Save vs. die question in another forum

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MithrilKnight
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Save vs. die question in another forum

Post by MithrilKnight »

There's an unanswered day-old post at EnWorld asking about C&C saving throws. (I've copied it below and included a link.) Unable to answer it myself, but thought someone here might.
http://www.enworld.org/forum/general-rp ... dness.html

[Castles and Crusades] Save or Die Madness

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I just acquired a copy of Castles and Crusades (it has been a challenge). I was looking forward to reading it in detail and seeing how it would approximate the old school games of my youth. There are a lot of good ideas in C&C so I was very surprised to see the saving throw rules for spells.

In C&C you save based on an ability score with the base being 12, if favored, or 18, if not. To this base you add a challenge level. You add any attributed bonus to your level plus roll a d20 and try to exceed the challenge level.

Generally, humans have 3 primary attributes and non-humans have two.

So far, so good. Now, one of the nice features of older D&D editions was that high level characters almost always made saving throws. In C&C they are less likely to do so then in 3E D&D (where save or die was seen by me as a potential flaw).

Now, the authors did remove many of the true save or die spells but a few obvious examples remain: Hold Person and Finger of Death (for example).

Now the challenge rating for a spell is the caster's level (not the spell level).

So a 10th level character casts hold person on a 10th level opponent. The opponents saves on a base of 12 if it has wisdom as a primary stat and 18 otherwise. Best case scenario (18 or 19 wisdom) is a +3 to saves due to attribute bonuses. So a strong save character fails between 40 and 55% of the time while a weak save character fails between 70 and 85% of the time.

Wow! Spells never stop being extremely effective. Even low level save or XXX spells stay hyper-effective. At 13th level finger of death shows up (targeting Charisma).

I'd be surprised to see a 3E character having an 85% chance to fail a saving throw versus hold person. At it's peak (4th level) the character has alikely DC (with an elite array) of 10 + 2 (spell level) + 3 (wisdom) = 15 while a weak save target with a 10 stat has a total save bonus of +1 (65% chance to fail).

This can get a little crazy at high levels but the basic theme seems to be save or XXX magic has been carefully increased in potency (at all levels) for C&C.

Don;t get me wrong -- many of the ideas in C&C are really sharp. But I am curious how this works out in actual play? Was it a deliberate design decision?

Or did I misread the rules?

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Post by Go0gleplex »

His math is wrong on his 10th level example IMO. It looks like he's only seeing the add to the CL number...not the Level add to the save. (at least as how I'm reading pages 125-127 and the example therein.)

In effect, the level 10 of the caster is nullified by the level 10 of the target. So the spell CL might be +10, but the add to the d20 roll with the 18 wis vs hold person would be +13...making the saving Target Number; 9 on a prime stat or 15 on a non prime stat. That would seem to mean a strong character (prime and at level 10 as given) would save 50-65% of the time and a weak character (non-prime) would succeed 30-40% of the time (rough guess on the numbers), not quite the saving throw disaster as being assumed.

and as always...I myself could be in error.
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Post by Treebore »

Well, for his example the save is failed 45% of the time if Prime, 75% if non Prime.

I gave him a response.
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Post by serleran »

10th level PCs should be special. Opponents of the same level should be very rare. Spellcasters are, intended, to be horrifically powerful. 10th level spellcasters are grotesque.

Yes... that is how the game was meant, but his example is flawed.
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Post by Fiffergrund »

As stated, it was carefully and intentionally done. Magic is scary scary stuff.

Best if spellcasters stock up on some defenses, I guess.
It also makes wizards a big damn target. I'd suggest high level wizards take extra precautions against intelligent foes, because they are public enemy #1.
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Post by Omote »

Fiffergrund wrote:
As stated, it was carefully and intentionally done. Magic is scary scary stuff.

It also makes wizards a big damn target. I'd suggest high level wizards take extra precautions against intelligent foes, because they are public enemy #1.

