View Full Version : Question on Save-Or-Dies

2014-04-23, 08:49 PM
When do most classes unlock "Save-Or-Die" Spells? And what determines the save DCs?

2014-04-23, 09:03 PM
Well, I think the earliest wizard save-or-die spell proper is Phantasmal Killer or something like that, which is a 4th level spell. Sepia Snake Sigil is effectively a save-or-die, available at level 5 (3rd level spell), since failing it renders you completely helpless, but you have to read the text, of 25 words or higher, in which it is buried for it to take effect.
So you can get them somewhere between 5th and 7th level.
Spell DCs are equal to 10 plus the spell level plus the ability modifier relevant to the spellcaster (Intelligence for wizards, etc.).

2014-04-23, 09:42 PM
Thanks, a class I am working on has one that might be somewhat unique, but I don't want it to show up too early.

2014-04-24, 03:23 AM
Fundamentally it is how do you define a save or die. Is it only direct save or die effects, or are we including things that effectively could be save or die?

Direct Save or Die: Its in the description. They save or they die.

Effective Save or Die: This ranges from, it deals so much damage that it kills them anyways, to it incapacitates them such that they become incredibly easy to kill, to they are removed from the situation entirely so they might as well be dead (Teleporting them away from you works, sending them so far away you are likely never to see/hear from them again is better, and sending them to the far-realm via finger of expulsion is even better).

2014-04-24, 05:33 AM
When do most classes unlock "Save-Or-Die" Spells? And what determines the save DCs?

Save DCs for spells are always 10 + spell level + ability modifier + misc feats etc.

2014-04-24, 08:36 AM
I'm actually of the opinion that Phantasmal Killer shouldn't count as a proper save-or-die because its a double-save - this is generally why it isn't used, since the target needs to fail two separate saving throws to actually be killed by it (different saves, too, which is worse since it means it can't be targeted very efficiently). A 'single save'-or-die would be premature as a 4th level spell I think. Slay Living is a touch-based save-or-die as a 5th level spell (9th level character), and the canonical ranged ones come on line at 7th level spells (13th level character) with Finger of Death and Destruction.

Realms of Chaos
2014-04-24, 10:08 AM
Save or incapacitation starts at level 1 (color spray/sleep/etc).
Weakest Death Effect (death knell) starts at level 3
Save or die with major limitations (such as needing two saves or needing to touch the enemy) starts around level 7-9
Save-or-take-incredible-damage (harm/disintegrate) is around level 11.
Save or die without the major limitations starts around level 11-13 (circle of death, finger of death, destruction) or so.
Mass-save-or-die without special limitations (implosion/wail of the banshee) is around level 17

Save DC for spell = 10 + spell level + Ability modifier
Save DC for most other abilities = 10 + 1/2 class level (or full class level for PrCs) + Ability modifier