Ability checks are dice rolls that determine whether a creature succeeds or fails at a task. When attempting an ability check, a creature rolls a d20, and then adds the relevant ability score modifier and, if applicable, proficiency bonus to the results of the roll. If the final results equal or exceeds a target Difficulty Class (DC), specific to that task, it is considered as success.
Skills and proficiency[edit | edit source]
Most ability checks are associated with a specific skill. If a creature is proficient with an ability check's associated skill, they may add their proficiency bonus to the results of that roll, in addition to the relevant ability score modifier. These rolls are often referred to as skill checks by the community, although they are not referred to as such in-game.
Proficiency bonus[edit | edit source]
A character's proficiency bonus starts at +2 at level 1, and increases by 1 every 4 levels thereafter, increasing to +3 at level 5, and to a total of +4 at level 9.
Expertise[edit | edit source]
Expertise in a skill allows a creature to add double its proficiency bonus to the results of the roll. Expertise usually comes from specific class features.
Automatic rolls[edit | edit source]
Some ability checks are automatic. For example, when a creature approaches an unactivated trap, the game rolls a Perception ability check to determine whether the creation notices the trap. Perception is a Wisdom Skill, so the character adds their Wisdom modifier and, if proficient in Perception, their proficiency bonus to the ability check. Once the trap is discovered, the character can interact with it to attempt to Disarm it, which requires a successful Sleight of Hand check, a Dexterity Skill.
Ability checks during dialogue[edit | edit source]
Ability checks are also common during dialogue, where some responses require a ability check to determine the outcome. Examples include using Charisma-based skills like Persuasion, Deception or Intimidation to influence others, or Intelligence-based Skills like Investigation, History or Religion to determine or remember facts.
Contests[edit | edit source]
A contest is a special type of ability check in which two creatures both roll an ability check to oppose each other, and one wins over the other. The creatures don't necessarily roll the same type of check.
An example of this is the Shove action. The creature attempting the Shove rolls Athletics, and the defending creature rolls either Athletics or Acrobatics (the game chooses the Skill with the highest bonus) to contest the Shove. If the attacker's roll is higher than the defender's, the Shove succeeds; otherwise it fails.
|Resources||Action • Bonus action • Reaction • Movement speed • Concentration|
|Dice rolls||Ability check • Ability score modifier • Advantage • Attack roll • Damage roll (Mechanics) • Initiative • Inspiration • Proficiency (Bonus) • Saving throw|
|Other mechanics||Alchemy • Approval • Damage types • Difficult Terrain • Enchantment • Reactions • Resting • Stealth • Barter ( Attitude • Traders • Trading and item pricing)|
|Items|| Equipment (Weapons • Clothing • Armour • Shields • Headwear • Handwear • Footwear • Amulets • Rings • Cloaks)
Consumables (Arrows • Coatings • Dyes • Elixirs • Grenades • Potions • Scrolls) • Miscellaneous
|Ability scores||Strength • Dexterity • Constitution • Intelligence • Wisdom • Charisma|
|Races||Dragonborn • Drow • Dwarf • Elf • Githyanki • Gnome • Half-Elf • Half-Orc • Halfling • Human • Tiefling|
|Classes||Barbarian • Bard • Cleric • Druid • Fighter • Monk • Paladin • Ranger • Rogue • Sorcerer • Warlock • Wizard|
|Character features||Armour Class • Backgrounds • Creature size • Feats • Hit points • Illithid powers • Point Buy • Skills • Spells (List • Mechanics)|