Saturday, December 12, 2009

Roll your save against the poisonous darts shooting from the holes in the wall!

So now I'm a bit stuck with the process of creating my pantheon...

The reasons are two fold:

1. Now that I have defined some of the gods, my field of movement got narrower. I still have vacancies like: The Death Diety or The God of Magic, but can't rush things since those are important aspects of the world and the way I handle the gods responsible for them will influence to feeling of the whole setting.

While employing some ideas to fill out those empty spaces, I need to put them into connection with the existing gods. How do the religions interact, what are the relations between the deities in the mythology?

2. I had a shitty day and writing comes as a kind of struggle.

All this is not bad though, since it allows me to write about some rules, a thing I was ment to do for some time now.

Saving Throws

To me it seems that there are three approaches to the problem of how to handle saving throws:

  • The 3.x e. approach, which employs three saving throws: Endurance, Reflex and Willpower, all are class and level dependent. Additionally each is modified by an Attribute, namely: Constitution, Dexterity and Wisdom.

  • The Swords & Wizardry approach, here each class has one universal saving throw.

The first solution is most in touch with the flavor of the OD&D, yet strikes me as the least intuitive one, as well as being a bit rules heavy. I never understood why death rays and poison should fall into the same category, why staffs and wands should be two separate ones and what is the resistance to petrification dependent on?

The last solution is mechanically the polar opposite of the first one, yet it's equally in tune with the spirit of OSR and possesses some aesthetic allure. Still, I can't get completely convinced.

Perhaps, my uneasiness comes from the fact that I actually liked the 3e. saves. I think the division between the three categories is very clear, functional and most of all - logical. You avoid a fireball by dodging it, you are protected from poison by your body's endurance.

All that thinking that I've done, has led me to rethinking the single saving throw used by the S&W core rules. I think I'm gonna change it into 3 categories just like in 3.x e. D&D.

Still, I'm not exactly sure how to do it as I think there are two ways to introduce the triple saving throw mechanics to S&W:

1. Keep the original saving throw as a base value modified by an appropriate ability modifier like this:

END: Save + Con

REF: Save + Dex

WIL: Save + Wis

(of course the modifier is added to the d20 roll for save, not the save value itself)

2. Make a new save table for each class...

Now I'm really keen on the idea of keeping the original saves and just moding them with ability modifiers. Still I'm not sure, if it will work properly? Will it overpower the players?
And what about PCs with negative ability modifiers?

And finally, maybe I'm just a little bitch and should keep things as they are in the book?


  1. I like Castles & Crusades' saving throw structure -- they're based off of each of the six attributes, so each one of 'em is good for something.

  2. I've keyed one Critical Test/save to each of the six Abilities, and added a seventh save for Petrification (also v. being teleported against one's will, time attacks/aging, etc.)

    The mechanism, upon investigation of the average of the Moldvay save values at 1st-Level, is (8 + Modifier) as an additive to the die, with the target either using 15 (easy) or 20 (hard).

    In my milieu and fiction, Petrification is a time-based effect, a sort of rapid calcification of the target's outer tissues (seeping inward as time passes), and with that rationale, allow for some quick-thinking to save victims of that dreaded attack.

    Best to you on your chosen method. :)