For Dungeons & Dragons beginners, there are certain elements of the game that can be a little harder than others to grasp.

Proficiency may well be one of these elements, due to the sheer amount of what goes into the nature of proficiency and how it affects various aspects of your in-game character as well as weapons, armor, etc.

We are going to be looking a little closer at proficiency in D&D as well as discerning whether it is able to add to the damage that your character inflicts. Let’s get started.

What Is Proficiency In D&D?

Proficiency is basically an ability score modifier that you receive when you have learned something about a skill or feat. It is used to determine how much of a bonus you gain from being proficient in a particular skill or feat.

For example, if you have proficiency in Stealth, you would receive a +2 modifier to your stealth check for every level of proficiency. This means that you could increase your stealth by 2 points each time you advance in levels.

What Are The Main Proficiencies In D&D?

There are three main types of proficiency in D&D: Skill Proficiencies, Feat Proficiencies, and Racial Proficiencies. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks.

Skill Proficiencies

These are skills that you learn through leveling up. You will most likely find yourself using them often while adventuring. They are usually not very useful outside of combat unless they are related to your class. As such, you should always try to pick up any skill proficiencies that relate to your class. If you don’t know which skills to take, ask your DM/GM.

Feat Proficiencies

These skills are gained through feats. They are more powerful than skill proficiencies because they allow you to use abilities that are not available to you otherwise. These are also important for characters who want to specialize in certain areas.

Racial Proficiencies

These come from the race of your character. Some races have racial traits that give them certain bonuses. These can include things like extra hit dice, increased strength, and other similar bonuses.

Proficiencies vs. Saving Throws

Saving throws are rolled against a DC (Difficulty Class) based on the difficulty of the task. When rolling a saving throw, you use your proficiency modifier instead of your normal modifier. So, if you were proficient in Athletics, you would roll with a +3 modifier instead of a +1 modifier.

Proficiency Bonus

The proficiency bonus is added to any attack rolls, damage rolls, checks made with a skill or ability, or saving throws you make that don’t already include a modifier. In addition, it is also added to any ability checks you make to interact with objects, creatures, or the environment.

The proficiency bonus applies only to the basic actions associated with the check. If you want to perform another action, such as casting a spell, you must first complete the basic action.

Proficiency Levels

A proficiency level represents the amount of times you’ve gained proficiency in a specific skill or feat. When you reach a new proficiency level, you are able to choose another skill or feet to learn. In addition, you are also able to select a new class to take up.

So, let’s say that you were already proficient in Perception, and now you want to learn Acrobatics. To do so, you must first decide which proficiency level you wish to go to. Since you’re already proficient in Perception, you can only pick up a new skill at 1st level.

If you wanted to go to 4th level, you’d need to start over. However, once you reach 5th level, you can pick any other skill that you are not proficient in.

The same thing applies to feats. At 3rd level, you can only pick one feat to learn. At 9th level, however, you can pick any feat that you are not proficient with.

The Level Cap

Each class has a cap on its maximum proficiency level. This means that after reaching the cap, you cannot learn any more skills or feats. The cap varies depending on the class. Some classes have a cap of 0, meaning that they never hit the cap. Others have caps of 20, 30, or 40.

Each class has a cap on its maximum proficiency level. This means that after reaching the cap, you cannot learn any more skills or feats. The cap varies depending on the class. Some classes have a cap of 0, meaning that they never hit the cap. Others have caps of 20, 30, or 40.

Bonus Proficiencies

Some classes allow you to gain additional proficiencies, beyond just picking up new skills or feats. These bonuses are called “bonus proficiencies”. They are listed in the Class Features section under the appropriate class feature. You must be proficient in the chosen skill or feat to add it as a bonus proficiency.

How Do You Get Proficiency In Skills And Feats?

The easiest way to get proficiency in a skill or feat is to select it as a prerequisite for a new class. When you create a new class, you are given a list of prerequisites. Choose whichever ones apply to you.

Once you have selected all of your prerequisites, go back and select the appropriate skill or feat. Your DM/GM will then tell you if you are proficient in that skill or feat. If you are not proficient, he will let you know why. If you are proficient, he will tell you how many times you need to level up before you become proficient.

If you already have a class but wish to change your proficiency, you must first talk with your DM/GM to see if this is allowed. He will probably require some sort of reason for changing your proficiency.

If you want to change your proficiency, make sure you have a good reason. Also, keep in mind that you cannot switch between two different classes without losing your previous proficiency.

If you want to improve your proficiency in a skill or a feat, you can do so at any time. However, there is no guarantee that you will be able to get better at a skill or feat. To get better at a skill, you must spend experience points. To get better at feats, you must spend gold pieces.

Does Proficiency Add To Damage?

So now that we have a firm grasp of proficiencies in general, let’s move on to the main question: does proficiency add to damage?

The answer is yes. A character who is proficient in two weapons will always deal more damage than a non-proficient character using the same weapon. For example, a fighter wielding a longsword deals 2d6+STR mod damage when attacking an opponent. If he is proficient in both short swords and long swords, his damage increases to 2d8+STR mod.

However, this doesn’t mean that every time you get a new weapon, you’ll be dealing more damage. Let’s look at the rules for proficiency again.

The proficiency bonus is added to attacks, damage rolls, ability checks, and saving throws you make that do not use a modifier. You must still apply your proficiency bonus to any attack roll, ability check, or saving throw if the ability says that you can add your proficiency bonus.

This means that while you may be adding your proficiency bonus to damage, you aren’t actually doing anything special. It’s just like having a +1 weapon equipped.

A few examples should help illustrate this point better.

Example 1

A wizard wants to cast a fireball. He picks up a wand from a magic shop and casts it. His spell requires concentration. If he’s proficient in wands, then he adds his proficiency bonus to his concentration check (DC 15). If he isn’t proficient, then he makes a DC 10 check.

Example 2

A rogue wants to sneak past a guard. She picks up a dagger from her belt and uses it to stab the guard. Her attack hits. If she’s proficient in daggers, then she adds her proficiency bonus to her damage roll (2d4+STR mod) and gets a critical hit. If she’s not proficient, then she makes a normal attack roll.

Final Thoughts

You could argue that the answer to this question is both yes and no. Proficiency does indeed add to the damage that your character can inflict because it allows you to add your proficiency bonus to attacks, damage rolls, etc.

But, when speaking more generally, it doesn’t actually give you extra damage overall or change the mechanics when it comes to the gameplay and combat.