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The 'blind' status defines

A blinded creature can’t see and automatically fails any ability check that requires sight.

Many spells and effects require targets to perform a dexterity saving throw. For example, the 'Fireball' spell requires that

each creature in a 20-foot-radius sphere centered on that point must make a dexterity saving throw.

Do blind creatures automatically fail this saving throw? If not, then, which saving throws are based on sight? Do the rules specifically mention this?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Note that the visual aspect of the fireball is not the only way to notice one being cast. A fireball also involves a somatic component + an explosion (so sound), may give off heat even before the blast, and involves sulfur and guano (aka batshit), both components with a lot of smell. \$\endgroup\$ – Nzall Dec 5 '16 at 10:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ "A bright streak flashes from your pointing finger to a point you choose within range and then blossoms with a low roar into an explosion of flame." The low roar is a good indication \$\endgroup\$ – BlueMoon93 Dec 5 '16 at 11:03
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The Blinded condition affects Ability Checks that rely on sight. It says nothing about Saving Throws, so you can make a Saving Throw just fine, of any kind.

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Being blinded does not stop a creature from making a Dex based, or any other, save.

Blinded (PHB p290):

• A blinded creature can’t see and automatically fails any ability check that requires sight.

• Attack rolls against the creature have advantage, and the creature’s attack rolls have disadvantage.

i.e nothing about saves. However:

Saving Throws PHB p180

A saving throw can be modified by a situational bonus or penalty and can be affected by advantage and disadvantage, as determined by the DM.

I think it would be perfectly reasonable to apply a situational negative and/or disadvantage on a Dex save if the target was blind. As always the DM decides how bad it is. With no other situational considerations I myself would just apply disadvantage to be in line with the other penalties for having the blinded condition.

However you always do get the save, however unlikely or impossible it is to succeed.

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    \$\begingroup\$ @PurpleMonkey I think this rule snippet says, that if being blinded should (as DM determines it) affect DEX saving throw, then it does. So a valid answer with relevant rule snippet to the question. \$\endgroup\$ – WakiNadiVellir Dec 5 '16 at 13:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PurpleMonkey while every rule is under DM fiat, this one is specifically referred to in the RAW with advice that addresses the question directly. It does answer the full question ("Do blind creatures automatically fail this saving throw? If not, then, which saving throws are based on sight? Do the rules specifically mention this?"): yes you get the save and then it adds further relevant information, a suggestion on how to apply it and a reference to the rules. What more do you want without saying this question can't be answered? \$\endgroup\$ – Protonflux Dec 5 '16 at 14:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ The point on advantage and disadvantage that is often overlooked is that by rule the DM is supposed to assess the situation and decide if a circumstance applies advantage or disadvantage. Basic Rules p. 57. (Same in PHB) This answer reminds folks of that. +1 Loss of sight can be a circumstantial disadvantage, but it need not always be so. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Dec 5 '16 at 21:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ One possible effect concerns the Barbarian's Danger Sense -- it gives the Barbarian advantage on Dex saves against effects he can see, so if he is blinded, then his save against the Fireball does not get the advantage. \$\endgroup\$ – Phil Boncer Dec 10 '17 at 3:47

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