Academic Proficiencies

Academic Proficiencies Slots Ability Modifier Prerequisites
Anatomy 2 Knowledge -2
Ancient History (specify) 1 Knowledge -1
Ancient Languages (specify) 1 Knowledge 0
Arcanology 1 Knowledge -3
Astronomy 2 Knowledge -1
Botany 1 Knowledge -1
Cryptography 1 Reason -1
Diagnostics 1 Intuition -1
Dragonology 1 Knowledge -1
Geology 2 Knowledge -1
Healing 2 Intuition -2
Heraldry 1 Knowledge 0
Investigation 1 Reason -2
Law (specify) 1 Intuition 0
Literacy 2 Knowledge +1
Necrology 1 Knowledge 0
Netherworld Knowledge 2 Knowledge -3
Numeracy 2 Knowledge +1
Philosophy 1 Reason -1
Planetology 2 Intuition 0
Planology 1 Reason 0
Psychology 2 Intuition -2
Relic Dating 2 Knowledge -2
Research 1 Reason 0
Screed Lore 1 Knowledge -1 Literacy.
Scribe 1 Aim +1 Literacy.
Teaching 1 Leadership -1
Thaumaturgy 1 Knowledge -2
Toxicology 2 Knowledge 0

Anatomy: This proficiency reflects a character’s detailed knowledge of the structure and arrangement of humanoid body, including the location and function of bones, muscles, organs, and other soft tissues. This skill has two distinct uses for a character; first of all, knowledge of anatomy provides the character with a +2 bonus on any healing proficiency checks he attempts. Secondly, a character can use this skill to repair corpses that have been badly damaged. With a successful proficiency check, the character can strengthen and reinforce a body, making it more suitable for animation as one of the undead. This provides a hit point bonus of +1 per die for skeletal remains, or a bonus of +2 hp per die for a creature to be animated as a zombie.

Ancient History: The character has learned the legends, lore, and history of some ancient time and place. When selecting this proficiency, a character must choose to specify in a selected time period or age. Acceptable ages for this proficiency include: the Days of Thunder, the Dawn Age, the First Flowering, the Crown Wars, the Founding Time, the Age of Humanity, or the Era of Upheaval.

The knowledge acquired gives the character familiarity with the principal legends, historical events, characters, locations, battles, breakthroughs (scientific, cultural, and magical), unsolved mysteries, crafts, and oddities of the time period chosen. The character must roll a proficiency check to identify places or things he encounters from that age.

Languages, Ancient: The character has mastered a difficult and obscure tongue, now primarily found in the writings of pedantic sages and sorcerers. The main use of the language is to read tomes of ancient secrets written by long-dead mystics. This proficiency enables the character to read, write, and speak the language. See Languages.

Arcanology: The study of the history and development of magic is termed arcanology. A wizard with expertise in this field is familiar with the works of past wizards. If there was a source of powerful magic in the campaign’s past, such as Netheril or High Shanatar, the arcanologist has a good idea of who the great mages were and what they were able to accomplish. Special magical items, spells, or forms of magic wielded by these ancient sorcerers are familiar to the arcanologist.

With a successful proficiency check, the arcanologist can identify the general purpose and function of any magical item; the DM may apply a penalty of –1 to –4 if the item comes from a region outside the arcanologist’s normal studies, or is especially rare or obscure. To identify an item, the character must scrutinize the item closely. This does not necessarily require actually handling the item, but it must be fully visible to the bard. Scrutiny takes 1d10 rounds, after which the proficiency check is made.

If the check succeeds, roll on the following table to determine the exact information revealed. Multiple identification attempts may be made to gain additional information, but once the character fails a check, no further information can be gleaned on that specific item.

3d6 Roll Information Gained
3 How many charges/uses left
4 Whether item is intelligent
5 Whether items is cursed/evil
6 Value on the open market
7 Item’s Name
8 Famous past owners
9 Age of item
10 What race created it
11 Where it was made
12 Who crafted it
13 Alignment of owners
14 Who can use it
15 General effects
16 How to activate it
17 Item type (as per DMG )
18 Let player read DMG entry

Astronomy: An individual learned in the science of astronomy has a good knowledge of the stars, planets, and other bodies in his home crystal sphere, as well as the myths and legends associated with them. When the night sky is clear, he can always tell direction by the stars. Phases of heavenly bodies are also easily determined. Furthermore, characters with this proficiency can (if given the time, tools, and materials) construct and use all the instruments related to this field, such as astrolabes, sextants, and even simple telescopes. Possession of this skill grants a +2 bonus on all astrology skill checks and a +1 bonus to all navigation checks involving sighting on stars, moons, or suns.

