Saving throw rolls (3e style) versus attack rolls-against-defenses (4e)

I noticed DDN seems to be going kind of back and forth on how to handle spells that in 3e the defender rolled a saving throw versus a DC while in 4e the attacker rolled an attack versus the defender's appropriate defense. Personally I prefer the 4e system of having the attacker always make the attack roll. It's easier to understand and remember when you're learning the system and there's no confusion when a new spell or ability comes up over who has to make the roll. ("Is this a saving throw? Or is it a ranged attack? Who's rolling, what's your DC?... etc") Especially in my case where I'm switching back and forth between gaming groups, one who plays 4e, another playing 3e and a third playing DDN, and the advantage of the 4e system just seems really clear to me by comparison.

Of course that's just my opinion. Aside from nostalgia I don't see the advantage to using 3e style saving throws instead of 4e attack rolls versus defenses but feel free to agree or disagree.

 
It's possible to put together a justification for basically any arbitrary combination of who-rolls-whats, and I'm sure we'll see no shortage of them in this thread. The most common justifications for doing it the way Next does, however, involve

- Spells being more likely to target multiple creatures (and thus have several different target numbers to worry about hitting at once if you're doing attacker-rolls); it's somewhat easier to deal with multiple-target effects if the same person is reporting the number for each target as he's looking at what needs to be rolled for that target.
- A desire for a feeling, as a player, that you have an extra chance against something that's really going to mess you up - that it's somehow more in your hands - and spells are more likely to mess you up worse than normal attacks are.
- Various feelings about the different nature of magic spells and weapon attacks that boil down to something like, "Well, hitting someone with a sword, that's like, you're kind of doing the thing, and it's up to you to hit, not up to the other guy to get out of the way, but shooting someone with a lightning bold, that's kind of like the lightning bolt just sorta happens 'cause that's how magic is, I guess, and it's up to the other guy to actively dodge. To actively dodge the lightning. Not the sword swing, you don't roll to get out of the way of something like that, just the lightning." I personally find these arguments not remotely convincing.

I really do understand the first two rationales, and if there was a world where we could have everything, I wouldn't want to give them up, but I think the tremendous system-wide boons from having attacker-rolls as the default more than make up for it. That's not what we have, though, and not what we're going to have, and and at the end of the day, it doesn't really make that big of a difference.
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They're based on the old school saves where certain attack forms such as rods, breath weapons, and spells were run on a separate system. I believe it was a roll under system where each class/level of had a different rating against certain special attacks and they or the DM would roll whenever they were subjected to such attacks to see if they were affected.

3e stremlined this by making all the special attacks target one of three defenses based on whether it was a dodgeable attack, mental attack, or resistable attack.

4e, returned to the use of static defenses, but put the stats fo the attacker into the mix, and kept the 3-defense model.

There's no real inherent advantage to either system, but 4e's had the advantage of fititng into the normal combat rules better than either the 3e or 5e equivalents, and being generally better constructed and less sloppy.
I noticed DDN seems to be going kind of back and forth on how to handle spells that in 3e the defender rolled a saving throw versus a DC while in 4e the attacker rolled an attack versus the defender's appropriate defense.

Hasn't it been some spells are saves, and some target AC?

Personally I prefer the 4e system of having the attacker always make the attack roll. It's easier to understand and remember when you're learning the system and there's no confusion when a new spell or ability comes up over who has to make the roll.

Sure.  But, mathematically the difference is pretty nearly moot.  Whether a wizard with a +4 stat bonus and +3 magic bonus is trying to 'hit' a Will Defense of 12 or the monster is trying to make a DC 17 save with a +1 bonus, the expected result is the same.

Of course that's just my opinion. Aside from nostalgia I don't see the advantage to using 3e style saving throws instead of 4e attack rolls versus defenses but feel free to agree or disagree.  

Well, one advantage of saves is that the DM makes the roll:  if he wishes to keep the monster's abilities secret, he can make that roll behind the screen.  With an attack roll,  you know the defense you would have hit, so you can (eventually) zero in on the monster's true defense.  I suppose that could also be seen as keeping magic 'mysterious.'  





