How far should you be allowed to push Ref Saves / Evasion?


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This is one area which has always come across as grossly unbalancing at my table and I wonder how other DM's have ruled on this. My players tend to look at Ref Saves and Evasion / Improved Evasion as a 100% "get outta jail free card" for frequently doing blatantly stupid things.

Example: The roof collapses on top of the PC's for 40 damage.

Player: "Ref Save + Evasion" I take no damage!
DM: HOW?! You had no where to go, no where to "dive for safe cover" etc.
Player: Too bad, the rules say I can.

Example 2: character is wearing full plate and standing in knee deep water, but has a ring of Evasion. A trap (or whatever) is triggered and everyone in the water is struck by a Lightning Bolt (spell or natural).

Player: I make my Ref Save + Evasion taking little if any damage!!
DM: Do you have any idea what happens with electricity + a metal object in water?

Example 3: I spent the last 30 minutes arguing with the DM that Spider Climb will allow me to climb the slippery frozen water fall. About 300 ft up the side of the waterfall it is hit with a fireball and the whole thing shatters dropping tons of ice to the ground.

Player: Ref Save + Evasion!!
DM: But you just argued that you are stuck to the damn thing like glue and NOTHING can knock you loose!

Example 4: I rub myself down in in highly flammable grease before engaging the fire breathing dragon.

DM: Why?
Player: Because SCREW HIM i have a +14 Ref Save and Evasion!

Now I know how I ruled on this in my game, but how have other DM's addressed these types of shenanigans at their own tables?

Dark Archive

"At 2nd level and higher, a rogue can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If she makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, she instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if the rogue is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless rogue does not gain the benefit of evasion."

Reflex saves, for the most part, are only against attacks.

Example 1. The roof collapsing is not an attack. He takes falling damage. I would let him use acrobatics to halve the damage.

Example 2. This one seems to be a GM decision. I would increase the DC for being in the water and having halved movement. Metal armor shouldn't matter.

Example 3. He can save against the fireball, but if the ice gets destroyed he takes falling damage from 300 feet, which is an instant kill. I would let him roll acrobatics to get on a sturdy area of the ice before it shattered.

Example 4. A +14 reflex will not save him every time against the dragons fire. If the dragon hits him, give him an extra D3 (D6 for alchemists fire) of oil damage per turn until he puts it out(also, make sure to give his teammates splash damage where applicable). Tell him it is extra damage for being stupid.


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Honestly, these don't seem to be "shenanigans" so much as "using an ability exactly how it's meant to be used." If a character has put significant investment into being supernaturally good at dodging certain types attacks, then they should absolutely be able to get away with risks that would be deadly for a normal human. If they can't, then what's the point of having the ability?

Lazlo.Arcadia wrote:
Example: The roof collapses on top of the PC's for 40 damage.

I mean, that sort of environmental damage is entirely up to the GM. If you don't want there to be a save, don't allow a save. If you say there's a Reflex save for half damage, then evasion should obviously work. Note that if you're using the environmental rules for cave-ins and collapses, even a character with evasion who makes their save can be buried under the rubble and take continuous damage until they're freed.

Lazlo.Arcadia wrote:
Example 2: character is wearing full plate and standing in knee deep water, but has a ring of Evasion. A trap (or whatever) is triggered and everyone in the water is struck by a Lightning Bolt (spell or natural).

Well, per the environmental rules for thunderstorms, natural lightning doesn't actually allow a Reflex save. But if you've decided it does, or it comes from the lightning bolt spell, then yeah, evasion should apply. Again, that's literally why the ability exists. It's a magical ring, say they jumped three feet in the air if you want to.

Lazlo.Arcadia wrote:
Example 3: I spent the last 30 minutes arguing with the DM that Spider Climb will allow me to climb the slippery frozen water fall. About 300 ft up the side of the waterfall it is hit with a fireball and the whole thing shatters dropping tons of ice to the ground.

Falling damage doesn't allow a Reflex save, and shattering ice is up to you, but for the fireball there's no reason not to let them avoid the damage.

Lazlo.Arcadia wrote:
Example 4: I rub myself down in in highly flammable grease before engaging the fire breathing dragon.

Yep, dodging draconic breath weapons is a perfectly legitimate use of evasion.

Really, if you don't want a high Reflex save and evasion to protect them from certain dangers, then confront them with dangers that don't allow a Reflex save for half damage. It's as simple as that.


