When trying to decide between turning to ACKS or Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea for my OSR gaming needs, one of the things weighing heavily in AS&SH’s favor was that it handles saving throws in a unified/simplified manner. I’d like to adapt that to ACKS, but saving throw progressions are part of ACKS’ class balancing, so it would need to be done carefully to avoid upsetting that balance.
In short, the AS&SH system is:
Each character has a single “Saving Throw” (SV) stat. Level 1 characters have SV 16+ and it improves by one on every odd-numbered level regardless of class.
There are still five saving throw categories and each class gives a +2 bonus to saves in each of two categories. For example, Fighters get +2 to Death and Transformation saves, while Magicians get +2 against Devices and Sorcery.
And that’s pretty much it, in contrast to ACKS’ assigning saves to each category independently, with each class starting out with different average saves (Fighters start with an average save of 15.6, while Mages average 12.8) and then improving at different rates (while Fighters start with the worst saves, they end up with the best of the main four classes at level 14 because their saves improve more frequently than anyone else).
Looking at Clerics and Thieves (chosen because they use the same “improve every odd-numbered level” progression as AS&SH), Clerics start with an average save of 13.4 and Thieves with 14.2. So, how badly would it break the math and class balancing to start all classes with a save of 14+, improving every other level, with the following class-based modifiers:
Fighter: +2 Petrification/Paralysis and Poison/Death
Mage: +2 Staffs/Wands and Spells
Cleric: +2 Poison/Death and Spells
Thief: +2 Petrification/Paralysis and Blast/Breath
Any classes with saving throw bonuses as a class feature (e.g., dwarves) would, of course, still get those same bonuses in addition to the standard pair of +2s.
Aside from simplifying things, using a unified progression also means that classes outside the main four can choose which two saves they gain the +2 bonus on rather than being tied to having saves just like one of the main four. For example, perhaps Paladins might get +2 to save vs. Petrification/Paralysis and Spells.
So… Good idea? Bad idea? Horribly broken idea? Suggested improvements?