View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Create your own skills!

2019-05-16, 04:11 AM
Kyutaru and I were discussing skills and skill lists on this (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?588003-Too-many-skill-proficiencies!-O)thread, and it really opened my eyes. You don't have to limit yourself to the skills of the game. You are free to create skills that help you and your players to achieve the narrative that you want.

Remember, skills aren't just things you can do better by adding your proficiency bonus to. They represent the tools you give them as a DM to deal with the obstacles you present them with. This means that in a setting with a different set of obstacles you might want to introduce different skills.


90% af all uses for the RAW skills can be condensed into just a handful of skills:

Arcana (magical senses)
Athletics (everything related to movement)
Deduction (Insight, reading the situation)
Search (Investigation/Perception)
Leadership (Intimidate/Persuasion)
Medicine (can call it 'Medical Care' to make its use more obvious.)
Speechcraft (Persuasion/Deception)
Subtlety (Stealth+Sleight of Hand)
Campagin-specific knowledge skills.

By doing this you've kept the overall skillset of your players the same, but now have room to create 5-10 new skills specificly for your campaign.
I recommend aiming towards 12-15 skills, to stay in line with the number of proficiencies the players get.


If you're not a fan of a complete overhaul, here is the 5e skill list with all the setting-specifics removed:

Sleight of Hand

Which gives space for 3 new skills and 3 knowledge skills.


If you don't intend on using a skill, . Keeping it would only present a trap option to your players.

Adding new to a skill list immediately implies that it's an important aspect of your campaign, which aids immersion by foreshadowing the kind of atmosphere you're going for.

I even offer my players to create a skill, specific to their character. This is a great way to get a player more invested in portraying his character.

In a game where I expect my character's to be political ambassadors, I might change the names of some skills, for example Befriend, Negotiate, Blackmail and Demand. This is a good example of how you can affect the routes your players take by adjusting the skill list. These skills do the same things, but their name implies their use, which is a subtle hint to your players on how these skills can be applied.

For Waterdeep, you could add 'People and Places' as a knowledge skill, which allows the players to make a check to gain information about locations, NPC and factions.

You could add different types of Crafting, like I've done in my Houserule Document.

If you're in a Vampire/Werewolf setting you could have one skill that's "Occult" or "Monster Hunting" that gives a player more of a Van Helsing feel.

In a different setting, a Psionics skill could be added, or in a low-magic setting you can have a specific skill for using Wands

In a modern setting you might add Driving Skill and Programming

TL;DR You can shape the game to your specific campaign, by giving the player's campaign-specific skills. This draws them into the narrative in a way that expands upon the theme and atmosphere of your game.

2019-05-16, 09:41 PM
This is a very good point to make. Skills are general ideas for specialization, and can definitely be tailored to a setting.

2019-05-17, 11:33 AM
A good point, and worth bringing up. Thanks for sharing.

You're not the only person who misses Streetwise.

That said, I will say that "Crafting" has basically been moved to "proficiency with the tools that craft things" and taking off the die roll system. Most of me agrees with that. The rest wonders how high level you have to be to make a Stradivari instrument (or its counterpart). Returning it to skills might not be the best move, but it would at least let you drop a DC on such things.