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September 17, 2018 0 comments

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Get rid of save rolls?

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You could, in principle, get rid of save rolls in favour of skill rolls.

The main feature of save roll is: they advance automatically with the level....skills need development point instead .

For me the version with skill rolls is more realistic: a mage of level 10 will not be better in avoiding explosion of a warrior of level 1 unless he specifically get trained in the appropriate skill. But you should:

* increase a little the number of development points available each level.

* write somewhere in the manual an advice like: "Pay attention to spend sometime DPs in the skills will/resistance/quickness in order to make your PC capable of avoiding dangers. It's very important to increase his survival chances."

Having done that it's a perfect valid choice: it also make the development of the PCs more player driven that is always a good thing.

We briefly discussed that, but soon discarded the idea. IMO, having to develop RRs like skills was one of the biggest design errors in HARP.

It may seems to give the players more choice in their PC's development but, in truth, it's just either a trap or a DPs tax.
If the Save Rolls are actually effective, it  simply makes no sense not developing them. The choice is between being effective as an adventurer, or suck. And that's not a choice at all. If you have to pay some DPs each level to develop them, that's basically a tax you have to pay to have an efficient character.
OTOH, if the Save Rolls aren't necessary for having an efficient character, then it mostly makes no sense wasting DPs on them. They're a trap for unskilled players, like some feats or prestige classes in d&d 3.x, which seem really cool on paper, but actually kinda fall behind all the other options.

In VsD we'd like to avoid this kind of false choices, to make the game easier and to leave players to choices that actually make their characters better at something.

Moreover, as someone said in the other topic, not everything is meant to be perfectly "realistic". In reality, if you drink a deadly poison, you die. There's no random roll or skill that can help you. But this wouldn't be very fun, would it?

Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.

What Max said: having a false choice to develop a skill that you actually can't afford not to develop is something that's not in our taste as game designers.

On the other hand, we thought of the possibility not to get rid of the Save Rolls as a mechanic, but rather modify the mechanic of the Attack Roll on spells and other effects that gives a bonus/penalty to the Save Roll in a single conflict roll. This will theoretically:

  • Remove the need for two separate rolls instead of one
  • Remove the lookup over a table to find penalties/bonuses
  • Put more control in the hands of the players, giving them the choice to spend Drive on attacks but also on saves.

But there's some problem in balancing the thing. Given that attack rolls will be skill-based and Save Rolls against them will be based on a bonus that progresses on a different scale, we're still trying to find a feasible way to compare the two, if a way exists.

Right now we will stick with the Save Roll mechanic as it's been written, because it's largely tested and it surely work!

For no one in this world you can trust, my son. Not man, not woman, not beast. But STEEL... this, you can trust!

About the save rolls:

In principle I agree but the choice is not between:

1) Always maximize the scores of save rolls.

2) Do not develop save rolls at all.

Clearly 2 is an option to discard because it produces super fragile characters.

The choice would be between 1 and

3) Occasionally, say one level in three or one in four levels, do not spend points on save rolls but dedicate DPs to something else.

 

3 is perfectly legitimate as a choice: to have slightly sub-optimal defenses in favor of a higher attack or more developed skills and knowledge.

Moreover this would imply that in the game there would be only one mechanic for the resolution of the opposing actions: the skill contest.

The problem, dangerous and subtle, is that many players, especially novices, would tend to underestimate the importance of saving throws and, in the attempt to have highly performing characters, would create very fragile ones.

Ultimately I admit that a game that wants to be simple, wants to welcome newcomers and not hide subtle traps should have the saves. Although this involves a loss of realism and freedom for the players.

In this case, however, I would introduce the roll related to the character's agility or reactivity.

Even a size score for all creatures would be useful for many purposes.

 

Regarding the problem you have:

in fact it seems to me mathematically non-trivial. Also seen that as the rank increases, their weight on the final score of the skill decreases. To try to solve it even roughly I ask you:

* How many levels are there for PCs?

* Does it exist, depending on the level, a maximum to the number of rank that can be had in a skill? (for example .... max ranks = 2 * level + 3)

Sorry: double post

Quote from Giovanni Cambria on December 3, 2018, 5:35 pm

About the save rolls:

In principle I agree but the choice is not between:

1) Always maximize the scores of save rolls.

2) Do not develop save rolls at all.

Clearly 2 is an option to discard because it produces super fragile characters.

The choice would be between 1 and

3) Occasionally, say one level in three or one in four levels, do not spend points on save rolls but dedicate DPs to something else.

 

3 is perfectly legitimate as a choice: to have slightly sub-optimal defenses in favor of a higher attack or more developed skills and knowledge.

Moreover this would imply that in the game there would be only one mechanic for the resolution of the opposing actions: the skill contest.

