Skills

CHAPTER 3: SKILLS
Skills represent abilities that can improve with practice and training. In some cases, you need instruction to even attempt to use a skill. In others, you can use a skill, even if you’ve never tried it Skills in Etz Chaim have a few distinct features that separate them from those in other games built on the core rules mechanics. Etz Chaim characters tend to rely on their skills quite heavily, so the skills are designed to be robust, useful, and easy to improve. In addition:
 Skill groups represent the close relationship between different skills. Your character class grants you access to one or more skill groups. Rather than train in a single skill, a skill group allows you to improve in many skills at once. In game terms, you can spend 1 skill point (see below) to improve in several skills at once.
 Most skills have direct applications in combat situations.
 Skills have explicit guidelines on what you can accomplish against Difficulty Classes above 20.
 Skill challenges allow you to gain additional benefits from a skill check. By voluntarily increasing a check’s Difficulty Class or taking a penalty to the check, you gain an advantage on a successful check.
 For example, you might opt for a penalty to your Disguise check in order to change your appearance before an approaching guard rounds the corner.
 There are no class and cross-class skills. Instead, the skill groups grant you an advantage in purchasing abilities closely related to your class’ talents.
 The Craft and Knowledge skills are simplified and both include canonical lists of the different areas they cover.
USING SKILLS
The classes in Chapter Four each list the number of skill points available at every level to a character of that class. You spend those points to buy ranks in skills in order to improve them. Your maximum rank in a skill is your character level + 3. (The one exception to this rule is the thief.) The more ranks you have in a skill, the better you are at using it.
Every skill is associated with one of your six abilities. For example, the Knowledge skill relies on Intelligence. When you attempt to use a skill, you make a skill check; this key ability contributes its modifier to the roll. If you have an ability penalty, you may have trouble using the skill. If you have an ability bonus, you have a superior natural talent with the skill.
In some cases, miscellaneous modifiers also apply to a skill check. These modifiers reflect the conditions, the environment, and other factors that make a skill easier or harder to use. For instance, it is much more difficult to sneak quietly across a creaky old floor than a smooth, clear stone bridge. The creaky floor might assess a penalty to your Move Silently skill check. On the other hand, if you wear soft, padded sandals, they may provide a bonus to your Move Silently check.
SKILL CHECKS
To make a skill check, roll 1d20 and add your skill modifier. Your skill modifier is the sum of the character’s ranks in that skill + his key ability modifier for that skill + any miscellaneous modifiers.
As with all d20 checks, a higher result is better than a lower one in a skill check.
SKILL RANKS
A character’s number of ranks in a skill is based on how many skill points he has invested in it. Many skills can be used even if the character has no ranks in them; this is called making an untrained skill check. You can have a maximum number of ranks in a skill equal to your level + 3. Each skill point you spend on an individual skill buys you 1 rank in that skill. Skill groups, described later in this chapter, allow you to spend 1 skill point to gain 1 rank in several skills at once.
KEY ABILITY MODIFIER
The ability modifier used in a skill check is the modifier for the skill’s key ability: the ability associated with the skill’s use. The key ability of each skill is noted after its name in its description.
MISCELLANEOUS MODIFIERS
Miscellaneous modifiers include trait bonuses, armor check penalties, and bonuses provided by feats, relevant environmental factors, and so forth.
MAKING THE SKILL CHECK
In Etz Chaim , you attempt a skill check in one of two basic ways: as a static check or an opposed check.
STATIC SKILL CHECKS
Static checks represent your effort against an inanimate obstacle. In this case, you make your skill check and must beat a Difficulty Class (DC) in order to succeed. The Difficulty Class is the number a character must score as the result of a skill check in order to succeed at a task he’s attempting. The Difficulty Class is always the same for a given task. For example, the Climb skill DC needed to scale a crumbling wall is 10. Whether you or your friend attempts the check, the Difficulty Class remains the same. The wall is an inert obstacle. It doesn’t make an active effort to foil you.
OPPOSED SKILL CHECKS
In an opposed check, you pit your skill against an opponent who tries to prevent you from succeeding in your task. In this case, the DM picks one person as the attacker and the other as the defender. The attacker is always the person who wants to gain something from a skill check. The defender tries to prevent his check from succeeding. Both the attacker and defender make skill checks. If the attacker’s result is higher, he succeeds. If his result is lower than the defender’s or if he ties it, he fails. If it helps, think of the attacker’s check result as the Difficulty Class for the defender’s skill check. In many opposed checks, the two sides use different skills. A thief might use Move Silently to approach a guard, who, in turn, tries to use Listen to hear him.
TRYING AGAIN
In general, you can try a skill check again if you fail, and you can keep trying indefinitely. Some skills, however, have consequences of failure that you must take into account. A few skills are virtually useless once a check has failed in an attempt to accomplish a particular task. If you fail to use Bluff to trick the duke into trusting you with the key to his treasury, you can’t try to trick him again. He has already seen through your ruse. In most skills, when you have succeeded once at a given task, additional successes are meaningless.
UNTRAINED AND TRAINED
Generally, if you attempt to use a skill in which you possess no ranks, you make a skill check as normal. The skill modifier doesn’t have a skill rank added in, because you have zero ranks in the skill. Any other applicable modifiers, such as the skill’s key ability modifier, apply to the check as normal.
Many skills require a minimal level of training before you can attempt to use them. In their descriptions, these skills are marked as “trained only.” For such skills, no amount of natural aptitude can replace formal study. You cannot attempt a skill check with a “trained only” skill if you lack ranks in it.
CONDITIONS
Some situations may make a skill easier or harder than normal to use, resulting in a bonus or penalty to the skill modifier for the skill check or a change to the Difficulty Class of the skill check. The DM can alter the chance of success in four ways to take into account exceptional circumstances.
 A skill user gains a 2 circumstance bonus
 to the check to represent conditions that improve performance, such as having the perfect tool for the job, getting help from another character (see “Combining Skill Attempts,” page 5), or possessing unusually accurate information. You may gain this benefit multiple times to represent a series of factors that make a check easier. If you have the perfect tools for the job, help from a friend, and accurate information, you would gain three +2 bonuses, for a total of +6.
 You can also gain this benefit if the DM rules that you have a good idea, a sound plan, or some other clever inspiration to make a skill check easier. If you decide to smear a sticky resin on your hands before trying to scale an Arcanist’s tower, your DM might give you a bonus to your Climb check.
 In many cases, your DM has the final say as to whether a bonus applies. In some cases, he might opt to increase the bonus above +2 to represent a particularly useful or cleverly realized advantage. You might gain a +2 bonus to a Bluff check to trick a guard into believing that someone dropped a bag of coins around a corner. The DM might increase this bonus to +4 if he knows that the guard is greedy or dishonest.
 A skill user suffers a –2 circumstance penalty to represent conditions that hamper performance, such as being forced to use improvised tools or having misleading information. As with a circumstance bonus, your DM usually adjudicates this penalty based on conditions in the game. He might impose a penalty of more than –2 to represent a decisive obstacle or multiple factors that work against you.
 Your DM might reduce the Difficulty Class of the skill check by 2 to represent circumstances that make the task easier, such as using Disable Device on a trap that someone has already partially disarmed. The extended skill check rules starting on page 5 give you the option of working slowly over time to make a difficult action easier.
 Your DM may increase the skill check’s Difficulty Class by 2 to represent circumstances that make the task harder, such as using Craft to create an item of higher than normal quality.
Conditions that affect your character’s ability to perform the skill change the skill check modifier. Conditions that modify how well the character has to perform the skill to succeed change the Difficulty Class. A bonus to the skill modifier and a reduction in the check’s DC have the same result—they create a better chance of success. But they represent different circumstances, and sometimes that difference becomes important. Generally speaking, it is much more likely that your DM assesses bonuses or penalties to a check rather than to a Difficulty Class.
TIME AND SKILL CHECKS
Using a skill might take 1 round, take no time, or take several rounds or even longer. Most skill uses are standard actions, move actions, or full round actions. (See Chapter Eight: Combat for action descriptions.) Others require days or weeks of hard work, such as a Craft check to forge a sword or suit of armor. Unless otherwise noted, assume that a skill check is a standard action. The specific skill descriptions in this chapter note any exceptions to this rule.
CHECKS WITHOUT ROLLS
The typical skill check represents an attempt to accomplish a task while under some sort of time pressure or distraction. Sometimes you can use a skill under more favorable conditions and eliminate the luck factor. In these situations, you have the time needed to approach a skill attempt slowly and carefully.
Taking 10: When you are not threatened or distracted, you may choose to take 10 on a skill check. Instead of rolling 1d20 for the check, calculate your result as if you had rolled a 10. For many routine tasks, taking 10 makes them succeed automatically. Distractions or threats(such as combat) make it impossible 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. Taking 10 proves especially useful in situations where a particularly high roll wouldn’t help.
Taking 20: When you have plenty of time, you operate under no threats or distractions, and you don’t think you face any danger for a failed check, you can take 20. When you take 20, treat your d20 roll for your check as a20. This attempt represents trial and error.
In order to take 20, you must spend the amount of time needed to make 20 skill checks. In addition, you must resolve the effects of a skill check with a d20 roll of 1. In most cases, this has no special effect. However, some skills cause you injury or drawbacks with a failed roll. In such cases, you suffer the drawbacks as normal and you cannot continue to take 20.
For example, you could not take 20 on a Climb check if a result of a 1 would cause you to fall to the ground.
Taking 10, Taking 20, and Challenges: Skill challenges (see page 6) allow you to increase a task’s difficulty in return for an added benefit for a successful check. You may use challenges when you take 10 or 20, but you might suffer failure if you take on too many of them and push the Difficulty Class above the level where you could succeed with a 10 or 20.
Ability Checks and Channeling Checks: The normal take 10 and take 20 rules apply for ability checks (described in greater detail on page 52).
Neither rule applies to channeling checks (see Chapter Ten: Magic).
EXTENDED SKILL CHECKS
Sometimes, a task requires more effort than a single skill check represents. To decode a map written in a strange language, you may decipher one passage, then use that knowledge to improve your understanding of the rest of the document.
In these cases, your early successes build up to the final result. Each step forward brings with it more information or some level of success that, while short of completion, could still prove useful. To draw upon the example of an indecipherable map, you might learn a few useful clues about the treasure it describes with a partial translation. Eventually, you can learn everything the map holds, but until then, a few clues and fragments might still prove useful.
An extended skill check covers this process of learning information slowly. This type of skill check requires that you succeed in a series of checks to represent a long, difficult task. With each success, you may or may not gain some partial benefit of completing the task. Your DM keeps track of your total number of successes.
When you have accumulated a certain number of successes, he may either grant the benefits of partially completing the task or tell you that you’ve completed it.
For example, Gervaine the harrier wants to set up a series of pitons and ropes so her allies can quickly scale a wall that they may need to climb when they rob the home of Ultario the merchant.
The DM rules that Gervaine must work for one hour and make a Climb check (DC 15) to reduce the wall’s Climb DC for the group by 2. He also decides that Gervaine can reduce the group’s DC by a maximum of 10. Thus, Gervaine can continue working on the wall until she either runs out of time or is happy with her work.
Nemarchus the Arcanist wishes to decode a series of glyphs carved into a stone table that he and his companions found in the Howling Canyons. The DM secretly determines that Nemarchus can make a Decipher Script check (DC 20) each hour for this task. For every two successes he achieves, the Arcanist learns one of four important facts that the glyphs describe. He uncovers the simplest information first, then uses his increasing mastery of the runes to unlock the subtler information.
Extended skill checks are a useful tool for handling tasks that would logically take hours to complete, yet for which the player characters can still make useful progress toward completion in a relatively short time. Each skill described in this chapter includes a short description of how and why you might use these rules with it.
COMBINING SKILL ATTEMPTS
When more than one character tries the same skill at the same time and for the same purpose, their efforts may overlap.
INDIVIDUAL EVENTS
Several characters may attempt the same action, and each succeeds or fails independently. The result of one character’s Climb check does not influence the results of another character’s Climb check.
AID ANOTHER
You can help another character achieve success on his skill check by making the same kind of skill check in a cooperative effort. If your skill check result is 10 or higher, the character you helped gains a +2 bonus to his check, per the rule for favorable conditions described on the previous page. You can’t take 10 or 20 on a skill check to aid another. Your DM has the final say as to whether you can aid someone. There must be enough room to work for both you and the person you want to help. The DM also determines the maximum number of people who can aid in a single check.
You can use the aid another action to help others make ability checks (see page 52) if your DM deems it possible. For example, you could help an ally make a Strength check to push a boulder down a slope. You must be capable of attempting the check you wish to aid. For instance, you cannot aid in a “trained only” skill check if you have no ranks in that skill. To attempt the aid another skill check, you do not need enough ranks to succeed in the task yourself, but you must have the abilities needed to make an attempt.
SKILL SYNERGY
A character might have two skills that work well together. In general, having 5 or more ranks in one skill gives the character a +2 synergy bonus on skill checks with each of its synergistic skills, as noted in the skill description. In some cases, this bonus applies only to specific uses of the skill in question, not to all checks. Some skills provide benefits to other checks made by a character, such as those skill checks required to use certain class features.
SKILL CHALLENGES
As your mastery of a skill improves, you can achieve more difficult feats with it. An expert climber can scale a sheer, slippery surface that a neophyte would find impossible. By the same token, a veteran learns to complete simple tasks with greater efficiency, skill, and panache. An inexperienced climber might take a while to clamber up a rocky cliff, but a skilled mountaineer can scramble up it faster. Skill challenges reflect an expert’s ability to perform routine tasks with superior grace and efficiency. They also allow you to attempt heroic deeds otherwise unavailable to you by making already difficult skill checks even harder. With a bit of luck, skill, and good planning, you can achieve the impossible.
The challenge system was designed to make skills more useful across all levels. Without challenges, your skills would become less important as you gain levels. The total result you need on a check might be low enough that, at some point, improving the skill makes no difference.
A skill challenge allows you to increase a skill’s Difficulty Class by 5 or suffer a –5 penalty to your check. In return, you can achieve an extra benefit in addition to the standard benefits of a successful check. If you fail due to this penalty or increased DC, you fail the skill check as normal. Note that, if the skill imposes a drawback for failing by more than a certain margin, you suffer the drawback as normal if you fail to meet your newly increased Difficulty Class. For example, characters who miss a Disable Device check by 10 or more accidentally activate the trap they attempted to disarm. If a trap’s standard DC is 20 and your challenge increases it to 25, you activate the trap on a skill check result of 15 or lower. Skill challenges on static skill checks require you to increase a skill’s Difficulty Class. The check penalty applies to opposed checks and in cases where the result of your check becomes the DC for an opposed check. For example, your Disguise check result becomes the Difficulty Class for the Spot checks other characters must make to notice your deception. Any challenges you accept on a Disguise check would lower your total result.
You can accept more than one challenge to a skill check. In some cases, you can take on a single challenge more than once to gain its benefits multiple times. Such challenges are noted in the skill descriptions. Generally, skill challenges allow you to gain added benefits when you face a low Difficulty Class and you have a high total skill modifier.
You can also use skill challenges to attempt heroic actions, even when faced with a high Difficulty Class. You might need to make a Balance check (DC 30) to move carefully across a thin wire. However, since the evil archduke is about to escape, you might need to take on a skill challenge to complete your Balance check faster than normal.
STANDARD CHALLENGES
The challenges below apply to any skill check, unless noted differently in the “Challenges” section of the skill description. Most of the skills in this chapter also include additional skill specific challenges you can take when attempting a check. Your DM has the final say on whether a challenge applies to a specific situation.
Remember, each challenge applies a +5 modifier to a check’s DC or a –5 penalty to your check result.
Standard Challenges Maximum Times Taken
Fast Completion 2
Risky Prospect 2
Simultaneous Action 0
Superior Assist Unlimited
Negate Defense Unlimited
Fast Completion: You reduce the time needed to complete the skill check. If the skill check is normally a full-round action, it becomes a standard one. A standard action becomes a move action, a move action becomes a swift action, while a swift action becomes a free one. For checks that require time expressed in rounds, minutes, or larger units, reduce the time needed to complete the check by 25 percent. You can apply this challenge’s benefits twice to a single check. If you apply it twice to an action that takes an amount of time expressed as rounds, reduce the time needed by 50 percent.
Negate Defense: You can exploit your skills to take your opponent unawares in combat. To use this challenge, make a skill check as a move action in melee. Your foe opposes your result with a base attack check; alternatively, if your skill would normally be opposed by another skill or saving throw, they may roll that instead. If you win the opposed roll, your foe loses their active bonus to defense against the next attack that targets them, provided it is made before the start of your next turn.
You take a cumulative -5 penalty on each use of this challenge after the first with the same skill in an encounter -people eventually catch on to your tricks. By combining this challenge with the fast completion challenge, you can also attempt to negate your opponent’s defense multiple times in a round. However, you also take a cumulative -5 penalty on subsequent uses of this challenge in a round, regardless of which skill you use. You cannot use this challenge more than once to affect the same attack, whether you are successful or not.
At a minimum, you can use this challenge with the Jump, Tumble, Intimidate, Bluff and Sleight of Hand skills. You may also use this with any other skill you have, provided you can describe with a suitably plausible description of its use.
Risky Prospect: Sometimes you can take a calculated risk on one action to make a later one easier to complete. For example, you could use Tumble to open yourself up to a cultist’s attacks in order to avoid a giant’s club. If you succeed at this skill challenge, you gain a bonus equal to the total penalty you accepted if you use the Tumble skill again your next action (to evade the giant).
You gain this benefit only if both checks involve the same sort of circumstances. For example, you could not use a risky prospect to try to climb a small rock before tackling a daunting slope. The two skill checks must be somehow related, and the first, penalized check should carry some consequences for failure.
Simultaneous Action: You have such talent with a particular skill that you can use it while completing other tasks. To attempt simultaneous checks, first make the skill challenge check, then make a second skill check using the same or a different skill. Your secondary check suffers a –10 penalty or a +10 increase in Difficulty Class.
Some skills work together without penalty, such Hide and Move Silently. The simultaneous action challenge normally applies only to skills that you would not normally attempt at the same time, such as using Open Lock and Disable Device at the same time to open a chest and defeat the trap that protects it.
Superior Assist: If you aid another with a skill check (see above), you can attempt to provide a greater than normal bonus to the other character’s total skill check. This challenge reflects the fact that a highly trained person can render better help than an untrained or fumbling assistant. In return for increasing the aid another skill check Difficulty Class by 5 (to DC 15), you boost the bonus you provide the other character by +1.
There is no limit to how high you can push the Difficulty Class and the bonus, but remember that a skill challenge is an all-or-nothing risk. If your check to aid another fails, you provide no bonus.
OTHER SKILL CHALLENGES
In addition to the sample skill challenges given here and the specific ones designed for each skill, you can create your own in the course of play.
The challenge game mechanic is flexible enough to cover a wide variety of situations. In essence, you can propose a challenge to your DM and he can either accept it, reject it, or decide to increase the Difficulty Class by more than 5 to reflect a particularly daunting use of a skill.
Skill challenges show their true strength when you use them to handle actions that fall outside the bounds of the rules given in this book. DMs should think of challenges as another tool in your bag of tricks. If a player wants to gain an extra benefit from a skill check, make it a challenge, and you’re ready to roll. Players should look at skill challenges as an opportunity to take actions that might not fall under the normal rules. They are an invitation to creativity and exciting game play.
The key to using skill challenges is to always keep in mind that they are flexible—but with that flexibility comes some responsibility. Don’t use them as an excuse to make your skills overpowering.
Remember that the DM has final say on how the rules work. He might decide a challenge is simply impossible or nonsensical. He might also revise a previous ruling, especially if further play reveals that he has inadvertently opened a loophole in the rules. Challenges aren’t an invitation to abuse the system. They are tools meant to handle actions not covered in the rules. DMs, remember that challenges ought to make a skill check more useful. The following guidelines cover the typical benefits that a challenge can grant:
 A +2 bonus to attacks for the current round.
 A +2 bonus to damage for the current round.
 A bonus to a skill check equal to the challenge’s penalty (often –5).
 The opportunity to complete a complex or unusually difficult action.
 The ability to combine two skill checks into one, such as using Tumble to avoid an attack of opportunity while springing over a wall.
When adjudicating challenges of your own, use these basic guidelines to inform your decisions. In general, a skill challenge is roughly equivalent to a feat with a mastery rating of 1 (see Chapter Six: Feats).
SKILL GROUPS
A skill group is a collection of skills that are closely related in terms of their use, the training needed to master them, or some other factor. If you spend 1 skill point on a skill group as a whole, you gain one rank in each skill it contains.
You can gain access to a skill group via your character class (or classes, if you are multiclassed). The skill group illustrates your overall training and exposure to several different abilities. It provides an efficient, easy way for you to build a character who is trained in the core skills and abilities that your class normally studies.
A skill groupdoes not allow you to circumvent the normal limit on skill ranks based on your level. It simply gives you a greater return on the investment of a single skill point. While you are under no compulsion to invest in your class’ skill groups, doing so generally is a wise choice. The more skills you can use, the better your chances of surviving and flourishing in a wide variety of situations.
When you spend a skill point on a skill group, you gain one rank in each skill it contains. If you are already at your maximum number of ranks in one or more skills in the group, the skills that are not yet at that maximum improve.
The skills that have reached their limit remain there.
Not all skill groups contain the same number of skills.
Some skills are more useful in a wide range of situations, while others provide a single, but highly advantageous talent. Some skills appear in more than one group. Also, remember that you can still purchase ranks in any individual skill.
Even if your class does not offer a group that includes a skill you want to use, you can still purchase ranks in it at a rate of one rank per skill point.
There are 10 skill groups in Etz Chaim :
Academia: Drawing on skills that focus on applied knowledge and a mastery of obscure lore, the Academia skill group is a useful boon for characters with a high Intelligence.
 Skills: Appraise (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (Int), and Speak Language (none).
Agility: The Agility skill group represents training in flexibility and acrobatics. Classes that rely on speed and maneuver usually offer it.
 Skills: Balance (Dex), Escape Artist (Dex), and Tumble (Dex).
Athletics: This skill group includes Strengthbased skills. Athletics reflects a focus on physical fitness and strength.
 Skills: Climb (Str), Jump (Str), Endurance (Con), and Swim (Str).
Mysticism: While Academia focuses on readily available knowledge, the Mysticism group provides access to talents that focus on rare lore and the study and use of magic.
 Skills: Concentration (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Spellcraft (Int), and Use Magic Device (Cha).
Perception: A sharp eye can spot trouble before it befalls you, while a keen ear lets you sneak up on a concealed enemy. Classes that emphasize smart tactics and awareness grant access to this useful skill group.
 Skills: Listen (Wis), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), and Spot (Wis).
Robbery: The Robbery skill group focuses on talents that require a fine hand for detailed work and a penchant for larceny.
 Skills: Disable Device (Int), Forgery (Int), Open Lock (Dex), and Sleight of Hand (Dex).
