- Key Ability
- Skill Actions
- Skill Checks and Skill DCs
- General Skill Actions
- Skill Descriptions
- Acrobatics (Dex)
- Arcana (Int)
- Athletics (Str)
- Crafting (Int)
- Deception (Cha)
- Diplomacy (Cha)
- Intimidation (Cha)
- Lore (Int)
- Medicine (Wis)
- Nature (Wis)
- Occultism (Int)
- Performance (Cha)
- Religion (Wis)
- Society (Int)
- Stealth (Dex)
- Survival (Wis)
- Thievery (Dex)
While your character’s ability scores represent their raw talent and potential, skills represent their training and experience at performing certain tasks. Each skill is keyed to one of your character’s ability scores and used for an array of related actions. Your character’s expertise in a skill comes from several sources, including their background and class. In this section, you’ll learn about skills, their scope, and the actions they can be used for.
A character’s acumen in skills can come from all sorts of training, from practicing acrobatic tricks to studying academic topics to rehearsing a performing art. When you create your character and as they advance in level, you have flexibility as to which skills they become better at and when. Some classes depend heavily on certain skills—such as the alchemist’s reliance on Crafting—but for most classes, you can choose whichever skills make the most sense for your character’s theme and backstory at 1st level, then use their adventure and downtime experiences to inform how their skills should improve as your character levels up.
A character gains training in certain skills at 1st level: typically two skills from their background, a small number of predetermined skills from their class, and several skills of your choice granted by your class. This training increases your proficiency ranks for those skills to trained instead of untrained and lets you use more of the skills’ actions. Sometimes you might gain training in a specific skill from multiple sources, such as if your background granted training in Crafting and you took the alchemist class, which also grants training in Crafting. Each time after the first that you would gain the trained proficiency rank in a given skill, you instead allocate the trained proficiency to any other skill of your choice.
Each skill is tied to a key ability. You add your modifier for this ability to checks and DCs when using that skill. For example, skulking about the shadows of a city at night with Stealth uses your Dexterity modifier, navigating the myriad personalities and power plays of court politics with Society uses your Intelligence modifier, and so on. The key ability for each skill is listed on Table 4–1: Skills, Key Abilities, and Actions and also appears in parentheses following the skill’s name in the descriptions on the following pages. If the GM deems it appropriate for a certain situation, however, they might have you use a different ability modifier for a skill check or when determining your skill DC.
The actions you can perform with a given skill are sorted into those you can use untrained and those that require you to be trained in the skill, as shown on Table 4–1: Skills, Key Abilities, and Actions. The untrained and trained actions of each skill appear in separate sections within the skill’s description.
Anyone can use a skill’s untrained actions, but you can use trained actions only if you have a proficiency rank of trained or better in that skill. A circumstance, condition, or effect might bar you from a skill action regardless of your proficiency rank, and sometimes using a skill in a specific situation might require you to have a higher proficiency rank than what is listed on the table. For instance, even though a barbarian untrained in Arcana could identify a construct with a lucky roll using Arcana to Recall Knowledge, the GM might decide that Recalling Knowledge to determine the spells used to create such a construct is beyond the scope of the barbarian’s anecdotal knowledge. The GM decides whether a task requires a particular proficiency rank.
As your character advances in level, there are two main ways their skills improve: skill increases and skill feats. Your class lists the levels at which you gain each of these improvements.
Skill increases improve your proficiency in skills of your choice. You can use these increases to become trained in new skills or increase your proficiency rank in skills you’re trained in (from trained to expert at any level, expert to master at 7th level or higher, and master to legendary at 15th level or higher). Unlike when you first become trained at a skill, if two different abilities would make you an expert, master, or legendary in a skill, you don’t get to choose a second skill to become expert in—the redundant benefit simply has no effect.
Skill feats are a type of general feat that often grant you a new way to use a skill or make you better at using a skill in a particular way. Skill feats always have the skill trait.
Skill Checks and Skill DCs
When you’re actively using a skill, often by performing one of its actions, you might attempt a skill check: rolling a d20 and adding your skill modifier. To determine this modifier, add your ability modifier for the skill’s key ability, your proficiency bonus for the skill, and any other bonuses and penalties.
Skill modifier = modifier of the skill’s key ability score + proficiency bonus + other bonuses + penalties
When writing down the modifier on your character sheet, you should write down only the numbers that always apply—typically just your ability modifier and proficiency bonus at 1st level. At higher levels, you may wear or use items to improve your skills with item bonuses pretty much all the time; you should write those down, too.
