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The shocking grasp cantrip states that the target can not take reactions until the start of its next turn. Therefore, the target should not be able to cast spells like absorb elements and shield.

However, are saving throws considered reactions?

If they are, someone could cast a spell using a saving throw against a target who can't take reactions and theoretically they would automatically fail because of the inability to take a reaction. Through my knowledge, it never states anywhere that a saving throw takes a reaction; it's just a roll.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Apr 24 '20 at 0:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ I just wanted to say, I can see why a new player might think a saving throw might be a reaction. A DEX save, for example, seems like you are reacting to something, at least from a narrative perspective (jumping out of the way of a fireball or something). Rules-wise, though, it is as all the answers below are saying. \$\endgroup\$ – NathanS Apr 24 '20 at 8:12
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Saving throws aren't reactions

Reactions are a special type of action you can take in response to something, i.e. when a rule says you can use your reaction. They are part of the action economy, as you only get one per round (See PHB 190 for the general definition of reactions).

Saving throws are a type of roll you are forced to make by some rule, feature, or effect. You make them when a feature says you need to make a saving throw with no limit on how many you may be forced to make per round. You can find the general definition of saving throws on page 179 of the PHB.

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No, saving throws are not reactions. Only things that say they are reactions (usually with “as a reaction,” though spells with “Casting Time 1 reaction” are another major example) are reactions. You always make saving throws whenever something tells you to, and nothing can prevent you from doing so (though some things can say you automatically succeed or fail).

Also note that shocking grasp doesn’t prevent reacting to the shocking grasp itself—the ban on reactions only occurs after shocking grasp is done, which means the target can react to it (e.g. by casting absorb elements) first.

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They are not denied Saves. Saves are not a Reaction, but a compulsory mechanic of the game wherein a creature must try to dodge, endure, or ignore an effect, depending on what has been cast. This is often the case with Area of Effect spells or abilities, whereas most physical, single-target attacks and abilities are usually made against a creature's Armor Class.

From the 5th Edition Player's Handbook:

A saving throw--also called a save--represents an attempt to resist a spell, a trap, a poison, a disease, or a similar threat. You don’t normally decide to make a saving throw; you are forced to make one because your character or monster is at risk of harm.

If a creature is Unconscious, however, they automatically fail their Strength of Dexterity Saving Throw.

From the 5th Edition Player's Handbook:

An unconscious creature is incapacitated, can't move or speak, and is unaware of its surroundings. The creature drops whatever it's holding and falls prone. The creature automatically fails Strength and Dexterity saving throws. Attack rolls against the creature have advantage. Any attack that hits the creature is a critical hit if the attacker is within 5 feet of the creature.

During each round of combat, a character is allotted one Action, one Interaction, Movement, and one Reaction. All but the Reaction must be used during that character's initiative in the combat. Reactions, however, may be used at any time during the round, so long as they have a valid trigger.

From the 5th Edition Player's Handbook:

Certain special abilities, spells, and situations allow you to take a special action called a reaction. A reaction is an instant response to a trigger of some kind, which can occur on your turn or on someone else's. The opportunity attack, described later in this chapter, is the most common type of reaction. When you take a reaction, you can't take another one until the start of your next turn. If the reaction interrupts another creature's turn, that creature can continue its turn right after the reaction.

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