Social: The Social skills focus on your ability to charm others, whether you wish to extract rumors from them, trick them, or just strike up a friendly relationship.
 Skills: Bluff (Cha), Diplomacy (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), and Intimidate (Cha).
Stealth: Classes that value hiding from an enemy, whether to flee an opponent or move to ambush him, give access to the Stealth skill group.
 Skills: Hide (Dex) and Move Silently (Dex).
Theatrics: The art of entertaining others not only can earn you a passable living, it also helps develop a variety of useful skills.
 Skills: Bluff (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Perform (Cha), and Sleight of Hand (Dex).
Wilderness Lore: Many adventurers come of age in the forbidding wilds, where one’s knowledge of the land draws the line between survival and death.
 Skills: Handle Animal (Cha), Ride (Dex), Survival (Wis), and Use Rope (Dex).
BASE ATTACK CHECKS
Your base attack bonus is essentially your “combat skill rating.” Sometimes you must pit your fighting skills against someone’s Jump or Tumble check. In these cases, use your base attack bonus like a skill to make a base attack check. A base attack check is resolved with the following formula:
1d20 + base attack bonus + Strength + Misc Modifiers
Many combat stunts and maneuvers require base attack checks, as do several combat-specific skill uses. Details on stunts appear in Chapter Eight: Combat.
SKILL DESCRIPTIONS
This section describes each skill in the game, including common uses and typical modifiers. Characters can sometimes use skills for purposes other than those noted here.
Here is the format for the skill descriptions in this chapter.
SKILL NAME
In addition to the name of the skill, the skill name lines include the following information:
Key Ability: The ability whose modifier applies to the skill check.
Exception: Speak Language lists “None” as its key ability because using this skill requires no check.
Trained Only: If this notation appears in the skill name line, you must have at least one rank in the skill to use it. If it is omitted, you can use the skill untrained (with a rank of 0). Any special notes regarding trained or untrained use are covered in the Untrained section (see below).
Armor Check Penalty: When this notation appears in the skill name lines, an armor check penalty applies (when appropriate) to checks using this skill. If this entry is absent, an armor check penalty does not apply. The skill name lines are followed by other information:
Skill Group: Character classes grant access to various skill groups. A character can spend 1 skill point to improve all the skills in a given group by one rank. The names of the groups that the skill belongs to, if applicable, are listed here.
Check: This section describes what one can do with a successful skill check and lists the check’s Difficulty Class. This section includes specific uses for the skill, many of which apply to combat situations.
Action: This section lists the type of action required to use the skill, or the amount of time in minutes, hours, or days that it takes to make a check.
Try Again: Any conditions that apply to successive attempts to use the skill successfully come next. If this paragraph is omitted, the skill can be retried with no 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, appear here.
Synergy: Some skills grant a bonus to the use of other skills because ofa synergistic effect. This entry, when present, indicates what bonuses this skill may grant or receive because of such synergies. See the “Skill Synergy” section on page 6.
Untrained: This entry indicates what a character with no ranks in the skill can do with it. If this entry doesn’t appear, it means that the skill functions normally for untrained characters (if it can be used untrained) or that an untrained character can’t attempt checks with this skill (for skills that are designated as “Trained Only”).
Take 10/20: Sometimes the rules for taking 10 and 20 confuse players and DMs. This section discusses whether you can use those options with the skill and, if so, how they work.
Extended Skill Checks: This section advises you on using the skill with anextended check. If a skill is unsuited for such a check, this section discusses why.
Challenges: In some cases, you can willingly increase a skill check’s Difficulty Class by 5 or take a –5 penalty to your check to gain an additional benefit on a successful check. This section lists specific challenges that apply to each skill. These examples supplement the standard challenges described in the “Skill Challenges” section starting on page 6.
APPRAISE
(INTELLIGENCE)
Skill Group: Academia
Check: You can appraise common or well known objects with an Appraise check (DC 12). Failure means that you estimate the value at 50 percent to 150 percent (2d6
3 ×10 percent) of its actual value.
Appraising a rare or exotic item requires a successful check against DC15, DC 20, or higher. If the check succeeds, you estimate the value correctly; failure means you cannot estimate the item’s value.
A magnifying glass gives you a 2 circumstance bonus on Appraise checks involving any small or highly detailed item, such as a gem. A merchant’s scale gives you a +2 circumstance bonus on Appraise checks involving items valued by weight, including anything made of precious metals. These bonuses stack.
Find Weak Point: You can make an Appraise check as a standard action to spot a gap in a foe’s armor. Make an Appraise check opposed by your opponent’s base attack check. If you succeed, your opponent suffers a –1 penalty to all armor damage reduction rolls made. The target of this ability must be in your threatened area. Your allies gain this bonus if you use a standard action to describe the exact spot they must aim for to punch through your foe’s armor.
Action: Appraising an item takes one minute.
Try Again: No. You cannot try again on the same object, regardless of success.
Synergy: If you have 5 ranks in any Craft skill, you enjoy a +2 bonus on Appraise checks related to items made with that Craft skill.
Untrained: For a common item, failure on an untrained check yields no estimate. For a rare item, success means an estimate of 50 percent to 150 percent (2d6
3 ×10 percent) of the item’s actual value.
Take 10/20: You cannot take 20 on an Appraise check, since there is a penalty associated with failing a roll, and you cannot try again after a failure. You may take 10.
Extended Skill Check: Your DM may use an extended skill check for items that consist of several distinct parts or that have a variety of different features. In this case, to complete the entire appraisal you may have to gain a total number of successes before you reach a threshold of a certain number of failures.
Challenges: The Appraise skill has no specific challenges beyond the standard ones given earlier in this chapter (see page 7).
BALANCE
(DEXTERITY; ARMOR CHECK PENALTY)
Skill Group: Agility
Check: You can walk on a precarious surface. A successful Balance check lets you move at half your speed along the surface for 1 round. A failure by 4 or less means you can’t move at all for 1 round. A failure by 5 or more means you fall. The difficulty of the check varies with the surface, as follows:
Narrow Surface Balance DC
7–12 inches wide 10
2–6 inches wide 15
Less than 2 inches wide 20
Narrow Surface DC Modifier*
Lightly obstructed +2
Severely obstructed +5
Slightly slippery +2
Severely slippery +5
Sloped or angled +2
Difficult Surface Balance DC
Uneven flagstone 10†
Hewn stone floor 10†
Sloped or angled floor 10†

*Add the appropriate modifiers to the Balance DC of a narrow surface.
† Only if running or charging. Failure by4 or less means the character can’t run or charge, but otherwise may act normally.
Suffering Attacks While Balancing: You are considered flat footed while balancing, since you can’t move to avoid a blow; thus you lose your active bonuses to defense (if any). If you take damage while balancing, you must attempt another Balance check against the same Difficulty Class to remain standing.
Action: None. A Balance check doesn’t require an action; it is made as part of another action (moving, standing) or as are action to a situation.
Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Tumble, you enjoy a 2 bonus on Balance checks. You may use Endurance to boost your movement see Accelerated Movement.
Take 10/20: You cannot take 20 on Balance checks, since you suffer a penalty for failing your check if you miss it by a wide margin. You may take 10 if you are in a relaxed, calm environment.
Extended Skill Checks: You may have to walk a long, narrow path that requires multiple Balance checks to traverse its full length.
Otherwise this skill does not normally factor into extended skill checks.
Challenges: You can accept a skill challenge to your Balance check in order to move faster than normal and other tricks.
Accelerated Movement: You can try to walk across a precarious surface more quickly than normal. If you increase the Difficulty Class by 5, you can move your full speed as a move action. Moving twice your speed in a round requires the penalty plus two Balance checks, one for each move action used. You may also accept this penalty in order to charge across a precarious
Surface; charging requires one Balance check for each multiple of your speed (or fraction thereof) that you charge.
Perfect Balance: In return for increasing the Balance DC by 5, you can move with such grace and agility that you maintain your active bonus to defense while balancing on a narrow surface.
Perilous Balance: If your DM judges it feasible, you can shake or disturb the object that you must balance upon.
If your check succeeds after you increase the Balance Difficulty Class by 5, you keep your balance and inflict a +5 modifier to the Difficulty Classes of all Balance checks that others must make on this surface until your next turn. For example, you could bounce and sway on a tightrope to knock others off of it.
BLUFF
(CHARISMA)
Skill Groups: Social, Theatrics
Check: A Bluff check is opposed by the target’s Sense Motive check. See the accompanying table for examples of different kinds of bluffs and the modifier to the target’s Sense Motive check for each one. Favorable and unfavorable circumstances weigh heavily on the outcome of a Bluff check.
Two circumstances can go against you: The bluff is hard to believe, or the action that you’re asking the target to take goes against self-interest, nature, personality, orders, or the like. If it’s important, you can distinguish between a bluff that fails because the target doesn’t believe it and one that fails because it just asks too much of the target. For instance, if the target gets a +10 bonus on the Sense Motive check because the bluff demands something risky, and the Sense Motive check succeeds by 10 or less, then the target didn’t so much see through the bluff as prove reluctant to go along with it.
A target that succeeds by 11 or more has seen through the bluff. In essence, if the check would have succeeded without the modifier, your target believes you but declines to follow through on the belief due to other factors. A successful Bluff check indicates that the target reacts as you wish, at least for a short time (usually 1 round or less) or believes something that you want the person to believe. A Bluff check requires some degree of interaction between you and the target. Creatures unaware of you cannot be bluffed.
Creating a Diversion to Hide: You can use the Bluff skill to help you hide. A successful Bluff check gives you a momentary diversion to attempt a Hide check while people are aware of you. This use does not provoke an attack of opportunity.
Delivering a Secret Message: You can attempt a Bluff check to get a message across to another character without others understanding it. The check is DC 15 for simple messages, or DC 20 for complex messages, especially those that rely on getting across new information. Failure by 4 points or less means you can’t get the message across. Failure by 5 points or more means that some false information has been implied or inferred. Anyone listening to the exchange can try to intercept your message with a Sense
Motive check opposed by the Bluff check you already made (see “Sense Motive” on page 43).Feinting in Combat: You can also use Bluff to mislead an opponent in melee combat (so he can’t dodge your next attack effectively). To feint, use the Negate Defense skill challenge.
Feign Death: As an immediate action, you may make a bluff check in order to feign catastrophic injury or death. This check is opposed by an opponent’s Sense Motive or Spot check. If you succeed, you opponent believes you are incapacitated or slain and acts accordingly (beware of feigning death against wild animals, bloodlusting berserkers, or other opponents who may strike or attempt to eat a fallen foe).
Action: Varies. A Bluff check made as part of general interaction always takes at least 1 round (and is at least a full-round action), but it can take much longer if you try something elaborate. A Bluff check made to feint in combat is a move action; to create a diversion to hide is a standard action; feigning death is an immediate action. A Bluff check made to deliver a secret message doesn’t take an action; it represents part of normal communication.
Try Again: Varies. Generally, a failed Bluff check in social interaction makes the target too suspicious for you to try again in the same circumstances, but you may freely retry Bluff checks made to feint in combat. Retries are also allowed when you try to send a message, but you may attempt such a retry only once per round.
Each retry carries the same chance of miscommunication.
Special: Bluff proves particularly useful in conjunction with some Social feats, such as Devious Manipulator.
Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Bluff, you enjoy a +2 bonus to Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Sleight of Hand checks, as well as to Disguise checks made when you know you’re being observed and you try to act in character.
Take 10/20: You cannot use either of these options with a Bluff check, as trying to fool someone is a stressful, difficult situation.
Extended Skill Checks: Your DM may require you to make a number of successful Bluff checks to convince someone of a complicated or detailed lie. If you reach a target number of successes before hitting a certain number of failures, your target believes your story. Convincing a warlord that his brother plots to seize rulership, for example, would require an extended Bluff skill check. The number of checks required depends on the complexity and believability of the lie in question. You can make one check each day, each of which requires at least 30 minutes of interaction.
Challenges: You can use Bluff challenges to make someone believe a lie for a longer period of time than normal or to simply confuse a listener with a bizarre, almost nonsensical claim.
Conversational Paralysis: In return for a –5 penalty to your Bluff check, a successful check dazes your target for 1 round. Your claims are so strange that he can do little more than sputter or reel in confusion. This skill challenge does not work in combat situations. For each additional –5 penalty you accept, you extend the duration of this effect by 1 round.
Durable Lie: In return for a –5 penalty on your check, your target believes your lies for a longer period than usual. He continues to act as you wish for 1 additional round. You can accept a second –5 penalty to extend this benefit by another round or attack. You cannot use this skill challenge with the feint use of Bluff.
CLIMB
(STRENGTH; ARMOR CHECK PENALTY)
Skill Group: Athletics
Check: With a successful Climb check, you can advance up, down, or across a slope, a wall, some other steep incline—even a ceiling with handholds—at one-quarter your normal speed (rounded down). 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.
Failing a Climb check by 4 points or less indicates that you make no progress. Failing by 5 points or more means you fall from whatever height you have already attained.
A climber’s kit gives you a +2 circumstance bonus on Climb checks (see Chapter Seven: Equipment).
The Difficulty Class of the check depends on the conditions of the climb. To determine an appropriate DC, compare the task at hand with those on the table opposite.
You need both hands free to climb, but you may cling to a wall with one hand while you attack or take some other action that requires only one hand. While climbing, you can’t move to avoid a blow, so you lose your active bonus to defense (if any). You also can’t use a shield while climbing.
DC Example Surface or Activity
A slope too steep to walk up, or a knotted rope with a wall to brace against.
5 A rope with a wall to brace against, or a knotted rope.
10 A surface with ledges to hold onto and stand on, such as a very rough wall or a ship’s rigging.
15 Any surface with adequate handholds and footholds (natural or artificial), such as a very rough natural rock surface or a tree, or an unknotted rope, or pulling yourself up when dangling by your hands.
20 An uneven surface with some narrow handholds and footholds, such as a typical wall in a dungeon or ruins.
25 A rough surface, such as a natural rockwall or a brick wall.
25 An overhang or ceiling with handholds but no footholds.
30 A perfectly smooth, flat, vertical surface.
–10 Climbing a chimney (artificial or natural) or other location where you can brace against two opposite walls.
–5 Climbing a corner where you can brace against perpendicular walls.
+5 Surface is slippery.
Any time you take damage while climbing, make a Climb check against the Difficulty Class of the slope or wall. Failure means you fall from your current height and sustain the appropriate falling damage (1d6 points of damage per 10 feet fallen).
Catching a Falling Character: If someone climbing above you or adjacent to you falls, you can try to catch him if he is within your reach.
Doing so requires a successful melee touch attack against the falling character (though he can voluntarily forego any active bonus to defense if desired). If you hit, immediately attempt a Climb check (DC 10 + the wall’s Climb DC). Success indicates that you catch the falling character. However, his total weight including equipment cannot exceed your heavy load limit, or you automatically fall. Should you fail your Climb check by 4 points or less, you don’t stop the character’s fall but neither do you lose your grip on the wall. Failing by 5 points or more means you do not stop the character’s fall and you begin falling as well.
Catching Yourself When Falling: It’s practically impossible to catch yourself on a wall while falling. Make a Climb check (DC 20 + the wall’s Climb Difficulty Class) to do so. It’s much easier to catch yourself on a slope (DC 10 + slope’s Climb Difficulty Class).
Making Handholds and Footholds: You can make your own handholds and footholds by pounding pitons into a wall. Doing so takes one minute per piton and a successful Climb check (DC 10) per piton; you need one piton per 3 feet of distance. As with any surface that offers handholds and footholds, a wall with pitons in it has a Climb DC of 15.
In this same way, a climber with a handaxe or similar implement can cut handholds in an ice wall. Failing this Climb check means you make a handhold that proves unsteady or too shallow to use.
Action: Climbing is part of movement, so it’s generally part of a move action, and you may combine it with other types of movement in a move action. Each move action that includes any climbing requires a separate Climb check. Catching yourself or another falling character doesn’t take an action.
Special: You can use a rope to haul a character upward (or lower a character) through sheer strength. You can lift double your maximum load in this manner.
A creature with a climb speed has a +8 racial bonus on all Climb checks. The creature must make a Climb check to scale any wall or slope with a Difficulty Class higher than 0, but it can always choose to take 10, even if rushed or threatened while climbing. If a creature with a climb speed chooses an accelerated climb (see below), it moves at double its climb speed (or at its land speed, whichever is slower) and makes a single Climb check at a –5 penalty. Such a creature retains its active bonus to defense (if any) while climbing, and opponents get no special bonus to their attacks against it. It cannot, however, use the run action while climbing.
Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Use Rope, you get a +2 bonus to Climb checks made to climb a rope, a knotted rope, or a rope-and wall combination, also you can use Endurance to boost your climb speed see Accelerated Climbing.
Take 10/20: You can take 10 on Climb checks in relaxed, noncombat situations. You can never take 20, as failure on a Climb check carries a penalty.
Challenges: The skill challenges involved in a Climb check make it easier for you to fight while ascending a slope or allow you to move faster than normal.
Accelerated Climbing: You try to climb more quickly than normal. By accepting a +5 DC modifier to your check, you can move half your speed instead of one-quarter your speed while climbing. You can accept this challenge twice, for a total Difficulty Class modifier of +10, to move at your normal speed.
Fighting Climb: You can accept a +5 DC modifier to a Climb check to maintain your active bonus to defense, if any.
Secured Climb: If you take on a +5 DC modifier to your Climb check, you do not have to make Climb checks to maintain your position when you take damage. You climb in such a way as to brace yourself for any attacks.
CONCENTRATION
(INTELIGENCE)
Skill Groups: Academia, Mysticism
Check: Whenever you might become distracted
(by taking damage, by harsh weather, and so on) while engaged in some action that requires your full attention, you must make a Concentration check. Relevant actions include making a focused attack that requires unwavering mental clarity, making use of some feats, and using a skill that would provoke an attack of opportunity. In general, if an action normally wouldn’t provoke an attack of opportunity, you need not make a Concentration check to avoid distraction.
Concentration also plays an important role in spellcasting. Arcanists use it to keep their focus when casting while threatened.
If the Concentration check succeeds, you may continue with the original action as normal. Should the check fail, the action also fails and is wasted; a failed skill check may have other ramifications as well. A spell in progress automatically suffers a major disaster.
The table opposite summarizes various types of distractions that require you to make a Concentration check. When more than one type of distraction is present, make a check for each one; any failed Concentration check indicates that you do not complete the task.
Cast Defensively: When you cast defensively, you try to maintain your protective posture while casting. Make a Concentration check opposed by a Base Attack check of any opponents that threaten you. If your check succeeds, you cast the spell as normal but do not provoke attacks of opportunity. Should your check fail, the Spellcraft DC to cast the spell is increased by +4.
Cast a Spell: Casting a spell requires focus and mental clarity that a sword stroke or arrow can shatter. If an opponent readies an action to strike you as you cast, or if you otherwise suffer damage during your action while casting a spell, you must make a Concentration check (DC 20 + damage sustained). Should this check succeed, you cast the spell as normal. Should the check fail, the Spellcraft DC for the spell increases by
4. If you suffer damage from multiple sources you must make this check multiple times.
DC Distraction
10 + damage Damaged during an action that requires focus.
20 + damage Casting a spell without losing focus. Opposed Roll Casting a spell defensively.
5 + damage Taking continuous damage during an action that requires focus.
Spell’s DC Distracted by non-damaging spell.
10 Experiencing vigorous motion (on a moving mount, taking a bouncy wagon ride, in a small boat in rough water, below decks in a storm-tossed ship).
15 Experiencing violent motion (on a galloping horse, taking a very rough wagon ride, in a
small boat in rapids, on the deck of a storm-tossed ship).
20 Experiencing extraordinarily violent motion (earthquake).
15 Entangled.
20 Grappling or pinned.
5 Weather is a high wind carrying blinding rain or sleet.
10 Weather is wind-driven hail, dust, or debris.
Focused Determination: You can push pain and other distractions from your mind, allowing you to act while ignoring penalties that you may suffer from. As a standard action, make a Concentration check (DC 20 + twice the value of the penalty you wish to ignore). Success allows you to ignore the penalty on your next action.
Action: Standard or none. Often, making a Concentration check is either a free action (when attempted reactively) or doesn’t require an action (when attempted actively as part of another action). Unless expressly noted otherwise, other uses of Concentration are standard actions
Try Again: Yes, though a success doesn’t cancel the effect of a previous failure, such as the disruption of a spell you attempted to cast.
Take 10/20: You can take 10 on a Concentration check during peaceful circumstances. You can take 20 on one as long as there is no penalty associated with failure on the check.
Challenges: The Concentration skill uses only the standard challenges given earlier in this chapter——.
CRAFT
(INTELLIGENCE)
Skill Group: None
Like Profession, Craft is actually a number of separate skills. You could have several different Craft skills, each with its own ranks, each purchased as a separate skill.
A Craft skill must focus specifically on creating something. If an endeavor creates nothing, it probably falls under the heading of a Profession skill rather than Craft.
When you choose this skill, select a material to work with, such as wood, rock, or metals. Then select one of two size types: trinkets/tools or objects/structures. Trinkets and tools include all items the size of a suit of armor and smaller.
Objects and structures include everything larger than that. You can use your Craft skill to produce anything that is primarily composed of the material you work with and falls within the size category you choose.
For example, if you selected Craft (metal trinkets/tools) you could forge anything from a horseshoe to a sword or tower shield. Someone with Craft (wood objects/structures) could build a cart or cottage. Check: You can practice your trade and make a decent living, earning about half your check result in gold pieces per week of dedicated work. You know how to use the tools of your trade, perform the craft’s daily tasks, supervise untrained helpers, and handle common problems. The basic function of the Craft skill, however, is to allow you to make an item of the appropriate type. The skill check’s Difficulty Class depends on the complexity of the item to be created. The DC, your check results, and the price of the item together determine how long it takes to make a particular item. The item’s finished price also dictates the cost of raw materials.
Using artisan’s tools in your Craft attempt gives you the best chance of success. If you use improvised tools, make your check with a –2 circumstance penalty. On the other hand, masterwork artisan’s tools provide a +2 circumstance bonus on the skill check.
To determine how much time and money it takes to make an item, follow these steps.
 Find the item’s price in Chapter Seven: Equipment. Put the price in silver pieces (1 gp = 10 sp).
 Select the appropriate Difficulty Class from the table on the next page.
 Pay one-third of the item’s price for the cost of raw materials.
 Make an appropriate Craft check representing one week’s work. If the check succeeds, multiply your check result by the Difficulty Class. If this result equals the price of the item in silver pieces, then you have completed the item.
If the result multiplied by the Difficulty Class doesn’t equal the price, then it represents the progress you’ve made this week. Record the result and make a new Craft check for the next week. Each week, you make more progress until your total reaches the price of the item in silver pieces.
If you fail a check by 4 points or less, you make no progress this week.
If you fail by 5 points or more, you ruin half the raw materials and have to pay half the original raw material cost again.
