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Questions tagged [skills]

For questions about skills: abilities of characters that describe their capabilities in a range of areas, that typically progress with level.

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114 votes
11 answers
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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 ...
Bradd Szonye's user avatar
  • 9,246
102 votes
13 answers
310k 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 ...
ProfessorZ's user avatar
  • 1,309
78 votes
10 answers
255k 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 ...
ctsag's user avatar
  • 883
75 votes
15 answers
20k 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 ...
dehodson's user avatar
  • 861
74 votes
15 answers
16k 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 ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 8,120
74 votes
7 answers
15k 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 ...
Thorkil Holm-Jacobsen's user avatar
74 votes
10 answers
81k 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 ...
Percival's user avatar
  • 9,540
68 votes
5 answers
137k 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 ...
Bleep's user avatar
  • 3,288
67 votes
9 answers
71k views

Does passive Perception score supersede the result of a lower active Perception check?

If a player makes an active Perception check and the result is lower than their passive Perception score, should we use the passive Perception score instead? Background: During our weekly game ...
briddums's user avatar
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58 votes
6 answers
9k 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 ...
Chris Cirefice's user avatar
54 votes
3 answers
79k 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 ...
briddums's user avatar
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52 votes
3 answers
95k 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 ...
Brian Ballsun-Stanton's user avatar
50 votes
12 answers
8k views

What to do when a player roleplays an extremely persuasive argument, but flubs their Persuasion check?

I have been the DM of a wonderful group of Stack Exchange friends playing an urban fantasy campaign of D&D 5e for some time now, and a question came up in our group Discord that has got me ...
Sciborg's user avatar
  • 713
48 votes
5 answers
7k 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 ...
MrTony's user avatar
  • 591
44 votes
9 answers
9k 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 ...
BlueMoon93's user avatar
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44 votes
2 answers
17k 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,...
Besty's user avatar
  • 7,247
44 votes
4 answers
199k 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: ...
Matthieu M.'s user avatar
  • 9,522
43 votes
5 answers
93k 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: ...
Stormur's user avatar
  • 541
42 votes
3 answers
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 ...
Hydronium's user avatar
  • 575
40 votes
10 answers
17k 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 ...
R.I.P.30.12.21Baskakov_Dmitriy's user avatar
40 votes
8 answers
37k views

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

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 ...
Alex Millette's user avatar
39 votes
4 answers
7k views

How to handle "I investigate for <this particular thing>" checks

The characters enter a room, and get the general "what do you see" spiel. One player announces that he wants to "Investigate the room for ". (Let's say "investigate for odd ...
Brondahl's user avatar
  • 2,379
38 votes
7 answers
17k 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 ...
Bartimaeus's user avatar
  • 1,544
37 votes
13 answers
7k views

How to DM unlikely strength checks

A question for all DMs out there. So, part of the fun of D&D derives from the randomness of the dice, and to interpret their results in a sensible way -even within the broad boundaries of a make-...
OmniVictor's user avatar
37 votes
5 answers
6k 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." ...
A. Foster's user avatar
  • 4,713
36 votes
11 answers
52k 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 in ...
PotatoLeeg's user avatar
36 votes
7 answers
10k 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 ...
zz20s's user avatar
  • 1,237
36 votes
3 answers
3k views

What do you roll to sleep in a hidden spot?

Scenario: a character is alone in the forest, and needs to sleep. Of course, they don't want to get killed in their sleep, so they try to sleep in a hidden spot, like inside the treetops, heavily ...
Keinname's user avatar
  • 569
34 votes
10 answers
9k views

Is it ok to lie to players rolling an insight?

I've just started DMing (D&D-5e). I have a question about the Insight mechanic. I've formulated this problem using D&D but the system is otherwise irrelevant (I'm talking about every ...
Maxxer's user avatar
  • 757
34 votes
3 answers
5k 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 ...
Please stop being evil's user avatar
34 votes
3 answers
14k 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 ...
Josh Clark's user avatar
  • 5,279
32 votes
11 answers
7k views

Was this the right call? Player rolled a great Intimidation check on an enemy that wouldn't normally be intimidated

In one of my last sessions, my players were about to begin their battle with the big bad of the story arc: a Hag who had taken over the body of the village herbalist and was quietly poisoning the ...
foxknees's user avatar
  • 345
32 votes
5 answers
12k 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 ...
iaminsensible's user avatar
32 votes
11 answers
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 ...
fgysin's user avatar
  • 10.3k
32 votes
3 answers
25k 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 ...
Airatome's user avatar
  • 18.6k
31 votes
4 answers
40k views

Do ability checks in combat require an action?

I was under the impression that using skills, and therefore making an ability check in combat required an action. Note: I'm obviously not talking about passive perception, it's definitely passive, it'...
AshRandom's user avatar
  • 4,423
31 votes
6 answers
6k views

Should a sneaking group use group checks?

I always considered sneaking to be a per character check, because I have a hard time imagining a paladin in shiny, heavy and loud armor sneaking silently, just because a rogue with stealth expertise ...
findusl's user avatar
  • 6,577
31 votes
7 answers
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 ...
user avatar
30 votes
8 answers
5k views

Can a persuasion roll avoid battling the BBEG?

So yesterday I was DM’ing our weekly D&D 5e session. For practical reasons it was a one-shot. At some point, one of my players, a Lvl 10 Bard, ends up in the BBEG’s lair alone (an adult red dragon,...
freddieknets's user avatar
30 votes
5 answers
77k 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 ...
Ravn's user avatar
  • 5,896
30 votes
6 answers
2k 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 ...
Jadasc's user avatar
  • 54.7k
30 votes
4 answers
10k 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 ...
BlueMoon93's user avatar
  • 46.6k
29 votes
10 answers
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 ...
David Allan Finch's user avatar
29 votes
10 answers
4k views

How to handle deception skill rolls fairly based on the premise of the deception?

In a campaign I'm playing in, players have to come up with a convincing approach to be allowed to try a persuasion, deception, or intimidation skill check...but, at the end of the day, the players are ...
Paul's user avatar
  • 407
29 votes
7 answers
7k 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 ...
Sorcerer Blob's user avatar
28 votes
10 answers
9k views

Can you Investigate the same room twice?

I have not seen this question when searching, although someone here might be able to point me to it. I found a related one here Situation: PC walks into a room and wants to investigate to find any ...
Just Another Guy's user avatar
28 votes
7 answers
128k 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 ...
RollingFeles's user avatar
  • 1,835
27 votes
5 answers
4k views

How do I use Charisma, Persuasion, or other checks through a translator?

My hapless band of seven adventurers of eighth-level are about to encounter unfriendly Lizardfolk, who only speak Draconic. The only character that speaks Draconic is the Wizard with bad breath (CHA 8,...
Stephan Kolassa's user avatar
27 votes
5 answers
78k 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 ...
Corven Dallas's user avatar
27 votes
4 answers
23k views

How does Jack of All Trades interact with Reliable Talent?

The Bard's Jack of All Trades says you can add half of your proficiency bonus to rolls to skills that you otherwise can't add your proficiency bonus. And the Rogue's Reliable Talent feature lets them ...
Vodkaholic's user avatar

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