Opinion: Saving Throws and TAC are things of the past. Let them go


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Paizo's blog post on September 4, 2018 about codifying basic saving throws got me thinking about why we even need saving throws in the first place.

Saving Throws have always existed in D&D, but I'm mostly familiar with the Fortitude, Reflex and Will saves as they existed in 3.X. They've always functioned as an inverse attack roll, with some caveats.

A spell with an attack roll used to have a binary result: you either hit and the spell has an effect, or you don't, and there's no effect. This all or nothing nature of spell attack rolls made them unappealing, as players wanted some effect for using a limited resource.

Enter saving throws. Instead of the player making an attack, the enemy made a saving throw against a DC based on the player's prowess. Saving throws allowed for more granular effects, such as half damage on a save, or a more minor effect from a debilitating spell.

At its core, though, a saving throw is nothing more than the monster rolling to dodge your spell attack DC. If we inverted the situation, a spell that imposes a saving throw, like the iconic Fireball, could work out like so in D&D 3.X or PF1:

Fireball
Make a spell attack roll against the target's Reflex DC. On a miss, you deal half damage.

Simple, no? There was no damage on a miss back then for attack rolls, so saving throws were adapted. That's understandable. However, now there's no reason for saving throws to exist.

Pathfinder 2 situation:

In Pathfinder 2, the 4 degrees of success is a core part of the game's design, affecting attacks, skills and spells. Everything that required a d20 roll is a check, and every target you need to hit with a d20 roll is a DC (yes, even AC). Instead of having both attack rolls and saving throws, which are basically just inverses of one another, why not simplifying things and make everything an attack roll?

Let's take the Fireball spell from the blog:

Fireball
Evocation, Fire
Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting
Range 500 feet; Area 20-foot burst

A burst of fire explodes, dealing 6d6 fire damage; creatures in the area must attempt a Reflex save.

Success The creature takes half damage.
Critical Success The creature is unaffected.
Failure The creature takes full damage.
Critical Failure The creature takes double damage.
Heightened (+1) The damage increases by 2d6.

If we used an attack roll for the spell, it would instead be:

Fireball
Evocation, Fire
Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting
Range 500 feet; Area 20-foot burst

Make a Spell Strike against all creatures in the area, targeting their Reflex DC. The Spell Strike deals 6d6 fire damage.

Failure The target takes half damage.
Heightened (+1) The damage increases by 2d6.

There's no need to write out the other 3 degrees of success, because they were already part of the Strike rules (full damage on a hit, double damage on a crit success, no damage on a crit fail). Failure effects exist in PF2 abilities, such as the Fighter's Certain Strike. Checks vs. Reflex DC or Fortitude DC exist, look at the Shove action, or the Barbarian's Awesome Blow feat.

The only thing not mentioned yet is the Spell Strike action. That can easily be defined as a Strike using your spellcasting ability modifier instead of Str or Dex. For damaging spells that don't double damage on a critical hit, a Critical Success line can be added as normal.

What about for non-damaging spells that require a save, like Paralyze? Let's take a look:

Paralyze
Enchantment, Mental
Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting
Range 30 feet; Target One humanoid creature Duration Varies

You attempt to paralyze the target. Make a spell roll against the target's Will DC.

Success The target is paralyzed for 1 round.
Critical Success The target is paralyzed for 4 rounds. At the start of each of its turns, repeat your spell roll. Reduce the remaining effect by 1 round on a failure or end it entirely on a critical failure.
Failure The target is slowed 1 for 1 round.
Critical Failure The target is unaffected.

We already have rules for a spell roll, and precedent for this kind of check vs. Fort/Ref/Will DC in the Barbarian's Awesome Blow feat.

Touch Armour Class:

TAC is fairly useless in PF2. It's normally a few points behind AC, and correspond closely to a creature's Reflex DC. It's vestigial, creating more stats that don't do much.

With Spell Strikes using spellcasting ability modifier (and thus granting more accuracy), spells that used to target TAC can now target AC instead, at no loss to the players.

Other effects that require touch attacks like the Monk's Ghost Strike can now target Reflex DC, which is analogous to TAC.

Conclusion:

Saving throws are just inverse attack rolls and don't need to exist in PF2. TAC can be represented by Reflex DC and don't need to take up space in the game design. Both these concepts can be safely thrown out without affecting the cake that is PF2.

