5E Required Class Skills

SkidAce

Adventurer
D&D Beyond said:
Arcana
Your Intelligence (Arcana) check measures your ability to recall lore about spells, magic items, eldritch symbols, magical traditions, the planes of existence, and the inhabitants of those planes.
Lore, knowledge, and history, like the other knowledge skills.

Although many tie it to the mechanics/science of spellcasting (as do I in some cases) it is not necessarily so.

Wizard may not have bothered studying about the planes or their inhabitants. Or other magical traditions.

They merely learned to spellcast.* Heck it says "recall lore"....maybe they are the absent minded genius.



*now don't get me wrong, I feel there is some bleedover, but its not required.
 

Sword of Spirit

Adventurer
...which immediately limits the backgrounds I can pick...
Are you using a house rule that removes the core basic player-side option to customize backgrounds by choosing *any* two skills and *any* combination of two languages or tool proficiencies (among other things)?

Because that is, by the Basic Rules, as core of a player option as being able to choose a human fighter. There’s no problem with a DM house ruling any of those options away, but they need to realize they are removing an option that is considered to be more core than the ranger class itself.
 

Xeviat

Explorer
Are you using a house rule that removes the core basic player-side option to customize backgrounds by choosing *any* two skills and *any* combination of two languages or tool proficiencies (among other things)?

Because that is, by the Basic Rules, as core of a player option as being able to choose a human fighter. There’s no problem with a DM house ruling any of those options away, but they need to realize they are removing an option that is considered to be more core than the ranger class itself.

I mean that if I'm making a ranger to play for myself, I feel like my five skill choices are preset for me (though I acknowledge that that is partially me wanting Athletics and Nature, which aren't necessarily "needed", though I do want a proficient Int skill to gain part of the advantage of Favored Terrain). Thus, no matter what I build my background as, it's going to have to include two of those five skills, which limits me.

Whereas, looking at the fighter, I'd only feel like athletics was necessary, so my skill and background choices feel wide open. It is just an observation of the Ranger class, and I wonder how much of that contributes to any of the common dissatisfaction of the ranger by the community.
 

Sword of Spirit

Adventurer
Ah got it; a choice of any two skills is still only two skills. I only brought it up because it seems like a lot of people miss that option of the game and I have this strange compulsion to make people aware of all the available options (unless I'm dealing with brand new players--I'd rather have them play a pregen to start).
 
I just skimmed all the classes, and aside from the rogue's Hide function of cunning action, no class other than the ranger gets class abilities that utilize a particular skill. Plenty of subclasses do, but not the basic classes. This is really interesting to me.
It seems to me that, unless you want to "punish" lack of system mastery, you'd give a class with an ability that directly built on a skill that skill, up front, and if a sub-class had such an ability, make the skill in question a preq or perk of the subclass...

...But I don't feel like 5e design was nearly that exacting.
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
It seems to me that, unless you want to "punish" lack of system mastery, you'd give a class with an ability that directly built on a skill that skill, up front, and if a sub-class had such an ability, make the skill in question a preq or perk of the subclass...

...But I don't feel like 5e design was nearly that exacting.
I could see granting the skill as part of the feature that builds off it. I don't see any reason to grant it a level 1 though.
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
Every example seems to have learned what Arcana would teach
Arcana =/= spellcasting. Otherwise I could pick up Arcana for my fighter and cast wizard spells.

It's the difference between theoretical knowledge and practical understanding. In RW terms, the difference between understanding a concept in physics and performing a rote experiment that demonstrates that concept of. There are far fewer of the former than the latter.

Many wizards will be capable of both. They will have studied a wide range of magical effects and be able to identify them. That's Arcana; theoretical knowledge. By virtue of the fact that the PHB does not require wizards to have this knowledge, it is not required for spellcasting. This is not limited to 5e. BECMI, 2e, and 3.x all had skill systems that did not demand a wizard take Arcana/Spellcraft/[other equivalent skill].

The first example could have learned Arcana. It depends on whether his war mage mentor approached studies from a more theoretical or applied direction. I'm of the opinion that his non-traditional mentorship earns him the benefit of the doubt.

The second would be unlikely to have Arcana. The urchin is specifically called out as not understanding the theoretical underpinnings of what he is doing. That says to me that he isn't proficient in Arcana at all.

The last example is certainly not proficient. His past life is. But unless they're on speaking terms, that doesn't help the farmer. Just because he has an intuitive understanding of how to memorize and cast a spell doesn't mean he understands what he is doing in the least. Such lack of understanding could well play a role in his past life's plan to take over.
 

