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D&D Skills 101

Nerdarchy > Dungeons & Dragons  > D&D Skills 101
5E D&D Explorers Guide to Wildemount on the streets of Shadycreek Run behind cover

Take Cover! Taking a closer look behind defensive obstacles in 5E D&D

Recently I heard someone mention cover in the context of fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons and it got me thinking how this mechanic harbors some pretty potent defenses. There’s not a lot of material regarding cover in 5E D&D and yet what is there presents a wealth of opportunities for Dungeon Masters and the rest of the players in the game. Let’s get into it.

5E D&D musical instruments tools

Listen to the Sound of Music | Tool Time with Musical Instruments in 5E D&D

In our continuing discussion of tools and proficiencies in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons it’s time we talked about a craft many appreciate and even more confuse with the existing Performance skill. Grab your kalimba and take a seat in the orchestra because we’re talking about instruments. As a quick note tool proficiencies are generally nebulous in 5E D&D and their applications vary depending on your Dungeon Master. These posts are meant as guides for those who don’t know where to start but many DMs already have established rules for how tools proficiencies work in tandem with skills. So make sure to ask how tool proficiencies work in your own games.

5E D&D animal handling skill checks

5 Survival Skill Challenges for 5E D&D

Salutations, nerds! We’ve done it. We’ve made it to the last skill in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. I hope you’re prepared to make some Survival checks because as suggested by the title, we’re going to get into five skill challenges to give more skill based 5E D&D characters a moment to shine without taking over your entire game. Hopefully. As a note, per the usual each skill challenge is geared toward small moments of conflict to show those hard earned skills off and give a little more conflict to situations that would have otherwise gone smoothly. So without farther ado let’s dig into Survival.

5E D&D Deception skill check Stealth skill challenge

5 Stealth Skill Challenges for 5E D&D

Salutations, nerds. We’ve arrived at the penultimate set of skill challenges for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Be proud of me because you have no idea how tempted I was to skip Stealth, go straight to Survival and make a joke about how you failed your Perception checks. I resisted the urge! So today is all about you making 5E D&D NPCs fail their Perception checks, so let’s get to it. As a note, per the usual each skill challenge is geared toward small moments of conflict to show those hard earned skills off and give a little more conflict to situations that would have otherwise gone smoothly. They are not intended as hooks to bigger adventures but as you well know, no plan survives first contact with the players so know your table and be prepared for what they’re likely to do with what you hand them. Now, roll for stealth.

5E D&D Deception skill check Stealth skill challenge

5 Sleight of Hand Skill Challenges for 5E D&D

Salutations, nerds, and we’re back with another 5 skill challenges for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. This time it’s Sleight of Hand’s turn in the skill challenge spotlight and I’m going to be honest with you, this one was kind of difficult because Sleight of Hand is one of those 5E D&D skills characters typically instigate themselves by pickpocketing or trying to pilfer small objects in plain view. However, I wasn’t about to skip this one just because it’s difficult. Be prepared though, because things are about to get a little bit wacky and I’m hoping you laugh as hard as I did about it.

5 Religion Skill Challenges for 5E D&D

Salutations, nerds! Buckle up and cross your fingers I don’t burst into flames about three quarters of the way through typing this one because today we’re going to be talking about Religion skill challenges for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. Per the usual these are meant to be momentary stumbling blocks for 5E D&D characters and chances for them to show off their skills rather than the hooks to some other grand adventure, though as we all know the plan never survives first contact with the players. That said, get ready and try not to get smote.

5E D&D mason's tools

Are You Ready to Rock? | Tool Time with Mason’s Tools in 5E D&D

Masonry is everywhere in Dungeons & Dragons. From elven spires towering into the sky to ornate dwarven halls literally carved into the mountains the stonework of fantasy worlds are staples of the genre. Before we begin let’s remember while proficiencies are a core mechanic of fifth edition D&D, tool proficiencies don’t really fit neatly into the idea of proficiencies when it relates to skills and are more nebulous by design. When playing a character with an intrinsic tool proficiency, make sure to talk with your Dungeon Master about how you want that to look for your character. And with that out of the way, let’s talk about mason’s tools in 5E D&D!

dnd cartoon venger

5 Performance Skill Challenges for 5E D&D

Salutations, nerds! It’s that time of the week again and we’re going to be talking about Performance skill challenges for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. As usual, the point here isn’t to send characters off on some grand epic quest so much as to provide a momentary stumbling block giving those skill heavy 5E D&D characters a chance to shine! So without farther ado prepare your world to be a stage. I hope you’ve all practiced those soliloquies.

