Proficiency is one of the most important mechanical parts of a character. It is a central part of any character or creature’s statistics, and it’s a defining part of what they are good at. Proficiencies come from several different sources, and apply to a variety of subjects, but every proficiency is measured by the same proficiency bonus.

For any given proficiency, you either have the proficiency or you don’t. You will gain proficiencies from your character’s race, their class, their background, and occasionally from some other sources.

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Proficiency Bonus

Every character and every creature has a proficiency bonus, starting at +2 and growing as a creature becomes more powerful or as a character gains levels. This bonus applies to every d20 roll where one of your proficiencies applies.

Not everything which requires proficiency will use your Proficiency bonus. Proficiency in a language allows you to speak, read, and write in that language, but you don’t receive a numerical bonus related to that capability.

Note that your Proficiency Bonus typically does not contribute to damage with attacks. This is a common error made by players new to the game.

Types of Proficiencies

  • Armor (Light, Medium, Heavy, and Shields)
  • Languages
  • Saving Throws
  • Skills
  • Tools
    • Artisan’s Tools
    • Gaming Sets (Dice, Cards, Dragonchess, etc.)
    • Vehicles (Land Vehicles, etc.)
    • Other Tools (Thieve’s Tool, Herbalism Kit, etc.)
  • Weapons (Simple and Martial weapons)

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