@tragicjones @mikemearlsIs the bard’s Jack of All Trades feature intended to apply to initiative? PS, congrats on a spectacular launch! Yes, Jack of All Trades can apply to initiative, since that roll is a Dexterity check.
— Jeremy Crawford (@JeremyECrawford) August 21, 2014
@vamp7777so it would also apply to concentration checks No. Jack of All Trades benefits ability checks, not saving throws. @tragicjones @mikemearls
— Jeremy Crawford (@JeremyECrawford) April 10, 2015
7 thoughts on “Is the bard’s Jack of All Trades intended to apply to initiative?”
P 174 says ability checks “has a chance of failure.” initiative does not. While p 177 calls initiative a dexterity check, it is not in the subheading of ability checks. Just stirring the pot
Having the lowest initiative is basically failing in my book.
Specific beats general.
And it IS under the heading of types of Dexterity checks, it’s just not under the heading of SKILLS. You can have a raw ability check where no skill proficiency applies. Initiative is one such check. It’s the only one I can think of that is defined as a general rule (though I could well be missing something), but there are tons of more specific or ad hoc examples (e.g. pre-written adventures often have ad hoc skill-less ability checks). Like any ability checks, they are tools for the DM to use as they see fit.
What about the Champion’s Remarkable Athlete feature? Does it add half of the proficiency bonus (rounded down) to initiative rolls?
Yes, the same logic applies, as that feature says it applies to ability checks. Unlike JoAT, it is limited to certain abilities, but Dexterity is one of those.
How is initiative a Dexterity ability check but a Dexterity saving throw not? This seems a ridiculous hair to split.
It is not at ALL hair splitting. There are three distinct, non-overlapping categories of d20 rolls — attack rolls, ability checks, and saving throws. This is pretty fundamental to 5e and is covered in the section entitled “The D20” on page 7 of the PHB, right up front. Something that is one of those categories is not in the others, and initiative is explicitly described as an ability check, not a saving throw (PHB 177 and PHB 189).
If you were not aware of that fundamental 5e concept, you’re going to have a lot of trouble reading a lot of rules correctly. By contrast, understanding that concept will make the rules a lot clearer for you.