D&D Skills Players Never Invest In (Until It’s Too Late)

There are so many ways to customize characters in Dungeons and Dragons, but these less popular skills are useful to have in the right situation.

Character creation in Wizards of the Coast’s Dungeons and Dragons is an exciting time for any adventurer, be they a veteran or a new D&D player learning the ropes. It’s a moment of limitless opportunity to play any kind of hero one’s own imagination can create. And yet, while skills, proficiencies, and bonuses are divvied out, there are a few that go overlooked and unseen, only to be regretfully coveted when their relevant moments arise.

For new players, Dungeons and Dragons can be an intimidating climb. The rulebooks are thick, the customizations are endless and navigating D&D online can be daunting. Experienced players, however, often already know what skills and stats they can dump to make room for something more “useful.”

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Below are just a few skills all Dungeons and Dragons players should think twice about before sending them to the chopping block.

Dungeons and Dragons’ Tools

Dungeons and Dragons Inside Herbalism Kit

Tools and Kits in the world of Dungeons and Dragons are premade packs that allow players to do, create, or accomplish something their regular skills may not cover. An Herbalism Kit, drawn above by DeviantArt artist peppermint-moss, allows players to create useful potions or remedies. If one takes proficiency in the Herbalism kit, they are granted the practical ability to create healing potions. Other kits include those of Poisoner’s for creating dangerous toxins, and Disguise for altering one’s appearance, among others.

Choosing a proficiency in these tools can alter the game tremendously. Proficiency in a musical instrument or a gaming set can make for some exciting role-playing opportunities, whereas proficiency in thieves’ or navigators’ tools can significantly broaden the boundaries a Dungeons & Dragons party can explore.

Dungeons and Dragons’ Skills

Dungeons and Dragons Bandage Medicine Skill Check

Skills are a huge part of Dungeons and Dragons character creation. Skill proficiencies are assigned based on the race, class, or the background D&D players choose, but players are occasionally offered the chance to choose their own skill proficiencies as well. While every skill has its practicality, there are certainly a few that seem to lack in popularity.

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Nature is a skill that is often neglected against the more popular Survival skill in Dungeons & Dragons. A Survival check can detect tracks and predict the weather, but it is the Nature skill that knows about the local flora & fauna and the lore surrounding the terrain.

When the party’s pockets are full of health potions and there’s a Cleric nearby, proficiency in Medicine seems redundant. But when a friend lies unconscious with two failed saving throws, the Medicine check will stabilize and bandage them, as shown above by DeviantArt’s Starryeyedcannibal above. One never knows when a non-healer will have the opportunity to save a life or diagnose an illness, and it is better to be safe than sorry.

Adventurers that aren’t Bards may assume the spotlight won’t find them. When it inevitably does, it is always handy to have proficiency in Performance. A white lie can be checked as Deception, but when the whole town congregates to hear why the head of the guard is dead, the story suddenly becomes a performance – and it better be good.

Dungeons and Dragons Actions

Dungeons and Dragons DnD Hide Action

Beyond skills and proficiencies in D&D, there are a few lesser-used but common actions that any adventurer can use to their advantage. Using the Help action gives another creature advantage on an ability check, and in battle Help can be used to allow an ally to attack with advantage.

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Shove can also prove useful to Dungeons & Dragons player characters with the strength to pull it off. A successful shove can knock an enemy prone, granting teammates an opportunity for massive damage. Conversely, rather than engaging at all, one could also hide or find cover, as seen illustrated by DeviantArt’s otter-faerie above, for a moment of respite, whether to heal or scope the battlefield.

Endless opportunity lies in the hands of a Dungeons and Dragons player. It is a chance for gamers to become the epic hero of their dreams, and yet so many players rely solely on what they believe will be useful. By considering these small adjustments in character building, one gains the opportunity to rebuild the beloved game into something new, unique, and unpredictable.

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Updated: January 7, 2021 — 6:55 pm

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