 

 

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One of the reasons that hasn't been mentioned yet for why it's better to have the spellcaster attacking rather than to have their target make a save is the effect of attack bonuses. Let's say that we have a spell like Bless that gives a +1 bonus to attack or a feature like the Halfling's "Lucky" trait that allows it to re-roll natural 1's on attack rolls. Well, if only weapon-users actually make attack rolls, the use of those abilities is dramatically altered. If, on the other hand, everybody makes attack rolls, then those effects are more predictably and appropriately broadly applicable. For a similar outcome in the current system, though, something like Bless would need to have the additional effect of boosting the save DC of allies' effects and something like Lucky would need to have the additional effect of forcing enemies to re-roll natural 20's against the character's effects, all of which is needlessly complex. The parallel structure would better streamline game mechanics like these.

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Saving throws lead to inconsistency with the (dis)advantage system and with the power level of things using saving throws.

In the case of spells, a spellcaster may have disdvantage against a target, but not against some others.
What does the double standard of saving throw means ? That the object (the spell in this case) using saving throw acts on its own once cast ? But in this case, any spell using the concentration mechanics should never use saving throws.

The devs should be clear about how the envision spellcasting.
Saving throws double standard implies that a spellcaster can only cast a perfect spell or miss entirely the spellcasting. Each target reacts against a perfect form of the spell. Then how a disadvantage or advantage concerning the spellcaster could impact a spell ?
If the spellcaster is in control, determining the level of power of his spell through the quality of his current spellcasting, then there's only one action involved, and a area spell good enough to trick a high dexterity rogue and damage him should automatically be good enough to hit every people less quick to react.

When a character with 25 in the realted ability score misses a saving throw in his corner of an AE, and then another character with 10 in the same ability score within the same fireball succeeds, it means that there's a huge difference in power between these two corners of the spell.


The points in favor of single standard passive defenses are that it will always be faster to opose one attack roll to the defense of every targets than rolling as many saving throws than there are targets, and they are better to handle dangers triggered by players as the secret roll from DM is the norm. I know that saving throws can be converted, but what I don't know is the interest offered by this double standard.

One players on our first 4th edition adventure reaction was : "the venom attacks me ?"
We were agree that the object putting another on the defensive was the poison, the reaction was only a question of wording. Just like bloodied condition when HPs are an abstraction. It would be better to refer to something like "danger level" instead of attack level for triggered dangers.

Wording always make a better work than creating a double standard IMO.

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I see values in both systems, although I lean more towards 4e defenses than saves. Perhaps as a slightly different take on this topic, have "direct" attacks target defenses, while "indirect" attacks are treated as saves.

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Personally I prefer the 4e system of having the attacker always make the attack roll. It's easier to understand and remember when you're learning the system and there's no confusion when a new spell or ability comes up over who has to make the roll. ("Is this a saving throw? Or is it a ranged attack? Who's rolling, what's your DC?... etc") 
 




Some considerations:

-> In all my role-playing life saving throws having been rolled by the targets. I've played with countless new players along the years some of which had never had any experience with any RPG whatsoever, and none of them had the slightest problem understanding a save roll or attack roll. If a player can't figure out save rolls I'd start to seriously doubt his mental capacity to play this game. This is not meant as an insult to anyone, the game doesn't even require that much, but it's a fact. In fact, there are other rules in D&D that are way more elaborate than saving throws, and players will need a grasp of those too. So, seriously, if he can't figure out something so simple as that maybe this is just not the kind of game for him.

-> An attack roll is an active attempt to hit something (can be with a sword, bow and arrow, or even a ray-like spell that requires a to hit). A save is an automatic reactive attempt to avoid some hazard. A poison, an explosion, etc. Even though the math is in theory the same whether you use target save rolls, or attacker to hit rolls, it's pretty clear to me the contextual difference for each roll and why the emphasis on target or attacker rolling in each case.

-> Examples: When you fire an arrow or a magical ray, you're actually trying to hit something by aiming the attack. When you unleash a fireball, there's no need for a "hit". You basically throw the magic ball of fire in an area and the whole area explodes. The targets there try to minimize the danger by reflexively avoiding the worst of it.

