How do you describe / roleplay Evasion?


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Suppose a wizard casts Fireball centered on a rogue with the Evasion class feature, and the rogue makes the reflex save. Mechanically, the rogue takes no damage, but how would the DM or the player describe the incident realistically? There have been multiple similar situations and I'm having trouble describing how one would walk away completely unscathed from a huge explosion without some sort of cover.


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Don't bother try to describe it realistically.

Yes the ability is technically non-magical but it's just easier if you let it "act" magically. The rogue manages to turn sideways into the 4th dimension at just the precise instant to avoid the damage.

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Drahcirius wrote:
Suppose a wizard casts Fireball... but how would the DM or the player describe the incident realistically?


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I believe what Jiggy is trying to say, tongue in cheek, is examine the two parts of the sentence, "The wizard casts fireball" and "how does the rogue evade is realistically?". He is pointing out no one can realistically cast fireball so it's not really reasonable to try to figure out how one avoids that fireball.

Contributor

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Claxon wrote:
I believe what Jiggy is trying to say, tongue in cheek, is examine the two parts of the sentence, "The wizard casts fireball" and "how does the rogue evade is realistically?". He is pointing out no one can realistically cast fireball so it's not really reasonable to try to figure out how one avoids that fireball.

Probably, yes. However, I disagree completely with this methodology. When playing you have to assume things like casting a fireball is realistic within the world it occurs. OP is asking if he wanted to describe how a rogue were to dodge it, what would he say? For a wizard it's as simple as "he casts out his hand a bead of red shoots forward, suddenly exploding in a massive ball of fire." What does he say when the rogue evades? I'd say something to the effect of "using your preternatural danger sense you feel the change of heat in the air and weave under the blast, dodging it completely." Why are we being snarky over this?

The Exchange

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I usually describe something I've seen Spider-Man do.


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He throws himself flat as the blast goes off overhead?

It's unavoidably weird, do your best.


If you felt a need for a narrative explanation, that doesn't rely on supernatural powers, things like:

The Rogue ducks down, perfectly timing it so the waves of fire wash over him, avoiding any real harm.

The Rogue twists, his backpack shields him from the damage, leaving him scorched but essentially fine.

With a whirl the rogue throws his cloak over his face, protecting himself from the wall of flame.

All work.

Sovereign Court

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Cartwheels.

A rogue doing cartwheels can evade anything.


I think the problem is that people have the idea that just because you don’t take any damage means you are completely unaffected by it to the point it does not even mess up your hair. They are also ignoring anything that is around the character that made the save. Most of the time there is always something around the player. If the player is in a dungeon he could easily duck behind a tapestry on the wall, or flip over the table and duck behind it at exactly the right time. If he is out door he could duck behind a bush. In any even he is covered in soot and may be coughing up a lungful of smoke for dramatic effect.

If there is absolutely nothing around you, you should have known better than to adventure in nogaurd.


Davic The Grey wrote:
Claxon wrote:
I believe what Jiggy is trying to say, tongue in cheek, is examine the two parts of the sentence, "The wizard casts fireball" and "how does the rogue evade is realistically?". He is pointing out no one can realistically cast fireball so it's not really reasonable to try to figure out how one avoids that fireball.
Probably, yes. However, I disagree completely with this methodology. When playing you have to assume things like casting a fireball is realistic within the world it occurs.

By your own logic, evasion would also be realistic within the game world. In fact, I would expect there are far more rogues than wizards in most settings, especially rogues of a level to have evasion compared to wizards of a level to cast fireball.


Ultimately the problem is this.

A rogue is in the middle of a featureless plain, vegetation no more than an couple inches tall. A wizard appears and casts fireball. The rogue is level 2 and saves successfully, and so takes no damage. Fireball "fills" a 20ft radius around the rogue? How did he avoid taking damage?

Honestly, the answer is in my opinion that evasion really should have been listed as a supernatural ability that isn't shut down by anything that normally shuts off magic. Because if it's magic you really don't need an explanation. Beyond such an answer you end up with original question of how does he do it? Because it honestly doesn't make sense.

He covers himself with his cape or other item, why are they not destroyed or damaged? So forth and so on.

