Skills represent some of the most basic and yet most fundamental abilities your character possesses. As your character advances in level, he can gain new skills and improve his existing skills dramatically.
When you make a skill check, you roll 1d20 and then add your ranks and the appropriate ability score modifier to the result of this check. You will be trying to match or beat a difficulty class (“DC” for short), based on how difficult the task is.
If you are not trained in the skill, you may still attempt the skill, but you use only the bonus (or penalty) provided by the associated ability score modifier to modify the check.
Skills can be further modified by a wide variety of sources — by your background, class ability, equipment, or by other circumstances. See the Action section for more details.
Careful skill checks - Taking 10 or Taking 20
A skill check represents an attempt to accomplish some goal, usually while under some sort of time pressure or distraction. Sometimes, though, a character can use a skill under more favourable conditions, increasing the odds of success.
Taking 10: When your character is not in immediate danger or distracted, you may choose to take 10. Instead of rolling 1d20 for the skill check, calculate your result as if you had rolled a 10. For many routine tasks, taking 10 makes them automatically successful. Distractions or threats (such as combat) make it impossible for a character to take 10.
In most cases, taking 10 is purely a safety measure — you know (or expect) that an average roll will succeed but fear that a poor roll might fail, so you elect to settle for the average roll (a 10). Taking 10 is especially useful in situations where a particularly high roll wouldn't help.
Taking 20: When you have plenty of time, you are faced with no threats or distractions, and the skill being attempted carries no penalties for failure, you can take 20. In other words, if you a d20 roll enough times, eventually you will get a 20. Instead of rolling 1d20 for the skill check, just calculate your result as if you had rolled a 20. Taking 20 means you are trying until you get it right, and it assumes that you fail many times before succeeding.
Taking 20 takes 20 times as long as making a single check would take (usually 2 minutes for a skill that takes 1 round or less to perform). Since taking 20 assumes that your character will fail many times before succeeding, your character would automatically incur any penalties for failure before he or she could complete the task (hence why it is generally not allowed with skills that carry such penalties). Common “take 20” skills include Disable Device (when used to open locks), Escape Artist, and Perception (when looking for traps).
Each level, your character gains a number of skill ranks dependent upon your class plus your Intelligence modifier. Investing a rank in a skill represents a measure of training in that skill. You can never have more ranks in a skill than your total number of Levels.
In addition, each class has a number of favoured skills, called class skills, selected when you first take a level in the class. It is easier for your character to become more proficient in these skills, as they represent part of his professional training and constant practice. You gain a +3 bonus on all class skills that you put ranks into. This +3 bonus counts as ranks in the skill for determining whether you meet the prerequisites of feats, and so on.
The number of skill ranks you gain when taking a level in one of the base classes is shown in each class description. Humans gain 1 additional skill rank per class level. If you select a level in a new class that grants more class skills than you previously had, you may select additional class skills up to that amount, and you gain a +3 bonus on these skills if you have ranks in them.
|Acrobatics||DEX||(jump, ledgewalk, tumble)|
|Athletics||STR||(lift, climb, swim)|
|Deception||CHA||(lies, disguise, secret messages)|
|Escape artist||DEX||(escape bonds or grapple)|
|First aid||WIS||(patch up allies)|
|Hardware||INT||(security systems, bomb disposal)|
|Intimidate||CHA||(threats, inducing fear)|
|-||General||(high school education)|
|Linguistics||INT||(new languages, cryptography)|
|Mechanics||INT||(machinery repair, lock picking)|
|Perception||WIS||(spot, listen, search)|
|Profession||WIS||(background skills, income)|
|Religion||INT||(ceremonies, myths, cults)|
|Sciences||INT||(advanced chemistry, physics, biology)|
|Sense motive||WIS||(discern lies)|
|Software||INT||(advanced computer use, hacking)|
|Stealth||DEX||(move silently, hide)|
|Survival||WIS||(live off the land, animal empathy)|
*Mental: choose one mental ability to associate with this skill
Skills from earlier ages
Some skills are rarely found in the modern day, but may be applicable in rural settings or on primitive planets.
|Craft||INT||(any handicraft, making, repairing)||Hardware & Software|
|Handle animal||CHA (DEX)||(riding, animal training)||Drive|
Replaces?: The skill may be used to replace the listed skills in a setting where the dominant technology level is below Industrial. Otherwise, the skills are additions to the available list.
