Questions tagged [skills]

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

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110
votes
11answers
31k views

I failed to open a lock. Now what?

Picking a lock typically requires a DC 15 Dexterity check (Basic rules, p. 49). Likewise for manacles (p. 50), which can alternately be escaped with a DC 20 Dexterity check or broken with a DC 20 ...
67
votes
9answers
238k 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 ...
56
votes
6answers
81k 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 ...
36
votes
5answers
77k 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: ...
49
votes
6answers
43k 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 ...
27
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
171k 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 ...
46
votes
3answers
58k 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 ...
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
16k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

How to use skills — did this change between editions and how?

It seems the role of rules1 was changed throughout the history of D&D. For instance, as this answer says, there was an explicit destinction between "crunch" and "fluff" in ...
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 ...
26
votes
7answers
83k 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 ...
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. ...
12
votes
1answer
32k 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 ...
68
votes
10answers
61k 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 ...
31
votes
2answers
12k 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 ...
25
votes
6answers
18k 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 ...
36
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." ...
17
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
14k 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, ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the highest total result one can get for a skill check?

I was bored, so I decided to try to calculate what could be the highest total result one could obtain for a skill check. Answers can include officially published material, including magic items - but ...
29
votes
5answers
54k 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 ...
74
votes
15answers
18k 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 ...
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 ...
68
votes
7answers
11k 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 ...
19
votes
4answers
19k 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 ...
22
votes
3answers
49k views

Casting Guidance cantrip for every roll?

What prevents a cleric from casting the Guidance spell every single turn and having everyone have 1D4 extra for their rolls, especially since you can combo it with this: It seems like every skill ...
37
votes
10answers
14k 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 ...
17
votes
5answers
35k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
26
votes
1answer
23k 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
11k 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
7k views

Does a natural 20 on an animal handling check allow a character to affect a tamed non-animal creature?

One of my players rolled a natural 20 for Animal Handling on a grick which had previously been trained by goblins. What happens to the grick now? Can he tame it or should it just now be calmed?
13
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
32
votes
3answers
23k 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 ...
19
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'...
18
votes
3answers
8k 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. ...
17
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
7k 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 ...
28
votes
10answers
1k 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 ...
22
votes
4answers
375k 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
7answers
52k 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 ...
21
votes
2answers
11k views

In combat, do all skill checks require an action to perform?

In combat, do all skill checks require an action for a PC to make them? I'm looking for guidance from RAW, from an official ruling such as from Sage Advice (though there seems to be nothing on that ...
13
votes
2answers
12k views

How to calculate the attack rolls and ability checks for monsters?

Very new player here. Looking at the stat block of a goblin: for a shortbow attack it says +4 to hit and the goblin has a Dex modifier of +2. Does this mean I add 6 to the d20 roll or just the 4 and ...
10
votes
1answer
6k views

Does an intelligence boost retroactively give skill points?

If I add my bonus ability point gaining by achieving the 12th level, to an odd intelligence score, should I gain retroactively a skill point for each past level?
8
votes
2answers
17k views

What is a person's hearing radius?

I'm wondering how far is the hearing radius for elves, humans, dwarves, etc.? For example, I'm a Wood Elf and I'm in a battle (assume the battle is loud). A wizard casts Darkness within 5 feet of me (...
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 ...
45
votes
2answers
50k 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 ...
23
votes
4answers
22k 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 ...

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