Players running fighters and rogues are rolling d20s all session long. “I attack!” cries the guy playing the fighter. Or better yet, “I feint, and then slice at his exposed side with my longsword,” exclaims the guy playing the fighter. “I maneuver around, keeping to the shadows, and stab the gnoll in the back with my magic dagger,” says the gal playing the rogue.
The fellow playing the wizard says, “I cast charm person.” And he picks up his d20, and then puts it back down, disappointed. The new guy playing the cleric says, “I cast hold person,” and looks around to see what he should do. He’s a little disappointed to see that the answer is “nothing.” Spellcasters want to make a roll to see how well they cast a spell just like a paladin wants to make a roll to see how well he swung his greatsword or just like a bard wants to know how well she performed her song.
In 4th Edition, this problem was fixed by making everything an attack against a particular defense. But in doing so, it took away the idea of saving throws as something you roll, which is something pretty integral to the game. “I make a saving throw against _____” or “I make a ______ saving throw,” is geek slang, even among some nongamers. For example, I’ve heard nongamers say, “I made a Will save to resist getting dessert last night,” or “I failed my saving throw against cuteness when I saw that puppy.”
It’s pretty easy to imagine a system where a caster sets the DC of the target’s saving throw with his check. But some might think that having a caster make a spellcasting roll and having the target make a saving throw is redundant, too much randomness, or just a way to slow down the game.
So how should we handle this situation?
Rate how much you agree with each of the following statements.