Unique to 5th edition, instead of putting points into individual skills you have a general purpose "proficiency bonus" that's based on your level and is applied to attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks if you're proficient in that task. If you're multi-classed, your level is the sum of all your class levels added together.
- You are proficient with an attack roll if you're casting a spell, or if you're using a weapon that's listed in your class proficiency list.
- You are proficient with a skill if you've trained in that skill due to a class choice, race, background choice, or feat selection.
- You are proficient with a saving throw if it's listed as a saving throw for your class.
|Barbarian||Light Armor, Medium Armor, Shields, Simple Weapons, Martial Weapons, 2 skills|
|Bard||Light Armor, Simple weapons, hand crossbows, longswords, rapiers, shortswords, 3 instruments, 3 skills|
|Blood Hunter||Light Armor, Medium Armor, Shields, Simple Weapons, Martial Weapons, Alchemist, 3 skills|
|Cleric||Light Armor, Medium Armor, Shields, Simple Weapons, 2 skills|
|Druid||Light Armor, Medium Armor, Shields (no metal shields/armor), Clubs, daggers, darts, javelins, maces, quarterstaffs, scimitars, sickles, slings, spears, Herbalism, 2 skills|
|Fighter||All Armor, Shields, Simple Weapons, Martial Weapons, 2 skills|
|Monk||Simple Weapons, shortswords, artisan or musical, 2 skills|
|Paladin||All Armor, Shields, Simple Weapons, Martial Weapons, 2 skills|
|Ranger||Light Armor, Medium Armor, Shields, Simple Weapons, Martial Weapons, 3 skills|
|Rogue||Light Armor, Simple Weapons, hand crossbows, longswords, rapiers, shortswords, thieves’ tools, 4 skills|
|Sorcerer||Daggers, darts, slings, quarterstaffs, light crossbows, 2 skills|
|Warlock||Light Armor, Simple Weapons, 2 skills|
|Wizard||Daggers, darts, slings, quarterstaffs, light crossbows, 2 skills|
- Acrobatics - Dexterity (PHB 176)
- Animal Handling - Wisdom (PHB 178)
- Arcana - Intelligence (PHB 177)
- Athletics - Strength (PHB 175)
- Deception - Charisma (PHB 178)
- History - Intelligence (PHB 177)
- Insight - Wisdom (PHB 178)
- Intimidation - Charisma (PHB 179)
- Investigation - Intelligence (PHB 178)
- Medicine - Wisdom (PHB 178)
- Nature - Intelligence (PHB 178)
- Perception - Wisdom (PHB 178)
- Performance - Charisma (PHB 179)
- Persuasion - Charisma (PHB 179)
- Religion - Intelligence (PHB 178)
- Sleight of Hand - Dexterity (PHB 177)
- Stealth - Dexterity (PHB 177)
- Survival - Wisdom (PHB 178)
A note on Thieves' Tools: these tools are automatically trained by Rogues, but can also be taken as an additional proficiency for other characters. They're used in the same way as a skill check (using Dexterity) for disarming traps and picking locks. They're technically not a skill, but they're used as one, for a common task that adventurers may frequently need.
A more detailed breakdown of individual skills and their uses: Skill Breakdown
Games: Board, Card, Dice, Other
Musical: Bagpipes, Drum, Dulcimer, Flute, Lute, Lyre, Horn, Pan flute, Shawm, Viol
Tools: Artisan's tools (see below), Disguise Kit, Forgery Kit, Herbalism Kit, Navigator's tools, Poisoner’s Kit, Thieves' tools
Vehicle: Land, Water, Air
Artisan Tools: Alchemist, Brewer, Calligrapher, Carpenter, Cartographer, Cobbler, Cook, Glassblower, Jeweler, Leatherworker, Mason, Painter, Potter, Smith, Tinker, Weaver, Woodcarver
Need more help with your campaign? Check out all the other tools, generators, and articles: kassoon.com/dnd/
Shout outs: Stacey, Max Puplett, Gordon Alexander Fallon, Gary, John Nazario, Lucia Rahberger, Sunscryer, Grey, Michael Sangregorio, Moonstar Morris, Keaton Permenter, Shazear, Richard Cotterill, Isaac Bergum, I_Maximus
Their contribution stands as a beacon of hope for all adventurers!
A skill represents a specific knowledge, and an individual’s level of proficiency in a skill demonstrates a focus on that aspect. (A character’s starting skill proficiencies and ranks are determined at character creation, and a monster’s skill proficiencies appear in the monster’s stat block).
Skills by Ability
Each skill is primarily bound up with one ability. These are as follows:
- Sleight of Hand
- Animal Handling
Sometimes, the DM might ask for an ability check using a specific skill—for example, “Make a Perception check.” At other times, a player might ask the GM if proficiency in a particular skill applies to a check. In either case, proficiency in a skill means an individual can add his or her proficiency bonus to ability checks that involve that skill.
Variant: Skills with Different Abilities
Normally, your proficiency in a skill is tied to one ability as described above. In some situations, though, your skill proficiency might reasonably be modified by a different ability score. In such cases, the GM might ask for a check using an unusual combination of ability and skill, or you might ask your GM if you can apply different ability to a skill check.
For example, if you have to swim from an offshore island to the mainland, your GM might call for a Constitution check to see if you have the stamina to make it that far. In this case, your GM might allow you to apply your proficiency in Athletics and ask for a Athletics check modified by Constitution.
Similarly, when your half-orc barbarian uses a display of raw strength to intimidate an enemy, your GM might ask for an Intimidation check modified by Strength, even though Intimidation is normally associated with Charisma.
Acrobatics covers your attempt to stay on your feet in a tricky situation, such as when you’re trying to run across a sheet of ice, balance on a tightrope, or stay upright on a rocking ship’s deck. The GM might also call for a Acrobatics check to see if you can perform acrobatic stunts, including dives, rolls, somersaults, and flips.
When there is any question whether you can calm down a domesticated animal, keep a mount from getting spooked, or intuit an animal’s intentions, the GM might call for an Animal Handling check. You also make an Animal Handling check to control your mount when you attempt a risky maneuver.
Arcana measures your ability to recall lore about spells, magic items, eldritch symbols, magical traditions, the planes of existence, and the inhabitants of those planes.
Athletics covers difficult situations you encounter while climbing, jumping, or swimming. Examples include the following activities: • You attempt to climb a sheer or slippery cliff, avoid hazards while scaling a wall, or cling to a surface while something is trying to knock you off.
- You try to jump an unusually long distance or pull off a stunt midjump.
- You struggle to swim or stay afloat in treacherous currents, storm-tossed waves, or areas of thick seaweed. Or another creature tries to push or pull you underwater or otherwise interfere with your swimming.
Deception lets you convincingly hide the truth, either verbally or through your actions. This deception can encompass everything from misleading others through ambiguity to telling outright lies. Typical situations include trying to fasttalk a guard, con a merchant, earn money through gambling, pass yourself off in a disguise, dull someone’s suspicions with false assurances, or maintain a straight face while telling a blatant lie.
History is your ability to recall lore about historical events, legendary people, ancient kingdoms, past disputes, recent wars, and lost civilizations.
Insight is the ability to determine the true intentions of a creature, such as when searching out a lie or predicting someone’s next move. Doing so involves gleaning clues from body language, speech habits, and changes in mannerisms.
When you attempt to influence someone through overt threats, hostile actions, and physical violence, the GM might ask you to make an Intimidation check. Examples include trying to pry information out of a prisoner, convincing street thugs to back down from a confrontation, or using the edge of a broken bottle to convince a sneering vizier to reconsider a decision.
When you look around for clues and make deductions based on those clues, you make an Investigation check. You might deduce the location of a hidden object, discern from the appearance of a wound what kind of weapon dealt it, or determine the weakest point in a tunnel that could cause it to collapse. Poring through ancient scrolls in search of a hidden fragment of knowledge might also call for an Intelligence Investigation check.
Medicine lets you try to stabilize a dying companion or diagnose an illness.
Nature measures your ability to recall lore about terrain, plants and animals, the weather, and natural cycles.
Your Perception lets you spot, hear, or otherwise detect the presence of something. It measures your general awareness of your surroundings and the keenness of your senses. For example, you might try to hear a conversation through a closed door, eavesdrop under an open window, or hear monsters moving stealthily in the forest. Or you might try to spot things that are obscured or easy to miss, whether they are orcs lying in ambush on a road, thugs hiding in the shadows of an alley, or candlelight under a closed secret door.
Performance determines how well you can delight an audience with music, dance, acting, storytelling, or some other form of entertainment.
When you attempt to influence someone or a group of people with tact, social graces, or good nature, the GM might ask you to make a Persuasion check. Typically, you use persuasion when acting in good faith, to foster friendships, make cordial requests, or exhibit proper etiquette. Examples of persuading others include convincing a chamberlain to let your party see the king, negotiating peace between warring tribes, or inspiring a crowd of townsfolk.
Religion measures your ability to recall lore about deities, rites and prayers, religious hierarchies, holy symbols, and the practices of secret cults.
Sleight of Hand.
Whenever you attempt an act of legerdemain or manual trickery, such as planting something on someone else or concealing an object on your person, make a Sleight of Hand check. The GM might also call for a Sleight of Hand check to determine whether you can lift a coin purse off another person or slip something out of another person’s pocket.
Make a Stealth check when you attempt to conceal yourself from enemies, slink past guards, slip away without being noticed, or sneak up on someone without being seen or heard.
The GM might ask you to make a Survival check to follow tracks, hunt wild game, guide your group through frozen wastelands, identify signs that owlbears live nearby, predict the weather, or avoid quicksand and other natural hazards.
|The GM decides when circumstances are appropriate for hiding. When you try to hide, make a Stealth check. Until you are discovered or you stop hiding, that check’s total is contested by the Perception check of any creature that actively searches for signs of your presence. |
You can’t hide from a creature that can see you clearly, and you give away your position if you make noise, such as shouting a warning or knocking over a vase.
An invisible creature can always try to hide. Signs of its passage might still be noticed, and it does have to stay quiet. In combat, most creatures stay alert for signs of danger all around, so if you come out of hiding and approach a creature, it usually sees you. However, under certain circumstances, the GM might allow you to stay hidden as you approach a creature that is distracted, allowing you to gain advantage on an attack roll before you are seen.
Passive Perception. When you hide, there’s a chance someone will notice you even if they aren’t searching. To determine whether such a creature notices you, the GM compares your Dexterity (Stealth) check with that creature’s passive Perception score, which equals 10 + the creature’s Wisdom modifier, as well as any other bonuses or penalties. If the creature has advantage, add 5. For disadvantage, subtract 5. For example, if a 1st-level character (with a proficiency bonus of +2) has a Wisdom of 15 (a +2 modifier) and proficiency in Perception, he or she has a passive Wisdom (Perception) of 14.
