Skill Breakdown for 5th Edition D&D

Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma, Skill DCs

Lifting, pushing, pulling, breaking, forcing, brute force
Athletics Dangerous situations when climbing, jumping, or swimming.
  • Avoid hazards while climbing
  • Climb a sheer or slippery cliff
  • Jump extra far or do a tricky stunt while jumping
  • Climbing while something is trying to knock you off
  • Swimming or keeping your head above water in strong currents, storms, or thick weeds
  • Keeping your head above water while something else tries to pull you under or otherwise interfere
Strength Check STR affects your carrying (STR mod x 15), pushing, dragging, or lifting max weight (2x carry), and your max jump height/distance
  • Break out of bonds (ropes, manacles)
  • Force open a door (stuck, locked, etc)
  • Squeeze through a small space
  • Push over something heavy
  • Hang on while being dragged along
  • Stop something heavy like a boulder or cart


Move gracefully, quickly, quietly, or keep from falling on difficult footing
Acrobatics Stay on your feet in a dangerous situation
  • Balance on tightrope
  • Run on ice
  • Perform stunts, dives, rolls, flips, and somersaults
  • Keep balance on a stormy ship's deck
Sleight of Hand Skillful hand use and manual trickery
  • Pick someone elses pocket (coins, object, etc)
  • Conceal an object on yourself
  • Plant an object on someone
Stealth Remain out of sight
  • Slip away in a busy crowd
  • Hide from enemies in shadows and behind objects
  • Slip past some guards unnoticed
  • Sneak up behind someone without being seen or heard
Dexterity Check
  • Pick a lock
  • Disable a trap
  • Tie someone up
  • Control a runaway cart
  • Steer a vehicle around a tight turn
  • Wriggle out of rope bonds
  • Play a stringed instrument
  • Craft a small or detailed object


Push yourself beyond your normal limits
Constitution Check
  • Hold your breath
  • Travel or work for over 8 hours without rest
  • Go without sleep
  • Survive without food or water
  • Chug an ale in one shot


Logic, education, memory, deductive reasoning
Arcana Recall knowledge about spells, magic items, symbols, magic traditions, the planes of existence, and the creatures on the planes.
History Recall knowledge about events, famous people, kingdoms, wars, and lost civilizations.
Investigation Look for clues and make deductions.
  • Deduce the location of a hidden object
  • Determine the cause of a wound
  • Find the weak point in a tunnel to collapse it
  • Search through a scroll for hidden knowledge
Nature Recall knowledge about terrain, plants, animals, the weather, and natural cycles.
Religion Recall knowledge about deities, rites, prayers, religious hierarchies, holy symbols, and secret cults.
Intelligence Check
  • Communicate without spoken words
  • Estimate the value of something
  • Make a disguise
  • Forge a document
  • Recall knowledge about a craft or trade
  • Win at trivia


Read body language, empathy, notice things around you, care for someone injured
Animal Handling Control or influence an animal
  • Calm a domesticated animal
  • Control a mount when spooked or during risky maneuver
  • Understand an animal's intent
Insight Determine a creature's true intent
  • Tell if someone is lying
  • Predict someone's next move
  • Detect a change in movements, speech habits, and mannerisms
Medicine Stabilize a dying creature or diagnose an illness
Perception Spot, hear, or otherwise detect something
  • Hear a conversation through a closed door
  • Eavesdrop under a window
  • Hear a creature moving stealthily
  • Spot something obscured or easily missed
Survival Do something difficult in nature
  • Follow tracks
  • Hunt wild game
  • Guide a group through rough terrain
  • Identify signs of an animal nearby
  • Predict the weather
  • Avoid quicksand or other hazards
  • Build a campfire in the rain
Wisdom Check
  • Get a gut feeling about a situation
  • Determine if a creature is undead


Make friends and influence people
Deception Convincingly hide the truth
  • Fast-talk a suspicious guard
  • Con a merchant
  • Trick the dealer when gambling
  • Pass yourself off in a disguise
  • Maintain a straight face and body language when telling a blatant lie
Intimidation Influence through threats, hostile actions, and physical violence
  • Pry information from a prisoner
  • Convince thugs to back down from a mugging
  • Use an improvised weapon to get someone to reconsider their choice
Performance Delight an audience with music, dancing, acting, storytelling, or other entertainment.
  • Sing a song well
  • Dance on the table as a distraction
  • Entertain bandits
Persuasion Influence others with your social graces
  • Act in good faith
  • Foster friendships
  • Make a civil request
  • Exercise proper etiquette
  • Convince a chamberlain to grant audience with the king
  • Negotiating peace between warring tribes
  • Inspire a crowd
Charisma Check
  • Find a good source of news, rumors, or gossip
  • Blend into a crowd and get a sense of key topics in conversations


Difficulty Class
Task DifficultyDC
Very Hard25
Nearly Impossible30

DC By Level

For a character to have a 50% chance of succeeding at a skill, you add 10 + their modifier. A typical modifier by level can be found in the table below, where "Proficiency" is their proficiency bonus, "Bonus" is the likely bonus of their highest attribute, and "Both" is the likely modifier for their best skill. Thus for a typical level 9 Wizard, they would have a 50% chance to succeed at a DC 19 Arcana check.

Bonus By Level

Social Checks

Attitudes are based on the NPC's ideals, bonds, and flaws and disposition can typically be shifted by appealing to (up) or coming into conflict (down) with them, but never more than 1 shift in an encounter. Successful insight checks can give hints or insights into an NPC's ideals, bonds, and flaws (and not as a catch-all lie detector). Use RP to determine disposition, and other PCs assisting can offer advantage or disadvantage on the roll based on if they're helpful or unfavorable. More details here.

Friendly Disposition
0-9Helpful but won't take risks
10-19Take minor risks to help
20+Accept significant risk or sacrifice to do as asked
Indifferent Disposition
0-9Won't help, but won't harm
10-19Helpful but won't take risks
20+Take minor risks to help
Hostile Disposition
0-9Will actively try to hinder the PCs and will accept minor risks to do so
10-19Won't help, but won't harm
20+Helpful but won't take risks or make any sacrifices

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