Botany: A character with this proficiency is readily able to identify vegetation of all kinds and is familiar with their properties, life cycles, and habitats. This knowledge is limited to the terrain and climate the character has studied (temperate, tropical, sub-tropical, arctic, sub-arctic, etc.). One ability check is required to identify the plant in question, and a second to determine whether the character can recall any specific information concerning it. Possession of this skill grants a +2 bonus on all agriculture, gardening, and herbalism skill, checks.

Cryptography: The character with this proficiency has some training and skill in deciphering hidden messages and codes. In its basic form, the character is allowed to make a proficiency check when confronted with a coded message. If successful, the DM can reveal a general overview of the secret missive.

A character with the cryptography proficiency should have the chance of recognizing a code concealed within a written or spoken message, or perhaps hidden by some other medium—an intricately woven tapestry or sculpted piece of heraldry, for example. The DM will usually roll this check secretly, announcing that the character observes something unusual.

If the character notices the encoded sigil, the DM should describe it in considerable detail—word for word, if it is a written message. The character can make an additional proficiency check during the course of the decoding; if successful, the DM can provide a significant clue—a name, place, or date that is mentioned, for example. The bulk of the decoding should still be performed by the player.

Diagnostics: Both the Healing and Diagnostics proficiencies aid victims of trauma and disease. But while the Healing proficiency can be used to restore lost hit points, Diagnostics is mainly concerned with determining the cause of the damage and the prognosis; Diagnostics alone will not heal damage.

With a successful proficiency check, a character becomes aware all of the following information applicable to a particular patient:

  • If the patient has suffered physical damage, the character can determine the extent of the damage, though he may not be able to ascertain the exact cause (if a victim was attacked by a tiger, the character will know that the victim was clawed by a large animal, but not necessarily the species). The character can recommend treatments and offer prognoses, as with victims of diseases.
  • If the patient has been poisoned, the character knows the antidote (if one exists) and how to prepare it. Note that even if the character knows how to prepare an antidote, he may not have access to the necessary ingredients.
  • The character knows the name of the disease, its cause, how long the patient has had it, and the optimum treatment. If the patient is treated as specified, he suffers the mildest form of the disease and its shortest duration. If the patient declines treatment, or the treatment doesn’t work, the character can determine the patient’s prognosis with reasonable accuracy. (“The patient will recover by the end of the month.” “The patient will become permanently blind if not treated within a year.”) The character may diagnose both natural and magical diseases.
  • When examining a corpse, the character can determine how the victim died and approximately how long it’s been dead. If the victim died of unnatural causes, the character will only be able to determine the general circumstances of the death. For example, if an evil wizard incinerated the victim with a fireball, a successful diagnostics check might reveal that the victim burned to death very rapidly as a result of some type of magic, but not that it was affected by a fireball.

A character with this proficiency may diagnose himself or any other character, animal, or creature, except for non-living creatures (such as a ghost or skeleton) and creatures from another plane of existence (like a xorn or aerial servant). He may attempt to diagnose an individual or creature only once.

If a character also has the Healing proficiency, he may modify all Diagnostic checks by +1.

Dragonology: Dragonology is the body of knowledge required to make hunting dragons alone more than just a suicidal endeavor. This proficiency may be used to help determine the probable lairs, dining habits, and history of such creatures (no check required). With a successful proficiency check, dragon lore allows a character to evaluate a dragon’s tracks, spoor, and shed scales to learn the dragon’s age category (plus or minus one category). It also automatically teaches the character about the basic dragon types, how to distinguish similar-looking subtypes, and the ways to avoid the most common lair traps.

Whenever a character with this skill confronts a dragon, he may be able to specifically identify the creature (discerning the different between a silver dragon and a chromium dragon for instance). In addition, providing the character makes a successful ability check, he or she recalls the creature’s specific weaknesses and natural defenses or immunities.

