View Full Version : [3.X] Reflex save and dodge fix (PEACH)

The Minx
2009-02-24, 01:14 PM
This is an idea I had to make the Reflex save make more sense (in a Simulationist sense). I'm not sure whether it is playable or balanced, so PEACH, and please let's have suggestions if you think there are better ways of doing it. :smallsmile:

The problem is the fact that the Reflex save (and the associated Evasion and Improved Evasion) is terribly unrealistic. Specifically, the problems are as follows:
A Rogue (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0019.html) can completely avoid all damage from an explosion, cone or burst while being in its center and without any cover of any kind and without actually moving. I find it hard to suspend disbelief here. (Vin Diesel movies (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0119.html) are one thing, but come on.)
All this when the Dodge feat (only) reduces your chance of being hit by a thrown object by 5% - but this feat doesn't help your avoidance of AoE attacks at all. In fact, Reflex and Dodge seem to be wholly separate issues, which is odd.
An elephant has a higher reflex save than a cat on account of having more "levels" of "animal".

OK, so we can solve the elephant and cat problem rather easily: Reflex saves are modified by the Size modifier to AC. Thus, small characters now have +1 to reflex saves on account of being nimbler and finding it easier to get behind cover (see below). Huge targets would have a -2 to Reflex saves, and Colossal ones a whopping -8.

The next issue is the question of how the Evasion ability (and Improved Evasion) allows you to totally avoid all damage even if you are within the area of effect of a burst. My idea is that the character has preternaturally fast reflexes, instinctively avoiding area effect attacks. This would allow the character to take a single move action out of her own turn, provided that she passes the Reflex save. She may tumble and jump, etc. within this move. The move must move her as far as possible towards the edge of the area of effect in question. During her next turn, she may only take a standard action, and she counts as already having expended her move for that round. If she cannot reach the edge of the area of effect, too bad, she takes the damage as normal. If there is competition for space, the players must make a special initiative check to see who gets there first! :smallamused:

Then there is the question of how anyone can take half damage when within an area of effect attack. This covers both normal characters who pass their saves and characters with Improved Evasion who fail their saves. The idea is basically that they gain two advantages.
Firstly if they are in hard cover, they may use this to reduce the damage by the amount normally associated with the miss chance. That is, if they are in hard cover and pass their save, they reduce the damage by 50%, since the cover absorbs some of it. If they fail, they don't have the reflexes to properly get behind the cover in time, at least not enough to avoid getting a face full of fire or whatever. "Hard" in this context refers to any solid obstacle which could withstand the damage from the area effect attack in question (so fog, smoke or suchlike does not count). If they are in the open, but within a 5 ft. step of such cover or concealment, they may expend their next round's movement allowance to get there. Competition may occur as above.
Secondly, they may voluntarily drop prone, and so minimize their surface area with respect to the attack. This diminishes the damage by 50%, as per the normal rules, but then they are prone at the start of their next turn. Note that these 50% stack with the percentage for cover if the DM rules that line of sight between the source of the AoE and both the top and bottom points of character's body given his prone position is now blocked. So, drop behind the battlements as someone throws a grenade, and your bacon may well be altogether saved, even if your name isn't Haley Starshine.

So to summarize points 2 and 3, Reflex isn't really what saves you from explosions per se, it's what enables you to utilize that which saves you: movement and cover.

The strange Dodge/Reflex dichotomy. To solve this, one half of a character's Dodge bonus to AC applies to Reflex saves too. The reason why this is only half, is that it is harder to dodge an explosion than a targeted attack (you have to move further to get away). <EDIT: snip redundancy>


So, thoughts?

Darth Stabber
2009-02-24, 03:16 PM
That's the problem with the level of abstraction used in D&D. While your solution would be effective at making the system more like reality, it is not exactly simplistic. I just consider evasion a supernatural ability (I know it's not), and don't think about it any more. A simpler fix, Evasion = supernatural. easiest homebrew I've done in a month. You should see my homebrewed spell point wizard, I just take wizard, peel the name sticker off, paste the sticker over psion, and proceed to replace all reference in both the class and powers to psionic with it's magical equivilent. done.

2009-02-24, 03:33 PM
The way I always envisioned it is that area effects don't totally fill the area all at once, but rather shoot the area through with random masses and streamers of the energy involved, thus you can avoid the worst of it sometimes or protect vital areas, and if you are REALLY good you can only get grazed a bit which just gives you a split second muscle twitch (electricity) or is like passing your hand across a candle flame (fire), or whatever... higher Reflex DC means denser or more evenly distributed packets of energy.

So, the idea of a reflex save requiring movement on the board can be avoided with this model ( which keeps things MUCH simpler). I the ideas of size modifiers to reflex saves I think, and would also suggest consider allowing the bonus from Fighting Defensively, and Full Defense, to be applied to will OR reflex INSTEAD of AC on any given round... Monks of 5th level or higher or others with "Purity of Body" class ability may do the same with Fortitude Saves. If that is too much for some reason, make it 11th when they get Diamond Body. I posted most of that idea a while back, see my extended signature. I like this better than your idea of half of dodge bonuses also applying to reflex saves. and certainly don't think they should both be in the same game, but to each their own.

The Minx
2009-02-25, 02:48 AM
What you guys seem to be saying is the best fix is "don't fix it". Sorry, too easy, and this is homebrew section, anyway. :smallsmile:

For instance, what about shrapnel where the spaces between the gaps are less than the size of the creature? Shouldn't the ability to dodge streamers of energy allow you to dodge thrown objects too?

2009-02-25, 11:31 AM
Shrapnel bursts are an AoE, and thus use reflex saves.

2009-02-25, 03:39 PM
When someone makes a reflex save with or without combination of Evasion, I always assume that they rolled with the explosion or jumped behind astonishing small cover.

Of course, this only really works if you don't play with miniatures.