Progress by the Day: You can make checks by the day instead of by the week. In this case your progress (check result ×DC) is in copper pieces instead of silver pieces (1 sp = 10 cp).
Jury-Rigged Items: You can use this skill to create a temporary or crude item. Make a Craft check as described above, but attempt one check per hour to determine your progress in silver pieces. The final item has no cash value, and there is a 10 percent chance per hour of use that it breaks. You cannot jury-rig an item with a market price of more than 10 gp. You must provide raw materials and tools as normal.
Repairing Items: Generally you can repair an item by making skill checks against the same Difficulty Class that it took to make the item in the first place. The cost of repairing an item is one-fifth of the item’s price.
Item Type DC
Simple item with no moving parts or complex pieces 10
Item with moving parts or joints 15
Intricate item with complex workings 20
Elegant or rare item 25
A masterpiece or one-of-a-kind item 30

Masterwork Items: Craft also allows you to make a masterwork item: an item that conveys a bonus to its user through its exceptional craftsmanship, not through being magical.
To craft a masterwork version of an item, create the masterwork component as if it were a separate item, in addition to the standard item.
The masterwork component has its own price (see Chapter Seven: Equipment) and Difficulty Class. Once you have completed both the standard component and the masterwork component of the item, the masterwork item is finished. (Note: The price you pay for the masterwork component is one-third of the given amount, just as it is for the price in raw materials.)
Action: Does not apply. Craft checks are made by the day or week, but see below.
Try Again: Yes, but each time you miss by 5 or more, you ruin half the raw materials and have to pay half the original raw material cost again.
Synergy: If you have 5 ranks in a Craft skill, you enjoy a +2 synergy bonus to Appraise checks related to items made with that Craft skill.
Challenge: Since Craft works a bit differently than other skills, it uses a unique set of rules if you want to complete an item in less time than normal:
Fast Worker: You may voluntarily add +5 or +10 to the indicated Difficulty Class to craft an item. This increase allows you to create the item more quickly than normal (since you’ll be multiplying this higherDC by your Craft check result to determine progress).
You must decide whether to increase the Difficulty Class before you make each weekly or daily check. Use this method when making a Craft check to determine the cash value of your check’s efforts. Otherwise, use the standard challenge to shorten a check’s length, as described earlier in this chapter.
DECIPHER SCRIPT
(INTELLIGENCE; TRAINED ONLY)
Skill Groups: Academia, Mysticism
Check: You can decipher writing in an unfamiliar language or a message written in an incomplete or archaic form. Make a check with DC 20 for the simplest messages, DC 25 for standard texts, and DC 30 or higher for intricate, exotic, or very old writing.
If the check succeeds, you understand the general content of a piece of writing about one page long (or the equivalent). On a failure, make a Wisdom check (DC 5) to see whether you draw a false conclusion about the text. Success means that you do not draw a false conclusion; another failure means that you do.
Both the Decipher Script check and (if necessary) the Wisdom check are made secretly, so you can’t tell whether your conclusions are true or false.
Encode Message: You can create a simple cipher to hide a message’s true meaning. Anyone reading the message must make a Decipher Script attempt to understand it. Anyone who knows the cipher can read it automatically, even without the Decipher Script skill.
Action: Deciphering the equivalent of a single page of script takes one minute (10 consecutive full-round actions).
Try Again: You may attempt a Decipher Script check on a page of text once per day. If the check fails, you must wait a day to try again.
Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Decipher Script, you get a +2 bonus on Use Magic Device checks involving written items. Take
10/20: You may take 10 on Decipher Script checks, but you cannot take 20 because a failed check carries a penalty (you cannot make another check to read the document for 24 hours).
Extended Skill Checks: Your DM may rule that complex, long, or intricate documents and inscriptions require an extended skill check. In this case, you may make one check per day to decode the text. The table opposite gives examples of situations where an extended check may be called for, and the number of successes likely needed.
Document Complexity Checks
Long, rambling, incoherent 2
Highly technical, layered, symbolic 4
Multiple ciphers 6
Some sections must be translated before others, highly detailed 8
Almost incomprehensible, lunatic ramblings or highly exotic system of encryption 10

Challenges: Decipher Script uses the standard challenges given earlier in this chapter (see page
7).
DIPLOMACY
(CHARISMA)
Skill Group: Social
Check: You can change others’ attitudes with a successful Diplomacy check. See the “Influencing NPC Attitudes” table for basic Difficulty Classes. These DCs assume that the targets of this skill have no special reason to disregard an attempt at negotiation. In combat situations or in cases where the DM rules that the non-player character cannot be reasoned with, Diplomacy checks to alter the person’s attitude automatically fail.
Combat Negotiation: Sometimes you can alter an opponent’s attitude in combat. A villain’s thugs might decide they’re better off surrendering rather than fighting a hopeless battle. The sorcerer’s henchman might ally with you if he realizes that you can pay him more or give him what he wants. You can attempt a Diplomacy check in combat, but the Difficulty Class increases by 10 to make the check a full-round action. Your DM must judge that you have made a reasonable or logical pitch to the NPC. An unfriendly foe attacks your allies but doesn’t attack you unless you give him reason to do so. One with an indifferent or better attitude stops fighting. A helpful one attacks your foes, even if they are normally his allies.
Opposed Negotiations: In negotiations, participants roll a series of opposed Diplomacy checks, and the first side to achieve five or more successes wins. Opposed checks also resolve situations when two advocates or diplomats plead opposite cases in a hearing before a third party. See “Extended Skill Checks,” page 5.
Action: Changing others’ attitudes with Diplomacy generally takes at least one full minute (10 consecutive full-round actions). In some situations, this time requirement may greatly increase at your DM’s discretion. The party you speak with can take actions as normal while you attempt to complete the check; he does not automatically stop and patiently listen to you.
Try Again: You cannot retry a failed Diplomacy check unless the situation changes significantly. If you succeed in a check, you suffer a –10 penalty to additional Diplomacy checks to alter the subject’s mood for the rest of the day unless the situation changes significantly.
Once you have convinced someone of something, you are unlikely to push him any further.
Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Bluff or Sense Motive, you enjoy a +2 bonus on Diplomacy checks. You gain the bonus only once, not for both skills.
Take 10/20: You can take 10 on a Diplomacy check in a calm situation, but you cannot take 20, because failure carries a drawback.
INFLUENCING NPC ATTITUDES
DC to Achieve New Attitude
Initial Attitude Hostile Unfriendly Indifferent Friendly Helpful
Hostile n/a 20 30 40 50
Unfriendly Less than 15 n/a 20 30 40
Indifferent n/a Less than 5 less than 15 20 30
Friendly n/a n/a lesss than 1 1 20
Helpful n/a n/a n/a less than 1 1
Attitude Means Possible Actions
Hostile Will take risks to hurt you Attack, interfere, berate, flee
Unfriendly Wishes you ill Mislead, gossip, avoid, watch suspiciously, insult
Indifferent Doesn’t much care Socially expected interaction
Friendly Wishes you well Chat, advise, offer limited help, advocate
Helpful Will take risks to help you Protect, back up, heal, aid
Extended Skill Checks: In the case of a long, drawn-out negotiation, such as haggling over goods, your DM may have both sides keep a running total of their successes on opposed checks. The first side to reach 5, 10, or 15 successes wins, depending on the complexity of the negotiations and each side’s demands. Sometimes, two sides may have different targets.
For example, Alray the thief seeks to negotiate with his fence. He wants her to pay him 100 percent of a golden idol’s market value, an outrageous sum for a stolen item. The fence offers her standard 50 percent. Since she has a reasonable position, she needs only 5 successes.
Alray, with his exorbitant demands, must achieve 10 successes to win. Let the haggling commence! In the event of a tie, the next side to succeed while the other fails wins.
Challenges: The Diplomacy skill uses the standard skill challenges noted on page 7 with one exception. You can decrease the time needed to use this skill from 10 rounds to 1 round in exchange for a +10 DC modifier, as described under “Combat Negotiation,” above.
DISABLE DEVICE
(INTELLIGENCE; TRAINED ONLY)
Skill Group: Robbery
Check: The Disable Device check is made secretly, so that you don’t necessarily know whether you’ve succeeded.
The Difficulty Class depends on how tricky the device is. Disabling (or rigging or jamming) a fairly simple device is DC 10. More intricate and complex devices have higher Difficulty Classes.
A successful check means you disable the device. If it fails by 4 points or less, you have failed but can try again. Should you fail by 5 points or more, something goes wrong. If the device is a trap, you spring it. If you’re attempting some sort of sabotage, you think you’ve disabled the device, but it still works normally.
You also can rig simple devices such as saddles or wagon wheels to work normally for a while, then fail or fall off sometime later, usually after 1d4 rounds or minutes of use.
Action: The amount of time needed to make a Disable Device check depends on the task, as noted on the table on the next page. Disabling a simple device takes 1 round and is a full-round action. A tricky or difficult device requires 1d4 or 2d4 rounds.
Try Again: Varies. You can retry if you have missed the check by 4 or less, though you must be aware that you have failed in order to try again.
Special: If you beat a trap’s Difficulty Class by 10 or more on the check, you can study the trap, figure out how it works, and bypass it (along with your companions) without disarming it. Note that any character with a sufficient total bonus in Disable Device can disarm a trap. Unlike some fantasy games, no special ability is required to defeat a trap with a Difficulty Class over 20.
Take 10/20: You can take 10 on a Disable Device check, and you may take 20 in situations where failure has no special ramifications, such as setting off a trap.
Device Time DC Example
SIMPLE 1 ROUND 10 JAM A LOCK
TRICKY 1D4 ROUNDS 15 SABOTAGE A WAGON WHEEL
DIFFICULT
2D4 ROUNDS
20
DISARM A TRAP
, RESET A TRAP
COMPLEX 2D4 ROUNDS 25 DISARM A COMPLEX TRAP
Extended Skill Checks: If you attempt to disable a device more complex than “simple” on the table above, your DM may require you to succeed in an extended skill check. You may have to accumulate anywhere from two to ten successes before fully disabling the device. If you make a number of failures equal to the target number of successes before you complete your work, you mistakenly believe that you have disabled the device.
Challenges: Using Disable Device, you can attempt to hide the damage you have inflicted on a device.
Disguise Tampering: If you attempt to leave behind no trace of your work, add 5 to the Difficulty Class. In this case, anyone who inspects the device that you disabled must make a Search or a relevant Craft, Knowledge, or Profession check, using your Disable Device result as the DC. On a success, they notice your tampering. Otherwise, the damage remains concealed.
DISGUISE
(CHARISMA)
Skill Group: Theatrics
Check: You use Disguise to mask your identity or adopt a persona. Your Disguise check result, opposed by others’ Spot check results, determines how good the disguise is. If you don’t draw any attention to yourself, others do not get to make Spot checks. Should you come to the attention of suspicious observers, such as a guard watching commoners walk through a city gate, assume they take 10 on their Spot checks.
You make one Disguise check per use of the skill, even if several people make Spot checks against it. Your DM makes the Disguise check in secret, so that you can’t be sure of the result. The effectiveness of your disguise depends in part on how much you attempt to change your appearance.
Disguise Check Modifier
MINOR DETAILS ONLY +5
DISGUISED AS DIFFERENT GENDER* –2
DISGUISED AS DIFFERENT RACE* –2
DISGUISED AS DIFFERENT AGE CATEGORY* –2†
*THESE MODIFIERS ARE CUMULATIVE; USE ANY THAT APPLY† APPLY THIS MODIFIER FOR EACH CATEGORY OF DIFFERENCE BETWEEN YOUR ACTUAL AGE AND YOUR DISGUISED AGE. THE CATEGORIES ARE YOUNG (NOT YET ADULT), ADULTHOOD, MIDDLE AGE, OLD, AND VENERABLE.
If you impersonate a particular individual, those who know what that person looks like enjoy a bonus on their Spot checks according to the table below. Furthermore, they are automatically considered suspicious of you, so opposed checks are always called for.
Familiarity Spot Check Bonus
RECOGNIZES ONSIGHT +4
FRIENDS OR ASSOCIATES +6
CLOSE FRIENDS +8
INTIMATE +10

Usually, an individual makes a Spot check to see through your disguise immediately upon meeting you and once each hour thereafter. If you casually meet many different creatures while in disguise, each for a short time, check once per day or hour, using an average Spot modifier for the group.
Action: Creating a disguise takes 1d3 ×10 minutes of work.
Try Again: You may try to redo a failed disguise, but once others know that you attempted to adopt a disguise, they’ll be more suspicious.
Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Bluff, you get a 2 bonus to Disguise checks when you know that you’re being observed and you try to act in character.
Take 10/20: You may take 10 or 20 on a Disguise check, though remember that taking 20 requires 20 times the normal time for a skill check. In this case, it would by 1d3 ×200 minutes of work. Your disguise might be nearly flawless, but you must spend hours on it.
Challenges: You can take on the specific challenges below to improve the results of your Disguise check.
Face in the Crowd: With a –5 penalty to your check’s result, you craft a disguise that is less likely than normal to attract attention. Only people who specifically single you out andtry to notice your deception receive Spot checks. Guards and other passive observers make no special note of you unless you draw attention to yourself or interact directly with them.
Quick Change: You adopt a disguise as a full round action. While this may keep others from noticing you from a distance, close inspection immediately reveals your ruse. You may resolve a Disguise check with a –5 penalty. However, anyone who moves within 10 feet of you automatically succeeds in their Spot checks to see through your disguise.
ENDURANCE
(CONSTITUTION)
This is a Characters ability to keep going based on physical fitness.
Check: on a successful check, the character can move an object too heavy for them to lift; they can run twice as far, climb farther, and jump higher. If you have 0 Vitality you cannot make an Endurance Check.
Action: Swim checks made to resist nonlethal damage and go faster, checks made to continue running, checks made to hold your breath, checks made to avoid nonlethal damage from starvation or thirst.
Try Again: after failing an Endurance check, if you receive a penalty such as non-lethal damage, you may try again as long as you have vitality, if your endurance check has no penalty for failure besides failure you may not take the check again for the same activity.
Synergy: Any Dexterity or Strength based Check can gain benefit from an Endurance Check.
Untrained: You can always use ‘Endurance,’ even if untrained.
Take 10/20: You cannot take a ten or twenty with endurance.
Extended Skill Checks: For any strength or dexterity based action which lasts over 10 rounds a DM may require Endurance checks, or take vitality damage.
Challenges: obviously any challenge which uses Strength or Dexterity can benefit from Endurance, however Endurance can only benefit from Will, and this can only be done as a reaction to a forced Endurance check.
ESCAPE ARTIST
(DEXTERITY; ARMOR CHECK PENALTY)
Skill Group: Agility
Check: Escape Artist allows you to wriggle out of an opponent’s grasp, squeeze through a tight opening, or free yourself from rope bindings. The table below gives the Difficulty Classes required to escape various forms of restraint.
Restraint Escape Artist DC
ROPES USE ROPE CHECK +10
NET 20
CHAINS, MANACLES 30
TIGHT SPACE 30
MASTERWORK MANACLES 35
GRAPPLE GRAPPLE CHECK
Ropes: Your Escape Artist check opposes the binder’s Use Rope check. Since it’s easier to tie someone up than to escape from being tied up, the binder gets a +10 bonus on his check.
Manacles and Masterwork Manacles: The Difficulty Class for manacles depends on their construction.
Tight Space: The Difficulty Class noted on the table represents an opening that your head fits through but your shoulders don’t. If the space is long, you may need to make multiple checks. You can’t get through a space that your head does not fit through. Make one check for every move action you spend traversing a tight space. You move at one-quarter your normal speed for each action. If you fail, you make no progress but may try again.
Grapple: You can make an Escape Artist check in place of a combat maneuver check to escape a grapple 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 grapple) requires one minute of work. Escaping from a net is a full-round action. Escaping from a grapple or pin is a standard action. The time needed to squeeze through a tight space depends on the length of the space as described above.
Try Again: Varies. You can make another check after a failure when 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 no one actively opposes you.
Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Escape Artist, you enjoy a +2 bonus to Use Rope checks to bind someone. Those with 5 or more ranks in Use Rope get a +2 bonus to Escape Artist checks when attempting to escape from rope bonds.
Take 10/20: You can take 10 or 20 in most situations as long as you have the time and conditions needed to do so. Remember, taking 20 is the equivalent of using the time needed for 20 checks.
Extended Skill Checks: Your DM may rule that you must succeed in an extended skill check if you face several restraints at once. For example, if a villain ties your hands, wraps chains around your legs, and hangs you upside down by your feet, you may have to make three Escape Artist checks to earn your freedom.
Challenges: With an Escape Artist challenge, you can attempt to hide your efforts to escape.
Crafty Escape Artist: In exchange for increasing the check DC by 5, you can hide your efforts at escaping. Anyone who inspects your bindings must attempt a Spot check with a Difficulty Class equal to the result of your last Escape Artist check. If this Spot check fails, they do not notice the work you have done to escape.
For example, you could untie the rope that binds you but leave it in place so a villain doesn’t realize that you’re free. Obviously if you free yourself and escape, the villain notices you are gone.
FORGERY
(INTELLIGENCE)
Skill Group: Robbery
Check: The Forgery skill allows you to create fake documents, counterfeit coins, and other false objects. Forgery requires writing materials appropriate to the document being forged, sufficient light or visual acuity to see the details of what you’re writing, wax for seals (if appropriate), and some time. To forge a document on which the handwriting is not specific to a person (military orders, a government decree, a business ledger, or the like), you need to have seen a similar document before, and you enjoy a +8 bonus on your check.
Forging a signature requires an autograph from that person to copy; you gain a +4 bonus on the check. To forge a longer document written in the hand of a particular person, you need a large sample of that person’s handwriting.
The Forgery check is made secretly, so that you’re not sure how your forgery turned out. As with Disguise, you don’t even need to make a check until someone examines the work. Your Forgery check is opposed by the Forgery check of the person who examines the document or object to check its authenticity. The examiner gains modifiers on his check based on the conditions on the table below.
Forgery Condition Modifier
TYPE OF DOCUMENT/OBJECT UNKNOWN TO EXAMINER -2
TYPE OF DOCUMENT/OBJECT SOMEWHAT KNOWN TOEXAMINER +0
TYPE OF DOCUMENT/OBJECT WELL KNOWN TO EXAMINER +2
HANDWRITING NOT KNOWN TO EXAMINER -2
HANDWRITING SOMEWHAT KNOWN TO EXAMINER +0
HANDWRITING INTIMATELY KNOWN TO EXAMINER +2
EXAMINER REVIEWS DOCUMENT/OBJECT ONLY CASUALLY -2
A document that contradicts procedure, orders, or previous knowledge, or one that requires sacrifice on the part of the examiner, can increase his suspicion and create favorable circumstances for his opposing Forgery check. Coin and art forgeries, especially those worth significant money, always arouse suspicion in the examiner unless you use Bluff, Diplomacy, or some other skill to win his trust.
As a rule of thumb, a suspicious person gains a +5 bonus to Forgery checks to notice fakery.
Forging Items: To use Forgery to create an item, such as a fake coin or a duplicate painting, sculpture, or similar object, you must use the relevant Craft skill to make the item as normal. It has a base cost equal to 25 percent of the item’s original value. Use that reduced value to determine the raw materials and time needed to make the object. Once you are done, make a Forgery check as normal to determine the quality of your fakery.
Action: Forging a very short and simple document takes about one minute. A longer or more complex document takes 1d4 minutes per page. An object must be created with the Craft skill; see its description starting on page 17 to learn how long it takes to create an item.
Try Again: Usually, no. A retry is never possible after a particular examiner detects a given forgery, but the item still might fool someone else. The result of a Forgery check for a particular document must be used for every instance of a different reader examining the document. No reader can attempt to detect a particular forgery more than once. If that one opposed check goes in favor of the forger, the examiner can’t try using his own skill again.
Restriction: To forge documents and detect forgeries, you must be able to read and write the language in question.
Take 10/20: You may take 10 or 20 on a Forgery check as normal.
Challenges: Using Forgery challenges, you can create objects that hide other, smaller items within them. For example, a smuggler might craft a vase that hides several small, valuable jewels within the clay used to shape it.
Hide Object: In exchange for a –5 penalty to your Forgery check, you can embed an item within the object you create. Your DM must rule that you could logically fit or hide the item within the forgery. Anyone who uncovers your deception also notes the presence of the hidden item. In addition, a Search check against your Forgery check result +5 uncovers the item.
GATHER INFORMATION
(CHARISMA)
Skill Group: Social
Check: You can scour a village, town, or district in a city for rumors and recent news. An evening’s time, a few gold pieces for buying drinks and making friends, and a Gather Information check (DC 10) get you a general idea of a city’s major news items, assuming there are no obvious reasons to withhold the information.
The higher your check result, the better the information.
If you want to find out about a specific rumor, locate a particular item, obtain a map, or do something else along those lines, the check’s Difficulty Class becomes 15 to 25 or even higher.
Plant Rumors: You spread stories throughout town, helping to sow false rumors or send your rivals on a wild goose chase. Make a Gather Information check with a –10 modifier. Those who attempt to use Gather Information in this area and fail to beat a Difficulty Class equal to the result of your check learn the information you planted in place of the news they seek. If the Gather Information check succeeds, your opponents learn that you spread the story.
Information Wanted DC
GENERAL NEWS AND RUMORS 10
SPECIFIC EVENT OR WELL-KNOWN PERSON 15
MINOR EVENT OR MARGINALLY KNOWN PERSON 20
LARGELY UNKNOWN EVENT OR PERSONBEFORE OTHERS, HIGHLY DETAILED 25
OBSCURE PERSON OR AN EVENT THAT FEW KNOW ABOUT 30
INFORMATION ABOUT AN ALMOST UTTERLY UNKNOWN PERSON OR EVENT 35
Action: A typical Gather Information check takes 1d4
1 hours.
Try Again: Yes, but each check takes time. Furthermore, you may draw attention to yourself if you repeatedly pursue a certain type of information.
Synergy: Those with 5 or more ranks in Knowledge and access to the local area of study get a 2 bonus to Gather Information checks.
Take 10/20: You can use either of these options, though remember that taking 20 requires you to spend 20 times the normal time needed to make a check. In this case, you must spend 20d4
20 hours over the course of several days to take 20.
Extended Skill Checks: In the case of rare information or if you must find a single specific person with the information you need, your DM may require you to make an extended Gather Information check. This reflects the various stages of investigation you must engage in. If you seek a retired smuggler, you might first uncover the places where smugglers commonly meet clients, then find a thief who has contacts with the retired smuggler, then track down the smuggler’s current location. This would require a Gather Information check for each of the investigation’s three steps. Your DM also may decide that, if you fail a number of times equal to the number of successes you need, it becomes a common rumor that you are looking for someone. Challenges: Gather Information has one unique challenge that allows you to cover your tracks while seeking information.
Discreet Seeker: While seeking out news and information, you keep a low profile. You focus on overhearing conversations, drawing inferences from peoples’ behavior, and spying on others. You increase your Gather Information DC by +5, but you avoid leaving any clues about the information you seek. If your check fails, you may be detected as normal, but you still avoid spreading clues about what you seek.
