Let's take the example from In an area covered with Caltrops and Ball Bearings, If you're falling because of Ball Bearings, do you automatically land on the Caltrops too?

In an area covered with ball bearings and caltrops, a character is moving at full speed. She is, then, required to make a save against ball bearings and again caltrops. It does matter, because:

  1. If caltrops save is first, and fails, it makes character stop moving and conditions no longer force ball bearings save.
  2. If ball bearings save is first, and fails, it may give disadvantage to caltrops save (this is a topic of question linked, not this one).

As you see, there may be a situation where at least two saves are required, but no "natural" indication which one is made first. Is there a general rule about saving throws order? If there is, please use example above as example how to apply it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not convinced that failing the save against the caltrops prevents you from having to save against the bearings. You still "moved across the covered area" before you triggered the save against the caltrops. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 15:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RyanThompson it's "A creature moving", not "a creature that moved" - but that is a matter for new question. If it'll be proven one way or another, I'll gladly update my question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 15:27

1 Answer 1


For simultaneous saves, there is an optional rule

Generally, when one is making a saving throw you are making them one at a time in the order they occur. That is the rule that saving throws operate under normally. However, if the saves somehow end up happening at the same time with no logical way to separate them, we do have an optional rule that will help.

In Xanathar's Guide to Everything there is an optional rule that a DM can use to adjudicate cases where multiple things happen at the same time:

Simultaneous Effects

If two or more things happen at the same time on a character or monster’s turn, the person at the game table — whether player or DM — who controls that creature decides the order in which those things happen. For example, if two effects occur at the end of a player character’s turn, the player decides which of the two effects happens first. (p. 77)

So, in this case, the player who is making the saves gets to choose the order of the saves they make assuming it is their turn. In the weirder case of the player moving through the caltrops/bearings on another person's turn, that person will decide the order.

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    \$\begingroup\$ So, moving voluntary = caltrops first, to avoid ball bearings or disadvantage, but under dissonant whispers person who used whispers can force bearings first, to be sure both saves are unavoidable and possibly with disadvantage, right? \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 13:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mołot yup! Although I know what you mean, be careful with "voluntary". You can voluntarily move on someone else's turn (Ready action) and you can involuntarily move on your own turn. But yeah, nitpicking aside, you are correct. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 13:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ I dont agree with your last sentence: from the cited text, a PC moving through the area on a other person’s turn may still control their character (due, e.g., to a reaction as opposed to force movement). This implies to me that the controlling player should still get to make the decision. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 15:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @D.BenKnoble This answer is merely using the rule from Xanathar's Guide, which this answer also quotes. Note that it specifically states that the decision is made by whoever controls the creature whose turn it is. In the part " who controls that creature ", "that creature" refers to " on a character or monster’s turn". The player may indeed be controlling their character when moving during another's turn but the rule only cares about whose turn it is. This is also presented only as an optional rule so ignoring it is also perfectly fine. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sdjz
    Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 16:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Sdjz ah I see—I mis-parsed the sentence \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 19, 2019 at 16:44

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