The hex spell description says (PHB, p. 251):

You place a curse on a creature that you can see within range. Until the spell ends, you deal an extra 1d6 necrotic damage to the target whenever you hit it with an attack. Also, choose one ability when you cast the spell. The target has disadvantage on ability checks made with the chosen ability.

What abilities can hex target on an adult white dragon?

Is the dragon's breath weapon an ability for the purpose of hex?

For example, would it affect its ability to make saving throws?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I asked about saving throws because when the Dragon has @ +6 Con Saving throw, if I attack Constitution, i wondered it affects a constitution based saving throw. Thank you for your observation and comment. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 15, 2019 at 3:40

1 Answer 1


The abilities that the hex spell refers to are the six abilities the all creatures have: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma.

The Cold Breath of white dragons is an Action available to them, not an ability, and so can't be chosen.

As for saving throws, no. The hex spell says:

The target has disadvantage on ability checks made with the chosen ability.

Ability checks are not saving throws. The three main kinds of roll in 5e are attacks, ability checks, and saving throws all follow the same pattern (roll a d20, add any modifiers and compare with a target number), but they are distinct, and any feature (such as a spell) that refers only to one, only affects that one. Put another way, if hex had affected saving throws, it would have said so explicitly.

You can find descriptions of ability checks on page 174 of the Player's Handbook or in the basic rules. Similarly saving throws are described on page 179 or here, but you may find the entirety of Chapter 7 (the same among PHB and Basic Rules) useful to understand what each of the abilities are used for.

  • \$\begingroup\$ can you give me some examples on when/why a Dragon might make an ability check in combat? so i can better decide ability to target. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 14, 2019 at 20:21
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @FranciscoDeLaPaz, a Wisdom check would be made to discern the location of a hidden rogue, a Strength or Dexterity check would be made to avoid a grapple, an Intelligence check would be made to escape the effects of the Maze spell... but for the most part, that secondary benefit of Hex isn't something you specifically play around. \$\endgroup\$
    – Speedkat
    Oct 14, 2019 at 20:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ The basic rules list a few examples of how characters use ability checks. It might help you think of ways that a dragon might use checks if you see the list of skills and extrapolate other uses. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rykara
    Oct 14, 2019 at 21:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Speedkat Unless it's a young dragon and you are trying to stop it from flying, then you might grapple it ... :) \$\endgroup\$ Oct 15, 2019 at 4:25

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