What Can You See? One of the main factors in determining whether you can find a hidden creature or object is how well you can see in an area, which might be lightly or heavily obscured, as explained in "The Environment.”
This winter I will be running a couple of D&D campaigns. To get my players ready, I have been writing introductory articles to help them out with certain concepts in the game. This is article three in that series. The other two articles being a break down of combat in D&D 5E and a breakdown of the core stats. This article was actually suggested bybacktothehammer at the bottom of the stats article. Here is a breakdown of the skill proficiencies in Dungeons and Dragons.
Skills are an important part of Dungeons and Dragons. In D&D every character has a set of core stats, and those core stats help determine how well they perform under certain aspects of the game. They help with combat and magic, as well as movement and general conversation. That being said, those six stats – Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Wisdom, Intelligence, and Charisma – are not the be all and end all of abilities or skills in D&D 5E, so today we are going to talk about another aspect of the game – Skill Proficiencies and what they mean.
Once again, this is a very basic introduction and opinion. For the more detailed rules I recommend Chapter 7 in the Player’s Handbook.
What Are Skills in Dungeons and Dragons 5E?
Skills represent the other, non-weapon, non-magical, non-standard checks within Dungeons and Dragons. Let’s say, for instance, you want to Sneak around. Stealth is a different skill in D&D. All characters can Sneak, or attempt to, however, having a proficiency in Stealth makes the task easier.
There are, within the game, a few base skills. These belong to a certain Stat and thus the ability modifier of that stat gets added onto any check for that skill. An active check in that Skill (so, in this case “Stealth”) would then take a D20 roll, plus the ability modifier (in Stealth’s case it is Dexterity), and then any proficiency bonus would be added on (at Level 1, this is a +2) if you are proficient. The DM will then say if that number is high enough to pass the test based on how difficult it would be to be Stealthy at that moment in time. More on this here.
There are 18 base skills within the game, each using one of the core stats as an ability modifier. In alphabetical order (and with the start in brackets) these are –
- Acrobatics (Dex)
- Animal Handling (Wis)
- Arcana (Int)
- Athletics (Str)
- Deception (Cha)
- History (Int)
- Insight (Wis)
- Intimidation (Cha)
- Investigation (Int)
- Medicine (Wis)
- Nature (Int)
- Perception (Wis)
- Performance (Cha)
- Persuasion (Cha)
- Religion (Int)
- Sleight of Hand (Dex)
- Stealth (Dex)
- Survival (Wis)
The proficiencies you take are often dictated to some degree by the class and background of your character; however, there is often a fair amount of choice within limited options. The question is – how do you know which ones to pick?
How Do You Know Which Skills To Take?
Okay, so this is the big question – how do you know which skills to take in D&D. There are a few different ways of thinking about it, and as we go through this article you will understand what is meant by this. Before we go any further though – Skills are subjective by scenario. This isn’t a definitive THIS SKILL IS BETTER IN ALL SCENARIOS kind of article, as you may want Stealth but your DM puts a giant bell on your head. It varies. That being said, I think there are a few ways of thinking about the Skills and Skill Proficiency to help you choose which Skills to focus on.
Looking at Skills by Core Stat
So, the first way to look at Skills is by the core statistic they use as their base check. The list of 18 can be broken down as (still in alphabetical order, but now by Stat type) –
- Acrobatics (Dex)
- Sleight of Hand (Dex)
- Stealth (Dex)
There are no active skills under Constitution, although Constitution checks can still be called upon to measure any form of physical endurance. This may be holding your breath or going without sleep. It could also be getting drunk or surviving without food and water – two things you definitely don’t want to do at the same time.
- Animal Handling (Wis)
- Insight (Wis)
- Medicine (Wis)
- Perception (Wis)
- Survival (Wis)
- Arcana (Int)
- History (Int)
- Investigation (Int)
- Nature (Int)
- Religion (Int)
- Deception (Cha)
- Intimidation (Cha)
- Performance (Cha)
- Persuasion (Cha)
As you can see, all Stats and Skills were not created even in Dungeons and Dragons. Instead, most skills use Wisdom or Intelligence as opposed to Strength or Constitution. This kind of makes sense when you think about it, but is an interesting note to point out none the less.
Choosing Skills based on Theme
Now, if you are a highly specialised character you may want to go a specific route. Rogues, for instance, may focus on the Dexterity area, perhaps with Deception thrown in. That way you will be better at Acrobatics, Slight of Hand, and Stealth – all three are fairly Rogue type skills.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this way of choosing stats and it is something that I like to do with my own characters. Think about what your characters are like and choose stats based on that. My current Dwarf Paladin has Medicine and Athletics, for instance. He has that because he’s a healer who is stubborn enough to want to overcome any obstacle. It isn’t because I will necessarily get the most use out of those skills, but rather the most thematic fun.
Choosing Skills based on Usefulness
The second logic is choosing skills by usefulness. This may be by discussing it as a group or by just wanting to be more useful around the table.
All skills in D&D can be useful at one time or another – the question is what skills are going to be used the most and thus offer the most opportunity to be useful?
Strength Based Skill Checks
Well, for this we look at what each skill let’s you do, and by this we can look at the categories. For starters, Athletics is exactly what it sounds like under the Strength category. It is pushing your body to the limit be that climbing a wall, jumping a crevice, or een something as mundane as swimming. Thus, due to what it covers, and if you can see your character climbing a lot, you may want to take it due to the fact it helps manoeuvering around the D&D world.
Dexterity Based Skill Checks
The Dexterity based skills are a bit more varied in the world of D&D, and cover a whole range of topics. Acrobatics, for instance, is about being able to either traverse tricky environments or stay upright on moving objects, as well as your ability to do your best gymnastics impressions. You can do Sleight of Hand, which is described in the Player’s Handbook (Page 177) as attempting an “act of legerdemain or manual trickery, such as planting something on someone else or concealing an object on your person”.
For the record, and I had to look this up, the definition of legerdemain is “skilful use of one’s hands when performing conjuring tricks” (according to Google) or “deception: trickery”.
Finally, and one of the most useful skills in D&D, Dexterity determines Stealth – which is the ability to go unnoticed.
I said finally, there are a whole list of other abilities such as picking locks, disabling traps, securely tying people up, or even some riding skills. Basically, if you are a Rogue – Dexterity is the one for you.
Wisdom Based Skill Checks
Wisdom based Skills focus on interacting with the world and being wise (obviously enough). They are about being rational, over cold and hard facts. It is for this reason they are great in the outdoors, as well as great for figuring things out.
So, what skills are covered by the Wisdom checks? Well, we have skills like Animal Handling, which can be fantastic if lost outside and needing something like a horse. It can be used to guess an animal’s intentions, as well as help you make a difficult manoeuvre when riding your mount.
Likewise, it can help with Survival, which includes checking for tracks and hunting game. It can help with Perception, which allows you to notice more about the world around you, as well as help you understand people more with Insight. Finally, it helps determine things like your gut feel.
Wisdom is one of the most underrated stats in Dungeons and Dragons, and Perception in and of itself is such an important skill for everyone to have. It helps you understand more about the world you are in, and thus gives you more options on how to proceed.
Thus, Wisdom is actually an incredibly useful skill. Insight, Animal Handling, Survival, Perception, Medicine – it is about accessibility and making the most out of your game.
Intelligence Based Skill Checks
If you ask me, Intelligence based Skills in D&D are the most circumstantial and probably the least actively helpful. The way the Player’s Handbook actually describes Intelligence based skill checks is that they tend to just be testing knowledge about certain things – this is the case with Arcana, Nature, Religion, and History checks.
Where Intelligence based skill checks get a bit more varied is with Investigation, which is literally what it sounds like. It is playing detective, looking for clues, and pretending you are on CSI.
Essentially, Intelligence based skills are incredibly subjective, but they can be useful, especially around city environments. In a dungeon…well…they can still be useful – but their use is more limited.
Charisma Based Skill Checks
Lastly, but by no means least, we have the Charisma based Skill checks.
In a game where you come across NPCs all the time, Charisma based checks are vital. They include such skills as being able to Persuade or Intimidate, being able to Deceive or even Perform. They also allow for you to figure out how best to root around for gossip or source out information. The options are countless with Charisma, and where Bards used to be the laughing stock of the game, the Charisma based skills now make them absolutely essential.
All in all, Charisma is a great skill to have.
Wrapping Up The D&D Skills
So, that is a run down of the skills, as well as a couple of ways of determining which ones to take. Finally, I was asked recently about usefulness and skills, so I thought I would just add an opinion of what skills are most useful and what skills are least. I couldn’t put these in a definitive list, so here are my top 5 and my bottom five. Of course, this is just opinion, but these are what I find most and least useful –
Top 5 Skills
- Acrobatics (Dex)
- Athletics (Str)
- Perception (Wis)
- Persuasion (Cha)
- Stealth (Dex)
Bottom 5 Skills
- Arcana (Int)
- History (Int)
- Medicine (Wis)
- Nature (Int)
- Religion (Int)
Take what you will from that.
So, there we have it. This article was suggested, so if you would like to hear about anything in particular, please feel free to leave a comment below. Also, what are your favourite skills to used in D&D? It’d be interesting to know.
In the meantime – did you know we have Facebook now? Yeah we do.
Published by Luke
Board game nerd, comic book geek, Rubik's Cube solver, Splendor player, and Blogger. View all posts by Luke
Role Playing Games
Animal Handling, Arcana, Athletics, Charisma, Constitution, D&D, Deception, Dexterity, DnD, Dungeon Master, Dungeons & Dragons, Dungeons and Dragons, History, Insight, Intelligence, Intimidation, Investigation, Medicine, Nature, Perception, Performance, Persuasion, Religion, Slight of Hand, Stealth, Strength, Wisdom
Here is how you calculate and use your proficiency bonus from the Basic Edition rules:
The table that appears in your class description shows your proficiency bonus, which is +2 for a 1st-level character. Your proficiency bonus applies to many of the numbers you’ll be recording on your character sheet:
• Attack rolls using weapons you’re proficient with
• Attack rolls with spells you cast
• Ability checks using skills you’re proficient in
• Ability checks using tools you’re proficient with
• Saving throws you’re proficient in
• Saving throw DCs for spells you cast (explained in each spellcasting class)
Your class determines your weapon proficiencies, your saving throw proficiencies, and some of your skill and tool proficiencies. (Skills are described in chapter 7, tools in chapter 5.) Your background gives you additional skill and tool proficiencies, and some races give you more proficiencies. Be sure to note all of these proficiencies, as well as your proficiency bonus, on your character sheet.
Your proficiency bonus can’t be added to a single die roll or other number more than once. Occasionally, your proficiency bonus might be modified (doubled or halved, for example) before you apply it. If a circumstance suggests that your proficiency bonus applies more than once to the same roll or that it should be multiplied more than once, you nevertheless add it only once, multiply it only once, and halve it only once.