-> Some situations would just feel weird to me if saves were attack rolls and not reactive responses by the target. Example: Boulders come rolling down the mountain and risk crushing the players; the players roll a Reflex save to get out of the way and avoid the boulders.
The alternative would be... "the mountain rolls an attack against the players"?? Undecided 

-> Lastly, and more importantly (to me at least), save rolls by the players are always an interesting moment of tension in the game table. Attack rolls and damage rolls come and go without much fuss, but when the DM tells a player "the monster does 'something', now roll a save" there is that moment of tension, suspense and mystery. The player sweats as he rolls the save not knowing what to expect if he fails. Everyone else in the table stares at him intently waiting for the outcome.

I wouldn't want to lose that. Those are very cool moments that make the game more lively, that make the players fear for their character's safety once in a while. Maybe the effect isn't even anything serious to worry about, but the mystery and suspense are there nonetheless.

I wouldn't want to replace that by the DM just saying "well, the monster hit your will defense, so now you're held imobile."

Some people might not care for that, I understand.
But me? I wouldn't ever want to lose those moments in a D&D game.
 
I liked having the traps and environment making attack rolls, it meant that if the player was taking defensive penalties the traps and such became deadlier as well. The whole system felt better integrated and coherent in 4e.

I don't put much stock in the idea that it's somehow more dramatic to have the PCs roll their own saves, I will grant you there is an element of player engagement in saves, but honestly I think you can get the same effect by switchung to active models for both attack and defense.

You can have multiple resolution systems in the game (such as attack rolls vs. saves and DCs) but you have to be careful, thoughtful, and keep the split in mind while building the game and writing the content. I doubt wizards would do a good job so it's safer to use a unified system. 
Personally, I prefer a Players Roll Everything approach as seen in the 3E Unearthed Arcana. That includes defense rolls modified by your AC bonus when the DM declares an attack against you. A more extreme approach to this is the system used in Dungeon World where the players always roll and if they fail/miss by a certain amount (usually determined by a natural die roll) then bad stuff (such as damage) automatically happens to them. In such a system the monsters don't actually have turns per se, they just make reactions based on the results of the players' rolls ("Oh, your longsword sailed over the orc's head giving him an opportunity to slash against your exposed arm. You take 3 damage.")

However, if we must have both Team Player and Team Monster rolling I prefer it to be consistent and logical. That means either attacker always rolls, defender always rolls, or both (opposed checks). Next is exposing the glaring design shortcomings of using an inconsistent model, as right now disadvantage has absolutely zero effect on a spellcaster's ability to connect with spells. As more options are added to the game, the effect of these inconsistencies are only going to multiply and become worse.

For the record, when I told a new player (who had only played 4E and the Dragon Age RPG) that in earlier versions of DnD that the attacker rolls if its a weapon attack but the defender rolls if its a spell, his exact words were "That's effing stupid." His words, not mine. ;) 
Personally I prefer the 4e system of having the attacker always make the attack roll. It's easier to understand and remember when you're learning the system and there's no confusion when a new spell or ability comes up over who has to make the roll. ("Is this a saving throw? Or is it a ranged attack? Who's rolling, what's your DC?... etc") 
 




Some considerations:

-> In all my role-playing life saving throws having been rolled by the targets. I've played with countless new players along the years some of which had never had any experience with any RPG whatsoever, and none of them had the slightest problem understanding a save roll or attack roll. If a player can't figure out save rolls I'd start to seriously doubt his mental capacity to play this game. This is not meant as an insult to anyone, the game doesn't even require that much, but it's a fact. In fact, there are other rules in D&D that are way more elaborate than saving throws, and players will need a grasp of those too. So, seriously, if he can't figure out something so simple as that maybe this is just not the kind of game for him.

-> An attack roll is an active attempt to hit something (can be with a sword, bow and arrow, or even a ray-like spell that requires a to hit). A save is an automatic reactive attempt to avoid some hazard. A poison, an explosion, etc. Even though the math is in theory the same whether you use target save rolls, or attacker to hit rolls, it's pretty clear to me the contextual difference for each roll and why the emphasis on target or attacker rolling in each case.

-> Examples: When you fire an arrow or a magical ray, you're actually trying to hit something by aiming the attack. When you unleash a fireball, there's no need for a "hit". You basically throw the magic ball of fire in an area and the whole area explodes. The targets there try to minimize the danger by reflexively avoiding the worst of it.

-> Some situations would just feel weird to me if saves were attack rolls and not reactive responses by the target. Example: Boulders come rolling down the mountain and risk crushing the players; the players roll a Reflex save to get out of the way and avoid the boulders.
The alternative would be... "the mountain rolls an attack against the players"??  

