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5E Using all 6 abilities for saves

D&D 3e gave us Fort/Ref/Will, which were basically Con/Dex/Wis saves. They handled things that affected your physical form that you couldn't dodge, things that you could dodge, and things that affected your mind or soul.

5e has saves for all six stats, but Str, Int, and Cha saves are pretty rare. I'd like help coming up with a nice array of types of things that would call for each save, so that I can use a variety in my games, and make all saves pertinent. Here's what I've got so far. Things with asterisks are probably going to seem weird until I explain them.

STRENGTH
(Conan is good at resisting this)
Things that grab or swallow you (including grapple checks, webs, tanglefoot bags).
Things that push, drag, or trip you (including thunderwave, ropers, and wolves).

DEXTERITY
(Spider-Man is good at resisting this)
Explosions and other area attacks.
Pit traps and other hazards that require getting out of the area.
*Gaze attacks (specifically to look away from them).

CONSTITUTION
(Wolverine is good at resisting this)
Poison (but I'm changing it - I want it to work sorta like a specter's attack; it always does damage, but if you fail your save it also lowers your hit point maximum by the same amount)*.
Suffocation (like being choked or crushed or drowned).
Stunning effects.

INTELLIGENCE
(Iron Man is good at resisting this - without needing his suit)
Illusions.

WISDOM
(Paul Atreides from Dune is good at resisting this)
Combat maneuvers like feints, disarms, and dirty tricks.
Emotion effects like charm and fear.

CHARISMA
(Steve Rogers is good at resisting this - without the super soldier serum)
Domination (total mind control)
Compulsion (stuff that orders a specific action)
Stuff that changes what you are (polymorph, petrification)

So for instance, if a medusa looks at you, you'd get a Dex save to look away. If you succeed, you're blinded for a round. If you fail, you make a Charisma save to resist being petrified. If you succeed, you are slowed as you partially turn to stone, and then you fully turn to stone at the start of your next turn. If you fail, you turn to stone immediately.

----

If I'm doing these things, I think I might design monsters to have more vulnerabilities, and let Intelligence be used to figure those out. Because I can't think of many Int-based saves.

Also, I might want to add a new damage type: curse. It's for things that don't have a physical wound component, and don't really affect your mind either, but still somehow make you more likely to die. Curse and poison damage would both have a chance to lower your HP max. I might even make Medusas do a LOT of curse damage; you can make a Dexterity save for half to look away. If you fail the Dex save, you make a Cha save to avoid being slowed for a round. But you're only petrified if the curse reduces your HP total to 0.

Hm, should 'bleed' effects exist and use the same mechanic? Or maybe bleed and curse lower max HP, and poison is just damage that tends to cause a negative status condition.

Sorry, it's 3am and I'm rambling. What do you think?
 
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The obvious logical use for Charisma saves is to resist the use of social skills like Persuasion etc on oneself. But having NPCs use the PC Persuasion rules is a can of worms I think i'd prefer left unopened...

Intelligence saves could be used as the 'common sense' check, or as a memory jogger. If your PC does something in session 10 but you OOC have forgotten about something relevant that happened in session 5, the GM can call for an Int save to check if your PC remembers it.
 

One way to use a Charisma save would be to give a character a chance to repair a potentially bad social situation.

So for example the bard tries to bribe the guard and fails. The guards might normally become quite hostile at the attempted bribe, but the Bard makes a charisma save to try and convince them that the whole thing was just a big misunderstanding (he doesn't get a second chance to bribe them).

You might also use it if someone says something clueless, like the player who insists on talking down to the king "the king looks as if he can't believe what you just said and you can see he's about to lose his temper; one person can make a Charisma save to see if they can smooth over the situation."
 

Coroc

Hero
D&D 3e gave us Fort/Ref/Will, which were basically Con/Dex/Wis saves. They handled things that affected your physical form that you couldn't dodge, things that you could dodge, and things that affected your mind or soul.