The GM sets the DC of a skill check, using the guidelines in Game Mastering. The most important DCs to remember are the five simple skill DCs below.
|Task Difficulty||Simple DC|
When someone or something tests your skill, they attempt a check against your skill DC, which is equal to 10 plus your skill modifier. A skill DC works like any other DC to determine the effect of an opposing creature’s skill action.
See Playing the Game for more information about modifiers, bonuses, and penalties.
Armor and Skills
Some armor imposes a penalty on specific skill checks and DCs. If a creature is wearing armor that imparts a skill penalty, that penalty is applied to the creature’s Strength and Dexterity-based skill checks and skill DCs, unless the action has the attack trait. Check penalties from armor are detailed in Equipment.
Sometimes you won’t know whether you succeed at a skill check. If an action has the secret trait, the GM rolls the check for you and informs you of the effect without revealing the result of the roll or the degree of success. The GM rolls secret checks when your knowledge about the outcome is imperfect, like when you’re searching for a hidden creature or object, attempting to deceive someone, translating a tricky bit of ancient text, or remembering some piece of lore.
This way, you as the player don’t know things that your character wouldn’t. This rule is the default for actions with the secret trait, but the GM can choose not to use secret checks if they would rather some or all rolls be public.
Exploration and Downtime Activities
Some skill activities have the exploration or downtime trait. Exploration activities usually take a minute or more, while downtime activities may take a day or more. They usually can’t be used during an encounter, though the GM might bend this restriction. If you’re not sure whether you have the time to use one of these activities, ask your GM.
General Skill Actions
General skill actions are skill actions that can be used with multiple different skills. When you use a general skill action, you might use your modifier from any skill that lists it as one of the skill’s actions, depending on the situation.
|General Skill Action||Proficiency|
|Learn a Spell||Trained|
|Recall Knowledge [one-action]||Untrained|
Decipher Writing (Trained)
When you encounter particularly archaic or esoteric texts, the GM might require you to Decipher the Writing before you can understand it. You must be trained in the relevant skill to Decipher Writing. Arcana is typically used for writing about magic or science, Occultism for esoteric texts about mysteries and philosophy, Religion for scripture, and Society for coded messages or archaic documents.
Concentrate Exploration Secret
You attempt to decipher complicated writing or literature on an obscure topic. This usually takes 1 minute per page of text, but might take longer (typically an hour per page for decrypting ciphers or the like). The text must be in a language you can read, though the GM might allow you to attempt to decipher text written in an unfamiliar language using Society instead.
The DC is determined by the GM based on the state or complexity of the document. The GM might have you roll one check for a short text or a check for each section of a larger text.
- Critical Success You understand the true meaning of the text.
- Success You understand the true meaning of the text. If it was a coded document, you know the general meaning but might not have a word-for-word translation.
- Failure You can’t understand the text and take a –2 circumstance penalty to further checks to decipher it.
- Critical Failure You believe you understand the text on that page, but you have in fact misconstrued its message.
Sample Decipher Writing Tasks
- Trained entry-level philosophy treatise
- Expert complex code, such as a cipher
- Master spymaster’s code or advanced research notes
- Legendary esoteric planar text written in metaphor by an ancient celestial.
When Earning Income, you might be able to spend days of downtime to prepare for your task, which adjusts the DC of the skill check. This might involve rehearsing a play, studying a topic, and so on. The GM determines how long preparation takes and how much the DC changes. This is most useful when you’re trying a task that’s higher level than you; otherwise such tasks have an increased DC!
Ending or Interrupting Tasks
When a task you’re doing is complete, or if you stop in the middle of one, you normally have to find a new task if you want to keep Earning Income. For instance, if you quit your job working at the docks, you’ll need to find another place of employment instead of picking up where you left off. This usually takes 1 day or more of downtime looking for leads on new jobs.
However, you might pause a task due to an adventure or event that wouldn’t prevent you from returning to the old job later. The GM might decide that you can pick up where you left off, assuming the task hasn’t been completed by others in your absence. Whether you roll a new skill check when you resume is also up to the GM. Generally speaking, if you had a good initial roll and want to keep it, you can, but if you had a bad initial roll, you can’t try for a better one by pausing to do something else. If your statistics changed during the break—usually because you leveled up while adventuring—you can attempt a new check.