-> Lastly, and more importantly (to me at least), save rolls by the players are always an interesting moment of tension in the game table. Attack rolls and damage rolls come and go without much fuss, but when the DM tells a player "the monster does 'something', now roll a save" there is that moment of tension, suspense and mystery. The player sweats as he rolls the save not knowing what to expect if he fails. Everyone else in the table stares at him intently waiting for the outcome.

I wouldn't want to lose that. Those are very cool moments that make the game more lively, that make the players fear for their character's safety once in a while. Maybe the effect isn't even anything serious to worry about, but the mystery and suspense are there nonetheless.

I wouldn't want to replace that by the DM just saying "well, the monster hit your will defense, so now you're held imobile."

Some people might not care for that, I understand.
But me? I wouldn't ever want to lose those moments in a D&D game.
 



This is only half true. Earlier editions had both attack roll spells and saving throw spells.

These new forums are terrible.

I misspell words on purpose too draw out grammer nazis.

Personally I prefer the 4e system of having the attacker always make the attack roll. It's easier to understand and remember when you're learning the system and there's no confusion when a new spell or ability comes up over who has to make the roll. ("Is this a saving throw? Or is it a ranged attack? Who's rolling, what's your DC?... etc") 
 




Some considerations:

-> In all my role-playing life saving throws having been rolled by the targets. I've played with countless new players along the years some of which had never had any experience with any RPG whatsoever, and none of them had the slightest problem understanding a save roll or attack roll. If a player can't figure out save rolls I'd start to seriously doubt his mental capacity to play this game. This is not meant as an insult to anyone, the game doesn't even require that much, but it's a fact. In fact, there are other rules in D&D that are way more elaborate than saving throws, and players will need a grasp of those too. So, seriously, if he can't figure out something so simple as that maybe this is just not the kind of game for him.

-> An attack roll is an active attempt to hit something (can be with a sword, bow and arrow, or even a ray-like spell that requires a to hit). A save is an automatic reactive attempt to avoid some hazard. A poison, an explosion, etc. Even though the math is in theory the same whether you use target save rolls, or attacker to hit rolls, it's pretty clear to me the contextual difference for each roll and why the emphasis on target or attacker rolling in each case.

-> Examples: When you fire an arrow or a magical ray, you're actually trying to hit something by aiming the attack. When you unleash a fireball, there's no need for a "hit". You basically throw the magic ball of fire in an area and the whole area explodes. The targets there try to minimize the danger by reflexively avoiding the worst of it.

-> Some situations would just feel weird to me if saves were attack rolls and not reactive responses by the target. Example: Boulders come rolling down the mountain and risk crushing the players; the players roll a Reflex save to get out of the way and avoid the boulders.
The alternative would be... "the mountain rolls an attack against the players"??  

-> Lastly, and more importantly (to me at least), save rolls by the players are always an interesting moment of tension in the game table. Attack rolls and damage rolls come and go without much fuss, but when the DM tells a player "the monster does 'something', now roll a save" there is that moment of tension, suspense and mystery. The player sweats as he rolls the save not knowing what to expect if he fails. Everyone else in the table stares at him intently waiting for the outcome.

I wouldn't want to lose that. Those are very cool moments that make the game more lively, that make the players fear for their character's safety once in a while. Maybe the effect isn't even anything serious to worry about, but the mystery and suspense are there nonetheless.

I wouldn't want to replace that by the DM just saying "well, the monster hit your will defense, so now you're held imobile."

Some people might not care for that, I understand.
But me? I wouldn't ever want to lose those moments in a D&D game.
 

Then we have to put everything in the hands of the players. It's possible to have the double standard only on the side of the players, rolling for attack and defense, the DM only having DCs/ACs on his side.

There's no logic in saying that some defenses are more active than others. People do not wait for a sword to hit or not, they are considered actively defending themselves unless they are paralyzed or else.

The example are biased, as we can consider that a firebal is the result of an action, and has aquired a level of power to which every target is exposed.

With saving throws, dying people make saving throws against spells, even if they are unable to act. Then where is the active defense logic ?
The double standard is useless. It's all saving throws or all AC-like defenses, there's no logic behind the double standard.


