I can imagine the Adventurers doing a small jump or an acrobatic move inside the fireball, But the adventurers remain inside the fireball!

And if they succeed, they should not be relocated of their position?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Ah, you have discovered the wonders of Roguespace™ \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Feb 10 '17 at 18:58

There isn’t one, at least not one that bears close scrutiny. Like HP itself, explaining Reflex saves—particularly in the face of evasion that allow one to take no damage on a Reflex save—just doesn’t really work out.

Various partial responses can be made; you can argue that you turned to show a slimmer profile, temporarily took advantage of some cover, or what have you, but ultimately someone in a sealed, featureless room can use Reflex to avoid damage from an explosion that fills that room utterly. There is no way to explain that,1 but that’s how the game works.

And it works this way because simplifications are necessary to make the game playable, and trying to make this more “realistic” results in extremely complicated gameplay that just isn’t worthwhile for most games of D&D. By complicating these matters, you don’t just enhance realism—you also demand more time and attention paid to these corner cases, which means you are taking time and attention away from other things. The designers of D&D decided that they didn’t want to divert time and attention in these ways, because they wanted to focus more on epic narratives and daring heroics, with perhaps just a pinch of impossibility thrown in for fun.

And really, it gets very difficult to “fix” this. There are always trade-offs. That being the case, just accepting the limitations of the system in favor having a smoother, faster game is a choice that I, personally, strongly agree with.

It’s also important to remember who and what D&D adventurers are: they are superhuman by definition. They engage in mighty feats well beyond the capability of real-life humans on a regular basis—and must do so to survive, much less thrive. Evasion is an extraordinary ability—that is, nonmagical. How? Because what’s “extraordinary” in D&D may very well be actually impossible. The very definition of “extraordinary” in the game explicitly tells us this:

Extraordinary abilities are nonmagical, though they may break the laws of physics.

(emphasis mine)

It’s important, when playing any game, to remember what that game is for and what kind of narratives it supports. This kind of ability is part-and-parcel with the kind of game D&D is trying to be.

  1. Save, perhaps, positing the existence of a “roguespace,” perhaps similar to the “hammerspace” from which certain anime girls retrieve cartoonishly large hammers. Roguespace is a fairly common meme in some D&D discussion fora.
| improve this answer | |
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, very good, I had not thought about by this angle \$\endgroup\$ – Kaval Feb 10 '17 at 19:08
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Well, you could have a character without a full reflex save avoidance chance duck to the floor and reduce his contact area while a Rogue with Evasion (or whatever the ability is that gives you a full save instead of half on reflex saves) actually time a super-high back/front-flip over the entire fireball, dodging the entire thing... \$\endgroup\$ – BlackVegetable Feb 10 '17 at 19:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BlackVegetable Except I specified a sealed, featureless room and an explosion that filled that room utterly. The rogue has absolutely nowhere to go and nothing to put between him and the blast, but still takes no damage. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Feb 10 '17 at 19:15
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ In a sealed room with no cover that completely fills with fire I, as DM, would not even permit a save. \$\endgroup\$ – Lino Frank Ciaralli Feb 11 '17 at 16:16
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Is there a saving throw for being inside a house fire? That's the scenario that was just described. I would not permit a saving throw, but that's ME personally, because the situation had no way to save. As DM, it's your perogative to make adjustments for situations like that. \$\endgroup\$ – Lino Frank Ciaralli Feb 11 '17 at 19:20

The roleplay explanation is that they were simply able to avoid the brunt of the blast.

This can be done through various methods such as interposing objects between the player and the effect such as a cloak, a thin piece of cover, partial cover, etc. It can also be done as a reflexive dive for said cover. Or it could be role played as simply diving below the effective blast, but not out of it in it's entirety. Or it could be simply reducing the amount of your body hit by the spell like the forbidden school of monk training known as the hidden iron turtle (the fetal position, I'm talking about curling up in the fetal position).

Ultimately, the role play is up to the players and the DM.

| improve this answer | |
  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you mean, reduce the contact area? \$\endgroup\$ – Kaval Feb 10 '17 at 19:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Either way. That's a glass half full/half empty argument. Avoiding the brunt and reducing the affected area amount to the same end result. I'll add that in for clarity. \$\endgroup\$ – Lino Frank Ciaralli Feb 10 '17 at 19:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @LinoFrankCiaralli I'm not sure that is the glass half-full/empty argument. The glass metaphor is referring to optimism versus pessimism, right? \$\endgroup\$ – BlackVegetable Feb 10 '17 at 19:13
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Yes. And both arguments are addressing the same point, the glass contains an equal amount of liquid and air regardless of how you look at it. The same as this answer. Whether you want to call it reducing the brunt of the blow, or reducing the affected area of the target, it's the same thing. \$\endgroup\$ – Lino Frank Ciaralli Feb 10 '17 at 19:15
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This is a very good answer in terms of giving guidance to any table: use your imagination to narrate the result the dice gave you. +1 \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 10 '17 at 20:09

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.