My character is a high elf rogue with criminal background. I ended up with proficiencies in acrobatics, deception, investigation, perception, performance, sleight of hand, and stealth.

This gives me 7 skill proficiencies which seems like too many. Did I make a mistake somewhere?

Do you gain additional skills proficiency from race and background? For example, do I get deception and stealth just because I chose criminal?

Do High-elves get perception from keen senses?

Or are these just additional choices I have to pick from?


2 Answers 2


You seem to have the correct amount. Here is a breakdown of why:

When starting off at level 1 as a Rogue you get to choose four from Acrobatics, Athletics, Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Investigation, Perception, Performance, Persuasion, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth, plus proficiency in Thieves' tools.

So far we're at four, plus one in tools.

Criminal background gives you proficiency in Deception, Stealth, a gaming set, and thieves' tools. When you get proficiency in a tool that you already have proficiency in, you can take proficiency in another tool.

That gives you six in skills, two in tools, one in gaming sets.

Then, at level one in Rogue you get to add expertise in two proficiencies, but this doesn't add more, this only doubles your proficiency bonus in one of the skills you are already proficient in.

As a High-elf you get proficiency in Perception from the Keen Senses trait, as you mentioned.

This adds up to seven, which is the exact amount you should have. Plus two tool proficiencies, and a gaming set.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Missing one tool proficiency- both Rogue and Criminal give Thieves' Tools, and when you get a tool proficiency you already have from your background, you can pick any other tool proficiency instead. So he could have 3 tools proficiencies. \$\endgroup\$
    – CTWind
    Mar 20, 2018 at 2:27

When creating new character, your skill proficiency comes from three sources:

  • Class
    You will get 2 skill proficiencies. Rogues get 4 skill proficiencies, and free proficiency upgrade on 2 skills (or 1 skill and Thieves' Tools).
  • Race
    Only some races give skill proficiency.
  • Background
    All background gives 2 skill proficiencies. You can see this general rule from the "Customizing a Background" portion of the section on Backgrounds in the basic rules or PHB page 126.

Your breakdown:

Rogue: 4 proficiencies.
Choose from Acrobatics, Athletics, Deception, Insight, Intimidation, Investigation, Perception, Performance, Persuasion, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth.

Elf: 1 proficiency.
Keen Senses trait gives Perception.

(Criminal) Background: 2 proficiencies. (Deception, Stealth)

Rogue's Expertise (lvl 1 Rogue classfeat) grants upgrade to skills you are already proficient with, doubling the proficiency bonus.

So in total you get 7 proficiencies, with 2 of them upgraded to Expert level.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Minor nitpick: the term "classfeat" might be confusing, since feats are a separate thing from class features \$\endgroup\$
    – Drejzer
    Dec 17, 2021 at 12:19

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