HANDLE ANIMAL
(CHARISMA; TRAINED ONLY)
Skill Group: Wilderness Lore
Check: This skill allows you to train animals, raise them to become faithful servants, and otherwise manage and care for them. A Handle Animal check’s Difficulty Class depends on
Handle Animal Task DC
HANDLE A DOMESTICATED ANIMAL 10
“PUSH” A DOMESTICATED ANIMAL 25
ADVANCE AN ANIMAL 25
TEACH A DOMESTICATED ANIMAL A TRICK 15 OR 20*
TRAIN A DOMESTICATED ANIMAL FOR A GENERAL PURPOSE 15 OR 20*
REAR A WILD ANIMAL 15 + ANIMAL’S HD

  • See the specific trick or training purpose in the text below.
    Handle a Domesticated Animal: This task involves commanding an animal to perform a task or trick that it already knows. If the animal is wounded or has taken any nonlethal damage or temporary ability score damage, the Difficulty Class increases by 2. Should your check succeed, the animal performs the task or trick on its next action.
    “Push” a Domesticated Animal: To push an animal means to get it to perform a task or trick that it doesn’t know but is physically capable of performing. This category also covers making an animal perform a forced march or forcing it to hustle for more than one hour between sleep cycles. If the animal is wounded or has taken any nonlethal damage or temporary ability score damage, the Difficulty Class increases by 2. Should your check succeed, the animal performs the task or trick on its next action.
    Advance an Animal: By spending three weeks vigorously conditioning a domesticated animal, you can increase the animal’s number of Hit Dice by one. The total Hit Dice the creature earns in this manner may not exceed half your ranks in the Handle Animal skill.
    Teach a Domesticated Animal a Trick: You can teach an animal a specific trick with one week of work and a successful Handle Animal check against the indicated Difficulty Class. An animal with an Intelligence score of 1 can learn up to three tricks, while an animal with an Intelligence score of 2 can learn a maximum of six. Possible tricks (and their associated DCs) include, but are not limited to, the following.
     Attack(DC 20): The animal attacks apparent enemies. You may point to a particular creature that you wish the animal to attack, and it will comply if able. An animal normally attacks only humanoids, monstrous humanoids, giants, or other animals. Teaching an animal to attack all creatures (including such unnatural ones as undead and aberrations) counts as two tricks.
     Come(DC 15): The animal comes to you, even if it normally would not do so. Defend(DC 20): The animal defends you (or is ready to defend you if no threat is present), even without a command being given. Alternatively, you can command the animal to defend a specific other character.
     Down(DC 15): The animal breaks off from combat or otherwise backs down. An animal that doesn’t know this trick continues to fight until it must flee (due to injury, a fear effect, or the like) or until its opponent is defeated.
     Fetch(DC 15): The animal goes and gets something and brings it back. If you do not point out a specific item, the animal fetches some random object.
     Guard(DC 20): The animal stays in place and prevents others from approaching.
     Heel(DC 15): The animal follows you closely, even to places where it normally wouldn’t go.
     Perform(DC 15): The animal performs a variety of simple tricks, such as sitting up, rolling over, roaring or barking, and so on.
     Seek(DC 15): The animal moves into an area and looks around for anything that is obviously alive or animate.
     Stay(DC 15): The animal stays in place, waiting for you to return. It does not challenge other creatures that come by, though it still defends itself if needed.
     Track(DC 20): The animal tracks the scent presented to it. (This requires the animal to have the scent ability)
     Work(DC 15): The animal pulls or pushes a medium or heavy load.
    Train a Domesticated Animal for a Purpose:
    Rather than teaching an animal individual tricks, you can simply train it for a general purpose.
    Essentially, an animal’s purpose represents a preselected set of known tricks that fit into a common scheme, such as guarding or heavy labor. The animal must meet all the normal prerequisites for all tricks included in the training package. If the package includes more than three tricks, the animal must have an Intelligence score of at least 2.
    An animal can be trained for only one general purpose, though if the creature is capable of learning additional tricks (above and beyond those included in its general purpose), it may do so. Training an animal for a purpose requires fewer checks than teaching individual tricks, but no less time.
    Combat Riding(DC 20): An animal trained to bear a rider into combat knows these tricks: attack, come, defend, down, guard, and heel.
    Training an animal for combat riding takes six weeks. You may also “upgrade” an animal trained for riding to this purpose by spending three weeks and making a successful Handle Animal check (DC 20). The new general purpose and tricks completely replace the animal’s previous purpose and any tricks it once knew. Warhorses and riding dogs are already trained to bear riders into combat, and they don’t require any additional training for this purpose.
    Fighting(DC 20): An animal trained to engage in combat knows these tricks: attack, down, and stay. Training an animal for fighting takes three weeks.
    Guarding(DC 20): An animal trained to guard knows these tricks: attack, defend, down, and guard. Training an animal for guarding takes four weeks.
    Heavy Labor(DC 15): An animal trained for
    heavy labor knows these tricks: come and work. Training an animal for heavy labor takes two weeks.
    Hunting(DC 20): An animal trained for hunting knows these tricks: attack, down, fetch, heel, seek, and track. Training an animal for hunting takes six weeks.
    Performance(DC 15): An animal trained for performance knows these tricks: come, fetch, heel, perform, and stay. Training an animal for performance takes five weeks.
    Riding(DC 15): An animal trained to bear a rider knows these tricks: come, heel, and stay. Training an animal for riding takes three weeks.
    Rear a Wild Animal: To rear an animal means to raise a wild creature from infancy so it becomes domesticated. A handler can rear as many as three creatures of the same kind at once. A successfully domesticated animal can be taught tricks at the same time it’s being raised, or it can learn them as a domesticated animal later.
    Action: Varies. Handling an animal is a move action, while pushing an animal is a full-round action. For tasks with specific time frames noted above, you must spend half this time (at the rate of three hours per day per animal being handled) working toward completion of the task before you attempt the Handle Animal check. If the check fails, your attempt to teach, rear, or train the animal fails, and you need not complete the teaching, rearing, or training time. If the check succeeds, you must invest the remainder of the time to complete the teaching, rearing, or training. If something interrupts or if you can’t follow the task through to completion, the attempt to teach, rear, or train the animal automatically fails.
    Try Again: Yes, except for rearing a wild animal. Once an animal reaches adulthood, you cannot attempt to rear it again.
    Special: You can use Handle Animal on a creature with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2 that is not an animal, but the Difficulty Class of any such check increases by 5. Such creatures have the same limit on tricks known as animals do.
    Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Handle Animal, you enjoy a +2 bonus on Ride checks.
    Untrained: If you have no ranks in Handle Animal, you can use a Charisma check to handle and push domestic animals, but you can’t teach, rear, advance, or train animals.
    Take 10/20: You can take 10 and 20 on Handle Animal checks, though you cannot take 20 when rearing an animal, due to the penalties associated with failure.
    Extended Skill Checks: The Handle Animal skill does not normally use extended skill checks. A single check covers the amount of time and effort that other skills would resolve with an extended check.
    Challenges: Aside from the standard challenges on page 7, there are two unique challenges that apply to the ‘Advance an Animal’ use of Handle Animal.
    Advance Multiple Creatures: You may try to advance more than one creature at a time by accepting a +5 to the Difficulty of the Handle Animal check per additional creature to be advanced.
    Rapid Advancement: You can toughen and strengthen an animal more rigorously than normal. By accepting a +5 to the DC of the Handle Animal check, you may increase the number of Hit Die you are attempting to grant the animal by one. You may not attempt to advance a creature by more Hit Dice, per check, than one third of your Handle Animal Modifier. (This includes all relevant bonuses regarding the specified creature.)
    HEAL
    (WISDOM)
    Skill Group: Academia
    Check: The Heal skill allows you to help others recover from injuries. You can use this skill to prevent an ally from dying after he has been reduced to 0 or fewer hit points. You can also help an ally recover his reserve pool faster than normal. The skill check’s Difficulty Class and effect depend on the task you attempt.
    First Aid: You usually use first aid to save adying character. If a character has negative hit points and continues losing them (at the rate of 1 point per round, 1 point per hour, or 1 point per day), you can stabilize him with a DC 15 Heal check. A stable character regains no hit points but stops losing them.
    Treat Wounds: You can tend to a person’s wounds, helping speed his normal rate of recovery. With a successful Heal check, DC 15, you restore a number of vitality points equal to your number of ranks in Heal. A person can receive this treatment only once per day whether it succeeds or fails, even if multiple healers attempt to treat him.
    Long-Term Care: Providing long-term care means treating a wounded person for a day or more. If your Heal check succeeds against a DC 15, the patient recovers wound points and ability score points lost to temporary ability damage at twice the normal rate:
    2 wound points per level for eight hours of rest in a day
    4 wound points per level for each full day of complete bed rest
    2 ability score points for eight hours of rest in a day
    4 ability score points for each full day of complete bed rest.
    You can tend as many as six patients at a time.
    You need a few supplies (bandages, salves, and so on) that are easy to come by in settled lands. Giving long-term care countsas light activity forthe healer. You cannot give long-term care to yourself.
    Treat Wound From Caltrop: A creature wounded by stepping on a caltrop moves at onehalf normal speed. A successful Heal check against DC 15 removes this movement penalty.
    Treat Poison: To treat poison means to tend a single character who has been poisoned and who is going to take more damage from the poison (or suffer some other effect). Every time the poisoned character makes a saving throw against he poison, you make a Heal check. The poisoned character uses the result of either your check or his saving throw, whichever is higher.
    Treat Disease: To treat a disease means to tend a single diseased character. Every time he makes a saving throw against disease effects, you make a Heal check. The diseased character uses the result of either your check or his saving throw, whichever is higher.
    Action: Providing first aid, treating a wound, or treating poison is a standard action. Treating a disease or tending a creature wounded by caltrops takes 10 minutes of work. Providing long-term care requires eight hours of light activity.
    Try Again: Varies. Generally speaking, you can’t try a Heal check again without proof of the original check’s failure. You can always retry a check to provide first aid, assuming the target of the previous attempt is still alive.
    Special: A healer’s kit (see Chapter Seven: Equipment) gives you a additional bonuses to the check. circumstance bonus on Heal checks.
    Take 10/20: You can take 10 on a Heal check,
    but in most cases you simply don’t have the time to take 20.
    Challenges: You can attempt treatment to staunch a character’s wounds, which provides a temporary reprieve at best.
    Temporary Treatment: You bind a patient’s wounds and provide him with herbs and elixirs that dull his pain, but his injuries remain. In exchange for a +5 increase to the Heal DC, you can allow a character who has wound point damage to temporarily ignore a number of missing wound points, equal to your ranks in heal, when calculating their penalty for wound point damage (see Chapter Eight: Combat for more info on persistent injuries).
    A patient who engages in any strenuous activity, such as combat or use of any Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution based skill where a 10 cannot be taken, loses this benefit after engaging in the activity. A patient can receive the benefits of this use of Heal only once per day.
    HIDE
    (Dexterity; Armor Check Penalty)
    Skill Group: Stealth
    Check: This skill allows you to stay out of sight by hiding behind a rock, slipping into the shadows, or otherwise blending into the environment. Your Hide check is opposed by the Spot check of anyone who might see you. You can move up to half your normal speed and hide at no penalty.
    A creature larger or smaller than Medium gets a size bonus or penalty on Hide checks depending on its size category:
    FINE +16, DIMINUTIVE +12,
    TINY +8, SMALL +4, LARGE –4, HUGE –8,
    GARGANTUAN –12, AND COLOSSAL –16.
    You need cover or concealment in order to attempt a Hide check. Total cover or total concealment usually obviates the need for a Hide check, since nothing can see you, anyway.
    If people observe you, even casually, you can’t hide unless you use the Bluff skill to create a distraction. You can run around a corner or behind cover so that you’re out of sight and then hide, but the others know at least where you went.
    If your observers are momentarily distracted, you can try to hide. While they turn their attention from you, you may attempt a Hide check if you can get to some kind of hiding place.
    As a general guideline, the hiding place has to be within a number of feet equal to your total number of Hide ranks. This check suffers a –10 penalty because you have to move fast.
    Create a Diversion to Hide: You can use Bluff to help you hide. A successful Bluff check can give you the momentary diversion you need to attempt a Hide check while people are aware of you.
    Evade Extraordinary Senses: Some creatures can sense vibrations in the ground. Others have keen scent or a magical ability to detect their enemies. You can use Hide (and Move Silently) to evade such abilities with a penalty to your skill check. The penalty you suffer depends on the sense used to detect you.
    Sense Type Penalty
    BLINDSENSE -15
    SCENT -5
    TREMORSENSE -10
    Sniping and Ambushing: If you’ve already successfully hidden at least 10 feet from your target, you can make one ranged attack, then immediately hide again. You take a –20 penalty on your Hide check to conceal yourself after the shot. You can try a similar tactic with a melee attack, but you suffer a –30 penalty to your Hide check. Using Hide in this manner is a move action.
    Action: Normally, you make a Hide check as part of movement, so it doesn’t take a separate action. However, hiding immediately after an attack (see “Sniping and Ambushing,” above) is a move action.
    Take 10/20: In non-stressful situations, you can take 10 or 20 on a Hide check. For example, if you have sufficient time to gather camouflage and pick a good spot for an ambush, you could take 20 on a Hide check. You cannot take 10 or 20 if you move while hiding.
    Challenges: You can use skill-specific challenges to move faster while hiding or to strike at an opponent from the shadows.
    Fast Move: You can move up to your normal speed in exchange for a –5 penalty to your Hide check. In return for a –20 penalty to your check, you can move faster than your normal speed, such as by running or charging.
    Shadow Strike: In return for a –10 penalty to your Hide check, you can make a Hide check as part of an attack action against an opponent who has lost his active defense bonuses against you.
    Your foe opposes this check with either a Spot or a base attack check. If you succeed, youropponent does not threaten you until the end of your next turn—you slash at him from hiding and move to confuse him, forcing him to waste precious moments to gain his bearings. You may only use this ability against an individual once per encounter.
    INTIMIDATE
    (CHARISMA)
    Skill Group: Social
    Check: You instill fear into your target, forcing him to take actions against his will or turning him into a nervous, clumsy wreck. You can use the Intimidate skill in one of two ways to intimidate one target at a time.
    Browbeat Target: You can change another’s behavior with a successful check. The result of your Intimidate check -5 is the Difficulty Class that your target must achieve using his choice ofa Will save, a base attack check, or an Intimidate check of his own. Before your target acts, he must make a check. If he fails, he does as you order him to do. You cannot compel a person to take a dangerous, self-destructive, or plainly foolish action. For example, you could browbeat a town guard into standing back while you carry off the crown jewels, but you could not force him to attack his allies or help you with your burden. In most cases, Intimidate can force a target to take no action or to stop interfering with you. The target makes a new save or check each round and continues to do so until 1d6 minutes after you have left his presence.
    If the target succeeds in his check or saves against your intimidation attempt, he may act as normal, but you can try to intimidate him again. If he beats the DC by 5 points or more, you may not make another Intimidate check against him for the rest of the encounter.
    Demoralize Opponent: You can also use Intimidate to weaken an opponent’s resolve in combat. The result of your Intimidate check -5 is the Difficulty Class that your target must achieve using his choice of a Will save, a base attack check, or an Intimidate check of his own. If you win, the target becomes shaken for a number of rounds equal to 1 + your Charisma modifier. A shaken character takes a –2 penalty on attack rolls, ability checks, and saving throws. You can intimidate only an opponent that is within 30 feet and that you can see. Action: Intimidating an opponent is a standard action.
    Special: You gain a +4 bonus on your Intimidate check for every size category that you are larger than your target. Conversely, you take a –4 penalty on your Intimidate check for every size category that you are smaller than your target. A character immune to fear can’t be intimidated, nor can non intelligent creatures.
    Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Bluff, you get a +2 bonus to Intimidate checks.
    Take 10/20: Trying to intimidate someone is an inherently stressful situation. You cannot take 10 or 20 with this skill.
    Extended Skill Checks: You can use an extended Intimidate check to force someone slowly into subservience. You must achieve a given number of Intimidate check successes before hitting a certain number of failures. Make one check each day on consecutive days; if you miss one or more days, you suffer one automatic failure for each day missed. You must reach a number of successes equal to 5 + your target’s Charisma modifier, while getting five failures means that you cannot force him into service. You can intimidate only one person per day in this manner, spending at least four hours each day browbeating your unwilling servant.
    The target of this use of Intimidate can have no more than half your Hit Dice. You can have a number of unwilling servants equal to 1 + your Charisma modifier. (If this total is 0 or less, you cannot have any.) A person forced into service in this manner obeys any non-dangerous commands you give him. He never risks his life or property for you.
    Challenges: While most skill challenges carry a –5 penalty (or +5 DC modifier), Intimidate works a little differently. Attempting to intimidate more than one person requires the mass intimidation challenge.
    Mass Intimidation: You can attempt to intimidate more than one person at a time. In this case, one opponent of the DM’s choice makes a single check to resist you. This result stands for everyone in the group. However, you suffer a –2 penalty to your check for each opponent beyond the first. Your DM may allow more than one person to make a check to resist you, with each checker representing a different subgroup of those you wish to intimidate.
    For example, while you attempt to steal the Rendergest Emerald, the town guard and a small group of thieves burst into Duke Rendergest’s vault. You use Intimidate to freeze them in place and escape up a rope leading to the roof. The DM judges that the captain of the guard will resist your check on behalf of his men, while the outlaw Tyra Redblade resists on behalf of her cronies. You can use mass intimidation with either use of Intimidate (demoralizing or browbeating a foe).
    Power Intimidate: You make a spectacular claim of power, call out your opponent’s courage, or take a risky gambit to find a foe’s secret fear.
    A tough or determined enemy can see through your ploy, but a weak one quakes before your power. In return for a –5 penalty to your Intimidate check, you can increase the morale penalty you inflict by –1 or force an opponent to take an action that is against his interests (but not life threatening). For example, you could force a guard to help you carry the treasure he was supposed to protect. You can take this challenge multiple times to increase the morale penalty. In the case of compelling others to obey you, your DM may increase the penalty for particularly demanding commands. However, you can never use Intimidate to force someone to obey a lifethreatening order.
    JUMP
    (STRENGTH; ARMOR CHECK PENALTY)
    Skill Group: Athletics
    Check: You use the Jump skill to leap into the air, vault over an obstacle, or dive over an opponent. The Difficulty Class and the distance you can cover vary according to the type of jump you attempt.
    Your speed modifies your Jump check as follows:
    Speed Jump Modifier*
    50 FEET +8
    40 FEET +4
    30 FEET +0
    20 FEET -6
    10 FEET -12
    TAKE A –6 PENALTY FOR EVERY 10 FEET YOUR SPEED IS LESS THAN 30 FEET OR A +4 BONUS FOR EVERY 10 FEET YOUR SPEED IS BEYOND 30 FEET.
    All Jump DCs given here assume that you get a running start, which requires that you move at least 10 feet in a straight line before attempting the jump. If you do not get a running start, double the jump’s Difficulty Class.
    Distance moved by jumping counts against your normal maximum movement in a round.
    Usually, you make a Jump check as part of a move action.
    If you have ranks in Jump and succeed at a Jump check, you land on your feet (when appropriate). If you attempt a Jump check untrained, you land prone unless you beat the DC by 5 points or more.
    Long Jump: A long jump is a horizontal jump, made across a gap like a chasm or stream. At the midpoint of the jump, you attain a vertical height equal to one-quarter of the horizontal distance.
    The jump’s Difficulty Class is equal to 5 + the distance jumped (in feet).
    If your check succeeds, you land on your feet at the far end. If you fail the check by less than 5 points, you don’t clear the distance, but you can make a Reflex save (DC 15) to grab the far edge of the gap. You end your movement grasping the far edge. If that leaves you dangling over a chasm, getting up requires a move action and a Climb check (DC 15).
    High Jump: A high jump is a vertical leap made to reach a ledge high above or to grasp something overhead. The Difficulty Class is equal to four times the distance to be cleared.
    If you jumped up to grab something, a successful check indicates that you reached the desired height. If you wish to pull yourself up, you can do so with a move action and a Climb check (DC 15). Failing the Jump check means you do not reach the height and you land on your feet in the spot where you jumped. As with a long jump, the Difficulty Class doubles if you do not get a running start of at least 20 feet. Obviously, the difficulty of reaching a given height varies according to the size of the jumper.
    The maximum vertical reach (height the creature can reach without jumping) for an average creature of a given size appears on the table below. As a Medium creature, a typical human can reach 8 feet without jumping. This assumes that you reach out with your arms and perhaps make a short hop to grab an object. Quadruped creatures don’t have the same vertical reach as bipedal creatures; treat them as one size category smaller.
    Creature Size Vertical Reach
    COLOSSAL 128 FEET
    GARGANTUAN 64 FEET
    HUGE 32 FEET
    LARGE 16 FEET
    MEDIUM 8 FEET
    SMALL 4 FEET
    TINY 2 FEET
    DIMINUTIVE 1 FOOT
    FINE 1/2 FOOT
    Hop Up: You can jump up onto an object as tall as your waist, such as atable or small boulder, with a Jump check (DC 10). Doing so counts as 10 feet of movement, so if your speed is 30 feet, you could move 20 feet, then hop up onto a counter. You do not need to get a running start to hop up, so the Difficulty Class does not double if you do not get a running start.
    Jumping Down: If you intentionally jump from a height, you take less damage than you would if you just fell. The Difficulty Class to jump down from a height is 15. You do not have to get a running start to jump down, so the Difficulty Class does not double if you do not get a running start.
    If you succeed at the check, you take falling damage as if you had dropped 10 feet less than you actually did.
    Kip Up: You can make a Jump check to stand from a prone position quickly. With a Jump check (DC 20), you stand as a free action. If you fail, you stand as a move action, as normal. Leaping Strike: If you make a Jump check to leap at least half the distance you charge, you gain a +2 bonus to damage in addition to the standard +2 bonus to attacks when charging.
    Vertical Strike: You can use a wall or other terrain feature to assist a jump you make as part of an attack. By taking to the air, you force an opponent to guard against an attack from an unexpected direction. Make a Jump check using the standard Negate Defense challenge.
    Action: None. A Jump check is included in your movement, so it is part of a move action. If you run out of movement mid-jump, your next action (either on this turn or, if necessary, on your next one) must be a move action to complete the jump. The kip up action is a move action if you fail the Jump check.
    Special: Effects that increase your movement also increase your jumping distance, since your check is modified by your speed.
    Synergy: Those with 5 or more ranks in Tumble enjoy a +2 bonus on Jump checks. If you have 5 or more ranks in Jump, you get a +2 bonus to Tumble checks.
    Take 10/20: You can take 10 on a Jump check outside of combat, but you cannot take 20, as you must suffer the consequences of failure. (In the case of taking 20, you would have to take the jump again and again until you rolled a natural 20.)
