Questions tagged [skills]

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

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71
votes
15answers
16k 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 ...
69
votes
15answers
12k 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 ...
68
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 ...
63
votes
9answers
49k 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 ...
62
votes
12answers
117k views

Is there a real use for the Medicine skill?

Does the Medicine skill have a hidden use I don't know about? All I can see in the rules is that it allows a successful skill roll to stabilize a dying character, which a healer kit does without a ...
60
votes
9answers
224k 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 ...
57
votes
6answers
8k views

I deciphered the meaning of a cryptic language out-of-game: should my character know what the meaning is?

I have just started my first D&D 5e campaign, and have encountered a seemingly mind-controlled bandit who keeps writing the same thing over and over on the wall. Our DM wrote out what it looks ...
48
votes
5answers
56k 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 ...
44
votes
9answers
7k views

How to avoid the determinism of Passive Perception

From this question, Passive perception is exactly that, passive. It's what the PCs are always using when not actively searching for something and doesn't use a roll of the die. However, being that ...
43
votes
5answers
6k views

Skills the player has, but the character doesn’t vs. skills the character has, but the player doesn’t

This question results from a small debate I had last weekend with our gamemaster during a session on Call of Cthulhu. A player wanted to check if an NPC is alive or not. The players had put zero ...
43
votes
2answers
35k views

Does 5th edition have the equivalent of Taking 20?

In 3rd edition D&D there was the option to Take 10 or Take 20 on a skill check. Does an equivalent rule exist in 5th edition? If the answer is no, have you tried houseruling it in, and what ...
42
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2answers
11k 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,...
41
votes
3answers
3k views

Why is Survival not a class skill for animals?

Question in title. Seems odd that an animal isn't naturally inclined to get bonuses to Survival, which typically involves dealing with the wilds and it's associated difficulties (an animal's natural ...
40
votes
3answers
42k 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 ...
39
votes
6answers
30k 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 ...
37
votes
8answers
17k views

What is the point of having a different skill for Persuasion and Deception?

2 skills related to Charisma are Deception and Persuasion. A character could be proficient in any of the two. I know that a Cha (deception) check is made when a character attempts to convince someone ...
37
votes
5answers
111k 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: ...
36
votes
10answers
12k 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 ...
34
votes
5answers
64k 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: ...
33
votes
7answers
8k views

How can I handle this character's overpowered Perception?

I'm starting a new campaign with a few friends. They're all pretty new so we rolled level one characters and it's been going okay, with one minor problem: one character has a +9 to perception and it's ...
33
votes
5answers
5k views

Can players declare that they are making a specific ability check?

A player in my game has a habit of making statements like: "I make a Religion check to see if I recognize that symbol." "I want to use my Persuasion skill to talk past the guard." "Can I ...
33
votes
3answers
4k views

If I become human, do I get retroactive skill points?

Humans gain an extra skill point per level from their 'skilled' racial trait. If I become a human after first level (via reincarnate, polymorph any object, becoming a mythic creature, or some other ...
32
votes
3answers
20k views

Trap/Ambush/Stealth Mechanics VS Passive Perception Confusion

I thought I knew, at first, how passive perception versus hidden/invisible creatures and/or well laid traps worked. I have a group of level 2 adventurers that are about to come upon their first trap ...
31
votes
11answers
30k views

How to deal with a really persuasive character?

I'm currently running a 5e campaign and one of my players has pretty much maxed out his persuasion ability very early on in the campaign. I don't recall exactly what he has but he rolls more often ...
31
votes
6answers
8k views

In a PvP arena, how can other characters deal with a Rogue with Expertise in Stealth?

I'm running an arena-style fight between a lot of PCs. It's now getting to the point that there are few enough PCs that they are beginning to take levels to counter one another. One of the players ...
30
votes
5answers
6k views

How does DC work with natural 20?

To keep it short, the D&D Dungeon Master's Screen has certain Difficulty Levels with the respective DC. The issue is that there are two Difficulty Levels namely Very Hard and Nearly Impossible ...
30
votes
7answers
2k views

How can I make monster knowledge checks fun?

