Is there an official listing of which ability (Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, Cha) saves are used to resist which conditions?


3 Answers 3


In general, you should base the saving throw to be used off of what is causing the effect rather than the effect itself. There are multiple ways to be stunned, some of them require Constitution saves (Monk's Stunning Strike) while others may require Charisma saves (Divine Word). The DMG specifies (pg. 238):

Most of the time, a saving throw comes into play when an effect - such as a spell, monster ability, or trap - calls for it, telling you what kind of saving throw is involved and providing a DC for it.

Other times, a situation arises that clearly calls for a saving throw, especially when a character is subjected to a harmful effect that can't be hedged out by armor or a shield. It's up to you to decide which ability score is involved. The Saving Throws table offers suggestions.

That said, if you don't want to take the time to look up the specific spell or attack causing the effect, or you're in a scenario where a save should occur but the type isn't specified, there is a general rule of thumb.

From the DMG, pg 238:

Saving Throws

  • Strength: Opposing a force that would physically move or bind you
  • Dexterity: Dodging out of harm's way
  • Constitution: Enduring a disease, poison or other hazard that saps vitality
  • Intelligence: Disbelieving certain illusions and resisting mental assaults that can be refuted with logic, sharp memory, or both
  • Wisdom: Resisting effects that charm, frighten, or otherwise assault your willpower
  • Charisma: Withstanding effects, such as possession, that would subsume your personality or hurl you to another plane of existence

The one part here that can be confusing is when to use intelligence and when to use wisdom. The DMG (pg 238) has the following to say about how to determine which to use:


If you have trouble deciding whether to call for an Intelligence or a Wisdom check to determine whether a character notices something, think of it in terms of what a very high or low score in those two abilities might mean.

A character with a high Wisdom but low Intelligence is aware of the surroundings but is bad at interpreting what things mean. The character might spot that one section of a wall is clean and dusty compared to the others, but he or she wouldn't necessarily make the deduction that a secret door is there.

In contrast, a character with high Intelligence and low Wisdom is probably oblivious but clever. The character might not spot the clean section of wall but, if asked about it, could immediately deduce why it's clean.

Wisdom checks allow characters to perceive what is around them (the wall is clean here), while Intelligence checks answer why things are that way (there's probably a secret door).


No, because it depends on the effect that is causing the condition. You cannot save against a condition, you save against an effect (a spell, item, monster, maneaver, etc)

The same condition might be opposed by different abilities, when it comes from different sources.

The Cleric Spell Divine Word, for example, can apply Blinded, Deafened, or Stunned if you fail a Charisma save.

But these same conditions can also be applied by Blindness/Deafness or the Monk's Stunning Strike, in which case they are resisted with a Constitution save.

So you'll have to check the source of the condition to see which save is used.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I've flipping through the SRD for in formation and was looking by condition, rather than by effect. Are thing sorted by effect inPHB ot DMG? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 14:49
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @Trismegistus I don't think anything is sorted by effect. They are mostly sorted by type (ie; spells go together, monsters go together, classes go together, etc). Any of those things could describe an effect that creates a condition, but the starting point is always the thing in the game that is causing it. You want to know how painful a Dragon's breath is? Look up the Dragon in question, and it'll be shown there. Not in a list of breath weapons. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 15:20

There is a passage in the DMG on page 238 (box in the upper right corner) that gives a rule of thumb about when to use what save.

But: All effects that have a save (like spells) require to save according to the effect.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for adding that citation. I'm not a D&D 5e player, but I suggest you refresh your memory of that box to provide something that's not just from the top of your head, but instead a reliable reflection of the actual text which we can have confidence in that it's accurate. The "off the top of my head" bit doesn't necessarily inspire confidence of accuracy. (This isn't a suggestion to copy the text from that box -- doing so might not be fair use -- just a suggestion to communicate what's going on in a more confidence-inspiring way.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 13:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you. :-) I have edited a little bit here and there to make my statements more to the point. \$\endgroup\$
    – 8t88
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 14:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ Please quote the DMG instead of paraphrasing from memory. Your descriptions don't match the DMG text ("integrity" is a very odd way to describe CHA saves) and worse, you've swapped INT and WIS saves. \$\endgroup\$
    – Doval
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 15:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Did not know If quoting this is allowed, so I removed my summary and just pointing to the PHB. \$\endgroup\$
    – 8t88
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 16:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ So I've checked, and fair use would permit sharing that list. I'll leave it up to you whether you'd like to roll back and fix the references you had, or quote the text, or whatever else. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 16:48

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