Earn Income (Trained)
You can use a skill—typically Crafting, Lore, or Performance—to earn money during downtime. You must be trained in the skill to do so. This takes time to set up, and your income depends on your proficiency rank and how lucrative a task you can find. Because this process requires a significant amount of time and involves tracking things outside the progress of adventures, it won’t come up in every campaign.
In some cases, the GM might let you use a different skill to Earn Income through specialized work. Usually, this is scholarly work, such as using Religion in a monastery to study old texts—but giving sermons at a church would still fall under Performance instead of Religion. You also might be able to use physical skills to make money, such as using Acrobatics to perform feats in a circus or Thievery to pick pockets. If you’re using a skill other than Crafting, Lore, or Performance, the DC tends to be significantly higher.
You use one of your skills to make money during downtime.
The GM assigns a task level representing the most lucrative job available. You can search for lower-level tasks, with the GM determining whether you find any. Sometimes you can attempt to find better work than the initial offerings, though this takes time and requires using the Diplomacy skill to Gather Information, doing some research, or socializing.
When you take on a job, the GM secretly sets the DC of your skill check. After your first day of work, you roll to determine your earnings. You gain an amount of income based on your result, the task’s level, and your proficiency rank (as listed on Table 4–2: Income Earned).
You can continue working at the task on subsequent days without needing to roll again. For each day you spend after the first, you earn the same amount as the first day, up until the task’s completion. The GM determines how long you can work at the task. Most tasks last a week or two, though some can take months or even years.
- Critical Success You do outstanding work. Gain the amount of currency listed for the task level + 1 and your proficiency rank.
- Success You do competent work. Gain the amount of currency listed for the task level and your proficiency rank.
- Failure You do shoddy work and get paid the bare minimum for your time. Gain the amount of currency listed in the failure column for the task level. The GM will likely reduce how long you can continue at the task.
- Critical Failure You earn nothing for your work and are fired immediately. You can’t continue at the task. Your reputation suffers, potentially making it difficult for you to find rewarding jobs in that community in the future.
|0||1 cp||5 cp||5 cp||5 cp||5 cp|
|1||2 cp||2 sp||2 sp||2 sp||2 sp|
|2||4 cp||3 sp||3 sp||3 sp||3 sp|
|3||8 cp||5 sp||5 sp||5 sp||5 sp|
|4||1 sp||7 sp||8 sp||8 sp||8 sp|
|5||2 sp||9 sp||1 gp||1 gp||1 gp|
|6||3 sp||1 gp, 5 sp||2 gp||2 gp||2 gp|
|7||4 sp||2 gp||2 gp, 5 sp||2 gp, 5 sp||2 gp, 5 sp|
|8||5 sp||2 gp, 5 sp||3 gp||3 gp||3 gp|
|9||6 sp||3 gp||4 gp||4 gp||4 gp|
|10||7 sp||4 gp||5 gp||6 gp||6 gp|
|11||8 sp||5 gp||6 gp||8 gp||8 gp|
|12||9 sp||6 gp||8 gp||10 gp||10 gp|
|13||1 gp||7 gp||10 gp||15 gp||15 gp|
|14||1 gp, 5 sp||8 gp||15 gp||20 gp||20 gp|
|15||2 gp||10 gp||20 gp||28 gp||28 gp|
|16||2 gp, 5 sp||13 gp||25 gp||36 gp||40 gp|
|17||3 gp||15 gp||30 gp||45 gp||55 gp|
|18||4 gp||20 gp||45 gp||70 gp||90 gp|
|19||6 gp||30 gp||60 gp||100 gp||130 gp|
|20||8 gp||40 gp||75 gp||150 gp||200 gp|
|20 (critical success)||—||50 gp||90 gp||175 gp||300 gp|
Sample Earn Income Tasks
- Trained bartend, do legal research
- Expert curate drink selection, present minor court cases
- Master run a large brewery, present important court cases
- Legendary run an international brewing franchise, present a case in Hell’s courts
Crafting Goods for the Market (Crafting)
Using Crafting, you can work at producing common items for the market. It’s usually easy to find work making basic items whose level is 1 or 2 below your settlement’s level (see Earn Income). Higher-level tasks represent special commissions, which might require you to Craft a specific item using the Craft downtime activity and sell it to a buyer at full price. These opportunities don’t occur as often and might have special requirements—or serious consequences if you disappoint a prominent client.