I don't see any reason to keep them in the game save for the argument that they've always been there. Perhaps there are advantages to them that I'm not aware of yet. I encourage others to point them out.

Otherwise, I strongly wish that Paizo would get rid of these old concepts and streamline PF2, making it easier to get into.


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Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Interesting.


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I prefer things done to the player involve the player rolling to possibly avoid it, and things the player does to someone else involves the player rolling to see how effective it is. Like if I'm getting hit by a fireball I want to roll to get out of the way, I don't want the GM rolling to see how well it was aimed.

But I know a lot of people get tetchy when they perceive there are different rules for PCs versus NPCs.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I prefer things done to the player involve the player rolling to possibly avoid it, and things the player does to someone else involves the player rolling to see how effective it is. Like if I'm getting hit by a fireball I want to roll to get out of the way, I don't want the GM rolling to see how well it was aimed.

But I know a lot of people get tetchy when they perceive there are different rules for PCs versus NPCs.

I agree. I had a chance to read the rulebook to a diceless GM TTRPG (called Unity) and it has players rolling for everything, and the GM rolling for nothing.

Players have modifiers to their attack and defenses, but monsters only have DCs (or target numbers). When a zombie attacks you, you roll to dodge its attack, adding your defense bonus to try and hit the Attack DC of the Zombie.

If Paizo wants to go the diceless route, they can easily adapt the system to do so. Players would get Attack Bonus, AC bonus, Saving throw bonus and would roll that vs. the monsters' DCs. It's a pretty easy variant to implement.


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Isn't that more or less how DnD 4th edition handled saves? Basically turning them into armour class against different effects?

Also, wasn't this an optional rule in Pathfinder Unchained?


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SWSE did it that way too, such that your Reflex save also stood in for your AC.

Liberty's Edge

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While I tend not to post when I simply disagree with an opinion, I personally think this is idea is... A Bridge Too Far.


Saves are still useful as something the PCs will do a lot against hazards though personally I'm fine having both a +reflex and a reflex DC I think that is a reasonable amount of complexity. I don't really think TAC is necessary and agree with OP on that.


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This is something I'd very much like to see. Having different rules for magic vs martial leads to weird things, like a blinded wizard still knowing exactly where to aim his fireball for best effect and there being no penalties involved.

Blave wrote:
Isn't that more or less how DnD 4th edition handled saves? Basically turning them into armour class against different effects?

It is, yes


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I feel like if someone has to roll multiple times it should be the DM. There are fair systems but it can be up for interpretation. For instance, if I am rolling multiple dice and order matters, I declare that target order is based on final dice position going left to right with top to bottom breaking ties. But it can be hard to convey position order to the DM and determining whether top/bottom tie is required or if it is still an obvious left right ruling. It is fine with friends because they trust me to be unbiased in judging, but for random tables or for friends that try and slip one past occasionally it can lead to issues.

Why this applies here is because in the current system if the wizard cast fireball on 6 mooks, the DM can quickly decide a system and roll all the dice at once. Few players accuse the DM of cheating because if a DM ever feels like cheating there are far less obvious ways to do it. If we use your new system then it is the player who is rolling 6 times, has to tell the DM how they want to apply the dice to the targets and then the DM and player have to agree on the results. Alternatively the Wizard has to roll the dice one at a time after saying each target. Conversely when the party is targeted by a fireball with the current system, each player just has to roll once and announce their results which is both more satisfying for the player and faster for the table. If we use your suggestion, then the DM rolls X times and then tells each player his results. This is far less satisfying for the players because they feel like they have less agency.

EDIT: also it aids in keeping the monster's stats a mystery. The DM rolls and then tells the player how many monsters passed/failed the check. With the suggested system the player knows each result and thus has an easier time judging what the monster's reflex AC or Fortitude AC is. I feel like leaving it unknown helps prevent metagaming


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Use Headbutt!! wrote:


Why this applies here is because in the current system if the wizard cast fireball on 6 mooks, the DM can quickly decide a system and roll all the dice at once. Few players accuse the DM of cheating because if a DM ever feels like cheating there are far less obvious ways to do it. If we use your new system then it is the player who is rolling 6 times, has to tell the DM how they want to apply the dice to the targets and then the DM and player have to agree on the results. Alternatively the Wizard has to roll the dice one at a time after saying each target. Conversely when the party is targeted by a fireball with the current system, each player just has to roll once and announce their results which is both more satisfying for the player and faster for the table. If we use your suggestion, then the DM rolls X times and then tells each player his results. This is far less satisfying for the players because they feel like they have less agency.