To find out your proficiency bonus, you need to look at the chart at the beginning of your class description in the PHB (regular or basic edition). Currently, they are the same for all classes (and in fact are class-independent), so your proficiency bonus scales like this:
When you have 'proficiency' in a skill, you add your proficiency bonus to that skill. In your example, for perception you take your Wisdom modifier, and you add to that the proficiency bonus in the above table. The bonus is calculated based on your character level, not class level, so it's the same whether or not you multi-class.
If you were a 3rd level Elf with a Wisdom of 16(+3), your final perception score would be:
Wisdom Mod (+3) + Proficiency Bonus (+2) = +5 Perception
You add your proficiency bonus to attack rolls with weapons you are proficient in. This is determined by your class, and will be outlined in the class description in the PHB.
answered Dec 10 '15 at 19:47
8,83511 gold badge2929 silver badges4949 bronze badges
|This material is published under the OGL|
Each ability covers a broad range of capabilities, including skills that a character or a monster can be proficient in. A skill represents a specific aspect of an ability score, and an individual's proficiency in a skill demonstrates a focus on that aspect. (A character's starting skill proficiencies are determined at character creation, and a monster's skill proficiencies appear in the monster's stat block.)
For example, a Dexterity check might reflect a character's attempt to pull off an acrobatic stunt, to palm an object, or to stay hidden. Each of these aspects of Dexterity has an associated skill: Acrobatics, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth, respectively. So a character who has proficiency in the Stealth skill is particularly good at Dexterity checks related to sneaking and hiding.
The skills related to each ability score are shown in the following list. (No skills are related to Constitution.) See an ability's description in the later sections of this section for examples of how to use a skill associated with an ability.
Sometimes, the GM might ask for an ability check using a specific skill—for example, “Make a Wisdom (Perception) check.” At other times, a player might ask the GM if proficiency in a particular skill applies to a check. In either case, proficiency in a skill means an individual can add his or her proficiency bonus to ability checks that involve that skill. Without proficiency in the skill, the individual makes a normal ability check.
For example, if a character attempts to climb up a dangerous cliff, the GM might ask for a Strength (Athletics) check. If the character is proficient in Athletics, the character's proficiency bonus is added to the Strength check. If the character lacks that proficiency, he or she just makes a Strength check.
Variant: Skills with Different Abilities
Normally, your proficiency in a skill applies only to a specific kind of ability check. Proficiency in Athletics, for example, usually applies to Strength checks. In some situations, though, your proficiency might reasonably apply to a different kind of check. In such cases, the GM might ask for a check using an unusual combination of ability and skill, or you might ask your GM if you can apply a proficiency to a different check. For example, if you have to swim from an offshore island to the mainland, your GM might call for a Constitution check to see if you have the stamina to make it that far. In this case, your GM might allow you to apply your proficiency in Athletics and ask for a Constitution (Athletics) check. So if you're proficient in Athletics, you apply your proficiency bonus to the Constitution check just as you would normally do for a Strength (Athletics) check. Similarly, when your half-orcbarbarian uses a display of raw strength to intimidate an enemy, your GM might ask for a Strength (Intimidation) check, even though Intimidation is normally associated with Charisma.
A passive check is a special kind of ability check that doesn't involve any die rolls. Such a check can represent the average result for a task done repeatedly, such as searching for secret doors over and over again, or can be used when the GM wants to secretly determine whether the characters succeed at something without rolling dice, such as noticing a hidden monster.
Here's how to determine a character's total for a passive check:
If the character has advantage on the check, add 5. For disadvantage, subtract 5. The game refers to a passive check total as a score.
For example, if a 1st-level character has a Wisdom of 15 and proficiency in Perception, he or she has a passive Wisdom (Perception) score of 14.
The rules on hiding in the “Dexterity” section below rely on passive checks, as do the exploration rules.
Sometimes two or more characters team up to attempt a task. The character who's leading the effort—or the one with the highest ability modifier–can make an ability check with advantage, reflecting the help provided by the other characters. In combat, this requires the Help action.
A character can only provide help if the task is one that he or she could attempt alone. For example, trying to open a lock requires proficiency with thieves' tools, so a character who lacks that proficiency can't help another character in that task. Moreover, a character can help only when two or more individuals working together would actually be productive. Some tasks, such as threading a needle, are no easier with help.
When a number of individuals are trying to accomplish something as a group, the GM might ask for a group ability check. In such a situation, the characters who are skilled at a particular task help cover those who aren't.
To make a group ability check, everyone in the group makes the ability check. If at least half the group succeeds, the whole group succeeds. Otherwise, the group fails.
Group checks don't come up very often, and they're most useful when all the characters succeed or fail as a group. For example, when adventurers are navigating a swamp, the GM might call for a group Wisdom (Survival) check to see if the characters can avoid the quicksand, sinkholes, and other natural hazards of the environment. If at least half the group succeeds, the successful characters are able to guide their companions out of danger. Otherwise, the group stumbles into one of these hazards.
Back to Main Page → 5e System Reference Document
All Skill Proficiency (5e Optimized Character Build)
Most people say that you should specialize in dnd, that you should focus on providing something the rest of the party can't. But those people are wrong. Why rely on others to do something when you can just do it yourself? This build is going to guide you in how to do exactly that: gain proficiency in all skills. There are actually a few ways to do this. The main build will go over how to do this whilst remaining effective. Variants listed will show alternative routes that will either be faster or grant more than just skill proficiencies. Now, lets begin:
Nearly all versions of this build rely on the half-elf. This is for a few reasons:
- Skill Versatility gives you two skills of your choice, an absolutely amazing feature for this build.
- +2 Charisma, +1 to two other scores: you're able to increase all your ability scores to be at least decent, letting your proficiency in everything be that much better.
While these can be changed to fit your needs, the following stats are to allow all the multiclassing you need
- Standard Array: Str 8, Dex 15, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 14
- Point Buy Str 8, Dex 15, Con 13, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 14 (Enables cleric multiclass wihout investing a racial bonus)
This is another situation where you can choose a lot of different things, but this guide will recommend the Urchin Background.
There is a more effective way to do this, but using only the Player Handbook this is a pretty solid way. The skills in the brackets are only the recommended skills at those levels, you can take them in a different order if you wish.
- Pre-Game: Your race and backstory give you 4 skills (Acrobatics, Insight, Sleight of hand, Stealth)
- Level 1 Rogue: You're getting 4 skills at level 1- a pretty great start. (Deception, Investigation, Perception, Persuasion)
- Level 2 Cleric: Take the Knowledge Domain for 2 more skills. (History, Nature)
- Level 3-6 Bard: The multiclass gives you one skill, The College of Lore 3 more, and the "Skilled" feat gives another 3. (Intimidation, Medicine, Survival, Animal Handling, Arcana, and Religion)
- Level 7 Ranger: You get one skill for taking this multiclass. You're now at 18 skill proficiencies, all of them in the game. (Athletics)
While you're a little weak in combat, you are proficient in all skills and have expertise in a large number of them.
This is the best way to get all skills in the game. It is much more effective at lower levels than the other build, as it starts off with more proficiencies. Before you even pick your class features, take the Variant Human race, which gives you one skill proficiency of your choice, and then take the Skilled feat, which totals your proficiencies to 4. You'll want to take Animal Handling, Athletics, Insight, and Survival for your for proficiencies. Next, take the Sage background. This gives you proficiency in Arcana and History.
For your first level, you want to take Rogue. This gives you proficiency in four skills- Acrobatics, Investigation, Perception, and Stealth. You also get two different skills to put Expertise on, which is nice. Next, take a level in Knowledge cleric. This gives you proficiency in Nature and Religion. Then, take 4 levels in bard. You get one skill for multiclassing, which you want to put into Performance. Then, because you take College of Lore, you gain proficiency with three more skills of your choice. At this point you should only have 5 skills left- Deception, Intimidation, Medicine, Persuasion, and Sleight of Hand. You want to take Intimidation, Medicine, and Sleight of Hand. When you get to your 4th level, take the Eldrich Adept feat, which gets you one Eldritch Invocation of your choice. You want to take Beguiling Influence, which gets you proficiency in Deception and Persuasion. At this point, you should have all 18 skills at 6th level. Here is the rundown:
Race: Variant Human with Skilled feat (Animal Handling, Athletics, Insight, Survival) Background: Sage (Arcana, History) 1st level: Rogue (Acrobatics, Investigation, Perception, Stealth) 2nd level: Knowledge Cleric (Nature, Religion) 3rd-6th level: College of Lore Bard (Performance, Intimidation, Medicine, Sleight of Hand) plus Eldritch Adept feat (Deception, persuasion)
These builds are either faster or cover things other than skills such as Tools or Weapons.
Simplest Build (WotC Rules)
Don't want to multiclass into a bunch of classes? This build only makes you do it once, a nice simple change.
- Level 1-4 Rogue (Scout): You get a total of 6 proficiencies from the first 3 levels. Then at level 4 take the Skilled Feat. You already have 13 skills of 18
- Level 5-8 Bard (Lore): The multiclass gives you 1 skill, The college of lore gives you 3 more, and then your final skill proficiency will come from choosing the Prodigy feat. That gives you a total of 18 skill proficiencies, all the skills available in the game.
- Levels 9+: this build doesn't really acount for these levels since it has already gotten you its main objective. Most likely you want to increase your rogue level, Using your bardic features to offer some mild utility for your team. You'll eventually get reliable tallent, meaning you can never roll less than 10 on ANY ability check since you're proficient in them all!
One thing to note is that you have expertise in 7 skills, almost half. You are an absolute monster when it comes to skill checks! If you really want to get excessive get the Guidance cantrip somehow and add a d4 to all of those checks.
It should be noted that with the new Skill Expert feat from Tasha's you no longer need to pick Half-Elf as your race, this build will now work for any race that provides two skill proficiencies, or one that doesn't if you're ok with not getting all the skills until a later level when you can take this feat multiple times.
7th Level Min-Max
This is the most efficient method I have found to achieve 18 skill proficiencies as soon as possible while consolidating class levels to two classes. Tasha's Cauldron of Everything (TCE) is required for this build.
Note: Do not take nature, survival, deception, or persuasion until the guide says to do so. 13 Charisma is required.
- Race: Variant Human. Take the 'Skilled' feat and pick any four skills. (+4 Skills)
- Background: Any background that doesn't have the four barred skills will do. (+2 Skills)
- First Class: Rogue, any four skills. Advance to level three and pick the 'Scout' subclass to gain nature and survival proficiencies (+6 Skills)
- Multi-Class: Bard, any one skill. Advance to level three and pick the 'College of Lore' subclass, pick any three skills (+4 Skills)
- 4th Level Feat: Pick either bard or rogue for your seventh level, then pick 'Eldritch Adept' (TCE) feat to gain an eldritch invocation. Pick 'Beguiling Influence' for deception and persuasion proficiencies. (+2 Skills)
6th Level Early Entry
Note: Do not take Deception or Persuasion until the guide mentions it. This build is somewhat MAD, requiring 13 in Dexterity, Wisdom, and Charisma.
