Wisdom measures a character’s practical intelligence, their cleverness, their perceptiveness, and how in tune they are with the world around them. Characters with high Wisdom are perceptive, observant, and sensible. They are able to handle animals, notice subtle details about creature’s motives and about the world around them, and to make decisions when the right choice isn’t clear.
Wisdom is most important for Clerics, Druids, Monks, and Rangers. For Clerics, Druids, and Rangers, it is used for spellcasting, and ahigher score means that their spells will be more effective. For Monks, Wisdom improves their Armor Class and the effectiveness of several of their class features.
Animal Handling, Insight, Medicine, Perception, and Survival are all tied to Wisdom.
Animal Handling measures your ability to interact with, handle, train, and ride animals of all kinds. If you want to command a stray dog to sit, to keep your horse calm in the heat of battle, or to calm an angry bear, you would make a Wisdom (Animal Handling) check.
Insight is used to discern another creature’s feelings and motives, and most commonly to discern when another creature is lying.
When a creature attempts to lie convincingly, they make a Charisma (Deception) check against your Passive Insight (10 + your Insight modifier). If they roll below your Passive Insight, you notice that they are being deceitful. We’ll cover more on passive skills later in this guide.
See also: Passive Insight.
Medicine covers mundane, non-magical medical knowledge. Medicine can be used to stabilize a dying creature, and to diagnose illness.
Perception measures your awareness and your ability to percieve external stimulae. A character with high Perception is more likely to notice hidden items and creatures, more likely to hear whispered conversations, and more able to eavesdrop through doors.
See also: Passive Perception.
Survival is used to follow tracks, to find food in the wilderness, to avoid natural hazards, and generally just to survive without the comforts of civilization.