[POLL] Save or Die


Combat & Magic

1 to 50 of 74 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

I couldn't find another thread dedicated to save or die effects so i thought i would start one up to get an idea on the general feel about them.

So simply put, save or die effects, should they stay or should they go?

Liberty's Edge

Stay

In the hands of a decent DM (not afraid to obey Rule 0 to make an enjoyable experience for his/her players) the Save or Die effects are an invaluable tool. In my DM'ing experience, nothing creates suspense faster than a roll that could spell victory or doom for the party, whether its rolled before or behind my DM screen. Maybe at epic levels it makes more sense to do just wilds amount of damage, but for me it stays.

FP

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32

I kind of like Save or DYING instead. Gives you a chance to do something about the mistake before it becomes permanent.


I have mixed feeling on save or die effects. On the one hand, they do place everything on one die roll, but on the other hand, 4E's approach to dealing with archetypical fantasy powers that manifest as save or die in D&D sells them short.

Nevertheless, I would like to see the autofail on a natural 1 excised for saving throws.

A possible solution to save or die powers would be to have tiered effects, either depending on how much the saving throw fails by or allowing for several saving throws with each successive failure netting a progressively worse result. These changes would, however, need to be applied to each spell/power individually and would impact compatibility. Given that fact, perhaps it is better to keep save or die effects as they are and only remove autofail for saving throws ona natural 1 roll.


Whether save or die, or save or dying, STAY.


I'm in favor of save or dying, which is what I use in my existing campaign. You drop to negative hit points equal to the amount by which you failed the save (fail by 8 you're at -8) and are unconcious for that many rounds as well. That is even if healed you can't wake up until that number of rounds have passed. So the Save or Die still most likely takes you out of the fight and it demands immediate action on the part of the party to save your life which creates some good dramatic tension. It also cuts down on the use of raise dead since you can be healed up with regular cure spells.

Dark Archive

Stay.


Stay


Save or Dying cannot provide a comprehensive solution to Save or Die effects. The reason is that technically speaking many Save or Die effects are not actually 'die', but rather 'petrify' or 'be dominated' or 'turn to stone' or 'be polymorphed' and so on. Save or Dying can deal with death effects, but forcing a similar mechanic on 'Save or Be Dominated' would be contrived and feel out of place, although in effect 'Save or Be Dominated' is in practice a Save or Die effect.

Shadow Lodge

Stay.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

STAY


I have been using save or DYING recently, mainly because I have almost no returning from the dead.

I am caught in two minds on this at the moment, yes it is a useful tool for DM suspense by adding that ultimate fear , but how fair is it that a character who plays ultra cautious all his career, dies because his D20 chooses that moment to roll a 1.

I am toying with death effects drop you to minus 10 plus the spell or ability level. This allows high con characters a small chance of being revived and gives a use for the raise dead replacement in the Alpha rules. This does risk the chance of the characters feeling immortal.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

Stay - but I do like the save or dying. I'd prefer to see it implemented based on the power of the effect, not by how much you miss the save by. So, phantasmal killer would put you to -1 hp and dying, slay living -2, death spell -5, and implosion and power word kill -9, as examples. I think that this makes the different save or die effects actually increase in power as you get access to higher level effects, which is a good thing.


Stay, if only for backwards compatibility.


Stay, though I'll houserule it to "dying" (you have Con mod rounds, minimum 1 before actual death) like those final fantasy and other RPG "death" spells that give a count down.


Stay. House rule it to dying instead of dead if you wish, but keep it.

Dark Archive

Gnome Ninja wrote:
Stay, if only for backwards compatibility.

Stay.

I use action points, which truly moderate save or die. And that's great for my game. But even without action points, removing save or die effects changes the game radically, and that's an issue of backwards compatability.

Hold person was changed from 3.0 to 3.5 to make a save every round, to lessen save or die effects, and that's great. But Finger of Death should KILL people.