5e has saves for all six stats, but Str, Int, and Cha saves are pretty rare. I'd like help coming up with a nice array of types of things that would call for each save, so that I can use a variety in my games, and make all saves pertinent. Here's what I've got so far. Things with asterisks are probably going to seem weird until I explain them.

STRENGTH
(Conan is good at resisting this)
Things that grab or swallow you (including grapple checks, webs, tanglefoot bags).
Things that push, drag, or trip you (including thunderwave, ropers, and wolves).

DEXTERITY
(Spider-Man is good at resisting this)
Explosions and other area attacks.
Pit traps and other hazards that require getting out of the area.
*Gaze attacks (specifically to look away from them).

CONSTITUTION
(Wolverine is good at resisting this)
Poison (but I'm changing it - I want it to work sorta like a specter's attack; it always does damage, but if you fail your save it also lowers your hit point maximum by the same amount)*.
Suffocation (like being choked or crushed or drowned).
Stunning effects.

INTELLIGENCE
(Iron Man is good at resisting this - without needing his suit)
Illusions.

WISDOM
(Paul Atreides from Dune is good at resisting this)
Combat maneuvers like feints, disarms, and dirty tricks.
Emotion effects like charm and fear.

CHARISMA
(Steve Rogers is good at resisting this - without the super soldier serum)
Domination (total mind control)
Compulsion (stuff that orders a specific action)
Stuff that changes what you are (polymorph, petrification)

So for instance, if a medusa looks at you, you'd get a Dex save to look away. If you succeed, you're blinded for a round. If you fail, you make a Charisma save to resist being petrified. If you succeed, you are slowed as you partially turn to stone, and then you fully turn to stone at the start of your next turn. If you fail, you turn to stone immediately.

----

If I'm doing these things, I think I might design monsters to have more vulnerabilities, and let Intelligence be used to figure those out. Because I can't think of many Int-based saves.

Also, I might want to add a new damage type: curse. It's for things that don't have a physical wound component, and don't really affect your mind either, but still somehow make you more likely to die. Curse and poison damage would both have a chance to lower your HP max. I might even make Medusas do a LOT of curse damage; you can make a Dexterity save for half to look away. If you fail the Dex save, you make a Cha save to avoid being slowed for a round. But you're only petrified if the curse reduces your HP total to 0.

Hm, should 'bleed' effects exist and use the same mechanic? Or maybe bleed and curse lower max HP, and poison is just damage that tends to cause a negative status condition.

Sorry, it's 3am and I'm rambling. What do you think?
medusa: make an int save to realize you must not look into her eyes, make a wis (will) save to avoid eye contact, make a cha save to communicate these insights to your fellow pcs successfully, make a dex save to quickly look away, make a con save to avoid petrification if you still looked and make a str save to break out of the beginning petrification.
 

I basically like to approach it like this.

Firstly, what is the difference between an ability check, and a saving throw?

The way I interpret it, a check is when you are actively attempting something, whereas a save is where you have something happen to you (ie, the choice is not an active one)

That being said, I basically like to say, "If this was something the character was attempting to do, what sort of check would it be" and use that to inform the decision.

Case in point. The other session a (heavy) character attempted to climb on top of the shoulders of another character, so I called for a Strength save on the part of the one whose shoulders it was.
 

Horwath

Hero
I would rather have return to 3 saves, Fort, Ref, Will
but with all 6 abilities used.

Fort: str + con modifier, current all str and con saves
Ref: dex + int modifier, current all dex saves
Will: wis + cha, current all int, wis and cha saves

raise base DC of saves from 8 to 9.

have all classes proficient in one save depending on what "strong" save they have now:

con save -> fort save
dex save -> ref save
wis save -> will save
 

I imagine Cha save as keeping the composure in social situations, for example when you are publicly insulted but you can keep your honor, your dignity against attempted humiliations, or when you are accused or suffering a scolding and with your look you make clear the other is not above you.

Summarizing, the Cha saves is for hostile social interactions (and some mind-affecting powers) what try you feel guilty, ashamed, hung-up, demoralized or humiliated, or cha save to avoid the other can notice with "sense motive" you are lying.
 