Well, the players have less agency currently when using Fireball because they're not rolling for the enemy to dodge it. Some agency will be lost either way, unless you have the players roll saves for themselves and roll attacks vs. the enemies.

As for your concern that players have to roll multiple dice vs. enemies, they could just roll once and apply the result to each enemy's Reflex DC. It saves time on rolling multiple dice, and it prevents any potential cheating.

Similarly, the DM could roll once and apply that result to each player's defenses.


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First off, a quick shoutout to removing extra kinds of AC. As Pramxnim said, it basically feels vestigial (in the sense that it's no longer functionally needed). Flat-footed is a derivation of the regular AC, Touch AC is its own category still. While I understand the concept of it, removing it wouldn't make that much of a difference, and having just one AC stat would be much cleaner. I'm all in favour.

Now, to the meat of my post: removing saving throws. I've been GMing a lot of 13th Age lately, and it does one very interesting thing (among others): Physical Defense and Mental Defense. The way they calculate it isn't important, Pathfinder 2 can do its own take on it, but it basically boils down to everything having three stats: AC, PD, MD. Mental Defense is basically the equivalent of a static Will score the enemy needs to beat, and Physical Defense is a combination of a Reflex stat, Fortitude stat, and CMD. If an enemy has a poison-type attack, it tries to overcome the PC's PD. Same for knocking them back, throwing a Fireball at them, and so on. This system does several things.
First of all, it still allows for different kinds of "armour class," so you don't have a single stat to target, preventing combat from going stale. But the new stats are different enough that they don't just feel like a derivation of each other, like Touch or Flat-footed AC does.
But the more important part is, it speeds up gameplay a lot. You roll far fewer dice and make fewer checks. If an enemy throws a Fireball, all players must roll to see if they succeed or fail. Picking up their dice, rolling, calculating the result, and individually checking in with the GM. It's not that time-consuming, but over the course of an evening, that can add up. In this system, I roll a die, know the result, and just have to say, "raise your hand if DC 17 vs PD is enough." I can do that in 10 seconds. Individually rolling and checking in with the GM can take 30 seconds, maybe more (okay, I could say the DC out loud, but I'd like to keep some mystery intact). Combats go considerably faster, as I shave off 20 seconds on each individual turn of combat.
This works on the player's turn as well. If a player wants to throw a Fireball, he rolls the d20 once. I don't have to look at my notes, roll six d20s, and assign them to each of my NPCs. I just have a static number I need to check. A single AoE spell can literally save half a minute, if not more, on each and every turn.
A third, relatively minor thing ties in with the second: you don't roll outside your turn anymore (unless someone provokes an AoO). A player doesn't suddenly have to react to what's happening, find and roll his d20, and check the result. During your turn, you know what you want to do and have the relevant numbers at hand. Outside your turn, you don't have to do calculations and have the time to space out a bit, if necessary. I've had so many games where people were slightly distracted, looking up rules, sitting too far back in their chair, or otherwise not paying full attention to what's happening that gathering their thoughts took a few seconds. When it's your turn, you pay attention to your character, but outside of your turn, all you need to know is AC, PD, MD. Everything goes much faster because you're not juggling several things at once anymore.

All of this is basically to say, Saving Throws, while iconic, aren't necessary. There's enough ways around that, like Pramxnim described. It seems weird to say, but the fewer dice I have to roll, the happier I am.

EDIT: wow, I apparently took nearly an hour to type all of this. But while I do agree with the loss of agency, it's more efficient. There's a balance to be made between the two, and that can vary from person to person. I don't know which option Paizo will go for, but I do know which outcome I'm rooting for.


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While mechanically it works, it doesnt feel right. /not signed


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Sounds terrible

There's this logical chain that always seems to come up: Alignment/Saves/TouchAc is "outdated" or "not within modern rpg design" lets change it to be more in line with "other less successful thing".


