Area effect saves that can't be made


Rules Questions


Ok...you are in a closed 15x15 room, and some shmuck wizard casts a fireball into that room from way above . There is nowhere to dodge to. Can you still make a dex save at all? There was an adventure a few years back in 3rd edition?...that the party was levitating down a large cylinder, and the vampire/wizard cast a cone of cold up the cylinder. The module specifically stated that there could be no save against the effect, everyone took full damage. Is there a rule that addresses this currently? Common sense should dictate, but...


You always get a saving throw.


Saves are part luck. We've always played that you would still get to save in the circumstance you listed.


You always get a save throw. Always. And it's not a 'dex save' it's a reflex save.


The way I always thought that reflex saves would work in real life is that you manage to turn a certain way to avoid the full force of the blast or something like that. I don't know how it actually plays out in the game mechanics in that situation though.


One way to think about it is that if you drop a fireball on top of a someone in the middle of a field, they are in the same square before and after the blast, they don't run to the edge of the fireball and back as part of the save.

Liberty's Edge

pipedreamsam wrote:
The way I always thought that reflex saves would work in real life is that you manage to turn a certain way to avoid the full force of the blast or something like that. I don't know how it actually plays out in the game mechanics in that situation though.

you always get a save. Even if it doesn't look like you should.

There are plenty of ways it can be accounted for. Turning/moving to be less vulnerable to the blast, hiding behind a friend who failed their save, pure luck,slightly bad aim by caster, using your abilities (martial or magical to help counter the incoming effects... it goes on. :)


Lord Orion wrote:
Ok...you are in a closed 15x15 room, and some shmuck wizard casts a fireball into that room from way above . There is nowhere to dodge to. Can you still make a dex save at all? There was an adventure a few years back in 3rd edition?...that the party was levitating down a large cylinder, and the vampire/wizard cast a cone of cold up the cylinder. The module specifically stated that there could be no save against the effect, everyone took full damage. Is there a rule that addresses this currently? Common sense should dictate, but...

Well the module was wrong. ^-^


Lord Orion wrote:
Ok...you are in a closed 15x15 room, and some shmuck wizard casts a fireball into that room from way above . There is nowhere to dodge to. Can you still make a dex save at all? There was an adventure a few years back in 3rd edition?...that the party was levitating down a large cylinder, and the vampire/wizard cast a cone of cold up the cylinder. The module specifically stated that there could be no save against the effect, everyone took full damage. Is there a rule that addresses this currently? Common sense should dictate, but...

A reflex save isnt necessarily getting out of the area of effect (as you dont actually move anywhere). Here are some examples of actions that would be considered reflex saves that require no movement from your current square.

1) Raising your shield to cover your face as the rest of your body is covered in armor and padding.

2) Dropping flat on the ground and letting the majority of the blast pass over you and likewise protecting the front half of your body with the floor.

3) Twisting and turning to avoid the larger effects (gouts of flame, archs of electricity, spalshes of acid.

3) wrapping yourself in your thick leather cloak to protect your exposed skin.

4) Leaping straight up and allowing the blast to go under you (Monk special effect)

5) Making a few warding gesture with your hand that weakens the spells effects on you (Caster only special effect).

6) Quickly grabbing your holy symbol and trusting in your god to shield you from the effect.


Back when I was about 12 or so (way to many years ago), a friend's grandfather had been burning fire ant mounds. He had soaked the mounds with gas and lit them. Well on had burned out, and being a dumb kid I put my hands on the ground to see if it was hot. The fire flared up and engulfed my hands. I pulled back and was luckily unharmed.

As Kalyth stated, Reflex saves are not about dodging an effect, but avoiding the worse of it. Add evasion and you might come out unscathed.


Ashiel wrote:
Lord Orion wrote:
Ok...you are in a closed 15x15 room, and some shmuck wizard casts a fireball into that room from way above . There is nowhere to dodge to. Can you still make a dex save at all? There was an adventure a few years back in 3rd edition?...that the party was levitating down a large cylinder, and the vampire/wizard cast a cone of cold up the cylinder. The module specifically stated that there could be no save against the effect, everyone took full damage. Is there a rule that addresses this currently? Common sense should dictate, but...
Well the module was wrong. ^-^

As a general rule, you always get the save. In specific circumstances, as a GM you can say that you don't. That's how the module was written. It's not really good writing or storytelling to do that (any more than it would be to say "Oh, the king has a magic item that gives him SR 50 and DR 50/epic" just to keep your players from killing him), but it is within the purview of a GM.


yeah...any GM that did that...I'd still try to kill the king...that magic item would be awesome to own lol, I'm sure the party could cause enough damage before the guards arrived to get the item...or just have the Rogue steal the item after the wizard determines which item it is & the kill the king.