The problem, dangerous and subtle, is that many players, especially novices, would tend to underestimate the importance of saving throws and, in the attempt to have highly performing characters, would create very fragile ones.

Ultimately I admit that a game that wants to be simple, wants to welcome newcomers and not hide subtle traps should have the saves. Although this involves a loss of realism and freedom for the players.

In this case, however, I would introduce the roll related to the character's agility or reactivity.

Even a size score for all creatures would be useful for many purposes.

 

Regarding the problem you have:

in fact it seems to me mathematically non-trivial. Also seen that as the rank increases, their weight on the final score of the skill decreases. To try to solve it even roughly I ask you:

* How many levels are there for PCs?

* Does it exist, depending on the level, a maximum to the number of rank that can be had in a skill? (for example .... max ranks = 2 * level + 3)

These are good calls.

We do not want the Save Rolls to be developed as skills, honestly. But we would like a lot if we could have a single resolution mechanic like skill contests, which we already used in combat maneuvers, disengage and other occasions.

Maybe Save Rolls could still be non-skills but instead bonuses that develop automatically as the character advances in level. These bonus could perhaps also have different progressions. Think of the Saving Throws from 3.5 and PFRPG.

The matter is making these bonuses on par, and thus confrontable, with standard skills.

If we break down what makes a skills bonus we have lots of numbers factored in: the Stat, Kin bonus, Voc bonus, Special bonus, Item bonus. Those are all things we can keep on a Save Roll - and in fact they're already there. What bogs us is the Skill Rank bonus. This bonus has a progression different from anything else in the game, with a diminishing return pattern. On the other hand Save Rolls level bonuses have a perfectly linear progression. In 3.x D&D Skills and Saves were comparable because both skill ranks and saves progressed both on a linear basis. In VsD that's not true. So for example a Skill will have a good chance to have a higher value at low levels because it may be increased by ten points of bonus per level, developing two ranks in a row, while the Save Roll will only increase by 5 points. But then due to dimishing return a very high level character's Save Roll bonus might well surpass a skill because skill, even if theoretically never cap, will develop at a meager 2 points per level against the fixed 5 points of the Saves. Adding a flat bonus to the Save Roll will not patch it at lower levels and will break it at higher levels.

The same goes with having the bonus rise ten points per level. It will be on par with skills only if these last are maxed out and only for some levels and then it will surpass skill bonuses: all characters will save way more often than not.

One thing we evaluated was having the Save Rolls progress on a bell curve like Skills, but it will be overly complicated to factor and then again they will be basically Skills developed for free - and this is less than appealing.

As you said, there's no trivial solution to the problem. Please keep thinking on the topic and the same will do ourselves! Chance are a neat idea will come out. Until then we will stick to the SR mechanic as it's written now because it may be a little convoluted but it's playtested by 35+ years of "master" games so we are certainly sure it works!

For no one in this world you can trust, my son. Not man, not woman, not beast. But STEEL... this, you can trust!

One thing we evaluated was having the Save Rolls progress on a bell curve like Skills, but it will be overly complicated to factor and then again they will be basically Skills developed for free - and this is less than appealing.

Yes for me it's the best option. Something like:

Level        Level dependent Save Rolls bonus

1                10

2                20

3               30

4               40

5                50

6                54

7                58

8                62

9                66

10               70

11                72

12               74

13               76

14               78

15               80

16               82

17               84

18               86

19             88

20              90

In synthesis: consider SR as always maximized skills.

It's more complicated that linear but this complexity is absolutely irrelevant: it involve calculation done before the real play....compiling the character sheet....so why bother.

I definitely suggest this way.

 

Expanding a little the concept you could have:

* Fast progression: as above

* Average progression: as a skill increased of 2 ranks at the even level and 1 rank at the odd one

* Slow progression: as a skill always increased of 1 rank

You can distribute between the Vocations as follow:

* Warrior-like vocations: TSR fast, WSR slow

* Rogue-like vocations: TSR average, WSR average

* Wizard-like vocations: TSR slow, WSR fast

The thing is, in the original "master" games, RRs worked differently from skills for a reason. They represented a "last chance" for characters to save themselves from certain harmful effects, mostly by sheer luck. They weren't influenced by your training or predisposition, only by your stats (and racial/magical bonuses) and the general "epicness" (i.e.: level) of your character.
The average joe with no stat bonuses basically had a 50/50 chance of saving himself against a threat of his own level.

I'd like to keep that, as IMO it reinforces the idea that you're dealing with something beyond what covered by your character skills.
In VsD Save Rolls aren't as ubiquitous as they are in post-3.x d&d, so maybe bringing them to the same level as skills isn't really necessary.

Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.

Ok i think also the original rules, maybe a little polished, will be well accepetd by RM/MERP fans....and the are also well tested !

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