Ultimately describe it however you like, but to me there isn't a "satisfactory" answer. It just works.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

For the same reason giants don't collapse under their own weight and dragons can soar through the skies.


Have you or you group seen much anime? That would be a good start.


Claxon wrote:

Ultimately the problem is this.

A rogue is in the middle of a featureless plain, vegetation no more than an couple inches tall. A wizard appears and casts fireball. The rogue is level 2 and saves successfully, and so takes no damage. Fireball "fills" a 20ft radius around the rogue? How did he avoid taking damage?

Honestly, the answer is in my opinion that evasion really should have been listed as a supernatural ability that isn't shut down by anything that normally shuts off magic. Because if it's magic you really don't need an explanation. Beyond such an answer you end up with original question of how does he do it? Because it honestly doesn't make sense.

He covers himself with his cape or other item, why are they not destroyed or damaged? So forth and so on.

Ultimately describe it however you like, but to me there isn't a "satisfactory" answer. It just works.

One perfectly flat featureless planes with vegetation no more than an inch tall doesn’t occur naturally. Even flatland has some contours to them, and unless you are constantly mowing the field’s vegetation grows higher than a few inches, and then there are rocks and other thing to break up the plane. The other thing the rogue can hide behind is other party members. Wizards aren’t the only one who can use the BSF for their own benefit. And finally there are the items the rogue has with him. Maybe he uses his cloak to setup a draft that deflects the flame, or maybe he has a quarter staff spinning faster enough to act create a breeze just strong enough to deflect the flame. The rogue could also use some of his mundane gear to stop the attack. Does it really matter if your ordinary tunic gains the broken condition?

The only way I see it being a problem is if you are all alone, completely naked, carrying absolutely nothing, in a room with absolutely nothing. If that is the case why does anyone even get a save for half? This brings up my next point. Why do people not have a hard time with the idea that someone can save for half damage, but have problems with evasion? If there is no way to evade the flames why is anyone getting a save?


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"Can't touch this! Der-ner-ner-nuh..."


The Rogue does one of those spinny kung fu jumps.


Remember that in the case of a Fireball, you pick a center and avoid the area. There's nothing wrong with a character flavoring the environment to his advantage (such as stepping to a covered area at just the right moment), or by simply saying that you have a knack of withstanding the indirect effects of the Fireball.

It's also fair to call it blind luck; after all, to avoid the Spread would require an absolute miracle on your part. Quite frankly, Wizards shouldn't be the only ones who have the ability to bend the laws (and thereby the rules) of reality (or the game) to suit their needs.


Scythia wrote:
Davic The Grey wrote:
Claxon wrote:
I believe what Jiggy is trying to say, tongue in cheek, is examine the two parts of the sentence, "The wizard casts fireball" and "how does the rogue evade is realistically?". He is pointing out no one can realistically cast fireball so it's not really reasonable to try to figure out how one avoids that fireball.
Probably, yes. However, I disagree completely with this methodology. When playing you have to assume things like casting a fireball is realistic within the world it occurs.
By your own logic, evasion would also be realistic within the game world. In fact, I would expect there are far more rogues than wizards in most settings, especially rogues of a level to have evasion compared to wizards of a level to cast fireball.

In a world where magic items are ubiquitous and every single village no matter how small has a spell caster, I don't agree with your expectation. Wizards are very common in the default Pathfinder world.


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My very first 3.5 game had me playing a Rogue. We were marching through a swamp, searching for a vampire's castle. Somehow, we're told a Black Dragon managed to ambush us from the rear, using it's breath weapon (a line of acid). I made my saving throw, and took no damage.

The DM naturally felt that was ridiculous, and there's no way I could do that. I asked the player of the character who had been in front of me to stand up. I stood behind them. I then quickly jumped to stand in front of them. "Now remember, his Fighter/Cleric is taller than me, and wearing heavy armor."

(Other player): What the?! You can't use me as your shield!

"Totally just did."

The DM relented. Basically, to me, Evasion is the ability to quickly react to threats. There's a scene in an old Stallone movie, Assassins, where a character realizes they're in a room with a bomb, grabs something to shield themselves from the blast, and puts their back to a window so that the explosion would knock them outside with minimal damage.