I've created some monsters and magic items that use Charisma saves; one of them is a magic mirror that pulls you inside if you fail the save. Essentially you're using the power of your own self-image to counter the magic.

I've also had some effects that use an Intelligence save to defend against psychic/nightmare attacks; essentially, the creature imposes nightmare reality on you and you need to see through to the true reality underneath. If you fail the save, your mind inflicts the psychic damage it perceives as real.
 

Dragonsbane777

Explorer
Here are the spell changes we use to spread out the saves, I found this on some thread long ago and changes it a bit, but it works really well. It's a good start at least.

Also, I give ALL monsters two good saves. Just syain.

Altered Saving Throws​

Some spells have altered saving throws to adhere more to how ability scores are described in the PHB and DMG.

Strength​

To resist any effect that forcefully moves, restrains, or paralyzes you.
Imprisonment
Levitate
Thunderwave
Web

Charisma​

To resist Enchantments and Compulsions
Antipathy/Sympathy
Command
Compelled Duel
Compulsion
Confusion
Dissonant Whispers
Dominate Beast
Dominate Monster
Dominate Person
Feeblemind
Geas
Hold Person
Hold Monster
Mass Suggestion
Modify Memory
Otto's Irresistible Dance
Suggestion
Tasha's Hideous Laughter

Intelligence Saves​

To resist all illusions, psychic damage, and psionics.
Dream
Fear
Phantasmal Killer
Weird
 

My PCs use Cha to ruin the lives of NPCs, and Wis to save their own a**.

Cha is above-average in value in role-play and interactions with NPCs, so it can be below-average in saving throws.

IMHO, Same goes for the other stats. Overall the game is pretty well-balanced.
 

Tormyr

Adventurer
I came to slightly different/additional conclusions on some saving throws as I have had to figure out where to sort various 3.5 Fort/Ref/Will saving throws while doing conversions to 5e. Most of these are based on what is in the 5e rules, so there is not much in the way of imaginative ideas here. I found that often the consequence tells as much about which saving throw to use as the cause does. I seldom run into a situation that does not fall into one of these categories.

Strength saving throws physically resist changes to position such as:
+Forced movement from a physical source (wind, water, balor's whip, etc.)
+Being knocked prone
+Loss of strength (rod of lordly might, gold dragon)
+Avoiding being stuck in difficult terrain (gibbering mouther's aberrant ground)
-Exception: Recovering from ray of enfeeblement is Constitution

Dexterity saving throws limit the consequences when fast reflexes are needed in situations such as:
+Explosions
+Many breath weapons and area of effect spells
+A few cases of being stopped or knocked prone where being nimble is more important than strength (monk open hand technique, grease, sleet storm, web, ball bearings)
+Avoiding the consequences of many traps

Constitution saving throws keep the body healthy in situations such as:
+Resisting disease
+Resisting poison, necrotic, or thunder damage that cannot be dodged
+Resisting extreme heat or cold that cannot be dodged
+Not taking a level of exhaustion
+instadeath (nine lives stealer)
+Effects of gas (copper dragon)
+Avoiding loss of maximum hit points
+Many cases of being deafened, blinded, poisoned, stunned, petrified, or paralyzed (and some unconscious)
+Avoiding wounds that continue to bleed
+Maintaining concentration

Intelligence saving throws resist affects against your brain that link back to what you know or can figure out such as:
+Certain causes of insanity (contact other plane, symbol [insanity])
+Effects that limit what you know or think (feeblemind)
+Monsters that want your brains (intellect devourer, mind flayer)

Wisdom saving throws resist every effect against the mind that does not fall into Intelligence or Charisma such as:
+Being frightened (pipes of haunting, rod of lordly might (terrify), wand of fear, many monsters, antipathy, fear)
+Charm to view someone as a friend/trusted (rod of rulership, dryad, animal friendship, charm person, enthrall, geas)
+Mental domination (aboleth, gibbering mouther, harpy, foocubus, vampire, dominate beast, dominate foo, )
+Change in behavior/action economy (robe of scintillating colors, slow, sanctuary, sympathy, bestow curse, command, compulsion, confusion, eyebite, hideous laughter, hold foo, hypnotic pattern, irresistible dance, suggestion, spirit guardians, certain symbols,
+Turn effects (undead, unholy, etc.)
+Divination (detect thoughts, scrying)
+Illusions (dream)
+Enchantments (modify memory)
+Psychic damage (phantasmal killer, vicious mockery, weird)

