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At the risk of sounding completely stupid: How exactly do I make skill checks correctly? Nobody in our game can work it out and I've read the books front-to-back.

It seems to just say 'the relevant modifiers' but it's still unclear.

I have 17 Dex(+3) and my acrobatics with proficiency is +5.

Does this translate as a d20 +3 for dex then +2 for proficiency?

I think some people in my game are playing +3 for dex, then +5 for acrobatics, then +2 for proficiency for a total of d20 +10

Also, If I don't have proficiency, so if I make a survival(wisdom) check, my wisdom AND my survival is -1... I'm assuming it's just the wisdom score without a prof. Addition? I don't have -1 for wisdom and -1 for survival for a total of d20 -2? It's only -1 for survival, because it's the modifier of wisdom?

Does this make sense? I think we're all confused with all the + and - all over our character sheet, when in fact it's already calculated

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    \$\begingroup\$ It sounds like you are using pre-generated character sheets with the skill bonuses already written in for you, is this correct? Also, what is the source of the pre-gens? Is it a published campaign (like Lost Mines of Phandelver) or somewhere else? \$\endgroup\$ – Willem Renzema Aug 6 '19 at 1:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is a related answer \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Aug 6 '19 at 1:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ Similar question, for attack rolls: rpg.stackexchange.com/q/91322/23970. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Aug 6 '19 at 1:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ Possible dupe: rpg.stackexchange.com/q/56155/23970 \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Aug 6 '19 at 1:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @sgpascoe by the way, don't feel bad about these links Korvin and I are finding: there's no assumption on our part that you should have found these by yourself. SE's search and duplicate-suggesting algorithm is known to be pretty rough, so you'll see a lot of posts around here where people drop links like these--they help (I'm told) search work better! \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Aug 6 '19 at 1:55
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You add your proficiency bonus, if you are proficient, to your ability score modifier, and combine that with the result of the d20 roll. Compare this to the DC (Difficulty Class) that is set by the DM. If your score matches or exceeds the DC, you succeed. The rules for this are in the Player's Handbook, page 174.

Sometimes there is a contest of opposed rolls, such as when grappling someone. In this case, each contestant will roll and add modifiers, with the higher total winning. In the case of a tie, the situation is unchanged from before the contest.

I have 17 Dex(+3) and my acrobatics with proficiency is +5.

Does this translate as a d20 +3 for dex then +2 for proficiency?

I think some people in my game are playing +3 for dex, then +5 for acrobatics, then +2 for proficiency for a total of d20 +10

The +5 for acrobatics that you mention in your question is already the sum of proficiency and the ability score modifier, so you don't add it twice. Just add the +5 to the d20 roll. Likewise, if your wisdom modifier is -1 and you aren't proficient in survival, roll the d20 and subtract 1.

Examples:

  1. If I have a Dexterity of 16 and make an Acrobatics check and but am not proficient in the Acrobatics skill, my roll is: d20 + Dexterity Modifier (d20 +3)
  2. If I have a Dexterity of 16 and make an Acrobatics check and am proficient in the Acrobatics skill, my roll is: : d20 + Dexterity Modifier + proficiency bonus. (d20 +3 +2) (at level 1)
  3. If I have a Wisdom of 8 and make a survival check and but am not proficient in the survival skill, my roll is: d20 + Wisdom Modifier (d20 -1)
  4. If I have a Wisdom of 8 and make a survival check and am proficient in the survival skill, my roll is: : d20 + wisdom Modifier + proficiency bonus. (d20 -1 +2) (at level 1)
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  • \$\begingroup\$ It's fine, thanks \$\endgroup\$ – bvstuart Aug 6 '19 at 13:46
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Ability Check

If your character tries to do something and the result is uncertain, the GM will decide an ability score and a difficulty. You then roll a d20 and add your ability score modifier. If you have a proficiency in something related (either a skill or a tool) then you also add your proficiency bonus.

For example, Conan the level 6 barbarian (who has Wisdom 14, so a +2 modifier) is trying to calm a frightened pack animal. The GM decides a Wisdom check, difficulty 15. Conan's player notes that Conan has Animal Handling, so asks if proficiency counts, to which the GM agrees. Conan's player rolls d20, adds 2 (Wisdom), adds 3 (proficiency at level 6). That's d20+5. If she rolls 15 or over then the horse is calmed. If not, it's not.

What Conan's player will probably do, to speed things up, is to write "+5" next to Animal Handling on the character sheet.

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