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
34k 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 ...
69
votes
9answers
244k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
57
votes
5answers
100k 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 ...
38
votes
5answers
84k 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: ...
48
votes
3answers
69k 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
196k 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 ...
52
votes
6answers
53k 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 ...
28
votes
4answers
5k 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
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 ...
17
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
17k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
26
votes
7answers
98k 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 ...
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 ...
19
votes
5answers
4k 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
33k 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 ...
70
votes
10answers
68k 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 ...
33
votes
3answers
13k 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
3answers
60k 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 ...
20
votes
2answers
71k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
25
votes
6answers
21k 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." ...
15
votes
1answer
2k views

If a feature gives proficiency in a skill you are proficient with, can you always choose any skill to replace that proficiency?

Page 125 of the PHB in the rules for backgrounds we have this statement: If a character would gain the same proficiency from two different sources, he or she can choose a different proficiency of ...
12
votes
3answers
16k 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, ...
30
votes
5answers
63k 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
3answers
35k views

How do I learn new tool proficiencies?

In D&D 5E, is there a way besides the Guild Artisan Background (PHB 132-133) to learn professional skills? i.e. blacksmithing, knowledge, gem cutting, etc.?
19
votes
5answers
8k 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?
75
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 ...
70
votes
7answers
12k 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
25k 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 ...
39
votes
10answers
15k 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 ...
17
votes
5answers
37k 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 ...
26
votes
1answer
25k 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
12k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
23k 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 (...
24
votes
4answers
28k 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Variant: Skills with Different Abilities confuses me

In the 5e PHB, the Variant: Skills with Different Abilities topic confuses the hell out of me. Your DM might call for a Constitution Check... Your DM might allow you to apply your proficiency in ...
13
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
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 ...
7
votes
4answers
781 views

Does a dwarf take only a -2 penalty to disguise himself as a dragon?

A creature who wants to masquerade as a creature of a different race takes a -2 penalty to Disguise skill checks according to the skill Disguise (PH 72-3). I know that kind and type (and subtype) have ...
5
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 ...
24
votes
5answers
17k 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 ...
42
votes
4answers
159k 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: ...
32
votes
3answers
24k 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 ...
22
votes
5answers
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 ...
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
10k 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. ...

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