I just started playing 5e and I'm trying to create a new character, but I can't seem to figure out how to appropriately add my proficiency bonus to my saving throws and skills. I need help
You add your bonus to skills and stat based saving throws you are proficient in.
The table that appears in your class description shows your proficiency bonus, which is +2 for a 1st-level character. Your proficiency bonus applies to many of the numbers you’ll be recording on your character sheet:
- Attack rolls using weapons you’re proficient with
- Attack rolls with spells you cast
- Ability checks using skills you’re proficient in
- Ability checks using tools you’re proficient with
- Saving throws you’re proficient in
- Saving throw DCs for spells you cast (explained in each spellcasting class)
PHB - Chapter 1, p. 12, emphasis mine.
So if you have proficiency in Dexterity saving throws and someone chucks a fire ball at you, you add your +(Whatever your proficiency bonus is at the time) to the saving throw. You also add your dexterity modifier.
This applies to all of the stats and ability checks.
If you are making a nature check, or any check that you are proficient in, it's the same thing. You still add your appropriate modifier. So if you have a charisma modifier of +3 and you are proficient, with a bonus of 2, in Deception, you'd add Charisma modifier (3) + Proficiency bonus (2) + Dice roll = Results
If you have to make a charisma saving throw but you are not proficient in it, you do not add the proficiency bonus to it. You still add your charisma modifier though.
You can find which saving throws you are proficient in under the 'class features' page of every class in the PHB
A page after every class features page is a chart that includes all spell casting, statistical increase, and other features for every class. On the left side of each of these charts shows what your proficiency modifier will be for that level. It is the same for all classes and is based on your overall levels, not levels in a certain class.
Levels 1-4 will net you a +2 bonus
Levels 5-8 will net you a +3 bonus
Levels 9-12 will net you a +4 bonus
Levels 13-16 will net you a +5 bonus
Levels 17-20 will net you a +6 bonus
See Players' Handbook (PH p. 12) for the complete list of how the Proficiency Bonus is applied.
To simply answer the specific question, you add your proficiency bonus to Saving Throws and Skills checks where your character has proficiency.
Every saving throw is associated with some stat. If your character class has proficiency in that stat then you add your proficiency bonus.
Example. The Barbarian class has proficiency with Strength and Constitution saving throws (PH p. 47). If theDM tells a Barbarian to make a Constitution Saving Throw, then they add the proficiency bonus. If the DM asks the Barbarian to make a Dexterity Saving Throw, they do NOT add the proficiency bonus.
If you have proficiency in the skill, you add your proficiency modifier (PH 174).
Exceptions and all stuff
Certain classes have abilities that grant partial or greater proficiency bonuses.
For example, Bard gains Expertise at 3rd Level which allows the Bard to select two of the skill profiencies that the Bard has and gain double proficiency bonus for those skills.
Another Bard example, the Jack of All Trades class feature (PH p.54) allows the Bard to apply half of the proficiency bonus (rounded down) to any Skill check for which the Bard does NOT have proficiency.