Geology: A character with this proficiency, is able to identify different types of rocks and minerals, including precious metals and gems. Though he cannot accurately appraise the value of such items, he can differentiate between ornamental, semiprecious, and precious stones, and can make an educated guess at the purity of any vein of precious metal. He is also familiar with underground formations and functions of the natural world related to this science, such as earthquakes, volcanic activity, and the processes involved in the creation of the various rocks and minerals. This skill adds a +2 bonus to all mining skill checks.

Healing: A character proficient in healing knows how to use natural medicines and basic principles of first aid and doctoring. If the character tends another within one round of wounding (and makes a successful proficiency check), his ministrations restore 1d3 hit points (but no more hit points can be restored than were lost in the previous round). Only one healing attempt can be made on a character per day.

If a wounded character remains under the care of someone with healing proficiency, that character can recover lost hit points at the rate of 1 per day even when traveling or engaging in non-strenuous activity. If the wounded character gets complete rest, he can recover 2 hit points per day while under such care. Only characters with both Healing and Herbalism proficiencies can help others recover at the rate of 3 hit points per day of rest1. This care does not require a proficiency check, only the regular attention of the proficient character2. Up to six patients can be cared for at any time.

A character with Healing proficiency can also attempt to aid a poisoned individual, provided the poison entered through a wound. If the poisoned character can be tended to immediately (the round after the character is poisoned) and the care continues for the next five rounds, the victim gains a +2 bonus to his saving throw (delay his saving throw until the last round of tending). No proficiency check is required, but the poisoned character must be tended to immediately (normally by sacrificing any other action by the proficient character) and cannot do anything himself. If the care and rest are interrupted, the poisoned character must immediately roll a normal saving throw for the poison. This result is unalterable by normal means (i.e., more healing doesn’t help). Only characters with both Healing and Herbalism proficiencies can attempt the same treatment for poisons the victim has swallowed or touched (the character uses his healing to diagnose the poison and his herbalist knowledge to prepare a purgative).

1 Note: Without the ministrations of a trained healer, characters recover hit points at the rate of 1hp per 24 hours of uninterrupted rest (not per night of sleep). With the help of a character proficient in Healing and Herbalism, the maximum rate of natural healing that can managed is 3hp per 24 hours of rest (or 1hp per 8 hours).

2 Note: Unless he has assistants available, the character providing Healing must forgo sleep in order to grant this benefit. He must be regularly monitoring the patient, changing bandages, and administering medication. When dealing with a patient in critical condition, it is not uncommon for healers to go without sleep for several days at a time.

Heraldry: The knowledge of heraldry enables the character to identify the different crests and symbols that denote different persons and groups. Heraldry comes in many forms and is used for many different purposes. It can be used to identify noblemen, families, guilds, sects, legions, political factions, and castes. The symbols may appear on flags, shields, helmets, badges, embroidery, standards, clothing, coins, tattoos, and more. The symbols used may include geometric patterns, calligraphed lines of script, fantastic beasts, religious symbols, and magical seals (made for the express purpose of identification). Heraldry can vary from the highly formalized rules and regulations of late medieval Europe to the knowledge of different shield patterns and shapes used by African tribesmen.

The character automatically knows the different heraldic symbols of his homeland and whom they are associated with. In addition, if the character makes a successful proficiency check, he can correctly identify the signs and symbols of other lands, provided he has at least a passing knowledge of the inhabitants of that land. His heraldry skill is of little use upon first entering a foreign land.

Investigation: This is the art of discovering the truth through careful examination of a problem or situation. A character with this skill is familiar with the process of interviewing or interrogating witnesses, searching scenes for clues or information, and the general execution of a logical and thorough investigation.

The DM may allow the PC to attempt a proficiency check when the player is missing an obvious line of inquiry or step of deductive reasoning, although this should be a rare use of this ability. An investigation proficiency check can also be used to discover clues at the scene of a crime or to extract information from a witness or suspect.

