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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:

Strength[]

  • Athletics

Dexterity[]

  • Acrobatics
  • Sleight of Hand
  • Stealth

Intelligence[]

  • Arcana
  • History
  • Investigation
  • Nature
  • Religion

Wisdom[]

  • Animal Handling
  • Insight
  • Medicine
  • Perception
  • Survival

Charisma[]

  • Deception
  • Intimidation
  • Performance
  • Persuasion

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.

Skill Description[]

Acrobatics.[]

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.

Animal Handling.[]

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.[]

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.[]

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.[]

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.[]

History is your ability to recall lore about historical events, legendary people, ancient kingdoms, past disputes, recent wars, and lost civilizations.

Insight.[]

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.

Intimidation.[]

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.

Investigation.[]

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.[]

Medicine lets you try to stabilize a dying companion or diagnose an illness.

Nature.[]

Nature measures your ability to recall lore about terrain, plants and animals, the weather, and natural cycles.

Perception.[]

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.[]

Performance determines how well you can delight an audience with music, dance, acting, storytelling, or some other form of entertainment.

Persuasion.[]

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.[]

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.

Stealth.[]

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.

Survival.[]

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.

Hiding
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.”

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