D&D 5E Saving throws in 5e

Jer

Legend
Supporter
You might hand out proficiency in a new save at 6th, 12th and 18th levels. By end game you'll be proficient in 5 out of 6 saves that way.
I think that might be a bit too much of an overcorrection, so I might think about handing out 1/2 proficiency bonuses at 6th and 18th and a full proficiency bonus at 12th. (or probably more likely - raise the first 1/2 proficiency bonus to full at 12th and give a second 1/2 proficiency bonus).

But what I actually do in practice outside of when I'm teaching kids how to play (where I try to go as by the book as possible) is try to have two different possible saves for effects depending on the effect. Especially at higher levels. And allow players to propose ways they might try to save against a particular effect if they have an idea I didn't think of (you have to be able to say no a lot at first depending on the table - you can't use Int for all of your saves just because it's the best one you have no matter how much you push it). With the right group it seems to help though it doesn't completely eliminate the issue at high levels.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

The more difficult save is mitigated by the increase in HP for the PCs, which provides a different layer of protection against the breath weapon and favors fighters, barbarians and the like.
look I was looking at DC... yes against a direct damage effect HP helps... against save or laugh until you save (again a 1st level spell) not so much)
I DM'd a 1-20 5e campaign with a Fighter (Battlemaster), Rogue (Assassin), and Ranger (Hunter), and it worked out just fine.
yes this is the other work around my friends and I have found (a no caster party with the DM scaling the challenge to non casters)
The fighter and ranger had enough HP to soak damage from failed saves, the Rogue had 4 proficient saves plus the amazing evasion ability to make up for lower HP.
again this only works for direct damage like fireball... but wont help with tasha's or hold person or slay living...
If the Fighter got dominated or the like, the rest of the party focused on forcing concentration saves or taking out the caster.
yes Mind Control can totally mess up a party
It was certainly different than the way a party with more than a single 1/2 caster would approach Tier IV, but they found plenty of ways to make it work as a team.
 

allow players to propose ways they might try to save against a particular effect if they have an idea I didn't think of (you have to be able to say no a lot at first depending on the table - you can't use Int for all of your saves just because it's the best one you have no matter how much you push it). With the right group it seems to help though it doesn't completely eliminate the issue at high levels.
way back in 99 2000 when I first heard of the 3 saves Fort Ref WIll this is what I thought it was going to be...

the dragon breathes fire and the fighter toughs it out (fort save) the rogue and ranger jump out of the way (ref save) and the wizard mentally fortifies himself (will save) when I found out I was wrong I was a little bummbed.
 

in my reasoning or my example? becuse I showed that as DCs went up the saves you are not prof in get worse and worse... unless you find a mistake in my math?

so you want me to go to the MM and get save DCs will that help?

this example was 2 PCs but still would you feel better if I showed DC 11s at low CRs and DC 16s at high CRs (same change 5pts)
5E is not designed for PC vs PC. IMO if you are wanting to compare. Look at a level 1 or 3 PC versus a standard NPC they are expected to fight. Then look at a level 10 or 12 PC and a common NPC they should fight. Then do the same things for level 20 or whatever.

But, you are going to find that a typical PC of a level X party is going to have range of DCs. I don't think you will find that NPC DCs have a smooth progression. So not sure what a fair comparison would be.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
I see what you are getting at, but personally, I like the strategic element that this implementation of bounded accuracy provides at higher levels on both offense and defense. PCs need to account for their weaknesses at higher levels, with plans in place to cover those weaknesses when fighting enemies that can exploit them. The same is true for PCs with much lower HP totals at high levels, who can be taken down in one shot. Having counterspell and dispel magic can be just as important to protecting your fighter as having cure wounds and heal is for protecting your wizard.

That said, I do have a house rule that PCs can take the Resilient feat as many times as they wish, as I see no issue with allowing players who choose to get better in saves at ASI levels to do so.
I just wish there was enough depth to the system that the plan for those weaknesses was not almost universally healing Word.
 


5E is not designed for PC vs PC. IMO if you are wanting to compare. Look at a level 1 or 3 PC versus a standard NPC they are expected to fight. Then look at a level 10 or 12 PC and a common NPC they should fight. Then do the same things for level 20 or whatever.

