5th Edition D&D has a skill problem. It lies in a feature called expertise.
Expertise allows you to add your proficiency bonus twice when using a skill:
The expertise mechanic is fine. The problem is that only Rogues and Bards get expertise. On the surface, this makes sense because these are the “skill monkey” classes. In application, this allows them to be the “jack of all trades” while still being master of several.
As a result, some weird things happen. For example:
- A Rogue can have a higher arcana skill than a Wizard.
- A Bard can have a higher athletics skill than a Barbarian.
This can be true even if the Rogue/Bard does not invest in the underlying ability score!
The gap only grows larger as the characters level up, and the Rogue/Bard adds twice its proficiency bonus to the Wizard’s one.
We can probably all agree that these examples…