Saving throws I can understand the existence of, although I support decoupling them (and skills) from ability scores. For example, a rogue could still try to dodge a fireball by quickly moving to a less-hot part of it (Dexterity), while a wizard is more likely to use some quick counterspells to lessen the damage (Intelligence).

Removing TAC I can agree with. The entire reason it was introduced in 3.0 is that in consolidating everything to the d20 mechanic, WotC introduced the problem that wizards were unable to get past armor, being 1/2 BAB. Everyone's effective full BAB in PF 2e, so that's no longer a concern.

And if I can propose a different sacred cow to slaughter, adding two more ability scores- Deftness and Presence. The former is the fine motor skills part of Dexterity, while Dexterity (possibly renamed Agility) is the larger scale parts. For example, your ability to dodge an attack (Agility) doesn't necessarily correlate to your ability to pick a lock (Deftness). You could also slip weapon finesse into Deftness, since it's on the fence, and actually give Dex-fighters nice things.

Similarly, your Presence is your force of personality, while Charisma is how likable you are, and Wisdom (possibly renamed Awareness) is, well, how aware you are of things. As an example of Presence and Charisma, Azvernathi Raul from In Hell's Bright Shadow is described as egoistic and therefore unlikable. The former suggest high charisma, while the latter suggests low charisma. Under this split, he would be high presence, low charisma. And as an example of mechanics, Awareness would be used for Perception, Presence would be used for Will saves and sorcerer casting, and Charisma would be used for bard casting.


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RazarTuk wrote:
Saving throws I can understand the existence of, although I support decoupling them (and skills) from ability scores. For example, a rogue could still try to dodge a fireball by quickly moving to a less-hot part of it (Dexterity), while a wizard is more likely to use some quick counterspells to lessen the damage (Intelligence).

As with 'saves are defences', that is also how 4e did things, not sure if the resoning the same, but it worked great there too.

The defences in 4e are:
AC = Dex/Int in light armour or just armour in heavy
Fort = Str/Con
Reflex = Dex/Int
Will = Wis/Cha
Means that more stats can be useful than just con/dex/wis for saves and tied into attacks being off your class's primary stat(s).


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Again we see the necessary and appropriate critical reevaluation of 4e!

I strongly agree with the OP here.


CommanderCoyler wrote:
RazarTuk wrote:
Saving throws I can understand the existence of, although I support decoupling them (and skills) from ability scores. For example, a rogue could still try to dodge a fireball by quickly moving to a less-hot part of it (Dexterity), while a wizard is more likely to use some quick counterspells to lessen the damage (Intelligence).

As with 'saves are defences', that is also how 4e did things, not sure if the resoning the same, but it worked great there too.

The defences in 4e are:
AC = Dex/Int in light armour or just armour in heavy
Fort = Str/Con
Reflex = Dex/Int
Will = Wis/Cha
Means that more stats can be useful than just con/dex/wis for saves and tied into attacks being off your class's primary stat(s).

Similar concept, different execution. My system is based on AD&D saves and this blog post about skills in 5e, which also touches on that same thing about removing Wisdom and splitting Dexterity.

For context on the blog post, 5e doesn't technically have skill checks, only ability checks. Instead, you're trained in various skills and add your proficiency to the ability check. This matters because of a variant proposed in the DMG, where you can mix and match ability scores and skills. Think all those traits like Precise Treatment. Sure, two characters can both be trained in Heal, but one can use their wits and Intelligence, while the other just feels it, man, and uses Wisdom.

Meanwhile, AD&D had 5 saving throws, based on what sort of thing you're saving against. "Paralyzation, Poison, or Death Magic", "Rod, Staff, or Wand", "Petrification or Polymorph", "Breath Weapon", and "Spell", where you go down the line and pick the first relevant one. I don't think we need to go that far, but I think there's room for inspiration. For example, martial and caster characters probably react to fireballs differently. A martial character would have to resort to finding some less-hot place, while a caster could utter a quick counterspell. So whether or not you open it up completely like the skill system suggested in the blog post, you could at least have a rule that spellcasters can use their casting ability (regardless of if it's intelligence, wisdom, or charisma) instead of dexterity for reflex saves against spells.