Practicing a Trade (Lore)
You apply the practical benefits of one of your Lore specialties during downtime by practicing your trade. This is most effective for Lore specialties such as business, law, or sailing, where there’s high demand for workers. The GM might increase the DC or determine only low-level tasks are available if you’re attempting to use an obscure Lore skill to Earn Income. You might also need specialized tools to accept a job, like mining tools to work in a mine or a merchant’s scale to buy and sell valuables in a market.
Staging a Performance (Performance)
You perform for an audience to make money. The available audiences determine the level of your task, since more discerning audiences are harder to impress but provide a bigger payout. The GM determines the task level based on the audiences available. Performing for a typical audience of commoners on the street is a level 0 task, but a performance for a group of artisans with more refined tastes might be a 2nd- or 3rd-level task, and ones for merchants, nobility, and royalty are increasingly higher level. Your degree of success determines whether you moved your audience and whether you were rewarded with applause or rotten fruit.
The following examples show the kinds of tasks your character might take on to Earn Income during low-level and high-level play.
A 3rd-level ranger and an expert at harvesting and brewing tea has a Tea Lore modifier of +7. He has 30 days of downtime at his disposal and decides to work at a prestigious local tea house. The GM decides this is a 5th-level task if he wants to assist the tea master, or a 2nd-level task if he wants to serve tea.
He chooses the tougher task, and the GM secretly sets the DC at 20.
He rolls a 4 on his Tea Lore check for a result of 11.
He has failed! He earns only 2 sp for his efforts and continues working for 3 more days, for a total of 8 sp.
At that point, the GM offers him a choice: either he can finish out the week with the tea master and look for a new job, or he can lower his ambitions and serve in the tea house. Now, more aware of his own capabilities, he accepts the less prestigious job for now.
He moves to his new job and attempts a new Tea Lore check against DC 16. Rolling a 19, he gets a result of 26—a critical success! He earns 5 sp per day (like a success at a 3rd-level task). The GM rules that demand will be high enough that he can work there for the remainder of his downtime if he so chooses, a total of 26 days. He accepts and earns a total of 138 sp (13 gp, 8 sp) that month.
A 16th-level bard is legendary with his flute. He has a Performance modifier of +31 with his enchanted flute. With 30 days of downtime ahead of him, Lem wonders if he can find something that might excite him more than performing in front of a bunch of stuffy nobles.
He finds a momentous offer indeed—a performance in a celestial realm, and he learns his goddess might even be in attendance! This is a 20th-level task, and the GM secretly sets the DC at 40.
He rolls an 11 on his Performance check for a result of 42. Success! The engagement lasts for a week, and at the end, the grateful celestials present him with a beautiful living diamond rose in constant bloom worth 1,400 gold pieces (200 gp per day for 7 days).
With 23 days of downtime left, he accepts a 14th-level task performing at a prestigious bardic college for members of a royal court. The GM secretly sets the DC at 32, and he critically succeeds, earning 28 gp per day for a total of 644 gp. Between the two performances, he has earned just over 2,000 gold pieces during his downtime—though he’s not sure he’ll ever sell that rose.
Identify Magic (Trained)
Using the skill related to the appropriate tradition, as explained in Magical Traditions and Skills, you can attempt to identify a magical item, location, or ongoing effect. In many cases, you can use a skill to attempt to Identify Magic of a tradition other than your own at a higher DC. The GM determines whether you can do this and what the DC is.
Concentrate Exploration Secret
Once you discover that an item, location, or ongoing effect is magical, you can spend 10 minutes to try to identify the particulars of its magic. If your attempt is interrupted, you must start over. The GM sets the DC for your check. Cursed or esoteric subjects usually have higher DCs or might even be impossible to identify using this activity alone. Heightening a spell doesn’t increase the DC to identify it.
- Critical Success You learn all the attributes of the magic, including its name (for an effect), what it does, any means of activating it (for an item or location), and whether it is cursed.
- Success For an item or location, you get a sense of what it does and learn any means of activating it. For an ongoing effect (such as a spell with a duration), you learn the effect’s name and what it does. You can’t try again in hopes of getting a critical success.
- Failure You fail to identify the magic and can’t try again for 1 day.
- Critical Failure You misidentify the magic as something else of the GM’s choice.
