|System Reference Document v3.5|
With Armor Check Penalty
BALANCE (DEX; ARMOR CHECK PENALTY)
Check: You can walk on a precarious surface. A successful 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 for 1 round. A failure by 5 or more means you fall. The difficulty varies with the surface, as follows:
Narrow Surface Modifiers
Being Attacked while Balancing: You are considered flat-footed while balancing, since you can’t move to avoid a blow, and thus you lose your Dexterity bonus to AC (if any). If you have 5 or more ranks in Balance, you aren’t considered flat-footed while balancing. If you take damage while balancing, you must make another Balance check against the same DC to remain standing.
Accelerated Movement: You can try to walk across a precarious surface more quickly than normal. If you accept a –5 penalty, you can move your full speed as a move action. (Moving twice your speed in a round requires 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.
Action: None. A Balance check doesn’t require an action; it is made as part of another action or as a reaction to a situation.
Special: If you have the Agile feat, you get a +2 bonus on Balance checks.
Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Tumble, you get a +2 bonus on Balance checks.
CLIMB (STR; ARMOR CHECK PENALTY)
Check: With a successful Climb check, you can advance up, down, or across a slope, a wall, or some other steep incline (or even a ceiling with handholds) at one-quarter your normal speed. A slope is considered to be any incline at an angle measuring less than 60 degrees; a wall is any incline at an angle measuring 60 degrees or more.
A Climb check that fails by 4 or less means that you make no progress, and one that fails by 5 or more means that you fall from whatever height you have already attained.
A climber’s kit gives you a +2 circumstance bonus on Climb checks.
The DC of the check depends on the conditions of the climb. Compare the task with those on the following table to determine an appropriate DC.
You need both hands free to climb, but you may cling to a wall with one hand while you cast a spell or take some other action that requires only one hand. While climbing, you can’t move to avoid a blow, so you lose your Dexterity bonus to AC (if any). You also can’t use a shield while climbing.
Any time you take damage while climbing, make a Climb check against the DC of the slope or wall. Failure means you fall from your current height and sustain the appropriate falling damage.
Accelerated Climbing: You try to climb more quickly than normal. By accepting a –5 penalty, you can move half your speed (instead of one-quarter your speed).
Making Your Own Handholds and Footholds: You can make your own handholds and footholds by pounding pitons into a wall. Doing so takes 1 minute per piton, and one piton is needed per 3 feet of distance. As with any surface that offers handholds and footholds, a wall with pitons in it has a DC of 15. In the same way, a climber with a handaxe or similar implement can cut handholds in an ice wall.
Catching Yourself When Falling: It’s practically impossible to catch yourself on a wall while falling. Make a Climb check (DC = wall’s DC + 20) to do so. It’s much easier to catch yourself on a slope (DC = slope’s DC + 10).
Catching a Falling Character While Climbing: If someone climbing above you or adjacent to you falls, you can attempt to catch the falling character if he or she is within your reach. Doing so requires a successful melee touch attack against the falling character (though he or she can voluntarily forego any Dexterity bonus to AC if desired). If you hit, you must immediately attempt a Climb check (DC = wall’s DC + 10). Success indicates that you catch the falling character, but his or her total weight, including equipment, cannot exceed your heavy load limit or you automatically fall. If you fail your Climb check by 4 or less, you fail to stop the character’s fall but don’t lose your grip on the wall. If you fail by 5 or more, you fail to stop the character’s fall and begin falling as well.
Action: Climbing is part of movement, so it’s generally part of a move action (and may be combined 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 halfling has a +2 racial bonus on Climb checks because halflings are agile and surefooted.
The master of a lizard familiar gains a +3 bonus on Climb checks.
If you have the Athletic feat, you get a +2 bonus on Climb checks.
A creature with a climb speed has a +8 racial bonus on all Climb checks. The creature must make a Climb check to climb any wall or slope with a DC higher than 0, but it always can choose to take 10, even if rushed or threatened while climbing. If a creature with a climb speed chooses an accelerated climb (see above), 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 Dexterity bonus to Armor Class (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 on Climb checks made to climb a rope, a knotted rope, or a rope-and-wall combination.
ESCAPE ARTIST (DEX; ARMOR CHECK PENALTY)
Check: The table below gives the DCs to escape various forms of restraints.
Ropes: Your Escape Artist check is opposed by 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 or her check.
Manacles and Masterwork Manacles: The DC for manacles is set by their construction.
Tight Space: The DC noted on the table is for getting through a space where your head fits 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.
