This question is about D&D 3.5 or d20.

If a creature is flat-footed, held, flanked, etc, it loses dexterity bonus to AC. But I haven't seen anywhere what happens with the Dex bonus to your Reflex save.

Since nothing is said in the rules, theorically, the answer should be 'nothing', that is, the save is applied normally. But a succesful Reflex save represents that the creature has dodged, for example, a fireball, but I don't see how a creature can dodge something that it has not even detected, or worse, when held.

Is there any rule about this that I'm missing?


1 Answer 1

  • A helpless character is paralyzed, held, bound, sleeping, unconscious, or otherwise completely at an opponent's mercy. A helpless target is treated as having a Dexterity of 0 (-5 modifier).

    This applies to all uses of Dex, including reflex saves. So if you can't move, then that really is a huge penalty to dodging fireballs.

  • A creature who is flat-footed, or who can't see the attacker, is denied Dex to AC, but I can't find any rule saying that they lose Dex to reflex saves. You're right that this is a bit weird.

  • A creature who is flanked doesn't lose Dex at all; the attacker just gets a flat +2 bonus to attack rolls. The fact that this doesn't apply to reflex saves is irrelevant, since you can't flank using anything that doesn't involve an attack roll.

  • \$\begingroup\$ About helpless creatures: your PC is bound to a chair, and a trap (DC 16) opens under your feet. Say that your PC's Reflex Saving Mod. is 8; you roll the die and get a 13. Since 13+8-5=16, your PC does not fall. I wonder if the chair falls. This is a bit wierd too... \$\endgroup\$
    – ajotatxe
    Sep 18, 2016 at 13:14
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @ajotatxe By being strapped to it, the PC is attending the chair, so the chair benefits from the PC's saving throws. Hence, a PC that succeeds on the saving throw for himself would also succeed on the saving throw for the chair. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 18, 2016 at 13:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ A base Refex Save of 8 is really high, at least a level 12 character (unless it's enhanced in some way, by feat or spell. A DC 16 trap seems rather easy for a character of this level. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 19, 2016 at 12:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ That would be epic! I can just picture that strapped down rogue frantically -hopping- chair and all off of the pit trap as it opens! Rule of cool and rule of funny combined! \$\endgroup\$ Sep 19, 2016 at 15:03

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