You can keep your balance while traversing narrow or treacherous surfaces. You can also dive, flip, jump, and roll to avoid attacks and overcome obstacles.
Check: You can use Acrobatics to move on narrow surfaces and uneven ground without falling. A successful check allows you to move at half speed across such surfaces—only one check is needed per round. Use the following table to determine the base DC, which is then modified by the Acrobatics skill modifiers noted below. While you are using Acrobatics in this way, you are considered flat-footed and lose your Dexterity bonus to your Defence (if any). If you take damage while using Acrobatics, you must immediately make another Acrobatics check at the same DC to avoid falling or being knocked prone.
In addition, you can move through a threatened space without provoking an Opportunity Attack from an enemy by using Acrobatics. You must match or beat the opponent's Combat Manoeuvre Defence, or they will be able to take an Opportunity Attack.
When moving in this way, you move at half speed. You can move at full speed by taking an Extreme penalty. You cannot use Acrobatics to move past foes if your speed is reduced due to carrying a medium or heavy load or wearing medium or heavy armour. If an ability allows you to move at full speed under such conditions, you can use Acrobatics to move past foes. You can use Acrobatics in this way while prone, but doing so requires a standard action to move 5 feet, and carries a Major penalty.
If multiple opponents threaten the area you're trying to move through, they each apply a Minor penalty to your check. If you try to move over, under, or otherwise “through” the space an opponent occupies, you take an Extreme penalty.
Finally, you can use the Acrobatics skill to make jumps or to soften a fall. Jumping your own approximate height as a long jump is an Average task, or half your height as a high jump.
|Difficulty||Long jump||High jump|
|Average||Own height||Half height|
|Hard||Double height||Own height|
|Heroic||Triple height||Height x1.5|
|Epic||Height x4||Double height|
If you have no run-up, or if you're moving faster than usual, you may have modifiers to the skill check - for example, a standing jump is at a Major penalty compared with a running jump.
If you are deliberately falling (i.e.: you have jumped down) then it is an Average task to soften a fall (reduce the fall's damage, as if it were 10 feet less). A Hard check softens a fall by 20 feet, a Heroic check by 30 feet, and an Epic check by 40 feet. Trying to soften a fall as a reaction while falling by accident is usually at an Extreme penalty.
Action: None. An Acrobatics check is made as part of another action or as a reaction to a situation.
Special: If you have 3 or more ranks in Acrobatics, you gain a Minor bonus to Defence when fighting defensively.
You can climb, swim, run and perform feats of strength.
Check: climbing - With a successful check, you can advance up, down, or across a slope, wall, or other steep incline (or even across a ceiling, provided it has handholds) at one-quarter your normal speed. A slope is considered to be any incline at an angle measuring less than 60 degrees; a wall is any incline at an angle measuring 60 degrees or more.
A check that fails by 4 or less means that you make no progress, and one that fails by 5 or more means that you fall from whatever height you have already attained.
The DC of the check depends on the conditions of the climb - a rough cliff is an Average task, whereas climbing a typical brick wall is Heroic. Slopes that are too steep to walk up are extremely easy - i.e. a DC of 4. You're only likely to fail such a task if you have to cope with penalties.
A corner you can brace yourself against grants a Minor bonus. A rope that you can pull yourself up with grants a Major bonus. Trying to climb faster - at half speed instead of quarter speed - imposes a Major penalty.
Catching falling people - It's Extremely hard to catch yourself while falling - that is, you must make an Athletics check for the slope or wall you're trying to catch onto, at an Extreme penalty. Catching another person falling past you is even harder - you must make one check to catch hold of them, and a second check to bear their weight, both at an Extreme penalty.
Check: lifting - How much you can routinely lift is governed by your Strength score, but sometimes you have to make an extra effort to lift heavier weights, or to suddenly bear a load (such as when you catch a heavy object).
