Questions tagged [skills]

For questions about skills, abilities of characters that describe their capabilities in a range of areas.

59
votes
9answers
216k views

When do I use active vs passive perception?

So, I'm trying to figure out how to run the scene from the beginning of Lost Mine of Phandelver (5e starter set) where the party is ambushed by goblins and I'm really confused as to how Passive Wisdom ...
33
votes
5answers
59k views

How to use, and not to overuse, Insight skill checks?

I've recently begun DMing a 5th edition D&D campaign after a long time of quiescence as Dungeon Master. I really like this new take on D&D, but still, soon a problem has resurfaced, that is: ...
46
votes
5answers
50k views

Does D&D 5e have a rule for character knowledge about monsters?

In the 3rd and 4th editions of D&D, there were explicit rules for determining if a character knew anything about a monster before them. In 3rd edition, for example, use of the Knowledge skill ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Is this how to hide?

I know that Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 is a pretty lousy stealth simulator--which is probably why I've not seen a lot of folks try to play characters that hide--, but I want to clarify the hiding rules ...
13
votes
4answers
14k views

How to roll perception checks for characters who aren't actively looking without arousing suspicion?

This applies to all d20 systems, but with an example from the from the Pathfinder PRD (emphasis mine): Stonecunning: Dwarves receive a +2 bonus on Perception checks to potentially notice unusual ...
36
votes
6answers
27k views

Does passive perception supersede active perception?

If a player makes an active perception check and it is lower than their passive perception, should we use the passive perception instead? Background: During our weekly game yesterday the party scout ...
39
votes
3answers
37k views

What happens if I get the same skill from both my background and my class?

I made a trickster cleric with spy background. This caused an overlap of stealth and disguise. (Further compounded by me wanting to take hide in shadow ... which again granted me stealth.) What ...
17
votes
4answers
8k views

Does a Druid in Wild Shape add their own Proficiency Bonus to the physical attribute of the Beast for Skills?

The PHB entry on Wild Shape states: "You also retain all of your skill and saving throw proficiencies, in addition to gaining those of the creature." Does this mean you add the character's ...
9
votes
2answers
117k views

How do I calculate my skill modifier?

I'm trying to fill out the skills section on my first character, but when I look at the character sheets in the Starter Set as examples of how to make a character, the skills that are circled have ...
21
votes
10answers
5k views

Can you intentionally fail a skill check?

This comes up to me in the context of the 3.x/PF/d20 Fly skill, even when I simply read about it: Can you intentionally fail a Fly skill check, or any other skill check for that matter, if you, or ...
27
votes
5answers
36k views

What is the difference between Ability Checks and Saving Throws?

Mechanically, they both seem to be d20 rolls with an added ability modifier to overcome some type of challenge. Why call it a "saving throw" and not just present it as a passive ability check? The ...
24
votes
7answers
51k views

What ability should be used when resisting Intimidation?

During our last play session (it was our second session, so everyone is first level) my fighter dwarf had a conflict with another player's human fighter. My dwarf became annoyed at the human's ...
29
votes
11answers
2k views

Dealing with skill rerolls by several players

I could use some advice as a GM on how to handle rolls which get repeated by several players one after the other. Example 1 The PCs stand in front of a locked door and try to force it open. The ...
29
votes
2answers
9k views

How can Investigation be used passively? (as with the Observant feat)

I understand how Insight and Perception can be used passively: for the DM to determine if an enemy Deception or Stealth attempt is successful without alerting the players that someone is deceiving or ...
24
votes
6answers
12k views

How many times may a character attempt a skill roll for the same test? [duplicate]

We have a rogue locked in a cell and he is trying to escape. How many attempts does he get to try and unlock the same door with the same hairpin if no outside influences ever change? I have a vague ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

How can I figure the number of trials until success?

I have a player who I want to let make many attempts at the same skill check. (I'm aware that's not always the best way to do it, but it makes sense in some cases.) But rather than rolling many times ...
9
votes
4answers
8k views

How to make sense of having one's passive Perception better than the active one? (e.g. when one takes the Observant feat)

Doesn't the Observant feat make you see more, when you're not actually looking? Or if you'd like me to rephrase that: doesn't it make you notice more, where you're not actively trying to notice ...
8
votes
3answers
10k views

How many skill proficiencies does a College of Lore Bard have?

