Skulker is one of those niche feats that is clearly designed for one or two classes, but has some benefits that other niche or specialized builds might find useful. This can often be overlooked, in part because it is so clearly aimed at Rangers and Rogues, but if those were the only classes to look at this 5E feat then there would be multiple players or builds missing out on a potentially useful feat.
The Skulker Feat in 5th Edition D&D makes hiding and staying hidden easier for a player character, which can increase the number of times they avoid an enemy perception check, stay stealthed, and get more advantage rolls by attacking from a hidden position.
So is the Skulker just the obvious rogue feat or is there a lot more to this feat than first meets the eye?
Read on for the full break down of the Skulker feat, what it has to offer, and who should look at picking up this very narrowly focused feat.
Breaking Down the 5E Skulker Feat
Let’s take a look at the exact wording for the 5th Edition version of the Skulker feat before moving to break down each section point by point.
Directly from the Player’s Handbook:
Prerequisite: Dexterity 13 or higher
You are an expert at slinking through shadows. You gain the following benefits:
- You can try to hide when you are lightly obscured from the creature from which you are hiding.
- When you are hidden from a creature and miss it with a ranged weapon attack, making the attack doesn’t reveal your position.
- Dim light doesn’t impose disadvantage on your Wisdom (Perception) checks relying on sight.
Player’s Handbook, p. 170
Let’s break down these benefits in more detail to see how they stack hold up under close scrutiny.
Benefit #1: You can try to hide when you are lightly obscured from the creature from which you are hiding.
The information in the Player’s Handbook on the Hide action can be found on p.177. This goes pretty much the way most players assume with stealth vs perception, but has clarifying rules on passive perception, invisibility, and visibility in the area.
Generally if you are only lightly obscured the DM would rule that you’re not far enough out of sight to go into hiding, especially if you were spotted earlier (say in the middle of a combat).
However, whether the DM goes RAW or does their own variation of perception/investigation vs stealth, this feature is going to encourage some type of advantage to the hiding PC, which is what you want from a feat named Skulker.
This is huge for rogues who jump out with a sneak attack in battle and want to attempt to hide in combat to set off advantage and another sneak attack.
Benefit #2: When you are hidden from a creature and miss it with a ranged weapon attack, making that attack doesn’t reveal your position.
This is one the ranger loves. Or the rogue using poisoned bolts from their handcrossbow. Or a warlock built to be a crossbow wielding rogue-like character.
Being able to stay hidden despite an arrow, bolt, stone, or dart whizzing by is very situational, but fantastic as a feature. This can even be used effectively outside of combat to distract.
The guards hear the stone you throw as a distraction clanking, but your position of where you throw it from can’t be revealed. Sounds like a good deal to me!
Benefit #3: Dim light doesn’t impose disadvantage on your Wisdom (Perception) checks relying on sight.
Honestly, many times as DM I probably don’t consider the effects of dim light enough except for very specific circumstances, but understanding that it does affect perception checks, I love the fact that skulking not only allows you to hide better in dim light and dark alleys, but makes it easier for you to spot others doing the same.
Or allows you to search in those conditions without bumbling around like an idiot. Again, situational to the sneaky/rogue/stealth type life but very effective in doing what it is meant to do.
5E Classes That Should Take the Skulker Feat
No one should really be surprised by this, should they? The Skulker feat was absolutely made for the rogue, and they’re the one class that should take it every time.
While there are Rangers, Bards, Monks, and Warlocks who can definitely benefit from parts of the 5E Skulker feat and builds with those classes that embrace what this feat fully offers but it is definitely the rogue that designers had in mind when they were building this feat.
The ability to hide behind other teammates or terrain that doesn’t count as full cover in the middle of battle? Resetting advantage to allow for sneak attack more than once?
If that isn’t the rogue’s wheelhouse, I don’t know what is!
The ability to not take damage to perception in dim light is good, especially for rogues from races that don’t have dark vision. This feat does multiple things for the rogue and it is basically a must take for the rogue.
