I’m running the Out of the Abyss adventure, and I can’t figure out whether a given madness save should require a Wisdom or a Charisma save. In chapter 2, it merely says that one of these may be required. The DMG says the same.

Based on what I’ve been able to find online, the consensus seems to be that Wisdom saves are one’s ability to notice they’re being messed with, while Charisma saves are more about repression/subjugation of one’s entire psyche. Given this, it’s understandable why, for instance, the Demogorgon encounter requires a Cha save, but what about if the PCs, for example, ran into a cursed statue? Would that be Wis, since it is not as immediate an assault on the sense of self?

Maybe I just answered my own question, but I would love a second opinion borne from more experience.

  • \$\begingroup\$ While it sounds like you have the gist of it, what is the exact effect the cursed statue is trying to apply? \$\endgroup\$
    – Renegade
    Nov 7, 2019 at 20:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Nothing fancy, a crude statue of Demogorgon melted into facelessness by one of Juiblex’ oozes. Whoever sees it, one my PCs will have to make the madness save. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 7, 2019 at 21:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Nov 8, 2019 at 10:41

1 Answer 1


Depends on Personality

The text for each of the skills reads as such:


Charisma measures your ability to interact effectively with others. It includes such factors as confidence and eloquence, and it can represent a charming or command personality.

Charisma saves typically depend on the players' personality/presence being interfered with by an outside entity. They are typically used to resist banishment type spells and possession. If you want to flavor it as characters forcing out an encroaching mad personality or the corruption of the character's personality, Charisma saves can be used.


Wisdom reflects how attuned you are to the world around you and represents perceptiveness and intuition

Wisdom saves are often the better save for madness which cause direct effects. By direct effect, I mean it causes the player to take or not take a certain course of action. You'll see it being used when hallucinations occur or when characters are perceiving friends as enemies and vise versa.

Ultimately, it's your choice

It's really down to how you want to flavor the incursion of madness.

A cursed statue may encourage characters to act paranoid, corrupting the personality of characters within range and requiring Charisma saving throws. This can be a really great lead for groups that focus on roleplaying as it can be treated as a character flaw for the duration of the effect. Alternatively, the statue could cause the feeling of being dragged away and requiring Charisma saves to exert their presence on the plane.

For Wisdom saves, the cursed statue may be in an area of corruption which messes with a characters perception of one another, leading to more direct actions such as attacking one another or seeing false terrain.


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