I've made a 5e Paladin. I took Intimidate as a skill proficiency. Now that I am choosing my oath it doesn't really work with Intimidate. My DM is kind of a stickler so I am was wondering: are there any in-game means that I could use to change my proficiency to something else?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I might have an answer, but it's level-dependent. What's your character's level? \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Jun 1, 2017 at 14:16

2 Answers 2


For a RAW stickler DM there is no way to change a proficiency.

A good DM should employ the power the rules give them to say "stuff the rules, go for it".

However, none of the paladin oaths are incompatible with an intimidating paladin. Paladins are deeply committed to the virtues and ideals of their oath: threatening to break the fingers of people who get in the way is perfectly compatible with their oath. In many ways it is better than the alternative: actually breaking the fingers of people who get in the way.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It does make sense for me to argue that my act of mercy is not following through with my threats. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 1, 2017 at 5:14
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @NathanNaylor the good are innocent: that's why they invented justice. The evil are guilty: that's why they invented mercy. A paladin who shows mercy to the undeserving is breaking their oath. Indeed, paladins make excellent executioners: they show the wicked just mercy - a sharp blade. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Jun 1, 2017 at 8:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ It may be worth adding that many of the spellcasting classes allow characters to swap spells when they go up a level, so there's some precedent for characters changing "things they have learned". \$\endgroup\$
    – Marq
    Jun 1, 2017 at 11:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Intimidation need not to be mafia-style finger breaking. Even a purely lawful good Paladin could threaten that in lieu of a convenient nearby court they will now act as acting judge, jury, and executioner for their god. If the accused has anything to say on their behalf it would go well into consideration for their plea... A modern court system wouldn't likely exist in many fantasy lands anyway. \$\endgroup\$
    – Evoker
    Jun 1, 2017 at 14:30
  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ Threats are only one means of intimidation - and is probably one of the least common. The truly intimidating person never needs to make a threat, or even imply one. He could be the stalwart sheriff that brought justice to the dusty western town, or the crazy weasel in cell block D that can go off for the most random reasons. He could be the buddha that even the most vicious warrior can't look in the eye. If you have to resort to threats - well, you aren't really all that intimidating, are you?! \$\endgroup\$
    – pokep
    Jun 1, 2017 at 15:45

Rules Say No

There is no way, Rules as Written, to untrain a skill and learn a new one instead. Not magically nor mechanically.

But Talk to Your DM

It might be against the strict letter of the rules. I am a DM who tries to keep things as close to the rules as possible. I'd rather a player be invested enough to say, "this doesn't fit, can I change it?" and make them happy, than to disallow them a relatively tiny (at this stage) character change because the book says so.

You Could Not Use the Skill

If the skill no longer works with who the character has become, don't use the skill. That doesn't mean, he is able to unlearn what he already knows. I know it is a lost resource, but if you're interested in story over game, it is always an option.

Training A New Skill is RAW

There is a passage in the DMG about getting training as a reward (instead of a magic item), but it requires spending downtime to train skills and a willing trainer.

In exchange, the character is guaranteed to receive a special benefit. Possible training benefits include the following:

  • The character gains inspiration daily at dawn for 1d4 + 6 days.
  • The character gains proficiency in a skill.
  • The character gains a feat.

But this, of course, does need your DM to agree, you find a trainer in the game, and spend sufficient time training to earn the skill.

  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ Note that the DMG passage you cite (from p. 231) isn't a suggested downtime activity -- it's a "Mark of Prestige" reward (equivalent to a magic item) that also requires downtime training. Normally downtime training is limited to new languages and tool proficiencies, definitely not skills or feats. \$\endgroup\$
    – Marq
    Jun 1, 2017 at 7:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Added. Thank you. There are optional training rules in Downtime as well, but yes, my passage was from the Mark of Prestige section. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 1, 2017 at 15:48

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