Skill Matrix by Class and Race

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on March 30, 2009

The core classes and races now span three books: PHB, PHB2, and FR Player’s Guide. I’ve created two skill aides: one lists skill offerings by class, the other lists bonuses to skills and attributes by race.

I developed these to make things easier when creating skill challenges. They provide quick snapshots of all the skills by class and race, and eliminates the need for me to keep flipping between books.

As an added bonus I’ve found these aides incredibly useful when creating characters. They provide side-by-side comparisons of racial bonuses to attributes and skills.

See Skill Matrix Update (June 29).

Skill Matrix by Class – DM Aide


Along the top of the matrix are all the classes found in the PHB, PHB2 and FR Player’s Guide listed alphabetically.

Number of Trained Skills

This is the number of skills that each class can choose training in from the list below. This number does not include skills some classes receive automatic training in (like Religion for Clerics).


All the skills are listed in alphabetical order.

  • Boxes marked with an X and shaded green indicate skills that the class above can choose training in.
  • Boxes marked with a Y and shaded blue indicate skills that the class above gets training in automatically.
    Note: Rangers choose automatic training in either Dungeoneering or Nature. They can choose to take training in the other skill, but it counts against their overall total.
  • Boxes that are empty are not available to the class above unless the PC takes a feat.

Skill Matrix by Race – Player Aide


Along the top of the matrix are all the races found in the PHB, PHB2 and FR Player’s Guide listed alphabetically.

Number of Trained Skills

This is the number of bonus skills available to that race. This is in addition to the number of skills specified by class.

Racial Skill Bonuses

This is a summary of which skills receive racial bonuses.

Racial Ability Bonuses

Below the racial skill bonuses is a summary of which abilities offer racial bonuses.
Note: Humans choose +2 to any one ability score.

Interesting Observations

When I updated the list following the release of the PHB2, a few things jumped out at me immediately. These six skills are the most prevalent, available to the most classes. Upon realizing this, I’ve tried to use at least one or two of these as primary skills when building skill challenges.

  • Athletics (12)
  • Endurance (12)
  • Intimidate (12)
  • Heal (11)
  • History (11)
  • Insight (11)

On the other end of the spectrum, the skills below are available to so few classes it’s important not to hinge the overall success of a skill challenge on any one.

  • Thievery (2)
  • Stealth (3)
  • Bluff (4)

There are a lot of great resources available if you are creating your own skill challenges. I’ve found these aides useful as a player and as a DM. They’ve made planning and preparation easier and faster.

If you found this useful, be sure to check this out. Encounter-a-day has created a great 4th edition multiclassing tool.

Let me know what you think of these skill aides. Do you think you’ll find them helpful? Will you use them?

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1 TheMainEvent March 30, 2009 at 7:06 am

I had noticed how rare Thievery was earlier. Its a very useful skill, I guess I can see why from a certain perspective you’d want to keep it rare to emphasize its use to characters that have it, but I was very surprised that NOTHING in the PHB2 got it (not even the bard)

2 Thasmodious March 30, 2009 at 10:36 am

Nice, this will be helpful. As far as bluff being rare, since its basically just the liars version of diplomacy, you can sort of combine the two when considering their use in skill challenges. There are exceptions, of course, but in general there is a lot of overlap in their social uses.

3 Ameron March 30, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Thanks for visiting Dungeon’s Master. Two things really surprised me about the Bard’s skill list. The first was that Thievery was not on it, as you mentioned. The second was that the Bard wasn’t able to choose from EVERY skill. Come on, the Bard is a jack of ALL trades, not the jack of most trades. I’m going to allow a house rule in my game that Bards can choose from every skill.

I find that there are many skills that cover similar ground, but Bluff and Diplomacy seem to walk hand-in-hand most often and most readily. But keep in mind that Bluff, like all the skills in 4e, is only limited by your imagination and the DM’s discretion. So a skill challenge may call for a successful Bluff check that has nothing to do with a social encounter (like causing a distraction while your companion sneaks past the guard). It all depends on context.

4 Questing GM April 5, 2009 at 5:15 am

Nice aides. Most certainly useful and handy to have. I find the observations very interesting. One of the main problems that I had with 3.x is that many classes weren’t self sufficient. Swim and climb were one of the few skills that non-physical based classes would not want to invest (at their own peril) which made me very mindful when designing skill-based encounters. Glad to see that’s not the case for 4E.

However, while I think thievery should remain as an exclusive skill for rogue type characters but not having the bard included in the list is kinda odd, flavor wise. I think they did this to balance the bard mechanics (free multiclassing)

5 Ameron April 6, 2009 at 8:42 am

@Questing GM
I’m glad you found these aides useful. I think you’ve already realized that a good skill challenge will provide opportunities for all players to participate using the skills they’re good at. Identifying the skills that are most widely available (like Athletics — run, jump, swim) and including them regularly certainly accomplishes this.

As for the Bard’s skill selection, I stand by my original comment that they should have access to everything. Then it’s up to the individual players to choose the skills they want to take training it, including Thievery.

6 Louis June 29, 2009 at 6:25 pm

In regards to Bluff, I had a player use it uniquely last night in my game. The party had just kicked in the door of a guard house, and were snooping around through some documents. Unfortunately, they managed to knock the door completely off its hinges, and they were afraid someone notice to missing door. So the Barbarian asked if she could hold the door up to make it look like it was in place (lets face it, she wasn’t helping with the document research all that much).

So, I called for her to make a Bluff Check to hold to door in place, but asked for her to use her Str mod instead of her Cha mod when she did the roll. The players seemed to like the call.

7 Ameron June 30, 2009 at 8:24 pm

Way to think outside of the box. I don’t know if I’d have come up with that, but after reading your idea I think it was absolutely the correct call.

I wonder what other kinds of situations may call for skill checks using a different attribute than the one most commonly associated with it.

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