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I know in some homebrew classes, such as Matt Mercer's Gunslinger Archetype, you can add your proficiency bonus to your initiative modifier. Are there any ways of doing this in the official rulebooks?

Unearthed Arcana are not an acceptable source for this.

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4 Answers 4

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No. There are a number of abilities that come close, but there is currently no official method to add your proficiency bonus to the Dexterity check you make for initiative.

  • The Barbarian gains advantage on initiative checks with Feral Instinct
  • The Bard adds half their proficiency bonus to initiative with Jack of All Trades
  • The Fighter (Champion) adds half their proficiency bonus to initiative with Remarkable Athlete
  • The Rogue (Swashbuckler) adds their Charisma modifier to initiative
  • The Ranger (Gloom Stalker) adds the Wisdom modifier to initiative
  • The Wizard (War magic or Chronurgy magic) adds the Intelligence modifier to initiative
  • The Enhance Ability spell can give advantage on initiative with the Cat's Grace option
  • The Alert feat gives a +5 bonus to initiative (note that this is as good as or better than proficiency at all levels before 17)
  • The Rod of Alertness gives advantage on initiative checks
  • The Sentinel Shield gives advantage on initiative checks
  • The Weapon of Warning gives advantage on initiative checks
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chepelink
    Jul 27, 2016 at 13:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Would you like to update your answer for Tasha's cauldron of everything? \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    May 18, 2021 at 19:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note: This answer is out of date, as indicated by the information in the answers by Ray of Light and JWT. The Oath of the Watchers paladin subclass and the Harengon race both have features that let the character (and, in the paladin's case, anyone of their choice within 10 feet) add their proficiency bonus to initiative. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Feb 17, 2022 at 21:27
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Due to new releases, in addition to the options mentioned by Miniman and Doval, the Oath of the Watchers paladin subclass from Tasha's Cauldron of Everything (p.54) gains the Aura of the Sentinel feature at 7th level. This not only adds proficiency bonus to Initiative, but adds it in an aura for all allies:

You emit an aura of alertness while you aren’t incapacitated. When you and any creatures of your choice within 10 feet of you roll initiative, you all gain a bonus to initiative equal to your proficiency bonus.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer would work better if it was reformatted to be an up-to-date standalone answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – user2754
    Feb 17, 2022 at 22:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that this adds the paladin's proficiency bonus to those in the aura, not their own proficiency bonus, so it won't allow party builds where a lvl 11+ Rogue treats raw d20 initiative rolls below 10 as 10 thanks to being near the paladin. You'd only be able to stack those abilities on a Watchers Paladin 7/Rogue 11, which is a pretty big investment. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 23, 2023 at 17:25
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Harengon add their proficiency bonus to initiative.

Published in the adventure The Wild Beyond the Witchlight, the new race called Harengon (D&D Beyond link), explicitly adds your proficiency bonus to initiative with the "Hare-Trigger" trait:

Hare-Trigger

You can add your proficiency bonus to your initiative rolls.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This answer would be improved by mentioning the other source of proficiency-to-initiative, the Oath of Watchers Paladin. \$\endgroup\$
    – user2754
    Feb 17, 2022 at 22:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is also the only non-homebrew way I know of to allow Reliable Talent to work on Initiative checks before character level 18 (a Oath of the Watchers Paladin 7/Rogue 11 of any race could also pull it off). I kinda wonder if the lack of options to add full PB to Initiative checks prior to WBtW was intentional, to avoid that exploit by only granting benefits that won't trigger Reliable Talent (with advantage being, statistically, similar to Reliable Talent already; only 20% chance of being worse than 10, and usually better). \$\endgroup\$ Feb 23, 2023 at 17:35
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In addition to all the game features in Miniman's answer, there's also methods of improving your initiative that rely on the fact that initiative rolls count as ability checks:

  • Inspiration can be used to gain advantage on an ability check of your choice.
  • The Guidance cantrip, available to Druids and Clerics (and other classes through Magic Initiate or multi-classing). The cantrip allows adding 1d4 to an ability check of your choice.
  • Bardic Inspiration allows adding 1d6 to an ability check.
  • Halfling's Lucky racial trait allows rerolling 1's on ability checks.
  • The Lucky feat allows you to roll a second d20 whenever you make an ability check; up to 3 times per long rest.
  • Rogue's Reliable Talent turns any d20 roll lower than 10 into a 10 on ability checks that let you add your proficiency bonus. Through multiclassing it's possible to have both Reliable Talent and either Jack of All Trades or Remarkable Athletes, which let you add half your proficiency bonus to dexterity checks that don't already allow you to add your proficiency bonus. Adding half or double your proficiency bonus still counts as adding your proficiency bonus, as confirmed in an unofficial tweet by Jeremy Crawford:

For a rogue/fighter or rogue/bard, Reliable Talent does work with Remarkable Athlete and Jack of All Trades. #DnD

This is also implied by the Proficiency Bonus rules (PHB, p. 173), which state:

Your proficiency bonus can't be added to a single die roll or other number more than once. (...) Occasionally, your proficiency bonus might be multiplied or divided (doubled or halved, for example) before you apply it. For example, the rogue's Expertise feature doubles the proficiency bonus for certain ability checks. If a circumstance suggests that your proficiency bonus applies more than once to the same roll, you still add it only once and multiply or divide it only once.

The rules still use the term added even though they acknowledge the possibility that your proficiency bonus might be halved or doubled.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Regarding that tweet twitter.com/JeremyECrawford/status/895054958378143745 \$\endgroup\$
    – Ruse
    Oct 7, 2019 at 15:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Ruse: A official updated ruling matching that one appears in the 2019 Sage Advice Compendium: "Can the rogue’s Reliable Talent feature be used in conjunction with Remarkable Athlete or Jack of All Trades? No. Each of these features has a precondition for its use; Reliable Talent activates when you make an ability check that uses your proficiency bonus, whereas the other two features activate when you make an ability check that doesn’t use your proficiency bonus." \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Oct 8, 2019 at 5:29

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