Most of what a player character can do is defined by his race, class, and
ability scores. These three characteristics don't cover everything, however.
Characters can have a wide range of talents, from the potent (and intricate) arts of
magic to the simple and mundane knowledge of how to build a good fire. The
character's magical ability (or lack thereof) is defined by his class. Lesser
abilities, such as fire building, are defined by proficiencies.
A proficiency is a learned skill that isn't essential to the character's
class. A ranger, for example, may find it useful to know something about navigation,
especially if he lives near an ocean or sea coast. On the other hand, he isn't
likely to suffer if he doesn't know how to navigate; he is a ranger, not a
Proficiencies are divided into two groups: weapon proficiencies (those related
to weapons and combat) and nonweapon proficiencies (those related to
All proficiency rules are additions to the game. Weapon proficiencies are
tournament-level rules, optional in regular play, and nonweapon proficiencies are
completely optional. Proficiencies are not necessary for a balanced game. They
add an additional dimension to characters, however, and anything that enriches
characterization is a bonus. If weapon proficiencies are used in your game,
expect them to apply to all characters, including NPCs. Nonweapon proficiencies may
be used by players who enjoy them and ignored by those who don't without
giving unfair advantages to anyone (provided your DM allows this; he's the one who
must deal with any problems).
Once a proficiency slot is filled, it can never be changed or reassigned.
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