Mike Mearl's Column from yesterday (which I commented on - but I'm using an iPad, so no links - just look at yesterday's posts) was about the good old Save or Die! effects.
While Mike seems to like them, as they add spices, stress and drama to The Game, he also stresses that the fighter dropping to a Save or Die effect can open the party to a TPK.
How is that different than the fighter dropping due to loss of Hit Points? Same TPK risk (unless you are playing 4e, in which case there is little if any risk of the fighter, or anyone else, dropping).
Hmm, actually, when you drop due to HP loss, there is still a chance to save you until -10 hp, or neg con hp, or whatever 4e uses.
Maybe that's the change that could be made. Not so much Save or Die but Save or Drop. The poison doesn't kill outright, but it drops the fighter (or whoever) out of the fight and without prompt attention he will die. The petrification doesn't happen right away, but when the save is failed the body is motionless and in a few rounds will turn to stone. Time for dispel magic, or rock to flesh.
See, I think the issue isn't taking someone out of the encounter prematurely, its the idea of taking a character out of the campaign prematurely.
Obviously, a party will not have a counter effect for all Save or Down effects - which would progress to Die in a few rounds.
Eh, or maybe I'm just talking outta my ass.
I have no real issue with Save or Die! as long as it isn't overused. Once every 2 to 4 sessions, maybe. It is the great equalizer, but all things do not have to be equal.
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