    Challenges: Jumping allows a strong, athletic warrior to outmaneuver his foe. After all, few expect an attack from above or an enemy who can jump over a defensive position.
    Cunning Leap: You jump over an opponent or time a leap so that it catches an enemy off guard. In exchange for a +5 to the DC per square, you treat any threatened squares jumped through or over as unthreatened. If your check fails, they are threatened and you suffer attacks of opportunity as normal.
    KNOWLEDGE
    (INTELLIGENCE; TRAINED ONLY)
    Skill Group: Academia
    Knowledge is a skill that encompasses a number of different areas of study. You can expand the scope ofyour knowledge without taking wholly new skills by investing skill points in Knowledge to cover new areas—after all, few academics focus on one area to the exclusion ofall others. For example, an expert on history also likely has knowledge of nobility and geography, as those areas play an important role in the context of history.
    Below are the available fields of study. When you first spend ranks on this skill, you must choose an area of study. You may then gain additional areas of study for 1 skill point each.
    Resolving Knowledge checks in any of your chosen areas uses your Knowledge ranks and bonuses. Feats and other abilities that grant a benefit to Knowledge checks apply to all the fields that you have purchased.
    Arcana (ancient mysteries, magic traditions, arcane symbols, cryptic phrases, constructs, dragons, magical beasts)
    Architecture and engineering (buildings, aqueducts, bridges, fortifications)
    Dungeoneering (aberrations, caves, oozes, spelunking)
    Geography (lands, terrain, climate, people)
    History (royalty, wars, colonies, migrations, founding of cities)
    Local (legends, personalities, inhabitants, laws, customs, traditions, humanoids)
    Nature (animals, fey, giants, monstrous humanoids, plants, seasons and cycles, weather, vermin)
    Nobility and royalty (lineages, heraldry, family trees, mottoes, personalities)
    Religion (gods and goddesses, mythic history, ecclesiastic tradition, holy symbols, undead)
    The Planes (the inner planes, the outer planes, the astral plane, the ethereal plane, outsiders, elementals, magic related to the planes)
    Check: Answering a question within your fields of study has a Difficulty Class of 10 (for really easy questions), 15 (for basic questions), or 20 to 30 (for really tough questions).
    In many cases, you can use this skill to identify monsters and their special powers or vulnerabilities. In general, the DC of such a check equals 10 + the monster’s CR. For common monsters, such as goblins, the DC of this check equals 5 + the monster’s CR.
    For particularly rare monsters, such as the Tarrasque, the DC of this check equals 15 + the monster’s CR or more. A successful check allows you to remember a bit of useful information about that monster. For every 5 points by which your check result exceeds the DC, you recall another piece of useful information.
    Action: In most cases, making a Knowledge check doesn’t take an action. You simply know the answer or you don’t.
    Try Again: No. The check represents what you know, and thinking about a topic a second time doesn’t let you know something that you never learned in the first place. You may make another check if you later spend one or more additional skill points to improve
    your Knowledge skill. This reflects newly acquired information and lore.
    Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Knowledge and access to the Arcana area of study, you gain a +2 bonus on Spellcraft checks.
    If you have 5 or more ranks in Knowledge and access to the architecture and engineering area of study, you get a +2 bonus on Search checks made to find secret doors or hidden compartments.
    If you have 5 or more ranks in Knowledge and access to the geography field of study, you enjoy a +2 bonus on Survival checks made to keep from getting lost or to avoid natural hazards.
    If you have 5 or more ranks in Knowledge and access to the local area of study, you gain a +2 bonus on Gather Information checks.
    If you have 5 or more ranks in Knowledge and access to the nature field of study, you get a +2 bonus on Survival checks made in aboveground natural environments.
    If you have 5 or more ranks in Knowledge and access to the nobility and royalty area of study, you gain a +2 bonus on Diplomacy checks.
    If you have 5 or more ranks in Knowledge and the planes as an area of study, you get a +2 bonus on Survival checks made while on other planes. If you have 5 or more ranks in Knowledge and access to the Dungeoneering area of study, you get a +2 bonus on Survival checks made while underground.
    If you have 5 or more ranks in Survival, you get a +2 bonus on Knowledge checks that access the nature field of study.
    Untrained: An untrained Knowledge check is simply an Intelligence check. Without actual training, you know only common knowledge (DC 10 or lower).
    Take 10/20: You can take 10 on Knowledge checks, but you cannot take 20, as failure has a penalty: In this case, you cannot make another Knowledge check after a failed one.
    Extended Skill Checks: Extended Knowledge checks come into play when you must research an obscure or strange subject. You might gain access toa library of the ancients, or you may need to visit several sages and uncover a few rare tomes to determine the demon Malbagaren’s weakness. In this case, multiple Knowledge checks reflect the steady progress you make toward an answer. Usually, an extended skill check represents knowledge that you could not possibly possess or that exists in only a few rare places.
    You normally need access to a library or similar resources to complete an extended Knowledge check.
    Your DM might also structure your extended Knowledge check in such a way that, as you gain more successes, you learn about where you must go next to uncover information rather than the answer you seek. For instance, your research in a city’s library (the equivalent of four successes) tells you that you must journey to a distant ruin and translate hieroglyphics found there. After reading that ancient script and racking up four more successes, you realize that the archmage Bondopherous holds the ancient tome you seek.
    You may have to fight him for it or steal it from his collection. In either case, you must make your final two successes while the book is in your hand.
    A Knowledge check made as part of an extended skill check requires four hours of work. You can make one per day. How many successes you need depends on what sort of knowledge you’re seeking:
    Type of Knowledge Successes Needed
    STRANGE, OBSCURE, RARE 5
    LIMITED IN SCOPE, KNOWN ONLY O A SMALL GROUP 10
    FOUND ONLY IN ONE PLACE, RECORDED ONLY ONCE 15
    Challenges: You can use the following skillspecific challenge to uncover useful information about a particular creature.
    Uncover Weakness: When using Knowledge to recall information about a creature, you can choose to accept a +5 DC modifier. In return, a successful check grants you knowledge that provides a +1 bonus to attacks against that creature. You can take this skill challenge up to five times on a single check. If you fail your check, you cannot retry.
    LISTEN
    (WISDOM)
    Skill Group: Perception
    Check: The Listen skill allows you to overhear a whispered conversation, detect the approach of a stealthy assassin, or wake up as a monster sneaks through your camp. A Listen check is made either against a Difficulty Class reflective of the volume of the noise or opposed by a target’s Move Silently check. In the case of people trying to be quiet, your Listen check opposes their Move Silently checks.
    Battle Sense: Once per round as a move action, you can attempt a Listen check to gain a better sense of the situation on a battlefield. You hear the stomp of booted feet, the whistle of a sword drawn back to strike, or the creak of a readied bow. Anyone who gains the benefits of flanking against you must make a base attack checkopposed by your Listen check result. If this base attack check fails, the attacker loses the benefits of the flank. They lose the +2 bonus to attacks, while foes with sneak attack do not gain that bonus damage. Note that creatures you are unaware of do not need to make this check, as you cannot account for them.
    DC Example Sounds
    –10 A BATTLE
    0 PEOPLE TALKING

    15 PEOPLE WHISPERING*
    30 AN OWL GLIDING IN FOR A KILL
    5 THROUGH A DOOR
    15 THROUGH A STONE WALL
    –1 PER 10 FEET OF DISTANCE
    –5 LISTENER DISTRACTED
  • IF YOU BEAT THE DC BY 10 OR MORE, YOU CAN MAKE OUT WHAT’S BEING SAID, ASSUMING YOU UNDERSTAND THE LANGUAGE. THIS ALSO ASSUMES THAT THE CONVERSATION OCCURS SOME DISTANCE AWAY OR THAT YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO CLEARLY HEAR WHAT IS SAID IN A NORMAL FASHION.
    Action: Varies. Every time you have a chance to hear something in a reactive manner (such as when someone makes a noise or you move into a new area), you can make a Listen check without using an action. Trying to hear something you failed to hear previously is a move action.
    Try Again: You can try to hear something that you failed to hear previously with no penalty.
    Special: A sleeping character may make Listen checks at a –10 penalty. A successful check awakens the sleeper.
    Take 10/20: You can use both of these options in non-stressful circumstances. However, aListen check made to detect an approaching enemy or to see if you are surprised is always a stressful situation.
    Challenges: If your hearing is especially sharp, you can pinpoint a creature’s location purely by the sound it makes.
    Locate Noise: In return for a –5 penalty to your Listen check, you can attempt to pinpoint a creature’s location. A successful check tells you the exact square (or squares) it occupies. The creature gains the benefits of concealment as normal, but you can attack it even if you cannotsee it. In this case, the creature gains full concealment (50 percent miss chance). If your check fails, you become confused and cannot determine whether the sound you hear is a creature, background noise, or something else. In essence, you suffer the effects of failing a Listen check even though you might have heard something.
    MOVE SILENTLY
    (DEXTERITY; ARMOR CHECK PENALTY)
    Skill Group: Stealth
    Check: Your Move Silently check is opposed by a Listen check from anyone who might hear you. You can move up to half your normal speed at no penalty.
    Noisy surfaces such as bogs or undergrowth are tough to move silently across. When you try to sneak across such a surface, you take a penalty on your Move Silently check –noisy areas (shallow or deep bog, undergrowth loose gravel, dense rubble) inflict a 2 penalty, very noisy areas (dense undergrowth deep snow, creaky floor) inflict a -5 penalty.
    When you attack an opponent who does not hear you and remains unaware of your presence, your target usually loses his active defense bonus against you.
    If you do not move, you do not have to make a Move Silently check to avoid detection if you remain quiet.
    Evade Extraordinary Senses: Some creatures can sense vibrations in the ground. Others have keen scent or a magical ability to detect their enemies. You can use Move Silently (and Hide) to evade such abilities with a penalty to your check. The penalty you suffer depends on the sense used to detect you:
    Sense Type Penalty
    BLINDSENSE -15
    SCENT -5
    TREMORSENSE -10
    Action: None. A Move Silently check is usually included in your movement or other activity, so it is part of another action.
    Take 10/20: You cannot normally take 10 or 20 on a Move Silently check. Using this skill is always a stressful situation.
    Challenges: You can use skill specific challenges to gain additional benefits from Move Silently or to improve your use of it.
    Rapid Stealth: In return for a –5 penalty to your Move Silently check, you can move up to your full speed. In return for a –20 penalty, you can attempt to move silently while running or charging.
    OPEN LOCK
    (DEX; TRAINED ONLY)
    Skill Group: Robbery
    Open Lock allows you to pick a lock or a similar mechanism used to hold a door, chest, or gate shut. Attempting an Open Lock check without a set of thieves’ tools imposes a –2 circumstance penalty on the check, even if you use a simple tool as a substitute. If you use masterwork thieves’ tools, you gain a +2 circumstance bonus on the check.
    Check: Depending on the quality of the lock, the Difficulty Class for opening a lock varies from 20 to 40, as given on the table below:
    Lock DC
    VERY SIMPLE LOCK 20
    AVERAGE LOCK 25
    GOOD LOCK 30
    AMAZING LOCK 40
    Action: Opening a lock is a full-round action.
    Untrained: You cannot pick a lock untrained, but you might successfully force it open with a Strength check to break it.
    Take 10/20: In a calm situation where you have enough time, you can take 10 or 20 on an Open Lock check.
    Extended Skill Check: A particularly complex or strange lock may require an extended skill check to open. Your DM keeps track of the successes you have accumulated, but if you make too many failures before opening the lock, your extended check fails. Usually, if your failures equal the number of successes needed to open the lock, you fail the extended check.
    PERFORM
    (CHARISMA)
    Skill Group: Theatrics
    Like Knowledge, Perform actually covers a number of separate areas. You can invest skill points into expanding this skill to cover as many of them as you like.
    Eachof the nine areas of the Perform skill includes a variety of methods, instruments, ortechniques, a small list of which is provided for each category below.
     Acting (comedy, drama, mime)
     Comedy (buffoonery, limericks, joketelling)
     Dance (ballet, waltz,jig)
     Keyboard instruments (harpsichord, piano, pipe organ)
     Oratory (epic, ode, storytelling)
     Percussion instruments (bells, chimes, drums, gong)
     String instruments (fiddle, harp, lute, mandolin)
     Wind instruments (flute, pan pipes, recorder, trumpet)
     Singing (ballad, chant, melody)
    When you purchase ranks in Perform, you gain one of the above areas. You can purchase additional ones at the rate of one area per skill point spent. These skill points do not improve your Perform ability; they simply grant you additional areas of Perform. Use your Perform skill for all the areas that you have purchased. You do not keep track of separate ranks for each.
    Purchasing a Perform area allows you to play or perform all the methods and instruments listed under it, along with any other instruments that the DM feels would logically fit into a category.
    Check: You can impress audiences with your talent and skill as follows.
    DC Performance Result
    10 ROUTINE PERFORMANCE. TRYING TO EARN MONEY BY PLAYING IN PUBLIC IS ESSENTIALLY BEGGING. YOU CAN EARN 1D10 CP/DAY.
    15 ENJOYABLE PERFORMANCE. IN A PROSPEROUS CITY, YOU CAN EARN 1D10 SP/DAY.
    20 GREAT PERFORMANCE. IN A PROSPEROUS CITY, YOU CAN EARN 3D10 SP/DAY. IN TIME, YOU MAY BE INVITED TO JOIN A PROFESSIONAL TROUPE ANDMAY DEVELOP A REGIONAL REPUTATION.
    25 MEMORABLE PERFORMANCE. IN A PROSPEROUS CITY, YOU CAN EARN 1D6 GP/DAY. IN TIME, YOU MAY COME TO THE ATTENTION OF NOBLE PATRONS AND DEVELOP A NATIONAL REPUTATION.
    30 EXTRAORDINARY PERFORMANCE. IN A PROSPEROUS CITY, YOU CAN EARN 3D6 GP/DAY.
    IN TIME, YOU MAY DRAW ATTENTION FROM DISTANT POTENTIAL PATRONS, OR EVEN FROM EXTRA PLANAR BEINGS. WHETHER THIS IS A GOOD OR BAD THING IS UP TO YOUR DM TO DECIDE.
    A masterwork musical instrument gives you a +2 circumstance bonus on Perform checks that involve its use.
    Note that the following additional uses of Perform are available only to characters who are trained in this skill. They demand focus and ability that can come only with the formal training or extensive practice reflected by having ranks in this skill.
    Counter Song: You can use your musical abilities to disrupt magical attacks or abilities that rely on song. You must have a Perform area that involves music and, if necessary, an instrument.
    Any creature within 60 feet of you (including yourself) that is affected by a sonic or language-dependent magical attack may use your Perform check result in place of a saving throw if, after the saving throw is rolled, the Perform check result proves to be higher. Creatures within range of the counter song who are already under the effect of a non-instantaneous sonic or language dependent magical attack gain another saving throw against the effect each round they hear the counter song, but they must use your Perform check result for the save. Counter song offers no benefit against effects that don’t allow saves. You may start a counter song as a standard action and keep it up for a number of rounds equal to your ranks in Perform.
    Distract: Your performance can distract creatures, drawing their attention away from your allies as they sneak past, ready weapons for an ambush, or take other actions. In a noncombat situation, you may make a Perform check opposed by your target’s Will save. If any of the creatures you target succeed in this save, they all do. If the audience fails its save, its members suffer –5 penalties to all Listen and Spot checks while you continue to entertain them.
    Inspire Courage: You can play a song or conduct a performance that inspires you and your allies to fight with greater determination and focus. To be affected, an ally must be able to hear your performance. The effect lasts for as long as your allies hear you and for 5 rounds thereafter.
    An affected ally receives a morale bonus to attacks, Will saves, and damage based on your Perform check result.
    Perform Result Bonus to Attacks, Will Saves, and Damage
    20 +1
    30 +2
    40 +3
    You can attempt to use Perform in this manner once per encounter.
    Inspire Doom: Just as you can use your performance to inspire courage, so too can you use it to cast a shadow across your foe’s heart.
    Once per encounter, you may make aPerform check as a standard action to begin singing a song of doom. All enemies within 30 feet of your must make Will saves with a Difficulty Class equal to the result of your Perform check. Those who fail suffer a penalty to attacks and Will saves based on your check result. Your result must be at least 20 for your performance to have an effect. This penalty lasts for 10 rounds.
    Perform Result Penalty to Attacks and Will Saves
    20 -1
    30 -2
    40 -3
    Taunt: If you select the area of comedy performance, you may use Perform to disrupt an opponent’s focus and concentration. As a fullround action, pick a single foe who can see and hear you and who shares a language with you.
    Then make a Perform check opposed by your target’s Will save. If your check succeeds, your enemy suffers a –2 penalty to all attacks but gains a +1 bonus to melee damage. Your opponent moves to attack you if he can do so without provoking attacks of opportunity. Your allies can forgo these attacks in such a manner as to signal the target that they will let him pass. This effect lasts for a number of rounds equal to 1 + your Charisma bonus.
    Action: Varies. Trying to earn money by playing in public requires anywhere from an evening’s work to a full day’s performance.
    Try Again: Retries are allowed, but they don’t negate previous failures. An audience that has been unimpressed in the past is likely to be prejudiced against future performances. (Increase the check’s Difficulty Class by 2 points for each previous failure.)
    Special: In addition to using the Perform skill, you can entertain people with Sleight of Hand, Tumble, Balance (tightrope walking), and similar skills. You can use these skills to earn money as a performer, but you do not gain access to the other uses for Perform.
    Untrained: You can attempt an untrained Perform check to earn money, but you cannot attempt the other actions described under this skill.
    Take 10/20: You can take 10 on a Perform check, but you cannot normally take 20 unless your audience is willing to sit through some awful performances as you warm up.
    Challenges: You can attempt to improve the result of your inspire courage or inspire doom performances with skill-specific challenges.
    Risky Performance: In return for a –5 penalty on your check, you increase by 1 the bonus or penalty provided by the inspire courage and inspire doom uses of Perform. You try a risky or subtle piece that may fire your allies’ hearts or cloud your foes’ hopes—but there is a chance that you may miss the mark. Your total result must still be at least 20 after accounting for the penalty. You can accept this challenge up to twice on a single check.
    PROFESSION
    (WISDOM; TRAINED ONLY)
    Skill Group: None
    Profession is a number of separate skills covered by this one ability. Like Craft, you could have several Profession skills, each with its own ranks, each purchased as a separate skill. There is too great a disparity between different professions for ranks in one area to transfer over to another. While a Craft skill represents ability in making items, a Profession skill represents aptitude in a vocation requiring a broader range of less specific knowledge.
    Check: You can practice your trade and make a decent living, earning about half your Profession check result in gold pieces per week of dedicated work. You know how to use the tools of your trade, how to perform the profession’s daily tasks, how to supervise helpers, and how to handle common problems.
    Profession checks also determine how well you complete tasks relating to your profession. For example, you would use Profession (sailor) to steer a ship through a patch of icebergs without mishap.
    The following professions represent the standard Etz Chaim canonical list. DMs may add new ones to account for professions in their own campaign worlds.
    Note that, by definition, a Profession skill does not produce or make goods. Such activities are covered by the Craft skill.
    Carter: Used to control a wagon or similar vehicle, often in conjunction with Handle Animal.
    Gambler: Used to play games of chance.
    Lawyer: Used to argue legal cases.
    Merchant: Used to buy and sell goods; can substitute for Diplomacy when haggling.
    Sailor: Used to command, navigate, or pilot a ship.
    Scribe: Used to search libraries for specific tomes and maintain records.
    As you can see, most jobs are covered by other skills. For example, a hunter or fisherman would use Survival to gather food in the wilderness.
    Blacksmiths use the Craft skill to create their goods, while an ambassador relies on Diplomacy.
    Your DM may, at his discretion, allow you to earn a weekly income from a different skill using the rules described here for Profession.
    Action: A single check generally represents a week of work.
    Try Again: An attempt to use Profession to earn an income cannot be retried—you are stuck with whatever weekly wage your check result brought you. Another check may be made after a week to determine a new income for the next period of time. An attempt to accomplish some specific task can usually be retried.
    Untrained: Untrained laborers and assistants (that is, characters with no ranks in Profession) earn an average of 1 silver piece per day.
    Take 10/20: You cannot take 10 or 20 on Profession checks to earn money, but you can take 10 on checks to complete a specific action or recall a fact related to your profession.
    RIDE
    (DEXTERITY)
    Skill Group: Wilderness
    Lore The Ride skill allows you to control a creature that serves as a mount, such as a horse, griffon, or similar creature.
    Check: Typical riding actions don’t require checks. You can saddle a creature, mount, ride, and dismount without a problem. If you attempt to ride a creature that is ill suited as a mount, you suffer a –5 penalty to Ride checks. Otherwise, your Ride skill applies to all animals that you could possibly ride; you do not need separate skills for each creature type.
    The Ride skill is a key component to mounted combat. See “Mounted Combat” in Chapter Eight: Combat for more information.
    Completing the following tasks requires Ride checks, as they are more demanding than the typical actions that a rider undertakes.
    Ride Task DC
    GUIDE WITH KNEES 5
    STAY IN SADDLE 5
    FIGHT WITH WARHORSE 10
    COVER 15
    LEAP 15
    SOFT FALL 15
    SPUR MOUNT 15
    CONTROL MOUNT IN BATTLE 20
    FAST MOUNT OR DISMOUNT 20
    Guide With Knees: You can guide your mount with your knees so as to use both hands in combat. Make your Ride check at the start of your turn. If you fail, you can use only one hand to fight this round, because you need the other to control your mount.
    Stay in Saddle: You can react instantly to try to avoid falling when you take damage or when your mount rears or bolts unexpectedly. This usage does not require an action. Fight With
    Warhorse: If you direct your war trained mount to attack in battle, you can still make your own attack(s) normally. This usage is a free action.
    Cover: You can react instantly to drop down and hang alongside your mount, using it as cover. You can’t attack or cast spells while using your mount as cover. If you fail your Ride check, you don’t get the cover benefit. This usage does not require an action. Normally, you gain a +4 cover bonus to defense from this usage of the skill.
    Soft Fall: You can react instantly to try to take no damage when you fall off a mount, such as when it dies or falls prone. If you fail your Ride check, you suffer 1d6 points of falling damage. This usage does not require an action.
    Leap: You can get your mount to leap obstacles as part of its movement. Use your Ride modifier or the mount’s Jump modifier, whichever is lower, to see how far the creature can jump. If you fail your Ride check, you fall off the mount when it leaps and suffer the appropriate falling damage (at least 1d6 points). This usage does not take an action but is part of the mount’s movement.
    Spur Mount: You can spur your mount to greater speed with a move action. A successful
    Ride check increases the mount’s speed by 10 feet for 1 round but deals the creature 1 point of damage. You can use this ability every round, but each consecutive round of additional speed deals twice as much damage to the mount as the previous round (2 points, 4 points, 8 points, and so on).