Action: Making an Escape Artist check to escape from rope bindings, manacles, or other restraints (except a grappler) requires 1 minute of work. Escaping from a net or an animate rope, command plants, control plants, or entangle spell is a full-round action. Escaping from a grapple or pin is a standard action. Squeezing through a tight space takes at least 1 minute, maybe longer, depending on how long the space is.
Try Again: Varies. You can make another check after a failed check if you’re squeezing your way through a tight space, making multiple checks. If the situation permits, you can make additional checks, or even take 20, as long as you’re not being actively opposed.
Special: If you have the Agile feat, you get a +2 bonus on Escape Artist checks.
Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Escape Artist, you get a +2 bonus on Use Rope checks to bind someone.
If you have 5 or more ranks in Use Rope, you get a +2 bonus on Escape Artist checks when escaping from rope bonds.
HIDE (DEX; ARMOR CHECK PENALTY)
Check: Your Hide check is opposed by the Spot check of anyone who might see you. You can move up to one-half your normal speed and hide at no penalty. When moving at a speed greater than one-half but less than your normal speed, you take a –5 penalty. It’s practically impossible (–20 penalty) to hide while attacking, running or charging.
A creature larger or smaller than Medium takes 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, Colossal –16.
You need cover or concealment in order to attempt a Hide check. Total cover or total concealment usually (but not always; see Special, below) obviates the need for a Hide check, since nothing can see you anyway.
If people are observing you, even casually, you can’t hide. You can run around a corner or behind cover so that you’re out of sight and then hide, but the others then know at least where you went. If your observers are momentarily distracted (such as by a Bluff check; see below), though, you can attempt to hide. While the others turn their attention from you, you can attempt a Hide check if you can get to a hiding place of some kind. (As a general guideline, the hiding place has to be within 1 foot per rank you have in Hide.) This check, however, is made at a –10 penalty because you have to move fast.
Sniping: 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.
Creating 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.
Action: Usually none. Normally, you make a Hide check as part of movement, so it doesn’t take a separate action. However, hiding immediately after a ranged attack (see Sniping, above) is a move action.
Special: If you are invisible, you gain a +40 bonus on Hide checks if you are immobile, or a +20 bonus on Hide checks if you’re moving.
If you have the Stealthy feat, you get a +2 bonus on Hide checks.
A 13th-level ranger can attempt a Hide check in any sort of natural terrain, even if it doesn’t grant cover or concealment. A 17th-level ranger can do this even while being observed.
JUMP (STR; ARMOR CHECK PENALTY)
Check: The DC and the distance you can cover vary according to the type of jump you are attempting (see below).
Your Jump check is modified by your speed. If your speed is 30 feet then no modifier based on speed applies to the check. If your speed is less than 30 feet, you take a –6 penalty for every 10 feet of speed less than 30 feet. If your speed is greater than 30 feet, you gain a +4 bonus for every 10 feet beyond 30 feet.
All Jump DCs given here assume that you get a running start, which requires that you move at least 20 feet in a straight line before attempting the jump. If you do not get a running start, the DC for the jump is doubled.
Distance moved by jumping is counted against your normal maximum movement in a round.
If you have ranks in Jump and you succeed on 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 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 DC for the jump is equal to 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, you don’t clear the distance, but you can make a DC 15 Reflex save to grab the far edge of the gap. You end your movement grasping the far edge. If that leaves you dangling over a chasm or gap, getting up requires a move action and a DC 15 Climb check.
High Jump: A high jump is a vertical leap made to reach a ledge high above or to grasp something overhead. The DC is equal to 4 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 DC 15 Climb check. If you fail the Jump check, you do not reach the height, and you land on your feet in the same spot from which you jumped. As with a long jump, the DC is doubled 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 character or creature. The maximum vertical reach (height the creature can reach without jumping) for an average creature of a given size is shown on the table below. (As a Medium creature, a typical human can reach 8 feet without jumping.) Quadrupedal creatures don’t have the same vertical reach as a bipedal creature; treat them as being one size category smaller.
Hop Up: You can jump up onto an object as tall as your waist, such as a table or small boulder, with a DC 10 Jump check. 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 DC is not doubled 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 DC to jump down from a height is 15. You do not have to get a running start to jump down, so the DC is not doubled if you do not get a running start.
If you succeed on the check, you take falling damage as if you had dropped 10 fewer feet than you actually did.
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 turn) must be a move action to complete the jump.
Special: Effects that increase your movement also increase your jumping distance, since your check is modified by your speed.
If you have the Run feat, you get a +4 bonus on Jump checks for any jumps made after a running start.
