# How are the two different kinds of saves used?

I'm trying to understand how saves work and are used. I'm reading the Basic Rules and this is what I have so far:

• Your spell save is 8 + (proficiency bonus) + (ability modifier).
• Your saving throw is d20 + (prof bonus) + (ability mod)
• Both spell saves and saving throws are compared against a DC judged by the DM: 10 (for easy), 15 (moderate), 20 (hard), etc.

So is it correct to say that there are two types of saves: Saving Throws (BR, p. 4) and Spell Saves (BR, p. 22)?

So for example, if a Warlock attacks a Barbarian (Int +0, Cha +0), the Barbarian calculates his spell save against the Warlock's attack as 8 + 0 (no proficiency with Wisdom or Charisma saves) + 0 (no Int or Cha bonus) = 8 total. Then this is compared to the DC set by the DM.

Then, when the Barbarian (Str +1, Dex +1) attacks the Warlock back, the Warlock's saving throw is d20 + 0 (no prof bonus) + 1 (Str bonus) = d20 + 1 total. Then this is compared to the DC set by the DM.

This isn't making any sense to me though. How are spell saves and saving throws supposed to work?

• What exactly is the problem you're having? Are you trying to find out what the difference is between a spell save and a saving throw? What are all these equations and where are you pulling them from? Are they even really necessary? As Doppelgreener stated, we're a Q&A site not a forum. We tend to work best when there's one comprehensible problem/question that we can solve. Commented Apr 5, 2015 at 3:44
• I gave this an edit based on 1) the larger version that was posted as an answer (and is now deleted), 2) a close reading of the body, especially the provided examples. I suspect that most of what made it hard to read is that the question is based on a significant misunderstanding of the rules, making the flawed paraphrasing of the rules almost unrecognisable. I think we can help with that, though. Commented Apr 5, 2015 at 4:45
• @SevenSidedDie Thanks very much for trying your hand at that edit. Commented Apr 5, 2015 at 4:50

• Thank you this is so clear. Somehow the Using Ability Scores > Saving Throws section of the PHB doesn't manage this level of clarity. It could really use some examples, especially in the D&D Beyond version where space is no issue. Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 0:04
• I'll also add something that tripped me up, in case it helps others: If you look at a spell on D&D Beyond in the spells database it will list it's save attribute like Attack/Save: Con save, but if you look at it on your character sheet, it will show your current save (8+proficiency+mod). I was really confused why some spells were Wis 13 and others were Wis save and thought there were different calculations, but it was just that some were pre-calculated for my current character. Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 0:06