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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.
 

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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
Epic
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
 
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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
 

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