Can someone explain what the “Proficiency Bonus” is in D&D

proficiency bonus

Can someone explain what the “Proficiency Bonus” is in D&D

The Proficiency Bonus represents your experience from a roleplaying viewpoint and your power curve from a game design viewpoint. You add it to skills, saves, weapons, or spell attacks that you are proficient with. It is the same for each class.

“Proficiency is a simple way of assessing your character’s general level of training and aptitude for a given task. It is broken into five different ranks: untrained, trained, expert, master, and legendary. Each rank grants a different proficiency bonus.

If you’re untrained at a statistic, your proficiency bonus is +0—you must rely solely on the raw potential of your ability modifier. If your proficiency rank for a statistic is trained, expert, master, and legendary, your bonus equals your character’s level plus another number based on the rank (2, 4, 6, and 8, respectively). Proficiency ranks are part of almost every statistic in the game” (10).

Comparison with previous editions

  1. In D&D 3e, for weapon using classes it was your base attack bonus; together with your feat bonus, ability improvement and your magic item it was quite progressive. You gained a level, your attack improved by more than 1.
  2. In D&D 4e, it was half your level for skills and attacks; together with Enhancement bonus, Ability improvement, Feat bonus it gave you a more or less straight line. You gained 1 level, your attack improved by 1.This math in editions 3 and 4 meant that the threats you ran away from on level 1 became easily trivial. By level 11 your attack bonus, and your defenses1, were about 10 higher than on level 1. (D&D 4e attack increase: 5 from level, 1 from ability, 3 from item, 2 feat)

D&D 5e bonuses are lower and calculated differently

In D&D 5e your progress is much slower: at level 11 your attack is only 5 higher (2 from prof, 2 from ability, 1 from magic), meaning you “elevate over worldly threats” much slower.

This lower bonus shows a different calculation based on level. In D&D 5e the calculation is so complicated that the numbers are repeated at every class description (see the tables listing your class features for levels 1-20 in the PHB).

What was an easy “half your level rounded down” in D&D 4e is now a bit less catchy, but amounts to “7 plus your level, divided by 4, rounded down.

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Can Someone Explain What The “Proficiency Bonus” Is In D&D

Proficiency is explained in the Basic Rules, free from the Wizards of the Coast website and in the Player’s Handbook. (The way Proficiency works is described the same way in both sources.) The Proficiency Bonus reflects via game mechanics how much better a character is at some things (attacks, saving throws, spell effects) due to the level of experience, and also how much better a character is at certain skills either due to choice, experience, background, class, and/or race.

  • the numerical value of the bonus is shown as a value from +2 to +6 depending upon your character’s level of experience. (PHB, p. 15; Basic Rules, p. 10)
  • When to apply the proficiency bonus is in Chapter 1 (PHB, p. 12; Basic Rules p. 7)• Attack rolls using weapons you’re proficient with

  • Attack rolls with spells you cast
    Ability checks using skills you’re proficient in
    Ability checks using tools you’re proficient with
    Saving throws you’re proficient in
    Saving throw DCs for spells you cast (explained in each spellcasting class)
  1. For the example from the merged question (from user @A.Ban) of an Elf’s proficiency in Perception: When you roll the die to make a Perception check while playing, you will add the Proficiency bonus (for a first-level character that is a +2) to whatever you roll on the 20-sided die. If your die roll was 11, your result is a 13 (if you have no other bonuses to the roll).
  2. On your character sheet, if you are a first-level character simply fill in s +2 in the space for “Proficiency Bonus.” Then check the “Perception” skill and put +2 in the space next to it, to remind you to add that bonus when you make rolls for Perception. Do the same for any saving throw that your class has proficiency in. (I’d use pencil since your proficiency bonus will go up to +3 when you reach 5th level).
  3. For Saving Throws, the bonus will only be applied to saving throws that you are proficient in, which will be governed by the Class you have chosen to play. Example: a Cleric has Save Proficiency in Charisma and Wisdom, so I’d put +2 next to both of those in the Saving Throw box if I were playing a Cleric (PHB, p.57; Basic Rules, p. 21; Proficiencies {Cleric}).
  4. Example in Combat: We will stay with the level 1 Cleric, who has proficiency in Simple Weapons.
    • If he is using a Mace (Simple Weapon, p. 46 Basic Rules, Weapons Table) he would add +2 to an attack roll with the Mace. Roll a 12, the result is a 14.
    • If he tries to use a Flail (Martial Weapon, p. 46, Weapons Table) he is not Proficient with Martial Weapons so he does not add +2 to his attack roll. Roll a 12, the result is a 12.

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How is the proficiency bonus calculated?