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Yeah, like look at the normal situations of fireball, if the point of origin of the fireball is the rogue with evasion then where is he dodge?

Also we've been told by the creators that unconscious people still can attempt reflex saving throws and thus dodge damage while unconscious. So how is that possible?

The answer is Magic/rules. Rules are he dodged the damage somehow. If you feel you need to be able to explain it your explaination needs to not invalidate the ability.


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You mean 'unrealistic', not 'unbalanced'.

It works how the rules say it works. I have yet to see any reason to nerf Evasion/Improved Evasion/Reflex saves.


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I want to address #1 specifically. Why do you want to take away what little the rogue has in the way of nice things? You know that magic spells aren’t real, right? Ok, and no one ever questions a 1st level wizard summoning a badger from another plane (if only for a moment). Let him dodge the falling roof in an extraordinary manner. He only needs to avoid the debris for a moment after all.


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The answer to your question is: The rules say you take no damage, so you take no damage.

As a GM it's your prerogative to change things, but as Ciaran Barnes mentions if you're going to change things because it's "unrealistic" I'll be waiting for your thread to discuss how your removing all magic and magic items from the game as well as all magic beast, undead, etc.

Dark Archive

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Yeah, Evasion works fine and isn't unbalanced. Your characters are trying to use it for some things that it isn't supposed to be used for, and others that it is. Avoiding attacks, magic attacks and trap damage is about all it should be used for. I have a barbarian rogue that gets saved against magic attacks a lot because of Evasion. But he is easier to hit and often takes a beating in other areas because of the light armor requirements of the feat. So it ends up being a wash.


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Reflex saves aren't that important anyway. AFAIK, things that require Reflex saves just do damage. Wooo. In the meantime, you've got Fort and Will saves that can petrify, stun, blind and outright mind-control you that Mr. Rogue is likely to get slammed by hook, line, and sinker.


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I might argue that 2nd level is too low to get a benefit as good as evasion, but not with how evasion works. That's the quirk with saving throws, not just of the reflex variety. They may seem improbable. So what? They exist to keep a character from being screwed by the hazards of an adventuring life. They're the character's last-ditch effort to cling to life when they'd otherwise be electrocuted, baked, poisoned, or have their minds ripped apart.

I would challenge everyone who successfully saves in improbable-looking circumstances to describe how they manage to do so, though. It's a good exercise in creative description if nothing else.

Grand Lodge

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One of my DM's did this as well. There was a huge explosion due to something involving a fireball and a bunch of explosive materials. He simply ruled evasion wasn't gonna work because the explosion is so big there's no way to dodge.

I didn't have the evasion, so it didn't affect me, but I would've been pretty annoyed if I had a core class feature suddenly get nerfed with no prior warning.

I think it's fine to say evasion won't work in all cases, but you definitely need to make that clear during character creation, so the player can decide if that changes his mind on what to play.


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Zhayne wrote:
AFAIK, things that require Reflex saves just do damage

A lot of effects that prevent or restrict movement, like Grease, Entangle, Web, or Create Pit call for reflex saves.


Dasrak wrote:
Zhayne wrote:
AFAIK, things that require Reflex saves just do damage
A lot of effects that prevent or restrict movement, like Grease, Entangle, Web, or Create Pit call for reflex saves.

I sit corrected.


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Isn't complaining about the absurdity of Evasion like complaining about the absurdity of a four winged dragon? "A four winged dragon? Don't be ridiculous; everyone knows dragons only have two wings".


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Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Lazlo.Arcadia wrote:


Example: The roof collapses on top of the PC's for 40 damage.

Ordinary people often emerge unscathed from collapsing buildings, he ducked under a roof beam/doorway etc and none of the debris hit him. Prefectly reasonable and justifiable use of Evasion

Lazlo.Arcadia wrote:


Example 2: character is wearing full plate and standing in knee deep water, but has a ring of Evasion. A trap (or whatever) is triggered and everyone in the water is struck by a Lightning Bolt (spell or natural).

Squat jump out of the water so not in the water when the lightning bolt hit. I have seen men doing such jumps and they are not high level adventurers. Also Do you rule that during underwater adventures lightning bolts create a sphere blasting the caster? If not magic lightning which only does realism when you feel like it. Evasion is perfectly reasonable

Lazlo.Arcadia wrote:


Example 3: I spent the last 30 minutes arguing with the DM that Spider Climb will allow me to climb the slippery frozen water fall. About 300 ft up the side of the waterfall it is hit with a fireball and the whole thing shatters dropping tons of ice to the ground.

