Imagine for a moment that you’re DMing for Arcane Archer. You’ve just explained that there’s a dendrophobic clan of dwarves willing to pay good coin for clearcutting assistance. The PC seems willing to give it a shot, and so he strolls up to his first tree. Everything is hunky-dory until—without fail—we arrive at the question. It’s a question with many variations, but one you’ve heard countless times before if you’ve ever sat behind a DM screen.

“Can I use my archery instead of Profession (woodcutter)?”

Now the answer to that question is going to vary by DM. Some will say, “Sure! Rule of cool!” Others will say that no, that’s obviously not possible. You might as well chop down the mightiest tree in the forest with a herring, and besides which you’re infringing on the Profession (woodcutter) skill. My own tactic is to narrow my eyes, lean back in my chair, and say, “How exactly would that work?”

Now I don’t think that there’s a particular best practice here, and the response will vary with the situation. I’m curious about thought processes rather than answers though, and I’d like to hear how you guys would handle these situations in your own games. So what do you say we run a quick quiz in today’s comments? Explain how you would rule on the following situations.

  • Shooting down trees with arrows
  • Using Acrobatics to initiate a grapple
  • Piloting a non-magical semi truck with Use Magic Device
  • Crafting a length of rope with Survival

I’m hoping that we can gain a little perspective (and maybe some useful new DMing techniques) with one another’s help. So if you’re up for it, let’s put on our collective DM hats and make some rulings down in the comments!


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