The problem a lot of people have with Evasion comes down to the fact that some movement is implied, to find cover or perform some action to mitigate damage dealt. But this brings with it two issues. One, no movement is granted by the ability. And two, the ability usually doesn't reduce damage, it negates it.

This power requires the DM and the player to describe how it can function in the narrative. And maybe, yes, the DM has to rule that the Rogue or Monk actually moved a short distance so that the narrative can support the ability.

It's not like the ability to move a few feet when it's not your turn is impossible, other abilities and Feats allow it, after all. Again though, because it's not specifically granted, you get these threads occasionally where someone doesn't see how it can work at all, let alone completely negate damage.

The issue here centers, IMO, around how hit points work. They don't represent the damage a character can be dealt before they die- that would make zero sense narratively, as the 8 damage a long sword deals to a 1st-level character can be a killing blow, but is barely more than a nuisance to a 7th-level character.

Hit points are a combination of a lot of factors that prevent a character from taking serious wounds, luck, morale, and the ability to push on in the face of pain and injury. Think John McClane in Die Hard. He is visibly messed up by the events of the movie, but he doesn't stop moving and fighting.

Evasion works much better with this model of hit points- it's not so much the character takes no damage, it's that their "will to fight" isn't reduced. The action movie hero walking away from the explosion in slow-mo.


The game has rules that do not lend themselves to realism. Therefore, any description of effect to put a realistic flavor on the rules is left to imagination.

In your instance, previous posters have already mentioned a number of "realistic" explanations that can serve. Here are a few others:

At the last a moment before the fire from the fireball strikes the rogue, a bird flies through the zone absorbing the damage that the rogue would have taken.

The rogue seeing the fireball coming dives into a wet depression in the earth just as the fireball was to hit, insulated by dirt and water and shield by the depression, the rogue vaults out of the depression to stand where she was unscathed.


I think the problem with this question is the assumption that every cubic foot of the fireball's 20-foot radius spread becomes a white hot inferno of death (44 squares at ground level according to this picture).

Fires tend to be fairly fluid, with some parts being very hot and other parts being relatively cool.

Let's say the average humanoid stands around 6 feet high, they're 1 foot long & 2 feet wide, therefore there actual space is 6X2X1=12 cubic feet. Then the top foot or so of that is their head, which presumably isn't 2 feet wide, so let's say 11 cubic feet for the average player character (less for any small races).
The average 5-foot square that the character uses as their "Space" is 5X5X5=25 cubic feet.
This means that there's actually 14 cubic feet of empty space in every "square". This is not even close to exact but the numbers don't really matter, the idea is that although every square is affected, it's possible that not all parts of every square are affected.
Even if it IS hitting them, perhaps some of the flames are only enough to singe your eyebrows or dry out your wet trousers.
Rogues are better/luckier at finding the less hot-spots in those squares.

If somehow that's hard for you to believe, let's take a look:
A waying wizard teleports in - hovering 30 feet off the ground - and conjures a fireball which he hurls at a tiefling rogue.
The rogue somehow avoids all damage (I know, that's so crazy) and responds by forcing the wizard into a supernatural DANCE OFF!! (this ability can be taken at the same level a rogue gets evasion by the way).

If the rogue taking no damage is the hardest part for you to wrap your head around ... well I guess nothing I say is likely to change your mind.

Also just for fun:
DANCE OFF
DANCE OFF
DANCE OFF
DANCE OFF


In another system, the mechanic for 'evasion' was this:

When an AoE went off, you could sacrifice your next turn to dive a distance based on your move rate and end up prone. This would move you further from the epicentre (the game used damage dropoff over distance) and possibly put you behind some blocking cover.

There were some special abilities that allowed you to dive without losing your next turn, dive and remiain on your feet or dive and roll for extra distance.


I see it kind of like MrCharisma explained it. The fireball isn't an even spread of flames every where, so I see the person twisting and moving around to avoid the flames. A normal person wouldn't be able to dodge flames shooting out all over but the ones with extremely fast reflexes can.


Q: How it is possible to take no damage from fireball when having evasion?
A: By succeeding on your Reflex save.

Liberty's Edge

Fun fact 1 : you can succeed on a Reflex save (and thus get no damage with Evasion) even if you are paralyzed :-)

Fun fact 2 : you have no penalty to your Reflex save for being blinded :-))


Well, considering that objects have a reflex save...

