Skill Expert 5e: The Best Time To Take This Feat

Feats in Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition offer players the opportunity to get extra abilities and score increases beyond what the base classes provide to their players.

They’re an excellent method of altering your character to perform better tasks their players want to see them succeed at.

The Skill Expert feat has three features. First, it increases any Ability Score by one up to a maximum of 20. Secondly, it grants proficiency in any skill of your choice.

Lastly, it gives Expertise to a skill — doubling the proficiency bonus — that isn’t already benefiting from Expertise.

You have honed your proficiency with particular skills, granting you the following benefits:

Increase one ability score of your choice by 1 to a maximum of 20.

You gain proficiency in one skill of your choice.

Choose one skill in which you have proficiency. You gain expertise with that skill, which means your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make with it.

The skill you choose must be one that isn’t already benefiting from a feature, such as Expertise, that doubles your proficiency bonus.

Is Skill Expert Good?

Skill Expert is a fantastic feat for players who have already reached the benchmark skill scores for their designated class.

Each class requires players to dump as many Ability Score Increases as possible into a specific stat.

Once the benchmarks have been met (20 points in every Ability Score needed for your class), players can branch out into feats to gain abilities beyond their class.

One of the main points of power from Skill Expert is that it grants half of an ability score increase. So, you don’t completely lose out on raising your ability scores, and you still gain bonus abilities beyond your class.

Additionally, choosing both an extra skill proficiency and adding expertise to a skill is an incredibly potent ability. It’s one of the only ways to gain Expertise outside of choosing to play an Expertise Class (Rogue, Bard, etc.).

Skill Expert does lose a little ground because it’s very straightforward. You’ll get exactly what it says on the tin, nothing more, nothing less.

This is great for players who are new to the game and looking for something that gives them a power boost without all the bits and bobs that come with multi-classing or more involved feats.

Skill Expert is the ultimate in simplicity first. It doesn’t lose any power for being straightforward.

Still, it allows the inexperienced or those otherwise looking for simplicity to get a power boost without adding any confusion to their rotation or mechanics.

Can You Get Skill Expert Twice?

Players may wonder if the Skill Expert bonus can be gained more than once. Doing so would allow for an extra 1 point to an Ability Score, an additional proficiency, and an extra expertise bonus.

Sadly, you cannot get the Skill Expert Feat twice. Dungeons & Dragons has a clear rule that prevents you from gaining a buff twice.

The name rule prevents a player from being buffed or debuffed twice from a source with the same name as one from which they’re already receiving an effect.

So, for instance, if you have already been stunned by Color Spray, you can’t be shocked by it again until the effect ends, even if a different person casts Color Spray.

Similarly, you can’t be affected by a Skill Expert if you’re already being affected by a Skill Expert. Unfortunately, this means you can’t use Skill Expert in place of ASIs for the extra proficiencies.

What Synergizes Well With Skill Expert?

All classes have synergy with Skill Expert. However, Bard and Rogue have perfect synergy with Skill Expert.

Bard has the Jack-of-All-Trades feature, which grants half proficiency to all skills and gets Expertise naturally, giving it the possible synergy you can get with Skill Expert.

Rogue gets Expertise naturally too but doesn’t have Jack-of-All-Trades, making it a little less ideal synergy-wise.

Knowledge Domain Clerics also get one skill proficiency with Expertise, but the narrow choices make it less synergistic with Skill Expert.

Skill Expert is never a bad pickup. It will never be flashy or intense like Sentinel or War Caster, but it’s a good, simple, all-around feat that provides strong abilities and half of an ASI.

Frequently Asked Questions About Skill Expert

Can You Change Your Expertise Skills?

As written, once you choose to take Expertise in a skill, you cannot change that decision. Some DMs may allow you to change your Expertise if necessary.

Talk to your DM about the problem. Their goal is to help you have fun, and most DMs try to make concessions for their players’ enjoyment where they can.

How Many Expertise Skills Can You Get?

It is possible to get Expertise in up to 14 skills by cross-classing Rogue (Scout) 6, Bard (Lore) 10, Cleric (Knowledge) 1, and Fighter (Rune Knight) 3.

This cross-class will leave you with 18 Skill Proficiencies, 14 Expertise skills, and Expertise in all tools.

How Is Expertise Calculated?

The usual formula for rolling skill is [M(odifier)+P(roficiency)]. When calculating with Expertise, change the formula to [M+(2P)].

Expertise Build

The Expertise Build uses four classes and a smattering of feats to access the maximum number of Expertise skills available. 

Starting off, we’ll be taking the Sailor background. This will give us proficiency with the Athletics and Perception skills and Navigator’s Tools.

We’ll also want to choose Half-Elf as our race because that will provide us with two more Proficiencies (take Acrobatics and Animal Handling) and qualify us for the Prodigy feat from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.

Our first six levels will be in Rogue, giving us proficiency in Stealth, Sleight of Hand, Persuasion, and Performance. We’ll get Expertise in Stealth, Performance, Persuasion, and Perception from this as well.

We’ll choose the Scout Archetype at the third level to get Expertise in Nature and Survival. We’ll qualify for the Prodigy feat at the next level from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything. Take Deception with Prodigy and get Expertise in it.

Now we’ll focus on our 10 levels in Bard. We’ll start with proficiency in Insight and Pan Flute as our instrument, though it doesn’t matter what your instrument proficiency choice is.

College of Lore will give us Expertise in Proficiency and Persuasion and Performance. We’ll also take Intimidation, Investigation, and Religion as our proficiencies. At the 10th level, we’ll put Expertise into Intimidation and Insight.

Our first Bard feat will be Skill Expert, which will give us proficiency and Expertise in Medicine. Then for our second feat, we’ll take Skilled and choose three more tools to be proficient with. 

Now, we dip one level into Knowledge Domain Cleric, which we’ll use to get both proficiency and Expertise in Arcana and History.

Lastly, we’ll take three levels in Fighter and choose Rune Knight as our Martial Archetype. This will give us Expertise with any tools we are proficient with.

This gives us a complete set of 18 skill proficiencies, 14 Expertise skills, and nine tools with Expertise.

Final Thoughts

Skill Expert is an excellent feat for players aiming for maximum simplicity. It provides a healthy boost to a player’s kit without any need for complex theorycrafting.

You can even use Skill Expert to become the world’s most skilled adventurer!

Good luck, have fun, and happy questing!