- The saving throw versus death, especially at low levels is a roll called for when the player has already made a poor choice that results in certain death. It is a chance to avoid death caused by a bad choice.
- When the threat of death from failing a save becomes something that is commonly encountered by players (Power Word, Kill, Medusa's Gaze) player characters are traditionally at or near name level. Assuming they received experience for gold, they should have enough treasure, equipment and levels to succeed on a save 90%+ of the time, as well as the resources to raise or heal anyone who does get taken out of the combat.
- Modern games increase the difficulty of the save, meaning that this isn't true for players of modern games. This does not mean that the mechanic of save or die is broken in old school game.
- Again, the idea that Save or Die can destroy a gaming session due to luck is immensely ignorant. At what point are the people you are spending your recreation time with so insensible that they willingly commit suicide? This 'destroyed' gaming session due to luck is a strawman. Is the argument that the monster manual should only be filled with creatures that can be beaten in a straight fight? Why would you want every enemy to be a tedious numerical challenge?
- The immature idea (because it stems from a sense of entitlement -- a hallmark of those who lack maturity) that saves versus death should only apply after a threshold of hit points are reached creates a gaming environment where choice is divorced from consequence.* This reduces the engagement, meaning, and value of the game. There is an excellent example about game-play founded on this kind of design -- the success of 4e stands on its own merits.
- Not allowing casters access to save or die spells creates needlessly long high-level combats, another problem exemplified by the poorly working model where this was implemented! The reason it's not a problem for PC's is covered in my point above.
Is the argument that the game should lack challenge? That there should be nothing we have to worry about? Who is the person who wants to play a game where they say "I try really hard!" and always be told "You win!" If you are that person, I would only interact with you if I worked with you, and I certainly wouldn't let you sit at my table.
I do not have a problem with people deciding that save or die isn't for them or doesn't fit the type of campaigns they want to run. But to be so ignorant about the factors involved in save or die is embarrassing.