Reach Out and Play 11: Combat Posting Conclusion

Even More Magical Combat

Fortitude Save

A Fortitude save represents a character’s physical resistance. It is the body’s immune system regarding magic, poisons and other effects that would do harm. Succeeding at a Fortitude save isn’t a matter of avoiding an effect but being resilient enough to shrug off the worst of it, or in some cases, all of it. As a result, describing the experience of having to make a fort save would entail more of a description of feelings and sensations and a sense of fighting of an external force.

Consider a spell-like Ghoul touch, which paralyzes the target, while also infusing them with a carrion stench that nauseates every living thing within ten feet, a secondary effect that also requires Fort saves. Truly the gift that keeps on giving.


Successful save (negates spell’s effects)

As the dark priest grabs his arm, Durgan could feel a cold numbing stiffness spreading up it, creeping its way toward his shoulder. The fighter’s body shakes as his natural defenses fight to resist the bizarre effect, eyes widening in fear for a moment, before a deep breath of relief as the effect fades, the vile spell resisted.

With a glare that promises death, he brings his sword up in a quick slice at the mage’s body.

With a successful save, Durgan’s player can post the reactionary post and save roll immediately as a response to the attack. This helps resolve what actions others take. On his turn, his player would then continue with their action.

Failed save (full effect)

As the dark priest grabs his arm, Durgan could feel a cold numbing stiffness spreading up it, creeping its way toward his shoulder. He could feel every muscle in his body beginning to lock up, a horrific living rigor that leaves him trapped in a nightmare, unable to help his friends or prevent his own death, capable of doing nothing but watching as the roiling stink of an open grave envelops his paralyzed body.

Fort save (DC 16): 1d20 + 8  ? (7) + 8  = 15 

Seeing Durgan suddenly freeze in place, Ailyn races to attack the spell caster, only to be slammed with an unholy stench that invades her lungs like a living thing, turning her stomach as she tries to focus her attack.

Fort save (DC 16): 1d20 + 4  ? (9) + 4  = 13

Sickened: –2 penalty on all attack rolls, weapon damage rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks. 

+1 rapier/charge/sickened: 1d20 + 5 + 2 – 2 ? (12) + 5 + 2 – 2 = 17 

Magic/piercing/sickened: 1d6 – 2? (4)  – 2 = 2

On a failed save, the entirety of Durgan’s turn will consist of a reactionary post, since the resulting paralysis leaves him helpless and unable to take any sort of action. This can also help with posting in what would otherwise be dead rounds.

A helpless or paralyzed character is essentially missing their turn every round, not much fun for a player. However posting the character’s thoughts, feeling or the unseen mental battle they are being subjected to, not only gives the player something to do but enriches the overall story and adds great depth so what would otherwise be simply forcing a character to “sit this one out.”

As the next player takes her turn, her character Ailyn resolves the save against the carrion stink first, incorporating the results into her attack post.

Will Saves

A Will save reflects the subject’s resistance to outside mental influence, control, or susceptibility to many magical effects. Describing a will save, entails the fact that someone who successfully makes a save is aware of the fact that they resisted some outside force, and should have a notable internal reaction.

For this instance, we’ll use the dreaded Dominate Person against the party Paladin

Successful save (negates spell’s effects)

As the last of the summoned demons is cut down by his blade, Geriant turns to press the attack, looking to see who needs help. It starts as…..a feeling, not a sound exactly, yet it soon threatens to drown out everything. He can feel it, like an oily film trying to flow over his mind, a presence that wanted control, hammering at the walls of his mental defences. The paladin was no mere soldier though, his mind conditioned, barricaded and reinforced by his god and his purpose. The one attacking his mind would find no purchase here. Looking up the stairwell, glares at the witch who’s mismatched eyes were looked on him, his grip tightening on his blade. She would be the next to fall.

Will save (DC 21) Divine Grace/Amulet: 1d20 + 8 + 2  ? (13) + 8 + 2  = 23

Here we have a great opportunity to put into words a class ability that normally has only numeric significance. The Paladin’s boost to all his saves, how exactly does it manifest in practice?

Failed save (full effect)

As the last of the summoned demons is cut down by his blade, Geriant begins to turn, seeking which of his companions needs support when it happens. For a moment, it is as if time stops, the battle around him, the whole world, in fact, fading to grey as he feels the shadow fall on him. Dark and powerful, whispering in his ear, words he needed to hear, needed to listen to, calling to him to lower the walls in his mind. They were everything, the words that called to him, gave him a new purpose, something he needed to do more than anything in his life. His head turns toward the witch at the top of the stairs, looking at him approvingly. He was her protector, the wall of steel against her enemies. Silently he heads toward her, ready to defend her against any that would harm his mistress.

Will save (DC 21) Divine Grace/Amulet: 1d20 + 8 + 2  ? (5) + 8 + 2  = 15

As we can see, PBP offers the opportunity to consider and demonstrate things we often overlook in regular tabletop play. Rather than just move one after a successful save, we can see the effect that things like magic, healing from the brink of death, or going into a berserker rage actually affect our characters, determining how they progress and grow over the course of a campaign.

Editor’s note: This sees the end of the Reach Out and Play column. Mark will return to us with another column, but we hope you’ve all enjoyed what he’s brought to the show. 🙂

About markt

Mark has been playing RPG's for over 25 years, the last 10 primarily online. A veteran of countless Play by Post games, he is also a content creator for OGN and an RPG Superstar alumni.

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