Well the GM is clearly not very good on the rules as he got spider climb badly wrong. DC 25 to 30 climb check with the +8 from spider climb no need for a pointless arguement. Assuming the fireball actually brings down the entire water fall and the cliff face behind it then I would rule he takes no damage from the fireball and then falls , if there was any wall or waterfall remaining he would have made it to that like any other evasion. Would have to be a big fireball to do that much damage. So no problem with evasion.

Lazlo.Arcadia wrote:


Example 4: I rub myself down in in highly flammable grease before engaging the fire breathing dragon.

DM: Why?
Player: Because SCREW HIM i have a +14 Ref Save and Evasion!

Straw man arguement.

1) If he evades none of the flames touch him so the grease is irrelevant. If you don't like evasion then make dragion breath a ranged touch
2) If he did get hit then perhaps you could rule the grease caught fire and he takes an extra d6 damage (not going to be worse than alchemists fire) and uses the onfire rules until he puts himself out

Your solution is obvious ban the notoriously overpowered rogue and make sure your party is entirely weak 9th level casters who cannot get the god power of evasion!

If your rulings were different than mine, you may be a killer GM :(


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I think the problem is that you're restricting your imagination of how Evasion works. He could be doing things other than jumping out of the way of the attack. There are all sorts of ways that evasion could explain how a character evaded something.

Falling Roof example: The rogue ducked under a table or a counter. He could even have used the party's fighter for cover.

Electrified Water Example: The ring is allowing the character to have magically enhanced reflexes. He briefly jumps out of the water as the lighting strikes, or stabs his sword into the water in such a way that the electricity is drawn away from him (like the force lighting in Star Wars Episode 3).

Spider Climb: There is no reason why a character using spider climb couldn't choose to jump. Even if he didn't, he could have just flattened himself down and let the fire flow over him instead of being hit by it.

Sovereign Court

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Example one: "stuck between a rock and a hard place"? This is the cool of Rogues and Monks. They dodge in impossible situations. Unrealistic as a fireball.
Ruling: RAW

Example two: "Wet zap in steeltoes"? I have always thought the ring of evasion was garbage. However, if someone has evasion i'm not going against RAW unless there is a good reason to. Full plate in water might result in a penalty to the save.
Ruling: Houserules

Example three: "Sticky when wet, not when exploded"? Once again realism seems to be the enemy of cool. I don't see any reason these two shouldn't work in tandem.
Ruling: RAW

Example four: "Meta-rollin!"? This is pretty cheesy and seemingly against RAI. I frown upon this type of behavior but wouldn't disallow it.
Ruling: RAW with stinkeye.


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To not argue the position of whether something is overpowered or not, there are other ways to address this.

Evasion only works in conjunction with a Reflex save. An event or situation doesn't have to involve a reflex save if you don't want, unless the rules for the situation specifically call out a Reflex save.

To give examples based on your examples:

1. You might call for a Reflex save to avoid damage from the falling debris, but also a Fortitude save based on Strength rather than Con to avoid being pinned by the debris. Or, you could require a Perception check to notice the collapsing roof in time to do anything at all; failure to notice the impending collapse results in no save being allowed at all.

2. This one is more straight forward. Assuming it's as per the spell effect, as previously mentioned, you can adjust the DC for the trap higher because everyone is in the water, and if you really want, you could adjust the DC for characters in metal armor. Normally you wouldn't do that last for the spell, but if it's a trap, why not?

3. Sure, let the player make the Reflex save to avoid the damage from the Fireball. Unfortunately for the player, that does nothing about the impending fall from 300'. The surface they were climbing is now gone, so I cannot think of any skill check or save that would help at this point. Unless they have something like Feather Fall or Fly available, they're looking at 20d6 of falling damage (I believe that's the max). However, if you really wanted, you could assign a DC for a Climb or Acrobatics check to try to reach some surface or another that isn't falling to the ground below.

4. Shrug your shoulders and introduce that impudent character to the dragon who has the Snatch feat:

"Benefit: The creature can start a grapple when it hits with a claw or bite attack, as though it had the grab ability. If it grapples a creature three or more sizes smaller, it squeezes each round for automatic bite or claw damage with a successful grapple check. A snatched opponent held in the creature’s mouth is not allowed a Reflex save against the creature’s breath weapon, if it has one.