    Control Mount in Battle: As a move action, you can attempt to control a light horse, pony, heavy horse, or other mount not trained for combat riding while in battle. If you fail the Ride check, you can do nothing else in that round but control the animal. You do not need to roll for warhorses, warponies, or other creatures trained in combat, but you still must use a move action to guide them in battle.
    Fast Mount or Dismount: You can attempt to mount or dismount from a creature of up to one size category larger than yourself as afree action, provided you still have a move action available that round.
    If you fail the Ride check, mounting or dismounting becomes a move action. You can’t use fast mount or dismount on a creature more than one size category larger than yourself.
    Assist Skill Check: If your mount must make a Strength
    , Dexterity-, or Constitution-based skill check, you can use your Ride skill to aid it. This applies only to skill checks in which a rider could logically aid his mount. If for some reason you ride a creature that has a skill such as Open Lock, your Ride check could not help it: This ability does not normally apply to Open Lock, Sleight of Hand, and Use Rope.
    Action: Mounting or dismounting normally requires a move action. Other checks are a move action, a free action, or no action at all, as noted above.
    Special: If you are riding bareback, you take a –5 penalty on Ride checks.
    If your mount has a military saddle you get a 2 circumstance bonus on Ride checks related tostaying in the saddle (see ChapterSeven: Equipment).
    Synergy: Those with 5 or more ranks in Handle Animal enjoy a +2 bonus on Ride checks.
    Take 10/20: You can take 10 on a Ride check in a calm situation, but you cannot take 20 unless you are willing to make 20 total attempts at the skill check.
    Challenges: Only the standard challenges presented earlier in this chapter apply to the Ride skill (see page 7).
    SEARCH
    (INTELLIGENCE)
    Skill Group: Perception
    Check: Use the Search skill to find hidden objects and other items that remain outof view. (In contrast, Spot allows you to pick out details that are in plain view but difficult to notice.)
    Search functions against anything that requires an active effort to uncover. You generally must be within 10 feet of the object or surface to be searched. The table below gives Difficulty Classes for typical tasks involving the Search skill.
    Search Task DC
    RANSACK A CHEST FULL OF JUNK TOFIND A CERTAIN ITEM
    10
    NOTICE A TYPICAL SECRET DOOR OR ASIMPLE TRAP
    20
    FIND A DIFFICULT NON-MAGICAL TRAP 21

    NOTICE A WELL-HIDDEN SECRET DOOR 30
    FIND A FOOTPRINT VARIES*
    A SUCCESSFUL SEARCH CHECK CAN LOCATE A FOOTPRINT OR SIMILAR SIGN
    of a creature’s passage, but it won’t let you find or follow a trail. See the Survival skill’s “track” usage for more information.
    Action: It takes a full-round action to search a 5-footsquare area or a volume of goods that measures 5 feet on a side.
    Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Search, you get a 2 bonus on Survival checks to find or follow tracks.
    Those with 5 or more ranks of Knowledge in the architecture and engineering field of study geta +2 bonus on Search checks to find secret doors or hidden compartments.
    Special: In Etz Chaim , any character can attempt to find a trap with a Search Difficulty Class of 20 or higher. No special class abilities are required to find traps with the Search skill.
    Take 10/20: You can use both of these options with the Search skill.
    Extended Skill Checks: Search does not normally use extended skill checks, but each check covers only a 5-footsquare area or a volume of goods 5 feet on a side as a full-round action. Thus, scouring an entire building or a large area may take quite a long time.
    Challenges: There are no challenges specific to the Search skill beyond the standard ones given earlier in the chapter (see page 7).
    SENSE MOTIVE
    (WISDOM)
    Skill Group: Perception
    Check: The Sense Motive skill allows you to discern a target’s emotional state. You ignore his words and actions to read the mood or mindset he betrays through unconscious signals. A successful check lets you avoid being bluffed (see the Bluff skill, page 12). You can also use this skill to determine when “something is up” (that is, something odd is going on) or to assess someone’s trustworthiness.
    Sense DC
    Combat sense Opposed Check
    HUNCH 20
    READ A PERSON 10 OR HIGHER
    SENSE ENCHANTMENT 25 OR 15
    DISCERN SECRET MESSAGE VARIES
    Combat Sense: As a full-round action, you study a single opponent to understand his fighting style, current disposition, and combat plans. This target must be within 30 feet of you. Make a Sense Motive check opposed by your target’s base attack check. If you succeed, you gain a +1 bonus to attacks and a +1 bonus to defense against that target.
    If you fail your check by 5 points or more, you read your foe incorrectly. For the rest of the encounter, you suffer a –1 penalty to attacks and defense against him.
    Hunch: This use of the skill involves making a gut assessment of a social situation. You can get the feeling from another’s behavior that something is wrong, such as when you’re talking to an impostor. You might get the feeling that someone is trustworthy.
    Read a Person: You can analyze a person’s demeanor, dress, and attitude to learn about his background in a manner similar to a skilled detective. The base Difficulty Class for this check is 10. A person in disguise uses the result of his Disguise check to oppose your attempt. If you beat DC 10 but do not win the opposed check, you draw information based on the target’s false identity. Otherwise, you see through the disguise and learn about his true nature, as described below.
    Anyone not actually in disguise who attempts to mask his true nature replaces the base DC 10 with a Bluff check that opposes your Sense Motive attempt.
    If your Sense Motive check succeeds, you learn a single fact about the target’s background, history, or personality. Your DM judges what you could learn based on the situation and the NPC in question. You might learn that the duke was once a gladiator because of the scars on his cheek, but you might never realize that he consorts with demons. Such a deep secret would rarely, if ever, be immediately obvious unless the duke had made some gaffe in covering his tracks. In general, Sense Motive shows you information that is open rather than secret.
    Sense Enchantment: You can tell that someone’s behavior is being influenced by an enchantment (by definition, a mind-affecting effect), even if that person doesn’t know it. The usual Difficulty Class is 25; if the target is dominated, the DC becomes only 15, because of the limited range of the target’s activities.
    Discern Secret Message: You may use Sense Motive to detect that a hidden message is being transmitted via the Bluff skill (see page 12). Inthis case, make a Sense Motive check opposed by the Bluff check of the character transmitting the message. For each piece of information relating to the message that you are missing, you take a –2 penalty on your Sense Motive check. (For example, if the secret message is “grab the pouch,” but you don’t know which pouch is meant, you suffer the penalty.) If you succeed by 4 points or less, you know that something hidden is being communicated, but you can’t learn anything specific about its content. If you beat the DC by 5 points or more, you intercept and understand the message. If you fail by 4 points or less, you don’t detect any hidden communication. If you fail by 5 points or more, you infer some false information.
    Action: Trying to gain information with Sense Motive generally takes at least one minute. You could spend a whole evening trying to get a sense of the people around you.
    Try Again: Not usually, though you may make a Sense Motive check to oppose each Bluff check made against you. If you attempt to gain a hunch about a situation, you can use the read situation challenge below to learn more as long as you increase the check DC each time.
    Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Sense Motive, you enjoy a +2 bonus on Diplomacy checks.
    Challenges: The combat sense, hunch, and read a person uses of Sense Motive each have challenges that apply specifically to them.
    Combat Clarity: In return for a –5 penalty to your skill check, you increase the bonuses provided by the combat sense use of Sense Motive by
    1. You can take this challenge up to twice on a single check. The penalties you suffer for a check that fails by 5 points or more do not increase.
    Read Situation: While a simple hunch gives you the basic gist of a social interaction, you can attempt to read deeper into the situation. For every 5 points by which you increase the Difficulty Class, you learn one fact germane to the situation at hand. Your DM may tell you things such as a person’s basic goal in an interaction, the nature of the relationship between those involved, and so forth.
    For the read person use of Sense Motive, you uncover an additional fact about the person. If your initial skill check succeeds, you can attempt another one to learn more information. In this case, you draw on your hunches to make further conclusions. You must increase the Difficulty Class for using this challenge with each subsequent check. While you learn more information, there is a greater chance that you make an incorrect assumption or simply exhaust what you can potentially learn.
    Regardless of the challenge’s Difficulty Class, you cannot learn information not normally available through the hunch or read person uses of Sense Motive. For instance, you cannot use a challenge to read minds or uncover secrets.
    SLEIGHT OF HAND
    (DEXTERITY; TRAINED ONLY; ARMOR CHECK PENALTY)
    Skill Groups: Robbery, Theatrics
    Check: Sleight of Hand allows you to manipulate small objects with superior dexterity and speed. You can use it to pick pockets, discreetly grab a small object, and complete similar actions. A Sleight of Hand check (DC 10) lets you palm a coin-sized unattended object.
    Performing a minor feat of legerdemain, such as making a coin disappear, also has a DC of 10 unless an observer is determined to note where the item went.
    When you use this skill under close observation, the observer’s Spot check opposes your skill check. The observer’s success doesn’t prevent you from performing the action, just from doing so unnoticed.
    You can hide a small object (including a lightweapon or an easily concealed ranged weapon, such as a dart, sling, or hand crossbow) on your body. Your Sleight of Hand check is opposed by the Spot check of anyone observing you or the Search check of anyone frisking you. In the latter case, the searcher gains a +4 bonus on his check, since it’s generally easier to find such an object than to hide it. Because a dagger is easier to hide than most light weapons, you enjoy a +2 bonuson your Sleight of Hand check to conceal one.
    Concealing a very small object, such as a coin or ring, grants a +4 bonus on Sleight of Hand checks, and heavy or baggy clothing (such as a cloak) grants a +2 bonus on the check.
    Drawing a hidden weapon is a standard action and doesn’t provoke an attack of opportunity.
    If you try to take something from another creature, you must succeed at a Sleight of Hand check (DC 20) to obtain it. The foe makes a Spot check to detect the attempt, opposed by the same Sleight of Hand check result you achieved when you tried to grab the item. An opponent who succeeds at this check notices the attempt, regardless of whether you got the item.
    You can also use Sleight of Hand to entertain an audience as though you were using the Perform skill. In such a case, your “act” encompasses elements of legerdemain, juggling, and the like. You can use Sleight of Hand in this manner to earn money, but you cannot gain the benefits of the other uses of Perform.
    Faster Than the Eye: You can use Sleight of Hand when fighting to weave a blurred, confusing pattern of slashes, cuts, and elaborate motions. Use the standard Negate Defense Skill challenge, outlined on page [PAGE_REF]. Action: Sleight of Hand checks are normally standard actions.
    Try Again: Yes, but after an initial failure, a second Sleight of Hand attempt against the same target (or while under scrutiny from the same observer who noticed your previous attempt) increases the task’s Difficulty Class by 10.
    Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Bluff, you get a +2 bonus on Sleight of Hand checks.
    Untrained: An untrained Sleight of Hand check is simply a Dexterity check. Without actual training, you can’t succeed at any Sleight of Hand check with a Difficulty Class higher than 10, except for hiding an object on your body.
    Take 10/20: You may take 10 in quiet, peaceful situations. You cannot take 20 on Sleight of Hand checks.
    Challenges: Sleight of Hand uses only the standard challenges given earlier in this chapter (see page 7).
    SPEAK LANGUAGE
    (NONE; TRAINED ONLY)
    Skill Group: Academia
    Speak Language functions in a manner unlike that of other skills. For each rank you purchase in it, you gain the ability to read and write a new language. Your DM may have a list of languages that apply to his campaign world. Listed below are many common languages for a default setting.
    Check: One doesn’t make Speak Language checks -you either know a language or you don’t, though your level of proficiency in different languages can vary.
    There are four different levels of language proficiency
    Pidgin: One rank in a language represents minor knowledge of a foreign language. It gives the character the ability to get simple points across, most of the time. In game terms, the player is limited to using three word sentences to try to get his point across as regards every day, mundane concepts. Difficult concepts can not be communicated. Players should be encouraged to play up misunderstandings and misconceptions which occur as a result of the character not being able to fully understand things said to them in languages in which they have only one rank. Characters suffer a -8 penalty to Bluff, Diplomacy, and Gather information checks when speaking a language in which they have only one rank.
    Basic: Two ranks in a language represent everyday knowledge of a foreign language.
    Everyday concepts can be communicated normally by the player; while communication of complex or subtle concepts is limited to three word sentences (see the description of Pidgin above). Characters suffer a -4 penalty to Bluff, Diplomacy, and Gather information checks when speaking a language in which they have only two ranks.
    Fluent: Three ranks in a language represent fluency. Any concept (whether everyday or difficult) can be communicated as normal by the player.
    Scholar: Four ranks in a language represent notonly fluency, but a scholarly knowledge of varying dialects and knowledge of ancient forms of the language. Characters with 4 ranks in a language receive a +2 bonus to Decipher Script checks related to ancient or obscure dialects of that language. Characters with 4 ranks in 2 different languages receive a +2 bonus to all Decipher Script checks, and receive a +2 bonus to Bluff, Diplomacy, and Gather information checks versus scholars and sages who speak the language (they can use big words to good effect).
    Every rank you place in Speak Language can be used to gain a new language at 1 or increase your proficiency in a language you already speak by 1.
    Characters begin the game fluent in their native language and with basic proficiency in any bonus languages they may know. Beyond that, each increase in fluency costs 1 skill point. If the DM wishes, an appropriate mentor, significant study time, and/or access to an appropriate library may be required if a character wishes to become a scholar in a language.
    A literate character can read and write any language he speaks to the limits of his proficiency. Each language has an alphabet, though sometimes several spoken languages share a single alphabet.
    SPOT
    (WISDOM)
    Skill Group: Perception
    Check: The Spot skill isused primarily to detect characters or creatures who are hiding.
    Typically, your Spot check is opposed by the Hide check of the creature trying not to be seen.
    Sometimes a creature isn’t hiding intentionally but is still difficult to see, so you need to make a successful Spot check to notice it. You also use Spot to notice details that are difficult to note though in plain sight.
    Spot is also used to detect someone in disguise (see the Disguise skill, page 26) andto read lips when you can’t hear or understand what someone is saying.
    Condition: Spot Check Penalty Per 10 feet of distance –1Spotter distracted –5
    Read Lips: To understand what someone is saying by reading lips, you must be within 30 feet of the speaker, be able to see him speak, and understand the speaker’s language. (This use of the skill is language-dependent.) The base Difficulty Class is 15, but it increases for complex speech or an inarticulate speaker. You must maintain a line of sight to the lips being read.
    If your Spot check succeeds, you can understand the general content of a minute’s worth of speech, but you usually still miss certain details. If the check fails by 4 points or less, you can’t read the speaker’s lips. If the check fails by 5 points or more, you draw some incorrect conclusion about the speech. The DM rolls the check to read lips secretly, so that you don’t know whether your character succeeded or missed by 5.
    Action: Varies. Every time you have a chance to spot something in a reactive manner, you can make a Spot check without using an action.
    Trying to spot something you failed to see previously is a move action. To read lips, you must concentrate for a full minute before making a Spot check, and you can’t perform any other action (other than moving at up to half speed) during this minute.
    Try Again: You can try to spot something that you failed to see previously at no penalty. You can attempt to read lips once per minute.
    Take 10/20: You can take 10 or 20 on a Spot check, provided that you are in a quiet situation and have the time to thoroughly inspect an area.
    Challenges: The Spot check uses only the standard challenges given earlier in this chapter (see page 7).
    SURVIVAL
    (WISDOM)
    Skill Group: Wilderness Lore
    Check: You can keep yourself and others safe and fed in the wild. The table below gives the Difficulty Classes for various tasks that require Survival checks. You can also use this skill in a variety of situations relating to the natural world.
    For instance, you can use it to determine which direction is north or to follow a creature’s tracks.
    DC Survival Task
    10 Get along in the wild. Move up to half your overland speed while hunting and foraging (no food or water supplies needed). You can provide food and water for check result exceeds 10.
    15 Gain a +2 bonus on all Fortitude saves against severe weather while moving up to half your overland speed, or gain a +4 bonus if you remain stationary. You may grant the same bonus to one other character for every 1 point by which your Survival check result exceeds 15.
    15 Keep from getting lost or avoid natural hazards such as quicksand.
    15 Predict the weather up to 24 hours in advance.
    For every 5 points by which your Survival check result exceeds 15, you can predict the weather for one additional day in advance. Varies Follow tracks.
    Track: You can use the Survival skill to follow a creature’s tracks. To find tracks or to follow them for 1 mile requires a successful Survival check. You must attempt another one every time the tracks become difficult to follow.
    While tracking, you move at half your normal speed (or at your normal speed with a –5 penalty on the check, or at up to twice your normal speed with a –20 penalty on the check). The Difficulty Class of the check depends on the surface and the prevailing conditions, as given on the table that follows:
    Surface
    Survival DC
    VERY SOFT GROUND 5
    SOFT GROUND 10
    FIRM GROUND 15
    HARD GROUND 20
  • Types of surface defined below. Various modifiers may apply to a Survival check used for tracking, as given on the table below.
    Survival Condition Modifier Every three creatures in the group tracked –1
    Size of creature(s) being tracked*
    Fine +8
    DIMINUTIVE +4
    TINY +2
    SMALL +1
    MEDIUM +0
    LARGE –1
    HUGE –2
    GARGANTUAN –4
    COLOSSAL –8
    EVERY 24 HOURS SINCE THE TRAIL WAS MADE +1
    EVERY HOUR OF RAIN SINCE THE TRAIL WAS MADE +1
    FRESH SNOW COVER SINCE THE TRAIL WAS MADE +10
    POOR VISIBILITY**
    OVERCAST OR MOONLESS NIGHT +6
    MOONLIGHT +3
    FOG OR PRECIPITATION +3
    TRACKED PARTY HIDES TRAIL +5
  • FOR A GROUP OF MIXED SIZES, APPLY ONLY THE MODIFIER FOR THE LARGEST SIZE CATEGORY.
    • APPLY ONLY THE LARGEST MODIFIER FROM THIS CATEGORY. IF YOU FAIL A SURVIVAL CHECK TO TRACK A CREATURE, YOU CAN RETRY AFTER ONE HOUR (OUTDOORS) OR 10 MINUTES (INDOORS) OF SEARCHING.
      Very Soft Ground: Any surface (fresh snow, thick dust, wet mud) that holds deep, clear impressions of footprints.
      Soft Ground: Any surface soft enough to yield to pressure—but firmer than wet mud or fresh snow—in which a creature leaves frequent but shallow footprints.
      Firm Ground: Most normal outdoor surfaces (such as lawns, fields, woods, and the like) or exceptionally soft or dirty indoor surfaces (thick rugs and very dirty or dusty floors). A creature might leave some traces (broken branches or tufts of hair), but only occasional or partial footprints.
      Hard Ground: Any surface that doesn’t hold footprints at all, such as bare rock or an indoor floor. Most streambeds fall into this category, since any footprints leftbehind are obscured or washed away. A creature leaves only traces (scuff marks or displaced pebbles).
      Action: Varies. A single Survival check may represent activity over the course of hours or a full day. A Survival check made to find tracks is at least a full-round action, and it may take even longer.
      Try Again: Varies. For getting along in the wild or for gaining a Fortitude save bonus as noted in the tasks table above, you make a Survival check once every 24 hours. The result of that check applies until the next check is due. To avoid getting lost or to steer clear of natural hazards, make a Survival check whenever the situation calls for one. Retries to avoid getting lost in a specific situation or to avoid a specific natural hazard are not allowed. For finding tracks, you can retry a failed check after one hour (outdoors) or 10 minutes (indoors) of searching.
      Special: If you have 5 or more ranks in Survival, you can automatically determine where true north lies in relation to yourself.
      Synergy: Those with 5 or more ranks in Survival get a +2 bonus on Knowledge checks dealing with the nature field of study.
      If you have 5 or more ranks in Knowledge and access to the dungeoneering area of study, you gain a +2 bonus to Survival checks made while underground.
      Having 5 or more ranks in Knowledge and access to the nature area of study grants you a +2 bonus on Survival checks in aboveground natural environments (aquatic, desert, forest, hill, marsh, mountains, and plains).
      If you have 5 or more ranks in Knowledge and access to the geography area of study, you get a +2 bonus on Survival checks made to keep from getting lost or to avoid natural hazards.
      Those with 5 or more ranks in Knowledge and access to the planes area of study enjoy a +2bonus on Survival checks made while on other planes.
      If you have 5 or more ranks in Search, you gain a +2 bonus on Survival checks to find or follow tracks.
      Take 10/20: You can either take 10 or take 20 with Survival checks as long as the situation is calm and there is no penalty associated with failure.
      Challenges: Survival uses only the standard challenges given earlier in this chapter (see page 7).
      SWIM
      (STRENGTH; ARMOR CHECK PENALTY)
      Skill Group: Athletics
      Check: The Swim skill allows you to paddle through water with grace and speed. Make a Swim check once per round while in the water. Success means you may swim at up to half your speed (as a full-round action) or at one-quarter your speed (as a move action). If you fail by 4 points or less, you make no progress through the water. If you fail by 5 points or more, you go underwater.
      If you are underwater, either due to a failed a Swim check or because you are swimming underwater intentionally, you must hold your breath. You can hold your breath for a number of rounds equal to your Constitution score, but only while you do nothing other than take move or free actions. If you take a standard or full-round action (such as making an attack), the remainder of the duration for which you can hold your breath is reduced by 1 round. (Effectively, a character in combat can hold his breath only half as long as normal.) After that period of time, you must make a Constitution check (DC 10) every round to continue holding your breath. Each round, the Difficulty Class for that check increases by 1. If you fail the Constitution check, you begin to drown.
      The Difficulty Class for the Swim check depends on the water’s condition, as given on the table below.
      Condition Swim DC
      CALM WATER 10
      ROUGH WATER 15
      STORMY WATER 20*
  • You can’t take 10 on a Swim check in stormy water, even if nothing is threatening or distracting you. Each hour you swim, you must succeed at a Swim check (DC 20) or suffer 1d6 points of nonlethal damage from fatigue.
    Action: A successful Swim check allows you to swim one-quarter of your speed as a move action or half your speed as a full-round action. Special: Swim checks are subject to double the normal armor check penalty and encumbrance penalty.
    A creature with a swim speed can move through waterat its indicated speed without making Swim checks. It gains a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform a special action or avoid a hazard. The creature always can choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered while swimming. Such a creature can use the run action while swimming, provided that it swims in a straight line.
    Take 10/20: You can take 10 on a Swim check in calm waters. You cannot take 20, since a failed Swim check carries a drawback.
    Extended Skill Checks: The Swim skill already includes the necessary rules for swimming long distances. This situation is the equivalent of a Swim extended skill check.
    Challenges: You can attempt to swim faster than normal, but you increase the risk that you may drown or fail to make progress.
    Speed Swim: In exchange for increasing the Swim check’s Difficulty Class by 5, you increase your swimming speed by one-quarter of your base speed. You can increase your Swim speed to up to your normal speed in this manner. You suffer the normal drawbacks for failure.
