Ongoing Save Ends Effects (May 10, 2013)

You know, I think maybe — just maybe — any effect that isn’t “until end of next turn” probably ought to be save-ends. I’ve been thinking about it since I wrote about a week and a half ago, that maybe save-ends encompasses anything that isn’t more limited.

Largely for simplicity, mind you.

So what I’m saying is, if an effect doesn’t say “until the end of your next turn,” then it ought to be, “until the end of encounter, or you until save.” (Whichever comes first.)

Ongoing damage might suddenly seem scarier — if there’s a distinct possibility it will last until the end of the encounter because you can’t make your saving throw — I mean, while this doesn’t actually change the rules substantially, it does make the consequences seem somehow more terrifyingly permanent. (Somehow.)

Really what it does is it makes the saving throw rules seem like more the “exception” rather than the rule. If you forget your opportunity to roll a saving throw, then you simply have to suck it up and suffer another round. It’s on your own head.

That way, granting saving throws can be a bigger deal because you otherwise get just the one chance — and that first one’s just when you remember. Depending on how the saving throw is granted, or whatever secondary effects might come about for a successful save, it might be beneficial to stall and let someone else end the effect.

Speaking of ongoing — I picked up this weird idea working with RPG Maker VX that ongoing damage is at all times “without type.” The type of damage is “ongoing,” and we leave it at that. What that does is make it so resistance doesn’t prevent ongoing damage from doing its work, unless a character has “ongoing damage resistance.”

I wonder if it wouldn’t be a good idea to have the majority of effects, “save ends” or otherwise, be removable via saving throw. It seems almost like it would be the most effective means of making saving throws matter — use them all the time.

And then features like Font of Life are a really big deal, since they permit a warden to remove an ongoing effect — save ends or otherwise — to remove an effect at the start of their turn, and potentially avoid problems with it at all.

One particularly effective feature or power I can think of is the “Tainted Wounds” feat from the Fourth Edition Heroes of Shadow. Enemies you hit with a weapon attack can’t regain hit points until the end of your next turn. Scary when employed against PCs.

And then there’s “grabbing,” one of those truly odd rules — it can be “escaped” from, but not saved from, and it causes still another effect — the immobilized condition.

One way or another, ongoing effects really need some work.