It is a Heroic task to reduce the penalties imposed by your load by one step, and Epic to reduce the penalties by two steps. The check must be made for each action you take - at least once per round. The state of the surface you are on (slippery, rocky) may impose penalties on your check. You cannot move with a load that is greater than three times your maximum load, even if you manage to lift it.
Catching heavy objects requires Athletic prowess. It is a Hard task to suddenly bear your Medium load, rising to Heroic for your Heavy load, and Epic for weights up to double your maximum load. If you fail the check by less than 4, you may choose to take the damage inflicted by the falling object and keep hold of it, or take no damage and fail to catch it. If you fail by more than 5, you fail to catch it and take the damage (unless you can make a DC 15 Reflex save).
Check: running - Most of the time, your base speed is all you need to know about your ability to run. When you are trying to outrun another character with the same speed, however, you make opposed Athletics checks - whoever wins closes or opens the distance between them by 5 feet this round. For every 5 you beat the check by, that distance increases by another 5 feet (up to your base speed). See Action for more details.
Check: swimming - Make a check once per round while you are in the water. Success means you may swim at up to half your speed (as a full-round action) or at a quarter of your speed (as a move action). If you fail by 4 or less, you make no progress. If you fail by 5 or more, you go underwater.
Calm water is Easy to swim in (usually requiring no check). Rough water is an Average Task, Stormy water is Hard to swim in. Penalties may be imposed by wearing armour, carrying equipment, and so on. Swimming back to the surface is the same DC as staying on the surface. Wading through water that is higher than your waist requires an Athletics check of the same DC as swimming in it.
Action: Athletics is usually part of movement, so it's part of a move action (and may be combined with other types of movement in a move action). Each move action that includes any heavy lifting, swimming, climbing or similar requires a separate Athletics check. Catching yourself or another falling character doesn't take an action.
(Select one mental ability score)
Your purchasing power goes beyond the cash you have on hand.
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You know how to tell a lie and go incognito.
Check: Deception is an opposed skill check against your opponent's Sense Motive skill. If you use Deception to fool someone, with a successful check you convince your opponent that what you are saying is true. Deception checks are modified depending upon the believability of the lie, supporting evidence you present, the target's state of intoxication, and so on. Note that some lies are so improbable that it is impossible to convince anyone that they are true (subject to GM discretion).
Feint: You can use Deception to feint in combat, causing your opponent to be denied his Dexterity bonus to his Defence against your next attack. The DC of this check is equal to 10 + your opponent's base attack bonus + your opponent's Wisdom modifier. If your opponent is trained in Sense Motive, the DC is instead equal to 10 + your opponent's Sense Motive bonus, if higher. For more information on feinting in combat, see Action.
Secret Messages: You can use Deception to pass hidden messages along to another character without others understanding your true meaning, using innuendo to cloak your actual message. A simple message (e.g.: “We shouldn't trust this guy.”) is an Average task - more complex messages are harder to communicate. If you are successful, the target automatically understands you, assuming you are communicating in a language that it understands. If your check fails by 5 or more, you deliver the wrong message. Other creatures that receive the message can decipher it by succeeding at an opposed Sense Motive check against your Deception result.
Disguise: Initially, you make a Deception check to make a disguise - it is a Hard task to disguise yourself as someone generic, and a Heroic task to disguise yourself as someone specific.
Once you are disguised, only people who interact with you or pay you special attention for some reason may make Sense Motive checks to notice all is not what it seems - you oppose their check with your Deception check (encompassing your demeanour, voice, bluffing and so on). They may get bonuses depending on their relationship to you or to the person you are disguised as.
Action: Attempting to deceive someone takes at least 1 round, but can possibly take longer if the lie is elaborate (as determined by the GM on a case-by-case basis).
Feinting in combat is a standard action.
Using Deception to deliver a secret message takes twice as long as the message would otherwise take to relay.
Creating a disguise takes 1d3 x 10 minutes of work. You can take a penalty to accelerate this process if the GM allows.
Try Again: If you fail to deceive someone, further attempts to deceive them are at an Extreme penalty and may be impossible (GM discretion).
