Can PCs learn skills, tool proficiencies, or spells from other players' characters in the game? In our game the rogue and ranger spend a lot of time scouting and working together. The rogue wanted to know if she could learn some of the ranger's skills.

Since you can learn new skills in town with a certain amount of time spent for training it didn't seem too unreasonable. That got us thinking about what else players can learn from each other, like can a wizard learn arcane spells from a bard, or can tool proficiencies be taught while campaigning together?


2 Answers 2


You cannot learn spells of another class without actually multi-classing or picking up a feat like Ritual Caster or Magic Initiate.

While there is some overlap in class spell lists you can only ever learn the spells of your class unless you make the choice to multi-class or forgo the stat increase to pickup one of the two feats I noted above.

Proficiency or language training is allowed, though limited by DM Fiat.

The PHB notes:

First, you must find an instructor willing to teach you. The DM determines how long it takes, and whether one or more ability checks are required. The training lasts for 250 days and costs 1 gp per day. After you spend the requisite amount o f time and money, you learn the new language or gain proficiency with the new tool. - PHB Part 2 Adventuring p.187

So long as your DM feels the PC is a skilled enough instructor then the DM will arbitrate what else in necessary. The costs and length of time should still be the same, they can either be paid from one PC to the other or be used up as "training costs" for materials over the 250 days, again at DM discretion. As waxeagle noted, this would take up the downtime days of both the PC learning and the PC training, precluding them from other tasks.

You could apply this same rules to learning new skills.

PHB doesn't specifically mention anywhere about learning new skills as part of a down-time activity. However I think its perfectly reasonable as a GM to allow players to learn skills from one another in the way I outlined above.

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    \$\begingroup\$ should probably be worth noting that the trainer PC has to spend the downtime days training as well \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 17:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Don't forget languages. Not only is there a lot of real world precedent, it makes a lot of sense in game ("From now on, we're all gonna speak elvish in this camp!") and there is a tactical advantage to the entire party speaking a languange none of the enemy can understand. I would still require money to be spent (and not just transfer within the party) to reflect the need for study guides or primers, pen and paper to practice writing, or basic supplies for alchemic experiments and whatnot. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason K
    Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 18:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ Requiring equal downtime from the trainer seems excessive. Even in a one-on-one master & apprentice relationship, the apprentice spends a lot more time training than the master does (or the master wouldn’t be able to run a business). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 23:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think it is a good compromise that someone teaching another a tool/language can't also be learning one himself. Otherwise you might get a round robin within the group where everyone is learning from and teaching to each other, which would seem to preclude time to earn a living (then again, what else to use all that loot for?). \$\endgroup\$
    – Jason K
    Commented Nov 20, 2014 at 17:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ Downtime activities seem to be created with the idea of choice in mind, you could use the time to make money if you know a trade and have the tool proficiency, you could learn a skill, or you could even craft magic items slowly. Of course you'll still need to make ends meet and living off of dungeon loot perfectly makes sense. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 20, 2014 at 18:05

another modification could be applied

  1. if you're teaching

    • a language or tool proficiencies you should gain half of the money spent
    • a skill proficiencies you gain 3/4 of the money spent
  2. learning density

    you can compromise a density if the training is between pc-pc

    • Light (250 days) training capacity 3 (1 gp per day)
    • Medium (170 days) training capacity 2( 2.5gp per day)
    • Dense (90 days) training capacity 1 (4 gp per day)
  3. training capacity

    these training capacities are created so you don't use all of your downtime if you want to use all of your downtime to train.

    • add 1 to training capacity.
    • (if you have trance) then you can add 2

    this doesn't just include training but also preparation


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