Posted by : David Guyll August 03, 2013

Earlier this week it was revealed thatfor now anywayattack bonuses sans ability score mods would cap at +6, while skills and saves can, in specialized cases anyway, hit +12. The reasons given for this are that attack rolls tend to be made much more frequently, the range for Armor Class is narrower, and the consequences for failing to hit something less severe.

I agree with the first part. In my experience attack rolls eat up the majority share of dice rolling compared to skill checks, especially if you just count the meaningful ones. I also agree with the narrower Armor Class range, as they want to avoid the issues of the past two editions where numbers scale so that
you can throw bigger numbers at other, bigger numbers.



What I do not agree with are the stakes of the attack roll compared to the ability check. Mind you I am not disagreeing that the disparity exists: a bad Stealth check can bring an encounter down on your head, while a failed Athletics check and bring your head down onto the ground, but in both cases chances are you will survive. Saving throws on the other hand are a different beast. In older editions a single botched roll could prove fatal, or at least snowball you towards a total party kill. What makes these worse is that if a monster has got 'em, they can often use them whenever they please.

Reduce the DCs and boost the saving throw bonuses all you want, but you will still end up with anticlimactic character deaths because for some reason monsters just gotta have their arbitrary instant-death attacks, and little else from their mythological roots.

One of these gorgons does not belong, but that is okay I guess.
While I do not like magic in Dungeons & Dragons, I felt that 4th Edition at least eased up on it a bit by making the attack roll based on your level, Intelligence modifier, and bonuses from feats and implements (which could be easily ignored if you used inherent bonuses or your DM dropped monster defenses by a point here and there). This allowed you to easily multiclass into wizard and, assuming your magic implement is up to par for your level, have pretty good odds of it all working out.

The plan is to roll how magic saving throws are determined back two editions, making them depend on the spell's level. At the start of the game it does not affect things much, but over time it will end up equating for half or more of the save DC. I guess the idea is to encourage wizards to use high-level slots for offensive magic, burning lower-level slots on utility stuff. I think that encouraging casters to use certain slots for certain spells is indicative of an issue, but what about multiclassed spellcasters that are fighting high-level monsters without high-level magic? What about the 5 to 15-minute work day?

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