    TUMBLE
    (DEXTERITY; TRAINED ONLY ARMOR CHECK PENALTY)
    Skill Group: Agility
    Check: Tumble covers a variety of acrobatics and similar actions. You can land softly whenyou fall or tumble past opponents, allowing you to avoid attacks of opportunity, dodge past difficult terrain, or move by an opponent and strike in one fluid motion. You can also tumble to entertain an audience as though using the Perform skill to earn money, but you cannot use it to gain the other benefits offered by the Perform skill. You can’t use this skill if your speed has been reduced by armor, excess equipment, or loot. In that case, your check automatically fails.
    Break Fall: With a successful Tumble check (DC 15), treat a fall as if it were 10 feet shorter than it really is when determining damage. You curl your body to better absorb the impact or otherwise make a move to slow your fall.
    Dodge Foes: You can tumble at half speed as part of normal movement, provoking no attacks of opportunity while doing so. Failure means you provoke attacks of opportunity normally. Check separately for each opponent you move past in the order in which you pass them, with your choice of order in case of a tie. Your foes oppose your Tumble checks with their base attack checks. Each additional enemy after the first in a single round adds +2 to his base attack check.
    Tumbling Attack: You flip, twist, stand on your head or perform some other acrobatic feat that allows your attacks to slip past your opponents defenses. You may use the Negate Defense skill challenge listed on page 7.
    Tumbling Mobility: You can make a Tumble check to move through difficult terrain without penalty. The Difficulty Class for this check is 15, ut each square of difficult terrain beyond the first increases the DC by 5. You make one Tumble check and compare the result to each square’s Difficulty Class separately. If your result meets or beats the DC, you move through the square as if it were normal terrain. Your DM makes this check in secret, so that you cannotsimply judge the results and move through squares that you know you can navigate with ease.
    For example, the Difficulty Class for the first square of difficult terrain is 15, the second 20, the third 25, and so forth. If your total Tumble result was 22, you would move through the first andsecond squares at full speed. When you tried to enter the third square, you would find that your total check was lower than its Difficulty Class. Thus, you would have to pay two squares of movement to enter it, rather than one. If you lack the movement to enter a square, your move action immediately ends. You must either use a standard action to continue moving or stop moving for this action.
    Tumbling Move: You can tumble at half speed through an area occupied by an enemy (over, under, or around the opponent) as part of normal movement, provoking no attacks of opportunity while doing so. Failure means you stop before entering the enemy-occupied area and provoke an attack of opportunity from that enemy. Your foe(s) oppose your Tumble check with base attack checks; each gains a +5 bonus because of the difficulty of this maneuver. Check separately for each opponent. Each additional enemy after the first adds +2 to his base attack check in addition to the +5 bonus.
    Obstructed or otherwise treacherous surfaces, such as natural cavern floors or undergrowth, are tough to tumble through. The Difficulty Class for any Tumble check made to tumble into such a square carries modifiers as indicated below.
    SURFACE IS . . . MODIFIER
    LIGHTLY OBSTRUCTED (LIGHT RUBBLE, SHALLOW BOG, UNDERGROWTH) +2
    SEVERELY OBSTRUCTED (NATURAL CAVERN FLOOR, DENSE UNDERGROWTH) +5
    LIGHTLY SLIPPERY (WET FLOOR) +2
    SEVERELY SLIPPERY (ICE SHEET) +5
    SLOPED OR ANGLED +2
    Action: Tumbling is part of movement, so a Tumble check is part of a move action.
    Try Again: Usually no. An audience, once it has judged a tumbler as an uninteresting performer, is not receptive to repeat performances. You can try to reduce damage from a fall as an instant reaction only once per fall.
    Special: If you have 5 or more ranks in Tumble, you gain an additional +1 dodge bonus to defense when using the Fight Defensively or Improved Fight Defensively challenges.
    Those with 5 or more ranks in Tumble gain a +6 dodge bonus to defense when executing the full defense standard action, instead of the usual +4 dodge bonus to defense.
    Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Tumble, you enjoy a +2 bonus on Balance and Jump checks. If you have 5 or more ranks in jump, you get a +2 bonus on Tumble checks.
    Take 10/20: You cannot take 10 or 20 on most Tumble checks. You can take 10 in quiet, peaceful circumstances.
    Challenges: You may move faster than normal while tumbling if you accept a penalty to your skill check.
    Fast Tumble: You can move at your normal speed while tumbling if you accept a –10 penalty to your Tumble check. You can move at threequarters of your normal speed in return for a –5 penalty.
    Falling Tumble: If you increase by 5 the Difficulty Class needed to lessen the damage from a fall, you reduce your fall by 10 more feet when determining damage. For example, the base Difficulty Class to break a fall by 10 feet is DC 15. If you wanted to reduce the distance you fell by 20 feet, you would need to make a Tumble check (DC 20). You can use this challenge to eliminate the damage you suffer from a fall entirely. There is no cap on how many times you can use this challenge on a single check, but remember that a skill challenge is an all-ornothing proposition. If you fail your check, you take full damage for the fall, regardless of the total check result.
    USE MAGIC DEVICE
    (CHARISMA; TRAINED ONLY)
    Skill Group: Mysticism
    Check: You can use this skill to activate magic items. In Etz Chaim , magic items are complex, strange things custom built to meet a specific need or to contain rare, wondrous magical energy. Learning to use a new item is likemastering a completely new talent. The Use Magic Device skill measures your aptitude for puzzling out devices and unleashing their innerpotential. It relies on the force of your personality, as you must not only manipulate an item physically but you must also control and channel the power that lies within it.
    Make a Use Magic Device check each time you activate a device such as a wand. The check Difficulty Class needed to use the item depends on its characteristics, abilities, and complexity. You may attempt an extended Use Magic Device check to learn how to use an item. Once you complete the extended check, you can make a normal Use Magic Device check to activate the item. The time needed for this check and its Difficulty Class depends on the item.
    The minimum Use Magic Device DC is 20, while most range from 25 to 35. You do not need any spellcasting ability to utilize this skill.
    Action: The Use Magic Device check is made as part of the action (if any) required to activate the magic item.
    Try Again: Yes, but if you ever roll a natural 1 while attempting to activate an item and you fail, then you can’t try to activate it again for 24 hours. Some items carry other penalties for failures with this skill. For example, you might accidentally activate an item’s abilities when trying to determine how to use it, or you may target the wrong person when you activate it. Special: You can’t aid another on Use Magic Device checks. Only the user of the item may attempt such a skill check.
    Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Spellcraft, you get a +2 bonus on Use Magic Device checks.
    Take 10/20: You cannot take 10 or 20 with Use Magic Device.
    Extended Skill Checks: You must complete an extended Use Magic Device check to learn how to use an item. The number of successes you need and the maximum number of failures you can suffer depend on the item’s abilities and complexity.
    Challenges: You may use only the standard challenges from the beginning of this chapter with Use Magic Device (see page 7).
    USE ROPE
    (DEXTERITY)
    Skill Group: Wilderness Lore Check: The Use Rope skill allows you to tie knots, bind a captive, and otherwise manipulate a length of rope. Most tasks with a rope are relatively simple. The table below summarizes the Difficulty Classes for various tasks utilizing this skill.
    DC Use Rope Task
    10 Tie a firm knot
    10* Secure a grappling hook
    15 Tie a special knot, such as one that
    slips, slides slowly, or loosens with a tug
    15 Tie a rope around yourself one-handed
    15 Splice two ropes together Varies Bind a character
  • ADD 2 TO THE DC FOR EVERY 10 FEET THE HOOK IS THROWN; SEE BELOW.
    Secure a Grappling Hook: Securing a grappling hook requires a Use Rope check (DC 10 +2 for every 10 feet of distance the grappling hook is thrown, to a maximum of DC 20 at 50 feet). Failure by 4 points or less indicates that the hook fails to catch and falls, allowing you to try again. Failure by 5 points or more indicates that the grappling hook initially holds, but comes loose after 1d4 rounds of supporting weight. This check is made secretly, so that you don’t know for sure whether the rope will hold your weight.
    Bind a Character:When you bind another character with a rope, your Use Rope check opposes any Escape Artist check the bound character makes. You get a +10 bonus on this check, because it is easier to bind someone than to escape from bonds. You don’t even make your Use Rope check until someone tries to escape.
    Create a Lasso: You can fashion a lasso from a length of rope and use it to rope a creature or object. Make a Use Rope check (DC 20) and spend 10 minutes fashioning a 50foot or longer length of rope into a lasso. If this check succeeds, your lasso is ready to use.
    In combat, the lasso has a range of 25 feet, or half the rope’s length. It is a ranged weapon. If you hit, make a Use Rope check opposed by your foe’s Strength check or Escape Artist check (opponent’s choice). If you succeed, your foe suffers a –2 penalty on attacks, checks, and Reflex saves. He can escape by making a Strength check or Escape Artist check as a move action opposed by your Strength check. He can move only if he succeeds at an opposed Strength check against you; he drags you along unless youdrop the rope, at which point he springs free. Dropping the rope is a free action. While you have a foe lassoed, you must use a standard action each round to keep him tangled or he immediately breaks free.
    Action: Throwing a grappling hook is a standard action that provokes an attack of opportunity. Tying a knot, tying a special knot, or tying a rope around yourself one-handed is a fullround action that provokes an attack of opportunity. Splicing two ropes together takes five minutes. Binding a character takes one minute.
    Special: A silk rope gives you a +2 circumstance bonus on Use Rope checks.
    Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Use Rope, you get a +2 bonus on Climb checks made to climb a rope, a knotted rope, or a rope-andwall combination. Those with 5 or more ranks in Use Rope gain a +2 bonus on Escape Artist checks when escaping from rope bonds.
    If you have 5 or more ranks in Escape Artist, you enjoy a +2 bonus on checks made to bind someone.
    Take 10/20: You can use both of these options with this skill as normal.
    Challenges: You can use only the standard skill challenges with Use Rope, as described on page 7.
    ABILITY CHECKS
    Sometimes in the game you might want to attempt something to which no specific skill really applies. In these cases, you make an ability check. An ability check is a roll of 1d20 plus the appropriate ability modifier. Essentially, you’re making an untrained skill check.
    Of course, in some cases, an action is a straight test of one’s ability with no luck involved. Just as you wouldn’t make a height check to see who is taller, you don’t make a Strength check to see who is stronger.
    Ability checks work a lot like skill checks. You can take challenges to them to gain added benefits. This section treats each of a character’s six abilities like skills. It gives you some basic guidelines on how to use them, discusses challenges appropriate to each, and points out general areas where abilities come into play instead of skills.
    Ability checks usually have lower Difficulty Classes than skill checks. Most ability score check Difficulty Classes should be around DC 10, with daunting challenges set at DC 15. Reserve ability checks of DC 20 or higher for truly epic or mighty challenges. For example, pushing a 15-foot-tall boulder off a mountain path would be a Strength check (DC 20 or 25). Only a titan or giant could complete it with ease.
    Sample Ability Check DC
    Common, everyday task 0
    Minor challenge, something you may have to do once per day 5
    Difficult task, something the average person finds tough 10
    Daunting challenge, rare for the common man and hard for a hero 15
    Formidable challenge that even heroes find difficult 20
    Almost impossible; none but the mightiest have a chance of success 25
    STRAIN AND ABILITY CHECKS
    Since ability score bonuses remain relatively static, it is difficult for players to find ways to improve them. Even if you limit yourself to a narrow range of Difficulty Classes, the players may fail ability checks more often than they succeed at them without many options to better their chances.
    To solve this problem, each ability check type includes a new option called strain. In return for a persistent drawback of some sort, you can gain a bonus to an ability check. For example, you can push your body to the point of injury when attempting a Strength check. In this case, you gain a bonus to your check in return for suffering wound point damage. The ability score checks all have similar options that allow you to weigh drawbacks against the benefits of a bonus.
    STRENGTH CHECKS
    Check: Strength checks allow you to accomplish any physical feat that lies beyond the boundaries of the Strength-based skills. Most of them involve situations where you must use physical force to move an object, batter down a door, and so forth. To determine if a Strength check applies to a situation where none of the skills seem to fit, picture a character attempting the action. If you see him straining his muscles to complete it, then a Strength check probably applies.
    Muscle Strain: A warrior pushes against a boulder, desperate to move it into a corridor to prevent an undead horror from escaping into the world. He heaves against the rock, tearing muscles and straining ligaments to complete his task.
    When attempting a Strength check, you can accept wound point damage in return for a bonus to your roll. In this case, you push your body beyond its normal limits to achieve a heroic act. You may opt to make a straining effort on any Strength check. It does not apply to untrained or Strength-based skill checks. For every 2 points of wound damage you suffer, you gain a +2 bonus to your check. There is no theoretical upper limit to the Strength bonus you gain, but you must suffer the effects of the damage immediately after making your check.
    You cannot use this option again until you heal the damage suffered in the attempt.
    Action: Most Strength checks are standard actions. Difficult activities might require fullround actions.
    Try Again: Yes. You can continue to push an object or otherwise manipulate it.
    Take 10/20: These options are both available for Strength checks. They reflect the concept of digging in and slowly working to complete a task.
    Extended Ability Checks: An extended Strength check might represent a long, difficult task that requires multiple checks to complete fully. If you want to push a boulder up a hill and wedge it into a cave mouth, your DM may require you to make three or four successful Strength checks. Each check represents a different part of the process.
    Challenges: Strength checks use the standard challenges given for skills on page 7.
    DEXTERITY CHECKS
    Check: Most Dexterity-related checks fall under existing skills such as Balance, Sleight of Hand, and so forth. Any test that relies on agility to avoid an effect uses a Reflex save (see “Saving Throws” in Chapter Eight: Combat), while a situation that relies on accuracy should use a character’s base attack bonus. Most Dexterity checks cover situations that explicitly do not fall under these situations. For instance, if a valuable pearl rolled along a tabletop and off the edge, you would use Dexterity to snatch it from the air before it hit the floor.
    Reflex Strain: In exchange for a +2 bonus to a Dexterity check, you suffer a –2 penalty to Dexterity for one hour. You can accept a penalty equal to half your Dexterity score in this manner and cannot use this option again until the ability penalty passes. You have pushed your reflexes beyond their limits, causing a mild muscle strain or similar injury.
    Action: Most Dexterity checks are standard actions.
    Try Again: Usually not. If you fail a Dexterity check, you are unable to catch an object or move fast enough to complete an action.
    Take 10/20: You can use these options only in a calm situation. You may take 20 when there is no penalty associated with failure.
    Challenges: Dexterity checks use the standard challenges given for skills on page 7.
    CONSTITUTION CHECKS
    Check: Constitution checks are relatively rare. They cover your ability to engage in strenuous work for long periods of time. In most cases, a Fortitude save does a better job of reflecting a character’s ability to withstand an effect. A Constitution check applies when you face environmental factors that have no active internal effect on you. For example, extreme heat, starvation, and thirst require Constitution checks rather than Fortitude saves. In comparison, poisons and diseases attempt to break down or overcome your internal defenses.
    Endurance Strain: You can steel yourself against an effect and resist it for a short time through a combination of mental willpower and physical endurance. However, if the effect continues, you might succumb to it quickly after the initial rush. You can gain a +1 bonus to your Constitution check at the cost of a –1 penalty to all Constitution checks for the next six hours. You can gain a maximum of a +5 bonus (and a –5 penalty) from this option. You cannot use it again until the penalty’s duration expires.
    Action: Constitution checks usually do not require an action. They take place in response to environmental conditions without any active effort from you.
    Try Again: No. A Constitution check measures your durability; if you fail the check, the effect you tried to resist overcomes your defenses.
    Take 10/20: You cannot take 10 or 20 on Constitution checks.
    Challenges: Constitution checks do not use challenges.
    INTELLIGENCE CHECKS
    Check: An Intelligence check usually covers basic mental functions, such as memory, solving a math problem, and similar tasks. In general, Intelligence checks apply to situations that the Knowledge skill does not cover or address intellectual actions where training or learning play little role.
    Mental Strain: You focus your mind on a problem to the exclusion of all else. The strain leaves you mentally tired and unable to summon the energy needed to deal with other issues. You can gain a +1 bonus to an Intelligence check in return for a –1 penalty to all other Intelligence checks and Intelligence-based skill checks for four hours. You can take a bonus (and penalty) of up to +5 (or –5) in this manner.
    Action: Intelligence checks, such as those made to think about something, are usually free actions. Particularly complex or intricate questions or problems may take more time, at your DM’s option.
    Try Again: You either remember something or you fail to come up with the correct answer. You can try again after resting for eight hours, as you give your mind time to clear.
    Take 10/20: You cannot take 10 or 20 on Intelligence checks.
    Challenges: Intelligence checks do not use challenges.
    WISDOM CHECKS
    Check: Wisdom checks cover your sixth sense, your intuition, and your strength of mind. Will saves function against active effects that try to wear you down—for example, a Will save allows you to resist an Arcanist’s mind control spell. A Wisdom check allows you to avoid eating too much at a feast. In the former case, you resist an outside entity. In the latter, you resist your own poor judgment. In general, Wisdom allows you to see the best course of action when dealing with situations that have no clear-cut right or wrong answer based on facts.
    Keep in mind that any attempt to notice a detail or hear a noise is an untrained Listen or Spot check, not a Wisdom check.
    Willpower Strain: You can dig down and exhaust your emotional reserves on a Wisdom check, leaving yourself vulnerable to future temptation at the cost of short-term success. You might avoid a rich meal, but your growling stomach pushes you to indulge later on.
    You can choose to gain a +1 bonus to a Wisdom check in return for a –1 penalty to Wisdom and Wisdom-based skill checks for the next four hours. You cannot use this option again until this penalty disappears. You can gain a maximum bonus of +5 (and a –5 penalty) with this dogged determination.
    Action: Wisdom checks are free actions.
    Try Again: Once you have failed a Wisdom check, you either suffer the consequences, make afoolish action, or miss an important detail. You may not try again.
    Take 10/20: You cannot take 10 or 20 on Wisdom checks.
    Challenges: Wisdom checks do not use challenges.
    CHARISMA CHECKS
    Check: In most cases, a Charisma check is more appropriately an untrained Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate check. A Charisma check might apply when you must deal with an utterly alien creature that only the raw power of your personality can influence. It also would apply in situations where you could not use your communication skills.
    Personality Strain: You can attempt to present yourself in a specific manner, trading long-term relations for a short-term single impression. You might pander to someone’s beliefs or prejudices or take a pratfall to win sympathy. In other cases, you simply burn your reservoir of social grace to exert your personality for a short time. You can gain a +1 bonus to a Charisma check in return for a –1 penalty to Charisma and Charisma-based skill checks for four hours. You can take a maximum bonus of +5 (and a –5 penalty) in this manner. You cannot use this risky presentation again until the penalty’s duration expires.
    Action: A Charisma check usually requires a free action. Since this check does not draw on your skill at negotiations or communications, you simply try to make an impression with your stature and bearing.
    Try Again: You only have one chance to make an impression. You might win someone over with additional actions, but you must overcome or build on the results of the Charisma check.
    Take 10/20: You cannot take 10 or 20 on Charisma checks.
    Challenges: Charisma checks do not use challenges.

CHECKS
Skills represent abilities that can improve with practice and training. In some cases, you need instruction to even attempt to use a skill. In others, you can use a skill, even if you’ve never tried it before.
Skills in Etz Chaim have a few distinct features that separate them from those in other games built on the core rules mechanics. Etz Chaim characters tend to rely on their skills quite heavily, so the skills are designed to be robust, useful, and easy to improve. In addition:
Skill groups represent the close relationship between different skills. Your character class grants you access to one or more skill groups. Rather than train in a single skill, a skill group allows you to improve in many skills at once. In game terms, you can spend 1 skill point (see below) to improve in several skills at once.
Most skills have direct applications in combat situations.
Skills have explicit guidelines on what you can accomplish against Difficulty Classes above 20.
Skill challenges allow you to gain additional benefits from a skill check. By voluntarily increasing a check’s Difficulty Class or taking a penalty to the check, you gain an advantage on a successful check. For example, you might opt for a penalty to your Disguise check in order to change your appearance before an approaching guard rounds the corner.
There are no class and cross-class skills. Instead, the skill groups grant you an advantage in purchasing abilities closely related to your class’ talents.
The Craft and Knowledge skills are simplified and both include canonical lists of the different areas they cover.
USING SKILLS
The classes list the number of skill points available at every level to a character of that class. You spend those points to buy ranks in skills in order to improve them. Your maximum rank in a skill is your character level + 3. (The one exception to this rule is the thief.) The more ranks you have in a skill, the better you are at using it.
Every skill is associated with one of your six abilities. For example, the Knowledge skill relies on Intelligence. When you attempt to use a skill, you make a skill check; this key ability contributes its modifier to the roll. If you have an ability penalty, you may have trouble using the skill. If you have an ability bonus, you have a superior natural talent with the skill.
In some cases, miscellaneous modifiers also apply to a skill check. These modifiers reflect the conditions, the environment, and other factors that make a skill easier or harder to use. For instance, it is much more difficult to sneak quietly across a creaky old floor than a smooth, clear stone bridge. The creaky floor might assess a penalty to your Move Silently skill check. On the other hand, if you wear soft, padded sandals, they may provide a bonus to your Move Silently check.
SKILL CHECKS
To make a skill check, roll 1d20 and add your skill modifier. Your skill modifier is the sum of the character’s ranks in that skill + his key ability modifier for that skill + any miscellaneous modifiers.
As with all d20 checks, a higher result is better than a lower one in a skill check.
SKILL RANKS
A character’s number of ranks in a skill is based on how many skill points he has invested in it. Many skills can be used even if the character has no ranks in them; this is called making an untrained skill check. You can have a maximum number of ranks in a skill equal to your level + 3.
Each skill point you spend on an individual skill buys you 1 rank in that skill. Skill groups, described later in this chapter, allow you to spend 1 skill point to gain 1 rank in several skills at once.
KEY ABILITY MODIFIER
The ability modifier used in a skill check is the modifier for the skill’s key ability: the ability associated with the skill’s use. The key ability of each skill is noted after its name in its description.
MISCELLANEOUS MODIFIERS
Miscellaneous modifiers include trait bonuses, armor check penalties, and bonuses provided by feats, relevant environmental factors, and so forth.
MAKING THE SKILL CHECK
In Etz Chaim , you attempt a skill check in one of two basic ways: as a static check or an opposed check.
STATIC SKILL CHECKS
Static checks represent your effort against an inanimate obstacle. In this case, you make your skill check and must beat a Difficulty Class (DC) in order to succeed. The Difficulty Class is the number a character must score as the result of a skill check in order to succeed at a task he’s attempting. The Difficulty Class is always the same for a given task. For example, the Climb skill DC needed to scale a crumbling wall is 10. Whether you or your friend attempts the check, the Difficulty Class remains the same. The wall is an inert obstacle. It doesn’t make an active effort to foil you.
OPPOSED SKILL CHECKS
In an opposed check, you pit your skill against an opponent who tries to prevent you from succeeding in your task. In this case, the DM picks one person as the attacker and the other as the defender. The attacker is always the person who wants to gain something from a skill check. The defender tries to prevent his check from succeeding. Both the attacker and defender make skill checks. If the attacker’s result is higher, he succeeds. If his result is lower than the defender’s or if he ties it, he fails.
