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“Mastering the Art of Skills: A Guide to D&D Skill Mechanics”

Mastering the Art of Skills: A Guide to D&D Skill Mechanics

In Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) and Pathfinder, skills represent a character’s learned abilities and knowledge. They are used to perform specific actions or tasks within the game, such as persuading an NPC, picking a lock, or tracking an enemy.

Each skill is associated with one of the six ability scores (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma) and is calculated by adding the character’s rank in that skill to the corresponding ability score modifier.

Skills are broken down into two categories: class skills and cross-class skills. Class skills are the skills that are tied to a specific class, while cross-class skills are skills that are not tied to a specific class.

To use a skill, a player rolls a 20-sided die, adds their skill ranks and the appropriate ability score modifier, and compares the result to a target number (also known as a Difficulty Class or DC) set by the game master (GM) or determined by the situation.

There are dozens of different skills in D&D and Pathfinder, covering a wide range of activities, from combat to crafting, and from social interactions to survival. Some examples of common skills include Acrobatics, Athletics, Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Perception, Stealth, and Survival.

Players can improve their skills over time by spending skill points earned as they level up, by receiving training from NPCs, or by using magical items that boost their skill ranks.


A.Acrobatics (Dexterity; Armor Check Penalty)Alchemy (Intelligence; TRAINED ONLY)Animal Empathy (Charisma; TRAINED ONLY; DRUID, RANGER ONLY)Appraise
B.Balance (Dexterity; Armour Check Penalty)Bluff (Charisma)  
C.Climb (Strength; Armour Check Penalty)Concentration (Constitution)Craft (Intelligence) 
D.Decipher Script (Intelligence; Trained Only)Diplomacy(Charisma)Disable Device (Intelligence; Trained only)Disguise (Charisma)
E.Escape Artist (Dexterity; Armour Check Penalty)   
F.Fly (Dexterity; Armor Check Penalty)Forgery (Intelligence)  
G.Gamble (Wisdom)Gather Information (Charisma)  
H.Handle Animal (Charisma; Trained Only)Heal (Wisdom)Hide (Dexterity; Armour Check Penalty) 
I.Intimidate (Charisma)Intuit Direction Skill (Wisdom; TRAINED ONLY)  
J.Jump (Strength; Armour Check Penalty)   
K.Knowledge (Intelligence; Trained Only)   
L.Listen (Wisdom)   
M.Move Silently (Dexterity; Armour Check penalty)   
O.Open Lock (Dexterity; Trained Only)   
P.Perception (Wisdom)Perform (Charisma)Profession (Wisdom; Trained Only) 
R.Ride (Dexterity)Ritual Casting (Constitution; Trained Only; Armour Check Penalty; Spellcasters only, cross-class paladin, Ranger) (Intelligence)  
S.Scry (Intelligence; BARD, CLERIC, DRUID, SORCERER, WIZARD ONLY)Search (Intelligence)Seduction (Charisma, untrained)Sense
 Sleight of Hand (Dexterity; Trained Only; Armour Check Penalty)Speak Language (None; Trained Only)Spellcraft
Intelligence; Trained Only)
Spot (Wisdom)
 Stealth (Dexterity; Armor Check Penalty)Survival (Wisdom)Swim (Strength; Armour Check Penalty) 
T.Tantra (Charisma, Trained Only) Tumble (Dexterity; Trained Only; Armour Check Penalty)  
U.Use Magic Device (Charisma; Trained Only)Use Rope (Dexterity)  
W.Wilderness Lore (Wisdom)   
Y.Yoga (Constitution, Trained Only)
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