This article on Proficiency in DnD 5e will be a bit two-sided. The reason for this is that this question can have multiple meanings. So I feel it is my duty to try and give an answer to all of those.
For starters, for some of the points, there are adequate rules defined in their proper rulebooks – for others, not as much. We’ll still answer those too.
So let’s start with the official stuff first, shall we? After then we’ll move on to the unofficial interpretations of this problem.
Table of Contents
How to Gain Proficiency in DnD 5e
The first way in which we can define the issue at hand is the following – the proficiency system in place in DnD 5e.
How this system works is as follows. Each character in the game has an Ability Score value, these values determine how capable a certain character is with one aspect of their characters. Depending on the points you’ve invested into a specific ability score, your proficiency may go up or down.
This can either mean that you have a character with -2 proficiency if your ability scores are not sufficient – or a maximum of +6 if you have invested sufficient points into an ability score.
We’ve written in the past about the system, so it’s recommended you go and check out that article if you want to know more. Now, onto the other official interpretation of this problem.
How to get Feats for Proficiencies
As you may already know. Certain weapons and fighting styles require you have a feat that makes you proficient in them. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use these weapons without them – it just means that you become proficient and much better in their use. Gaining a few bonuses or effects along the way.
We’ve written in the past about gaining feats and how they work. That is why we do not discuss them here in detail, go check out that post if you’d like to know more.
This answer comes from the linguistical problem of the word proficiency, and its use to denote multiple things in the game. But, regardless.
Let’s move on to another meaning of the term proficiency.
How to get “Proficiencies”
Now, the other meaning that proficiency has in DnD. Throughout the game, you can start – or gain proficiencies in certain skills. This can range from craftsmen skills to medicine, to alchemy, to astrology, to science, to whatever you can think of.
The point is. If you know any of these skills, you can be considered “proficient” in them. Which adds another use of the term proficient – on top of the ones we already discussed.
For these kinds of skills, if you want to learn a new skill; there’s usually a monetary and time value attached to it. Usually, it takes 250 days with a gold cost of 1 gold per day for a teacher to teach his skill to you. Although, this part is not very well defined and outlined, so if it’s not in a rulebook, and your DM is ok with it. Then everything should be just fine.
Now, to talk about the unofficial meanings of proficiency.
How to “Gain” “Proficiency” in DnD 5e
Some Dungeon Masters and players use a system in which you “gain” your proficiencies. This is usually done for roleplaying reasons as it directly conflicts with the game mechanics.
The basic gist behind the system is pretty straightforward. Just like in real life, you gain proficiency in something as you do the thing over and over again.
This is great for roleplay as you can really feel the progress show – instead of just it magically appearing when you pick a feat or whatever.
This mechanic can cover basically anything. And I mean anything. It can cover fighting with a specific weapon or style, it can cover your training in a certain skill or trade, it can even cover your dialogue and how you speak to others.
Personally, I really like the idea behind it. Imagine you’re a beginner alchemist. It’s almost expected of you to fail the first few times you try to brew up a concoction. Maybe you create a poison, maybe you create an explosive, maybe you create a drink that will send you on a maniacal bender for a few days.
If you want a more roleplay-heavy playthrough, then choosing this mechanic is always a fun idea.