5th Ed Classes that should always take the Skulker Feat:
5E Classes That Should Consider Taking the Skulker Feat
While Skulker even just sounds like “The Rogue Feat,” there are several other classes that could put this feat to good use. Depending on the build, their role in the party, and the campaign type, these classes might also want to consider taking the Skulker feat.
Rangers. Rangers are the next class that most often take Skulker feat. This can work well for not giving away the location after a missed shot, and for a Gloomstalker Ranger in a campaign taking place in the Underdark this feat becomes a must-have.
Druids. Druids are an interesting one. They take the stats of animal form but keep their traits mean meshing the Skulker feat with the Druid in their own form, or in an array of animal forms, which opens up some strange potential possibilities.
Monks. Monks usually aren’t the scout or stealthy one, but in parties without a rogue or ranger they suddenly become the dexterous character with high movement speed. If the monk is a Shadow Monk or is built to take the place of these missing characters, then Skulker can be worth the take.
Bards. Not a normal feat for a bard, but for the troublemaker “Jack of All Trades” skill master bard who is a rogue at heart, they might want the skulker feat to let their sneaking in, sneaking away, or trying to get a cheap shot off with the crossbow go all the more smoothly.
Warlocks. Not every warlock build will make much use for this 5E feat however, for Hexblade Warlocks, or others who prefer the shadows, this could be an interesting feat to build around, especially with the right invocations.
5th Ed Classes that should consider taking the Skulker Feat:
5E Classes That Should NEVER Take the Skulker Feat
This isn’t a feat for everyone, and for power casters, tanks, or your non stealthy characters there just isn’t much sense to taking it. That means that unless you’re going out of the way to make it work, Artificers, Barbarians, Clerics, Fighters, Paladins, Sorcerers, and Wizards don’t have much of a reason to use this feat.
5th Ed classes that should never take the Skulker Feat:
Final Feat Grade for 5E Skulker Feat
Skulker Feat Grade: B-
Is the 5E Skulker Feat Worth It?
For builds where staying hidden is a major advantage, the Skulker feat can be a good pickup. It’s a virtual must for most rogue builds, and most ranger builds will also find it a very useful feat to choose. For most others in all likelihood this is a skip. It’s a C+/B- type grade, but for a rogue or Gloomstalker ranger it’s an A feat that should be near the top of the list.
Skulker Feat FAQ
What are the best feats for rogues?
There are several feats that are excellent choices for your standard rogue build. Skulker is one of the best feats for rogues while Alert and Observant definitely have their place, as well. Adding to the Skill Monkey side of rogues with the Skilled Feat or Skilled Expert feat can also make some crazy versatile characters even more so.
Is the Skulker Feat any good?
While very niche in nature, the Skulker Feat is a solid choice for a number of builds and is especially useful for your conventional rogue and ranger builds.
Does the skulker feat stack with dark vision?
The benefits all apply to you if you have both, so yes.
Can you hide in dim light?
You can but the effectiveness is limited, or the DM might rule that it’s not dim enough to break line of sight. With the Skulker feat you actually do have the ability to hide in dim light.
Does attacking break stealth in 5E?
Generally attacking does break stealth in 5E. Any bonuses from being in stealth apply to the attack and then stealth is broken. The exception is with a missed ranged attack using the skulker feat, in which case you can’t be located and stealth is therefore kept.
Is skulker a good feat for rogues?
Absolutely! Skulker is an excellent feat for rogues and works perfectly in synergy with many of their most important mechanics.
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Proud to embrace the locally created moniker of “Corrupt Overlord” from one of the all time great Lords of Waterdeep runs, Shane is one member of the Assorted Meeples crew and will be hard at work creating awesome content for the website. He is a long-time player of board games, one time semi-professional poker player, and tends to run to the quirky or RPG side of things when it comes to playing video games. He loves tabletop roleplaying systems like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Werewolf, Fate, and others, and not only has been a player but has run games as DM for years. You can find his other work in publications like Level Skip or Hobby Lark.