Can you choose to automatically succeed on a saving throw you make because of a spell you cast?

For instance, if I am trying to intimidate someone by casting earthquake centered on myself, do I also need to make the Dex save to avoid falling prone? Or am I not at risk?

  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ It's usually a good idea to hold off a while -- 24 hours at least -- before accepting an answer, in case a better one comes along or an error is found. You can undo the acceptance if you choose, by clicking the green check, but otherwise, it's hard for the answerer to correct an answer that's found to contain an error without changing the meaning after acceptance. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Mar 31, 2020 at 12:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ This isn't an answer but Thaumaturgy will do something similar: "You cause harmless tremors in the ground for 1 minute." \$\endgroup\$ Mar 31, 2020 at 21:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Mar 31, 2020 at 22:29
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Very related: Can you choose to fail a saving throw? \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Apr 1, 2020 at 0:11

3 Answers 3


A friendly Sorcerer with Careful Spell could help you achieve this effect

There is no general rule that exempts casters from making saving throws for their own spells and, if a specific spell had such a rule, it would state it overtly.

However, Sorcerers can choose to take this useful metamagic ability:

Careful Spell

When you cast a spell that forces other creatures to make a saving throw, you can protect some of those creatures from the spell’s full force. To do so, you spend 1 sorcery point and choose a number of those creatures up to your Charisma modifier (minimum of one creature). A chosen creature automatically succeeds on its saving throw against the spell.

A Sorcerer could use Careful Spell to allow you to automatically succeed on a saving throw, from a spell they cast, and not fall prone.

The Earthquake spell has a number of ongoing effects; Careful Spell would not protect you from these effects on subsequent turns after it was initially cast.

They could, however, also use Careful Spell to protect you from other similiarly impressive spells (ie. Fireball etc.), many of which have no ongoing effects.

However, Careful Spell cannot protect the caster

The rules text says quite specifically that you can protect 'some of those' [...] 'other creatures'. 'Other creatures' cannot mean you.

To achieve this effect, you'd therefore need a friendly sorcerer to cast a spell on you using Careful Spell; you wouldn't be able to use Careful Spell to protect yourself.

Evocation wizards have a similar ability

At level 2 School of Evocation wizards gain access to the feature Sculpt Spells. This works in a very similar way to Careful Spell for sorcerers but is limited to affecting evocation spells. Earthquake is an evocation spell, as are many other impressive spells, without the ongoing effects that Earthquake has.

However, this solution is less optimal than Careful Spell for your exact scenario, as Earthquake is not on the Wizard spell list (it's on the list for Clerics, Druids and Sorcerers), though lots of other evocation spells are. To cast Earthquake a wizard would therefore need to be multi-classed.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Evocation wizards will still suffer from the difficult terrain, and sage advice suggests that the idea with sculpt spell is that it only affects the turn you cast the spell, so depending on if you follow RAI or RAW, the wizard could still go prone or fall in a chasm if he's still standing there next turn. \$\endgroup\$
    – Theik
    Mar 31, 2020 at 11:04
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Theik Bearing that in mind, many other evocation spells might be a better choice than Earthquake - lots of them don't have any ongoing effects. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tiggerous
    Mar 31, 2020 at 11:13

Nothing in the spells description exempts the caster.

According to the Earthquake spell, not only would you need to make a DEX save to avoid falling prone, but you'd also need to make a CON save just to maintain concentration on the spell!

Each creature on the ground that is concentrating must make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, the creature's concentration is broken.

As a general rule: Unless a spell specifically says it has no effect on the caster, you will not get an automatic save without a special class feature or Feat that provides it.


If you don't touch the ground YES

The spell Earthquake states:

You create a seismic disturbance at a point on the ground that you can see within range

If you are within the spell range, it does affect you, a way to ''auto-succeed'' would be to not touch the ground, such a thing can be achieved with the spell Fly (cast on you by an ally) or a magic item such as Wings of Flying.

You could also cast it somewhere that will not affect you.

You can't normally auto-suceed on a saving throw and not even choose to fail it. This question might help you: Can you choose to fail a saving throw?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Excellent point about not being in contact with the ground! \$\endgroup\$
    – aaron9eee
    Mar 31, 2020 at 10:00
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ When do you not need to succeed? When you aren't actually in the area of effect :P \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Mar 31, 2020 at 12:29
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 That was my first thought, but then I realized that my party has multiple casters and they've definitely pulled tricks like this before. \$\endgroup\$
    – raithyn
    Mar 31, 2020 at 21:24
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Fixed! added (via an ally for the Fly spell) and a magic item reference. @Medix2 \$\endgroup\$
    – Maxpire
    Apr 1, 2020 at 5:19

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .