Every once in a while I see someone posting that fighters in D&D (or in D&D Next) should automatically hit and do huge amounts of damage so they can keep up with wizards in damage output ignoring the fact they the fighter can use his damage attack over and over all day while a wizard can only do his huge amount of damage attack a few times a day at most. I also occasionally see people saying fighters should automatically hit because missing is boring and means they've wasted a turn. This just strikes me as very silly, although I'm sure some people feel this way.
For some weird reason we were discussing these type of comments during my Sunday game last Sunday. It's probably not a big surprise to discover that neither view got much sympathy from my players. However, during a break a few minutes later, one of my players brought the topic up again. He suggested that perhaps all attacks should be assumed to hit (just as the vast majority of spells hit without an attack roll), and the target of the attack should roll a "avoid taking damage" saving throw (again, just like being attacked with a spell).
In other words, no one would roll to attack. Instead, characters and monsters would roll a "physical defense saving throw" to avoid the damaging effects of a physical attack. This would make the rules less complex by using one method -- rolling a saving throw -- to avoid or lessen the effects of an attack. It would not matter whether that attack was a fireball or a two-handed sword, the same "making a saving throw" method would be used to find out that happened to the target, although what the target saved against would vary with the type if attack.
This is an interesting idea. How interesting depends on how one actually chooses to handle the physical defense saving throws. If you handle them TSR saving throw style, the AC, level, and class of the defender would be the primary determiner as to whether the character takes damage as TSR D&D does not adjust saving throws for the level of the attacker. This would be a simple and fast system, players save vs a fairly fixed number based on their AC, class, and level that they can just glance at on their character and roll. The only modifiers would be for things like being attacked by a magic weapon. If WOTC-style saving throws were used, figuring the saving throws needed would be more complex as the level of the attacker would need to be taken into account.
I'm not sure I'd actually want to play a game using saving throws to defend instead of attack rolls to determine if the target is hit. However, I'm interested in reader opinions on this idea. If enough people are find the idea interesting, I will try to come up with optional rules for Microlite74 and Microlite81 that implement a version of this system which people interested in the idea can play with.
The third Sponsor Microlite81 (and Lords & Wizards) Mini-Drive for RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund is running now. The goal is $500 with the following giveaway items: First Fantasy Campaign (1st Printing), Judge Guild Character Chronicle Cards, Basic Boxed Set (complete including original dice), Expert Boxed Set (complete including original dice), Journey to the Center of the Circle (from Wilmark Dynasty), and The Vampyre's Mirror (also from Wilmark Dynasty). Each $10 donated gives you one chance at one of these items. The top three donors will have a separate drawing for a set of 1st printings of the original three TSR adventure modules (The Giants series as three separate modules: G1, G2, and G3) This is in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund and sponsorship listings in the upcoming Microlite81 and Lords & Wizards games. To get help us pay our cancer treatment related bills (and to get access to some special downloads and a chance at the above-mentioned items), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal. Thank you!
As of 6 August 2013, $140 has been donated in this mini-drive, an additional $360 in donations is needed to trigger the drawings for the items mentioned above.