Similar to the 7th level build above, this build focuses on earliest possible acquisition of the 18 skill proficiencies, without consolidating class levels. It substitutes two rogue levels for one level of cleric. Tasha's Cauldron of Everything (TCE) is required for this build.
- Race: Variant Human. Take the 'Skilled' feat and pick any four skills. (+4 Skills)
- Background: Any background that doesn't have the two barred skills. (+2 Skills)
- First Class: Rogue, any four skills from the Rogue list. (+4 Skills)
- Multi-Class: Cleric, select the Knowledge Domain and pick two from the domain list (+2 Skills)
- Multi-Class: Bard, select any one skill. Advance to level three and pick the college of lore, pick any three skills (+4 Skills)
- 4th Level Feat: Advance to level four in Bard, then pick 'Eldritch Adept' (TCE) feat to gain an eldritch invocation. Pick 'Beguiling Influence' to gain proficiency in Deception and Persuasion. (+2 Skills)
Final result: Human (variant) Rogue 1 / Cleric 1 / Bard 4
All Tools, Weapons, Armor, Skills, and Common Race Languages
Build in progress.
Jack-of-all-Trades, Master of (almost) All
Uses WotC rules
I reckon many players have tried making characters that have proficiencies in most or every skill. However, what about getting expertise? Can you do THAT at a low level? Well, no, but that doesn't mean you still can't get a ton of skill expertise as you grow in levels. Here's how:
Put 6 levels into Rogue instead of just 1. This will allow you to get Expertise twice (meaning 4 Expertise skills) and choose the Scout archetype. Doing so automatically gives you expertise in Nature and Survival. Put 1 level into Cleric, but choose Arcana (or Religion) instead of Nature. Put 12 levels into Bard. This will allow you to get Expertise twice (again, meaning 4 Expertise skills).
Like the aforementioned guide says, go for Skilled to get any remaining skills you need. Since you're a Half-elf, you can take Prodigy which, among other things, allows you to gain 1 Expertise. Once more, thanks to being a Half-elf, you can take Everybody's Friend and get Expertise in both Persuasion and Deception.
You should have 1 ASI to spare, meaning you can take another feat to gain expertise in something you don't already, meaning, by level 19, you'll have Expertise in all but 2 skills.
An alternative is you could sacrifice 5 levels of Bard (meaning sacrificing getting Expertise in at least 2 other skills) and pour them into Rogue, allowing you to take advantage of the Rogue's Reliable Talent feature. Rolling anything lower than a 10 on a skill you have expertise in automatically becomes (at level 17-20, at least) a 22.
Another alternative is going half-elf background 1 rogue 1 knowledge cleric 4 bard 2 loremaster wizard make sure you hsve proficiency in nature by now then put 10 more levels in rogue since you already have double proficiency in nature you can swap it get prodigy twice and everyone's friend . That's reliable talent 2+2+4+2+1+3+1x2+2=18 skills 2+2+2+4+2+2+1x2+2=18 expertise Congratulations, you are now both a Jack AND An Ace Of (almost) All Trades!
Back to Main Page → 5e Homebrew → Optimized Character Builds
You will also be interested:
- Add their proficiency modifier to skill check rolls that are related to their professional knowledge
- Create items themselves instead of having to buy them
- Find creative solutions to problems
- Play their character in a more believable way knowing they have training in a certain field
Tools in Dungeons & Dragons 5eThere are a variety of tools to choose from in D&D 5e. Players can choose a number of these tools based on their background, class, race and chosen feats. Some tool proficiencies only come from certain backgrounds, such as proficiency in poising or thieve’s tools. If a player has proficiency in a tool, then they can add their proficiency bonus to all dice rolls which use that tool. This can be a great advantage to players and a reason why they should find ways to use their tools and training whenever possible. Below you will find every tool in D&D 5e. Each section is set up in the same way and includes:
- A list of what items are in the toolset
- An explanation of the profession in a fantasy setting
- An excerpt from Xanathar Guide to Everything that gives a list of skills and special uses for the tool
- An explanation of the knowledge that comes with the tool proficiency and how to use it
- A list of examples of when to ask for a skill check for each tool
NPCs for RPGs by Halfling Hannah
Artisan ToolsAll the tools listed below are considered “Artisan Tools,” that is, supplies a person would need to make a living at a trade. The trades traditionally used in D&D are listed below, but you can always create some of your own!In order to better utilize these tools, it is important to remember their purposeand possible extensionsof them. Players proficient with one of these tools will, by natural extension, be proficient in aspects directly related to the trade.This mentality will help you provide situations in which the players can shine!
Tools List for D&D 5eBecause this post is so long, I have included links that will take you directly to whichever section of the post you want to go! Simply click the links below for the information you are looking for or keep scrolling to browse all the tools in alphabetical order!
Are Tools Useful?
Alchemist’s ToolsCost: 50 gp Includes: two glass beakers, a metal frame to hold a beaker in place over an open flame, a glass stirring rod, a small mortar and pestle, and a pouch of common alchemical ingredients, including salt, powdered iron, and purified water.This tool set is one of the most expensive in the game and for good reason. An alchemist deals with potions and chemical concoctions. Alchemists make their living by studying the arcane through the natural world. They are known for their potions, balms, and, perhaps, more interestingconcoctions. With the right materials and their tools, alchemists can make potions of healing, alchemist’s fire, smoke bombs, real bombs,and much more.
Alchemist’s Tools Skills and Special Uses
Arcana. Proficiency with alchemist’s supplies allows you to unlock more information on Arcana checks involving potions and similar materials.Investigation. When you inspect an area for clues, proficiency with alchemist’s supplies grants additional insight into any chemicals or other substances that might have been used in the area.Alchemical Crafting. You can use this tool proficiency to create alchemical items. A character can spend money to collect raw materials, which weigh 1 pound for every 50 gp spent. The DM can allow a character to make a check using the indicated skill with advantage. As part of a long rest, you can use alchemist’s supplies to make one dose of acid, alchemist’s fire, antitoxin, oil, perfume, or soap. Subtract half the value of the created item from the total gp worth of raw materials you are carrying.Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 79
Alchemist KnowledgeBy extension of their trade, Alchemists will be very knowledgeablein the following:
- Chemicals and their various uses
- Detecting chemicals by their smell or taste
- Weighing and measuring by sight
- Knowing possible cures for diseases based on symptoms
- Knowing what chemicals should NOT be mixed together (big boom)
- Making deductions based on factual evidence
When to ask for an Alchemist Tool’s checkOften times, if a situation arises in which the alchemist of the group is investigating a chemical, as long as it is a basic chemical, I tell them what it is. No rolls necessary.Chemicals are an alchemist’s livelihood and making a mistake could mean missing fingers, so I assume they know their stuff. For more rare chemicals, I might give them advantage, or ask them to make a roll an intelligence check and add their proficiency modifier to the roll. This is a great way to use tools and proficiencies to improve gameplay and make your players feel like specialists!Ask for an alchemist tool’s skill check when your players are trying to create a helpful potion or balm out of herbs or chemicals. Remember, alchemists focus on helpfulpotions (or big booms). They do not have knowledge of poisons except for what to avoid putting in potions.Additionally, you can ask for alchemist’s tools check or if PCs are wanting to:
- Collect “evidence” or “samples” of any kind
- Identify a substance, potion or spell components
- Discover the properties of a substance or plant
- Research of any kind, including quickly skimming books
- Understanding theories or other alchemists notes
Brewer’s ToolsCost: 20 gp Includes: a large glass jug , a quantity of hops, a siphon, and several feet of tubing.Brewer’s make their living brewing beer, wine or other spirits. If your player chooses this tools option, I highlysuggest you ask them to come up with a signature drink. Not only can you use this drink during the campaign, but it allows their character something to be proud of and brag about. It is up to you and the player to decide how good the drink actually is. You can roll percentile dice or just decide for yourselves, it’s up to you!
Brewer’s Tools Skills and Special Uses
History. Proficiency with brewer’s supplies gives you additional insight on Intelligence (History) checks concerning events that involve alcohol as a significant element.Medicine. This tool proficiency grants additional insight when you treat anyone suffering from alcohol poisoning or when you can use alcohol to dull pain.Persuasion. A stiff drink can help soften the hardest heart. Your proficiency with brewer’s supplies can help you ply someone with drink, giving them just enough alcohol to mellow their mood.Potable Water. Your knowledge of brewing enables you to purify water that would otherwise be undrinkable. As part of a long rest, you can purify up to 6 gallons of water, or 1 gallon as part of a short rest.Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 79
Brewer’s KnowledgeBrewing is actually a very precise science.In order to get the right amount of alcohol to sweetness ratio and/or to get each bottle to come out with a consistent flavor, the brewer must have a lot of practice and knowledge. Because of their trade, brewers have natural knowledge of:
- Buying and selling goods
- Weighing and measuring
- Purity/quality of ingredients
- Flavor profiles
- Business practices (I like to give brewer’s a shortlist of “business contacts.” These are NPC they know and can reach out to if need be)
- People– alcohol is often social and brewers know how to get to the heart of an issue
When to ask for a Brewer’s Tools checkObviously, if the PC is attempting to brew, they should roll using their tools (most often I will have players roll either an intelligence, wisdom, or performance based on their character). However, there are other situations which could warrant a “brewer’s tools check.” Such as:
- Attempting to judge the purity of water
- Investigating a crop blight
- Mixing drinks
- Identifying the quality of a drink
- Using that roll of tubing for…whatever the heck you player might think of
Calligrapher’s ToolsCost: 10 gp Includes: ink, a dozen sheets of parchment, and three quills.Calligraphy is the art of “fancy writing.”It requires patience, skill and an eye for detail. A skilled calligrapher would be in high demandfor tasks, such as:
- Writing invitations for the rich and powerful
- Commissioned commemorative documents
- Official legal documents
- Creating pieces of art
- Adding decorative elements to books, maps, and other documents
Calligrapher’s Tools Skills and Special Uses
Arcana. Although calligraphy is of little help in deciphering the content of magical writings, proficiency with these supplies can aid in identifying who wrote a script of a magical nature.History. This tool proficiency can augment the benefit of successful checks made to analyze or investigate ancient writings, scrolls, or other texts, including runes etched in stone or messages in frescoes or other displays.Decipher Treasure Map. This tool proficiency grants you expertise in examining maps. You can make an Intelligence check to determine a map’s age, whether a map includes any hidden messages, or similar facts.Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 80
Calligrapher’s KnowledgeIt is likely a skilled Calligrapher would know the rich and powerful of whatever town/city in which they grew up. Perhaps not on a first name level, but they would differentially know who is who. Because of their trade, a calligrapher would have a natural knowledgeof:
- Fine papers and inks
- The subtle language differences between the rich and middle class
- Where to find buyers for expensive items
- How to spot hidden messages and nuances in writing and maps
- Basic understanding of ancient ruins and texts as part of their study
When to ask for a Calligrapher’s Tools checkWhen PCs asks to use calligraphy, I have them make a dexterity or intelligence check, based on the character, then addtheir proficiency modifier to the roll. Some other times you could ask the player to make a check using calligrapher’s tools could be:
- Spotting a hidden idea or symbol in a letter or document
- Understanding the message of a legal document
- Creating a piece of calligraphy art as a gift or to sell
- Embellishing a letter or document to look more official
Carpenter’s ToolsCost: 8 gp Includes: a saw, a hammer, nails, a hatchet, a square, a ruler, an adze, a plane, and a chisel.A carpenter works with wood to create furniture, structures, or tools.A carpenter’s skills are in high demand no matter the size of a city or village, and having one in your group just might save your party! Most carpenters specialize in one area, so you might ask your player what area of carpentry their character specializes: fine furniture, cabinetry, structures(read support beams and decorations for buildings), tools, or small items.