Charisma saving throws resist effects against who you are, your place, your sense of self, etc. such as:
+Magical relocation/imprisonment (mirror of life trapping, banishment, dispel evil and good (dismissal), escape forcecage, enter/exit a magic circle, planar binding, plane shift)
+Possession (sentient items charm, ghost possession)
+Attacks on your "self" (bane, divine word, hallow, magic jar, seeming)
+Changing or analyzing emotions (sprite's Heart Sight, calm emotions, symbol (hopelessness), zone of truth)
-Exception: imprisonment is a Wisdom saving throw. Considering the magical transportation, changing of dimensions, restraint, etc., I think is should have been Charisma.
-Exception: Polymorph is a Wisdom saving throw. Considering that it changes what you are, I feel it should have been Charisma.
-Exception: enlarge/reduce is Constitution
 
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Tormyr

Adventurer
snip

----

If I'm doing these things, I think I might design monsters to have more vulnerabilities, and let Intelligence be used to figure those out. Because I can't think of many Int-based saves.

Also, I might want to add a new damage type: curse. It's for things that don't have a physical wound component, and don't really affect your mind either, but still somehow make you more likely to die. Curse and poison damage would both have a chance to lower your HP max. I might even make Medusas do a LOT of curse damage; you can make a Dexterity save for half to look away. If you fail the Dex save, you make a Cha save to avoid being slowed for a round. But you're only petrified if the curse reduces your HP total to 0.

Hm, should 'bleed' effects exist and use the same mechanic? Or maybe bleed and curse lower max HP, and poison is just damage that tends to cause a negative status condition.

Sorry, it's 3am and I'm rambling. What do you think?
Before adding new things to the rules I try to see if the existing rules have a solution that is good enough. In both cases here, I don't think a new "damage" mechanic is strictly necessary.

For the curse damage, you seem to be lumping together a few different things: curses, poisons, loss of hp maximum. Each of these is already handled by the rules in less formalized terms than damage. It could just be that using a different word than "curse" would make it work better or convey your idea more clearly, but I think the existing 5e rules already cover the reduction of hit point maximum that you desire; they just use a few more words to convey the idea in 5e's natural language.

Curse. Curses cause a negative effect that sticks with the target until something removes it. The important thing is that a curse has a specific effect (which can be a loss of max hp). Items, monsters, and spells all have different effects.

Poison. There is poison damage, and then there are poisons. Not all poisons cause damage, and few lower max hp.

Loss of HP Max. Many creatures cause a temporary reduction of hit point maximum until the end of a long rest or greater restoration is used. This can be through curse (mummy), poison (death dog), disease (otyugh, diseased giant rats) or necrotic damage (specter, foocubus, vampire, wight, wraith)

The difficulty with "curse" damage is that various forms of curse damage should not necessarily stack. Curse damage from a mummy and a medusa don't necessarily interact, for example. I also am not sure that the existing forms of damage should interact with curse damage. Things that would have curse damage generally have a much bigger consequence for reducing a creature to 0 hit points than taking an existing form of damage, which just renders a PC unconscious and making death saving throws.

I think that is where the descriptions for each monster come into effect. The medusa has multiple "stages" in the process of petrifying someone. Mummy rot works over time. Each of these has a built-in counter, they just are not formalized across all creatures.


As for bleed damage, I think it should be handled as it already is in the rules, as a loss of hit points done at the start of a creature's turn. The sword of wounding, horned devil tail, and bearded devil glaive all do this.
 

Jediking

Explorer
I created a new homebrew condition, bleeding, to have damage over time.
Some monsters have traits that do extra damage to bleeding creatures, and some weapons/attacks can impose the condition. Lots of other little things I integrate it with.
I also change the damage type to mimic other conditions - fire while aflame, cold while frozen/hypothermic, bludgeoning when being crushed. It's nice and adaptable.

