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Skill Points (rules variant)
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Skill Points (rules variant)


Imagine this scenario

You’re a 4th level monk. You can hold your own in combat, but lately the Druid healer has become more active in battle and is needing most of the healing more often than not. Somehow, this has fallen to you, with your higher wisdom, a cobbled-together medical kit, and no actual training in medicine. No big deal, you decide to pick up the needed skills as soon as you can.

Option 1: Training between adventures. Anyone can pick up a new tool proficiency if they spend 250 days practicing with it. Maybe we can ask the vampires in the old, creepy castle to hold off on their nefarious schemes for the next 9 months.

Option 2: The ‘Skilled’ feat. A quick and easy way to pick up new skills. Hopefully the Druid won’t get himself killed between now and 8th level when you can get a new feat.

Or how about this

You’re an 18th level wizard. You have examined and studied every arcane implement, magical scroll, and other occult scrap the party has ever found. You’ve spent every free, waking moment for the past who-knows-how-long neck deep in libraries learning the history of the worlds. When anyone needs to know some obscure point of information, they ask you because you’ve spent years learning it all.

But your old methods of overtly blasting away at enemies is becoming predictable and less effective. At 19th level you pick up the ‘Skilled’ feat to diversify your skill set. You wake up the next morning being able to lie, sneak, and covertly cast spells with the same prowess as recalling some esoteric fact about … anything you’ve spent the last many years studding.

There has to be a better way

Skill Points Overview

With these rules, your skills are no longer bound to the binary system of good or not-good, proficient or not, on or off. Your abilities don’t just all get better at the same time once every four levels. You increase your skills over time, putting in (behind the scenes) training to improve them. You can focus on a few areas, becoming a master in your field. Or you can spread your talents out, being at least competent in most situations.

Skill training becomes more important, reducing the chance of a lucky 20 by the bumbling barbarian over-shadowing the rogue's lock-picking skills. Specialties maintain class flavor while allowing for greater character customization. 

As you gain levels, skills are not restricted by class. You can learn to use that healer’s kit or the medicine skill at 5th level. But like the old wizard learning new tricks, don’t expect to master it overnight.

What you’ll find inside

Basic rules and terminology to handle trained and untrained skills.

A list of skills broken into specialties for further focused character customization.

Replacement racial abilities and class features to convert skill proficiencies into skill points for WotC D&D 5e Published materials including the Core Rulebooks, printed supplements (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide, Volo’s Guide to Monster’s, etc.), and Unearthed Arcana (not guaranteed to include the most recent content).

A full-color, illustrated pdf for on screen viewing and a b&w, text only pdf for ink-friendly printing.

Looking for more ways to customize your game? Check out my other work.

Skill Points   Weapons Primer         The Gunslinger   Cliques         The Witch   Covens  

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File Last Updated:
February 14, 2017
This title was added to our catalog on November 11, 2016.