Law: A character with this proficiency is thoroughly familiar with the legal system of his homeland (or any other region of his choice). He knows which laws are rigorously enforced (illegal gambling may be tolerated in one region, aggressively prosecuted in another), and routine legal procedures (such as how to file suit against a debtor). Understanding nuances of the law, such as interpreting fine points of a contract, require proficiency checks.

A successful proficiency check also allows the character to conduct a strong defense when he or a companion stands accused of a crime. If the judge is fair-minded and the evidence of the crime is ambiguous, a successful check will sway the verdict in the defendant’s favor; either he receives the smallest possible sentence or fine, or is completely vindicated. However, if the evidence clearly calls for a conviction or the judge is corrupt, a successful proficiency check won’t help.

A character may spend additional slots to know the legal systems of other regions. Alternately, he may spend slots to acquire expertise in a particular area of the law, such as tax codes or property rights. Expertise assumes a broad understanding of the chosen area, requiring checks only in extreme instances.

Literacy: The character is able to Read and Write any and all Modern Languages, Ancient Languages, or Secret Languages for which he has the appropriate proficiency. See Languages for a list of possible languages and relevant skill levels.

Necrology: A character with this skill is well versed in the lore of undead creatures. This proficiency may be used to help determine the probable lairs, dining habits, and history of such creatures (no check required). Whenever a character with this skill confronts an undead, he may be able to specifically identify the creature (discerning the different between a ghoul and a ghast for instance). In addition, providing the character makes a successful ability check, he or she recalls the creature’s specific weaknesses and natural defenses or immunities.

Netherworld Knowledge: With this proficiency, a character learns about the cosmology and organization of the multiverse, focusing primarily on the ultimate destination of spirits after death — the Outer Planes. With a successful check, the character can answer basic questions about the Outer Planes, their relationships, and their environs.

In addition, the character learns about the behavior of the dangerous creatures that inhabit the the Outer Planes, including such fiends as tanar’ri and baatezu, but also angels, modrons, and their ilk. As with necrology (which applies exclusively to undead), netherworld knowledge can reveal the specific weaknesses and natural immunities of beings from the outer planes. The proficiency can also be used to classify the exact type of extraplanar creature encountered.

Numeracy: A character with the numeracy proficiency is well-versed in numbers and numerical computations, including accounting, mathematics, and other processes requiring recorded numbers. Balancing the books, paying the troops, and figuring total income (as well as arguing with the tax collector) all figure in numeracy. A character without this skill will still be able to perform simple mathematical actions, but their figures will go awry on more complex formula or anything involving more than three digits.

Philosophy: This confers knowledge of current philosophies as well as an understanding of older or more conservative modes of thought. This includes questions of morality and the state of human existence; theories of government; thoughts on the proper forms of art, music, and drama; and scientific inquiry, as well as mathematics and aesthetics. Successful use of this proficiency makes characters known for wisdom and thoughtfulness by those who hear them speak, and might give them insight into riddles, puzzles, or problems which occur during the game.

Planetology: The planetology proficiency gives the character knowledge of the relationship between living organisms and their environments on a planet-wide scale. Rather than focusing on small-scale interrelationships, such as how the soil type, amount of available moisture and pollination combine to produce a grove of trees or a field of grass, planetology studies how all things affect one another. Planetologists would study how the elements that produced the trees or grass also produced other plant life, what they all had in common, and how differences in any of the elements produced variants in the type of growth the land could support. Further, they would study what insects and animals were likely to live in any given terrain and how each part contributed to the continuing cycle of growth, death, decay and regrowth. Then they would consider the various problems faced by the ecosystem — the excessive heat, lack of moisture, and effects of defiling magic in determining how best to preserve the planet and keep it from further harm.

The planetology proficiency grants a little bit of knowledge about a great number of things. In some cases, knowledge of the usual structure of land masses might give the character a clue as to which direction water might be found, while familiarity with various ecosystems might suggest what sort of predator could be encountered in various terrain types. In any situation involving knowledge that the proficiency might grant, the DM should make the check secretly. On a roll of 20, the character remembers some wildly inaccurate information (something that could cause a serious inconvenience if acted upon, but nothing truly deadly), on a failed check, no knowledge is gained. On a successful check, some small bit of information is known or can be remembered, on a 1, the character remembers some very pertinent piece of information which may be quite helpful. The information to be gained is up to the DM.