Carpenter’s Tools Skills and Special Uses
History. This tool proficiency aids you in identifying the use and the origin of wooden buildings and other large wooden objects.Investigation. You gain additional insight when inspecting areas within wooden structures, because you know tricks of construction that can conceal areas from discovery.Perception. You can spot irregularities in wooden walls or floors, making it easier to find trap doors and secret passages.Stealth. You can quickly assess the weak spots in a wooden floor, making it easier to avoid the places that creak and groan when they’re stepped on.Fortify. With 1 minute of work and raw materials, you can make a door or window harder to force open. Increase the DC needed to open it by 5.Temporary Shelter. As part of a long rest, you can construct a lean-to or a similar shelter to keep your group dry and in the shade for the duration of the rest. Because it was fashioned quickly from whatever wood was available , the shelter collapses 1d3 days after being assembled.Xanthar’s Guide to Everything page 80
Carpenter’s KnowledgeBecause of their training and apprenticeship, carpenter’s have a natural knowledge of:
- Wood types and their uses. A skilled carpenter can identify nearly every variety of trees used for lumber.
- Well built vs. cheap furniture and items
- The structuralintegrity of buildings as well as the ability to read blueprints (which is harder than you might think!)
- Identify false bottoms in drawers, as well as find hidden buttons, drawers or mechanisms and even traps!
When to ask for a Carpenter’s Tools checkIf you player is attempting to create or carve something into wood, have them make a dexterity/strength check, depending on the situation, then add their proficiency modifierto the roll. Here are some other situations that could call for a carpenter’s tools check:
- Fixing a wooden object, (e.g. wagon wheel)
- Attempting to open a wooden box without opening the lock
- Rigging a door/window or box with a booby-trap or to make harder to open (add 5 to the door/window’s AC)
- Checking a piece of furniture for false backs or hidden drawers or while looking for traps on a door, chest, or other wooden object
- Building a temporary structure for the group while traveling
Cartographer’s ToolsCosts: 15 gp Includes: A quill, ink, parchment, a pair of compasses, calipers, and a ruler.A cartographer makes maps. They can scout out unmapped areas, create detailed maps of known areas, or simply mass-produce maps for purchase. A skilled cartographer is often found in a large city where there are abundant adventurer’s to purchase their maps. You will likely also find them at Universitiesand accompanying official missions for kingdomsto new or little known locations.
Cartographer’s Tools Skills and Special Uses
Arcana, History, Religion. You can use your knowledge of maps and locations to unearth more detailed information when you use these skills. For instance, you might spot hidden messages in a map, identify when the map was made to determine if geographical features have changed since then, and so forth.Nature. Your familiarity with physical geography makes it easier for you to answer questions or solve issues relating to the terrain around you.Survival. Your understanding of geography makes it easier to find paths to civilization, to predict areas where villages or towns might be found, and to avoid becoming lost. You have studied so many maps that common patterns, such as how trade routes evolve and where settlements a rise in relation to geographic locations, are familiar to you.Craft a Map. While traveling, you can draw a map as you go in addition to engaging in other activity.Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 80
Cartographer’s KnowledgeDue to their occupation, a cartographer has a large knowledge base of locations, as well as distances and measurements. You can expect your cartographer to know:
- Where all the major cities, mountain ranges and bodies of water are
- A rough estimate of how long it will take to travel pretty much anywhere
- A helpful list of nearby cities and towns
- Where to find information on landmarks and history
- How to NOT get lost
When to ask for a Cartographer’s Tools skill checkIf the player is consulting one of his/her many maps, have him/her make an intelligence roll plus their proficiency modifierfor their cartography tools. You can also have them make a cartographer’s tools checkwhen the player wants to:
- Record the location of a new discovery on a current map
- Create a new map (real or fake) of an area or specific location
- Attempt to understand hidden messages on a map or follow a coded map (e.g. treasure map)
- Calculateexact travel distance or time
Cobbler’s ToolsCost: 5 gp Includes: a hammer, an awl, a knife, a shoe stand, a cutter, spare leather, and thread.(Xanthar’s Guide to Everything, page 80) Some of you might be surprised to learn that a cobbler is someone who makes shoes. Cobblers are similar to leatherworkers, but they specialize in hard, tough leather fit for making shoes. Cobbler’s are found in every city and town, but their level varies greatly.Some cobbler’s focus on making rough, working shoes for the common folks, while others are really artists, crafting only the finest of shoes for Lords and Ladies.
Cobbler’s Tools Skills and Special Uses
Arcana, History. Your knowledge of shoes aids you in identifying the magical properties of enchanted boots or the history of such items.Investigation. Footwear holds a surprising number of secrets. You can learn where someone has recently visited by examining the wear and the dirt that has accumulated on their shoes. Your experience in repairing shoes makes it easier for you to identify where damage might come from.Maintain Shoes. As part of a long rest, you can repair your companions’ shoes. For the next 24 hours, up to six creatures of your choice who wear shoes you worked on can travel up to 10 hours a day without making saving throws to avoid exhaustion.Craft Hidden Compartment. With 8 hours of work, you can add a hidden compartment to a pair of shoes. The compartment can hold an object up to 3 inches long and 1 inch wide and deep. You make an Intelligence check using your tool proficiency to determine the Intelligence (Investigation) check DC needed to find the compartment.Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 80
Cobbler’s KnowledgeFew things are as essential for all walksof life as shoes. Because of this, cobblers have special knowledge not just of shoes, but of the people who wear them too.You can expect a cobbler to know:
- Quality leather items from junk
- A person’s social status based on their shoes
- Several people in their home community (rank depends on the quality of shoes sold)
- Where to find quality shops for clothing and leather goods
- The size and height of a person based on their footprints
- Where the person is likely to have traveled recently/what profession they practice
When to ask for a Cobbler’s Tools checkBecause cobbler’s tools consist of leather, glue, an awl or leather punch, tough sewing materials, and molding materials (for making models of feet to work off of), they are actually quite useful for a variety of things that don’t include making shoes.Ask your player to roll a dexterity/intelligence check and add their proficiency bonusto the roll when using their cobbler’s tools. Below are some possible situation in which your players might want to use their cobbler’s tools:
- Fixing broken or damaged leather items (specifically shoes, but you could roll with disadvantage on fixing other leather items)
- Making a new pair of shoes or repairing current ones
- Measuring an object
- Punching holes in soft materials or binding material together with laces
- Making molds or casts, especially of footprints
- Stitching up another player’s wounds to keep them from bleeding out (Disadvantage? yes Freaking Awesome? Also yes.)
Cook’s UtensilsCost: 1 gp Includes: a metal pot, knives, forks, a stirring spoon, and a ladle.One of the cheapest and perhaps humblest of the tools is the cook’s utensils. But don’t let it fool you into thinking it is useless. It might be the most practical of the toolsets!Whether the character was a professional chef, or just a gifted amateur, having a dedicated cook in the party is a benefit to everyone!
Cook Utensils Skills and Special Uses
History. Your knowledge of cooking techniques allows you to assess the social patterns involved in a culture’s eating habits.Medicine. When administering treatment, you can transform medicine that is bitter or sour into a pleasing concoction.Survival. When foraging for food, you can make do with ingredients you scavenge that others would be unable to transform into nourishing meals.Prepare Meals. As part of a short rest, you can prepare a tasty meal that helps your companions regain their strength. You and up to five creatures of your choice regain 1 extra hit point per Hit Die spent during a short rest, provided you have access to your cook’s utensils and sufficient food.Xanathar Guide to Everything page 81
A Cook’s KnowledgeA cook who is used to forging in the woods for food and making due with what they have will definitely know the following:
- Eatable vs. poisonous plants and berries
- A variety of snares, traps, and baits for catching game
- How to tell if an animal is sick or healthy
- How to tell if plants are healthy or blighted
- Healthy/immune-boosting herbs and plants
When to ask for a Cook’s Utensil’s checkWhen players use cook’s utensil’s for a skill check, I will most often have them roll an intelligence or wisdom check based on the character. They then add their proficiency modifier to the roll. Some situations in which you could have player’s roll using cook’s utensils include:
- Finding and preparing meals while traveling
- Spotting poison or impurities in food
- Preparing a gourmet meal for a troll so it won’t eat your friends (was that too specific?)
Disguise KitCost: 25 gp Includes: cosmetics, hair dye, small props, and a few pieces of clothing.If you don’t have a the magical ability to disguise yourself, then a disguise kit is practically a necessity. While it isn’t flawless, it gets the job done in a pinch.Containing make-up and other ways to disguise one’s appearance, disguise kits are a basic staple of D&D.Usually only those with a more…shall we say “colorful” background are given the option to take the disguise kit, but they should be widely available in larger cities where theaters are more common. Unlike thieves tools, which might raise suspicion if you go looking for them, most shop owners won’t question someone trying to find a disguise kit. Making them readily available to character who might not otherwise have them. Remember, havinga disguise kit and being proficientwith a disguise kit are two verydifferent things!