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The Raven Black wrote:

Fun fact 1 : you can succeed on a Reflex save (and thus get no damage with Evasion) even if you are paralyzed :-)

Fun fact 2 : you have no penalty to your Reflex save for being blinded :-))

Fun fact 1: Untrue.

Paralyzed confers the helpless condition, and a helpless rogue gains no benefit from evasion.


He jumps and does a really, really fast barrel roll, which creates a very small but very strong whirlwind that pushes the flames away.

Fun fact: people can put their hands over a flame or pour liquid nitrogen on them without having any bodily harm.

Fireball is an instanteneous effect, like an explosion but without any force effect (the main destructive element of explosions). Actually seems fairly plausible to me that someone with the proper reflexes and know-how could be able to avoid harm from it.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

MrCharisma wrote:

I think the problem with this question is the assumption that every cubic foot of the fireball's 20-foot radius spread becomes a white hot inferno of death (44 squares at ground level according to this picture).

Fires tend to be fairly fluid, with some parts being very hot and other parts being relatively cool.

Basically this. The fireball is not uniform, there are gaps and safer spots within it. That's why helpless, immobile foes can still make a Reflex save for half. Evasion lets you find one of the gaps.

Liberty's Edge

dien wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:

Fun fact 1 : you can succeed on a Reflex save (and thus get no damage with Evasion) even if you are paralyzed :-)

Fun fact 2 : you have no penalty to your Reflex save for being blinded :-))

Fun fact 1: Untrue.

Paralyzed confers the helpless condition, and a helpless rogue gains no benefit from evasion.

Missed it. My bad. Half damage it is then :-)


Claxon wrote:
He covers himself with his cape or other item, why are they not destroyed or damaged? So forth and so on.

If he fails his reflex save and takes full damage from the fireball, then his cape has a chance of catching on fire, but it is not immediately destroyed or damaged directly by the fireball. Hence, it could be an effective barrier if used properly.

Goblin_Priest wrote:
Fun fact: people can put their hands over a flame or pour liquid nitrogen on them without having any bodily harm.

Let's go for the ultimate in realism, real life itself. Once while relighting a pilot light on a gas stove, I had my hand encased in a six-inch fireball. My skin was unharmed, but all the hairs on the back of my hand were reduced to ash. The scientific explanation is that the fireball had high temperature but very little heat content because it lasted for only an eyeblink. The water in my living skin cells could absorb that heat without damage, but the dry hair could not.

The effects of a real-life fireball are hard to justify. How much stranger will a magical fireball be?

ryric wrote:
MrCharisma wrote:

I think the problem with this question is the assumption that every cubic foot of the fireball's 20-foot radius spread becomes a white hot inferno of death (44 squares at ground level according to this picture).

Fires tend to be fairly fluid, with some parts being very hot and other parts being relatively cool.

Basically this. The fireball is not uniform, there are gaps and safer spots within it. That's why helpless, immobile foes can still make a Reflex save for half. Evasion lets you find one of the gaps.

I like this explanation, too. We can assume that wizards refined the fireball spell over the centuries to be sufficiently uniform that an ordinary person would take at least half damage, but people with Evasion manage to be extraordinary.


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He could use a fire-bender style kick to cut through the wave of fire.

Grand Lodge

perhaps the rogue picks up a pebble and tosses it toward the epicenter of the explosion creating a pocket behind it that widens as the explosion grows. Or maybe the rogue uses his/her weapon to literally cut an opening in the flames, Kin'emon style.


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Can't believe nobody has brought up The Matrix yet.


Mysterious Stranger wrote:

One perfectly flat featureless planes with vegetation no more than an inch tall doesn’t occur naturally. Even flatland has some contours to them, and unless you are constantly mowing the field’s vegetation grows higher than a few inches, and then there are rocks and other thing to break up the plane. The other thing the rogue can hide behind is other party members. Wizards aren’t the only one who can use the BSF for their own benefit. And finally there are the items the rogue has with him. Maybe he uses his cloak to setup a draft that deflects the flame, or maybe he has a quarter staff spinning faster enough to act create a breeze just strong enough to deflect the flame. The rogue could also use some of his mundane gear to stop the attack. Does it really matter if your ordinary tunic gains the broken condition?

