D&D 5E Charisma to prevent giving out info during interrogation?

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depending on the type of torture CON save can be use too.
Having a mechanical benefit from torture may mean that you get more torture, and that is not something some of us want in our games. It was bad enough reading about Abu Ghraib, there is just no way I want it in my games.

How does it sound to use Charisma to prevent giving out information during an interrogation/torture sequence involving the characters as the subject of torture? Most players would simply refuse to give information because they don't feel the pressure of giving the information out without death outright being a consequence. Because otherwise, there's nothing for them to lose.

At first, I was thinking of using Charisma saves because they're being involuntarily pushed to do something that requires willpower to prevent, but then I thought of a skill contest, since the torturer can torture indefinitely, it's up to the character to persuade the torturer that they won't give any information.

So, it would be a Persuasion vs Intimidation check and on success, the character gives out no information during the interrogation and on failure, they share one bit of information.

How does that sound? Too much? Would you enjoy this type of interaction? Would you prefer a different ruling or just let the player decide whether they break or not?

Charisma saves are generally something involving the 'soul' (Banishment etc). Wisdom is for saves involving 'willpower'.

That said, I would imagine 'tough guy' hero types would be better off with a save vs Torture, so I'd personally be using Con saves if it came to that.


Mod Squad
Staff member
Charisma isn't really "willpower". It's sense of self, soul, or personality.

I would say that Charisma is the ability to project a sense of self or personality, whether you actually have one or not.

Actually having that sense of self would traditionally be Wisdom. You can think of Charisma as the analog of Strength, Wisdom the analog of Constitution.

I would say that Charisma is the ability to project a sense of self or personality, whether you actually have one or not.

It's also used to resist attacks on the 'self' (soul, spirit), usually planar related effects:
  • Banishment
  • Calm Emotions
  • Dispel Evil
  • Divine Word
  • escaping from a Forcecage
  • penetrating a Magic Circle
  • choosing not to be affected by a Seeming spell
  • Planar Binding
  • an involuntary Plane Shift
  • the hopelessness effect of a Symbol spell
  • Zone of Truth
  • Ghost's Possession
  • Umber Hulk's Confusing Gaze
The real outlier there is the Umber Hulk (looks like it should be a Wisdom save for mine)

Charisma isn't just defined as 'personality', it's also defined as 'a divinely conferred power or talent' inferring some kind of connection with the Divine (so the outer Planes in a DnD context.)

charisma - Google Search

Charisma - Wikipedia

If I'm designing a monsters attack that damages, displaces or interacts with 'the soul' or has a planar or teleportation effect tied to it, I'm generally eying off Charisma as my save of choice.


This is where social interaction could be a form of combat...

If you had a social "AC" so to say, the interrogator would make an "Intimidation Attack" and deal psychic damage. The PC makes a "You can't break me" attack of some sort back, etc. Whoever goes to 0 hp loses and either gives up the interrogation or the information.

Mental/social AC could be 10+wis+cha

If t he PC takes any action that can possibly make the torturer reconsider, then a Charisma roll of some kind can be used.

But if the PC is passive, then I don't see a reason for a roll... except maybe if the PC is naturally charming - but then you need Feywild or magical traits. But that's a big maybe.


This is a flat-out Intimidation vs Deception head-to-head check. Torture is Intimidation, and refusing to give out information is Deception, whether just waking down the street, or tied to the rack. Advantage or disadvantage to one or the other, depending on the circumstances.
Deception is convincing the interrogator that you don't know anything, or providing false information. It doesn't cover just holding out and refusing to talk.

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