But, you are going to find that a typical PC of a level X party is going to have range of DCs. I don't think you will find that NPC DCs have a smooth progression. So not sure what a fair comparison would be.
red dragon saves for breath weapon CR 4 at 13 and cr 17 has a 21... over 13 levels the DC goes up by 8

from 4th to 17th level how hard is it to get your save in all stats to increase by 8?

archmage (MM I don't have MotM yet) DC 17 at CR 12... so that lines up with the 11th level wizard... now to find a CR 1 caster

edit Spector is CR 1 at a DC 10 so a little less then the 12 I orginally had for the PC stat
 
Last edited:

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
way back in 99 2000 when I first heard of the 3 saves Fort Ref WIll this is what I thought it was going to be...

the dragon breathes fire and the fighter toughs it out (fort save) the rogue and ranger jump out of the way (ref save) and the wizard mentally fortifies himself (will save) when I found out I was wrong I was a little bummbed.
That was basically the original system from AD&D. The breath weapon save didn't specify how the PC took half damage so the fighter could tough it out, the rogue could jump (good luck though since it was always an inexplicably sucky save), the wizard could reflexively divert with magical energy, the cleric could have divine protection, etc. You didn't pick the save value, you just picked the narrative.
 

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
red dragon saves for breath weapon CR 4 at 13 and cr 17 has a 21... over 13 levels the DC goes up by 8
Let's also put this in perspective. That DC 13 is a fairly easy save. I'm not at all fussed by a dragon getting a lot more dangerous as they age up. They become foes that you have to do a lot more thinking about rather than just wading in and fighting unprepared.
 

Let's also put this in perspective. That DC 13 is a fairly easy save. I'm not at all fussed by a dragon getting a lot more dangerous as they age up. They become foes that you have to do a lot more thinking about rather than just wading in and fighting unprepared.
tbh I didn't want to use a monster like a dragon for this becuse my style of gaming is to make the Dragon an event... no one would complain about needing a 15 or 16 on a die to save when faceing the big main event... it's leading up to it his kobolds cultists with 11 sorcerer levels shouldn;t be so hard
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
great... silly me trying to talk about a game on a game fourm... thank you for letting me know not ONLY am I DMing and Playing wrong BUT there is no need to talk about it cause WotC
Really dude? This is your take away from our conversation? For pete's sake. Me just saying after everything we've been talking about that I don't think WotC will actually change their design paradigm to something you want DOES NOT MEAN you are playing wrong. NOR DOES IT MEAN you shouldn't be talking about it here on EN World. Honest to god...

Are you writing your posts because you want to talk casually about it? Great! That's what we've been doing. Or are you writing posts to somehow convince WotC they should change their rules? IF THAT'S THE CASE, then that's too bad because I don't see that happening. But me SAYING that has NOTHING to do as to whether or not you should talk casually about your experiences.

If that's your immediate take-away when someone says something like this... then maybe you've just gotten a little gunshy from all the other threads you've been arguing with people in and are reflexinly lashing out. Well, I don't appreciate it, so have fun with your game. I'm out.
 

If that's your immediate take-away when someone says something like this... then maybe you've just gotten a little gunshy from all the other threads you've been arguing with people in and are reflexinly lashing out. Well, I don't appreciate it, so have fun with your game. I'm out.
very possible, but a reoccurring pattern is (even when I go OUT of my way to say I don't think WotC would see the post) that talking about the game is the goal that I get (sometimes multi times on the same page of the thread) told "WotC wont see this, and if they did they wont change anything, so do bother"

I do not now, nor have I in the last 10 years expected some Dev team member to log in to enworld read what I wrote and go "Good God man, GMforpowergamers is right... lets rewrite everything to exactly what he wants" although it seems that is what some think I think.

the fact that you went in hard on it being the DM fault (when we alternate so I am not always the DM) also went with it being something that must be me trying to enforce on my players (as I said we are all pretty much on the same page) and THEN went into how this was worthless cause they wouldn't see it and if they did they wouldn't change it.

SO I'm sorry if I miss read what you meant.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
In older editions saves got better as you level because their main purpose was to give players a chance to avoid instant-death or instant-debilitation effects. The things players were making saves against were nasty and one of the major benefits of leveling up was that you got less and less likely to just get randomly murked by such effects. But over the course of the game’s evolution save or die and save or suck effects got weaker and less common and eventually disappeared. These days, saves are just inverted attack rolls. They get weaker over time so that spellcasting characters’ attacks will get more likely to hit over time, just like martial characters’ attacks do.
 

In older editions saves got better as you level because their main purpose was to give players a chance to avoid instant-death or instant-debilitation effects.
yes it literally came over from war gaming... when something would kill a normal pawn happened to a 'hero' you could get a chance to 'throw' a die to 'save' them. sometimes just a 1 in 6 chance to not die if hit...
The things players were making saves against were nasty and one of the major benefits of leveling up was that you got less and less likely to just get randomly murked by such effects. But over the course of the game’s evolution save or die and save or suck effects got weaker and less common and eventually disappeared.
I was right with you until 'disappeared'
less common yes 100% less common maybe 500% less... but not gone.

level 1 spell can
The target must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or fall prone, becoming Incapacitated and unable to stand up for the Duration.