The only way I see it being a problem is if you are all alone, completely naked, carrying absolutely nothing, in a room with absolutely nothing. If that is the case why does anyone even get a save for half? This brings up my next point. Why do people not have a hard time with the idea that someone can save for half damage, but have problems with evasion? If there is no way to evade the flames why is anyone getting a save?

It's not relevant if it's natural or not. My point is that Evasion would work perfectly fine even if the rogue is naked in the middle of the plane of air floating in nothingness, save for the air. So explanations that rely on using something for cover, hiding in or behind something, etc are not acceptable because lacking all those things the ability works. If that's how you want to flavor it I really don't care, but none of those things actually matter. The ability just works. When you try to justify it by saying he hides behind his cloak or something else you are creating a premise that the rogue needs something to hide behind for the ability to work, and that is untrue.

As to the second point, I agree that its unintuitive that there is a save for the damage at all, but mechanically there is. It's very hard to explain and doesn't make a lot of sense. I deal with it by saying, "Lots of things in this game don't make sense, lets move along and have our adventure".

Mathmuse wrote:
Claxon wrote:
He covers himself with his cape or other item, why are they not destroyed or damaged? So forth and so on.
If he fails his reflex save and takes full damage from the fireball, then his cape has a chance of catching on fire, but it is not immediately destroyed or damaged directly by the fireball. Hence, it could be an effective barrier if used properly.

That's another weird part. Your gear only takes damage if you roll a natural 1 on your save.

Quote:
Automatic Failures and Successes: A natural 1 (the d20 comes up 1) on a saving throw is always a failure, and the spell may cause damage to exposed items (see Items Surviving after a Saving Throw, below). A natural 20 (the d20 comes up 20) is always a success.
Quote:

Items Surviving after a Saving Throw: Unless the descriptive text for the spell specifies otherwise, all items carried or worn by a creature are assumed to survive a magical attack. If a creature rolls a natural 1 on its saving throw against the effect, however, an exposed item is harmed (if the attack can harm objects). Refer to Table: Items Affected by Magical Attacks. Determine which four objects carried or worn by the creature are most likely to be affected and roll randomly among them. The randomly determined item must make a saving throw against the attack form and take whatever damage the attack dealt.

If the selected item is not carried or worn and is not magical, it does not get a saving throw. It simply is dealt the appropriate damage.

So it's not just you fail, but you super fail the save is the only way your gear takes damage (in general). And assuming that the gear was used to block you from taking damage, shouldn't it be mentioned that your gear takes the damage instead? And then we go back to my previous statements about the naked rogue in the plane of air.


I'm so sorry, but I can't help myself. I'm having visions of Indiana Jones (who certainly has multiple levels of Rogue) jumping in a fridge to avoid a nuke (which is certainly about as high-level as you can get on a fireball).

On a serious note, if I've described it at all, it's always been something along the vein of "you twist and turn and roll with the blast wave," or something like that. Sometimes, if there is something obvious in the area, it can be part of the description ("you manage to duck behind the table as it flies by, avoiding the blast").


Personally, I try to let players flavor it in whichever way they find most enjoyable. Having fun is the important part, and if it doesn't change any mechanics, I don't worry about it.


If we're JUST talking about Fireball, specifically, there's a realistic way to do this. First, stop assuming that the spell's area is one, uniform mass of energy, evenly spread out in a perfect sphere. Fire dances and jumps. I like to picture the area of a Fireball spell as a twisting, asymmetrical mass of fire. Inside it's area are pockets of space that have no fire, which, in the instant the spell appears and vanishes, are filled in, jostled around, and contorted as the writhing flames do their thing. It happens so fast, no "normal" person could hope to navigate this blindingly quick labyrinth of fire, but someone with Evasion as trained their eyes and body to spot these pockets of safety, and matrix-dodge through them.

This line of thought can probably be applied to other Reflex-halves spells/effects, too.