Magical Traditions and Skills
Each magical tradition has a corresponding skill, as shown on the table below. You must have the trained proficiency rank in a skill to use it to Identify Magic or Learn a Spell.
Something without a specific tradition, such as an item with the magical trait, can be identified using any of these skills.
|Magical Tradition||Corresponding Skill|
Learn a Spell (Trained)
If you’re a spellcaster, you can use the skill corresponding to your magical tradition to learn a new spell of that tradition. Table 4–3: Learning a Spell lists the Price of the materials needed to Learn a Spell of each level.
Learn a Spell
Requirements You have a spellcasting class feature, and the spell you want to learn is on your magical tradition’s spell list.
You can gain access to a new spell of your tradition from someone who knows that spell or from magical writing like a spellbook or scroll. If you can cast spells of multiple traditions, you can Learn a Spell of any of those traditions, but you must use the corresponding skill to do so. For example, if you were a cleric with the bard multiclass archetype, you couldn’t use Religion to add an occult spell to your bardic spell repertoire.
To learn the spell, you must do the following:
- Spend 1 hour per level of the spell, during which you must remain in conversation with a person who knows the spell or have the magical writing in your possession.
- Have materials with the Price indicated in Table 4–3.
- Attempt a skill check for the skill corresponding to your tradition (DC determined by the GM, often close to the DC on Table 4–3). Uncommon or rare spells have higher DCs.
If you have a spellbook, Learning a Spell lets you add the spell to your spellbook; if you prepare spells from a list, it’s added to your list; if you have a spell repertoire, you can select it when you add or swap spells.
- Critical Success You expend half the materials and learn the spell.
- Success You expend the materials and learn the spell.
- Failure You fail to learn the spell but can try again after you gain a level. The materials aren’t expended.
- Critical Failure As failure, plus you expend half the materials.
|Your Level||Spell Level|
|1st or cantrip||2 gp||15|
Recall Knowledge (Untrained)
To remember useful information on a topic, you can attempt to Recall Knowledge. You might know basic information about something without needing to attempt a check, but Recall Knowledge requires you to stop and think for a moment so you can recollect more specific facts and apply them. You might even need to spend time investigating first. For instance, to use Medicine to learn the cause of death, you might need to conduct a forensic examination before attempting to Recall Knowledge.
Recall Knowledge [one-action]
You attempt a skill check to try to remember a bit of knowledge regarding a topic related to that skill. The GM determines the DCs for such checks and which skills apply.
Critical Success You recall the knowledge accurately and gain additional information or context.
Success You recall the knowledge accurately or gain a useful clue about your current situation.
Critical Failure You recall incorrect information or gain an erroneous or misleading clue.
The following skills can be used to Recall Knowledge, getting information about the listed topics. In some cases, you can get the GM’s permission to use a different but related skill, usually against a higher DC than normal. Some topics might appear on multiple lists, but the skills could give different information. For example, Arcana might tell you about the magical defenses of a golem, whereas Crafting could tell you about its sturdy resistance to physical attacks.
- Arcana: Arcane theories, magical traditions, creatures of arcane significance, and arcane planes.
- Crafting: Alchemical reactions and creatures, item value, engineering, unusual materials, and constructs.
- Lore: The subject of the Lore skill’s subcategory.
- Medicine: Diseases, poisons, wounds, and forensics.
- Nature: The environment, flora, geography, weather, creatures of natural origin, and natural planes.
- Occultism: Ancient mysteries, obscure philosophy, creatures of occult significance, and esoteric planes.
- Religion: Divine agents, divine planes, theology, obscure myths, and creatures of religious significance.
- Society: Local history, key personalities, legal institutions, societal structure, and humanoid culture.
The GM might allow checks to Recall Knowledge using other skills. For example, you might assess the skill of an acrobat using Acrobatics. If you’re using a physical skill (like in this example), the GM will most likely have you use a mental ability score—typically Intelligence — instead of the skill’s normal physical ability score.
Recall Knowledge Tasks
- Untrained name of a ruler, key noble, or major deity
- Trained line of succession for a major noble family, core doctrines of a major deity
- Expert genealogy of a minor noble, teachings of an ancient priest
- Master hierarchy of a genie noble court, major extraplanar temples of a deity
- Legendary existence of a long-lost noble heir, secret doctrines of a religion
You try to provide food and shelter for yourself, and possibly others as well.
The GM determines the DC based on the nature of the place where you’re trying to Subsist. You might need a minimum proficiency rank to Subsist in particularly strange environments.
