removed
Sorry Xeviat but with the averaged defenses you may as well have everything just auto-hit since no on would ever say from anything unless their str/con, dex/int or wis/cha based that they can auto-miss of fort, reflex, will respectively since nothing will ever hit it.

It doesn't HAVE to be complicated to work

Str or Con = fort
Dex or Int = reflex
Wis or Cha = will

All attacks both the attacker and defender roll a d20 (two for dis/advantage) than any relavent attack/defense and than any misc mods.



Ooo, but it could be complicated.
Fort = lesser of Str or Con Score + greater of Str or Con modifier.
Ref = lesser of Dex or Int Score + greater of Dex or Int modifier.
Will = lesser of Wis or Cha Score + greater of Wis or Cha modifier.

That gives a range of about 8-25 for PCs, pushing most toward the lower levels and penalizing dump stats more so than benefiting high stats. An alternative would be to swap lesser and greater. You get about the same range, but most characters will have 2 around 20 eventually instead of 2 around 15 eventually.
Either way, while 25 is possible it basically means you have one awesome defense and two lousy ones (unless you're a level 20 monk, though if they did this I'm sure that feature would change). And someone with all 12s in his stats has 13s on all his defenses.