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Racial Progressions
Skill Sets
Acrobatics - Appraise - Athletics - Autohypnosis
Awareness - Bluff - Cartomancy - Concentration
Craft - Decipher Script - Diplomacy - Disable Device
Disguise - Grapple - Handle Animal - Heal
Initiative - Intimidate - Knowledge (Arcana)
Knowledge (Dungeoneering) - Knowledge (Engineering)
Knowledge (Geography) - Knowledge (History)
Knowledge (Locale) - Knowledge (Nature) - Knowledge (Nobility)
Knowledge (Psionics) - Knowledge (Religion)
Knowledge (The Planes) - Perform - Psicraft - Profession
Ride - Search - Sense Motive - Sleight of Hand
Speak Language - Spellcraft - Stealth - Survival - Use Device


Skills Summary

Skills work on four grades: Untrained, Apprentice, Journeyman, and Master.

Skill Sets

Upon taking the first level of a class, the player chooses a number of "skill sets" for that class, plus an additional number of skills (not skill sets) equal to the character's Intelligence modifier. Any skill listed within those skill sets trains the character in the skill as an apprentice. If a skill appears more than once, the character is trained as a journeyman. One can only be trained as a master by first being a journeyman and then taking a feat or class feature that makes you into a master of the skill.

All classes are apprentices in the Profession and Craft skills, regardless of skill sets.

Using Skills

When your character uses a skill, you make a skill check to see how well he or she does. The higher the result of the skill check, the better. Based on the circumstances, your result must match or beat a particular number (a DC or the result of an opposed skill check) for the check to be successful. The harder the task, the higher the number you need to roll.

To make an untrained skill check, roll 1d20 + your relevant ability modifier, plus any other modifiers from items, feats, or class features.

To make an apprentice skill check, roll 1d20 + your hero value + your relevant ability modifier + 4, plus any other modifiers from items, feats, or class features.

To make a journeyman skill check, roll 1d20 + your hero value + your relevant ability modifier + 8, plus any other modifiers from items, feats, or class features.

To make a master skill check, roll 1d20 + your hero value + your relevant ability modifier + your Intelligence bonus (if any) + 8 , plus any other modifiers from items, feats, or class features.

This roll works just like an attack roll or a saving throw--the higher the roll, the better. Either you’re trying to match or exceed a certain Difficulty Class (DC), or you're trying to beat another character's check result.

Circumstances can affect your check. A character who is free to work without distractions can make a careful attempt and avoid simple mistakes. A character who has lots of time can try over and over again, thereby assuring the best outcome. If others help, the character may succeed where otherwise he or she would fail.

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 in its description.

Miscellaneous Modifiers

Miscellaneous modifiers include racial bonuses, armor check penalties, and bonuses provided by feats, among others.

Difficulty Class

Some checks are made against a Difficulty Class (DC). The DC is a number (set using the skill rules as a guideline) that you must score as a result on your skill check in order to succeed.

Opposed Checks

An opposed check is a check whose success or failure is determined by comparing the check result to another character's check result. In an opposed check, the higher result succeeds, while the lower result fails. In case of a tie, the higher skill modifier wins. If these scores are the same, roll again to break the tie.

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 must be taken into account. A few skills are virtually useless once a check has failed on an attempt to accomplish a particular task. For most skills, when a character has succeeded once at a given task, additional successes are meaningless.

Favorable And Unfavorable Conditions

Some situations may make a skill easier or harder to use, resulting in a bonus or penalty to the skill modifier for a skill check or a change to the DC of the skill check.

The chance of success can be altered in four ways to take into account exceptional circumstances.

  1. Give the skill user a +2 circumstance bonus to represent conditions that improve performance, such as having the perfect tool for the job, getting help from another character (see Combining Skill Attempts), or possessing unusually accurate information.
  2. Give the skill user a -2 circumstance penalty to represent conditions that hamper performance, such as being forced to use improvised tools or having misleading information.
  3. Reduce the DC by 2 to represent circumstances that make the task easier, such as having a friendly audience or doing work that can be subpar.
  4. Increase the DC by 2 to represent circumstances that make the task harder, such as having an uncooperative audience or doing work that must be flawless.

