In D&D 5e it is possible for a character to receive proficiency in the same skill, tool, weapon and/or armor more than once via Class, Race, and/or Background.

Do any of these proficiencies stack, thereby allowing a character to receive their proficiency bonus more than once?


1 Answer 1


No, proficiency bonuses never stack

Your proficiency bonus can’t be added to a single die roll or other number more than once. - D&D Basic Rules V0.1 Chapter 1, P. 7

You can only ever receive a proficiency bonus once regardless of how many sources grant you proficiency in it. When picking skill and tool proficiencies granted by a background or class, Players should try to avoid overlapping proficiencies as the benefits are nil

However a proficiency bonus may be increased or decreased based on circumstances

Occasionally, your proficiency bonus might be modified (doubled or halved, for example) before you apply it. If a circumstance suggests that your proficiency bonus applies more than once to the same roll or that it should be multiplied more than once, you nevertheless add it only once, multiply it only once, and halve it only once. - D&D Basic Rules V0.1 Chapter 1, P. 7

DMs can use this as a way to give a bonus to skill checks based on good roleplay and/or planning.

The Rogue's Expertise feature is an exception

Expertise At 1st level, choose two of your skill proficiencies, or one of your skill proficiencies and your proficiency with thieves’ tools. Your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses either of the chosen proficiencies. At 6th level, you can choose two more of your proficiencies. - D&D Basic Rules V0.1 Chapter 3, P. 27

While not allowing proficiency bonuses to be counted more than once, expertise allows a Rogue to double the benefit of their proficiency bonus to two skills (or thieves' tools) at level 1 and again at level 6.

Backgrounds granting a redundant proficiency let you pick a different proficiency instead

In the Backgrounds section of the Basic Rules & PHB, the following rule is listed:

If a character would gain the same proficiency from two different sources, he or she can choose a different proficiency of the same kind (skill or tool) instead.

(Note that, while unclear, this rule may only apply to background proficiencies.)

Custom backgrounds are also an option available to players to avoid duplicate proficiencies due to backgrounds.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Is expertise really an exception? It seems to be covered by rules paragraph 2. Sounds more like an example. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMNoob
    Jul 11, 2014 at 9:16
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @GMNoob I see it as an exception because its always-on not via DM Fiat/by circumstance. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 11, 2014 at 19:29
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Also add bardic expertise. Expertise is a feature of skill monkeys, to name them very effective at what they do. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pliny
    Oct 26, 2017 at 16:16

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