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I am returning to D&D having not played since first edition and am trying to get my head around the character building process before I try and explain it to some new players.

I have been reading through the PHB and working through the pre-generated character sheets from the Starter Set to help me understand everything, and have been confused by the skills/proficiencies for the Wizard and Ranger.

Short version - I feel like I am missing something, but am wondering if there are errors on the sheets.

The Wizard gets proficiency for Insight and Religion from Acolyte background, and Arcana and Investigation for being a Wizard, but why does he also have Perception? [Also - there is no Passive Wisdom (Perception) score?]

The Ranger gets proficiency for Athletics and Survival from the Outlander background, but then has four additional proficiencies (Insight, Nature, Perception, Stealth), but is only supposed to get three for being a Ranger.

Is there a simple explanation?

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The omission of passive perception is a mistake - nothing else is wrong here.

The Wizard gets proficiency in Perception from being an elf. All elves get the following:

Keen Senses. You have proficiency in the Perception skill. SRD p. 4

All characters should have a Passive Perception, whether it's good or bad, so the fact that it's missing from the Wizard's sheet is an oversight. Passive Perception can be calculated as:

10 + all modifiers that normally apply to the check SRD p. 78

So in this instance the Wizards Passive Perception should be 10 + 3 = 13. Feel free to just write that in yourself.

The Wood Elf Ranger is not from the starter set but one of the pregenerated characters available online. However, the extra proficiency in Perception once again comes from the fact that they are an elf - as listed above.


Note The reason that Keen Senses is not mentioned on either of these character sheets (the bonus from it is just already applied) is that these sheets are not attempting to help you learn how to build a character. There are other resources in fifth edition that can do this. These sheets are simply providing players who want to get started quickly with a readymade character - they're not showing their working at all.

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  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks - for the fullsome answer - I just (finally) found it on p.23 of the PHB \$\endgroup\$ – canis-minor Dec 11 '18 at 8:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @canis-minor If my answer solved your issue then you can mark it as your 'accpeted answer' (it's a button up by the votes). You can also wait and see if someone else posts a better answer, or clarify your question if the existing answers have missed something. \$\endgroup\$ – Tiggerous Dec 12 '18 at 11:11

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