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D&D 3E
20th-Jun-2005 12:05 am
Hello. Just a quick question that is directed both towards DMs and players. I have been trying to decide just how to handle reflex saves that half area of effect damage, and similarly, evasion and its negating of such damage.

To illustrate this question, take the following example. Say a Red Dragon uses his fire breath attack against a level 10 rogue. The rogue passes his reflex save. Should the rogue be, say, moved to the closest available square that is not within the radius? Otherwise I can't really understand how they were able to "dodge" a wall of flame. And thus, if the rogue is backed into a corner, should the reflex save be unavailable to them? I know there is no mention of any of this in any core books, but I am interested to see how others handle this situation. I am considering making it a house rule but first I'd like to see your opinions. Thank you in advance.

20th-Jun-2005 08:28 am (UTC)
I've had problems with this too, what if the distance they need to cover to get clear of the blast is more than they could reasonably cover etc. I think I've tended to view it more as "lucky", fire, in the way it tends to move has hotter and colder spots within it; so they somehow got to one of the cold spots-or empty spots in some other effects.
It could be argued that the heat from the fireball(it's an easy example, so let's use it:>) would be more towards the centre or even the top, so perhaps it's more to do with diving under the blast.
Maybe, as you say, they should move to the outside of the blast as they've figured out how to let themselves be carried with it.

I realise this isn't much help, but I just thought I'd add my musings.
20th-Jun-2005 08:32 am (UTC)
Maybe they just hit the deck and were able to get back to their feet once the turn was over. A cone isn't exactly a wall of fire. Line effects are even eassier.
20th-Jun-2005 08:35 am (UTC)
Hitting the deck or rolling out of the way (if hitting the deck isn't plausible) seem to be the most likely instances. If a rogue passes their check by 5 or more and they must move out of the square to avoid full damage, I would let them choose which square they end up in out of those available to them.
20th-Jun-2005 09:12 am (UTC)
Bear in mind that you can make a reflex saving throw while unconscious (as if your Dexterity was 0): if you knock out a wizard and a rogue of the same level, equip them with rings of fire immunity and and blast each of them with twenty fireballs, why would the Rogue travel further than the Wizard?
20th-Jun-2005 01:07 pm (UTC)
Passing a reflex save to take half damage could be as simple as turning your back to the blast, or ducking your face behind your shield. Passing a reflex save to take no damage is the same thing, only better.

The rules don't state that you move, only that you take no damage. Dodging out of the way is appropriately cinematic, however.
20th-Jun-2005 01:12 pm (UTC)
I usually call a half-damage reflex save as hitting the floor. Or moving out the way in some other manner, but not actually changing squares (though if someone wanted to use a ready action and a tumble check I'd let them move with the save). A 5' square isn't really that small an area, so there is some flexibility. Basically being able to move isn't included in the effects of the reflex save, so I normally wouldn't allow it.

If the rogue is backed into a corner, or really has no where to go to avoid the blast, I think it's perfectly reasonable to say that they can't avoid the blast, or can't avoid it as much (maybe only take 3/4 damage). Just make sure you aren't being arbitrary about this so you don't piss off the players. Another good method is to give them a minus to check (or equivalently raise the DC) because of environmental factors.
20th-Jun-2005 08:29 pm (UTC)
Sure, if Cover gives you, what? a +4 to saves? Why not let being pinned in an open corner with nowhere to go give you a -4?
20th-Jun-2005 02:02 pm (UTC)
Personally, I'd leave it alone. Call it hitting the deck, or rolling up in their cloak, or whatever. Or if your rogue (as many do) has Slippers of Spiderclimb, maybe he/she ran up the wall and avoided the blast by getting above it.

D&D is not and is not really intended to be realistic beyond a certain point. It's very cinematic, so the characters can (and often do) do things that don't really make sense in real life. And the combat system is abstract. I'm not saying that as a criticism, because I love D&D, just as an observation. Personally, I'd just consider it one of the abstractions of the combat system, and not worry about it too much. Even if you have to stretch it a bit to make it make some kind of sense, that's probably (in my opinion, anyway) better than denying a PC one of his or her key abilities. The player may well feel that you are picking on him or her, and (personal opinion only) I don't know that it's worth it for something that probably won't really come up that often.
20th-Jun-2005 02:39 pm (UTC)
If you allow the rogue to "dive for cover" and move 5-10' completely out of sequence, you can bet that sometime in the near future the wizard in the party will drop a fireball that only hits the rogue and just happens to nudge him an extra 10' so he's in a perfect position to do something on his next action.

If the rules don't say he moves, he doesn't move. Don't make the game system any more complicated than it already is, and certainly don't start discussing the laws of physics (because, you know, the wizard is casting a fireball at the elven</> rogue...).
21st-Jun-2005 09:56 am (UTC)
Ah, your players are bastards too eh?:> That's exactly the sort of thing mine'd try.
20th-Jun-2005 04:41 pm (UTC)
I always assumed they were not out of the blast at all; they just found a way to hit their body against the blast right, bend down, put a shield up, etc. I mean, they're still taking damage...
21st-Jun-2005 01:39 pm (UTC)
Not a level 10 rogue who succeeds on his saving through. They take no damage on a successful save.
20th-Jun-2005 05:10 pm (UTC)
Getting moved to the closest safespot is one way to do it. Another way to think about it is:

Fireball- Rogue ducks and covers himself with his cloak as the flames wash over him
Lightning Bolt- Rogue matrix dodges out of the way and snaps back into his previous postion

When you think about it, the entire reason any given spell is allowed a reflex save is because it's not taking up the entirety of the area of effect, or there's a chance for the target to move out of the way. If the ENTIRE area was blanketed with flames with -no- open space that wasn't burning, there wouldn't be a reflex save, because there just wouldn't be -any- possible way to do it. The spells have already taken whether or not its possible into account.

Even a Rogue (or any character) that's locked in a box upside down hanging from the ceiling of a 500' high domed ceiling that has a fireball chucked directly into the box by a flying wizard would get a reflex save. >_> He'll just be largely penalized since, you know, he can't move.
23rd-Jun-2005 03:00 pm (UTC)
Generally I'd say that the DM can decide the circumstances of the successful rogue. if in battle I'd rule that the rogue threw up something or did something to protect himself from the blast, however if its not in a battle setting, then he moves out of range by flipping, cartwheeling or jumping out the way.

but the DM has final say, so rule as you will.
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