The creature can drop a creature it has snatched as a free action or use a standard action to fling it aside. A flung creature travels 1d6 × 10 feet, and takes 1d6 points of damage per 10 feet traveled. If the creature flings a snatched opponent while flying, the opponent takes this amount or falling damage, whichever is greater."


Quite aside from evasion, I don't see how coating yourself with flammable grease before engaging a fire-breathing dragon is supposed to help. What is he trying to do, give the dragon heartburn after he gets swallowed?


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I feel like "Selectively applied realism" is a real trap that GMs can fall into which invariably causes problems when you're focusing on the wrong thing. Sure, things like "you can load, aim, and fire a crossbow 6 times in 6 seconds" is unrealistic, but it's also not a problem and it's a lot more realistic than "a druid can shapechange into a songbird (where does the extra mass go?)." So try to resist accepting "the rules say this is possible, so it's possible" as an explanation for some things but not others.

I mean, failing reflex saves is less of a big deal than failing fort/will saves in most cases so Stalwart (the inquisitor ability, though some archetypes of other classes get it too) is a lot more useful than evasion, and we're willing to accept "you just shrug it off" as an explanation for how Stalwart works, so it's not like Evasion is a problem.

If nothing else, just use "explain how your amazing reflexes got you out of this pickle" as an improv prompt (like what JohnHawkins did above) and accept any plausible, cool, or amusing explanation as valid.

(FWIW a fireball should probably not "instantly melt the frozen waterfall" since hitting frozen things with hot things has results nowhere near as drastic as you'd think- it's likely faster to clear snow off your driveway with a shovel than with a flamethrower.)


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Evasion is an extraordinary ability, so it will allow extraordinary behavior.

From the top:

Lazlo.Arcadia wrote:

Example: The roof collapses on top of the PC's for 40 damage.

Player: "Ref Save + Evasion" I take no damage!
DM: HOW?! You had no where to go, no where to "dive for safe cover" etc.
Player: Too bad, the rules say I can.

The closest analogue I know of is Cave-In or Collapse, which does allow a Reflex save but still buries the player if they're in the "bury zone" regardless of saving throw. Evasion would cover the initial damage but not the inability to move nor the subsequent damage from being buried. Even this hinges on whether one considers a cave-in/collapse an "attack"--traps are generally considered attacks, but hazards aren't strictly traps. I'd allow it as thematically such a hazard isn't really any different from a trap from the character's perspective.

Quote:

Example 2: character is wearing full plate and standing in knee deep water, but has a ring of Evasion. A trap (or whatever) is triggered and everyone in the water is struck by a Lightning Bolt (spell or natural).

Player: I make my Ref Save + Evasion taking little if any damage!!
DM: Do you have any idea what happens with electricity + a metal object in water?

I'm impressed--full plate has an armor check penalty of -6, so that Reflex save is going to be fun.

Either way, it's no worse than a naked rogue standing in a featureless open field and having a fireball dropped directly on him. There's nowhere to go, but the rogue still gets a Reflex save to mitigate damage, and evasion still reduces that to zero. This is by design. Flavor it however you like--rule of cool is in full effect.

Quote:

Example 3: I spent the last 30 minutes arguing with the DM that Spider Climb will allow me to climb the slippery frozen water fall. About 300 ft up the side of the waterfall it is hit with a fireball and the whole thing shatters dropping tons of ice to the ground.

Player: Ref Save + Evasion!!
DM: But you just argued that you are stuck to the damn thing like glue and NOTHING can knock you loose!

The PC is good enough at climbing to cling to the ice (maybe she one-inch-punches fingerholds as she goes?), but that doesn't prevent the player from falling if there's literally nothing to climb. The PC still doesn't take damage from the fireball if she makes her Reflex save, though.

Quote:

Example 4: I rub myself down in in highly flammable grease before engaging the fire breathing dragon.

DM: Why?
Player: Because SCREW HIM i have a +14 Ref Save and Evasion!

This seems needlessly antagonistic. Are there out-of-game issues at play here?


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

For those saying evasion only works against attacks and traps, and thus would not protect you from a collapsing roof, I ask this:

How exactly does a collapsing roof differ from a collapsing ceiling trap? Why would a rogue be able to detect/evade one, but not the other?