Planology: This proficiency allows a character to examine planar events and predict the future, using a device called an etheroscope. It is similar to the astrology proficiency, but the results are more general.

By observing various planar events through an etheroscope, a character can predict the tides of fortune on a plane. Five different results are possible:

d20 roll Prediction
1 Catastrophe. Something horrible is going to happen on the plane in question.
2-5 Bad Luck. All signs point to negative karma on the plane in question. Minor accidents happen in the lives of the natives and visitors are at -1 on all die rolls.
6-15 Status Quo. Things aren’t going to change for a while.
16-19 Good Fotune. The plane is blessed with positive energy. Good things happen for the natives and visitors receive a +1 bonus on all die rolls.
20 Providence. Something extremely wonderful is going to happen on the plane.

The table allows the DM to determine random occurrences, although most often the DM should choose an appropriate result based on his foreknowledge of upcoming adventures. Good or bad luck has nothing to do with alignment; some wonderful development for the yugoloths of Gehenna may mean something terrible for the forces of good everywhere else. Phases of fortune can last as long as the DM wishes, but not more than one week.
Determining the current tides of fortune on a plane requires a regular proficiency check. The check has a cumulative -1 penalty for each day into the future the character attempts to look. Failed checks at any time reveal inaccurate results or no result at all. Failure also denies any further attempts for that time period.

A skilled Planologist can also employ an etheroscope to triangulate the planes, telling him exactly what layer of what plane he is on. Of course, this does not mean that he actually knows anything about the plane or layer in question.

Psychology: The character is familiar with the twistings and turnings of the mind and can use this knowledge to heal or harm other people. A character with this proficiency can treat madness and phobias or help modify psychopathic or sociopathic behavior. This is not an automatic cure-all, and copious amounts of time would be necessary to help someone who is deeply insane. Each case should be determined by the DM based on the time spent and the Reason of the person undergoing treatment. It is not uncommon for a patient to fool his psychologist by pretending to be cured.

This skill has also been used to those of lesser moral virtue to attempt to brainwash victims, or as an aid to torture or interrogation. Good or neutral characters who use this proficiency in such a manner might find their alignment changed.

This can also be used to aid characters who are under the influence of a fear or charm effect. At the DM’s discretion, a successful proficiency check allows the affected character to make an additional saving throw. If no saving throw is normally allowed, then the affected character may save at a -2 penalty. This can be attempted only once per character in a given situation.

Lastly, a character with this proficiency is a scholar of human (or humanoid) motivations and behavior. If he knows a specific individual, the character can make a proficiency check to guess that individual’s motives in any given situation or to sense whether that person is being dishonest or deceptive. He also has a chance (equal to half his normal proficiency score) of applying the same ability to a stranger. This proficiency also grants a +1 bonus to any proficiency where deception might be involved (i.e. disguise, fast-talking, story telling, etc.)

Relic Dating: This proficiency proves useful whenever the character comes upon an object of questionable age. He can use this skill to gain an educated guess as to when the item was made. There is no roll necessary for those objects fashioned in the last 20 years (the age of these will be obvious to the character), unless it has been altered through nonmagical means to appear much older; in that case, a successful proficiency check reveals the fraud. This proficiency can be combined with Ancient History to give more accurate information as to the past of a relic, or with Arcanology when dealing with ancient magical objects.

Research: A character with this skill is well-versed in the theory and application of research tasks. He is familiar with the use of libraries, laboratories, and other resources, and also has a good grasp of the fundamental processes of experimentation and problem-solving. With a successful proficiency check, the character gains a +5% bonus to his success roll when researching a new spell and only requires one-half the usual amount of time to perform spell research or determine the process necessary to manufacture a particular magical item. However, the amount of money spent on research remains the same because the wizard is still expending the same amount of books and supplies.

Screed Lore: A rare proficiency, screed lore offers expertise in the care and collection of books, tomes, scrolls, and the like. This proficiency is crucial to librarians, sages, and scribes. A check would be required whenever the character handles a particularly delicate or worn manuscript. This proficiency also allows a collection to be searched and a specific volume found. Failed rolls indicated problems from the annoying (a torn page or lost book) to the disastrous (an entire scroll crumbles to dust at the slightest touch) depending on how badly the check fails.