Bleeding:
-a creature takes 1d4 slashing damage at the start of each of their turns
-creature automatically fails death saving throws
-a creature within 5 ft can use their action to make a DC 10 Wisdom (Medicine) check to remove the bleeding condition

I allow Spare The Dying or Healer's Kit to remove it as an action
I allow healing 5 HP to remove the condition instead. So a Paladin can't use just 1 point of Lay On Hands to remove it, it takes 5 points.
Eg. Cure Wounds gets rolled and it is 7 HP to heal. The bleeding creature would stop bleeding and regain 2 HP. If the Cure Wounds only rolled 4 HP to heal, the creature could regain 4 HP but would remain bleeding
 


jmartkdr2

Adventurer
IMO, Illusions should pretty much always trigger an Int save when you first perceive them. (Investigation checks for re-tries). If the overall goal is to balance the various saves, the rest is just moving a couple specific effects around, as other have noted, to balance them better.

But I do have a worry about making all saves important: if you make it so no one can dump any stat lest they get screwed by a saving throw, you can create a situation where all pc's have either a 12 or 14 in every ability score - which makes those even less interesting (without reducing complexity at all.) I'm already of the opinion that the ability scores are too much math for too little differentiation, and balancing ability scores might make that worse.
 

The obvious logical use for Charisma saves is to resist the use of social skills like Persuasion etc on oneself. But having NPCs use the PC Persuasion rules is a can of worms I think i'd prefer left unopened...

Charisma tends to be vs things that affect your soul or spirit (Banishment), with Wisdom being your willpower, and Intelligence being reserved for Psychic effects.
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
I came to slightly different/additional conclusions on some saving throws as I have had to figure out where to sort various 3.5 Fort/Ref/Will saving throws while doing conversions to 5e. Most of these are based on what is in the 5e rules, so there is not much in the way of imaginative ideas here. I found that often the consequence tells as much about which saving throw to use as the cause does. I seldom run into a situation that does not fall into one of these categories.

......................................................ruth)
-Exception: imprisonment is a Wisdom saving throw. Considering the magical transportation, changing of dimensions, restraint, etc., I think is should have been Charisma.
-Exception: Polymorph is a Wisdom saving throw. Considering that it changes what you are, I feel it should have been Charisma.
-Exception: enlarge/reduce is Constitution
This is great, I especially like that Charisma is about your sense of self. Really, really, good idea.
 


jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
STRENGTH
(Conan is good at resisting this)
Things that grab or swallow you (including grapple checks, webs, tanglefoot bags).
Things that push, drag, or trip you (including thunderwave, ropers, and wolves).
The problem is that realistically, any of those things could be dodged with DEX just as easily as "powered through" with STR. I know the idea is to make DEX less all-important, but it just seems like a cheat to say you can't use it in those situations.
 

Sir Brennen

Adventurer
I would rather have return to 3 saves, Fort, Ref, Will
but with all 6 abilities used.

Fort: str + con modifier, current all str and con saves
Ref: dex + int modifier, current all dex saves
Will: wis + cha, current all int, wis and cha saves

raise base DC of saves from 8 to 9.

have all classes proficient in one save depending on what "strong" save they have now:

con save -> fort save
dex save -> ref save
wis save -> will save
Wait, you're doubling up on the Save Modifiers, still allowing proficiency, but only raising the base a single point?

My Str 20, Con 14 6th level fighter just went from +5 on his Con Save to +10 on his Fort Saves, but things he makes those saves against only went up a point?

I'd either take the average of the two stats involved in each save as you outline, or raise the Save DC to a 10 at least (which would make it easier for players to remember what their final Save DC is, IMO).

Or, since averaging in some cases may generally lower the save bonus (especially for classes that don't want/need both higher Wis and Cha, for example), just take the higher of the two stats listed. So the save bonus would basically stay the same for higher scores, and eliminate the need for fiddling with the DC formulas.
 

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