Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition Wiki

The following proficiency descriptions are arranged alphabetically, not according to character class. Each description gives a general outline of what a character with the proficiency knows and can do. Furthermore, some descriptions include rules to cover specific uses or situations, or exact instructions on the effects of the proficiency.


The character has a knowledge of the basics of farming. This includes planting, harvesting, storing crops, tending animals, butchering, and other typical farming chores.

Ancient History

The character has learned the legends, lore, and history of some ancient time and place. The knowledge must be specific, just as a historian would specialize today in the English Middle Ages, the Italian Renaissance, or the Roman Republic before Caesar. (The DM either can have ancient periods in mind for his game or can allow the players to name and designate them.) Thus, a player character could know details about the Age of Thorac Dragonking or the Time of the Sea-Raiders or whatever else was available.

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. The character must roll a proficiency check to identify places or things he encounters from that age. For example, Rath knows quite a bit about the Coming of the Trolls, a particularly dark period of dwarven history. Moving through some deep caverns, he and his companions stumble across an ancient portal, sealed for untold ages. Studying the handiwork, he realizes (rolls a successful proficiency check) that it bears several seals similar to those he has seen on “banned” portals from the time of Angnar, doorways to the legendary realm of Trolhel.

Animal Handling

Proficiency in this area enables a character to exercise a greater-than-normal degree of control over pack animals and beasts of burden. A successful proficiency check indicates that the character has succeeded in calming an excited or agitated animal; in contrast, a character without this proficiency has only a 20% chance of succeeding in the attempt.

Animal Lore

This proficiency enables a character to observe the actions or habitat of an animal and interpret what is going on. Actions can show how dangerous the creature is, whether it is hungry, protecting its young, or defending a nearby den. Furthermore, careful observation of signs and behaviors can even indicate the location of a water hole, animal herd, predator, or impending danger, such as a forest fire. The DM will secretly roll a proficiency check. A successful check means the character understood the basic actions of the creature. If the check fails by 4 or less, no information is gained. If the check fails by 5 or more, the character misinterprets the actions of the animal.

A character may also imitate the calls and cries of animals that he is reasonably familiar with, based on his background. This ability is limited by volume. The roar of a tyrannosaurus rex would be beyond the abilities of a normal character. A successful proficiency check means that only magical means can distinguish the character's call from that of the true animal. The cry is sufficient to fool animals, perhaps frightening them away or luring them closer. A failed check means the sound is incorrect in some slight way. A failed call may still fool some listeners, but creatures very familiar with the cry automatically detect a false call. All other creatures and characters are allowed a Wisdom check to detect the fake.

Finally, animal lore increases the chance of successfully setting snares and traps (for hunting) since the character knows the general habits of the creature hunted.

Animal Training

Characters with this proficiency can train one type of creature (declared when the proficiency is chosen) to obey simple commands and perform tricks. A character can spend additional proficiencies to train other types of creatures or can improve his skill with an already chosen type. Creatures typically trained are dogs, horses, falcons, pigeons, elephants, ferrets, and parrots. A character can choose even more exotic creatures and monsters with animal intelligence (although these are difficult to control).

A trainer can work with up to three creatures at one time. The trainer may choose to teach general tasks or specific tricks. A general task gives the creature the ability to react to a number of nonspecific commands to do its job. Examples of tasks include guard and attack, carry a rider, perform heavy labor, hunt, track, or fight alongside soldiers (such as a war horse or elephant). A specific trick teaches the trained creature to do one specific action. A horse may rear on command, a falcon may pluck a designated object, a dog may attack a specific person, or a rat may run through a particular maze. With enough time, a creature can be trained to do both general tasks and specific tricks.

Training for a general task requires three months of uninterrupted work. Training for a specific trick requires 2d6 weeks. At the end of the training time, a proficiency check is made. If successful, the animal is trained. If the die roll fails, the beast is untrainable. An animal can be trained in 2d4 general tasks or specific tricks, or any combination of the two.

An animal trainer can also try to tame wild animals (preparing them for training later on). Wild animals can be tamed only when they are very young. The taming requires one month of uninterrupted work with the creature. At the end of the month, a proficiency check is made. If successful, the beast is suitable for training. If the check fails, the creature retains enough of its wild behavior to make it untrainable. It can be kept, though it must be leashed or caged.