For those people not using action points, you could put an optional rule sidebar in the Pathfinder rules offering that any player can reroll one saving throw per gaming session, to reduce the effect of save vs. die.


Stay.

Scarab Sages

Stay, although I like the Save or Dying option.


As a player, I don't like them.

It's 1 roll that means the end of your character? Gee... there's nothing more fun at a gaming table than having your entire character's fate determined by 1 die roll... and with my luck, that means it's going to fail and then I spend the next however long making a new character.

Given a choice, I'd rather have taken damage of some kind that could be healed or where I could try to do something about it. But save or die, there's nothing to be done. You're either alive or dead.

Besides, this seems entirely one sided. Rarely save or die effects work on the monsters because their saves are too high to ever have a chance of failure (and, honestly, would the DM want to have the Colossal Red Dragon die in the first round due to failing a save?).

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Error101 wrote:
So simply put, save or die effects, should they stay or should they go?

Stay.

Additionally, my preference would be to remain save or die, versus save or dieing. The save or die mechanic can be a great equalizer as it affects PC's/NPC's equally regardless of HP disparity in classes (although it's obvious that most high-HP creatures tend to have better Fort saves that low-HP creatures). It also makes player's/PC's genuinly afraid of facing certain foes.

Definately stay.

-Skeld

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Doug Bragg 172 wrote:

As a player, I don't like them.

It's 1 roll that means the end of your character?

As a DM, if they are to be removed, I don't want my player's not know they've been removed. Creating that sense of tension is what makes the game exciting. PC's don't have to die for that to happen. However, the players do have to believe that there's a chance they're characters are going to die.

And I can always fudge the rolls so that they pass. The exception being that natural 1, which means that there's a chance to fail even in the face of DM fiat.

-Skeld

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber

Another vote for stay. Though I like the dying idea. Draws it out more and all that.

Scarab Sages

Stay!

One of my biggest disappointments in 4th Edition is removing them.

If I was a 13th level wizard, I would darn sure invent a spell that could kill someone outright.

And what self-respecting vampire DOESN'T drain their victims life-force? So many iconic spells are "save or die". Like my players will really fear a monster that turns them to stone for 1 round or until they save. Scary.

PS, on a similar note:

I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY...do not like having poison do hp damage. Hit. Points. Does poison "hit" you in 4th edition? Besides, I find the ability score damage is the most realistic abstraction (?) in D&D.

I get poisoned, I get weaker. I get poisoned again, I probably die from it. Pretty elegant.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Stay

Sovereign Court

Would I really be the only one to vote for OUT?

Despite I like the idea of my current Beguiler/Nightmare Spinner indulcing foes with nightmares and "dropping them dead", I partially feel like it is taking away part of the game to just *poof* kill one here and there.

Though the "Save or dying" (whatever that would mean) sounds a better concept. Instead of killing people outright, a nightmare could drop the foe prone for a reasonably long time, or something.


I vote for STAY

Sovereign Court

I would keep them as "Save or Dying", and use a step ladder approach. Like Mutants and Masterminds, this can be specified according to the effect of the spell or power, and it is cumulative. The way it'd work is roughly "25% of effect for a failed save, 50% for a save failed by X number of points, and 100% of effect for a save failed by 2X number of points. (In MnM X=5, but we can reduce that to keep them more powerful. X=3 might work fine.)

So, for petrification/paralyzation effects:

Failed save = 1 limb or roughly 1/4 of body is petrified/paralyzed, lose use of that limb. If it's an arm, tasks requiring 2 hands suffer 1-handed penalty. If leg, speed reduced by half.

Failed save by X (or 2nd failed save as above) = Roughly half the body is paralyzed/petrified. Both of the above effects, or if both arms, can no longer perform actions using hands. If both legs, prone and can only crawl at 5' speed.

Failed by 2x (or 3rd failed save as above) = target is completely petrified/paralyzed.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Some months ago, on another board,

a fellow angrily wrote:


I wish to inform you about a class of bad mechanics existing in the core rules. They aren't unbalanced or illogical or anything, they are bad in a far more simple way.

