What I'm trying to do is debuff an enemy's stat so that I can hit them with a "save or suck" spell like dominate monster, and be more likely to succeed.

The problem is, I'm running into concentration issues because most spells that debuff a single stat like Bestow Curse use concentration, and thus I cant use them in conjunction: The moment I cast Dominate Monster, Bestow Curse is removed.

Hex also will not work because it only impacts ability checks, and not saves.

To clarify, I am a Warlock who wants to cast powerful disabling spells only when they have a high chance of success (so typically Wisdom has to be the weakened modifier). However, I am open to answers outside of that class, as well as any spell combos that specifically function as

  1. Weakening the the ability save for the second spell without utilizing concentration, and

  2. The second spell being a powerful, one-save spell of concentration.

What spells would be the best for this kind of combo, given that only I can cast the spells?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Could you please edit to inform your class? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 3:34
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ You also need to be more specific about which saving throws need to have disadvantage - for example, is a method that only gives disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws an acceptable answer? \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Commented Feb 23, 2018 at 3:50

2 Answers 2


1st/5th level depending on which save you want to affect

Since you've said that you will take answers from any class, I have listed the lowest level non-concentration spells that can reduce any given save disregarding all other factors.

I have not listed the spells you can pair with the save debuff, because that would be an incredibly long and useless list since it depends on so many factors. For example, there are are a huge amount of spells that are based off of Dexterity saves and I have no way of telling you which one would be a best follow-up to a Dexterity save debuff.

The effects listed after each spell assume that the creature has been affected successfully by the spell (eg met necessary conditions and failed applicable saves).

Dex - 1st level

Sleep - automatically fails Strength and Dexterity saving throws (hp-based so no save required)

Snare - disadvantage on Dexterity saving throws (requires a Dexterity saving throw)

Strength - 1st level

Sleep - automatically fails Strength and Dexterity saving throws (hp-based so no save required)

Constitution, Wisdom, Intelligence, Charisma - 5th level

Contagion - Can impose any of the above penalties on saves as well as Strength and Dexterity (must fail 3 Constitution saving throws)

Glyph of Warding

If you have an hour of prep time and 300gp worth of material components per casting you can use Glyph of Warding to store a concentration spell (like Bane or Bestow Curse) and if it triggers successfully will cast that spell without you having to concentrate on it. However, Glyph of Warding is a 3rd level spell and requires careful setup and expensive components. It is probably not going to be a great option for a time or slot limited spellcaster just looking to try to make sure one good debuff spell hits.


5th or 3rd Level, Depending

In the Player's Handbook, the two lowest level non-concentration spells I can find that explicitly impair saving throws in some way (including spells that restrain, stun, or paralyze targets) are both 5th level necromancy spells: Contagion, and Raise Dead.

The first requires a target to fail at three successive saving throws before it has any effect, so it will take quite a while. The second requires you to kill the target first, so it's unlikely you'll have a cause to bring them back in order to cast a "save or suck" spell on them afterwards.

Naturally, there are several lower level spells you could use if concentration is permitted (such as Bane, a first level spell). If you can afford it (200 gp per casting), and can prepare ahead of time (casting time 1 hour), there is a way around your concentration restriction, that technically only relies on spells. Cast Glyph of Warding, a 3rd level spell, and cast a second spell into it (such as Bane or Bestow Curse). Neither of these spells will require concentration once they have been cast. This will set up a magical trap. When the glyph goes off (via a trigger you specify), it will cast the spell (e.g. Bestow Curse) without requiring you to concentrate on it.

There are magic items or class features that impair enemy saving throws (such as the Sorcerers's Heightened Spell metamagic), but as you asked specifically about spells, this is one of your few options.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The contagion spell has since been errataed; it now causes the poisoned condition on the initial hit, then removes the condition and causes the chosen disease effects after 3 failed saves. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 4:36

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