R Is for Reflex Saves

Okay, so here’s the scenario. The adventurers are in the middle of a 40-foot-square chamber. Other than a bit of debris here and there, the room is empty and devoid of cover for the adventurers to, well, take cover behind. Suddenly, an up-until-then invisible sorcerer appears, lobbing a fireball at the adventurers. The wizard and the cleric fail their Reflex saves and take full damage. The fighter makes his and takes half damage. The rogue also makes his saving throw and, thanks to his evasion class feature, takes no damage at all.

Why does the fighter take half damage? Why does the rogue take none?

Well, we could say that the fighter hunkered down behind his shield, avoiding a lot of the direct heat. That is, if the fighter has a shield. The rogue, however, evaded the entire attack. Without moving. When the flames clear, he’s still in the exact same square, unharmed.

Again, why?

It seems as if making a Reflex save implies some sort of movement. Some sort of reflex action. But, as noted, when all is said and done, no one’s positions on the battlefield actually change due to a Reflex save. This bugs me. It didn’t bug me back in 1E or 2E days because there were no Reflex saves. Instead, you saved versus spells, or death magic, or rods and staves and wands, et cetera. These categories really didn’t have much in the way of descriptive power. They really don’t even imply anything about how the character resisted whatever it was he just resisted. Fortitude, Reflex, and Will, however, are descriptive. How did you resist the poison? Through Fortitude! Why didn’t that vampire dominate you? Because of my Will! Wow, that fireball barely hurt you! How come? My Reflex! But you didn’t move. Uh….

So here’s my quick thought before I head off to bed after a long week of molding young minds: Whenever a character makes a Reflex save, he gets an immediate move action.

That’s it. It’s not a big idea. It might not even be a good idea, but I’d be willing to give a try. Who knows? Could make the game more fun, and, if it did, that’d make it a winner idea in my book.

April 20th, 2012  in RPG 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “R Is for Reflex Saves”

  • Knight Magenta says:

    I think a good explanation for reflex saves is that the fireball is not a volume of flame but more like shifting sheets of flame. If you are swift, you can dodge them as the roll past you.

    Also, giving a free move action leads to the weird situation where the party may want to cast pits at the rogue to get him to move faster…

  • admin says:

    True, that could explain fireball, but it could also not explain other things. That aside, I admit it’s easy enough to fluff the description for mechanics, but I also like to mess around with the mechanics, even if it leads to weird situations. Since posting R, I’ve considered making the direction of movement random, limiting the distance moved, et cetera. I don’t think I’ll get around to fiddling with the idea any more any time soon, however. 🙂

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