I call these the "you can't play anymore" mechanics.

These are abilities like "panicked" and "paralyzed" that make it so that a player is unable to play the game anymore. Basically it's "oh, you failed a save? Sorry, you're not allowed to play in the game anymore. Instead you have to run away, or stand there quietly, or whatever." By using these conditions, you are are not allowing the player to have play the game.

These conditions should be used sparingly, if ever.

Yes, these fall under a broader category of "save-or-die" or "save-or-suck" effects, which in general are acknowledged to be bad design, as the fate of a character rests on a single die roll. But these are exceptionally bad to use, because the player has no way around them. It isn't that they now have to move into a flanking position to balance out that -2 from being shaken, or that they have to pull out a bow and shoot a guy because they are entangled. Using an ability that makes it so the player can't play is wrong. Period.

This message is brought to you by watching a fellow player storm away from the table after he was not allowed to participate in the only combat all session (after 8 hours of other crap which I can rant about another time) because he failed his save and became panicked and so was not allowed to play.

And I replied:

Spoiler:

I don't think they're bad design at all.

Under most circumstances, I'm a fan of "save or stop" effects. I'd like to explain why.

  • They emphasize the danger involved. If you want to avoid, them, fine: don't go adventuring today, or else immediately run away from every encounter. You're exploring dangerous places, fighting dangerous abominations. Perilous rolls are a way for the game system to represent the chance that bad things might happen.
  • Very few of them are, in fact, "a single save or stop". They're usuallly the last roll in a string of bad luck or bad decisions. Yes, the poison needle might be a save-or-die. But there was the bad luck in the previous Spot check, or Disable Device check, and the poor decisions that led the PC's into such dire straits.
  • The game designers didn't think they were bad design. 3rd Edition added a new one, in fact: the save to avoid death from massive injury. Depending on how you count, there's also the climbing roll as your rogue is clinging to the walls of the active volcano, the save for half-damage when the dragon's breath will kill you otherwise, and the Diplomacy check after you've carelessly offended the King of Thieves.
  • They offer a chance at teamwork. Yes, I suppose the juvenile player of the panicked character was "not allowed to play," but the person who prevented him from playing was the person at the table who was playing a cleric, and who refused to cast Remove Fear, a simple first-level spell. Did the cleric not choose Remove Fear that day, or go to the trivial bother of having a scroll prepared? Was nobody else playing a character who could cast that spell? Did the party never discuss what to do when a member gets panicked? Well, that's what I mean about bad decisions.

So, when the party is going up against ghouls, and somebody is paralyzed, what's the plan? If somebody gets shot with a poisoned arrow and fails her save, what's the plan? When a vampire tries to dominate the party's dwarven fighter, what's the plan?

'Cause you've already realized that waiting until it happens and then getting mad that somebody was "not allowed to play" is neither effective nor fun.


Chris, I think your response there was out of line. Do you have some inside information I'm not aware of? Do you know that this person was not the one playing the cleric? I've had that happen to me. What are you supposed to do when the only person who can cast remove fear is the one who is panicked and running away? And it's not fair to expect every caster to carry a veritable library to deal with every unfun condition that might possibly ever afflict the characters.

I have mixed feelings about removing save or die. It's an integral part of the game, and I can't imagine how you would replace many of those effects. But I can also sympathize with the frustrations of those who had their fun killed by one die roll. So I guess I say, keep it, but remove auto fail.


Stay

Especially now that dying isn't even all that bad.

Sometimes frustrating things happen to your characters. A player who is temporarily frustrated is ok in my book, because it makes the sweat taste of success even sweeter. If a player is frustrated all the time, thats a different problem, and one that in my experience isn't necessarily exclusive to players that fail saves a lot.


Stay


Please Stay

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Hi, Lynora.

lynora wrote:
Chris, I think your response there was out of line. Do you have some inside information I'm not aware of? Do you know that this person was not the one playing the cleric?