Dark Archive

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Claxon wrote:
Mysterious Stranger wrote:

One perfectly flat featureless planes with vegetation no more than an inch tall doesn’t occur naturally. Even flatland has some contours to them, and unless you are constantly mowing the field’s vegetation grows higher than a few inches, and then there are rocks and other thing to break up the plane. The other thing the rogue can hide behind is other party members. Wizards aren’t the only one who can use the BSF for their own benefit. And finally there are the items the rogue has with him. Maybe he uses his cloak to setup a draft that deflects the flame, or maybe he has a quarter staff spinning faster enough to act create a breeze just strong enough to deflect the flame. The rogue could also use some of his mundane gear to stop the attack. Does it really matter if your ordinary tunic gains the broken condition?

The only way I see it being a problem is if you are all alone, completely naked, carrying absolutely nothing, in a room with absolutely nothing. If that is the case why does anyone even get a save for half? This brings up my next point. Why do people not have a hard time with the idea that someone can save for half damage, but have problems with evasion? If there is no way to evade the flames why is anyone getting a save?

It's not relevant if it's natural or not. My point is that Evasion would work perfectly fine even if the rogue is naked in the middle of the plane of air floating in nothingness, save for the air. So explanations that rely on using something for cover, hiding in or behind something, etc are not acceptable because lacking all those things the ability works. If that's how you want to flavor it I really don't care, but none of those things actually matter. The ability just works. When you try to justify it by saying he hides behind his cloak or something else you are creating a premise that the rogue needs something to hide behind for the ability to work, and that is untrue.

As to the second point, I agree that its unintuitive that there is a...

you seem adamant about not wanting to hear a believable way one could avoid it. honestly read any high fantasy novel that deals with magic and lore the same way D&D does, and the authors spell it out clear as day how the characters avoid spells and traps and all manner of things our characters avoid every time we play.

"I really don't care, but none of those things actually matter."

honestly you seem angry at this fact and cynical at the game for being fantasy.

you seem to be looking at the game on a pure mechanical point and numbers and not trying to find flair and fantasy in a novelization of your actions and the story presented to you.


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I wait.
I watch the GM gather up their handful of d6s. So many d6s. Or sometimes even d8s.
I wait.
I watch them shake the enormous pile of dice lovingly in their hands.
I wait.
I watch them tally up the results and listen as they cackle with escalating glee.
I wait.
I look sober and grim as they reveal the final, very high number.
I jump to my feet, yell "EVASION SUCKA!" and do the unseemliest dance you've ever seen.

Every. Single. Time.


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Claxon wrote:

Don't bother try to describe it realistically.

Yes the ability is technically non-magical but it's just easier if you let it "act" magically. The rogue manages to turn sideways into the 4th dimension at just the precise instant to avoid the damage.

I have lost count of how many times I've said, "and the rogue inexplicably winks out of existence as the rest of you burn"

Shadow Lodge

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Evasion is like "Will Disbelieves" for area damage.


Ok, for those that can't handle the concept of evasion negating all damage because somehow you can't see how it would happen, how do you explain a Reflex save negating ANY damage?

If there is some way to take less damage, then it would seem plausible to avoid the damage completely by doing that but just much better.

Frankly, I don't see how it is so difficult to add narrative fluff to this particular mechanic, but even given that I can't imagine being able to explain Reflex save without evasion but finding reflex saves with evasion to be an impossible hurdle to describe.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Claxon wrote:
Honestly, the answer is in my opinion that evasion really should have been listed as a supernatural ability that isn't shut down by anything that normally shuts off magic.

I mean, isn't that more or less what it is already? It's extraordinary, a word with synonyms like unbelievable or phenomenal or unusually remarkable. That it's beyond the scope of what's necessarily realistic seems to be a given.


Shadowlords wrote:

you seem adamant about not wanting to hear a believable way one could avoid it. honestly read any high fantasy novel that deals with magic and lore the same way D&D does, and the authors spell it out clear as day how the characters avoid spells and traps and all manner of things our characters avoid every time we play.

"I really don't care, but none of those things actually matter."

honestly you seem angry at this fact and cynical at the game for being fantasy.

you seem to be looking at the game on a pure mechanical point and numbers and not trying to find flair and fantasy in a novelization of your actions and the story presented to you.

No, I'm adamant that the explanation at least roughly matches the mechanics. Explanations that involve hiding behind/in something, cover yourself with something etc completely miss that the ability works even if none of those things can be done. Explanations of moving out of the way don't make sense if you character doesn't move out of their square.