Think about it like this, you're not getting out of the way, you're diving for cover or covering your face.


Dire Mongoose wrote:
You always get a saving throw.
Abraham spalding wrote:
You always get a save throw.
Sigil87 wrote:
you always get a save. Even if it doesn't look like you should.

Lies!

I'm done being annoying now.


I'd still love to know what occurs when a character makes his Reflex save vs a create pit spell. Leap the 10-15 feet to safe ground? And what if there's no safe ground due to enclosing walls or occupied squares? Does the character end up clinging to the side of the pit or hovering in the air? No idea.


If the DM says something is unavoidable and no one can come up with any refutation to his claim then it is unavoidable, the rules have gaps in them because they are a finite source trying to cover infinite possibilities. If the rules cause you to abandon logic then they probably were not made for the particular event you have encountered. DM can rule any rule in the books does not apply to a situation if he or she so chooses.


I picture the save against the pit as teetering on the edge without falling in.


The best way I've ever seen this concept explained was to picture Bruce Willis in the Die Hard series of movies. He gets beat up, takes hits that should drop him, gets singed by explosions that he miraculously jumps out of at the last moment, etc.

That's what PCs can do. They're the stars of their own action movie, so they live through stuff that leaves the bystanders exclaiming about how no one should have been able to survive what they've been through.

It's the same thing with hit points. Having 150 HP doesn't mean you can take 15 direct hits to the face with a bastard sword. It means that when the bad guy stabbed you, you got lucky, dodged at the last moment, and ended up with a very cinematic superficial wound across the shoulder or something similar.


The other thing about saves (and really, most aspects of combat) is it's easy to fall into the mindset of everyone but the active character being static.

It's the Dragon's turn and he breath's fire on the Paladin. The paladin attempts a save and succeeds, taking half damage. He doesn't 'move' from the square.

But earlier in the turn (or perhaps later) the paladin does advance forward. So when the fire happens, if it was all put into a streaming action scene, the paladin probably way hustling forward, head down shield/cloak up as the fire either engulfed him or breezed by him. (failed or made save).

Like attacks in combat. it's hardly 'I stand still and you swing, then you stand still and I swing' in the 'reality' of the action.

If a mage cast a pit trap and the PC saved to avoid falling in, they might have seen the spell being cast and navigated away from it, or the wizard might have misjudged where the person was/was going to be and placed it wrong. It's doubtful that most casters have 'in game' a convenient gird square and template tool layout.

The rules are intentionally abstract as well. (What exactly is a Hit point? Can a 20th level fighter be stabbed in the gut more times than a 1st? When does the 20th level fighter actually /get/ stabbed and how many times before that are just jarring parries that make his wrist sore or a swollen knee as he slams hard against the wall?) The above posters have listed several great 'reasons' why a save could be succeeded at 'in reality.'

Of course in the OP's scenerio, Rule 0 (the Gm can do what the GM wills until the players rebel) does mean situations can be created when no saves are allowed. Hopefully the group has a good trust level with the GM and understand that when such moments occur it's with the intent to build a more dynamic story and not punish players. ('The Guard Captain smashes the basket hilt of his sword against your temple and you fall like a sack of stones.' for the capture scene rather than rolling out a combat where you might get just outright killed or some other adventure derailing outcome.)


While one might assume that everything in a closed room would be equally affected by a burst of flame or explosion, such is not the case, not even in real life. Just look at plane crashes as an example, where some parts of a plane are utterly incinerated and others pieces come out intact.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
pipedreamsam wrote:
The way I always thought that reflex saves would work in real life is that you manage to turn a certain way to avoid the full force of the blast or something like that. I don't know how it actually plays out in the game mechanics in that situation though.

Reflex saves don't work in real life. When they work, part of the reason is "magic." everyone's got a little bit of magic inside.

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