Point of order regarding 2. My understanding is that in real life a lightning bolt hitting water does not become a "lightning fireball." it still seeks the shortest path to the ground. So if the lightning bolt hit some distance away the fighter would be safe.

Also, I'm pretty sure armor would protect you from non-magical lightning since it would conduct it around you.


blahpers wrote:
I'm impressed--full plate has an armor check penalty of -6, so that Reflex save is going to be fun.

ACP doesn't apply to reflex saves unless you are non-proficient with the armor.


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Evasion will work against anything that gets a reflex save. The question becomes, what sort of things become appropriate not to allow saves for.


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Claxon wrote:
Evasion will work against anything that gets a reflex save.

Not quite. Evasion only works against effects that allow a Reflex save for half damage. If someone with evasion makes their save against tar pool or blistering invective, they'll still be taking damage from it.


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"Quintin the Phantom Thief knew this would be his last heist. As the fireball whipped into the room, he thought of all the things he could have done, the things he could have said, but...

Instead he jumped into the air toward the flame that was about to burst and immolate everything in the bedchamber. Just like he practiced time and time again, his jump was perfectly timed, his rotation sublime. The cape around his shoulders acted as a bubble of sorts, smothering the air around him so the flames couldn't encroach on his life.

He landed with a patter much like a cat, locked eyes at the shocked sorcerer with a bow and leapt out of the window. His steps a little heavier with the new sculpture in his hands."

Evasion is extraordinary. Make it extraordinary.

Dark Archive

Avoron wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Evasion will work against anything that gets a reflex save.
Not quite. Evasion only works against effects that allow a Reflex save for half damage. If someone with evasion makes their save against tar pool or blistering invective, they'll still be taking damage from it.

Not only that but it doesn't do anything if there is no reflex save at all. For instance if you really wanted to hit the party with a plot-necessary fireball that engulfs the whole room, it is within your power as a GM to say that there is no reflex save and thus evasion does nothing.

For the OP, if your characters have evasion, it isn't fair to play "gotcha" with them. They have an ability that they invested in and they deserve to have it do what it does. However, once something becomes a problem for you as a GM, if you keep doing the same thing it becomes your fault. Don't make the party fight rouges who only have reflex save spells. Make traps that roll attack rolls to hit. Be creative.

If this is PFS, well then I don't know what to tell you. I have had plenty of PC's with evasion and it seemed far from as broken as you would imply.


Chess Pwn wrote:
blahpers wrote:
I'm impressed--full plate has an armor check penalty of -6, so that Reflex save is going to be fun.
ACP doesn't apply to reflex saves unless you are non-proficient with the armor.

I checked before posting and still got this wrong. Thanks for the rebound.


Lazlo.Arcadia wrote:

This is one area which has always come across as grossly unbalancing at my table and I wonder how other DM's have ruled on this. My players tend to look at Ref Saves and Evasion / Improved Evasion as a 100% "get outta jail free card" for frequently doing blatantly stupid things.

Example: The roof collapses on top of the PC's for 40 damage.

Player: "Ref Save + Evasion" I take no damage!
DM: HOW?! You had no where to go, no where to "dive for safe cover" etc.
Player: Too bad, the rules say I can.

AKA "Rogues can't have nice things."
Quote:

Example 2: character is wearing full plate and standing in knee deep water, but has a ring of Evasion. A trap (or whatever) is triggered and everyone in the water is struck by a Lightning Bolt (spell or natural).

Player: I make my Ref Save + Evasion taking little if any damage!!
DM: Do you have any idea what happens with electricity + a metal object in water?

This is in a game system that freights along earlier D&D's abysmal understanding of how electricity actually works. (You're better off being in metal armor if hit by actual lightning because then the current runs through the lower-resistance metal rather than the salty blood of your circulatory system.)

Hell, this is a game that screws up longswords.

Quote:

Example 3: I spent the last 30 minutes arguing with the DM that Spider Climb will allow me to climb the slippery frozen water fall. About 300 ft up the side of the waterfall it is hit with a fireball and the whole thing shatters dropping tons of ice to the ground.

Player: Ref Save + Evasion!!
DM: But you just argued that you are stuck to the damn thing like glue and NOTHING can knock you loose!

I'm not sure why the GM is asking for a reflex save here when the ability to cast featherfall is what's needed.
Quote:

Example 4: I rub myself down in in highly flammable grease before engaging the fire breathing dragon.

DM: Why?
Player: Because SCREW HIM i have a +14 Ref Save and Evasion!

