Worth Fighting For
saving throws as defenses house rule
Saving throws are replaced with “defenses.” Instead of rolling a saving throw to defend against a bad effect, the bad effect rolls against your defense.
Defenses come in the same 3 flavors as saving throws: fortitude, reflex, and willpower. They act like armor class against harmful effects, so they are calculated in a similar fashion: add together 10 + base save + attribute modifiers + magic modifiers + etc. A creature that had a +5 fortitude save, for example, now has a fortitude defense of 15.
The source of the harmful effect (for example, a wizard casting a spell or a dragon using its breath weapon) must make a roll to overcome the target’s appropriate Defense, just like a creature must make an attack roll to overcome an opponent’s armor class. If the effect is normally resisted with a reflex save, for example, the source rolls against the target’s reflex defense.
This roll is called an “effect roll,” and works just like an attack roll. First, roll d20, add modifiers, and compare it to the target’s defense. If the result is equal to or greater than the target’s defense, then the effect goes off as if the target had failed its saving throw. If the result is less than the target’s defense, then treat the target as if it had made its save.
The modifier to the d20 effect roll equals the effect’s save DC – 10. So if the save for a dragon’s breath weapon is usually 42, then add 32 to the d20 roll. This should be easy to figure out, because most save DC’s are calculated by adding 10 to some number. Just don’t add the 10!
Example: Under the standard Pathfinder rules, a target rolls his fort save against a monk’s ki strike ability. The DC is 10 + half monk level + monk’s Wis mod. Under my house rules, however, just switch it around a little: the monk rolls d20 + half monk level + monk’s Wis mod against the target’s Fort Defense.
If an effect strikes multiple targets (like a fireball spell), roll separately against each target. Roll damage only once for everyone affected.