Worth Fighting For
why saving throws as defenses
People like to roll dice. It’s fun, and it gives the illusion that somehow the you’re in control of things.
Melee characters get to roll dice all the time. Sometimes they roll 5 or 6 times in a round, or even more if they build for it. They get tons of spotlight time, resolving all these attacks and such, and can really steal the show.
Spellcasters get the shaft here. All they get to do is say, “I cast such-and-such spell.” The success of their action is determined entirely by the gamemaster rolling behind his screen; the player’s success depends on how well or poorly the gamemaster does.
I believe this house rule gives spellcasters a much greater feeling of involvement and participation in combat.
I understand this takes dice-rolling away from players when they would have to make a saving throw. I believe the benefit outweighs the cost though, because rolling to resist an effect is not as much fun as rolling to affect someone.
This also makes rules more consistent across the game: when you want to achieve something, you roll. When a monster wants to achieve something, it rolls. This consistency has been adopted by 4th edition D&D and Star Wars Saga Edition and works well there.