It's grease, not gasoline.


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Okay, so how far can you push it? This is the furthest I've ever heard of it being pushed. The following was not my campaign; I read about it on the Internet. Of course everything you read on the Internet is true, and my memory is absolutely 100% reliable so the following is gospel truth.

The Probably Apocryphal Tale of the Six Saves wrote:

It was the end of a futuristic campaign. The group had triumphed against the forces of evil -- but not the forces of lulz, because someone had made the mistake of giving the Chaotic Neutral character a pocket nuke, which he never got to use! And so, because the campaign was over, that player announced he was going to pull out his pocket nuke and detonate it right in the middle of the party.

Naturally people were not happy about this, but of all of them, it was the player of the rogue who was least happy. "It's area-of-effect damage," he said, "and I've got Evasion! I should get a save."

"But it's a nuclear bomb," came the response. "And you're standing right next to it!"

"But I have evasion, and if I pass my save, I get to live!"

"All right, fine," the GM said. "Roll me six natural 20s in a row, and you will have successfully saved while standing at ground zero of a nuclear explosion."

"All right then," said the rogue's player, and he picked up his die.

20.

Everyone hooted and hollered. "Hey, look at that!" "Great start!" "Do it again!"

So he rolled again.

20.

"Way to go!" "Just four more."

20.

"Hey, this is getting spooky." "Incredible ..."

20.

People got quiet.

20.

You could have heard a pin drop. The rogue's player was one roll away. He had a 5% chance of successfully saving versus a nuclear explosion.

He picked up his die.

He rolled it.

20.

And the table went bonkers. Yelling and laughing and screaming triumph until their throats were raw!

Once the pandemonium settled a bit, the GM announced that everybody else was dead, of course. But the rogue had seen the nuke come out, and proceeded to do back-flips at the speed of light all the way out of the blast zone.

(I dearly wish I could find the site that had the original of this story again, because that site was awesome.)


One point of clarification: The fire ball hit the water fall, not the rogue, and I'd previously determined the water fall was VERY frozen making it brittle. My ruling on it at the time had been the fall + getting crushed by the tons falling ice killed him. He was pissed, and crying that I should have allowed him a Ref Save vs the fall (the FB was a moot point as he was not the target). I didn't allow the save as I'd spent over 20 minutes telling him it was a bad idea and if it went wrong he would be screwed. A warning he 100% ignored btw.

"But that isn't how spider climb works" - yeah I know. It was more of a mechanical gauntlet with claws that allowed for "super grip" that gave a spider climb like effect with a really high climb bonus (I think it was a + 8 which is why I based it off spider climb IIRC).

"It is grease not gasoline" - yes, however I'd also disclaimered that in the very beginning by stating it was "highly flammable". And yes, the rogue actually did this just to prove how untouchable he was. I went on to rule that while he'd avoided the dragons breath attack, the splash damage from it had set his grease on fire.

So what was the answer I used to address these issues? I came to forums and read up on Ref Saves and Evasion. The following encounter the party barbarian met with an unfortunate will save, and rogue was faced with a very angry barbarian who had become convinced that the party had been infiltrated by evil doppelgangers which he had to kill in order to save his friends. Ironically the party loved it.


Zhayne wrote:
Reflex saves aren't that important anyway. AFAIK, things that require Reflex saves just do damage.

Usually, yes. There might be rider effects, though - dazing fireball comes to my mind. When you avoid the whole damage with evasion, you won't be dazed, no matter how horrible your Will save is.

And Reflex being less important is partially a side effect on cutting down on the dragons. After decades of writers throwing dragons at PCs, Paizo reduced the big lizards to be only one creature type among many - hence the party will face less breath weapons.


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Lazlo.Arcadia wrote:
I didn't allow the save as I'd spent over 20 minutes telling him it was a bad idea and if it went wrong he would be screwed. A warning he 100% ignored btw.

This gaming group may have bigger problems than realism houserules.

Grand Lodge

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If the item didn't work like Spider Climb exactly I hope you explained the difference to them before they started climbing.

I'm gonna echo some of the others here and say that there seem to be some out of game problems here driving the conflict rather than simply the evasion and reflex save rules.


I mean clearly you're miswriting the narrative. He MADE his save, so there was a place to dive to in the burning building!