This is one of the uber-awesome aspects of C&C that I love so much. Wizards are frightful even at lower level. ALL character should think twice about tangling with a wizard, unlike other editions of the game where at high level where there was relatively little worry from a wizard, particularly since all aspects of Save-or-Die were removed.

IMO, the single best aspect of C&C is how the magic works.

Crusade on!

Thanks for posting MithrilKnight.

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Post by Jackal »

Omote wrote:
This is one of the uber-awesome aspects of C&C that I love so much. Wizards are frightful even at lower level. ALL character should think twice about tangling with a wizard, unlike other editions of the game where at high level where there was relatively little worry from a wizard, particularly since all aspects of Save-or-Die were removed.

IMO, the single best aspect of C&C is how the magic works.

Crusade on!

Thanks for posting MithrilKnight.

~O

It's also important to note that concentration checks don't work as they did in 3e. By default, if you're hit before your spell goes off (or fail a saving throw) the spell doesn't go off and you lose it.

Not to mention, as stated above, his math is off. But wouldn't the fail rates be 40% and 70%? Or is my math off too?
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Post by csperkins1970 »

I told him to try a 10/15 split in place of the 12/18 split if he found BTB saves to be too lethal. Also, characters should have protective magic items by 10th level that would aid them in making their saves.
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Post by serleran »

It is not necessarily magic items that will do it; there are class abilities (knight and bard, specifically) and beneficial magic spells (many cleric spells, such as bless.) These concepts are not unique to C&C -- far from it, in fact, but there are far fewer of them than in, say, d20.
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Post by gideon_thorne »

And beyond magic items, are the simple common sense modifiers one can apply to any situation where a character has taken the time to plan and prepare their ground beforehand.

One can counter a higher level trap with good information and planning, for instance, which can put the odds more in the characters favor.

Same thing with tackling a mage. By 10th level, a character ought to have a working grasp on how to get around spell effects having faced other mages perhaps, or simply by knowing ones own party members.

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Post by serleran »

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Post by Votan »

As the author of the original EN World query, I did not want my post to be interpreted as a slam or slag of the C&C system. I bought the books, was pleasantly surprised at the high production quality and really enjoyed the fresh take on the classes.

However, like all long term gamers I have strongly held opinions. The one thing that jumped out was saving throws versus spells.

Now, it might actually balance well (and a poster above made the point that it was a deliberate design decision). Maybe I have to try it for a bit to see (and it does sound like it will have some good side effects for game play).

I'd noticed the spell intruption rules and was actually trying to parse the sequencing to see if it would make spell interruption possible (I am still reading and digesting the book). But if it does then that is a major balance factor that I was neglecting.

Anyway, I apologize for the math errors and if I came across as negative about what I honestly think is one of the sharper systems that I've read in quite a while. It holds up very well against AD&D and I think it solves many of the primary issues I had with 3E and 4E. I do want to compliment the deisgners and I certianly understand why there is a vocla fan base.

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Post by Treebore »

serleran wrote:
10th level PCs should be special. Opponents of the same level should be very rare. Spellcasters are, intended, to be horrifically powerful. 10th level spellcasters are grotesque.

Yes... that is how the game was meant, but his example is flawed.

So what would you call 16th level spell casters?
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Post by csperkins1970 »

I didn't read it as a slam, for what it's worth. As a rules tinkerer and long-time D&D player, it took me a while to fully digest the system and figure out its merits (and shortcomings... which were easy to fix).

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Post by Treebore »

Votan wrote:
As the author of the original EN World query, I did not want my post to be interpreted as a slam or slag of the C&C system. I bought the books, was pleasantly surprised at the high production quality and really enjoyed the fresh take on the classes.

However, like all long term gamers I have strongly held opinions. The one thing that jumped out was saving throws versus spells.

Now, it might actually balance well (and a poster above made the point that it was a deliberate design decision). Maybe I have to try it for a bit to see (and it does sound like it will have some good side effects for game play).

I'd noticed the spell intruption rules and was actually trying to parse the sequencing to see if it would make spell interruption possible (I am still reading and digesting the book). But if it does then that is a major balance factor that I was neglecting.