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One virtue of the traditional saving throw arrangement is that it tends to allocate the task of rolling large numbers of dice to the GM rather than to players. In my experience, GMs are often faster at rolling and resolving large numbers of dice. Players are more likely (for whatever reason) to do awful things like rolling each one individually.


My main hesitation on eliminating saving throws is that it makes the game more swingy. A player uses his high-level area attack and... whiffs? An enemy caster uses fireball on the whole party... and crits? And what of an area effect that incapacitates the entire party on a crit?

Not familiar with 4E, but spell attack rolls would seem to demand lessening the impact of crits to maintain balance.

I also prefer the theme of someone doing their own roll to actively avoid an effect.

As a GM, if push comes to shove and there are too many dice to roll, I will have the caster roll 1 or more times against defense DCs. Or I distribute outcomes based on probability: for example, if 12 kobolds are caught in a fireball and I see they need a natural 15 to save, I will have 3 crit fail, 6 regular fail, and 3 succeed.


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I like rolling for saves. It adds more drama.


The Rot Grub wrote:
My main hesitation on eliminating saving throws is that it makes the game more swingy. A player uses his high-level area attack and... whiffs? An enemy caster uses fireball on the whole party... and crits? And what of an area effect that incapacitates the entire party on a crit?

That can happen currently with saving throws. The suggestion that

Pramxnim put out as an alternative (that I do not agree with, for the record) about using one roll for all targets could make it more swingy, yes. All Pramxnim (and myself) originally suggested is moving the rolls from the target to the caster: Exactly the same amount of rolls, so exactly the same chances of success, time taken, swinginess etc.

The Rot Grub wrote:
Not familiar with 4E, but spell attack rolls would seem to demand lessening the impact of crits to maintain balance.

4e's crit system (20 is a crit, no confirmation, somewhat like pf2) is that when you crit, that (specific) target takes maximum damage from the attack, then magic weapons (and implements for casters) add dice of damage for each plus they have (sound familiar?) based on their enchantment. This streamines crits (to a degree), as you just need to add up the max damage for your attack and remember what your weapon does on a crit, while still being impactful.

(and again, it's roll to hit for each target. A crit is not a crit for every enemy targeted, just the one you rolled 20 for)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I for one am down with this whole thing. Yes, let's give players more dice, more control of their successes, failures attacks and defenses!


I'm thinking of play testing this at my next session in a few weeks and see how it plays out.
It seems reasonable.


Gerbo_Thistlewit wrote:

I'm thinking of play testing this at my next session in a few weeks and see how it plays out.

It seems reasonable.

Please let me know how it plays out, I haven't had a chance to test this in actual play yet.

On another note: in another thread, someone worked out that saving throws actually have a lower success chance than rolling vs. a DC.

E.g. Level 5 Wizard with 19 Int casts Fireball. The DC for the spell is 19. A Cyclops has a Reflex save bonus of +8.

With saving throws:
The Cyclops succeeds on a roll of 11, meaning there's a 50% chance it fails or critically fails its save.

With attack rolls:
The Wizard rolls +9 vs. Reflex DC 18, meaning there's a 60% chance he succeeds or critically succeeds.

Rolling to attack a static DC has a better chance of succeeding than making the enemy roll to save vs. your own static DC.


RazarTuk wrote:


Removing TAC I can agree with. The entire reason it was introduced in 3.0 is that in consolidating everything to the d20 mechanic, WotC introduced the problem that wizards were unable to get past armor, being 1/2 BAB.

Technically there were effects in 2e that ignored armor but not Dexterity bonus as well. Codifying it into AC and TAC just made a sensible distinction easier.


Yes, as they are streamlining, love what they have done with Flat-Footed (instantly ported that to 3rd Ed/PF1), just make spell attacks use the caster's spellcasting ability score modifier, and drop TAC.


I like this way


I for one like AC/TAC/FFAC. They make sense. Sure you can make things simpler but that's a shade too simple for my taste.


4E did this. I hated most of 4E, but this part was a good idea - which was then completely botched in implementation.

What I'm trying to say is that this, despite being a 4E-ism, is a good idea.


You can always turn Saves into Defences (ala SWSE, 4th Ed), if you so desire:

http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/playersRollAllTheDice.htm


I think this is an awful idea and will tend to make the game pretty flat, but also feel that PF2 has gone close enough to this that they may as well simplify further and finish the job.