This proficiency also provides some knowledge of the safeguards used in protecting books. This knowledge covers not only mundane traps, like poison painted along the edges of the pages, but also magical means of safeguarding libraries. The character can attempt a roll at a -5 modifier to notice any evidence of such traps.

Scribe: Before printing came into common use, professional scribes created books by copying manuscripts. Even after printing presses were in widespread use, scribes were in demand for their calligraphy and the quality of their illuminated (or illustrated) pages. A character with this proficiency is familiar with a scribe’s techniques for preparing pages and working both swiftly and accurately. This is an invaluable skill for a wizard; with a successful proficiency check, the character gains a +5% bonus to any rolls he must make when creating magical scrolls.

Teaching: The teaching proficiency allows the character to impart knowledge about a particular subject or to give instructions in how to do a specific thing. Just about any subject can be taught, from reading and writing to swordplay to the philosophy behind spellcasting. Whether it is a concept or a physical skill, if it can be learned, it can be taught. The skill of teaching relies heavily on the personality of the teacher. If the teacher is a compelling and interesting individual, whatever knowledge he is sharing will be absorbed more fully and quickly.

Instructing another person in how to do something isn’t achieved overnight. Teaching consists of several days, weeks or months worth of instruction, during which time some lessons are learned better than others. Those with this proficiency are better than most at spotting such problems and correcting them. Some skills depend upon raw talent for the student to excel in them. These include such talents as singing and playing instruments. Although the student may never become a virtuoso if he doesn’t have enough talent, he may learn the theories and techniques behind such skills well enough to perform them at a journeyman level.

Each day he spends teaching someone, the teacher must roll on his proficiency. Then his student must roll on Reason. When a total of ten successful proficiency rolls and ten total Reason checks have been successful, the teacher has imparted his knowledge to the student.

Characters may only learn new weapon and nonweapon proficiencies if they have the slots open to learn them. Otherwise, it is assumed that the student is making progress toward learning a new skill and will have mastered it when his next appropriate proficiency slot is available.

Thaumaturgy: This is the art of the casting of magic, the study of the interaction of verbal, somatic, and material components in order to produce a desired effect. While all wizards have some degree of familiarity with this field of knowledge, a character who becomes proficient in thaumaturgy has spent time studying the forms and practices of magic. This depth of knowledge gives the character a +5% bonus on his learn spell rolls after a successful proficiency check has been made.

Toxicology: In the hands of the character, proficiency in Herbalism is bent toward knowledge of knockout drugs and poisons. A Toxicologist knows more about such drugs than an Herbalist with a similar Knowledge score (hence the lack of penalty), but will not know anything about other types of chemical compounds.

The Toxicology proficiency can be used to identify poisons used by others by sight, smell, taste, or symptoms. An attempt to identify a poison takes one round; be sure to keep track of time elapsed and the onset time of the poison. If one method of identification fails, the next may be tried. If none of the four produce an answer then the poison will remain a mystery to that character. Identification of a poison also means knowledge of its antidote (if one exists); it does not mean that the antidote is available, however. A character who also has the Herbalism proficiency may attempt to make such an antidote from scratch.

The check is adjusted based on how the charcater attempts the identification: sight, smell, taste, or symptoms. Sight means examination of the poison or poisoned article. Many poisons have a distinctive appearance, or they may have a corrosive or discoloring effect on metals, foods, etc. Identification by sight has a -4 modifier. Its advantage is that the character needn’t worry about poisoning himself in the process.

A poison may also be identified by its odor. This carries a -3 penalty on the check. Furthermore, if it is an ingested or contact poison, a natural 20 on the roll will cause the character to be affected by the poison himself, though at half strength (i.e., no effect if the saving throw is successful, and if it’s not, normal save damage is applied).

Taste is a fairly reliable, if dangerous, method of identifying a poison. It carries a -1 penalty on the check. After dabbing a tiny bit on his tongue, the thief spits it out. Any failed result automatically poisons the character attempting identification by taste (at half strength, as above).

The most certain way of identifying a poison is by its symptom (no penalty on the attempt). The drawback of this method is of course that you need a poisoned character to examine.

Academic Proficiencies

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