You can attempt to Feint against someone again if you fail. Secret messages can be relayed again if the first attempt fails.
You can use this skill to persuade others to agree with your arguments, to resolve differences, and to gather valuable information or rumours from people. This skill is also used to negotiate conflicts by using the proper etiquette and manners suitable to the problem.
Check: You can change the initial attitudes of nonplayer characters with a successful check. The DC of this check depends on the creature's starting attitude toward you, adjusted by its Charisma modifier.
If you succeed, the character's attitude toward you is improved by one step. For every 5 by which your check result exceeds the DC, the character's attitude toward you increases by one additional step. A creature's attitude cannot be improved more than two steps in this way, although the GM can override this rule in some situations. If you fail the check by 4 or less, the character's attitude toward you is unchanged. If you fail by 5 or more, the character's attitude toward you is worsened by one step.
You cannot use Diplomacy against a creature that does not understand you or has an Intelligence of 3 or less. Diplomacy is generally ineffective in combat and against creatures that intend to harm you or your allies in the immediate future. Any attitude shift caused through Diplomacy generally lasts for 1d4 hours but can last much longer or shorter depending upon the situation (GM discretion).
Circumstantial bonuses and penalties are applied to your check based on the argument you present, at the GM's discretion.
Check: Gather Information - You can also use Diplomacy to gather information about a specific topic or individual. To do this, you must spend at least 1d4 hours canvassing people at local taverns, markets, and gathering places. For most commonly known facts or rumours this is an Easy task. For obscure or secret knowledge, the task may be Hard or even Heroic. The GM might rule that some topics are simply unknown to common folk.
If you are trying to keep your enquiries discrete, you must overcome a Major penalty - otherwise you may learn the information you're looking for, but the target of your investigations is also informed about your snooping.
Action: Using Diplomacy to influence a creature's attitude takes 1 minute of continuous interaction. Making a request of a creature takes 1 or more rounds of interaction, depending upon the complexity of the request. Using Diplomacy to gather information takes 1d4 hours of work searching for rumours and informants.
Try Again: You cannot use Diplomacy to influence a given creature's attitude more than once in a 24-hour period. If a request is refused, the result does not change with additional checks, although other requests might be made. You can retry Diplomacy checks made to gather information.
Your training allows you to slip out of bonds and escape from grapples.
Check: Ropes - The DC of your Escape Artist check is equal to the binder's Combat Manoeuvre Attack check +10.
Check: Manacles, handcuffs, etc - The DC for manacles is set by their construction: it is at least Hard to escape handcuffs, become more difficult as the quality of the restraint increases.
Check: Tight space - It is a Heroic task to squeeze through a space through which your head fits but your shoulders don't. If the space is long, you may need to make multiple checks. You can't squeeze through a space that your head does not fit through.
Check: Grappler - You can make an Escape Artist check in place of a combat manoeuvre check to escape a grapple (see Action) or to change from a pinned condition to merely grappled.
Action: Making an Escape Artist check to escape from rope bindings, manacles, or other restraints (except a grappler) requires 1 minute of work. Escaping from a net is a full-round action. Escaping from a grapple or pin is a standard action. Squeezing through a tight space takes at least 1 minute, maybe longer, depending on how long the space is.
Try Again: Varies. You can make another check after a failed check if you're squeezing your way through a tight space, making multiple checks. If the situation permits, you can make additional checks, or even take 20, as long as you're not being actively opposed.
You are skilled at tending to wounds and ailments.
Check: The DC and effect of a First aid check depend on the task you attempt.
Stabilising a dying character, or removing a Minor debilitating condition are Average tasks.
Treating wounds (i.e. restoring Wound Points) is a Hard task, which restores 1 WP per HD of the target.
If you succeed at a Heroic or Epic task when providing First aid, the GM may assign additional effects, such as restoring ability damage, or removing Major debilitating conditions.
Treating poison or disease requires you to match or beat the save DC of the affliction. If you succeed, you grant the target a new save with a Major bonus - or an Extreme bonus if you beat the DC by 8 or more.
Action: Stabilising a target, or treating poison is a full-round action. Treating a disease or treating deadly wounds takes 10 minutes of work. Providing long-term care requires 8 hours of light activity.