Your Proficiency Bonus is always based on your total character level, as shown in the Character Advancement table, not your level in a particular class. For example, if you are a Fighter 3/rogue 2, you have the Proficiency Bonus of a 5th- level character, which is +3.

Proficiency is generally not added to damage rolls unless some feature expressly says it should. Additionally, it is important to remember that with Finesse weapons, the fighter has the choice of which modifier to use, but they have to use the same modifier for both attack and defense.

On your character sheet, if you are a first-level character simply fill in s +2 in the space for “Proficiency Bonus.” Then check the “Perception” skill and put +2 in the space next to it, to remind you to add that bonus when you make rolls for Perception.

Question about Proficiency Bonus and Spells you cast. Yes, any PC who can cast a spell adds their proficiency bonus to their relevant magical attack rolls AND they add their proficiency bonus into the calculation for their spell save DC.

Proficiency Bonus Your proficiency bonus is always based on your total character level, as shown in the Character Advancement table in chapter 1, not your level in a particular class.

For example, if you are a fighter 3/rogue 2, you have the proficiency bonus of a 5th-level character, which is +3.

Leveling Up

As your character goes on adventures and overcomes challenges, he or she gains experience, represented by experience points. A character who reaches a specified experience point total advances in capability. This advancement is called gaining a level.

When your character gains a level, his or her class often grants additional features, as detailed in the class description. Some of these features allow you to increase your ability scores, either increasing two scores by 1 each or increasing one score by 2. You can’t increase an ability score above 20. In addition, every character’s proficiency bonus increases at certain levels.

Each time you gain a level, you gain 1 additional Hit Die. Roll that Hit Die, add your Constitution modifier to the roll, and add the total to your hit point maximum. Alternatively, you can use the fixed value shown in your class entry, which is the average result of the die roll (rounded up).

When your Constitution modifier increases by 1, your hit points maximum increases by 1 for each level you have attained. For example, if your 7th-level fighter has a Constitution score of 18, when he reaches 8th level, he increases his Constitution score from 17 to 18, thus increasing his Constitution modifier from +3 to +4. His hit point maximum then increases by 8.

The Character Advancement table summarizes the XP you need to advance in levels from level 1 through level 20 and the proficiency bonus for a character of that level. Consult the information in your character’s class description to see what other improvements you gain at each level.

proficiency bonus

SUMMARY

  • Level and Proficiency Rank are critical for effectiveness in multiple areas.
  • Ranking up proficiency rank is a decision to consider as you level up. Enhance your focus
  • Tremendous emphasis on Trained/Expert/Master/Legendary for that +2/+4/+6/+8
  • Look for creative synergies or areas to hyper focus.
  • Don’t underestimate “group thinking”
  • Build your group, Your role.
  • As you progress so will the enemies. Look at your Bestiary, noting Proficiency Bonuses for
  • AC
  • Perception          
  • Saves: Fortitude/Reflex/Will

 “Proficiency is a system that measures a character’s aptitude at a specific task or quality, and it has five ranks: untrained, trained, expert, master, and legendary. If you’re untrained, your proficiency bonus is +0. If you’re trained, expert, master, or legendary, your proficiency bonus equals your level plus 2, 4, 6, or 8, respectively” (13).

Friends, “If your proficiency rank for a statistic is trained, expert, master, and legendary, your bonus equals your character’s level plus another number based on the rank (2, 4, 6, and 8, respectively). If your character is untrained, your proficiency bonus is +0” (27).

Conclusion:

Characters have a proficiency bonus determined by level, as detailed in chapter 1. Monsters also have this bonus, which is incorporated in their stat blocks. The bonus is used in the rules on ability checks, saving throws, and attack rolls.

Your proficiency bonus can’t be added to a single die roll or other numbers more than once. For example, if two different rules say you can add your proficiency bonus to a Wisdom saving throw, you nevertheless add the bonus only once when you make the save.

Occasionally, your proficiency bonus might be multiplied or divided (doubled or halved, for example) before you apply it. For example, the rogue’s Expertise feature doubles the proficiency bonus for certain ability checks. If a circumstance suggests that your proficiency bonus applies more than once to the same roll, you still add it only once and multiply or divide it only once.

By the same token, if a feature or effect allows you to multiply your proficiency bonus when making an ability check that wouldn’t normally benefit from your proficiency bonus, you still don’t add the bonus to the check.

For that check, your proficiency bonus is 0, given the fact that multiplying 0 by any number is still 0. For instance, if you lack proficiency in the History skill, you gain no benefit from a feature that lets you double your proficiency bonus when you make Intelligence (History) checks.

In general, you don’t multiply your proficiency bonus for attack rolls or saving throws. If a feature or effect allows you to do so, these same rules apply.

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