with the add on to end it with a save.

and again that is a 1st level slot from the apprentice wizard with 1 1st level slot, or the archmage with 4 1st level slots (that may have changed I still don't have MotM)

in fact I would argue that the level 2
the target must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or be Paralyzed for the Duration. At the end of each of its turns, the target can make another Wisdom saving throw. On a success, the spell ends on the target.

not only is the same DC... but doesn't seem to be any worse

These days, saves are just inverted attack rolls.
they can be... but even when I started in 2e that could be true a save vs a fireball is for half damage ((if you had later books in 2e there was evasion but it become core in 2e+))
They get weaker over time so that spellcasting characters’ attacks will get more likely to hit over time, just like martial characters’ attacks do.
again, no martial weapon attack can paralyze or incapacitate like that 1st and 2nd level spells
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
yes it literally came over from war gaming... when something would kill a normal pawn happened to a 'hero' you could get a chance to 'throw' a die to 'save' them. sometimes just a 1 in 6 chance to not die if hit...

I was right with you until 'disappeared'
less common yes 100% less common maybe 500% less... but not gone.

level 1 spell can
The target must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or fall prone, becoming Incapacitated and unable to stand up for the Duration.

with the add on to end it with a save.

and again that is a 1st level slot from the apprentice wizard with 1 1st level slot, or the archmage with 4 1st level slots (that may have changed I still don't have MotM)

in fact I would argue that the level 2
the target must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or be Paralyzed for the Duration. At the end of each of its turns, the target can make another Wisdom saving throw. On a success, the spell ends on the target.

not only is the same DC... but doesn't seem to be any worse


they can be... but even when I started in 2e that could be true a save vs a fireball is for half damage ((if you had later books in 2e there was evasion but it become core in 2e+))

again, no martial weapon attack can paralyze or incapacitate like that 1st and 2nd level spells
Ok. We clearly have different assessments of what “save or suck” means. Point is, the effects you save against are weaker than they used to be, and save progression has changed to parallel attack bonus progression so casters get more accurate as they level up just like martials do. You may think that’s a poor design decision because spells can do things attacks can’t, and fair enough. But if you wanted to know why it changed, I’m pretty sure that’s the answer.
 

Ok. We clearly have different assessments of what “save or suck” means.
you don't think Incapacitated and Paralyzed count? I always remember these spells in 3e got put as SoD/SoS catagory
Point is, the effects you save against are weaker than they used to be, and save progression has changed to parallel attack bonus progression so casters get more accurate as they level up just like martials do.
again my argument would be that martials can only target 1 defense (AC) and casters can pick and choose, and martials can only deal damage while casters have ways around damage
You may think that’s a poor design decision because spells can do things attacks can’t, and fair enough. But if you wanted to know why it changed, I’m pretty sure that’s the answer.
I think that answer needs a wee bit of rethinking (Not like I think YOU need to rethink it, I have no doubt you are saying what devs thought) becuse by picking and choosing what save to target, getting to decide between damage (save for half not save for none) or status effects that can change or end the fight casters have too many things going for them... and the fact that save DC no longer use the spell level means that low level So bad effect will always be viable.
 

OB1

Jedi Master
tbh I didn't want to use a monster like a dragon for this becuse my style of gaming is to make the Dragon an event... no one would complain about needing a 15 or 16 on a die to save when faceing the big main event... it's leading up to it his kobolds cultists with 11 sorcerer levels shouldn;t be so hard
I hear you on making a Dragon an event, but I also save leveled NPCs for main events. Trying to use them regularly in encounters can lead to some wacky results. Now, I wouldn't mind a whole lot more monster stat blocks for various humanoid NPCs, but that can be addressed in a supplement. The new MMotM book also is a much better iteration on the monsters from Volos and Tome of Foes, and I can't wait for the new 50AE monster manual to do the same with the core book.
 

I hear you on making a Dragon an event, but I also save leveled NPCs for main events.
a bit... I mean I mostly use the stats in the back of the MM with minor tweeks... like use the mage or druid or archmage stats and just add some kobold fluff... not like make a PC sorcerer
The new MMotM book also is a much better iteration on the monsters from Volos and Tome of Foes, and I can't wait for the new 50AE monster manual to do the same with the core book.
I keep going back and forth on getting MotM
 


I was as well, and now I'm thrilled I made the purchase. So far every monster I've used from it has just played better than the previous version. More interesting, more dynamic, more fun for everyone and a lot easier to prep for me.
i have 0 doubt the monsters are better. My back and forth is until I hear for sure what the 2024 release is (is it 5.5e or 6e or some amalgam to keep backward compatible) I was going to not buy anything new... then spelljammer broke that (since I would buy a new 2e book on that setting)
 

The Weather Outside Is Frightful!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top