Unlike most downtime activities, you can Subsist after 8 hours or less of exploration, but if you do, you take a –5 penalty.
- Critical Success You either provide a subsistence living for yourself and one additional creature, or you improve your own food and shelter, granting yourself a comfortable living.
- Success You find enough food and shelter with basic protection from the elements to provide you a subsistence living.
- Failure You’re exposed to the elements and don’t get enough food, becoming fatigued until you attain sufficient food and shelter.
- Critical Failure You attract trouble, eat something you shouldn’t, or otherwise worsen your situation. You take a –2 circumstance penalty to checks to Subsist for 1 week. You don’t find any food at all; if you don’t have any stored up, you’re in danger of starving or dying of thirst if you continue failing.
Sample Subsist Tasks
- Untrained lush forest with calm weather or large city with plentiful resources
- Trained typical hillside or village
- Expert typical mountains or insular hamlet
- Master typical desert or city under siege
- Legendary barren wasteland or city of undead
|Skill||Key Ability||Untrained Actions||Trained Actions|
|Acrobatics||Dexterity||Balance [one-action], Tumble Through [one-action]||Maneuver in Flight [one-action], SqueezeE|
|Arcana||Intelligence||Recall KnowledgeG [one-action]||Borrow an Arcane SpellE, Decipher WritingE,G, Identify MagicE,G, Learn a SpellE,G|
|Athletics||Strength||Climb [one-action], Force Open [one-action], Grapple [one-action], High Jump [two-actions], Long Jump [two-actions], Shove [one-action], Swim [one-action], Trip [one-action]||Disarm [one-action]|
|Crafting||Intelligence||Recall KnowledgeG [one-action], RepairE||CraftD, Earn IncomeD,G, Identify AlchemyE|
|Deception||Charisma||Create a Diversion [one-action], ImpersonateE, Lie||Feint [one-action]|
|Diplomacy||Charisma||Gather InformationE, Make an ImpressionE, Request [one-action]|
|Intimidation||Charisma||CoerceE, Demoralize [one-action]|
|Lore||Intelligence||Recall KnowledgeG [one-action]||Earn IncomeD,G|
|Medicine||Wisdom||Administer First Aid[two-actions], Recall KnowledgeG [one-action]||Treat DiseaseD, Treat Poison [one-action], Treat DiseaseD, Treat WoundsE|
|Nature||Wisdom||Command an Animal [one-action], Recall KnowledgeG [one-action]||Identify MagicE,G, Learn a SpellE,G|
|Occultism||Intelligence||Recall KnowledgeG [one-action]||Decipher WritingE,G, Identify MagicE,G, Learn a SpellE,G|
|Performance||Charisma||Perform [one-action]||Earn IncomeD,G|
|Religion||Wisdom||Recall KnowledgeG [one-action]||Decipher WritingE,G, Identify MagicE,G, Learn a SpellE,G|
|Society||Intelligence||Recall KnowledgeG [one-action], Subsist D||Create ForgeryD,G Decipher WritingE,G|
|Stealth||Dexterity||Conceal an Object [one-action], Hide [one-action], Sneak [one-action]|
|Survival||Wisdom||Sense DirectionE, SubsistD,G||Cover TracksE, TrackE|
|Thievery||Dexterity||Palm an Object [one-action], Steal [one-action]||Disable A Device [two-actions], Pick a Lock [two-actions]|
D This skill action can be used only during downtime.
E This skill action is used during exploration.
G This is a general skill action.
The following entries describe the skills in the game. The heading for each entry provides the skill’s name, with that skill’s key ability in parentheses. A brief description of the skill is followed by a list of actions you can use if you’re untrained in that skill, and then the actions you can perform if you are trained in that skill. Some actions list sample tasks for each rank to give you a better sense of what you can accomplish as your proficiency increases. As the actions of a skill aren’t comprehensive, there may be times when the GM asks you to attempt a skill check without using any of the listed actions, or times when the GM asks you to roll using a different key ability modifier.
Most skills include entries for success and failure, as well as descriptions of what occurs on a critical success or a critical failure. If either of the critical entries is absent, treat those results as a success or failure, as normal.
Acrobatics measures your ability to perform tasks requiring coordination and grace. When you use the Escape basic action, you can use your Acrobatics modifier instead of your unarmed attack modifier.