Mine wasn't the first response to that post. And so, yes, I knew that the affected character was a fighter. I wasn't sure the party had a cleric, but I was reasonably sure the affected character wasn't the party's first line of defense against such things.

As it turns out, I'd guessed right; they'd never had a line of defense against such things, other than "hope you make your save".

(That thread eventually resolved itself into a decision that the problems stemmed from the DM's inability to give the players a satisfying evening, and his reliance on some heavy-handed fiats, rather than on any particular game mechanic.)

lynora then wrote:
What are you supposed to do when the only person who can cast remove fear is the one who is panicked and running away? And it's not fair to expect every caster to carry a veritable library to deal with every unfun condition that might possibly ever afflict the characters.

You're right, it's not. But my point was about more than just carrying counter-active spells. It was about explorers having plans for when things go wrong. And if you're playing the kind of characters who don't act like a military unit, with strategies and counter-strategies; if you're the kind of party that just wings it ("What happens if the fighter gets dominated?" "Oh, then we're just screwed." "Gotcha."), then wing it.

Sovereign Court

Keep the Save or Die effects. My players love to use them, despite their numerical disadvantage (i.e., monsters use them more).

Unfortunately, my group is also going to "wing it" in most encounters, rather than plan for those effects. Ah well, that's the short, risky life of an adventurer for you. As long as everyone's having fun and there is a chance of success and failure, I'm set.


The problem here is that save or stop is counter to the entire purpose of the game.

The purpose of the game is to get together with some friends, and have fun in a fantasy environment.

The purpose is not to sit in the other room with a stack of books remaking your character while your buddies are having fun playing in a fantasy environment. Nor is the purpose to play video games by yourself for an hour while your buddies have fun in this fantasy environment.

I've seen combats where a character is panicked early, runs away, and the player gets up and leaves the table. I've got a friend I play with on most Sundays who has spent hours playing video games during game sessions. Why? save or stop and he failed his save.

I remember one session there was an assassin hiding on the ceiling in a dark cave. No opportunity for anyone to see him; and the strategy called for the DM to pick a character to kill... that player (who may or may not have gotten a save, I don't remember) had to go off and make a new character while the rest of us had a combat to deal with.

In my experience, they do come down to one die roll. That assassin drop... sure, I guess, someone might have gotten a natural 20 on their spot check and looked up and might have noticed the Assassin... but then the assassin could still drop and kill someone. So it was always a 1 roll or die.

There are other ways to have suspense in a game... it is possible to build encounters that are likely to be difficult for the players to survive... without save or stop.


with the alternative being BBEG's who cannot use Poer word-kill, Death spell, Destruction, Disintegrate, and a whole host of other awesome evocative spells...Stay.

If players are concerned, save or dying works. Though how one can be dying AND simultaneously a pile of grey dust is beyond me....maybe force spellcasters to follow up with a gust of wind to finish them off?

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Doug Bragg 172 wrote:


I remember one session there was an assassin hiding on the ceiling in a dark cave. No opportunity for anyone to see him; and the strategy called for the DM to pick a character to kill... that player (who may or may not have gotten a save, I don't remember) had to go off and make a new character while the rest of us had a combat to deal with.

Hi, Doug. Good point.

I remember an old Champions adventure where the PC's encountered something unusually lethal somewhere in the otherwise-abandonned complex. An early scene included walls heavily scarred with scratches, which the author explained to the GM's was there as a warning to the players. Likewise, the party in your case should have recived some warnings somewhere along the line that an unusually dangerous assassin was in the area.

I hope I'm not being unfair when I say that this sounds like poor DM'ing. In that case, one-die-roll disaster wasn't the culprit here. The DM would have found some other way to kill a character.


Stay, of course.

Grand Lodge

I'd prefer Save or DYING. But either way, the rule should stay around in some form or another. Gives PC's something to be afraid of...

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

Chris Mortika wrote:

Hi, Dave. Good point.