I'm fine wit descriptions saying you jump out of the way, if mechanically it worked as someone in this thread described where you use up your actions from you next turn to move out of the way and landed prone. It would make the ability much weaker (not actually desired) but then the ability would make some sense.

My problem is that the majority of explanations do not at all match the mechanics of the game.

The one explanation that makes some sense is "the fireball doesn't actually fit the whole area equally at the same time and the rogue ducks into the space where it isn't".

Dave Justus wrote:

Ok, for those that can't handle the concept of evasion negating all damage because somehow you can't see how it would happen, how do you explain a Reflex save negating ANY damage?

If there is some way to take less damage, then it would seem plausible to avoid the damage completely by doing that but just much better.

Frankly, I don't see how it is so difficult to add narrative fluff to this particular mechanic, but even given that I can't imagine being able to explain Reflex save without evasion but finding reflex saves with evasion to be an impossible hurdle to describe.

I'm actually do take issue with reflex saves reducing the damage in general, but that is the game mechanic. Reflex saves for half damage equally make as little sense to me as evasion with a reflex save allowing you to take no damage. Actually, it would make more sense to me if evasion was what let you make a save at all to reduce the damage.

If the game had a mechanic where "you can reflex for half, but must be able to get behind something or someone or drop prone on the ground and must spend movement from your next turn to do these things" then I would have an easier time with general reflex saves.

I suspect this wasn't done mechanically because it would make damage spells potentially too strong.


I'm surprised no one mentioned this. The Order of the Stick, providing all of your in game explanations of minutia since 2003.


Dorian Greystar wrote:

Cartwheels.

A rogue doing cartwheels can evade anything.

This sums everything up. A Barb eats magic because he's mad. A tower shield stops a breath weapon because the Fighter is just that good. A rogue and monk dance amongst flames, electricity, acid and what have you via cartwheels and style.

Seriously, there's a monk archetype that allows a Halfling to suplex a creature as large as a skyscraper. These are heroes. Be imaginative and have fun.

Dark Archive

Claxon wrote:
Shadowlords wrote:

you seem adamant about not wanting to hear a believable way one could avoid it. honestly read any high fantasy novel that deals with magic and lore the same way D&D does, and the authors spell it out clear as day how the characters avoid spells and traps and all manner of things our characters avoid every time we play.

"I really don't care, but none of those things actually matter."

honestly you seem angry at this fact and cynical at the game for being fantasy.

you seem to be looking at the game on a pure mechanical point and numbers and not trying to find flair and fantasy in a novelization of your actions and the story presented to you.

No, I'm adamant that the explanation at least roughly matches the mechanics. Explanations that involve hiding behind/in something, cover yourself with something etc completely miss that the ability works even if none of those things can be done. Explanations of moving out of the way don't make sense if you character doesn't move out of their square.

I'm fine wit descriptions saying you jump out of the way, if mechanically it worked as someone in this thread described where you use up your actions from you next turn to move out of the way and landed prone. It would make the ability much weaker (not actually desired) but then the ability would make some sense.

My problem is that the majority of explanations do not at all match the mechanics of the game.

The one explanation that makes some sense is "the fireball doesn't actually fit the whole area equally at the same time and the rogue ducks into the space where it isn't".

It seems you want the narrative to match the mechanics or the mechanics to spell out the narrative and thus limit your own imagination. Alot of the mechanics and abilities are left vague within the game (in a narrative sense of how it exactly works) so that the players and DM can provide their own narrative and imagination to the story that fits with what was provided by the DM or the book. In a story or narrative sense Every evasion of a spell is going to be evaded differently depending on what the current environment is and what setting you are in, what equipment you have and so forth. there is no way for a mechanic to spell out every possible situation for imagination. in the same regards every reflex same is going to be different as well depending on were you are and what not, sometime it will be a dodge roll sometimes it will merely be bringing something up in front of you to block.

In the case of moving to dodge for evasion or reflex, the movement could be confined to your own square, you have a full 5ft by 5ft square to use, for a quick doge roll or side step that's plenty of room.


Actually it's not that hard. They could have said you need to have something you can take cover behind, you can drop prone (and actually be prone with all the penalties), or cover yourself with gear (and have that gear damaged), but they didn't. They don't need to be very specific.

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