In fifth edition D&D when creating a bard it says you have 3 skills of your choice. I'm guessing that mean proficiency in those skills. When you level up to level 3, it you choose College of Lore, ...
13
votes
2answers
4k views

Would Animal Handling apply when interacting with a young dragon?

From when a dragon hatches from its egg to the end of its life, could a character use Animal Handling to interact favourably with it? If so, when (in terms of life stages of the dragon) would it apply ...
58
votes
9answers
44k views

It seems like every skill check should always be made with advantage due to the 'Working Together' rules. Is this accurate?

My group just started playing 5th last night, and we immediately ran into issues with the 'Working Together'/'Skill Assist'/'Skill Help' rules. By the rules it seems like nearly every single skill ...
21
votes
3answers
1k views

What values do I recalculate when I Wild Shape?

When I Wild Shape, I take a beast's STR, DEX, and CON scores. I keep my proficiency bonus and my INT, WIS, and CHA scores. I will focus this question on the assumption I'm proficient in Athletics, and ...
17
votes
5answers
31k views

Build Advice For Pathfinder Oracle

I've made an Oracle, 1st level, Mystery of Lore, Haunted Curse, and I took Sidestep Secret as my first revelation. I'm trying to decide if I should focus on melee combat and take relevant feats for ...
13
votes
2answers
6k views

Benefits for eating good food

I have designed a character to be able to cook just about anything and make it taste great. This was done mainly for RP purposes but I was curious if there is any system that adds benefits for eating ...
27
votes
10answers
949 views

What is the best way to do search, or spot test when players knowing the result of their roll will colour their perception of the result?

What is the best way to do search or spot tests when knowing the outcome of the roll will colour the players' perception of the result? For example: a Paladin uses Sense Motive to detect lies from a ...
17
votes
2answers
5k views

Perception checks through a familiar's eyes

If I cast the find familiar spell and summon a familiar, then I can look through my familiar's eyes, hear through its ears, and communicate with it telepathically. (It is not a blind or deaf creature. ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

When Perception contests Stealth, how do you know which side gets advantage or disadvantage?

When we run skill contests, especially Stealth contested by Perception, we sometimes struggle to work out whether to apply advantage to one skill or disadvantage to the other. It matters for two ...
16
votes
2answers
3k views

How does the Cleric's Blessings of Knowledge feature interact with the rules for gaining proficiency when already proficient in a skill?

Scenario: I am a level 1 Half-Elf Monk, using a combination of my Monk starting skill proficiencies and Skill Versatility racial features to start with proficiency in Arcana, History, Religion, and ...
5
votes
6answers
4k views

Items to enhance spot checks?

My character often has to make spot checks for various purposes, so I am considering trying to help myself with some magic tool to improve my spot checks. But after a quick research in D&Dtools ...
19
votes
5answers
3k views

Can Skill Mastery let you take 10 with Use Magic Device?

The rogue special ability (advanced talent) Skill Mastery reads as follows: The rogue becomes so certain in the use of certain skills that she can use them reliably even under adverse conditions. ...
15
votes
7answers
39k views

When is each skill used when searching for hidden objects like traps?

This actually a number of questions that conform to the title question, and which all stem from a bit of rules confusion. Let's start with the rules confusion. On pg 178, under the skill ...
15
votes
3answers
5k views

Do Class Skill Bonuses Count as Ranks?

In Pathfinder do class skill bonuses count as ranks, especially for the purpose of prestige classing, or are they a generic bonus? If they are a bonus, how should I adjust the required ranks for ...
10
votes
2answers
3k views

What can PCs find out about creatures using knowledge skills?

I'm new to D&D and I'm a bit confused about using lore. I already saw Does D&D 5e have a rule for character knowledge about monsters? and know that a PC can use knowledge skills to learn about ...
9
votes
1answer
901 views

Which skills are lost first if Intelligence drops? Can I choose?

As per this question, permanent increases to Intelligence retroactively grant new skill points in Pathfinder. If I lose my Intelligence bonus, is there a rule for which skill I lose first? Can I ...
9
votes
1answer
26k views

Do you add Proficiency bonus AND the stat modifier to skill rolls?

