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My D&D 5e Homebrew uses lots of Mounts and Vehicles (includes horse drawn wagon, naval warships, hover craft, and personal battlesuits).

While my current party has yet to use Vehicles, it is bound to happen.

For Mounts, PHB suggests using Animal Handling. However, I have been unable to determine a current skill that allows for Handling or Operation of Vehicles.

Which Ability would be the most appropriate to use for Vehicle Handling and/or Operation?

What skill would you use for Vehicle Handling and/or Operation?

Would it make sense to add a "Vehicle Handling" skill to cover Vehicle Operation?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you also inquiring about what Ability to tie this to? i.e. Int or Dex? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 21:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think we need more details about the vehicles in question. Operating a hover-bike is pretty different from operating a kilometer-long starship. \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 21:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ You should edit that into the question \$\endgroup\$
    – Tritium21
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 23:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ That... sounds like a wide variety of vehicles, do you expect all of them to come up in your game? \$\endgroup\$
    – daze413
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 0:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Eighty_Sixed_Gamer Does your game assume that people who are proficient in vehicles(land) are all proficient in wagons and battlesuits? Or is one more alien than the other? E.g. someone who knows how to operate a battlesuit might not know how to ride a horse, and vice versa? \$\endgroup\$
    – daze413
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 3:33

2 Answers 2

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Tool Proficiency in Vehicles

Many backgrounds, including the sailor and soldier, include proficiency in Vehicles (Land) or Vehicles (Water) as one of their two given tool or language proficiencies. For your specific homebrew examples, an additional Vehicles (Air) proficiency might be appropriate. Players can add their proficiency bonus to checks made to handle vehicles if they've got this proficiency. From the Mounts and Vehicles section of the SRD:

Vehicle Proficiency: If you have proficiency with a certain kind of vehicle (land or water), you can add your proficiency bonus to any check you make to control that kind of vehicle in difficult circumstances.

Such a proficiency "is not tied to a single ability, since proficiency with a tool represents broader knowledge of its use," (thanks to diego for this) and could use any ability score at the DM's discretion. For example, using your given examples, a check to repair a hovercraft's broken propeller might be an Intelligence (Vehicles (Air)) check, while a check to move a shut-down personal battlesuit by the player stuck inside might be a Strength (Vehicles (Land)) check.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What ability would be used to make a check using Vehicle (Land) or Vehicle (Water)? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 21:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Eighty_Sixed_Gamer "Tool use is not tied to a single ability, since proficiency with a tool represents broader knowledge of its use. For example, the GM might ask you to make a Dexterity check to carve a fine detail with your woodcarver’s tools, or a Strength check to make something out of particularly hard wood." \$\endgroup\$
    – diego
    Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 21:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ Or more specifically to vehicles, a STR check might be appropriate for pushing a vehicle back on course, a DEX check might be appropriate for navigating a narrow cliffside trail with a cart, or an INT check might be appropriate for executing a careful tack maneuver to sail a ship upwind. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 7, 2017 at 21:21
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The appropriate proficiency for vehicles is the tool proficiency Vehicle (land or water). The specific ability used would depend on exactly what you are trying to do, since tool proficiencies aren't associated with an ability like skills are.

From the Mounts and Vehicles section of the SRD:

Vehicle Proficiency: If you have proficiency with a certain kind of vehicle (land or water), you can add your proficiency bonus to any check you make to control that kind of vehicle in difficult circumstances.

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