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In Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, there were Fortitude, Reflex, and Will saving throws, each tied to a particular ability: CON, DEX, and WIS respectively. (Prior to this edition, saving throws were tied to particular spells or conditions forcing the save rather than being categorized in this way.)

In 4th Edition, saving throws of that sort were eliminated (the term was reused for a different mechanic), but Fortitude, Reflex, and Will reappeared in the form of defensive scores, each tied to a particular ability: the better of CON/STR, DEX/INT, and WIS/CHA respectively.

In 5th Edition, the concepts of Fortitude, Reflex, and Will saves (or defenses) were done away with. Instead, there is a separate saving throw for each of the six abilities: STR, DEX, CON, INT, WIS, and CHA. However, the most commonly forced saving throws are CON, DEX, and WIS... which are the same as those associated with the Fortitude, Reflex, and Will concepts in prior editions. (Saving throws came back in 5th Edition largely because the designers felt that rolling for saves was integral to the gameplay. See: Why did saving throws return in D&D 5E?)

What is the designers' reason for refactoring the fairly longstanding Fortitude, Reflex, and Will categories from prior editions into six different saving throws associated with each ability?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I had difficulty finding the answer by searching SE until I went off-site and crawled through Google results for a while. This question is essentially a sign-post pointing to the duplicate. \$\endgroup\$ – Bloodcinder Mar 9 '18 at 17:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for coming back to us with the dupe you found, and thank you for leaving the signpost. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Mar 9 '18 at 18:22