Ability Checks, Proficiencies & Saving Throws

Greetings, fellow adventurer! In this guide we will figure out how to overcome challenges while playing D&D.

As you embark on your journey into the world of Dungeons & Dragons, you'll encounter a myriad of challenges and obstacles that stand between you and glory.

Let's delve into the mechanics that govern your character's abilities and empower you to face the unknown.

D&D Fundamentals
A Comprehensive Guide to Rules and MechanicsWelcome to the world of Dungeons & Dragons, where epic quests and heroic feats await. To embark on your journey with confidence, it’s essential to grasp the fundamental mechanics that govern the game. This guide serves as your gateway to understanding…

Understanding Ability Checks, Proficiencies & Saving Throws

Ability Checks:

Ability checks determine your character's success in performing tasks that require skill, luck, or a combination of both. They involve rolling a 20-sided die (a d20) and adding modifiers to the result.

Example: Your character wants to climb a treacherous cliff. You roll a d20, add your Strength modifier, and if you're proficient in Athletics, you also add your proficiency bonus.


Proficiencies represent your character's expertise in certain skills or tools. When attempting an action related to a proficiency, you add your proficiency bonus to the ability check.

Example: Your character is proficient in Persuasion. When trying to convince a skeptical NPC to trust you, you add your Charisma modifier and your proficiency bonus to your Persuasion roll.

Saving Throws:

Saving throws measure your character's ability to resist harmful effects, such as spells or traps. Similar to ability checks, saving throws involve rolling a d20 and adding relevant modifiers.

Example: Your character is targeted by a fireball spell. You make a Dexterity saving throw by rolling a d20, adding your Dexterity modifier, and if you're proficient in Dexterity saving throws, you add your proficiency bonus.

The Role of Ability Checks, Proficiencies & Saving Throws

These mechanics play pivotal roles in your D&D journey:

Flexibility and Creativity: Ability checks offer flexibility, allowing you to attempt a wide range of actions based on your character's skills.

Character Expertise: Proficiencies showcase your character's specialization and allow them to shine in specific areas.

Danger and Resilience: Saving throws add an element of risk and reward, determining how well your character resists negative effects.

Integrating Ability Checks, Proficiencies & Saving Throws

Step 1: Understand Ability Scores:

Familiarize yourself with the six ability scores: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. These scores determine your modifiers for ability checks and saving throws.

Example: Your character has a high Dexterity score, which grants a positive modifier to Dexterity-based ability checks and saving throws.

Step 2: Learn Proficiencies:

Choose skills, tools, and other proficiencies for your character based on their background, class, and race. Proficiencies grant bonuses when you perform actions related to them.

Example: Your character's background as a sailor grants proficiency in Navigation tools and the Athletics and Perception skills.

Step 3: Grasp Saving Throws:

Determine your character's saving throw proficiencies. These are based on class and provide bonuses to specific types of saving throws.

Example: Your character's class as a Paladin grants proficiency in Wisdom and Charisma saving throws, reflecting their strong willpower and divine connection.

Setup Atomcal
Learn how to setup Atomcal for D&D campaign management. Create events, AI background images, DM/Player roles. Sync with google calendar, Discord server, twitch schedule. Discover Events!

External Resources

To deepen your understanding of ability checks, proficiencies, and saving throws in D&D, explore these external resources:

D&D Beyond - Ability Checks, Proficiency & Saving Throws An informative article explaining the mechanics of these core concepts. Read the Article

The DM's Lair - Understanding Ability Checks and Saving Throws A video guide breaking down the mechanics and strategies of ability checks and saving throws. Watch the Video

Nerdarchy - Explaining Proficiency in D&D 5e A detailed discussion on how proficiencies work in the game. Watch the Video

Example: Ability Check

Scenario: Your character, a rogue named Elara, wants to stealthily sneak past a group of guards patrolling a dark alley.

Roll: You roll a d20 and add your Dexterity modifier (+3) and proficiency bonus (+2) because you're proficient in Stealth.

Result: The roll is 14 + 3 + 2 = 19. With a high result, Elara successfully moves silently and avoids detection.

Embark on Your Adventure

With this guide, you're equipped to navigate the intricate mechanics of ability checks, proficiencies, and saving throws in D&D.

As you immerse yourself in the game, remember that these mechanics empower you to shape your character's destiny and face challenges head-on.

May your rolls be in your favor, your skills honed, and your character's journey filled with triumphs and memorable moments.

DnD Campaigns Finder
Join our Facebook group and find your next campaign amoungts the 100s of DnD campaings shared everyday across our community servers.
Atomcal Guides And Tutorials
Visit our Youtube channel and dive deep into how you can utilize Atomcal to manage your DnD campaings, create upcoming events calendar and discovery campaigns happening near you and around the world!
Support Discord Server
Have any issues or want to share you feedback or suggestions? We're here to learn more from you. Just visit our Discord server and ping us in one of the channels.