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The only saving throws a dying person should be making is against mind altering or charm spells. if your on the ground trying to hold your guts in, you shouldnt be able to dodge a fire ball.

These new forums are terrible.

I misspell words on purpose too draw out grammer nazis.

If they were running on the same mathematics maybe, but both 3e and 5e have very different save/DC progressions compared to their attack/ac Progressions.
I've played with countless new players along the years some of which had never had any experience with any RPG whatsoever, and none of them had the slightest problem understanding a save roll or attack roll.

I don't believe you. In pretty much every new group of players I've tried to teach 3.5, it always happens at least a few times where a monster hits a character's AC and then that player asks if they can make a Reflex save. They get the hang of it after not too long, of course, but if you're trying to say that it's never a source of at least temporary confusion, then I don't believe you.

An attack roll is an active attempt to hit something.

And casting Dominate Person is an active attempt to overcome a foe's willpower, is it not?

A save is an automatic reactive attempt to avoid some hazard.

AC follows that same description. It's an automatic reactive attempt to avoid being hit by a weapon attack, but we don't roll for it.

When you unleash a fireball, there's no need for a "hit".

Only if you treat it like the Wizard isn't actually doing anything. If you treat it like it's a grenade, where the Wizard just throws it and then has nothing more to do with it, then that might make more sense, but I don't know many people who treat magic like that because I don't know much fiction that treats magic like that. The way I most often see spells like that treated is that the Wizard is still actively concentrating on and manipulating magical energies for the duration of the spell, this concentration and manipulation being a very active process that the spell would simply cease to function without.

-> Some situations would just feel weird to me if saves were attack rolls and not reactive responses by the target. Example: Boulders come rolling down the mountain and risk crushing the players; the players roll a Reflex save to get out of the way and avoid the boulders.
The alternative would be... "the mountain rolls an attack against the players"??

It might seem weird at first, but considering all of the other benefits, the weirdness is defiitely worth it.

Lastly, and more importantly (to me at least), save rolls by the players are always an interesting moment of tension in the game table. Attack rolls and damage rolls come and go without much fuss, but when the DM tells a player "the monster does 'something', now roll a save" there is that moment of tension, suspense and mystery. The player sweats as he rolls the save not knowing what to expect if he fails. Everyone else in the table stares at him intently waiting for the outcome.

And this is no different than, say, using one of those variants where players roll for their AC too. There's no difference. If you're saying that what you'd like is one of those variants where players roll all of the dice (all of their attacks and all of their defenses while players just have a static number), then that's a fine argument, but it's pretty much irrelevant to the argument of whether it's worth it to make the game to muddy by trating weapon attacks and spell attacks differently.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
- A desire for a feeling, as a player, that you have an extra chance against something that's really going to mess you up - that it's somehow more in your hands - and spells are more likely to mess you up worse than normal attacks are.

This is the one that makes sense to me as a game designer. In a world where a single spell can ruin your day way worse than a single weapon attack, you want to give someone at least the illusion that they have some say in the outcome. There's nothing less fun than being informed that you just died, when you never even got to roll a die.

- Various feelings about the different nature of magic spells and weapon attacks that boil down to something like, "Well, hitting someone with a sword, that's like, you're kind of doing the thing, and it's up to you to hit, not up to the other guy to get out of the way, but shooting someone with a lightning bold, that's kind of like the lightning bolt just sorta happens 'cause that's how magic is, I guess, and it's up to the other guy to actively dodge. To actively dodge the lightning. Not the sword swing, you don't roll to get out of the way of something like that, just the lightning." I personally find these arguments not remotely convincing.

Of course, this one also makes perfect sense to me. A wizard doesn't aim a fireball, unless you're saying that she maintains control over the blast wave as it expands. It's a similar situation with burning handsweb, and stinking cloud. But then you get to things where the wizard really does seem to be controlling things directly - ray of frostflesh to stonebaleful polymorph - and an attack roll really makes a lot of sense in that situation.

If we don't want to let some spells work one way and some spells work another way, then I can kind of see why Next went the way it did - because saves are just a form of ability check, which is an existing mechanic that doesn't require six more derived stats on your character sheet.

The metagame is not the game.

What do you mean reverse engineer?

It's not alien tech. 
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Players should always roll. It free's up some book keeping from the DM, and keeps players involved.

And then add a side bar on how to convert if you want to do otherwise.

