Jeremy sent me a few links to potential products I might want to use when running a Gamma World game, and suggested I try Swords & Wizardry with a .pdf of random mutation tables. And really, I didn't even consider it enough to look at the .pdf (which may be cool, if it has mutations beyond the GW/MF lists) because of how saving throws are handled in S&W.
I really don't like the single save. If you're going to have saving throws, IMO (and JB gives some good reasons why you might want to ditch them -- link to final post in series, with internal links to all the posts), I feel having different saves versus different types of situations is preferable.
As I mentioned in this post which inspired JB's series, saves can be evocative and help focus players' imaginations on what's going on in the shared fiction of the game. The categories are random and not necessarily well thought out. They may not even make sense.
|This is a Save vs. Wands. There is a different Save vs. Spells. That does not make sense.|
S&W loses me because while I suppose you can say "Save vs. death ray" while playing, there's no need (unless one class has a bonus against death rays, but I don't remember seeing that). You can just say, "Make a saving throw."
WotC's versions of the game also lose me with saves because (as I mentioned in the post linked above from last month) they focus on the PC and how you resist whatever effect it is, rather than on the effect. I know a lot of gamers like that, and maybe it's because I'm not so egotistical, but I don't need the focus to be on me when I'm hit by a special attack. That makes it a not-so-special attack if it's all about me, right?
Old school D&D sets the target number by my class/level, so I'm still in the equation although the focus is on the source of the attack, but newer D&D versions reverse that. The special attack's source sets the target number (and can then be forgotten unless you fail the save), and then the focus is on me and how quick/tough/resilient I am as the dice are rolled. This is not necessarily terrible, but the math screws it up.
|3E/5E D&D isn't so bad, when the saves aren't screwing it up.|
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying the old school five saves with arbitrary categories are the only way to do it, or that I'll only play a game with those types of saves. But if I have a choice (say, between the Labyrinth Lord-based Mutant Future and Swords & Wizardry with mutations bolted on), I'll choose the variety of save types. Because they may not make sense, they may be arbitrary, but they add flavor (and the math works).