Disguise Kit Skills and Special Uses
Deception. In certain cases, a disguise can improve your ability to weave convincing lies.Intimidation. The right disguise can make you look more fearsome, whether you want to scare someone away by posing as a plague victim or intimidate a gang of thugs by taking the appearance of a bully.Performance. A cunning disguise can enhance an audience’s enjoyment of a performance, provided the disguise is properly designed to evoke the desired reaction.Persuasion. Folk tend to trust a person in uniform. If you disguise yourself as an authority figure, your efforts to persuade others are often more effective.Create Disguise. As part of a long rest, you can create a disguise. It takes you 1 minute to don such a disguise once you have created it. You can carry only one such disguise on you at a time without drawing undue attention, unless you have a bag of holding or a similar method to keep them hidden. Each disguise weighs 1 pound.At other times, it takes 10 minutes to craft a disguise that involves moderate changes to your appearance, and 30 minutes for one that requires more extensive changes.Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 81
Disguise Kit KnowledgeFor those players who are accustomed to disguising themselves, life has given them a particular knowledge others likely don’t possess. Those proficient with disguise kits likely also:
- Know how to blend into a crowd
- Know how to be/cause a distraction when needed
- Understand how people from different walks of life dress and act
- Knows when and how to hide
When to ask for a Disguise Kit skill checkLikely, this will be one of the easiest tools to ask for a skill check. Your players will let you know when they want to use their disguise kit, and you will ask them to make either a dexterity or performance check (based on their character) and add their proficiency modifier to the roll.Some examples of when to use a disguise kit and ask for a check are:
- Covering bruises or scratches
- Attempting to look like another humanoid
- Spotting a disguise worn by someone else
Forgery KitCost: 15 gp Includes: several different types of ink, a variety of parchments and papers, several quills, seals and sealing wax, gold and silver leaf, and small tools to sculpt melted wax to mimic a seal.Another staple of D&D, forgery kits allow players to make copies of documents or forge someone’s seal or signature.While calligraphy tools focus on making new documents that look and sound official, forgery kits are for copying existing documents.
Forgery Kits Skills and Special Uses
Arcana. A forgery kit can be used in conjunction with the Arcana skill to determine if a magic item is real or fake.Deception. A well-crafted forgery, such as papers proclaiming you to be a noble or a writ that grants you safe passage, can lend credence to a lie.History. A forgery kit combined with your knowledge of history improves your ability to create fake historical documents or to tell if an old document is authentic.Investigation. When you examine objects, proficiency with a forgery kit is useful for determining how an object was made and whether it is genuine.Other Tools. Knowledge of other tools makes your forgeries that much more believable. For example, you could combine proficiency with a forgery kit and proficiency with cartographer’s tools to make a fake map.Quick Fake. As part of a short rest, you can produce a forged document no more than one page in length. As part of a long rest, you can produce a document that is up to four pages long. Your Intelligence check using a forgery kit determines the DC for someone else’s Intelligence (Investigation) check to spot the fake.Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 81
Forgery Kit KnowledgeIf your player has proficiency in forgery, you can bet they also have knowledge of other shady practices. Forgery is not something anyone knows how to do. Sure, we all forged mom or dad’s signature on a field trip slip or a sick note once… or twice, but that is far different from true forgery. If your player has proficiency with a forgery kit, they almost certainly also know:
- At least one black market or underground contact
- How to identify authentic vs. falsified documents
- How to obtain handwriting or official documents “off the books”
- A dealer or handler of fake art, documents or other items
When to ask for a Forgery Kit skill checkThe neat part about forgery kits is that they can be used in conjunction with other tools to make a more convincing copy of an item. For example, using a forgery kit with calligraphy toolscreates a more convincing “legal document” or “writ.” A forgery kit and cartographer’s tools pair together to make a fake map look real! If a player wants to use a forgery kit in conjunction with another tool, have them roll for each separately, both times adding their proficiency modifier to the roll (provided they have proficiency with the tool). If one player has proficiency in a toolset and another has proficiency with the forgery kit, and they want to work together to create a forged item, you have two options:
- Have both players roll for their respective parts, adding their own proficiency to the roll. In this option, one player is creating the item (e.g. a map or document) and the other player is adding special touches to the end product to make it look more real (e.g. a seal or a signature). I would suggest adding to the DC of spotting the document is a fake based on how high the forgery roll is for this option.
- Have one player roll with advantage and add proficiency ONCE. In this case, both players are working together on the item to add authentic touches throughout. Remember, only add one proficiency bonus to the highest of the two rolls.
- Spotting a fake item or document
- Attempting to copy seals or handwriting as samples to keep for later
- Identifying family seals or crests
- Adding gold or silver leaf to something (and trust me, it isn’t ever what you think it will be.)
Glassblower’s ToolsCost: 30 gp Includes: a blowpipe, a small marver, blocks, and tweezers. You need a source of heat to work glass.Glassblowing is the process of taking a molten piece of glass and shaping it into a useable object or work of art. Traditionally, this was the way in which glass objects were made. If you have never seen this process before, it is amazing to watch! Check out the YouTube video by the Chrysler Museum of Artbelow to learn more about this process.
Glassblowing Tools Skill and Special Uses
Arcana, History.Your knowledge of glassmaking techniques aids you when you examine glass objects, such as potion bottles or glass items found in a treasure hoard. For instance, you can study how a glass potion bottle has been changed by its contents to help determine a potion’s effects. (A potion might leave behind a residue, deform the glass, or stain it.) Investigation. When you study an area, your knowledge can aid you if the clues include broken glass or glass objects.Identify Weakness. With 1 minute of study, you can identify the weak points in a glass object. Any damage dealt to the object by striking a weak spot is doubled.Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 82
Glassblower’s KnowledgeAt this point you may be thinking, how could this toolset possibly be useful?Yes, you do need a fire that gets up to 2300 degrees F in our world to melt glass, but remember, this is a fantasy world we are talking about! Imagine a wizard/sorcererwho comes from a family of elite glassblowers. He/she could use any number of fire spells to melt the glass and infuse it with magic to make it nearly impossible to break!Or glow a certain color if poison or tainted water is poured into it. All I am saying is there is a whole fantasy realm of possibilities here that you should keep open for your players!That being said, even in normal circumstances, there is a large body of knowledge a glassblower would knowin addition to their trade, such as:
- Glass in a fantasy world is restricted to the wealthy, you can believe a glassblower would know the rich and famous of the city in which they work
- Quality glass items vs. cheaply made
- The purpose of a custom glass container
- Magic infused glass items
- Potentially what potion is in a glass vial based on how the glass reacts to it (this would be a high DC though, I would suggest 20)
When to ask for a Glassblower’s skill checkMost often you will ask for a glassblower’s skill check when the player is attempting to make a complicated glass object.If they want to make simple vials or potion bottles, I let the player make 1d4 of such items per hour. Some other events that might call for a glassblower’s skill check might be:
- Analyzing the glass pieces in a damaged room to determine how it was broken (e.g. explosion vs. punched)
- Cutting glass to open a window/door without alerting anyone
- Appraising the value of a glass item
- Identifying the contents of a glass jar/vial
Herbalism KitCost: 5gp Includes: pouches to store herbs, clippers and leather gloves for collecting plants, a mortar and pestle, and several glass jars.An herbalism kit is different from an alchemist’s tools or a poisoner’s kit. Herbs are the main ingredient usedin potions, while chemicalsare the base of alchemist kits. The two are very different. Herbalist focus on finding/growing herbs necessary to create healing potions and antitoxins.Herbalists know plants and how to use them. They can create balms and salves that can be used to treat diseases. Proficiency in this kit is required to create antitoxins and potions of healing.
Herbalism Kit Skills and Special Uses
Arcana. Your knowledge of the nature and uses of herbs can add insight to your magical studies that deal with plants and your attempts to identify potions.Investigation. When you inspect an area overgrown with plants, your proficiency can help you pick out details and clues that others might miss.Medicine. Your mastery of herbalism improves your ability to treat illnesses and wounds by augmenting your methods of care with medicinal plants.Nature and Survival. When you travel in the wild, your skill in herbalism makes it easier to identify plants and spot sources of food that others might overlook.Identify Plants. You can identify most plants with a quick inspection of their appearance and smell.Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 82
Herbalist’s KnowledgeHerbalist’s know pretty everything there is to know about plants.Which at eatable, which are rareand, therefore, expensive, and which plants to avoid. Beyond that, herbalist also might know:
- Potion sellers! Always helpful.
- How to barter/trade for the best prices on potions
- How to brew an exceptionalpot of tea
- How to forage for tasty and nutritional food
- Identify a variety of diseases based on their symptoms
When to ask for a Herbalism Kit skill checkWhen a player wants to create a potion, healing balm or salve, have them roll an intelligence/wisdom check and add their proficiency to the roll. Some other situation that might call for a herbalism kit skill check are:
- Identifying a poison and creating an antitoxin
- Identifying a disease and knowing a cure
- Foraging for herbs or food
- Identifying plants or berries
- Analyzing the contents of a potion to know its effects
Jeweler’s ToolsCost: 25 gp Includes: a small saw and hammer, files, pliers, and tweezers.A Jeweler is a person who works with precious stones and metals or other, more common materials. In a fantasy setting, this can include creating simple jewelry for common folks, cultural pieces, ceremonial items, enchanted items, or extremely fancy jewelryfor the rich. If one of your players has proficiency in jeweler’s tools, you might want to ask exactly what kind of jewelry they make. This will give you greater insight into who/what the player might know.
Jeweler’s Tools Skill and Special Uses
Arcana. Proficiency with jeweler’s tools grants you knowledge about the reputed mystical uses of gems. This insight proves handy when you make Arcana checks related to gems or gem-encrusted items.Investigation. When you inspect jeweled objects, your proficiency with jeweler’s tools aids you in picking out clues they might hold.Identify Gems. You can identify gems and determine their value at a glance.Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 82
Jeweler’s KnowledgeUnderstanding gemstones is actually a pretty useful skill in D&D. A lot of enchanted items are created using the natural magic found in gemstones.This means that jeweler’s know a lot more than you might think at first glance. You can expect a jeweler in D&D to know:
- The suppliers of gems and rare metals in most major cities
- How to spot a fake gem or item from a mile away
- The common uses of specific gems in enchanting
- The value of nearly any gem or piece of jewelry
When to ask for a Jeweler’s Tool skill checkWhen I ask for a jeweler’s tools skill check, I always back the skill check on what the player is trying to do. For example, if they are trying to determine whether or not an item is the original or a knock-off, I would tell them to roll an investigation check and add their proficiency. However, if they are trying to craft an item, I would ask them to roll a dexterity skill check and add their proficiency.Here are some situations for a jeweler’s tools skill check:
- Crafting a piece of jewelry
- Examining a jewel-encrusted item to determine its possible purpose
- Authenticating or dating a piece of jewelry
- Appraising the value of gems or jewelry
Leatherworker’s ToolsCost: 5gp Includes: a knife, a small mallet, an edger, a hole punch, thread, and leather scraps.“Leatherworker” is an extremely broad term for anyone who works with leather. In a fantasy setting, this could mean a lot of things, and you will want to clarify with your playerexactly whatarea of leatherworking they are trained in. A leatherworker could include making: saddles, leather armor, gloves, chaps, backpacks or saddlebags, book bindings, belts, component pouches, furniture, clothing, and engraved leather items.