Cap'n Kobold

Adventurer
As hard as you're trying to be "right on the internet", nobody in this thread is confused about the DnD mechanical implementation of proficiency.
No, but there is definitely some confusion in the context that you were using it, and you opinion as to what the D&D mechanical implementation represents.
I think that is why Blue was pointing out the mechanical difference in D&D between being proficient in something and being good at it. - To try to resolve the confusion and work out in what context you were using the word.

We're trying to discuss what it would even mean for someone to devote their life to being a math professor, being good at it, and somehow never becoming skilled at math. As others have rightly pointed out, it's a bit nonsensical.
No, unless there is confusion about what a wizard actually is. They use rote spells involving specific verbal incantations, gestures etc to create effects. That sounds more like a technician to me. The only part of the wizard class that would appear to show specific knowledge is the ability to come up with new spells every level. Given that spells are only one part of what Arcana covers, this does not seem conclusive that all wizards are trained in Arcana, rather than other options.
The arcana experts? The "math professors"? That sounds to me more like a sage rogue with expertise in Arcana. - All that time the wizards were practicing the exact intonations etc required to cast spells, the sage was learning more about planar geography, dragons etc. He knows the theory behind how spells work, but lacks the practical training to actually cast them.

That's the premise of this entire thread, in fact, so I can't discern what sets you off against my comments in particular. If you don't like the idea of inherent class features, you may as well get angry that wizards have predefined numbers of spell slots and complain that it holds you back from playing a very specific, suboptimal, theorycrafted wizard you dreamed up that you feel has more flavor than the wizard-as-described in DnD lore.
No inherent class feature of the wizard keys off Arcana proficiency as far as I'm aware. There also seems to be a little confusion around a D&D wizard vs one specific stereotype of the D&D wizard.
 

BlivetWidget

Explorer
No inherent class feature of the wizard keys off Arcana proficiency as far as I'm aware. There also seems to be a little confusion around a D&D wizard vs one specific stereotype of the D&D wizard.
Copying spell scrolls is the only feature that explicitly relies on it. Other than that, it's just expectations.

You've hit the nail on the head that it comes down to disagreement over what the wizard is. But the original post is about 5e, and I feel like 5e is fairly clear. A few bits about the wizard class from the phb without copying too much:
"the expertise attained after years of apprenticeship and countless hours of study..."
"Scholars of the Arcane..."
"As a student of arcane magic..."
"you learn your wizard spells through dedicated study and memorization..."
"the arcane research you conduct on your own, as well as intellectual breakthroughs you have had about the nature of the multiverse."

And from xge: "Wizardry requires understanding. The knowledge of how and why magic works."


That all pretty clearly reads like Arcana to me.
 
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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
As hard as you're trying to be "right on the internet", nobody in this thread is confused about the DnD mechanical implementation of proficiency. We're trying to discuss what it would even mean for someone to devote their life to being a math professor, being good at it, and somehow never becoming skilled at math.
No, "we" are explicitly not trying to discuss the math professor. Some posters are trying to shrink the argument to just that.

What we are talking about all charactgers who take the wizard class, since that's what a change to the class would affect. The studious professor of magic (who has proficiency in Arcana) is one but also the young wizard who's self-taught and is still figuring it out (don't have arcana yet), the wind-wizard sailor who has had the tradition passed down to them because they were the bright cabin boy who could understand the words and gestures but it's actually against character for them to have a wide and deep knowledge of other magic, runes, and everything else that's in the Arcana skill. And many more. The conversation is not about just the bookish wizard, it's about all the archetypes. And many of them either need not, or should not have the Arcana skill.

Please, stop trying to pretend that there is only one type of wizard. There are a wide variety of concepts that can take the wizard class.
 
Hide in Plain Sight gives a +10 to a single stealth check. That means that even a nonskilled ranger can still be pretty darn stealthy. As long as they aren't moving. It is entirely possible to not be skilled at moving stealthily, but know enough to be able to spend a minute to make camouflage sufficient enough to hide a nonmoving person.
Vanish also gives you the ability to not be tracked by nonmagical means. That part feels more like survival than stealth to me. A ranger could totally not be very stealthy, but be in tune with nature and tracking enough to be able to not leave a trail.
I see where you are coming from. But I think that forcing certain skills just makes classes more one dimensional and limits some of the creativity of coming up with character concepts. Blue has had some great ideas for wizards that wouldn't have proficiency in Arcana.
 
