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Revision as of 20:06, June 1, 2010 by Aarnott (Talk | contribs)

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I've stated to Ghostwheel before, something about setting numbers in stone at 1st level really rubs me the wrong way. I really like his system for balancing 3.5 to use a single RNG appropriately, but I have an issue especially with the way saving throws are handled.

So here is the task. I need to make a saving throw system that:

  • Fits on an RNG (+/-5) such that DC = 14 + character level
  • Changes based on character level
  • Changes based on ability score
  • Includes a class bonus (classes are balanced somewhat with saves in mind after all)
  • Allows feat bonuses

First off, scaling by level is simple. Just use 1/2 character level.

Now, one thing about this houserule is that there can be a very large gap between statistics even when using balanced wealth. I think the best method of attack is to look at the gap when it is smallest (level 1) and when it is largest (level 20).

Let's say that an average character will have a low score of 8(-1) and a high score of 18(+4) at level 1. At level 20, their low score will be 14(+2) and high score will be 34(+12). Obviously this disparity is higher than (+/-5). In fact, it is twice that.

Using half the modifier will reduce that disparity.

So we now have 1/2 character level + 1/2 ability score mod.

Now for the class bonus. We need this to start at +2 for a high bonus (to even out with the high ability score) and end at +6. However, we don't want to increase the difference between saves much more. I think another 2 lower won't kill the RNG (if you start with an 8 in a stat and don't have a single class granting it as a strong save, maybe you deserve to have a weakness).

Easy enough, either +1 to saves for every 4 levels except 20 or +1 every 5 levels. Add +2 if any of your classes has that saving throw as a strong save. I'm going to say +1 every 4 levels (except level 20).

After looking at the table, I'm changing it to have an additional +3 in there, so we want 7 +1 boosts to saves. At level 1 and every 3 levels thereafter.

Final rule: You can get bonuses to saves from class features/feats/items, but it caps out at a +2 total. For each additional +2, you can reroll a failed save 1/day.

Level DC (estimated) Base Save bonus High Save bonus (with class bonus) High Save bonus (without class bonus) Low save bonus (with class bonus) Low save bonus (without class bonus)
1 15 +1 +5 +3 +3 +1
2 16 +2 +6 +4 +4 +2
3 17 +3 +7 +5 +5 +3
4 18 +4 +8 +6 +6 +4
5 19 +4 +8 +6 +6 +4
6 20 +6 +11 +9 +8 +6
7 21 +6 +11 +9 +8 +6
8 22 +7 +12 +10 +9 +7
9 23 +8 +13 +11 +10 +8
10 24 +9 +15 +13 +11 +9
11 25 +9 +15 +13 +11 +9
12 26 +10 +16 +14 +12 +10
13 27 +10 +16 +14 +12 +10
14 28 +11 +17 +15 +13 +11
15 29 +12 +19 +17 +14 +12
16 30 +13 +20 +18 +15 +13
17 31 +13 +20 +18 +15 +13
18 32 +15 +22 +20 +18 +16
19 33 +15 +22 +20 +18 +16
20 34 +16 +23 +21 +19 +17


With a cloak of resistance +5 by the end, you have specialized characters resisting just over 50% of the time with a reroll 1/day and you have unspecialized guys resisting about 25% of the time, with a reroll 1/day.

At best, a character might get around a 30% fail rate with several rerolls per day. And that is totally ok.

One last change would be to do the 4e thing where you allow one of 2 stats to affect Fort, Ref, and Will. That will reduce the number of characters out there that have that 25% fail chance.

Another thing I would do is make a cloak of resistance chew up an immediate action, but it can be used even if you are unaware. The save bonus would last until the end of your turn. Obviously, this would not generate infinite rerolls for a particular save. The save would "remember" how many rerolls have been used.

The Rule

This rule replaces the way saving throws are calculated.

  • You have a base Fortitude, Reflex and Will saving throw bonus equal to 1/2 your character level.
  • You gain a +1 bonus to all saving throws at first level, third level and every 3 levels thereafter.
  • You gain a bonus to Fortitude saving throws equal to 1/2 your strength or constitution modifier.
  • You gain a bonus to Reflex saving throws equal to 1/2 your dexterity or intelligence modifier.
  • You gain a bonus to Will saving throws equal to 1/2 your wisdom or charisma modifier.
  • If your class has a saving throw as a strong save, you gain a +2 bonus to that saving throw.
  • You can gain a maximum bonus of +2 to saving throws from other sources (feats, items, class features, racial abilities, etc.). For each additional +2 bonus you would have gained, you instead may reroll a saving throw of that type once per day, after you know the results of the save.

For example: John the 5th level paladin has 22 Str, 20 Con, 8 Dex, 8 Int, 8 Wis, 18 Cha.

  • He has a base Fortitude save of +11 with 1 reroll per day: + 2 (1/2 level) + 2 (1st, 3rd) + 3 (1/2 Str or con) + 2 (class) +2 (divine grace).
  • He has a base Reflex save of +6 with 1 reroll per day: + 2 (1/2 level) + 2 (1st, 3rd) + 0 (1/2 dex or int) + 0 (class) +2 (divine grace).
  • He has a base Will save of +10 with 1 reroll per day: + 2 (1/2 level) + 2 (1st, 3rd) + 2 (1/2 wis or cha) + 2 (class) +2 (divine grace).
  • Against a DC 19, he has a 40% chance of failing a Fortitude save, a 65% chance of failing a reflex save, and a 45% chance of failing a will save.


Rule Idea #2

This rule is a more simplified version of the previous rule.

  • You have a base Fortitude, Reflex and Will saving throw bonus equal to 1/2 your character level.
  • If your class has a saving throw as a strong save, you gain a +2 bonus to that saving throw.
  • You can gain a maximum bonus of +2 to saving throws from other sources (ability scores, feats, items, class features, racial abilities, etc.). For each additional +2 bonus you would have gained, you instead may reroll a saving throw of that type once per day, after you know the results of the save.

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