5th Edition

Using Skills is a series of posts that delves into and discusses each skill in 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons. This index is meant to make this series easier to navigate for anyone wishing to look up a particular skill.

And now we finally come to the last part of our ongoing series on the skills of 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons. Last time we covered Stealth, and for this final discussion we’ll be going over that friend of rangers and barbarians: survival.


Using Skills – Survival

The bent blades of grass. The occasional broken dead twig from the surrounding autumn forest trees. A slight smell still on the air; of horse sweat and steel.

“Less than an hour,” the tracker said, brushing dead grass out of the way of the muddy hoof-print. “Riding east hard, though they’ll need to be turning south-east to get around the river.”

Survival is the skill of thriving outside the confines of civilization.

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So I may have missed a couple of updates here for a couple of weeks. Holidays keep me busy and tired because of my real (lame) job, and so my blog suffers. Nevertheless, late though it is, I have for you the next part of our Using Skills series. Last time on this series we covered Perception, which I recommend you go back and read. This time clear your throat and tune those strings, it’s…


Using Skills – Performance

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The old warrior, far past his battle years though those long near-forgotten days still marked him with scars upon his arms and face, leaned forward in his customary chair by the fire. His audience, a small group of disparate children, crowded around him. The light of the fire cast shadows that danced behind them on the oaken beams of the great hall. He stared past the children to these fey shapes and as he leaned in, they did the same – ready to cling on to his every word. His voice, it was said, had the power to summon up the spirits of warriors and dragons from days gone by; to transport you to primeval glades and crystalline caverns; to unveil the very fabric of the magical universe. Finally his old voice, gravelly and low, spoke out the first incantation that brought all of this to life: “Once upon a time…”

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Thank you for joining us for this week’s edition of Using Skills, covering perception. Last time in this series we took a look at Nature. Last week we had taken a break and instead presented to you a new version of the Automaton race. Check it out!


 

Using Skills – Perception

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As her party circumvents a dank old tunnel, the sorceress taking up the rear finds that an odd shape on the ceiling above catches her eye. From his hidden spot on the balcony above the ancient chamber, the thief gazes around trying to find anything out of the ordinary in the chamber below. As he makes his way through a large crowd, the knight notices a small dirty hand make its way to his belt pouch. Perception is the boon of any adventurer that wants to survive in the dark and hidden places of the world.

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All right, we’re finally back on track with our ongoing series Using Skills, in which we define and explore each skill in Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition. Last time in this series we took a look at Intimidation. Today we’re looking at Investigation. Enjoy!


Using Skills – Investigation

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A scholar pores over a text, surrounded by piles of books, looking for the one clue that will cause everything else to fall into place. The scout inspects a tile in the floor that looks ever so slightly different then the rest. The dwarven foreman taps the cavern wall lightly with his small surveyor hammer, listening to the sound, looking for the best place to begin work on a new tunnel. Investigation is using your powers of deduction to link clues and arrive at a conclusion.

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Last week we covered History. This week, it’s all about that woogy feeling you get around creeps. That’s right, Insight. Or, a PCs spider sense. Enjoy!


 

Using Skills – Insight

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The guard captain reads over the suicide note a third time, noting a rather matter-of-fact tone that wouldn’t match the nervous man now hanging from the barn rafters. The barbarian narrows her eyes at the guide she hired to get her through the city to the harbor, finding his manner and speech ringing false. The minstrel strikes a chord on his lute as he listens to the crowd, getting a feel for their mood before deciding what to play. Insight is your natural awareness and empathy of other people and creatures.

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And now back to our Using Skills series. Last time we covered Deception, this time its…


Using Skills – History

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The cleric studies the small wooden idol, trying to determine if it matches the descriptions of ancient orc fetishes she had learned about years ago as a scholar. A thief selects an unassuming jewel from the vault he has broken into, knowing this one to be the crown jewel of the old kingdom. The paladin pales as he deciphers the name carved in old draconic above the sarcophagus, having heard it many times in ancient tales of evil. History is the domain of those who study the past in order to further their fortunes in the future. Read Full Article

Last week we covered Athletics. After a hiccup in the order, I present to you Using Skills – Arcana! We are now back on schedule.


Using Skills – Arcana

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A wizened scholar pores over an ancient text once thought of little note, but he is beginning to know better. A treasure hunter traces her finger over the sigil set into the chamber wall, remembering the right way to draw the symbol so as to not set off the ancient trap. The warlock repeats a phrase he learned early in his youth, once believing it to be a child’s rhyme but now knowing its true power. Arcana is the domain of arcane lore and secrets; the deep well of knowledge about the power that weaves itself throughout existence.

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Welcome to the third part in the Role Play Craft Using Skills series. Last time in this series we covered Animal Handling, and today we’re covering Athletics! I appreciate the feedback on this series so far, and I’m glad a lot of you are finding it useful or enjoyable.

You might notice that we’ve skipped Arcana. This wasn’t intentional – I’m just bad at planning. We’ll cover Arcana next week.


Using Skills – Athletics

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The half-orc carefully chooses another hand-hold on the sheer cliff face, lifting himself little by little toward the ridge above. A kensei leaps from a tree branch far across the skirmish field to land in front of the goblin chief. The sailor, thrown overboard, tries to calmly keep her head afloat amid the storm-chopped water. Athletics is the domain of heroic physical feats against incredible odds.

The Player’s Handbook describes it thus: “Your Strength (Athletics) check covers
difficult situations you encounter while climbing, jumping, or swimming.” (PHB pg.175)

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Welcome to part 2 of my weekly series on using the skills of 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons. Last week we covered Acrobatics, and this week we’ll be going over Animal Handling

As mentioned before, the point of this series is to clearly define what each skill is as well as provide examples and options for using it in your game. Some skills, such as Animal Handling, seem (to me) to not be used as much as they should. Hopefully this series of posts will inspire you to try something new in your games, or provide your PCs with the opportunity to do so themselves.


Using Skills – Animal Handling

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A woodsman coaxes a bear cub, badly burned by a bushfire, out from under a dead log. A hunter watches warily as a dire wolf stalks nearer, trying to figure out if the thing is curious – or hungry. A charging knight guides his stallion to jump over a thorny wall of brambles with only the slightest touch. Animal Handling is the domain of those with a connection to the beasts of the world, and the desire to control them in some way.

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