This proficiency is highly useful for thieves, as it allows characters to estimate the value and authenticity of antiques, art objects, jewelry, cut gemstones, or other crafted items they find (although the DM can exclude those items too exotic or rare to be well known). The character must have the item in hand to examine. A successful proficiency check (rolled by the DM) enables the character to estimate the value of the item to the nearest 100 or 1,000 gp and to identify fakes. On a failed check, the character cannot estimate a price at all. On a roll of 20, the character wildly misreads the value of the item, always to the detriment of the character.


This character can make all of the types of armor listed in the Player's Handbook, given the proper materials and facilities. When making armor, the proficiency check is rolled at the end of the normal construction time.

The time required to make armor is equal to two weeks per level of AC below 10. For example, a shield would require two weeks of work, whereas a suit of full plate armor would require 18 weeks of work.

If the proficiency check indicates failure but is within 4 of the amount needed for success, the armorer has created usable, but flawed, armor. Such armor functions as 1 AC worse than usual, although it looks like the armor it was intended to be. Only a character with armorer proficiency can detect the flaws, and this requires careful and detailed inspection.

If the flawed armor is struck in melee combat with a natural die roll of 19 or 20, it breaks. The character's AC immediately worsens by 4 additional classes (although never above 10), and the broken armor hampers the character's movement. Until the character can remove the broken armor (a process requiring 1d4 rounds), the character moves at ½ of his normal rate and suffers a -4 penalty to all of his attack rolls.

If an armorer is creating a suit of field plate or full plate armor, the character who will use the armor must be present at least once a week during the creation of the armor, since such types of armor require very exact fitting.

Artistic Ability

Player characters with artistic ability are naturally accomplished in various forms of the arts. They have an inherent understanding of color, form, space, flow, tone, pitch, and rhythm. Characters with artistic ability must select one art form (painting, sculpture, composition, etc.) to be proficient in. Thereafter they can attempt to create art works or musical compositions in their given field. Although it is not necessary to make a proficiency check, one can be made to determine the quality of the work. If a 1 is rolled on the check, the artist has created a work with some truly lasting value. If the check fails, the artist has created something aesthetically unpleasing or just plain bad.

Artistic ability also confers a +1 bonus to all proficiency checks requiring artistic skill--music or dance--and to attempts to appraise objects of art.


This proficiency gives the character some understanding of the supposed influences of the stars. Knowing the birth date and time of any person, the astrologer can study the stars and celestial events and then prepare a forecast of the future for that person. The astrologer's insight into the future is limited to the next 30 days, and his knowledge is vague at best. If a successful proficiency check is made, the astrologer can foresee some general event--a great battle, a friend lost, a new friendship made, etc. The DM decides the exact prediction (based on his intentions for the next few gaming sessions). Note that the prediction does not guarantee the result--it only indicates the potential result. If the proficiency check is failed, no information is gained unless a 20 is rolled, in which case the prediction is wildly inaccurate.

Clearly this proficiency requires preparation and advance knowledge on the part of the DM. Because of this, it is permissible for the DM to avoid the question, although this shouldn't be done all the time. Players who want to make their DM's life easier (always a good idea) should consider using this proficiency at the end of a gaming session, giving the DM until the next session to come up with an answer. The DM can use this proficiency as a catalyst and guide for his adventures--something that will prompt the player characters to go to certain places or to try new things.

Characters with the astrology proficiency gain a +1 bonus to all navigation proficiency checks, provided the stars can be seen.


A character with blacksmithing proficiency is capable of making tools and implements from iron. Use of the proficiency requires a forge with a coal-fed fire and bellows, as well as a hammer and anvil. The character cannot make armor or most weapons, but can craft crowbars, grappling hooks, horseshoes, nails, hinges, plows, and most other iron objects.


A character with blind-fighting is skilled at fighting in conditions of poor or no light (but this proficiency does not allow spell use). In total darkness, the character suffers only a -2 penalty to his attack roll (as compared to a -4 penalty without this proficiency). Under starlight or moonlight, the character incurs only a -1 penalty. The character suffers no penalties to his AC because of darkness.

Furthermore, the character retains special abilities that would normally be lost in darkness, although the effectiveness of these are reduced by one-half (proficiency checks are made at half the normal score, etc.). This proficiency is effective only against opponents or threats within melee distance of the character. Blind-fighting does not grant any special protection from missile fire or anything outside the immediate range of the character's melee weapon. Thus, AC penalties remain for missile fire. (By the time the character hears the whoosh of the arrow, for example, it is too late for him to react.)

