D20r:Athletics

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Contents

Athletics (Str; Armor Check Penalty)

The Athletics skill can be used to climb surfaces, jump distances, or swim.

Climb

Check

With a successful Athletics 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 land 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.

An Athletics 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.

DC Example Surface or Activity
0 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, or a rope affected by the rope trick spell.
8 A surface with ledges to hold on to and stand on, such as a very rough wall or a ship's rigging.
10 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.
12 An uneven surface with some narrow handholds and footholds, such as a typical wall in a dungeon or ruins.
15 A rough surface, such as a natural rock wall or a brick wall.
201 An overhang or ceiling with handholds but no footholds.
302 A perfectly smooth, flat, vertical surface.
402 A perfectly smooth, flat, overhang or ceiling.

1 You must be a journeyman of Athletics to make use of this option.
2 You must be a master of Athletics to make use of this option.

These modifiers are cumulative; use any that apply.

Climb DC Modifier Example Surface or Activity
-5 Climbing a chimney (artificial or natural) or other location where you can brace against two opposite walls.
-3 Climbing a corner where you can brace against perpendicular walls.
+5 Surface is slippery.

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. If you are at least a journeyman of Athletics, you do not lose your Dexterity bonus to AC while climbing.

Any time you take damage while climbing, make a Athletics 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). Alternatively, by accepting a -10 penalty, a character can climb his or her speed as a move-equivalent action, or double his or her speed as a full-round action (requiring two Athletics checks).

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 12. 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 an Athletics check (DC = wall's DC + 10) to do so. It's much easier to catch yourself on a slope (DC = slope's DC + 5).

If you fall, you can also attempt to use the Grapple skill to catch yourself. See the Grapple skill for details.

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 an Athletics (or Grapple) 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 Athletics 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 Athletics 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 +5 racial bonus on all Athletics checks related to climbing and is always considered at least an apprentice when using the Athletics skill to climb. The creature must make a Athletics 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 Athletics 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.

Jump

The Athletics skill can also be used to determine jumping distance.

Check

The DC and the distance you can cover vary according to the type of jump you are attempting.

All Athletics 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. If you are a master of Athletics, you do not double the DC for not getting a running start.

Distance moved by jumping is counted against your normal maximum movement in a round. If your jump exceeds your maximum move distance, you complete your jump action on your next initiative count and count the distance moved against your movement in that round.

If you are at least an apprentice in Athletics and you succeed on a jump check, you land on your feet (when appropriate). If you attempt an Athletics check to 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 12 Athletics check to climb up.

Long Jump Distance Jump DC
5 feet 5
10 feet 10
15 feet 15
20 feet 20
Each additional 5 feet +5
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 3 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 12 Athletics check to climb. If you fail the initial Athletics check, you do not reach the height, and you land on your feet in the same spot from which you jumped.

High Jump Distance Jump DC
1 foot 3
2 feet 6
3 feet 9
4 feet 12
5 feet 15
Each additional foot +3

Vertical Reach

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.

Creature Size Vertical Reach
Colossal 128'
Gargantuan 64'
Huge 32'
Large 16'
Medium 8'
Small 4'
Tiny 2'
Diminutive 1'
Fine ½'
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 Athletics 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 12. 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. An Athletics 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

If you have the Run feat, you get a +4 bonus on Athletics checks for any jumps made after a running start.

Swim

An Athletics check can also be used to swim.

Check

Make an Althetics 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 at least a journeyman of Athletics, you instead swim one-half your speed as a move action or up to your speed as a full-round action.

If you are underwater, either because you failed an Athletics 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 twice 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 Athletics check to swim depends on the water, as given on the table below.

Water Swim DC
Calm water 10
Rough water 12
Stormy water 201, 2
Swim up waterfall, through whirlpool, or other extraordinary conditions3 40

1 You can't take 10 on a Swim check in stormy or worse water, even if you aren't otherwise being threatened or distracted.
2 You must be at least a journeyman of Athletics to make use of this option.
3 You must be a master of Athletics to make use of this option.

Each hour that you swim, you must make a DC 20 Athletics check or take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage from fatigue.

Action

A successful Athletics check allows you to swim one-quarter of your speed as a move action or one-half your speed as a full-round action. By taking a -10 penalty on the check, a character can swim twice the amount as appropriate for the action used.

Special

Athletics checks made for swimming are subject to double the normal armor check penalty and encumbrance penalty.

A creature with a swim speed can move through water at its indicated speed without making Athletics checks. It gains a +8 racial bonus on any Athletics check to perform a special action or avoid a hazard and is always considered to be at least an apprentice of Athletics when making an Athletics check to swim. The creature always can choose to take 10 on a Athletics check to swim, 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.

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