This was actually one of the major changes in 4th edition that many people rejected.

Personally, I would go the opposite direction: Leave Saving Throws player-facing, and turn ACs around. Add +10 and make the monsters' attack bonus a static number; subtract 10 from the PC's armor class and have the players make "defense rolls." Leave the monsters' AC the same, and turn the monster Saving Throws around to static numbers, So that the DMs only have static numbers to track, and the only thing that GMs need to count are hit points.

Players always tend to like it when they are actively making a roll on something, so if they players are attacked, they need to defend, and they feel like they are actively participating in whether their character lives or dies. Further, the GM has much less to track dynamically, helping them keep better track of the game.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
ErichAD wrote:
I think this is an awful idea and will tend to make the game pretty flat, but also feel that PF2 has gone close enough to this that they may as well simplify further and finish the job.

It's not a simplification, just an inversion.

Contributor

It sounds interesting to me. I'm not signing off that I want the change, but I would like to play around with it and see what I think. It makes sense to roll to hit directly against the target's DC. It streamlines "I hit you with this spell and so now we get to see if I hit you with this spell" to "I roll to hit you with this spell, and this is what happens." Just like any other attack.


Here is a thread I started that has some interesting math related to saves vs. attack rolls. May be interesting to this discussion.

here


Zaister wrote:
ErichAD wrote:
I think this is an awful idea and will tend to make the game pretty flat, but also feel that PF2 has gone close enough to this that they may as well simplify further and finish the job.
It's not a simplification, just an inversion.

Whatever you want to call it, my response to it is the same.


ErichAD wrote:
Zaister wrote:
ErichAD wrote:
I think this is an awful idea and will tend to make the game pretty flat, but also feel that PF2 has gone close enough to this that they may as well simplify further and finish the job.
It's not a simplification, just an inversion.
Whatever you want to call it, my response to it is the same.

Great to see such openmindedness on this forum.


Sorry about that. Raising teenagers makes a person less convinced by arguments of terminology change. The facts didn't change, what was I supposed to be open minded about?


ErichAD wrote:
Sorry about that. Raising teenagers makes a person less convinced by arguments of terminology change. The facts didn't change, what was I supposed to be open minded about?

Try to see it from our perspective, we've put all this work into crafting this argument and you just come along and go 'No'. Not only is it not helpful, it is demoralising.

To help you see: Try to imagine it the other way around; you're trying to bring in this idea that the creature affected by a spell should roll to dodge/resist. You argue that it seems more flavourful as the fireball is going to cover the area anyway, why is the caster rolling? Also it means casters have to roll less dice and are less affected by status conditions.
You bring evidence that this could be more healthy for the system and someone just comes and says:
"I think this is an awful idea and will tend to make the game pretty flat, but also feel that PF2 has gone close enough to this that they may as well simplify further and finish the job.". Then when you, or someone on your side explains:
"It's not a simplification, just an inversion.", they answer with:
"Whatever you want to call it, my response to it is the same.".
How would that make you feel?


Eh, I don’t mind someone being dismissive without presenting counter arguments. It just means I can extend the same courtesy and dismiss their opinion out of hand. There’s no need to engage with someone who doesn’t want to, after all.


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Fair enough. Sorry for being terse.

I don't feel that calling it inversion rather than simplification changes the matter of my complaint. Just the wording.

My concern is that, by having the rolls originate from the player, you will end up with a series of attack roll types all with very minor variations in order to accomplish this. You'd need to have each benefit target specific attack types in their description making the rules more wordy to get the same effect. You couldn't reference "attack roll" without specifying which attack type in each instance. The only real solution to that problem is reducing the variety of attacks and instead moving the expected player bonus over to the NPC as a negative, meaning the player couldn't focus on improving one aspect of their character over another. I feel that PF2 has already done this quite a bit, and that going further in that direction won't harm the game much. This is what I mean by simplification.

It won't all be simpler though. You'd have either multiple rolls for aoe effects, or one roll making the result rather swingy. As the save AC may vary from one target to the next, lump rolling the spell AC of each target would be time consuming as the roller doesn't know which targets have which ACs. There would also be issues with unnoticed targets.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I want players to roll saves, roll attacks, roll defenses, roll skills, roll everything (unless their character has time/competence to just get the job done without a roll).

