Combined Skill Checks (5e Variant Rule)

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Combined Skill Checks[edit]

Sometimes, a situation may arise where an area of expertise overlaps into multiple skills. In such cases, the DM may ask a player for a combined skill check. A combined skill check uses a single base ability score for its base modifier, the ability most predominant in the activity, and then uses multiple skills, usually two, to add onto it. Such a check allows the player to add any proficiency and bonuses they would have for all the involved skills (for example, being proficient in both involved skills would allow the player to add their proficiency bonus to the check twice), but also typically has a slightly higher success DC than usual to compensate, making such a check considerably more niche than any normal skill check. Some examples are as follows:

  • A player is attempting to flee from a predator that has clearly proven to outmatch them. The DM may ask for a Strength (Athletics-Survival) check, using Survival to supply potentially helpful knowledge on how to escape a predator in the wild.
  • A player wishes to attempt bringing up knowledge on the natural magic of the world. The DM may ask for an Intelligence (Arcana-Nature) check, using Nature to supplement the natural aspect of the desired knowledge.
  • A player wishes to sneak quietly across difficult terrain. The DM may ask for a Dexterity (Stealth-Acrobatics) check, using Acrobatics to maintain sure footing. (Note: In this case, any Acrobatics modifiers used for the check would be subtracted from the result to determine the Stealth score for hiding.)
  • A player attempts to perform a precise medical procedure on another creature. The DM may ask for a Dexterity (Sleight of Hand-Medicine) check, using Medicine for their medical expertise to supplement the fine motor control provided through Sleight of Hand.
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