If it helps, think of the attacker’s check result as the Difficulty Class for the defender’s skill check.
In many opposed checks, the two sides use different skills. A thief might use Move Silently to approach a guard, who, in turn, tries to use Listen to hear him.
TRYING AGAIN
In general, you can try a skill check again if you fail, and you can keep trying indefinitely. Some skills, however, have consequences of failure that you must take into account. A few skills are virtually useless once a check has failed in an attempt to accomplish a particular task. If you fail to use Bluff to trick the duke into trusting you with the key to his treasury, you can’t try to trick him again. He has already seen through your ruse. In most skills, when you have succeeded once at a given task, additional successes are meaningless.
UNTRAINED AND TRAINED
Generally, if you attempt to use a skill in which you possess no ranks, you make a skill check as normal. The skill modifier doesn’t have a skill rank added in, because you have zero ranks in the skill. Any other applicable modifiers, such as the skill’s key ability modifier, apply to the check as normal.
Many skills require a minimal level of training before you can attempt to use them. In their descriptions, these skills are marked as “trained only.” For such skills, no amount of natural
aptitude can replace formal study. You cannot attempt a skill check with a “trained only” skill if you lack ranks in it.
CONDITIONS
Some situations may make a skill easier or harder than normal to use, resulting in a bonus or • penalty to the skill modifier for the skill check or a change to the Difficulty Class of the skill check.
The DM can alter the chance of success in four ways to take into account exceptional circumstances.
A skill user gains a +2 circumstance bonus to the check to represent conditions that improve performance, such as having the perfect tool for the job, getting help from another character, or possessing unusually accurate information. You may gain this benefit multiple times to represent a series of factors that make a check easier. If you have the perfect tools for the job, help from a friend, and accurate information, you would gain three +2 bonuses, for a total of +6.
You can also gain this benefit if the DM rules that you have a good idea, a sound plan, or some other clever inspiration to make a skill check easier. If you decide to smear a sticky resin on your hands before trying to scale an Arcanist’s tower, your DM might give you a bonus to your Climb check.
In many cases, your DM has the final say as to whether a bonus applies. In some cases, he might opt to increase the bonus above +2 to represent a particularly useful or cleverly realized advantage. You might gain a +2 bonus to a Bluff check to trick a guard into believing that someone dropped a bag of coins around the corner. The DM might increase this bonus to +4 if he knows that the guard is greedy or dishonest.
A skill user suffers a –2 circumstance penalty to represent conditions that hamper performance, such as being forced to use improvised tools or having misleading information. As with a circumstance bonus, your DM usually adjudicates this penalty based on conditions in the game. He might impose a penalty of more than –2 to represent a decisive obstacle or multiple factors that work against you.
Your DM might reduce the Difficulty Class of the skill check by 2 to represent circumstances that make the task easier, such as using Disable Device on a trap that someone has already partially disarmed. The extended skill check rules starting on page 5 give you the option of working slowly over time to make a difficult action easier.
Your DM may increase the skill check’s Difficulty Class by 2 to represent circumstances that make the task harder, such as using Craft to create an item of higher than normal quality.
Conditions that affect your character’s ability to perform the skill change the skill check modifier. Conditions that modify how well the character has to perform the skill to succeed change the Difficulty Class. A bonus to the skill modifier and a reduction in the check’s DC have the same result— they create a better chance of success. But they represent different circumstances, and sometimes that difference becomes important. Generally speaking, it is much more likely that your DM assesses bonuses or penalties to a check rather than to a Difficulty Class.
TIME AND SKILL CHECKS
Using a skill might take 1 round, take no time, or take several rounds or even longer. Most skill uses are standard actions, move actions, or full- round actions. (See Chapter Eight: Combat for action descriptions.) Others require days or weeks of hard work, such as a Craft check to forge a sword or suit of armor. Unless otherwise noted, assume that a skill check is a standard action. The specific skill descriptions in this chapter note any exceptions to this rule.
CHECKS WITHOUT ROLLS
Under No situations unless you have a Feat or Class Feature can you do this. Everything here can be done but still roll, on a 1 you fail no matter what.
The typical skill check represents an attempt to accomplish a task while under some sort of time pressure or distraction. Sometimes you can use a skill under more favorable conditions and eliminate the luck factor. In these situations, you have the time needed to approach a skill attempt slowly and carefully.
Taking 10: When you are not threatened or distracted, you may choose to take 10 on a skill check. Instead of rolling 1d20 for the check, calculate your result as if you had rolled a 10. For many routine tasks, taking 10 makes them succeed automatically. Distractions or threats (such as combat) make it impossible 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. Taking 10 proves especially useful in situations where a particularly high roll wouldn’t help.
Taking 20: When you have plenty of time, you operate under no threats or distractions, and you don’t think you face any danger for a failed check, you can take 20. When you take 20, treat your d20 roll for your check as a 20. This attempt represents trial and error.
In order to take 20, you must spend the amount of time needed to make 20 skill checks. In addition, you must resolve the effects of a skill check with a d20 roll of 1. In most cases, this has no special effect. However, some skills cause you injury or drawbacks with a failed roll. In such cases, you suffer the drawbacks as normal and you cannot continue to take 20.
For example, you could not take 20 on a Climb check if a result of a 1 would cause you to fall to the ground.
Taking 10, Taking 20, and Challenges: Skill challenges (see page 6) allow you to increase a task’s difficulty in return for an added benefit for a successful check. You may use challenges when you take 10 or 20, but you might suffer failure if you take on too many of them and push the Difficulty Class above the level where you could succeed with a 10 or 20.
Ability Checks and Channeling Checks: The normal take 10 and take 20 rules apply for ability checks (described in greater detail on page 52). Neither rule applies to channeling checks (see Chapter Ten: Magic).
EXTENDED SKILL CHECKS
Sometimes, a task requires more effort than a single skill check represents. To decode a map written in a strange language, you may decipher one passage, then use that knowledge to improve your understanding of the rest of the document. In these cases, your early successes build up to the final result. Each step forward brings with it more information or some level of success that, while short of completion, could still prove useful. To draw upon the example of an indecipherable map, you might learn a few useful clues about the treasure it describes with a partial translation. Eventually, you can learn everything the map holds, but until then, a few clues and fragments might still prove useful.
An extended skill check covers this process of learning information slowly. This type of skill check requires that you succeed in a series of checks to represent a long, difficult task. With each success, you may or may not gain some partial benefit of completing the task. Your DM keeps track of your total number of successes. When you have accumulated a certain number of successes, he may either grant the benefits of partially completing the task or tell you that you’ve completed it.
For example, Gervaine the harrier wants to set up a series of pitons and ropes so her allies can quickly scale a wall that they may need to climb when they rob the home of Ultario the merchant. The DM rules that Gervaine must work for one hour and make a Climb check (DC 15) to reduce the wall’s Climb DC for the group by 2. He also decides that Gervaine can reduce the group’s DC by a maximum of 10. Thus, Gervaine can continue working on the wall until she either runs out of time or is happy with her work.
Nemarchus the Arcanist wishes to decode a series of glyphs carved into a stone table that he and his companions found in the Howling Canyons. The DM secretly determines that Nemarchus can make a Decipher Script check (DC 20) each hour for this task. For every two successes he achieves, the Arcanist learns one of four important facts that the glyphs describe. He uncovers the simplest information first, then uses his increasing mastery of the runes to unlock the subtler information.
Extended skill checks are a useful tool for handling tasks that would logically take hours to complete, yet for which the player characters can still make useful progress toward completion in a relatively short time. Each skill described in this chapter includes a short description of how and why you might use these rules with it.
COMBINING SKILL ATTEMPTS
When more than one character tries the same skill at the same time and for the same purpose, their efforts may overlap.
INDIVIDUAL EVENTS
Several characters may attempt the same action, and each succeeds or fails independently. The result of one character’s Climb check does not influence the results of another character’s Climb check. AID ANOTHER
You can help another character achieve success on his skill check by making the same kind of skill check in a cooperative effort. If your skill check result is 10 or higher, the character you helped gains a +2 bonus to his check, per the rule for favorable conditions described on the previous page. You can’t take 10 or 20 on a skill check to aid another. Your DM has the final say as to whether you can aid someone. There must be enough room to work for both you and the person you want to help. The DM also determines the maximum number of people who can aid in a single check.
You can use the aid another action to help others make ability checks (see page 52) if your DM deems it possible. For example, you could help an ally make a Strength check to push a boulder down a slope.
You must be capable of attempting the check you wish to aid. For instance, you cannot aid in a “trained only” skill check if you have no ranks in that skill. To attempt the aid another skill check, you do not need enough ranks to succeed in the task yourself, but you must have the abilities needed to make an attempt.
SKILL SYNERGY
A character might have two skills that work well together. In general, having 5 or more ranks in one skill gives the character a +2 synergy bonus on skill checks with each of its synergistic skills, as noted in the skill description. In some cases, this bonus applies only to specific uses of the skill in question, not to all checks. Some skills provide benefits to other checks made by a character, such as those skill checks required to use certain class features.
SKILL CHALLENGES
As your mastery of a skill improves, you can achieve more difficult feats with it. An expert climber can scale a sheer, slippery surface that a neophyte would find impossible. By the same
token, a veteran learns to complete simple tasks with greater efficiency, skill, and panache. An inexperienced climber might take a while to clamber up a rocky cliff, but a skilled mountaineer can scramble up it faster.
Skill challenges reflect an expert’s ability to perform routine tasks with superior grace and efficiency. They also allow you to attempt heroic deeds otherwise unavailable to you by making already difficult skill checks even harder. With a bit of luck, skill, and good planning, you can achieve the impossible.
The challenge system was designed to make skills more useful across all levels. Without challenges, your skills would become less important as you gain levels. The total result you need on a check might be low enough that, at some point, improving the skill makes no difference.
A skill challenge allows you to increase a skill’s Difficulty Class by 5 or suffer a –5 penalty to your check. In return, you can achieve an extra benefit in addition to the standard benefits of a successful check. If you fail due to this penalty or increased DC, you fail the skill check as normal. Note that, if the skill imposes a drawback for failing by more than a certain margin, you suffer the drawback as normal if you fail to meet your newly increased Difficulty Class. For example, characters who miss a Disable Device check by 10 or more accidentally activate the trap they attempted to disarm. If a trap’s standard DC is 20 and your challenge increases it to 25, you activate the trap on a skill check result of 15 or lower.
Skill challenges on static skill checks require you to increase a skill’s Difficulty Class. The check penalty applies to opposed checks and in cases where the result of your check becomes the DC for an opposed check. For example, your Disguise check result becomes the Difficulty Class for the Spot checks other characters must make to notice your deception. Any challenges you accept on a Disguise check would lower your total result.
You can accept more than one challenge to a skill check. In some cases, you can take on a single challenge more than once to gain its benefits multiple times. Such challenges are noted in the skill descriptions.
Generally, skill challenges allow you to gain added benefits when you face a low Difficulty Class and you have a high total skill modifier. You can also use skill challenges to attempt heroic actions, even when faced with a high Difficulty Class. You might need to make a Balance check (DC 30) to move carefully across a thin wire. However, since the evil archduke is about to escape, you might need to take on a skill challenge to complete your Balance check faster than normal.
STANDARD CHALLENGES
The challenges below apply to any skill check, unless noted differently in the “Challenges” section of the skill description. Most of the skills in this chapter also include additional skill- specific challenges you can take when attempting a check. Your DM has the final say on whether a challenge applies to a specific situation. Remember, each challenge applies a +5 modifier to a check’s DC or a –5 penalty to your check result.
STANDARD CHALLENGES
Standard Challenges Maximum Times Taken
FAST COMPLETION 2
RISKY PROSPECT 2
SIMULTANEOUS ACTION 0
SUPERIOR ASSIST UNLIMITED
NEGATE DEFENSE UNLIMITED
Fast Completion: You reduce the time needed to complete the skill check. If the skill check is normally a full-round action, it becomes a standard one. A standard action becomes a move action, a move action becomes a swift action, while a swift action becomes a free one. For checks that require time expressed in rounds, minutes, or larger units, reduce the time needed to complete the check by 25 percent. You can apply this challenge’s benefits twice to a single check. If you apply it twice to an action that takes an amount of time expressed as rounds, reduce the time needed by 50 percent.
Negate Defense: You can exploit your skills to take your opponent unawares in combat. To use this challenge, make a skill check as a move action in melee. Your foe opposes your result with a base attack check; alternatively, if your skill would normally be opposed by another skill or saving throw, they may roll that instead. If you win the opposed roll, your foe loses their active bonus to defense against the next attack that targets them, provided it is made before the start of your next turn.
You take a cumulative 5 penalty on each use of this challenge after the first with the same skill in an encounter – people eventually catch on to your tricks. By combining this challenge with the fast completion challenge, you can also attempt to negate your opponent’s defense multiple times in a round. However, you also take a cumulative – 5 penalty on subsequent uses of this challenge in a round, regardless of which skill you use. You cannot use this challenge more than once to affect the same attack, whether you are successful or not.
At a minimum, you can use this challenge with the Jump, Tumble, Intimidate, Bluff and Sleight of Hand skills. You may also use this with any other skill you have, provided you can describe with a suitably plausible description of its use.
Risky Prospect: Sometimes you can take a calculated risk on one action to make a later one easier to complete. For example, you could use Tumble to open yourself up to a cultist’s attacks in order to avoid a giant’s club. If you succeed at this skill challenge, you gain a bonus equal to the total penalty you accepted if you use the Tumble skill again your next action (to evade the giant). You gain this benefit only if both checks involve the same sort of circumstances. For example, you could not use a risky prospect to try to climb a small rock before tackling a daunting slope. The two skill checks must be somehow related, and the first, penalized check should carry some consequences for failure.
Simultaneous Action: You have such talent with a particular skill that you can use it while completing other tasks. To attempt simultaneous checks, first make the skill challenge check, then make a second skill check using the same or a different skill. Your secondary check suffers a – 10 penalty or a +10 increase in Difficulty Class. Some skills work together without penalty, such Hide and Move Silently. The simultaneous action challenge normally applies only to skills that you would not normally attempt at the same time, such as using Open Lock and Disable Device at the same time to open a chest and defeat the trap that protects it.
Superior Assist: If you aid another with a skill check (see above), you can attempt to provide a greater than normal bonus to the other character’s total skill check. This challenge reflects the fact that a highly trained person can render better help than an untrained or fumbling assistant. In return for increasing the aid another skill check Difficulty Class by 5 (to DC 15), you boost the bonus you provide the other character by +1. There is no limit to how high you can push the Difficulty Class and the bonus, but remember that a skill challenge is an all-or-nothing risk. If your check to aid another fails, you provide no bonus.
OTHER SKILL CHALLENGES
In addition to the sample skill challenges given here and the specific ones designed for each skill, you can create your own in the course of play. The challenge game mechanic is flexible enough to cover a wide variety of situations. In essence, you can propose a challenge to your DM and he can either accept it, reject it, or decide to increase the Difficulty Class by more than 5 to reflect a particularly daunting use of a skill.
Skill challenges show their true strength when you use them to handle actions that fall outside the bounds of the rules given in this book. DMs should think of challenges as another tool in your bag of tricks. If a player wants to gain an extra benefit from a skill check, make it a challenge, and you’re ready to roll. Players should look at skill challenges as an opportunity to take actions that might not fall under the normal rules. They are an invitation to creativity and exciting game play.
The key to using skill challenges is to always keep in mind that they are flexible—but with that flexibility comes some responsibility. Don’t use them as an excuse to make your skills overpowering.
Remember that the DM has final say on how the rules work. He might decide a challenge is simply impossible or nonsensical. He might also revise a previous ruling, especially if further play reveals that he has inadvertently opened a loophole in the rules. Challenges aren’t an invitation to abuse the system. They are tools meant to handle actions not covered in the rules.
DMs, remember that challenges ought to make a skill check more useful. The following guidelines cover the typical benefits that a challenge can grant:
 A +2 bonus to attacks for the current round.
 A +2 bonus to damage for the current round.
A bonus to a skill check equal to the challenge’s penalty (often –5).
 The opportunity to complete a complex or unusually difficult action.
 The ability to combine two skill checks into one, such as using Tumble to avoid an attack of opportunity while springing over a wall.
When adjudicating challenges of your own, use these basic guidelines to inform your decisions. In general, a skill challenge is roughly equivalent to a feat with a mastery rating of 1 (see Chapter Six: Feats).
SKILL GROUPS
A skill group is a collection of skills that are closely related in terms of their use, the training needed to master them, or some other factor. If you spend 1 skill point on a skill group as a whole, you gain one rank in each skill it contains. You can gain access to a skill group via your character class (or classes, if you are multiclassed). The skill group illustrates your overall training and exposure to several different abilities. It provides an efficient, easy way for you to build a character who is trained in the core skills and abilities that your class normally studies.
A skill group does not allow you to circumvent the normal limit on skill ranks based on your level. It simply gives you a greater return on the investment of a single skill point. while you are under no compulsion to invest in your class’ skill groups, doing so generally is a wise choice. The more skills you can use, the better your chances of surviving and flourishing in a wide variety of situations.
When you spend a skill point on a skill group, you gain one rank in each skill it contains. If you are already at your maximum number of ranks in one or more skills in the group, the
skills that are not yet at that maximum improve. The skills that have reached their limit remain there.
Not all skill groups contain the same number of skills. Some skills are more useful in a wide range of situations, while others provide a single, but highly advantageous talent. Some skills appear in more than one group. Also, remember that you can still purchase ranks in any individual skill. Even if your class does not offer a group that includes a skill you want to use, you can still purchase ranks in it at a rate of one rank per skill point.
There are 10 skill groups in Etz Chaim :
Academia: Drawing on skills that focus on applied knowledge and a mastery of obscure lore, the Academia skill group is a useful boon for characters with a high Intelligence.
 Skills: Appraise (Int), Concentration (Con), Decipher Script (Int), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (Int), and Speak Language (none).
Agility: The Agility skill group represents training in flexibility and acrobatics. Classes that rely on speed and maneuver usually offer it.
 Skills: Balance (Dex), Escape Artist (Dex), and Tumble (Dex).
Athletics: This skill group includes Strength
based skills. Athletics reflects a focus on physical fitness and strength.
 Skills: Climb (Str), Jump (Str), and Swim (Str).
Mysticism: While Academia focuses on readily available knowledge, the Mysticism group provides access to talents that focus on rare lore and the study and use of magic.
 Skills: Concentration (Con), Decipher Script (Int), Spellcraft (Int), and Use Magic Device (Cha).
Perception: A sharp eye can spot trouble before it befalls you, while a keen ear lets
you sneak up on a concealed enemy. Classes that emphasize smart tactics
and awareness grant access to this useful skill group.
 Skills: Listen (Wis), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), and Spot (Wis).
Robbery: The Robbery skill group focuses on talents that require a fine hand for detailed work and a penchant for larceny.
 Skills: Disable Device (Int), Forgery (Int), Open Lock (Dex), and Sleight of Hand (Dex).
Social: The Social skills focus on your ability to charm others, whether you wish to extract rumors from them, trick them, or just strike up a friendly relationship.
 Skills: Bluff (Cha), Diplomacy (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), and Intimidate (Cha).
Stealth: Classes that value hiding from an enemy, whether to flee an opponent or move to ambush him, give access to the Stealth skill group.
 Skills: Hide (Dex) and Move Silently (Dex).
Theatrics: The art of entertaining others not only can earn you a passable living, it also helps develop a variety of useful skills.
 Skills: Bluff (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Perform (Cha), and Sleight of Hand (Dex).
Wilderness Lore: Many adventurers come of age in the forbidding wilds, where one’s knowledge of the land draws the line between survival and death.
 Skills: Handle Animal (Cha), Ride (Dex), Survival (Wis), and Use Rope (Dex).
Technology: Campaign setting Skill Group, limited to certain Backgrounds and Campaign Traits. Many of these Skills will not only need to be specific, but often require a minimum Ability score.
 Skills: Maintenance (Dex), Engineering (Int), Programming (Int), Use of technology DESCRIBED (Wis), Science – Must meet requirements (Int)
BASE ATTACK CHECKS
Your base attack bonus is essentially your “combat skill rating.” Sometimes you must pit your fighting skills against someone’s Jump or Tumble check. In these cases, use your base attack bonus like a skill to make a base attack check. A base attack check is resolved with the following formula:

1d20 + base attack bonus + Strength + Misc Modifiers
Many combat stunts and maneuvers require base attack checks, as do several combat-specific skill uses. Details on stunts appear in Chapter __: Combat.
SKILL DESCRIPTIONS
This section describes each skill in the game, including common uses and typical modifiers. Characters can sometimes use skills for purposes other than those noted here.
Here is the format for the skill descriptions in this chapter.

SKILL NAME
In addition to the name of the skill, the skill name lines include the following information:
Key Ability: The ability whose modifier applies to the skill check. Exception: Speak Language lists “None” as its key ability because using this skill requires no check.
Trained Only: If this notation appears in the skill name line, you must have at least one rank in the skill to use it. If it is omitted, you can use the skill untrained (with a rank of 0). Any special notes regarding trained or untrained use are covered in the Untrained section (see below).
Armor Check Penalty: When this notation appears in the skill name lines, an armor check penalty applies (when appropriate) to checks using this skill. If this entry is absent, an armor check penalty does not apply.
The skill name lines are followed by other information:
Skill Group: Character classes grant access to various skill groups. A character can spend 1 skill point to improve all the skills in a given group by one rank. The names of the groups that the skill belongs to, if applicable, are listed here.
Check: This section describes what one can do with a successful skill check and lists the check’s Difficulty Class. This section includes specific uses for the skill, many of which apply to combat situations.
Action: This section lists the type of action required to use the skill, or the amount of time in minutes, hours, or days that it takes to make a check.
Try Again: Any conditions that apply to successive attempts to use the skill successfully come next. If this paragraph is omitted, the skill can be retried with no 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, appear here.
Synergy: Some skills grant a bonus to the use of other skills because of a synergistic effect. This entry, when present, indicates what bonuses this skill may grant or receive because of such synergies. See the “Skill Synergy” section on page 6.
Untrained: This entry indicates what a character with no ranks in the skill can do with it. If this entry doesn’t appear, it means that the skill functions normally for untrained characters (if it can be used untrained) or that an untrained haracter can’t attempt checks with this skill (for skills that are designated as “Trained Only”).
Take 10/20: Sometimes the rules for taking 10 and 20 confuse players and DMs. This section discusses whether you can use those options with the skill and, if so, how they work.
Extended Skill Checks: This section advises you on using the skill with an extended check. If a skill is unsuited for such a check, this section discusses why.
Challenges: In some cases, you can willingly increase a skill check’s Difficulty Class by 5 or take a –5 penalty to your check to gain an additional benefit on a successful check. This section lists specific challenges that apply to each skill. These examples supplement the standard challenges described in the “Skill Challenges” section starting on page 6.

Skills

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