Leatherworker’s Tools Skills and Special Uses
Arcana. Your expertise in working with leather grants you added insight when you inspect magic items crafted from leather, such as boots and some cloaks.Investigation. You gain added insight when studying leather items or clues related to them, as you draw on your knowledge of leather to pick out details that others would overlook.Identify Hides. When looking at a hide or a leather item, you can determine the source of the leather and any special techniques used to treat it. For example, you can spot the difference between leather crafted using dwarven methods and leather crafted using halfling methods.Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 82
Leatherworker’s KnowledgeBecause the techniques used in creating leather items are roughly the same, leatherworkers have a large base of knowledge in their field. If an item is made of leather, any leatherworker should know quite a bit about it, even if they have never made the item themselves. You can expect leatherworkers to have a knowledge of:
- Leather tanning methods, as often times tanning and leatherworking go hand-in-hand
- A contact list of hunters and farmers who would’ve provided them with animal skins
- Ability to spot leather craftsmanship from other cultures
- How to judge the quality of a leather item
- At least a small well of knowledge of arcane ruins that can engraved on leather and what they do
When to ask for Leatherworker’s Tools skill checkMuch like the jeweler’s tools above, the skill check I ask player’s to make when using leatherworker’s tools is based on their actions. If they are trying to craft or repair a leather item, I have them roll a dexterity skill check and add their proficiency modifier to the roll.If, however, the player is wanting to determine the age or quality of a leather item, I would ask them to roll an investigation or perceptioncheck(their choice) and add their proficiency modifier to the roll.Here are some more examplesof times you could ask for a leatherworker’s tools skill check:
- Appraising the value of leather items
- Crafting leather items or tanning leather while out on the road
- Investigating leather items for clues
- Determining the origins of leather goods
Mason’s ToolsCost: 10 gp Includes: a trowel, a hammer, a chisel, brushes, and a square.Mason’s work with brick and stone to create buildings and structures. Masons can be found in any village or city and should be considered the “working class.” Don’t ignore this toolset just yet, it has just as many benefitsas more “upper-class” professions.
Mason’s Tools Skills and Special Uses
History. Your expertise aids you in identifying a stone building’s date of construction and purpose, a long with insight into who might have built it.Investigation. You gain additional insight when inspecting areas within stone structures.Perception. You can spot irregularities in stone walls or floors, making it easier to find trap doors and secret passages.Demolition. Your knowledge of masonry allows you to spot weak points in brick walls. You deal double damage to such structures with your weapon attacks.Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 83
Mason’s KnowledgeA mason is more of a people-professionthan a lot of other more “upper-class” trades. A mason builds and repairs homes, businesses and even places of worship. They are seen as “down-to-earth” and people often trust a mason right away.There is more to masonry than just laying one brick on to of another. Masons have special skills and knowledge such as:
- An understanding of materials and which are the strongest or weakest
- A network of clients and businesses who would be willing to help them in a pinch
- The ability to determine how old a structure is and what culture created it
- Knowledge of where different types of stone are located in the earth and what forces create them
When to ask for Mason’s tools skill checksAlthough at first glance, you may think you would never ask for a Manson’s tools skill check, there are a surprising amount of scenarios where this is useful. Turns out, adventurers do a lot of exploring in ancient dungeons and ruins, making a mason a surprisingly useful trade to have on the team! Ask your player to make a skill check based on what they are trying to accomplish and add their proficiency modifierto the roll. Some examples of when you might ask for a mason’s tools skill check are when a player wants to:
- Determine the age/culture of origin/purpose of a building or structure
- Find the weak point in a building in order to collapse it
- Investigate the type of rock found in an area to determine what geological features might be in the area (e.g. If traveling underground, the party might start to see a lot of obsidian, the mason would know they are getting close to volcanic activity)
- Find traps or hidden doors in a stone structure
Navigator’s ToolsCost: 25 gp Includes: a sextant, a compass, calipers, a ruler, parchment, ink, and a quill.Often taken with the “sailor” background, navigators are responsible for tracking a ship’s course at sea.Back before GPS, this was a very important job and required a lot of skill and knowledgein several areas.
Navigator’s Tools Skills and Special Uses
Survival. Knowledge of navigator’s tools helps you avoid becoming lost and also grants you insight into the most likely location for roads and settlements.Sighting. By taking careful measurements, you can determine your position on a nautical chart and the time of day.Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 83
Navigator’s KnowledgeA navigator’s one job it to keep the ship or group from becoming lost.They are trained to know where they are at all times. This can come in very handy when adventuring through the wilderness! Because of their training, you can expect a navigator will know:
- More advanced mathematics and astronomy
- The time of day based on the sun’s position in the sky
- Good & bad weather signs
- Everything about certain areas they navigate often
- At least a few Captains whom they have worked for
When to ask for Navigator’s Tools skill checkA naviagor’s tool skill check is pretty straightforward. Most often you will have the player roll an intelligence/wisdom skill check (their choice) and add their proficiency bonus to the roll. It is likely these are the two skill checks you will be asking for most often because most often players will be adventuring and relying on the navigator to find the way.There are some other times you could ask for a navigator’s skill check, such as when a player wants to:
- Look at a map and determine the quickest/safest way to get to their destination
- Find an alternate route
- Determine the month based on the constellations
- Remember a path they have taken before
Painter’s SuppliesCost: 10 gp Includes: an easel, canvas, paints, brushes, charcoal sticks, and a palette.For some, adventuring means seeking gold and riches. To others, it means finding new and exciting subjects for their art! Painters are artists seeking to capture the most exciting and beautiful landscapes and subject matter to bring a new perspective to their art!Taking this proficiency means your player has interpreted the phrase “suffer for art” very literally. However, this proficiency isn’t without its more practical usesas well!
Painter’s Supplies Skills and Special Uses
Arcana, History, Religion. Your expertise aids you in uncovering lore of any sort that is attached to a work of art, such as the magical properties of a painting or the origins of a strange mural found in a dungeon.Investigation, Perception. When you inspect a painting or a similar work of visual art, your knowledge of the practices behind creating it can grant you additional insight.Painting and Drawing. As part of a short or long rest, you can produce a simple work of art. Although your work might lack precision, you can capture an image or a scene, or make a quick copy of a piece of art you saw.Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 83
Painter’s KnowledgeTo become an artist takes more than just talent. A proficient painter has studied for yearsto understand all the history and techniques of his/her profession. This makes artist walking history bookswhen it comes to art and art subject matter. A very useful skillwhen your party is search for clues about an ancient being! Because of their studious nature, you can expect your painter to know:
- A brief history of most of the gods (they are a big subject in art, after all), wars, and legendary items or people
- A wide variety of interesting people (artists are known for being eccentric!)
- How to spot a fake painting from an original
- The value of ancient art pieces the party might find
When to ask for a Painter’s Supplies skill checkArtists should be able to quickly paint a copy of what they see, provided they take a long or short rest, no roll required. However, I would have a player roll either an intelligence or wisdom skill check and add their proficiency bonusfor any of the following:
- Spotting an original piece among a bunch of copies
- Determining the age/value/origins of a work of art
- Interpreting the message in a work of art
- Remembering the lore behind a piece of art
Poisoner’s ToolsCost: 50 gp Includes: glass vials, a mortar and pestle, chemicals, and a glass stirring rod.A poisoner is the black sheep of the herbalist family. You aren’t likely to see a player with proficiency in poisoning outside of ex-criminals and assassins. Poisoners specialize in creating lethal and toxic concoctions to kill or incapacitate their enemies. This specialized training gives poisoners unique skills and knowledgeno other profession gains.
Poisoner’s Kit Skills and Special Uses
History. Your training with poisons can help you when you try to recall facts about infamous poisonings.Investigation, Perception. Your knowledge of poisons has taught you to handle those substances carefully, giving you an edge when you inspect poisoned objects or try to extract clues from events that involve poison.Medicine. When you treat the victim of a poison, your knowledge grants you added insight into how to provide the best care to your patient.Nature, Survival. Working with poisons enables you to acquire lore about which plants and animals are poisonous.Handle Poison. Your proficiency allows you to handle and apply a poison without risk of exposing yourself to its effects.Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 83
Poisoner’s KnowledgePoisoners know their poisons, be they natural or man-made. They are very knowledgeable on how poisons affect the body and where to find them. A proficient poisoner’s knowledge will include:
- Where to find poisons, be they chemicals, herbs, or animal parts as well as who sells them
- Identify poisons based on their effects on the human body and how to counteract them
- How to handle poisons without harming self or others
- How to disguise the taste of poison
When to ask for a Poisoner’s Kit skill checkPoisoning is a specific skill set, but it does have some far-reaching implications. If the player is working with a poison, ask for a dexterity skill check. If they are attempting to research or understanda poison, ask for either an intelligence or wisdom skill check, based on the character’s strengths. Make sure to have the player add their proficiency if they don’t already have proficiency in the skill.Some situations in which your player might want to make a poisoner’s kit check are:
- Identifying a poison based on it’s effects
- Collecting poison from an unusual source (e.g. the fangs of an unknown creature)
- Testing a food or water source for poison
- Creating a new poison
Potter’s ToolsCost: 10 gp Includes: potter’s needles, ribs, scrapers, a knife, and calipers.A potter uses his/her hands and some tools to mold clay into useable items, such as pots, jars, or pieces of art. The clay is then fired in a kiln to harden it. Much like the glassblower and the painter, a proficiency in pottery is often overlooked by players and DMs. However, being a potter in a fantasy world would have been a very practical profession! While the wealthy might order glass or precious metal items, common folks would have turned to a potter to provide them with everyday items. The world of D&D is practically littered with pottery, making a knowledge of it extremely practical!
Potter’s Tools Skills and Special Uses
History. Your expertise aids you in identifying ceramic objects, including when they were created and their likely place or culture of origin.Investigation, Perception. You gain additional insight when inspecting ceramics, uncovering clues others would overlook by spotting minor irregularities.Reconstruction. By examining pottery shards, you can determine an object’s original, intact form and its likely purpose.Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 84
Potter’s KnowledgePotters are unique in that they have both practical and artistic knowledge which they use in their work. A potter must have an artist’s eye to create beautiful pieces people want to buy, but they also much know the benefits and limitations of the materials they are working with. The combination of art and practically in this profession should be fun to explore! Some areas a potter would be especial knowledgable of include:
- Geographic areas to find different types of clay and how to use them
- History of pottery stylesand techniques in different cultures
- A wide and eclectic client base
- The purpose of items, especially if they were for common use, decorative, or ceremonial
When to ask for a Potter’s Tools skill checkIf a player wants to make simply objects using their pottery tools, I do not make them roll a skill check. I allow players to make 1d4 small pieces of pottery per hour they workwhich much then be fired (heated in a kiln) over a long rest to be ready to use. If a player is attempting to make a more intricate piece, I have them roll a dexterity skill check and add their proficiency modifierto the roll. If they are investigating a piece of pottery, I let them choose between an intelligence or wisdom skill checkplus their proficiency modifier. You could have you player roll a potter’s tools skill check if they are:
- Attempting to date, appraise, or otherwise understand a piece of pottery or investigate broken pottery
- Determining if a piece is authentic or fake
- Find clayorunderstand a geological area based on the dirt found there
- Use their tools for a purpose other than creating pottery, such as removing a small object or delicately placing one
Smith’s ToolsCost: 20 gp Includes: hammers, tongs, charcoal, rags, and a whetstone.Smiths forge iron in useful items using a furnace and tools. Any item made of metal had to go through the hands of a smith, from a mighty sword to the simple horseshoe. In a fantasy setting, blacksmiths are an important part of the economy. When you players find a village or city, their first stop is likely a blacksmith. Repairing and upgrading weapons and armor are essential in D&D, and blacksmiths make that possible. Because of their essential nature, having a player with proficiency in smithing can be quite useful. While they cannot make items while on the road(unless they have the magical or alchemical means to create a very hot fire) but they do have skills and knowledgethe group needs.