Evasion only works if wearing light or no armor (helps to read the full ability description ;) ), full plate wearer dies! (although since you seem to like realism arguments; pure water is an almost perfect insulator, and conducts electricity only weakly --- on an unrelated note chain mail, much less full plate is an excellent Faraday cage, and you can get hit by lightning as many times as you want wearing it, and never feel a thing --- except maybe some heat; plenty of scientists do this recreationally/as a profession)

Clearly the waterfall didn't completely shatter! The rogue miraculously clings to the other side of the frozen falls, happy that the silly caster mistook his translucent image for a valid target.

Hehe, he misread the expiration date and was sold expired product; silly rogue, next time put points in appraise.

I mean, you can be the GM who just kills people over and over because you can; the rules make you GOD after all. Sounds boring to me though.


Trekkie90909 wrote:

I mean clearly you're miswriting the narrative. He MADE his save, so there was a place to dive to in the burning building!

Evasion only works if wearing light or no armor (helps to read the full ability description ;) ), full plate wearer dies! (although since you seem to like realism arguments; pure water is an almost perfect insulator, and conducts electricity only weakly --- on an unrelated note chain mail, much less full plate is an excellent Faraday cage, and you can get hit by lightning as many times as you want wearing it, and never feel a thing --- except maybe some heat; plenty of scientists do this recreationally/as a profession)

Clearly the waterfall didn't completely shatter! The rogue miraculously clings to the other side of the frozen falls, happy that the silly caster mistook his translucent image for a valid target.

Hehe, he misread the expiration date and was sold expired product; silly rogue, next time put points in appraise.

I mean, you can be the GM who just kills people over and over because you can; the rules make you GOD after all. Sounds boring to me though.

not quite there are many different kinds of evasion, some classes evasion only work in no armor some in light or no armor some in medium light or no armor and some in all types of armor and no armor ring of evasion give evasion in all types of armor ad all types of lack of armor

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber
Lazlo.Arcadia wrote:
Now I know how I ruled on this in my game, but how have other DM's addressed these types of shenanigans at their own tables?

If it offers a Reflex save, they get to evade if successful. If it doesn't, they eat the whole thing. Being on fire would be something that did not allow a save, I would think. (Look at alchemists fire.) Evading a fireball won't help if you are falling off the wall. (They can likely make a Reflex save or climb check to continue holding on, especially with spider climb to obviate the need for a climb check.) Ring of evasion is treated as evasion, so it turns off in heavy armor.


Chess Pwn wrote:

Also we've been told by the creators that unconscious people still can attempt reflex saving throws and thus dodge damage while unconscious. So how is that possible?

You get a save with an effective dex of 0 and therefore a modifier of -5. Evasion wont help you though as it doesn't work while helpless.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Ring of evasion is treated as evasion, so it turns off in heavy armor.

I am honestly not sure how true this is. Rogue evasion doesn't work unless you are in light or no armour. The gunslinger evasive ability (which grants evasion) has no armour limitations. Animal Companion Evasion has no armour limits. Ranger Evasion allows for medium armour. The ring doesn't include any limits.


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The closest real life example I can find of climbing an ice waterfall and narrow escapes is this:

Narrow Escape From Ice Waterfall Collapse

A rogue would probably be better than these guys maybe?

Basically the other closest example I can map this situation to an effect of "suddenly no ground" going off to the area right next/under you to (un)certain doom is:

The Deathfall Pit Trap: the hardest trap I could find (at short notice)

Or the spell that you can target directly under the feet of Create Pit... :

Both these allow reflex saves to jump clear of the effect; or you just take it that a rogue character should know what a player won't: how to climb stuff that is brittle and would have the sense to not just use the ice alone?

(Just as we let wizards have poetic license for knowing impossible stuff their characters never would as pretty much no-one IRL is that smart...)

YMMV, I guess, but if what you and they think a frozen waterfall look like are completely different (some do have rocks poking out), then mayhap a description of what the ice waterfall looked like would clarify...?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Make sure you know what does and does not receive a reflex save. It won't help against an opponent swinging a weapon, or spells that require fortitude or will saves. Color spray or sleep spells requires will saves, for example. The biggest weakness of reflex, or any saves is the natural one. A natural one always fails with attack or save rolls, no matter what your modifier is.


Interestingly, you are already houseruling if you decide to make a Lightning Bolt underwater spread out. It instead keeps a normal path (since containment was necessary even in air) but is invisible. Aquatic Adventures is the source, but I'm having trouble with getting an online citation (It's not yet on the PRD, and d20SRD was loading it's search extremely slow at the time I'm posting this.)


Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Slim Jim wrote:
Hell, this is a game that screws up longswords.

How did it screw up longswords? Please explain.


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Pathfinder Pawns, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Obscure citations wrote:

Interestingly, you are already houseruling if you decide to make a Lightning Bolt underwater spread out. It instead keeps a normal path (since containment was necessary even in air) but is invisible. Aquatic Adventures is the source, but I'm having trouble with getting an online citation (It's not yet on the PRD, and d20SRD was loading it's search extremely slow at the time I'm posting this.)

Here you go.

Aquatic Adventures on electricty spells underwater wrote:

Electricity Spells: While normal electricity, such as that from a natural thunderstorm, tends to disperse in all directions underwater, magical electricity spells hold their integrity enough to have normal effects underwater, with one exception: visible and audible lightning bolts and sparks are the result of combusted air, and they don’t happen underwater. Because of this, creatures that fail to identify an electricity spell that requires a ranged touch attack are flat-footed against the first such ranged touch attack during a fight, as they don’t realize they need to dodge the invisible projectile (unless they otherwise have reason to expect it, like a spellcaster who can cast such spells). This doesn’t apply to melee touch spells like shocking grasp, since the creature can still see the spellcaster’s hand moving towards it.

Sovereign Court

andreww wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Ring of evasion is treated as evasion, so it turns off in heavy armor.
I am honestly not sure how true this is. Rogue evasion doesn't work unless you are in light or no armour. The gunslinger evasive ability (which grants evasion) has no armour limitations. Animal Companion Evasion has no armour limits. Ranger Evasion allows for medium armour. The ring doesn't include any limits.

Which is why its a terrible item.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

I dunno, saved my bard and my friends arcanist plenty of times through Seeker tier.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
I dunno, saved my bard and my friends arcanist plenty of times through Seeker tier.

Ring slots are precious. At higher level seeker points I get conflicted between this and things like freedom of movement, invisibility and inner fortitude. Inner fortitude does tend to win out as stupid shadows can kill a lot of caster types in one hit even at high level.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Lost Omens, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber

Well, my casters tend to have 10-12 Str scores, so not as big a deal.


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Lazlo.Arcadia wrote:
...My ruling on it at the time had been the fall + getting crushed by the tons falling ice killed him. He was pissed, and crying that I should have allowed him a Ref Save vs the fall (the FB was a moot point as he was not the target). I didn't allow the save as I'd spent over 20 minutes telling him it was a bad idea and if it went wrong he would be screwed. A warning he 100% ignored btw...

Why were you so against the character climbing up the waterfall?

Also, if I were the player I think I'd be annoyed for (at least) three reasons:
1) He was falling down into (I'm assuming) water. He had no chance to dive in and avoid the ice chunks or to use his reflex to kick off of a large piece so that he didn't hit the water at the same point of the ice chunks and was crushed to death? Are you running a game with the intention of killing the PC's?

2) It's an open world! Why are you rail-roading them into not going up something? If you didn't want someone climbing on something why was it there in the first place?

3) How tall was this waterfall? He was already 300 feet up and unless you had it so that everything below him was falling after he hit the water it seems weird that there was enough to crush him. And if the frozen bits that he had already climbed past were to fall on him in the water I'd be arguing for a reflex save that my evasion could save me from as well!

Honestly, this sounds like the player is fighting against a GM that is trying to limit what they can do/is trying to kill them rather than a player and GM working together to tell a good story.
Assuming that your examples happened in that order you can easily see the player getting more and more frustrated with not being able to do what his character should.
As others have said, collapsing roof: Avoid damage by ducking under something. (Sounds like you tried to say he took damage anyways)
Knee-deep water: reflex to jump out of it. (Sounds like you tried to say he took damage anyways)
Falling and not being able to avoid other falling things: See my comments above
In the final example you can really see the player saying "Screw it, if you're going to say it doesn't work I'm going to do stupid things because the rules say I can even though you've been changing the rules on me anyways."

What's the ironic part about the Barbarian failing a save, attacking the other PC's and the players loving it?
That's exactly how the game works, RAW. Now, if the rules said that if the barbarian failed his save he still wouldn't attack anyone but you said "No, screw that, barbarian attacks because it's what I want to have happen" and the players still enjoyed it, well, okay... then I could see it as being ironic.

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