Anyway, I apologize for the math errors and if I came across as negative about what I honestly think is one of the sharper systems that I've read in quite a while. It holds up very well against AD&D and I think it solves many of the primary issues I had with 3E and 4E. I do want to compliment the deisgners and I certianly understand why there is a vocla fan base.

Actually I thought your post was very positive. Definitely far more "friendly" than others I have seen.
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Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
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Post by Fiffergrund »

Votan wrote:
As the author of the original EN World query, I did not want my post to be interpreted as a slam or slag of the C&C system. I bought the books, was pleasantly surprised at the high production quality and really enjoyed the fresh take on the classes.

However, like all long term gamers I have strongly held opinions. The one thing that jumped out was saving throws versus spells.

Now, it might actually balance well (and a poster above made the point that it was a deliberate design decision). Maybe I have to try it for a bit to see (and it does sound like it will have some good side effects for game play).

I'd noticed the spell intruption rules and was actually trying to parse the sequencing to see if it would make spell interruption possible (I am still reading and digesting the book). But if it does then that is a major balance factor that I was neglecting.

Anyway, I apologize for the math errors and if I came across as negative about what I honestly think is one of the sharper systems that I've read in quite a while. It holds up very well against AD&D and I think it solves many of the primary issues I had with 3E and 4E. I do want to compliment the deisgners and I certianly understand why there is a vocla fan base.

Hi there and welcome to the boards! I hope you'll stick around. You'll find we have a pretty great community here, I think.

I don't think anyone saw your comments as negative. At first read, a lot of people have the same reaction, particularly when used to the way other systems handle saving throws.

The best thing to remember is that everything can be tweaked, with very little risk of the whole system collapsing on itself.
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Post by serleran »

Quote:
So what would you call 16th level spell casters?

In the mind of a creative and flexible player -- near-gods. Also, targets for assassination by legions of enemies. Probably pretty boring, too, in some ways... having all that mundane junk like ruling worlds to deal with. No time to adventure when you have to balance your coffers.
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Post by Fiffergrund »

Treebore wrote:
So what would you call 16th level spell casters?

Gygaxian.
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Post by Omote »

Didn't see any negativity in Votan's post at all. Matter of fact, it is a very important question for those learning the system. All good things.

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Post by Treebore »

Well, I'll let the respective players know they have reached "Gygaxian" levels.
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Post by gideon_thorne »

Votan wrote:
As the author of the original EN World query, I did not want my post to be interpreted as a slam or slag of the C&C system.

Actually, I think folks were just having a good time talking about the question.
Feel free to drop any more you have, and everyone can have a fun time giving you a few hundred more different interpretations of the answer.
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Post by gideon_thorne »

Fiffergrund wrote:
Gygaxian.

Apprentices.
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Post by Ace of Swords »

As a Castle Keeper, i prefere the C&C saves being able to be failed.

I hated the fact my players never seemed to fail saves in D&D.

The aggonising over primes at creation is priceless as the players cries of

"I need more primes." bring joy to a CK's heart.

High level adventures in AD&D needed all kinds of fiat to rail road the characters. In C&C i can count on some saves being missed.

To me (as a CK) characters that rarely if ever fail a save are boring.

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Post by Votan »

Omote wrote:
Didn't see any negativity in Votan's post at all. Matter of fact, it is a very important question for those learning the system. All good things.

~O

Thanks! I look forward to C&C discussion fun!

As I think about the saving throw structure of the game, it becomes obvious that spells are balanced more like 1E D&D (where getting off the Fireball was pretty fatal to the opposition). I also note, on sober second glance, that there are very few save or XXX spells (and that raise dead, for example, is not reversible). I think that this fact is also important. The first true save or die spell I can see is Finger of Death (wizard 7), unless I missed one.

Hold person is fearsome but the held person can be saved by compatriots too!