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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.

Players should always roll. It free's up some book keeping from the DM, and keeps players involved. And then add a side bar on how to convert if you want to do otherwise.

That's a third option and a nice one.  Since the math is the same in any case, such a sidebar would make a lot of sense.  

However, since 5e, while nominally "D&D for everyone" is also going for that classic D&D feel, making the default, and thus 'feel,' the traditional saving-throws-and-attack-rolls-are-differnt makes some sense.  Again, since the conversion is simplicity itself, it's not a big deal.

They just need a good mechanism to make advantage/disadvantage work smoothly regardless of which way you go - because, currently, adv/dis does not work smoothly with attack/save.

 

 

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My group always enjoyed a bit of both worlds.  We play spells like opposing contest rolls.

The casting player rolls a d20 then adds their modifiers to determine the DC of their spell.  Think of it as the player forming weaves, saying the words perfectly, and guesturing the best they can.

The enemy still makes their Saving Throw.  Trying to out menauver the spells and it allows the DM to keep some things behind the screen like spell immunities, weaknesses, or bonuses.

These rules are awesome.

By letting spell casting players roll to determine their DC it helps them feel like they are doing a little bit more.  They get to use the new Advantage/Disadvantage rules like the other players and more dice rolling is always good fun.  

(Side note:  We still don't allow crits for spells, a natural 20+modifiers as a DC for the enemy is powerful enough on it's own)

 
Rule & Faction Designer on Warlord 2nd Edition & Savage North Game Designer & Programmer for Embalmit Games
My group always enjoyed a bit of both worlds.  We play spells like opposing contest rolls.

The casting player rolls a d20 then adds their modifiers to determine the DC of their spell.  Think of it as the player forming weaves, saying the words perfectly, and guesturing the best they can.

The enemy still makes their Saving Throw.  Trying to out menauver the spells and it allows the DM to keep some things behind the screen like spell immunities, weaknesses, or bonuses.

These rules are awesome.

By letting spell casting players roll to determine their DC it helps them feel like they are doing a little bit more.  They get to use the new Advantage/Disadvantage rules like the other players and more dice rolling is always good fun.  

(Side note:  We still don't allow crits for spells, a natural 20+modifiers as a DC for the enemy is powerful enough on it's own)

 


Didnt 3rd ed. psionics work that way?

These new forums are terrible.

I misspell words on purpose too draw out grammer nazis.

Saving throws because Gygax said so.

Didnt 3rd ed. psionics work that way?


I don't know.  We never played psionics, and we decided on it as a house rule early in our 3e campaign and it stayed with us through 3.5e.  

I think using Spell Casting as a contest would make the Contest rules a little less obscure also.  It will make the concept of grabbling and competing directly against another character/npc with direct rolls more common and more understable by players.

Rule & Faction Designer on Warlord 2nd Edition & Savage North Game Designer & Programmer for Embalmit Games
Contest changes the math.

1d20 + 4 vs 1d20 +2 is not 60%.

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.

The big problem I have is that by running two different general combat resolution systems you have to keep them both balanced, this is where 3e and 5e both fail.
The big problem I have is that by running two different general combat resolution systems you have to keep them both balanced, this is where 3e and 5e both fail.



 And 4thed fails because of Pathfinder your point? We've had saves for 34/39 years= good enough for me.
The big problem I have is that by running two different general combat resolution systems you have to keep them both balanced, this is where 3e and 5e both fail.



 And 4thed fails because of Pathfinder your point? We've had saves for 34/39 years= good enough for me.

There are NADs in SWSE and 13th Age, too.

The issue --- outside of teaching new players two resolution systems when the game only needs one --- is with things like advantage/disadvantage. Let's say the cleric has a spell that grants all allies advantage until the cleric's next turn. This is great for the fighter and rogue, but practically worthless for the wizard.

As more and more buffs and options are added to the game, this inconsistent design is only going to become worse and worse. 
Saving throws because Gygax said so.

I hope that Gygax didn't eat babies… Wink

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

I prefer that the attacker always rolls.  It's consistent, rather than attacker rolls sometimes, defender rolls sometimes.
Contest changes the math. 1d20 + 4 vs 1d20 +2 is not 60%.


Can you explain this a little bit further?  It changes the math by adding some randomness to the spells DC, but on average we're looking at something close to 60% if we use your +4 and +2 comparison.   