I remember an old Champions adventure where the PC's encounter walls heavily scarred with scratches, as a warning to the players that something unusually lethal was somewhere in the otherwise abandonned complex. Likewise, the party in your case should have recived some warnings somewhere along the line that an unusually dangerous assassin was in the area.

I hope I'm not being unfair when I say that this sounds like poor DM'ing. In that case, one-die-roll disaster wasn't the culprit here. The DM would have found some other way to kill a character.

But I'm not really sure if I like the direction this goes then. It seems to ask that you telegraph every deadly thing that the creatures and traps can do. So that they can have some chance to be prepared.

It also leads me to thing that only experienced parties are allowed to not die at random points. New cleric? Too bad. You should have prepared your spells differently in order not to suck. It is irritating that they are expected to have prepared for these events even if they and their characters have never seen them happen.

Edit: By the way. As a player I am not afraid of save or dies. If they happen, they happen and there is very little I can do to affect them. Besides they are over with that one roll.

Now. My characters hanging on to the last bits of life as they fight back to survive. That is when I'm excited. Save or die affects are lame in comparison.


Not only do I vote "stay," but I echo Chris' comments as well. We loved the old Victory Games 007 system, because if you ran in and engaged in a firefight without first stacking the deck in your favor, you died. End of story. It sucked for the first couple of dead characters, but then it very quickly taught you to plan ahead, make contingency plans, and in short treat armed combat like a firefight instead of a paintball match.

Want an end to "CODzilla," as another thread asked? Use save or die, and remind the cleric that if he stocks up on divine might instead of death ward, the eventual TPK will be entirely his fault.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

Kirth Gersen wrote:
Want an end to "CODzilla," as another thread asked? Use save or die, and remind the cleric that if he stocks up on divine might instead of death ward, the eventual TPK will be entirely his fault.

Yah! Then I can blame the cleric for casting it on the wrong person or not preparing enough! Then after no one wants to play a cleric after being blamed for everything I can put in my DM PC cleric and show them how to really run a cleric.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Zynete wrote:
But I'm not really sure if I like the direction this goes then. It seems to ask that you telegraph every deadly thing that the creatures and traps can do. So that they can have some chance to be prepared.

Hi, Zynete. Good to see you.

It depends on how deadly the thing is, and how much telegraphing the DM does.

i think there's a happy medium between:

  • Player: I open the door. DM: It's made of poison. Save...or die!
  • Player: I approach the door. DM: The floor around you is littered in dead bodies: elves, humans, a half-orc. Their eyes glitter dully in your torchlight. Their faces are all twisted into rictuses of agony, and they are all holding a hand up to their right ears.

For some parties, it may be as simple as a ledger found in the lieutennant's room, with a payment to someone named "Huginn" -- a name the rogue recognizes as a common pseudonym used by Frost Barbarian assassins. Other DMs might need to have a previous encounter with a piercer, hidden in a similar dark cove.

Zynete wrote:
It also leads me to thing that only experienced parties are allowed to not die at random points. New cleric? Too bad. You should have prepared your spells differently in order not to suck. It is irritating that they are expected to have prepared for these events even if they and their characters have never seen them happen.

Irritating, I guess. In the same way that I would find losing in Magic: the Gathering irritating, until I'd get enough experience under my belt to understand the game a little better.

Eventually, the players would know that news of an assassin on their tail might call for prudent safety measures.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

There have to be at least a few left in the game. "Finger of Dying" just doesn't have the same ring to it. "Power Word: You're Gonna Die Next Round" doesn't cut it either. And what part of "Implosion" implies that you're going to end up on the ground, able to be healed if it's done immediately?

You might go for Monte Cook's example in Book of Experimental Might and switch most of them to extreme damage output instead (Implosion is save or take a flat 10 damage per caster level, no level cap, for example.)

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

Chris Mortika wrote:

Irritating, I guess. In the same way that I would find losing in Magic: the Gathering irritating, until I'd get enough experience under my belt to understand the game a little better.