Conditions that affect your character's ability to perform the skill change the skill modifier. Conditions that modify how well the character has to perform the skill to succeed change the DC. 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 is important.

Time And Skill Checks

Using a skill might take a round, take no time, or take several rounds or even longer. Most skill uses are standard actions, move actions, or full-round actions. Types of actions define how long activities take to perform within the framework of a combat round (6 seconds) and how movement is treated with respect to the activity. Some skill checks are instant and represent reactions to an event, or are included as part of an action. These skill checks are not actions. Other skill checks represent part of movement.

Checks Without Rolls

A skill check represents an attempt to accomplish some goal, usually while under some sort of time pressure or distraction. Sometimes, though, a character can use a skill under more favorable conditions and eliminate the luck factor.

Taking 10

When your character is not being threatened or distracted, you may choose to take 10. Instead of rolling 1d20 for the skill check, calculate your result as if you had rolled a 10. For many routine tasks, taking 10 makes them automatically successful. Distractions or threats (such as combat) make it impossible for a character to take 10. In most cases, taking 10 is purely a safety measure--you know (or expect) that an average roll will succeed but fear that a poor roll might fail, so you elect to settle for the average roll (a 10). Taking 10 is especially useful in situations where a particularly high roll wouldn’t help.

Taking 20

When you have plenty of time (generally 2 minutes for a skill that can normally be checked in 1 round, one full-round action, or one standard action), you are faced with no threats or distractions, and the skill being attempted carries no penalties for failure, you can take 20. In other words, eventually you will get a 20 on 1d20 if you roll enough times. Instead of rolling 1d20 for the skill check, just calculate your result as if you had rolled a 20.

Taking 20 means you are trying until you get it right, and it assumes that you fail many times before succeeding. Taking 20 takes twenty times as long as making a single check would take.

Since taking 20 assumes that the character will fail many times before succeeding, if you did attempt to take 20 on a skill that carries penalties for failure, your character would automatically incur those penalties before he or she could complete the task. Common "take 20" skills include Athletics, Search, and Survival.

Ability Checks and Caster Level Checks

The normal take 10 and take 20 rules apply for ability checks. Neither rule applies to caster level checks.

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

Often, several characters attempt some action and each succeeds or fails independently. The result of one character's Athletics check does not influence the results of other characters' Athletics check.

Aid Another

You can help another character achieve success on his or her skill check by making the same kind of skill check in a cooperative effort. If you roll a 10 or higher on your check, the character you are helping gets a +2 bonus to his or her check, as per the rule for favorable conditions. You can't take 10 on a skill check to aid another. In many cases, a character's help won't be beneficial, or only a limited number of characters can help at once--usually, this number is limited to one aide. Too many cooks spoil the broth.

In cases where the skill restricts who can achieve certain results you can't aid another to grant a bonus to a task that your character couldn't achieve alone.

Ability Checks

Sometimes a character tries to do 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.

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.

Skill Descriptions

This section describes each skill, including common uses and typical modifiers. Characters can sometimes use skills for purposes other than those noted here.

Here is the format for skill descriptions.

Skill Name

The skill name line includes (in addition to the name of the skill) the following information.

Key Ability

The abbreviation of the ability whose modifier applies to the skill check. Exception: Speak Language has "None" as its key ability because the use of this skill does not require a check.

Armor Check Penalty

If this notation is included in the skill name line, 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 line is followed by a general description of what using the skill represents. After the description are a few other types of information:


What a character ("you" in the skill description) can do with a successful skill check and the check's DC.


The type of action using the skill requires, or the amount of time required for a check.

Try Again

Any conditions that apply to successive attempts to use the skill successfully. If the skill doesn’t allow you to attempt the same task more than once, or if failure carries an inherent penalty (such as with the Athletics skill), you can't take 20. If this paragraph is omitted, the skill can be retried without any inherent penalty, other than the additional time required.


Any extra facts that apply to the skill, such as special effects deriving from its use or bonuses that certain characters receive because of class, feat choices, or race.

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