While moving in darkness, the character suffers only half the normal movement penalty of those without this proficiency.

Furthermore, this skill aids the character when dealing with invisible creatures, reducing the attack penalty to -2. However, it does not enable the character to discover invisible creatures; he has only a general idea of their location and cannot target them exactly.


This character can make bows and arrows of the types given in Table 44.

A weaponsmith is required to fashion arrowheads, but the bowyer/fletcher can perform all other necessary functions. The construction time for a long or short bow is one week, while composite bows require two weeks, and 1d6 arrows can be made in one day.

When the construction time for the weapon is completed, the player makes a proficiency check. If the check is successful, the weapon is of fine quality and will last for many years of normal use without breaking. If the check fails, the weapon is still usable, but has a limited life span: An arrow breaks on the first shot; a bow breaks if the character using it rolls an unmodified 1 on his 1d20 attack roll.

Option: If a character wishes to create a weapon of truly fine quality and the DM allows it, the player can opt to use the following alternative procedure for determining the success of his attempt. When the proficiency check is made, any failure means that the weapon is useless. However, a successful check means that the weapon enables the character to add Strength bonuses to attack and damage rolls. Additionally, if the proficiency check is a natural 1, the range of the bow is increased 10 yards for all range classes or is of such fine work that it is suitable for enchantment.

(Partial) Table 44: Equipment
Item Cost (lb.) Size Type6 Factor S-M L
Bow -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Composite long bow 100 gp 3 L -- 7 -- --
Composite short bow 75 gp 2 M -- 6 -- --
Flight arrow 3sp/12 * S P -- 1d6 1d6
Long bow 75 gp 3 L -- 8 -- --
Sheaf arrow 3 sp/6 * S P -- 1d8 1d8
Short bow 30 gp 2 M -- 7 -- --


The character is trained in the art of brewing beers and other strong drink. The character can prepare brewing formulas, select quality ingredients, set up and manage a brewery, control fermentation, and age the finished product.


The carpentry proficiency enables the character to do woodworking jobs: building houses, cabinetry, joinery, etc. Tools and materials must be available. The character can build basic items from experience, without the need for plans. Unusual and more complicated items (a catapult, for example) require plans prepared by an engineer. Truly unusual or highly complex items (wooden clockwork mechanisms, for example) require a proficiency check.


A character with proficiency in this skill is able to safely guide a chariot, over any type of terrain that can normally be negotiated, at a rate 1/3 faster than the normal movement rate for a chariot driven by a character without this proficiency. Note that this proficiency does not impart the ability to move a chariot over terrain that it cannot traverse; even the best charioteer in the world cannot take such a vehicle into the mountains.


The character can fashion and repair shoes, boots, and sandals.


Although all characters have rudimentary cooking skills, the character with this proficiency is an accomplished cook. A proficiency check is required only when attempting to prepare a truly magnificent meal worthy of a master chef.


The character knows many styles and varieties of dance, from folk dances to formal court balls.

Direction Sense

A character with this proficiency has an innate sense of direction. By concentrating for 1d6 rounds, the character can try to determine the direction the party is headed. If the check fails but is less than 20, the character errs by 90 degrees. If a 20 is rolled, the direction chosen is exactly opposite the true heading. (The DM rolls the check.)

Furthermore, when traveling in the wilderness, a character with direction sense has the chance of becoming lost reduced by 5%.


The character with this skill is trained in the art of disguise. He can make himself look like any general type of person of about the same height, age, weight, and race. A successful proficiency check indicates that the disguise is successful, while a failed roll means the attempt was too obvious in some way.

The character can also disguise himself as a member of another race or sex. In this case, a -7 penalty is applied to the proficiency check. The character may also attempt to disguise himself as a specific person, with a -10 penalty to the proficiency check. These modifiers are cumulative, thus, it is extremely difficult for a character to disguise himself as a specific person of another race or sex (a -17 penalty to the check).








Gem Cutting







Languages, Ancient

Languages, Modern


Local History



Musical Instrument



Reading Lips



Riding, Airborne

Riding, Land-Based

Rope Use




Set Snares






Tightrope Walking





Weather Sense