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When you create a 1st-level character in Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, you begin roleplaying with training in a certain number of skills. The number of skills your character gains training in depends on your character’s class and race (humans begin with one extra skill as a racial benefit). The list of skills you can choose for your character is limited by his or her class. Here’s are five skills with key game effects that you shouldn’t ignore:

  • Bluff: Rogues can use the Bluff skill to manufacture sneak attack opportunities with the Gain Combat Advantage skill application.

  • Diplomacy: This is a great catch-all skill for convincing nonplayer characters (NPCs) to help out your character, leave him or her alone, or give your character something he or she needs.

  • Stealth: This skill covers hiding and stealing up on the bad guys without making a sound.

  • Perception: If you don’t like monsters surprising your character, look for a way to gain training in Perception so your character will know they’re coming.

  • Acrobatics: Your character uses this skill for balancing on things like narrow ledges above pits of molten lava. It also gives you the opportunity to escape from enemy, and you can even use it to try to reduce falling damage.

Make sure you use your character sheet to keep track of your character's skill points.

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Katharine Kaye McMillan is a writer whose work appears regularly in magazines and newspapers. She is a contributing writer to Florida Design Magazine and the co-author of several books on decorating and design, including Sun Country Style, which is the basis for licensed signature collections of furniture and accessories by three leading American manufacturers and importers. Patricia Hart McMillan is a nationally known interior designer whose work for private clients, designer showcases, and corporations has appeared in publications worldwide, including the New York Times and USA Today. A prolific writer, McMillan is coauthor and author of seven books on interior design and decoration. She is decorating editor for Christian Woman Magazine and reports on design trends for The Sun-Sentinel in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

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