What is a Constitution Saving Throw in D&D? (And How Does It Work)

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A saving throw is a d20 roll that’s made to resist something dangerous, such as a spell or magical effect, trap, poison, disease, certain enemy attacks, or an environmental hazard. A constitution saving throw is a type of saving throw that’s made using your constitution bonus. It typically refers to your ability to resist physical pain or fatigue, or other physical effects.

A Con save a fairly common saving throw to have to make, and one of the most important type of saving throwing in the game because many of the effects of failing a Con save can be debilitating. Such as gaining conditions like blinded, petrified, poisoned or exhaustion.

Your DM should tell you if you need to make a Con saving throw.

For example, if you have a 16 Con, you get a +3 bonus to your constitution saving throw.

If you’re also proficient in Con saving throws (like most Artificers, Barbarians, Fighters, and Sorcerers) you also get to add your proficiency bonus to your Con saving throw.

Here are some common reasons why you might make a Con saving throw:

  • You’re targeted by poisons, diseases, or other substances or effects that threaten your physical well-being.
  • You’re affected by a spell that targets your physical well-being.
  • You undergo physical stress or fatigue or endure extreme weather conditions.
  • You’re concentrating on a spell or ability and are injured and must roll to maintain concentration.

This last reason is why spellcasters often want to find ways to boost their Con saves, so they don’t lose a powerful spell if they are injured.


Con Saves For Spells

To maintain concentration on a spell, the caster needs to make a Con saving throw with a DC equal to half the damage taken or 10, whichever is higher.

Some feats can help casters make these rolls, such as Resilient: Concentration, Lucky, and War Caster. (Note: War Caster only helps with Con saves to maintain concentration, not all Con saving throws.)

Certain classes and subclasses also gain bonuses to their Con saving throws.

If you’re concentrating on a spell and are injured, you should automatically make a Con saving throw. Your DM should not need to remind you of this.


Constitution in Battle

Some of your spells or abilities may require an enemy to make a Con saving throw.

Unfortunately, many monsters have fairly strong Con saving throws.

Before forcing an enemy to make a Con saving throw, you should evaluate your enemy and decide whether to cast a spell or use an ability that requires a Con saving throw. Or perhaps switch to an action that requires a different kind of saving throw because your enemies might have a lower bonus.

If you reach high levels and have already maxed-out your main attributes, and if you don’t have proficiency in Con saving throws, I strongly encourage you to look for ways to improve your Con saving throws, such as the Resilient: Concentration or Lucky feats.

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