 Rolling as part of determining DC changes the mechanic, but the balance remains the same.
Rule & Faction Designer on Warlord 2nd Edition & Savage North Game Designer & Programmer for Embalmit Games
Failed from a mechanical aspect, the balance falls so far in favor of DC setters that the Attack rollers are largely insiginifgant at higher levels.
We all know the only reason saving throws are used is due to tradition.

We all know that they add unnecessary complication, rules, questions, and complexity to a system that is self described as "simple". Clearly it would be easier to utilize defenses with the attacker rolling so that you wouldn't need to track save DCs, advantage/disadvantage would affect all PCs equally, and a number of other rules complications would be fixed.

But remember 5e is the game designed to be so convoluted that the rules will take 3x as much space as they could if the designers actually cared about creating an awesome rule set. Oh well...

Using defenses would have been awesome too because you could have given some PCs the ability to use their reaction to roll an ability check to avoid certain effects.
We all know the only reason saving throws are used is due to tradition. We all know that they add unnecessary complication, rules, questions, and complexity to a system that is self described as "simple". Clearly it would be easier to utilize defenses with the attacker rolling so that you wouldn't need to track save DCs, advantage/disadvantage would affect all PCs equally, and a number of other rules complications would be fixed. But remember 5e is the game designed to be so convoluted that the rules will take 3x as much space as they could if the designers actually cared about creating an awesome rule set. Oh well... Using defenses would have been awesome too because you could have given some PCs the ability to use their reaction to roll an ability check to avoid certain effects.

I genuinely believe that people who are in favor of doing it the way Next has it now see that method as having advantages, and it's not the case that most people want it that way just because that's how it's always been, but rather because the fact that that's how it's always been causes people to weight the relative importance of various factors differently than they might if you started from zero. I feel as though there's a general tendency in design kibbitzing to approach potential system changes as "if there are any advantages to the existing way of doing things or any disadvantages to one of the proposed alternatives - even if those ideas are nearly incoherant* - then we'd better not, regardless of what the advantages of the alternative are." I do think there are some advantages - even real ones - to the saves model (although most of those advantages should also make someone want to move to a saves model for weapon attacks, too) - I just think they're relatively insignificant.

*See, for example, the examples in this thread about why it makes sense that you can actively dodge lightning, but not an axe. 
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
Except that both of those use dex score anyway so the distinction is moot. In fact it's easier to dodge the axe since AC is a miss mechanic.

Or am I not getting you?

I'm fine with the save-dc system as a concept for certain kinds of things, but wizards has a history of over using it, and frankly the 5e implementaion of the system is physically painful to me. 
don't think it makes a lick of sense that you actively dodge lightning, but not axes (assuming that you're already accepting that making the role constitutes being more active, as the justification normally runs.) It's an example of the sort of absurd premise you get when you start with a conclusion (this random subset of attacks will work this way, and this random subset of attacks will work that way) - and try to justify it after the fact.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
Lesp: that is why I want passive defenses but to also broaden the skill system to make use of "reactive defenses".

Perhaps a player might have the dodge skill which allows him to use his reaction to roll his dodge proficiency die and add the result to his AC or Reflex defense.

A willpower and endurance skill could be used for will and fortitude respectively. This way you still have the clear streamlined rules of attacks vs defenses but the people who feel "actively rolling to avoid an attack" still get their cake.
Take it a notch farther, ditch AC entirely, and make your defenses based on dodge skill, parry skill, and resist skill. Then have the attack form list which skill and ability scores factor in.

 So You can Dex-dodge a fire-ball or wis-resist a mind blast.
Take it a notch farther, ditch AC entirely, and make your defenses based on dodge skill, parry skill, and resist skill. Then have the attack form list which skill and ability scores factor in.

 So You can Dex-dodge a fire-ball or wis-resist a mind blast.

Oh, if only AC was able to be depricated, and armor have meaningful properties besides adjusting the chance of getting hit. I'd be all for mundane attacks targeting Fortitude/Reflex/Will, be they static numbers or based on a skill. I'd probably prefer the skill route, since IMO we should make combat use the skill system for consistancy.

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The combat using the skill system you say?

Perhaps something like this?

community.wizards.com/dndnext/go/thread/...
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