Shiny! | Tool Time with Jeweler’s Tools in 5E D&D

If you’re like me and easily distracted by shinies then this is the post for you because today we’re talking about jeweler’s tools in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons! As a quick aside proficiencies are a core mechanic of 5E D&D. However, tool proficiencies don’t fit neatly into the mechanic due to their more nebulous nature. Your own Dungeon Master might rule things differently from how we present things in this post so talk with your own DM and ask how they treat tool proficiencies, especially if you make that a core component of your character. With that out of the way let’s cover jeweler’s tools and how you might use them in your own game.

5E D&D archer

5 Perception Skill Challenges for 5E D&D

Salutations, nerds, and today we’re going to to be talking about five flash skill challenges for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons based on Perception. For example, did you notice the word ‘to’ was written twice in the previous sentence? The point of these is to give you a quick 5E D&D challenge to throw at characters for a moment of conflict when you need one or feel the need to slow things down. None of them are meant to send the party on some epic quest (though it’s always possible with the right — or wrong — group of players). Let’s get ready to roll some Perception checks.

little shop of horrors audrey II

Never Leaf Home without One! | Tool Time with Herbalism Kit in 5E D&D

Plants are one of those things in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons that perpetually perplex me. Many fantasy video games with a crafting system incorporate herbalism and have at least a small list of specific plants used as ingredients in various potions, dyes and the like. However, 5E D&D hasn’t provided extensive coverage for plants as of yet (at least, not at the time of this writing). What’s more it’s explicitly stated in official materials that proficiency with an herbalism kit allows you to concoct healing potions at half cost. It absolutely blows my mind how many people don’t know this or think it’s tied to alchemist’s supplies. As a quick disclaimer, while proficiencies are a core mechanic of 5E D&D, tool proficiencies are distinctly more nebulous than those for skills or weapons and your own Dungeon Master might rule how to apply tools differently from how we present here. With that out of the way let’s talk about the herbalism kit.

5E D&D archer

5 Nature Skill Challenges for 5E D&D

Salutations, nerds. We’re back with another set of five flash skill challenges for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. This time we’ll be tackling Nature, which covers quite a few things. Per usual the point here is not to send 5E D&D characters on some epic quest but instead to give them a momentary diversion for those moments in the game where they’re breezing through the adventure too fast and you need to slow things down, or when you have a player who keeps trying to roll a certain skill when you don’t have anything for it so you can give them a little spotlight. So, without further ado, Nature checks.

Through the Looking Glass | Tool Time with Glassblower’s Tools in 5E D&D

What mineral derived substance is more prevalent in the daily lives of construction workers, jewelers, churches and nearly everyone else in the fantasy world? If you answered glass, congratulations! You got it right, and we’re talking all about glass today when it comes to fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. After a hiatus from this series we’ve returned with our coverage of tool proficiencies in 5E D&D to go over what they contain, how to use them and creative applications for your games. As a quick disclaimer, while proficiencies are a core mechanic of 5E D&D, tool proficiencies are distinctly more nebulous than those for skills or weapons and your own Dungeon Master might rule how to apply tools differently from how we present here. With that out of the way let’s talk about glassblower’s tools.

5 Medicine Skill Challenges for 5E D&D

Salutations nerds. We’re back again with another set of flash skill challenges for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons and this time we’re talking about Medicine. If you ask me this is one of the more neglected skills in 5E D&D since there are so many healing spells to cast. Of course a couple of these could be solved with a quick healing spell but the vast majority of them require an actual skill check and this is, in fact, the idea. The idea here is to give you a few small encounters based around a skill challenge you can drop into your 5E D&D game to slow the action down and give characters a chance to flex their skills they don’t get to use perhaps as often. Let’s get to it, shall we?

5E D&D Deception skill check Stealth skill challenge

5 Investigation Skill Challenges for 5E D&D

Salutations, nerds! Continuing with the theme of five flash encounters for the skills in fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons, today we’re talking about Investigation. So put your detective hats on, get out your magnifying glasses, because we have some small mysteries to solve today. The idea here is to give you a few small encounters based around a skill challenge you can drop into your 5E D&D game to slow the action down and give characters a chance to flex their skills they don’t get to use perhaps as often. Investigation comes up fairly frequently anyway and sometimes it can be nice to have investigation for investigation’s sake. So with farther ado…

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