Please, stop trying to pretend that there is only one type of wizard. There are a wide variety of concepts that can take the wizard class.
While I don't disagree that a wizard could learn magic & have his spell book while remaining ignorant of Arcane lore outside the practical necessities of his trade, I can't agree that opens up a wide variety. The wizard is a bookish, Vancian/Hermetic magic-user, no matter how you tweak or polish it. Casting arcane spells without all that training and that spellbook was broken out to the innate-magic Sorcerer and the pact-fueled Warlock (and, without the spellbook - ie oral tradition, I guess, to the Bard).

D&D has gone from one Magic-User class, to 4 fully-supported full classes - plus two new sub-classes in two formerly all-martial-all-the-time classes. They were bound to get a little narrow.

I could see granting the skill as part of the feature that builds off it.
As long as there's language that gives you back the choice if you /did/ already take that skill, sure.

I don't see any reason to grant it a level 1 though.
No compelling reason, no. Anyone who's v-tude might be tweaked by 'suddenly' getting both the skill & enhancement /could/ just plan ahead a little and take the skill earlier.
 

maceochaid

Explorer
I mean we could have these debates about so many things in the rules. For instance I feel that Thieve's Cant should be part of the Criminal Background not the Rogue Class, and I'm tempted to even say that Druidic should be an option of the Acolyte (Choose Celestial, Druidic, or another language that is important to your religion). Then also add some specific wording to languages, maybe a list of languages you can only learn if your background states you can, or you use downtime to learn and have a specific teacher. Obviously, like everything, up to DM fiat.

Point being I can see a lot more reasoning in "All Wizards must have a fundamental understanding of Arcana since they are theoretical casters (with Warlocks, Bards, Wizard Spell List usingArchetypes, and Sorcerers representing amateur, dilletantes, and other concepts)." Than I can see "all Rogues know the secret code of thieves." However ultimately this is just a place where we can disagree.
 
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Horwath

Explorer
Ranger's starting skill proficiency should be:

Nature, Perception, Stealth and Survival. Period.

Without that skill set a ranger is not a ranger.

If any of those skills are taken with Race/background, ranger can take equal number of other class skills at character creation
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
Ranger's starting skill proficiency should be:

Nature, Perception, Stealth and Survival. Period.

Without that skill set a ranger is not a ranger.

If any of those skills are taken with Race/background, ranger can take equal number of other class skills at character creation
What about Athletics? Hard to imagine a ranger who can't climb a tree or swim across a river.

What about Animal Handling? Calming a spooked horse seems like it should in their wheelhouse.

Include these skills on the "required" list and the ranger player doesn't get to make any choices regarding skills whatsoever. That makes each ranger a cookie-cutter character wrt skills. Which is rather boring IMO.

I think allowing players freedom of creativity is more important than making sure they are doing it "right". I realize that many DMs/designers have the impetus to say, "you're doing it wrong, give it here". However, the PC is the one piece of the game world the belongs to the player. As such, the player's vision regarding their character takes precedence over the DM's, IMO. Maybe the player wants to be less Aragorn and more a military scout. In that case, a different skill may take priority over Nature, and it's not our place as DMs to tell those players that they are doing it "wrong".

Most of the times, players will choose the skills you listed, or a very similar set. IME, players will play to type much more often than against. That said, I'm still of the opinion that they should have the freedom to choose themselves, rather than the DM making those choices for them.
 

Horwath

Explorer
What about Athletics? Hard to imagine a ranger who can't climb a tree or swim across a river.

What about Animal Handling? Calming a spooked horse seems like it should in their wheelhouse.

Include these skills on the "required" list and the ranger player doesn't get to make any choices regarding skills whatsoever. That makes each ranger a cookie-cutter character wrt skills. Which is rather boring IMO.

I think allowing players freedom of creativity is more important than making sure they are doing it "right". I realize that many DMs/designers have the impetus to say, "you're doing it wrong, give it here". However, the PC is the one piece of the game world the belongs to the player. As such, the player's vision regarding their character takes precedence over the DM's, IMO. Maybe the player wants to be less Aragorn and more a military scout. In that case, a different skill may take priority over Nature, and it's not our place as DMs to tell those players that they are doing it "wrong".

Most of the times, players will choose the skills you listed, or a very similar set. IME, players will play to type much more often than against. That said, I'm still of the opinion that they should have the freedom to choose themselves, rather than the DM making those choices for them.
You can still have more skills with race/background.

Elf; starts with perception, so that frees up one skill to choose from Athletics, animal handling, acrobatics, medicine.
Half elf; gives 2 skills to pick free also,
variant human; one skill,

background give 2 fixed skills or one(maybe two) that overlaps with suggested 4 fixed skills so it also give one or two skills free to pick or two fixed in background that complement rangers abilities.
 

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