Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
Brock Grimshaw is 25 and has played Dungeons and Dragons for 9 years. He is married and currently a teacher at Stansbury Park Elementary School.
Brock and I have been good friends for the better part of 5 years and have been playing Dungeons and Dragons together for most of that time. When we first started playing everyone in the group besides Brock was around 16 and had only played minimally before. I was usually the Dungeon Master, but often Brock would often take over. This conversation was held on Brock’s couch in his house when I came over to hang out as his kitten tried to attack my foot. In Dungeons and Dragons dice are used to decide the outcome of any event that could not be easily completed. A save or saving throw is an dice roll usually made to resist a bad thing happening, such as making a Dexterity save to jump out of the way of an explosion.
So save-or-suck usually when we’re talking about it is talking about a mechanic in the game for spells and the idea is, not always it could also be like uh events that the the DM puts on to you
S: Like what?
B: Like a trap or uh you drink some poison or something and what it’s if you have a save you have to roll the dice you add the appropriate modifier meaning like what your characters good at for that situation and then you roll the dice which is the random chance and you have to beat a certain number that the DM has come up with. Um higher number’s harder to succeed lower number’s easier to succeed. So Save-or-suck is the idea that you have to succeed or it’s terrible usually when we’re talking about it with spells what it means is “I cast a certain spell” *gestures forward with his hand” and the enemy has to make a save and if the don’t it’s really really bad but if the do nothing really happens. And I would say that used sparingly against a player save-or-suck can be an intense moment if the player knows it. It’s not it’s really not fun if the player doesn’t know, if they’re just rolling the dice, *pretends to cast dice* and then the DM goes “Oh well now you’re dead” *shrugs* that’s not really fun doesn’t build tension, but when if the if rolling if the DM is like “Listen this is gonna it comes down to this roll” then there’s some tension build up there. That could fun but it can’t happen all the time if it happens all the time your players aren’t gonna want to interact with anything, they will fear having a save or suck situation and then when it comes to spells that are save-or-suck nothing is more disappointing than casting a spell that you think is gonna do something awesome and then nothing happens.
Brock told this as though he was recounting an argument that he had run over in his head before and now he finally had someone to tell it to. One of his previous Dungeon Masters had used this technique pretty regularly and he wasn’t a fan of it.
Dr. Lynne McNeill
Semester and year
G6: Socializing Games
Shumway, Steven, "Save-or-Suck" (2018). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 307.