In the D&D 5th Edition Player's Handbook on page 195 under Shoving a Creature:

Instead of making an attack roll, you make a Strength (Athletics) check contested by the target's Strength (Athletics) or [sic] check (the target chooses the ability to use). If you win the contest...

It looks like something has been omitted at the point where I wrote "[sic]" in the quote above. At that point in the text you turn the page from 195 to 196.

My guess is that it was supposed to say:

...contested by the target's Strength (Athletics) or [Dexterity (Acrobatics)] check (the target chooses the ability to use). ...

That way the rule would be pretty much identical to the way that Grappling works. Grappling is the previous topic on page 195, so it would make sense to see some close similarities.

I'm having trouble tracking down any corrections made on this particular typo, so I decided to defer to the experts. I'm looking for something official, not "it's a DM judgement call" or your own opinion. Crawford tweets are acceptable, of course.


It appears my copy is the third printing, based on the number string (9 8 7 6 5 4 3) on the first page, according to this answer. It appears this has been corrected in later printings; see answers below.

  • What version of the PHB do you have? – Mike Q Oct 20 at 19:56
  • @MikeQ Where would I find that? The latest copyright date I can find on the first page is 2014. The ISBN is 978-0-7869-6560-1. It also says "This printing includes corrections to the first printing." So I guess it isn't the first printing... – ConjuringFleeingFlumphs Oct 20 at 19:58
  • 2
    @ConjuringFleeingFlumphs This can help identify your printing. – CTWind Oct 20 at 20:11
up vote 13 down vote accepted

The PHB says you can use either.

Perhaps your copy of the PHB has a misprint. I checked my copy (6th printing) and it says on p195-196:

Instead of making an attack roll, you make a Strength (Athletics) check contested by the target's Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check (the target chooses the abil-ity to use).

Page 195 ends after "or" and page 196 begins with "Dexterity". I included a hyphen in "ability" because the line breaks there.

I also checked the roll20 compendium which has the latest version of the PHB ruleset, and it contains the same wording as I wrote above (minus the hypen).

Misprints are common. My copy of the PHB even has a misprinted cover!

  • 3
    I think you're right, it must be a misprint. My page 195 ends at "or" like yours but page 196 begins with "check". – ConjuringFleeingFlumphs Oct 20 at 20:10

I have the first printing, p195 ends with Acrobatics.

You make a Strength (Athletics) check contested by the target's Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics)

check (the target chooses the ability to use).

So, it appears that a change was made that shifted the words slightly on p195. The publisher, not noticing the difference, may have used the old 196 page.

It is common for publishers to print a single page that has corrections and insert it into books that have already been printed to save paper and ink. If this error is not common to the entire third printing, you may have a valuable book.

  • I know there are collectors of D&D books for collection's sake, but I highly doubt there are enough that minor, uninteresting printing errors have any actual value. – mattdm Oct 20 at 22:26
  • Not germane to the OP question, but it's actually extremely unlikely for a single page to be changed since books are printed in signatures (mostly 16 pages, though a couple might be a lower multiple of 4 for oddball page counts). Printers don't usually hold onto book components longer than it takes to bind an order since that takes up space on a production floor. More likely, there are multiple changes throughout that required a complete new printing/binding. – rpeinhardt Oct 22 at 20:52

In my PHB it is exactly as you guessed:

Instead of making an attack roll, you make a Strength (Athletics) check contested by the target's Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check (the target chooses the ability to use)...

Your edition might be a very early one, this change is not even in the Errata.

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