I know this basic knowledge, but I seemed to have missed this info in the player's manual. Say someone makes an stealth check: do I add their Dexterity modifier and their proficiency bonus in Stealth ...
8
votes
1answer
3k views

How does a shadowdancer use nearby shadows to hide in plain sight?

In pathfinder; a shadowdancer acquires the ability to hide while being observed. A shadowdancer can use the Stealth skill even while being observed. As long as she is within 10 feet of an area of ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

How to use spot checks in a wilderness encounter?

The wilderness adventures section (DMG pp. 86-95) lists spotting distances for wilderness encounters. I.e. the maximum distance at which a Spot check for detecting the nearby presence of others can ...
66
votes
15answers
11k views

How can metagaming retries on poor skill checks be prevented?

I'm sure every DM has had this happen: one PC is trying to find something cool on a dead monster's body. The player rolls poorly, and instead of accepting the paltry 2 copper pieces, the PC calls all ...
70
votes
15answers
15k views

How can I prevent players from using Persuasion or Deception to weasel their way out of a murder?

Background My players accepted a quest to basically be drug mules, delivering illicit goods to a faraway town. While alone with the NPC giving the assignment, they decided to kill him and take the ...
22
votes
5answers
6k views

How to optimize a character for the greatest number of skill proficiencies with the fewest number of levels?

I want to build a character with the maximum number of skill proficiencies, 18. 20 levels to work with, multi-classing, feats, all official published books, starting with standard point array. The ...
15
votes
5answers
4k views

In Out of the Abyss, is there an alternative to rolling foraging checks every day?

In Out of the Abyss, PCs are equipmentless and travelling in a dangerous and hostile environment where food and water is scarce. To top it all off, they are actively being hunted down by an ...
65
votes
7answers
10k views

Is it possible to fail an ability check on purpose?

Here are the general guidelines regarding ability checks: The GM calls for an ability check when a character or monster attempts an action (other than an attack) that has a chance of failure. When ...
33
votes
5answers
100k views

How can you gain proficiency in a skill after level 1?

I have been reading the Basic Rules a couple times, but could not find any way to gain proficiency in skills past level 1. For example, if I create a Rogue, I may chose 4 skills among 11: ...
41
votes
2answers
10k views

If a secret door is noticed with a DC 10 Wisdom (Perception) roll, don't most characters notice it passively?

In one of the published 5e campaigns there is a secret door that: can be noticed with a successful DC 10 Wisdom (Perception) check. The way I read this and the way I understand passive perception,...
35
votes
10answers
11k views

What is the reason to use the Heal skill assuming that other means of healing are not prohibited?

Reading the description of the Heal skill in Pathfinder and comparing its outcomes to other ways of healing, such as wands, channel positive energy etc., I have found that skill useless. The only ...
21
votes
2answers
96k views

Guide for using all the tools and kits

I can't seem to find this information in the three main rule books, but outside of some general information about lock picking, is there a definitive guide for how to use the various tools and kits ...
18
votes
1answer
1k views

How do I prevent PCs from spamming their top approach in every situation?

As Ryan Macklin said, to a decently creative player it would't be difficult to handle all or most things using their +3 approach, and I don't want to be a bad GM by forcing them not to use what they'...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

Group hide and seek

How should one manage a group trying to elude detection by another group in D&D 5e? For a one-on-one situation, stealth opposed to perception works well. However, if everyone rolls stealth/...
22
votes
3answers
293k views

Does a passive Perception (Wisdom) check add WIS mod + Perception skill?

I'm new to D&D. There seems to be a discrepancy between the 5e Starter Set Rulebook and the associated character sheets. The Rulebook says that a passive wisdom (percep) score is "10 + the ...
17
votes
6answers
2k views

How to use social skills versus player characters

If the game system in use supports a mechanical modelling of social knack (like D&D's Bluff, Intimidate and Diplomacy skills), and the player who is subject of the social attack doesn't play his ...
17
votes
2answers
46k views

Can PCs learn skill, proficiencies, or spells from other PCs?

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 ...