A halfling has a +2 racial bonus on Jump checks because halflings are agile and athletic.
If you have the Acrobatic feat, you get a +2 bonus on Jump checks.
Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Tumble, you get a +2 bonus on Jump checks.
If you have 5 or more ranks in Jump, you get a +2 bonus on Tumble checks.
MOVE SILENTLY (DEX; ARMOR CHECK PENALTY)
Check: Your Move Silently check is opposed by the Listen check of anyone who might hear you. You can move up to one-half your normal speed at no penalty. When moving at a speed greater than one-half but less than your full speed, you take a –5 penalty. It’s practically impossible (–20 penalty) to move silently while running or charging.
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 as indicated below.
Action: None. A Move Silently check is included in your movement or other activity, so it is part of another action.
Special: The master of a cat familiar gains a +3 bonus on Move Silently checks.
A halfling has a +2 racial bonus on Move Silently checks.
If you have the Stealthy feat, you get a +2 bonus on Move Silently checks.
SLEIGHT OF HAND (DEX; TRAINED ONLY; ARMOR CHECK PENALTY)
Check: A DC 10 Sleight of Hand check 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, your skill check is opposed by the observer’s Spot check. The observer’s success doesn’t prevent you from performing the action, just from doing it unnoticed.
You can hide a small object (including a light weapon 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 the Search check, since it’s generally easier to find such an object than to hide it. A dagger is easier to hide than most light weapons, and grants you a +2 bonus on your Sleight of Hand check to conceal it. An extraordinarily small object, such as a coin, shuriken, or ring, grants you a +4 bonus on your Sleight of Hand check to conceal it, and heavy or baggy clothing (such as a cloak) grants you 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 make a DC 20 Sleight of Hand check to obtain it. The opponent 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 on 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.
Action: Any Sleight of Hand check normally is a standard action. However, you may perform a Sleight of Hand check as a free action by taking a –20 penalty on the check.
Try Again: Yes, but after an initial failure, a second Sleight of Hand attempt against the same target (or while you are being watched by the same observer who noticed your previous attempt) increases the DC for the task by 10.
Special: If you have the Deft Hands feat, you get a +2 bonus on Sleight of Hand checks.
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 on any Sleight of Hand check with a DC higher than 10, except for hiding an object on your body.
SWIM (STR; ARMOR CHECK PENALTY)
Check: Make a Swim check once per round while you are in the water. Success means you may swim at up to one-half your speed (as a full-round action) or at one-quarter your speed (as a move action). If you fail by 4 or less, you make no progress through the water. If you fail by 5 or more, you go underwater.
If you are underwater, either because you 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 if you do nothing other than take move actions or free actions. If you take a standard action or a 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 or her breath only half as long as normal.) After that period of time, you must make a DC 10 Constitution check every round to continue holding your breath. Each round, the DC for that check increases by 1. If you fail the Constitution check, you begin to drown.
The DC for the Swim check depends on the water, as given on the table below.
Each hour that you swim, you must make a DC 20 Swim check or take 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 one-half your speed as a full-round action.
Special: Swim checks are subject to double the normal armor check penalty and encumbrance penalty.
If you have the Athletic feat, you get a +2 bonus on Swim checks.
If you have the Endurance feat, you get a +4 bonus on Swim checks made to avoid taking nonlethal damage from fatigue.
A creature with a swim speed can move through water at 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 when swimming. Such a creature can use the run action while swimming, provided that it swims in a straight line.
TUMBLE (DEX; TRAINED ONLY; ARMOR CHECK PENALTY)
You can’t use this skill if your speed has been reduced by armor, excess equipment, or loot.
Check: You can land softly when you fall or tumble past opponents. You can also tumble to entertain an audience (as though using the Perform skill). The DCs for various tasks involving the Tumble skill are given on the table below.
Obstructed or otherwise treacherous surfaces, such as natural cavern floors or undergrowth, are tough to tumble through. The DC for any Tumble check made to tumble into such a square is modified as indicated below.
Accelerated Tumbling: You try to tumble past or through enemies more quickly than normal. By accepting a –10 penalty on your Tumble checks, you can move at your full speed instead of one-half your speed.
Action: Not applicable. 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 a +3 dodge bonus to AC when fighting defensively instead of the usual +2 dodge bonus to AC.
If you have 5 or more ranks in Tumble, you gain a +6 dodge bonus to AC when executing the total defense standard action instead of the usual +4 dodge bonus to AC.
If you have the Acrobatic feat, you get a +2 bonus on Tumble checks.
If you have 5 or more ranks in Jump, you get a +2 bonus on Tumble checks.