4e had a skill called Dungeoneering which was used for recognizing hazards and knowledge of some monsters. This skill doesn't exist in 5e. Clearly Perception and Investigation can be used to find traps, and thieves' tools can be used to disarm them, but what skill gives knowledge of likely traps and what sorts of threats they pose?


Not exactly a skill, but there is a related feat, entitled Dungeon Delver, which gives the benefits

  • You have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks and Intelligence (Investigation) checks made to detect the presence of secret doors.
  • You have advantage on saving throws made to avoid or resist traps.
  • You have resistance to damage dealt by traps.
  • Traveling at a fast pace doesn't impose the normal −5 penalty on your passive Wisdom (Perception) score.

There is no specific skill that gives knowledge of traps and what sorts of threats they pose, though some skills, as you've noticed, may be useful. But an Arcana check, for example, might be appropriate to determine the nature of a magical trap once detected.

Beyond that sort of case, it is the DM's responsibility to decide how much a character would know, and could make them roll whatever kind of check they thought was most relevant (or, if none in particular, a skill check like Intelligence).

Some tool proficiencies might give particular expertise: proficiency with thieves' tools provides "additional insight" to Investigation and Perception checks when looking for traps; proficiency with a poisoner's kit gives "an edge when you inspect poisoned objects," proficiency with mason's tools means "you can spot irregularities in stone walls or floors," and many more possibilities.

There is no general skill associated with "knowledge of likely traps."

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  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Note that Dungeon Delver's last benefit was clarified in the 2018 PHB errata to read: "Traveling at a fast pace doesn't impose the normal −5 penalty on your passive Wisdom (Perception) score." \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Aug 11 '19 at 2:48

History, Arcana and Nature

Depending on the types of traps you are interested in, each of these skills could provide you with information. From the rules on Intelligence checks:

History. Your Intelligence (History) check measures your ability to recall lore about historical events, legendary people, ancient kingdoms, past disputes, recent wars, and lost civilizations.

If you are in some ancient ruins you could use your History skill to recall what kind of traps the race that built them tended to use.

Arcana. Your Intelligence (Arcana) check measures your ability to recall lore about spells, magic items, eldritch symbols, magical traditions, the planes of existence, and the inhabitants of those planes.

If the traps are magical in nature, then Arcana could be used to recall details about them.

Nature. Your Intelligence (Nature) check measures your ability to recall lore about terrain, plants and animals, the weather, and natural cycles.

If the traps you are interested in occur naturally (e.g. a weak cavern floor or a bush with poisonous thorns), then a Nature check could identify them.

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In addition to the Dungeon Delver feat mentioned above, the Investigation skill is crucial.

When you look around for clues and make deductions based on those clues, you make an Intelligence (Investigation) check. You might deduce the location of a hidden object, discern from the appearance of a wound what kind of weapon dealt it, or determine the weakest point in a tunnel that could cause it to collapse. Poring through ancient scrolls in search of a hidden fragment of knowledge might also call for an Intelligence (Investigation) check.

It's the how-things-work skill... Perfect for dungeoneering.

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