I understand that 5e has abilities and spells which require you to use the different ability saves but under which mundane (assuming no magic or monster abilities) circumstances would you use either Intelligence or Charisma as saving throws?

I can picture using the others: Constitution against fatigue, Dexterity to avoid obstacles, etc but not for Intelligence or Charisma.


4 Answers 4


I find examples are the most effective answer for things like this.

A mundane intelligence saving throw

Player: "Dammit, I can't remember what the name of the mayor is. But my PC is really smart and has an excellent memory!"

DM: "Uh, yeah, that'd be out of character. Make an Int saving throw and I'll tell you. In the unlikely case the roll fails, this is one of those rare things your PC has a hard time remembering."

A mundane charisma saving throw

DM: "You're weak from the poison and the oozing wound in your side, but if you show weakness or frailty during your address the Senate then all your plans—and injuries!—will be for naught. Just breathing brings new stabs of pain that are very distracting and unpredictable. How are you handling that?"

Player: "I'm just going to do everything I can to project a sense of strength and health while I deliver my speech. I can rest when I'm dead."

DM: "Ow, hardcore. Alright then, in addition to your normal skill check to deliver the speech, I'm going to ask for a Charisma saving throw for you to keep your composure when your injury suddenly causes you pain during the speech. Just one roll for the whole thing is fine, not for each pang."


Mike Mearls stated over Twitter that Intelligence could be used for resisting Psionics, when they get around to it, and Charisma could be used for resisting possession. However, those are both magical uses and don't fit your criteria of saving throws involving these two attributes for resisting non-magical effects.

To my knowledge, there are no official uses of these. However, some situations that a DM may choose to use them include:


Saving throws would focus on using logic, deductive reasoning, memory, and education to avoid unfavorable outcomes.

  • Realizing that someone is drawing you into a verbal trap
    • "That's a loaded question. Either answer I give you would look badly on me."
    • "You're using faulty logic in your argument."
  • Knowing that you are being scammed
    • "The odds of winning Three Dragon Ante aren't this good, something is up."
    • "I'm not paying 50 silver for that bauble, I know you got it for 10!"
  • Remembering a piece of information
    • "What did he say...oh yeah! I remember now!"
    • "I only briefly saw the heraldry, but I think I can remember what it looks like"


Saving throws would focus on influencing others, making an impression, or navigating social situations to avoid an unfavorable outcome

  • Recovering from a faux paus in court
    • "I didn't bow because I wanted to bow last. See, here I'm bowing now."
    • "I had no idea that wearing hats in court is a mistake. Where I come from, it's a badge of respect."
  • Correcting a bad first impression
    • "Despite what you just saw, we're the good guys!"
    • "We started off on the wrong foot. I'm a lot better when you get to know me properly."
  • Maintaining a desired expression when internally you don't feel that way
    • "No, seeing that person beaten doesn't bother me."
    • "I'm fine, that wound doesn't hurt nearly as bad as it looks."

Some possible circumstances to consider:


• Knowing/remembering the correct reaction to a particular peril

• Perceiving the correct course of action (safe path, for instance) when a Dexterity check might throw you into greater danger. For example, if you've ever played a video game where your character needs to stand in the right place when a ceiling comes crashing down, Intelligence would let you rapidly logic out where to be.


• Retaining your composure when a situation might break it

• Rallying self-confidence in demoralizing circumstances


Saves are in response to danger or another creature's actions. It's definitely hard to figure out what a Cha save looks like. As Thunderforge mentions Mearls has tweeted that Int will be against psionics and that cha saves will help resist possession. But that doesn't provide us with any insight into mundane uses of these saves.

When I think about Intelligence as an ability, I'm thinking of puzzle solving skills, cunning etc. So what's the equivalent of saving to dodge with this kind of thing? Avoiding treachery perhaps? Avoiding being trapped by a lie maybe?

Charisma is sort of your societal stature and also your sort of presence. So this would be saving face of saving vs character assassination.

All of these things are kind of nebulous right now, and very much the purview of the DMG. We'll know a lot more when it comes out.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The DMG has come out. Do we know more? \$\endgroup\$
    – Tommi
    Aug 30, 2018 at 13:16

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