Smith’s Tools Skills and Special Uses
Arcana and History. Your expertise lends you additional insight when examining metal objects, such as weapons.Investigation. You can spot clues and make deductions that others might overlook when an investigation involves armor, weapons, or other metalwork.Repair. With access to your tools and an open flame hot enough to make metal pliable, you can restore 10 hit points to a damaged metal object for each hour of work.Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 85
Smith’s KnowledgeA smith’s knowledge goes beyond their trade. To become a proficient blacksmith, a player must have connections to materials, rich knowledge of those materials, and a skillful hand.If your player is proficient with smith’s tool, then you can expect that PC to know:
- The properties and uses of various metals
- Mining connections
- How to manipulate and utilize fire
- How to spot quality items from inferior ones
When to ask for a Smith’s Tools skill checkIf a player wants to forge a simple object or make a basic repair, I do not have the player roll a skill check. I assume that these tasks are elementary for a proficient blacksmith, given they have the right tools and access to a forge.However, if a player would like to forge an item or weapon that is more difficult or repair something that has been shattered, have the player roll a strength or dexterity skill check and add their proficiency modifier. Alternatively, if the player is examining a metal object to learn about it, have the player roll an intelligence or wisdom skill check and add their proficiency modifier. Some situations that might require a skill check are when the player wants to:
- Open a metal object or door without unlocking it
- Determine the value of weapons or armor
- Understand how a metal object was used based on the wear and damage the item received
- Repurpose a metal object to fit their needs in a pinch
Thieve’s ToolsCost: 25 gp Includes: a small file, a set of lock picks, a small mirror mounted on a metal handle, a set of narrow-bladed scissors, and a pair of pliers.Perhaps the most used tools in D&D, thieve’s tools are used to pick locks, see around corners, disarm traps and stealthy commit crimes.Those with proficiency in thieve’s tools are ex-criminals, assassins, and rogues. These tools are notfor common, law-abiding citizens. Players with proficiency in thieve’s tools will also have contacts in the criminal world and will likely have other nefarious knowledge as well.
Thieve’s Tools Skills and Special Uses
History. Your knowledge of traps grants you insight when answering questions about locations that are renowned for their traps.Investigation and Perception. You gain additional insight when looking for traps, because you have learned a variety of common signs that betray their presence.Set a Trap. Just as you can disable traps, you can also set them. As part of a short rest, you can create a trap using items you have on hand. The total of your check becomes the DC for someone else’s attempt to discover or disable the trap. The trap deals damage appropriate to the materials used in crafting it (such as poison or a weapon) or damage equal to half the total of your check, whichever the DM deems appropriate.Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 84
Thieve’s KnowledgeThieves are experts at finding valuables and disarming the trapsthat often guard said valuables. Such a skill might have been learned in order to survive the streets of a city or during a particularly rebellious phase of life. However the skill were learned, they come with knowledge few others will have.A proficient thief will know
- Contacts in the criminal world, including a fence (someone who buys stolen items)
- How to gain information on a target through bribes, tailing, or deceit
- How to find hidden valuables
- Where to look for traps
- How to spot a rich target
When to ask for a Thieve’s Tools skill checkThere are many situations in which you might allow players to add their thieves’ tool proficiency to a skill check roll. If the player is doing any criminal activity or attempting to learn about a target through sneaky means, it is likely they should be adding their proficiency. Some examples of when I might ask for a thieve’s tools skill check are when a player:
- Attempts to stealthily open a locked door or window
- Disarms or sets a trap
- Attempts to gain information using questionable means
- Investigates a room for a hidden safe or stash
Tinker’s ToolsCost: 50 gp Includes: a variety of hand tools, thread, needles, a whetstone, scraps of cloth and leather, and a small pot of glue.Tinkers are creative inventors who use a variety of tools and materials to craft…well…anything they can think of! Tinkers are even able to invent something out of random spare parts. They are mechanically-minded and have a keen eye for engineering. Perhaps more than the other professions, tinkers have a broad knowledge of mechanics and principals of movement, as well as mathematics, physics, and even magic!Although, this knowledge could be limited to what they needed to know for specific projects. A proficient tinker will have a lot of random knowledge. I think it is fun to have players make a short list of random knowledge, which they can call upon in times of trouble.
Tinker’s Tools Skills and Special Uses
History. You can determine the age and origin of objects, even if you have only a few pieces remaining from the original.Investigation. When you inspect a damaged object, you gain knowledge of how it was damaged and how long ago.Repair. You can restore 10 hit points to a damaged object for each hour of work. For any object, you need access to the raw materials required to repair it. For metal objects, you need access to an open flame hot enough to make the metal pliable.Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 85
Tinker’s KnowledgeIn order for their experiments and inventions to work, tinkers must study many subjects. They likely are not experts in any one field, but rather do the research they need for a project and then move on. *DM Idea* Have you tinker player jot down a list of inventions, both successful and failed. This will give you a better idea of what knowledge they might have! This jumbled and eclectic collection of knowledge means a tinker should be allowed to use his/her proficiency outside of constructing new items. It is likely a tinker will know a little in each of the following fields:
- Steam or arcane power systems (depending on your style of game)
- Joints, gears, and the physics of motion
- Astronomy (moving calendars and constellation trackers)
- Various fields of mathematics
When to ask for a Tinker Tools skill checkIt is important to remember that proficiency in tinker tools doesn’t just mean the player knows how to use hand tools. Proficiency also means they know how to be a successful tinker. Taking this into consideration, so situations in which I could call for a skill check and allow my player to add their tinker tool proficiency would include:
- Understanding the function of an invention, including how to turn it on/off and what its weaknesses might be
- Gaining insight into a clue which has mathematical, theoretical, or physics roots
- Building something useful out of scraps or random materials under pressure
- Recalling random, but useful, information from previous studies
Weaver’s ToolsCost: 1 gp Includes: thread, needles, and scraps of cloth. You know how to work a loom, but such equipment is too large to transport.Weavers use a loom to weave together materials to create fabrics for clothing and other uses. This fabric can be anything from fine silk to coarse wool. Much like real life, a weaver could create fine clothing for the rich or cheap cloth for peasants. You should ask your player what type of fabric/clothing they specialize in making to get a better idea of what they might know as a weaver.
Weaver’s Tools Skills and Special Uses
Arcana, History. Your expertise lends you additional insight when examining cloth objects, including cloaks and robes.Investigation. Using your knowledge of the process of creating cloth objects, you can spot clues and make deductions that others would overlook when you examine tapestries, upholstery, clothing, and other woven items.Repair. As part of a short rest, you can repair a single damaged cloth object.Craft Clothing. Assuming you have access to sufficient cloth and thread, you can create an outfit for a creature as part of a long rest.Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 85
Weaver’s KnowledgeWeavers need to know a lot of peopleto keep their business viable. Not only do they need raw materials to create fabrics, but they also need to sell those fabrics to seamstress’ or merchants. This means that weavers will know not only everything about their craftbut often everything about the business worldtoo! You can expect a weaver to know:
- Who to contact for materials (silk, wool, cotton, etc.) and who to contact to sell woven fabrics
- At least one contact in the black market (even if they have never used it themselves)
- How to spot a rich person in a crowd based on what they are wearing
- How to dress for every occasion
When to ask for a Weaver’s Tool skill checkDepending on the character, this could be a really fun proficiency to have! A flamboyant bard or a snobby noble might constantly ask to judge people based on what they are wearing. In such cases, I would suggest having the player roll an insight skill check and add their proficiency bonusbecause of their weaver’s knowledge. Some other examples of when I would ask players to roll a skill check for weaver’s tools might be when a player:
- Looks for clues based on tapestries, fabric found at the scene, or damaged clothing on a suspect
- Wants to gain insights based on what the NPC is wearing (social status, where they have traveled, etc.)
- Determines the enchantment placed on a cloak based on the symbols embroidered on it
- Spot the richest person in the room, you know, to “talk” to them
Woodcarver’s ToolsCost: 1 gp Includes: a knife, a gouge, and a small saw.A woodcarver is skilled at adding intricate designs to wooden objects.This can be as simpleas a adding decorative touchesto a walking stick or as complex as carving ruinsinto a wand. Woodcarvers make their living using their patience and skillful handsto make any mundane wooden object extraordinary.
Woodcarver’s Tools Skills and Special Uses
Arcana, History. Your expertise lends you additional insight when you examine wooden objects, such as figurines or arrows.Nature. Your knowledge of wooden objects gives you some added insight when you examine trees.Repair. As part of a short rest, you can repair a single damaged wooden object.Craft Arrows. As part of a short rest, you can craft up to five arrows. As part of a long rest, you can craft up to twenty. You must have enough wood on hand to produce them.Xanathar’s Guide to Everything page 85
Woodcarver’s KnowledgeWoodcarvers know a lot of information regarding wood varieties. They are accustomed to working with different woods depending on the purpose of the item they are making. They also know how to make useful items, and can do so quickly. Beyond knowing how to carve wood, you can expect a woodcarver to know:
- How to identify trees as well as how to know if a tree is healthy or not
- Quality lumber and wooden items from inferior ones
- Basic ruins for enchantments
- Styles and techniques of carving that are unique to other cultures
When to ask for a Woodcarver’s Tool skill checkLike with many other tool sets, if a player with proficiency in woodcarving wants to make a simple wooden object, I let them do so without rolling a skill check.In order to create more complex objects or carve intricate details, have the player make a dexterity skill check and add their proficiency modifier to the roll.If the player is attempting to learn about a wooden object, ask them to make an intelligence or wisdom skill check, depending on their character’s strengths, and add their proficiency modifier.Some specific examples of when to ask for a woodcarver’s tools skill check could include when a player:
- Investigates the purpose or iconography on a wooden object
- Examining an object’s carvings to determine what enchantment has been placed on it
- Discovering clues based on the features or style of a wooden item
- Attempting to repair a delicate wooden object, such as a wand