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Saving Throw

Saving Throw

A Saving Throw is a crucial mechanic in Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) used to determine whether characters can resist or reduce the effects of spells, traps, poisons, diseases, and other harmful encounters. Acting as a defense mechanism, saving throws reflect a character's ability to dodge a boulder, shrug off magical mind control, or endure a blast of dragonfire. They are reactive measures, typically prompted by the Dungeon Master (DM) in response to specific situations that pose a threat to characters' well-being or mental integrity.


Saving Throws are directly tied to the six ability scores: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. Each type of saving throw tests a character's proficiency in one of these areas, whether it's the physical agility to evade an explosion (Dexterity Saving Throw) or the mental fortitude to resist psychic manipulation (Wisdom Saving Throw).


When a character makes a Saving Throw, they roll a 20-sided die (d20) and add the relevant ability modifier. If the character is proficient in the saving throw associated with that ability score, they also add their proficiency bonus. The total must meet or exceed a difficulty class (DC) set by the DM, often derived from the attacker’s spell save DC or the trap's complexity, to succeed.


Characters are proficient in specific saving throws determined by their class. For instance, Fighters are proficient in Strength and Constitution saving throws, reflecting their physical toughness and training. Proficiency indicates that a character has special training or natural aptitude in resisting certain types of harm, allowing them to add their proficiency bonus to the roll.

Importance in Gameplay

- Combat: Many spells and special abilities used by monsters require targets to make saving throws to avoid or mitigate effects such as damage, control spells, or being knocked prone.

- Exploration: Saving throws are often required to navigate traps, harsh environments, or other perilous situations encountered while exploring.

- Roleplaying: Certain interactions, such as resisting intimidation or charm, may call for a saving throw, adding an element of chance to social encounters.

Critical Successes and Failures

In D&D 5th Edition, rolling a 20 on a saving throw is a critical success, and rolling a 1 is a critical failure. While the core rules do not specify additional effects for these rolls on saving throws, many DMs introduce house rules to highlight the dramatic potential of these moments.

Magic Items and Spells

Several magic items, spells, and class features can affect a character's saving throws, offering bonuses or imposing penalties. For example, the *Ring of Protection* grants a bonus to all saving throws, reflecting its magical defense against various threats.

Beyond the Dice

Saving throws are more than mere mechanical hurdles; they contribute to the narrative by creating moments of tension and relief. A successful save can turn the tide of battle, allow a character to survive against all odds, or maintain their agency in the face of overwhelming magical coercion, enriching the story being told around the table.


Saving Throws are a fundamental aspect of D&D, representing characters' defensive capabilities across a broad spectrum of threats. They encapsulate the game's blend of strategy, luck, and storytelling, providing a mechanism for characters to resist dangers that go beyond mere physical damage, from the subtleties of social manipulation to the grandeur of epic spells.

Saving Throw
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