I don't want monsters and NPCs to roll anything. I want their stuff to be static.

Defense check vs Attack DC
Reflex Save vs Monster Breath Weapon DC
Will Save vs Spell DC.

Always be putting the power in the PC's hands.


ErichAD wrote:

Fair enough. Sorry for being terse.

I don't feel that calling it inversion rather than simplification changes the matter of my complaint. Just the wording.

Thank you for the apology, a lot more than is to be expected from online interactions. :)

ErichAD wrote:
My concern is that, by having the rolls originate from the player, you will end up with a series of attack roll types all with very minor variations in order to accomplish this. You'd need to have each benefit target specific attack types in their description making the rules more wordy to get the same effect. You couldn't reference "attack roll" without specifying which attack type in each instance.

To use 4e as an example, as it is a system that has attack rolls for aoe spells:

ATTACK ROLL, D&D 4e PHB1 p274) wrote:

Roll 1d20 and add the following:

✦ The attack power’s base attack bonus
✦ Situational attack modifiers (page 279) that apply
✦ Bonuses and penalties from powers affecting you
The power you use dictates which ability modifier adds to your base attack bonus and which of your target’s defenses you compare the
result against. For example:
Melee basic attack: Strength vs. AC
Ranged basic attack: Dexterity vs. AC
Stunning steel: Strength vs. Fortitude
Fireball: Intelligence vs. Reflex
Cause fear: Wisdom vs. Will
When you create your character, you should determine your base attack bonus for each power you know, including your basic attacks. Your base attack bonus for a power includes the following:
✦ One-half your level
✦ The ability score modifier used for the attack (the power you use specifies which ability)
In addition, any of the following factors might apply to an attack’s base attack bonus:
✦ Your weapon’s proficiency bonus (if you’re using a weapon you’re proficient with)
✦ Racial or feat bonuses
✦ An enhancement bonus (usually from a magic weapon or an implement)
✦ An item bonus
✦ A power bonus
✦ Untyped bonuses

So, one type of attack roll: d20 + stat + other bonuses vs defence

ErichAD wrote:
The only real solution to that problem is reducing the variety of attacks and instead moving the expected player bonus over to the NPC as a negative, meaning the player couldn't focus on improving one aspect of their character over another. I feel that PF2 has already done this quite a bit, and that going further in that direction won't harm the game much. This is what I mean by simplification.

I'm not 100% sure what you mean by this, but bonuses could absolutely apply to your own rules. Take this feat for instance:

HELLFIRE BLOOD wrote:

Heroic Tier

Prerequisite: Tiefling
Benefit: You gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls when you use a power that has the fire or the fear keyword.

This is a situational bonus that adds to your attack rolls

ErichAD wrote:
It won't all be simpler though. You'd have either multiple rolls for aoe effects, or one roll making the result rather swingy.

As it is for the current system, the amount of rolls wouldn't change. The rolls would just be moved to the attacker.

ErichAD wrote:
As the save AC may vary from one target to the next, lump rolling the spell AC of each target would be time consuming as the roller doesn't know which targets have which ACs.

It'd be the same as making any other attack roll, you don't know the AC of your target when you swing your sword at them for instance.

ErichAD wrote:
There would also be issues with unnoticed targets.

Well, the DM could just say "Roll once more". Similar to how it currently works: "You rolled six saves, but there are only 5 enemies... oh"


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

I want players to roll saves, roll attacks, roll defenses, roll skills, roll everything (unless their character has time/competence to just get the job done without a roll).

I don't want monsters and NPCs to roll anything. I want their stuff to be static.

Defense check vs Attack DC
Reflex Save vs Monster Breath Weapon DC
Will Save vs Spell DC.

Always be putting the power in the PC's hands.

Whilst this idea is interesting, and I would like to see it as an option (put somewhere prominent, like the start of the GM section/book), I do feel like the 'attacker rolls' system or the current system should be standard. DMs like to roll dice too!


