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Friday, 28 December 2012

Saving the Best for Last: Alternative Saving Throw Mechanism

Saving the Best for Last: Alternative Saving Throw Mechanism

Alternate saving throws are used throughout one game or one scenarios and represent the entire number of possible saves to be made through the game by an individual character. Unlike regular saves the individual chooses which one they use regardless of the effect. Most of these are their base or primary save plus an ability score modifier. They can only be used once per saving throw or game cycle.

Regular saves for example call for a distinct type of save for a given effect. But using these alternative saves the character can decide which to use and when. The benefit is that they can better manage the disadvantage is not knowing when to use their best saving throw.

Every class, except for the Monk, have a preferred Top or Primary Save and a secondary save. Always use the Top save as the base save and add the modifier as noted in the name of the saving throw.

There are two major differences between regular saves and alternative saves, the first is that like luck, it can run out. Once a preferred saves is used up, they have fewer options until only their Doom Save remains. Because of their limited nature, Alt Saves are much more shared among the whole group, and they can function in exactly the same way. When an individual is required to make a save, they can use another player's specific save. For example a Rogue with a high dexterity can use another players Save of Speed, but if the other player offers or agrees, then it is gone. This is only an option if a single character needs to make a save, players cannot cherry pick their best save every time a saving throw is required for the whole group.

Names of New Saving Throw

Save of the Insightful Mind: Primary Save plus Intelligence Modifier
Save of Bravery: Primary Save plus Strength Modifier
Save of Esoteric Knowledge: Use Primary Save plus Wisdom Modifier
Save of the Inner Self: Use Primary Save plus Charisma Modifier
Save of Speed: Use Primary Save plus Dexterity Modifier
Save of Pure Power: Use Primary Save plus Constitution Modifier
Save of the Wild: Use d6+d20 but do not add the base saving throw
Best Save: Use Primary Save + any Ability Score Modifier
Save vs Doom: Use Primary Save but no other adjustment or ability modifier


One of the challenges of using Alt Saves is knowing what is the best refresh point, this depends upon the style of game you run. If you go through 3 to 5 combats a typical game session, then refresh every session. For more dangerous gaming, refresh by dungeon regardless of how many saves the characters need to make or how many games.


If your class, race or feat selection gives a bonus to a save, gain the adjustment to one saving throw once a save cycle, i.e. until the saving throw refresh.