Eventually, the players would know that news of an assassin on their tail might call for prudent safety measures.

What I am concerned about is one of the things that turned me off about WoW. I don't want a gang of other people telling me how to build my character and critize me for every choice I make until I relent and do exactly what they say. I want to start playing and not worry that the DM is going to blame the death of the party on me because I decided to play a fighter that used two weapon fighting or other things like that.

I want to be able to play my character like it is my first time playing and not worry about the other players and DM blaming me for the lastest TPK when they just ask to prepare for things my character hasn't even seen yet.


Chris Mortika wrote:


Hi, Doug. Good point.

I remember an old Champions adventure where the PC's encountered something unusually lethal somewhere in the otherwise-abandonned complex. An early scene included walls heavily scarred with scratches, which the author explained to the GM's was there as a warning to the players. Likewise, the party in your case should have recived some warnings somewhere along the line that an unusually dangerous assassin was in the area.

I hope I'm not being unfair when I say that this sounds like poor DM'ing. In that case, one-die-roll disaster wasn't the culprit here. The DM would have found some other way to kill a character.

I'm sorry... but this makes no sense. You tell your characters that going to X place is dangerous. O.k., they are adventurers, they are supposed to go where it is dangerous! And just because something is dangerous doesn't mean it's instant death via poison, or a specific spell. So, how do you prepare for "dangerous"?

In the case of the Assassin who killed a party member in 1 round... we were playing the Shackled City and had a newish DM... and I'm fairly certain it wasn't something he improvised, but something in the adventure and he ran it as written.

But even if there was a sign out front "Warning, Assassin up ahead." - what would we have done differently? Spot checks that would have likely failed? Sure. and the assassin would have gotten his death attack, and we would have had a character die to save and have to go play video games or dream up another character while the rest of us played.

There's just nothing good that comes from save or stop spells. If you succeed on the save (or the baddy saves on the spell you cast) the action is generally wasted... if they fail the save, you've just told one of your friends to stop playing and go do something else for a while while the rest of you continue on. (or, in the case of a baddy failing the save; a potentially exciting encounter gets nipped in the bud).

I don't see how these spells contribute anything positive to the experience, and therefore there's no reason for them.

Sovereign Court

I think the argument about having one player sit outside is enough to state, that "save or die" is against the concept. I heartily hate Ghasts and their paralysing touch of 1d6 minutes or so, so I houseruled it to 1d4 rounds tops.

A gaming session can go very wrong if one player is outside merely because of one petty "save or die". It's - no - good. Please understand that. As for the "I open the door" and "I approach the door", the DM would be harsh and stupid not to first tell what he sees before making his action. I for one am never going to explicitly state each my action.

"I breathe in." "I breathe out." "I take one step forward." "I breathe in." ...


Zynete wrote:
I want to start playing and not worry that the DM is going to blame the death of the party on me because I decided to play a fighter that used two weapon fighting or other things like that.

Your concern is laudable, but unfortunately I feel like it's almost too late. If you play "Age of Worms" WITHOUT a super-optimized 3.5e character, you die. Same to some extent with "Savage Tide." People are so used to that model now, it'll be hard to break. Does that mean we shouldn't get free of that mind-set? Not at all. I'm just saying it'll be a difficult process.

For beginning players, the powered-up Pathfinder PCs will be fine with level-appropriate pre-printed 3.5 adventures. More experienced players will expect greater challenges in the future, though, which means that Pathfinder adventures written using the new rules will likely be no place for inexperienced players. (And they'll kill 3.5e characters in droves, regardless of the skill of the players, but that's a matter for a separate thread).


Stay.

(Anyone says otherwise, lock 'im in the Tomb of Horrors.)

1 to 50 of 74 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Archive / Pathfinder / Playtests & Prerelease Discussions / Pathfinder Roleplaying Game / Alpha Playtest Feedback / Alpha Release 2 / Combat & Magic / [POLL] Save or Die All Messageboards