If a Druid has proficiency in stealth, does that bonus carry onto any stealth based wild shapes the druid takes? Example: if a druid has stealth proficiency and turns into a panther (which has +6 stealth), does the druid's skill stack with the panthers?
The following is the relevant bullet point in the list of rules for the Wildshape feature (taken from the SRD):
Your game statistics are replaced by the statistics of the beast, but you retain your... Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores. You also retain all of your skill and saving throw proficiencies, in addition to gaining those of the creature. If the creature has the same proficiency as you and the bonus in its stat block is higher than yours, use the creature's bonus instead of yours.
You retain any skill proficiency and its associated modifier from your humanoid form while you are in your beast form. However, if the beast form has the same skill proficiency but a higher modifier than your humanoid form has then you use the higher modifier from the beast form.
Or, to put it simply, your skill proficiencies are all the skill proficiencies of your humanoid and temporary beast forms, taking the maximum modifier in each.
So, in the example of a panther with a skill proficiency in Stealth and a modifier of +6, your druid would have the Stealth proficiency (since both the humanoid and animal form have it), and the modifier your druid would use would be whichever is better of your druid's modifier and the +6 panther modifier.
\$\begingroup\$ Not necessary, but there is an explicit ruling from Jeremy Crawford on this now that agrees with your answer. twitter.com/JeremyECrawford/status/960225632578764800 \$\endgroup\$ Feb 4, 2018 at 22:03
1\$\begingroup\$ -1 : although the first part answering the question is correct, the "simply put" part brings confusion, as you can't use the panther's +6 stealth total bonus if you have no proficiency in the first place. \$\endgroup\$– BashAug 28, 2019 at 14:26
\$\begingroup\$ The OP's druid has Stealth proficiency (see the question's premise). \$\endgroup\$ Sep 1, 2019 at 14:32
They don't stack, but you take whichever bonus is higher.
Wild Shape says:
Your game statistics are replaced by the statistics of the beast but you retain [...] all of you skill and saving throw proficiencies, in addition to gaining those of the creature. If the creature has the same proficiencies as you and the bonus in its stat block is higher than yours, use the creature's bonus instead of yours.