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Post by gideon_thorne »

C&C was certainly designed to emulate the style of AD&D wherein more risk is inherent in the game.
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Post by Breakdaddy »

Votan wrote:
As the author of the original EN World query, I did not want my post to be interpreted as a slam or slag of the C&C system. I bought the books, was pleasantly surprised at the high production quality and really enjoyed the fresh take on the classes.

However, like all long term gamers I have strongly held opinions. The one thing that jumped out was saving throws versus spells.

Now, it might actually balance well (and a poster above made the point that it was a deliberate design decision). Maybe I have to try it for a bit to see (and it does sound like it will have some good side effects for game play).

I'd noticed the spell intruption rules and was actually trying to parse the sequencing to see if it would make spell interruption possible (I am still reading and digesting the book). But if it does then that is a major balance factor that I was neglecting.

Anyway, I apologize for the math errors and if I came across as negative about what I honestly think is one of the sharper systems that I've read in quite a while. It holds up very well against AD&D and I think it solves many of the primary issues I had with 3E and 4E. I do want to compliment the deisgners and I certianly understand why there is a vocla fan base.

Youre always welcome here. Feel free to ask questions or just hang out with us. As far as the saving throws go, youll find that being able to add your own level to your saves vs magical effects that target you goes a long way towards mitigating any inflation incurred by the level of the caster. I have found that it makes sense. A level 10 caster, for example, would likely unleash a nasty hurt on a level 5 party with say, a fireball, since there would very likely be missed saves. That same caster dropping a lightning bolt on a level 15 character would find his spells far less effective overall. I think you will find it an elegant solution for the issue. If not, it's easy enough to houserule.
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Post by MithrilKnight »

Votan wrote:
As the author of the original EN World query, I did not want my post to be interpreted as a slam or slag of the C&C system.

As others have said, I don't think anyone took it as such. Hope you didn't mind that I posted your query here. You raised a good question and I saw it lingering at EnWorld. I wanted to make sure you got an answer (for my own benefit, too, because I was curious to hear others' thoughts) and I knew someone from the boards here would be able to respond.

I'm pretty new to C&C, but I'm loving it. Hope you get a chance to give it a run through. Where 3.5e is graceful in its complexity, C&C is graceful in its simplicity (but without being overly simple) -- and I'm finding it so much easier to prep and run. And my group still imports a lot of 3.5e concepts (unintentionally usually from old habits) and C&C adapts perfectly.

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Post by Votan »

MithrilKnight wrote:
As others have said, I don't think anyone took it as such. Hope you didn't mind that I posted your query here. You raised a good question and I saw it lingering at EnWorld. I wanted to make sure you got an answer (for my own benefit, too, because I was curious to hear others' thoughts) and I knew someone from the boards here would be able to respond.

I'm pretty new to C&C, but I'm loving it. Hope you get a chance to give it a run through. Where 3.5e is graceful in its complexity, C&C is graceful in its simplicity (but without being overly simple) -- and I'm finding it so much easier to prep and run. And my group still imports a lot of 3.5e concepts (unintentionally usually from old habits) and C&C adapts perfectly.

I'm actually glad you cross posted the question as that is how I found this forum.

I have been really enjoying the game and want to play it soon with my current group. I like the way that they balance attributes and training. I also loved the re-imagining of the Barbarain. Whoever did that class deserves high praise!

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Post by Omote »

Votan wrote:
I also loved the re-imagining of the Barbarain. Whoever did that class deserves high praise!

That would be Mr. Does Everything at TLG, Steve Chenault. Welcome the Crusade Votan.

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Post by Jackal »

Votan wrote:
I'm actually glad you cross posted the question as that is how I found this forum.

I have been really enjoying the game and want to play it soon with my current group. I like the way that they balance attributes and training. I also loved the re-imagining of the Barbarain. Whoever did that class deserves high praise!

Welcome to the Crusade! Like others have already said, I didn't read anything negative in your original post. I imagine you'd be hard pressed to find a place where more rules tinkering is done or considered than here.
I'm glad you're enjoying C&C and hope you'll be around often.

You also bring up a good point regarding the number of save or die spells. I know my players fear the blade of an assassin far more than instant death magic.
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