I am trying to determine what conditions will create Advantage on a Death Saving Throw for a player character who drops to 0 hit points during combat.

Thanks to the "Lucky" racial feature, a Halfling can negate a natural roll of a 1 on a d20(two failed saves). This is similar to but different from having Advantage on a Death Saving Throw.

Spells, skills and features that add bonuses to saving throws don't apply: the death saving throw feature of 1 or 20 comes from the raw die roll of 1 or 20. There are two reasons to need advantage on this saving throw:

  1. To avoid character death (when you've missed one already and don't want a double miss to kill the character)

  2. To have a higher chance to "quick revive" to 1 HP without further expenditure of resources from the party.

When you make a death saving throw and roll a 1 on the d20, it counts as two failures. If you roll a 20 on the d20, you regain 1 hit point. (PHB, pg. 197)

The significant difference between 0 HP and 1 HP is the difference between being unconscious, and being able to take actions, reactions, cast spells, flee, hide, etcetera. While another character can cast a healing spell as soon as you drop to 0 HP ("quick revive" to greater than 0 HP), in certain combat situations they may be too busy with the fight to do that.

The responses to the use of Portent were mixed. As I understand that approach, portent could not be used by the wizard on himself, but perhaps on another character. If the latter, it's even less desirable than a use of in-combat healing.

I have found two spells, two items, and one feat that will provide advantage on a generic saving throw, and thus on a death saving throw (death saves are not tied to any of the six abilities, as so many other saves are):

  1. 9th level spell Foresight (while under its influence, duration 8 hours)
  2. 8th level spell Holy Aura (if within 30' of the cleric maintaining that aura)
  3. Candle of Invocation (very rare wondrous item, if it is burning and you are within 30' of it)
  4. Luck Blade(Legendary). (Once per day advantage on any save/attack or ability check) property can’t be used again until the next dawn.
  5. The Lucky feat: the character can choose to apply advantage on a saving throw roll.

    The spell levels and the rarity of the magic items I have found suggests that this benefit, advantage on death saving throws, won't be available until at least 12th level (items) or beyond (spells and items).

Question restated:

Are there other ways (beyond the Lucky feat) to gain Advantage on a Death Saving Throw that work at lower level than those mid-to-late game choices that I found and listed above?


3 Answers 3


The easiest way to gain advantage on a death saving throw is to use inspiration.

If you have inspiration, you can expend it when you make an attack roll, saving throw, or ability check. Spending your inspiration gives you advantage on that roll.

Alternatively, you could be a Wild Magic Sorcerer, and use Tides of Chaos. Well, probably.

Starting at 1st level, you can manipulate the forces of chance and chaos to gain advantage on one attack roll, ability check, or saving throw.

The 3rd- level spell Beacon of Hope explicitly grants advantage on death saving throws for its duration.

Fighters can use Indomitable to reroll a failed saving throw - not precisely the same as advantage, but pretty close.

Beginning at 9th level, you can reroll a saving throw that you fail.

There are almost certainly more options that I've missed - getting advantage on things is a pretty fundamental part of 5e.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Using Inspiration is definitely the easiest way and EVERYBODY gets to use it too! \$\endgroup\$
    – LeHill
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 20:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LeHill If it is a feature at a given table. (I am a big fan of inspiration, however there is no requirement to award it) See this previous question and this other previous question for more. And see p. 240 DMG. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 22:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ As of TCoE, the Rune Knight fighter's Storm Rune (TCoE, p. 45) lets them use their bonus action to enter a prophetic state for 1 minute or until incapacitated; while in this state, they can use their reaction to impose advantage (or disadvantage) on an attack/save/check made by a creature within 60 feet. (The feature says "you or a creature within [...]", but since it uses a reaction, and unconscious creatures are incapacitated which prevents reactions and ends the prophetic state, it'd never apply to the fighter's death save.) \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Apr 16, 2021 at 23:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also in TCoE (p. 63): the Phantom rogue's Tokens of the Departed can create soul trinkets from creatures they see die; while a soul trinket is on their person, they have advantage on death saves (and Con saves). \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Apr 16, 2021 at 23:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Luba's tarokka of souls (TCoE, p. 130) has the Twist of Fate ability, which lets you draw a card from the deck to twist the fortune of a creature you can see within 15 feet, and has you pick Weal or Woe; the Weal option gives the creature advantage on all attacks/checks/saves for the next hour (while Woe imposes disadvantage instead). \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Commented Apr 17, 2021 at 0:08

In addition to Miniman's answer, "Human Determination" is a UA-only feat from UA: Feats for Races; one of its benefits is:

When you make an attack roll, an ability check, or a saving throw, you can do so with advantage. Once you use this ability, you can't use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

However, the Human Determination feat was not included among the racial feats published in Xanathar's Guide to Everything (unlike most of the ones in that Unearthed Arcana).


The Barbarian: Path of the Zealot's Zealous Presence should grant advantage

As a bonus action, you unleash a battle cry infused with divine energy. Up to ten other creatures of your choice within 60 feet of you that can hear you gain advantage on attack rolls and saving throws until the start of your next turn.

Seems to me like it would, as being unconscious doesn't cause you to become deaf, and a death saving throw is a saving throw.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Is this an actual question you're asking and want answered or is this an answer to this question? If the former, please use the Ask Question button near the top of the page and post it as a question, including further details about what's confusing you. You can even include a link to this question if it helps provide context. If the latter then please edit your answer so that it's phrased as an answer and not a question, and also include more details about how it answers the question. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 2, 2020 at 10:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OttoMaroske - Hi Otto, thanks for the answer. It might be helpful to start with your response, rather than the quote, as it will make more sense to read it. It is a good point and I agree in that being unconscious in D&D does not automatically make you "deaf" in-game and the barbarian's ability does not exclude any types of STs; so in turn death saving throws ought to be included and made with advantage if the barbarian chooses the unconscious ally within the 10 creatures. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Senmurv
    Commented Oct 2, 2020 at 11:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ I edited your reply to make it look like an answer. Is that what you are trying to say? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 2, 2020 at 11:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ An unconscious creature is "unaware of its surroundings", which I would interpret as unable to hear the cry of the Barbarian. \$\endgroup\$
    – isaacg
    Commented Aug 12, 2021 at 7:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @isaacg: There's an argument to be made that unconscious people can still respond to sound (e.g. an alarm clock if asleep, which might be close enough to being unconscious from wounds but not dead, although that is the key question). For example for receiving bardic inspiration you need to be able to hear. reddit.com/r/DnD/comments/4onncv/… argues that narrative justification for it is possible, although the bard might have to work harder for it than normal. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 27, 2021 at 2:56

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