By now most players know, or should know, that a monster knowledge check can make all the difference when you’re fighting a monster for the very first time. But how can we make them both fun and not ...
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
10k 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 ...
28
votes
10answers
991 views

What is the best way to do search checks (or similar), 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 (or similar) when knowing the outcome of the roll will colour the players' perception of the result? I have encountered this problem in a number of ...
27
votes
5answers
40k 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 ...
27
votes
6answers
6k views

How to improve the Diplomacy skill mechanic in D&D 3.Xe and Pathfinder?

In D&D 3rd Edition, 3.5 Edition, and even Pathfinder, it is ridiculously easy as a player to purposely or inadvertently break the skill system, especially with Diplomacy. For example: A level 5 ...
26
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
25
votes
3answers
10k views

Do you get to choose your skill proficiencies or are they decided based on your race/class?

A friend of mine had told us that you don't really get to choose your skills when you see "choose from" x number of skills (e.g. Stealth, Acrobatics, Intimidation), she said that "each class and race ...
25
votes
1answer
21k views

Do you get skill points retroactively for increased Int?

In D&D 3.5 you don't get skill points retroactively, only from the next level onwards after you increase your intelligence enough to gain an increased bonus, leading to extra skill points per ...
24
votes
6answers
14k 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 ...
24
votes
7answers
59k 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 ...
24
votes
5answers
3k views

Is a speech trying to convince a crowd of something a persuasion or a performance check?

If I'm say, trying to convince a group of soldiers to follow me(a player) into a fight, or a crowd to riot, or otherwise convincing a large group of people via oration to do something (maybe it's a ...
24
votes
3answers
11k views

Are background and class skills additive?

I'm new to D&D and trying to create a character to play with. I'm a bit confused by the skills. My character is a bard with the entertainer background. The bard class gives me three skills of my ...
24
votes
5answers
1k views

Preventing character skill from impeding player enjoyment

Let's consider a player, whom we shall call Bob. Bob loves exciting gunfights and is a big John Woo fan. So he makes up "Shooty McShootenstein," who is a master with a gun. One thing that Bob is not ...
24
votes
3answers
1k views

Can you gain a proficiency bonus, without being proficient?

I'm asking with a particular eye on the Rogue's level 11 feature, "Reliable Talent": Reliable Talent By 11th level, you have refined your chosen skills until they approach perfection. Whenever ...
23
votes
4answers
16k views

How does rolling a 1 on a skill check play out if you have a +9 or better to that skill?

My DM is telling me a natural 1 is worst possible result, but when my build reaches Sorcerer 8/Bard 1, my Persuasion bonus will be +10, meaning my worst roll should be an 11. Right?
23
votes
3answers
23k views

What do I roll for seduction?

I plan to play a bard who is very seductive, somewhat of a Casanova. Do I roll persuasion, performance or some other skill check to determinate the outcome? Our game is less dungeon-delving and more ...
22
votes
5answers
7k 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 ...
22
votes
3answers
326k 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 ...
22
votes
5answers
994 views

Can a sleeping character Hide?

Hiding requires an opposed roll. Can a sleeping character hide at all? If they do so, do they roll Hide when they go to sleep (for hiding their sleeping spot, etc.), or do they make an opposed roll ...
22
votes
2answers
109k 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 ...
22
votes
4answers
16k views

What do you roll Insight against when the other person is telling the truth?

Frequently it comes up that characters will be talking to an NPC and one of them will say something similar to "Do I believe him?" "Roll an insight check." If they're lying, it's simple: an Insight ...
22
votes
9answers
1k views

What game systems determine skill levels only through use?

Is there a table top game similar to the video game Dungeon Siege where you don't really pick a class but what you become depends on what you do? You cast magic your magic skill increases, you beat ...
22
votes
2answers
964 views

Tarrasque: Rush & Jump Skill Interaction

Background I am having a little trouble wrapping my brain around the Jump skill. I want to plan a battle with my players and the Tarrasque; two of them have the ability to fly - and it does not. I ...