Longtime readers know how much I enjoy inventing my own headcanon. Whenever I look at the rules, scratch my head, and try to make things make sense within the fiction of the game, my own personal Imagination Land becomes that little bit richer. And way back in the day when I rolled up my first goblin rogue, it was the evasion ability that got me thinking:

A rogue can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If she makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, she instead takes no damage. 

The default explanation is right there in the ability text: “great agility.” You dodge nimbly out of the way of the effect. However, that never quite fit the picture in my head. Leaping away from explosions and action-rolling like Indy are perfectly cromulent, but both maneuvers require you to actually move. The rogues of the world dodge in place, taking not much as a 5′ step to get clear of danger. It’s like the end of Duck Dodgers, with world-shaking fireballs conveniently missing the plucky protagonist. “How can this be?” I wondered.

  1. Rogues have mastered the art of hiding in extradimensional space. They dodge so hard that they briefly enter the Ethereal Plane.
  2. Magical fire is full of holes. If it misses you, it’s because you went full-on Catherine-Zeta-laser-scene.
  3. There’s good reason to own a portable hole (besides your dumped Strength score). Just use it like a hula-hoop jump rope and blink out of existence.
  4. You guys ever read the Xanth books? Evasion is an expression of Bink’s talent.
  5. Rogues are skinny. Turn sideways and stand directly between the dragon’s nostrils. You’ll be perfectly safe!

I’ll be the first to admit that my list of unnecessarily complicated evasion explanations creates solutions to a non-problem. Evasion has been a rock-solid mechanic since it was invented. For most gamers the only explanation required is a quick die-roll and a handwave. But like Thief sitting there at ground zero with nary a scratch, I can’t help but wonder bemusedly why my buddies didn’t dodge.

What do the rest of you guys think? Do you have any headcanon explanations for evasion? Sound off with your own personal version of dodgy rogues down in the comments!

 

THIS COMIC SUCKS! IT NEEDS MORE [INSERT OPINION HERE] Is your favorite class missing from the Handbook of Heroes? Maybe you want to see more dragonborn or aarakocra? Then check out the “Quest Giver” reward level over on the The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. You’ll become part of the monthly vote to see which elements get featured in the comic next!

 

EVENT: The Handbook is heading out for Southern Fried Gaming Expo!

We’ve got our table set up at the Marriott Renaissance Waverly in Atlanta, GA. Both the writer & illustrator of this here Handbook of Heroes will be there Friday, July 12 – Sunday, July 14th. We’re always down to talk shop in person, and we’d love to meet any and all of you guys out there in meat space.

So come on down! Win some free merch! We’ll sign your favorite d20!