The amount of rolls would change if you were rolling one attack with the spell rather than one attack for each target. Switching it to each individual target, you then lack information needed to roll groups of attacks if the modifier to hit them is different. This may seem similar to not knowing AC, but you not knowing whether or not to add modifiers to hit the target race will lead to multi-prompting the DM for every attack. This would be similar to tedious favored enemy bonuses in PF1. Either that, or all the modifiers are moved to the target instead of the player which leads to the inability to modify your character's strengths.

Like I said, you either have a bunch of different attack roll types, or shift the modifiers over to the target. I don't see either method as being particularly beneficial to gameplay, just ease of writing rules.

4th ed sounds like it has all the problems I mentioned baked into it. I'm not surprised my group tried it and ditched it before I even got back from vacation.


ErichAD wrote:

The amount of rolls would change if you were rolling one attack with the spell rather than one attack for each target. Switching it to each individual target, you then lack information needed to roll groups of attacks if the modifier to hit them is different. This may seem similar to not knowing AC, but you not knowing whether or not to add modifiers to hit the target race will lead to multi-prompting the DM for every attack. This would be similar to tedious favored enemy bonuses in PF1. Either that, or all the modifiers are moved to the target instead of the player which leads to the inability to modify your character's strengths.

Like I said, you either have a bunch of different attack roll types, or shift the modifiers over to the target. I don't see either method as being particularly beneficial to gameplay, just ease of writing rules.

4th ed sounds like it has all the problems I mentioned baked into it. I'm not surprised my group tried it and ditched it before I even got back from vacation.

Ah, I see what you mean now. Yes, 4e does also have conditional bonuses to defences too, for example:

RESPLENDENT CLOAK wrote:

Property

You and each ally within 10 squares of you gain a +2 bonus to Will against charm, fear, and illusion attacks.

I don't see this as a problem (though can see why you do), you roll to hit for each target and announce the result to the target. Then the target compares it to their defence (boosted/penalised by situational effects as appropriate) and replies with hit or miss. Then you apply damage (rolls) and/or other effects of the power.

It is similar to announcing you're casting a spell, waiting while the targets roll their saves (boosted/penalised by situational effects as appropriate) and announce their results to you. Then you compare the results to your DC and announce wether they pass or fail and apply damage (rolls) and/or other effects of the spell.
Just moves the rolling entirely to the caster, instead of partly with them and partly with others.


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Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

There were a lot of things in 4e I wish weren't so tainted by the brand. This was definitely one of them. It's just a cleaner system to explain and run.

The other one that we've seen a bit is Rituals. I'm glad they're making a return from 4e/5e, but I'd like to see them dramatically expanded.

E.g. Phantom Steed for the entire party was inspired. There's not that much utility in an emergency steed for 1 person and the party shouldn't have to have a wizard to get it.


ENHenry wrote:

This was actually one of the major changes in 4th edition that many people rejected.

Personally, I would go the opposite direction: Leave Saving Throws player-facing, and turn ACs around. Add +10 and make the monsters' attack bonus a static number; subtract 10 from the PC's armor class and have the players make "defense rolls." Leave the monsters' AC the same, and turn the monster Saving Throws around to static numbers, So that the DMs only have static numbers to track, and the only thing that GMs need to count are hit points.

Players always tend to like it when they are actively making a roll on something, so if they players are attacked, they need to defend, and they feel like they are actively participating in whether their character lives or dies. Further, the GM has much less to track dynamically, helping them keep better track of the game.

Yeah, AC rolls = d20 + AC bonuses vs. DC 11 + enemy's to hit, part of the Player's Roll Everything deal in UA, so, at this point, it is up to any table whether they want saves, or defences, attack rolls or AC rolls, etc.

It's fun rewriting/tweaking the stats of monsters with the Players Roll Everything system.


Zaister wrote:
ErichAD wrote:
I think this is an awful idea and will tend to make the game pretty flat, but also feel that PF2 has gone close enough to this that they may as well simplify further and finish the job.
It's not a simplification, just an inversion.

It absolutely is a simplification. In the playtest as written, some attacks the attacker rolls, some the defender rolls a save, and sometimes both. And you have to remember (or look up) for each case which it is. In D&D 4e/SWSE/the proposal if you are the attacker, you roll, simple as that.

Personally, I think it is a great idea and have said so all along, although I can understand (from a marketing, not game-design, point of view) why Paizo would not want to go with it.

_
glass.

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