Try Again: Varies. Generally speaking, you can't try a First aid check again without witnessing proof of the original check's failure. You can always retry a check to stabilise a target, assuming the target of the previous attempt is still alive.
Special: A first aid kit provides a Major bonus to First aid checks.
You are skilled at repairing, modifying, and disabling electrical and electronic hardware of a wide variety.
Check: The difficulty of the task depends on the complexity of the device and any precautions the original creator has taken to prevent your attempt (such as bolts requiring special keyed sockets, or interlocks). The GM sets a difficulty for the base task (from Easy to Epic), and applies modifiers to reflect the obstacles set in your way.
To bypass a basic alarm, for example, is an Average task - but to bypass the alarm without proper electronics tools imposes a Minor penalty. With only improvised tools (such as a penknife, paperclip or similar, as opposed to a good tool kit), a Major penalty is imposed.
If the check succeeds, you achieve your aim. If it fails by 4 or less, you have failed but can try again. If you fail by 5 or more, something goes wrong: if the device is an alarm or trap, you trigger it; if you're attempting some sort of sabotage, you think the device is disabled, but it still works normally; if you're attempting a repair, you make things worse. Some robust devices are tough enough that a botched Hardware check won't break them - at the GM's discretion.
Try Again: Varies. If there was a penalty for your failure, then you must fix the damage that you've done before trying again - otherwise, you can retry until you succeed (Take 20).
You can use this skill to frighten your opponents or to get them to act in a way that benefits you. This skill includes verbal threats and displays of prowess.
Check: You can use Intimidate to force an opponent to act friendly toward you for 1d6 × 10 minutes with a successful check. The DC of this check is equal to 10 + the target's Hit Dice + the target's Wisdom modifier. If successful, the target gives you the information you desire, takes actions that do not endanger it, or otherwise offers limited assistance. After the Intimidate expires, the target treats you as unfriendly and may report you to local authorities. If you fail this check by 5 or more, the target attempts to deceive you or otherwise hinder your activities.
Demoralize: You can use this skill to cause your opponents to become shaken for a number of rounds. The DC of this check is equal to 10 + the target's Hit Dice + the target's Wisdom modifier. If you are successful, the target is shaken for 1 round. This duration increases by 1 round for every 5 by which you beat the DC. You can only threaten opponents in this way if they are within 30 feet and can clearly see and hear you.
In a combat encounter, the first time you knock out, kill or otherwise clearly neutralise an opponent, you may make a check in the same manner as a Free action.
Note that if multiple allies demoralise the same set of opponents, they become increasingly frightened.
Action: Using Intimidate to change an opponent's attitude requires 1 minute of conversation. Demoralizing an opponent is a standard action, or a free action when associated with the neutralising of an opponent.
Try Again: You can attempt to Intimidate an opponent again, but each additional check imposes a higher penalty (Minor, to Major to Extreme). This increase resets after 1 hour has passed.
Special: You also gain a +4 bonus on Intimidate checks if you are a larger size category than your target and a –4 penalty on Intimidate checks if you are a smaller size category than your target.
Skill descriptions adhere to the following guidelines.
Skill Name: The skill name line includes (in addition to the name of the skill) the following information.
Key Ability: The abbreviation of the ability whose modifier applies to the skill check.
Description: The skill name line is followed by a general description of what using the skill represents.
Check: What a character (“you” in the skill description) can do with a successful skill check and the check's Difficulty Class (DC).
Action: The type of action using the skill requires, or the amount of time required for a check.
Try Again: Any conditions that apply to successive attempts to use the skill successfully. If the skill doesn't allow you to attempt the same task more than once, or if failure carries an inherent penalty (such as with the Climb skill), you can't take 20. If this paragraph is omitted, the skill can be retried without any inherent penalty other than the additional time required.
Special: Any extra facts that apply to the skill, such as special effects deriving from its use or bonuses that certain characters receive because of class, feat choices, or race.
Untrained: This entry indicates what a character without at least 1 rank in the skill can do with it. If this entry doesn't appear, it means that the skill functions normally for untrained characters.