Gaming Articles

Making an Awesome D&D Character: Step 5

Table of Contents

Skills & Proficiencies

Based on the total number of levels you have accumulated, your character gets more proficient with the skills and abilities they have started out with. This starts out as a +2 bonus to skills you are proficient with and goes up in tiers as you level with the highest being +6 at level 17. You can still use skills you are not proficient with though, but they will not be as powerful later in the game.

In addition to your proficiency, your skill modifier also has the associated ability modifier added with it. To determine your ability score modifier, take your score, subtract 10 and then divide by half rounding down. Alternatively, you can use this handy-dandy chart.

Score Modifier
Ability Scores and Modifiers
1 −5
2–3 −4
4–5 −3
6–7 −2
8–9 −1
10–11 +0
12–13 +1
14–15 +2
16–17 +3
18–19 +4
20–21 +5
22–23 +6
24–25 +7
26–27 +8
28–29 +9
30 +10


For example, if you are using Athletics which is typically a Strength-based ability, and your Strength is 13, your modifier would be +1. If you proficient in Athletics, this changes to +3 at level 1.

Below we will go into a brief primer about what each skill does and why you would want to pick it.


Skill Primary Ability Explanation
Acrobatics Dexterity The ability to escape grapples and keep your balance
Animal Handling Wisdom The ability to handle beasts including riding animals and change an animal’s mood
Arcana Intelligence Knowledge of magic resulting from arcane study
Athletics Strength The ability to break grapples, move heavy objects, and perform jumps
Deception Charisma The ability to deceive
History Intelligence Knowledge of historic events, places, and people
Insight Wisdom The ability to see through deception and sense another’s intention
Intimidation Charisma The ability to intimidate someone into cooperation
Investigation Intelligence Looking for clues or piecing together how something works
Medicine Wisdom First aid and ability to perform medical procedures
Nature Intelligence The knowledge of natural phenomenon and beasts
Perception Wisdom The ability to use your senses to perceive the material world
Performance Charisma Using instruments, your voice, or dancing to make money
Persuasion Charisma Using reason or emotional appeal (beyond deception and intimidation) to promote a behaviour
Religion Intelligence Knowledge of religious rituals and deities
Sleight of Hand Dexterity To use your hands delicately to steal, misdirect, or pocket an object
Stealth Dexterity The ability to avoid being perceived
Survival Wisdom The ability to forage, hunt, and track

Tool, Armour, and Weapon Proficiencies

There are other forms of proficiencies that don’t have a numerical benefit. With tools, they allow you to use your proficiency bonus when making certain checks.  With weapons, you get to add your proficiency when you’re trying to hit with the weapon, and with armour you have disadvantage on any ability check, saving throw, or Attack roll that involves Strength or Dexterity, and you can’t cast Spells. (Source:




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