Requirements You are in a square that contains a narrow surface, uneven ground, or another similar feature.
You move across a narrow surface or uneven ground, attempting an Acrobatics check against its Balance DC. You are flat-footed while on a narrow surface or uneven ground.
- Critical Success You move up to your Speed.
- Success You move up to your Speed, treating it as difficult terrain (every 5 feet costs 10 feet of movement).
- Failure You must remain stationary to keep your balance (wasting the action) or you fall. If you fall, your turn ends.
- Critical Failure You fall and your turn ends.
Sample Acrobatics Tasks
- Untrained tangled roots, uneven cobblestones
- Trained wooden beam
- Expert deep, loose gravel
- Master tightrope, smooth sheet of ice
- Legendary razor’s edge, chunks of floor falling in midair
Tumble Through [one-action]
You Stride up to your Speed. During this movement, you can try to move through the space of one enemy. Attempt an Acrobatics check against the enemy’s Reflex DC as soon as you try to enter its space. You can Tumble Through using Climb, Fly, Swim, or another action instead of Stride in the appropriate environment.
- Success You move through the enemy’s space, treating the squares in its space as difficult terrain (every 5 feet costs 10 feet of movement). If you don’t have enough Speed to move all the way through its space, you get the same effect as a failure.
- Failure Your movement ends, and you trigger reactions as if you had moved out of the square you started in.
Acrobatics Trained Actions
Maneuver in Flight [one-action]
Requirements You have a fly Speed.
You try a difficult maneuver while flying. Attempt an Acrobatics check. The GM determines what maneuvers are possible, but they rarely allow you to move farther than your fly Speed.
- Success You succeed at the maneuver.
- Failure Your maneuver fails. The GM chooses if you simply can’t move or if some other detrimental effect happens. The outcome should be appropriate for the maneuver you attempted (for instance, being blown off course if you were trying to fly against a strong wind).
- Critical Failure As failure, but the consequence is more dire.
Sample Maneuver in Flight Tasks
- Trained steep ascent or descent
- Expert fly against the wind, hover midair
- Master reverse direction
- Legendary fly through gale force winds
You contort yourself to squeeze through a space so small you can barely fit through. This action is for exceptionally small spaces; many tight spaces are difficult terrain that you can move through more quickly and without a check.
- Critical Success You squeeze through the tight space in 1 minute per 10 feet of squeezing.
- Success You squeeze through in 1 minute per 5 feet.
- Critical Failure You become stuck in the tight space. While you’re stuck, you can spend 1 minute attempting another Acrobatics check at the same DC. Any result on that check other than a critical failure causes you to become unstuck.
Sample Squeeze Tasks
- Trained space barely fitting your shoulders
- Master space barely fitting your head
Arcana measures how much you know about arcane magic and creatures. Even if you’re untrained, you can Recall Knowledge.
Recall Knowledge about arcane theories; magic traditions; creatures of arcane significance (like dragons and beasts); and the Elemental, Astral, and Shadow Planes.
Arcana Trained Actions
You must be trained in Arcana to use it for the following general skill actions.
- Decipher Writing about arcane theory.
- Identify Magic, particularly arcane magic.
- Learn a Spell from the arcane tradition.
Borrow an Arcane Spell
If you’re an arcane spellcaster who prepares from a spellbook, you can attempt to prepare a spell from someone else’s spellbook. The GM sets the DC for the check based on the spell’s level and rarity; it’s typically a bit easier than Learning the Spell.
- Success You prepare the borrowed spell as part of your normal spell preparation.
- Failure You fail to prepare the spell, but the spell slot remains available for you to prepare a different spell. You can’t try to prepare this spell until the next time you prepare spells.
Requirements You have both hands free.
You move up, down, or across an incline. Unless it’s particularly easy, you must attempt an Athletics check. The GM determines the DC based on the nature of the incline and environmental circumstances. You’re flat-footed unless you have a climb Speed.
- Critical Success You move up, across, or safely down the incline for 5 feet plus 5 feet per 20 feet of your land Speed (a total of 10 feet for most PCs).
- Success You move up, across, or safely down the incline for 5 feet per 20 feet of your land Speed (a total of 5 feet for most PCs, minimum 5 feet if your Speed is below 20 feet).
- Critical Failure You fall. If you began the climb on stable ground, you fall and land prone.
Sample Athletics Tasks
- Untrained ladder, steep slope, low-branched tree
- Trained rigging, rope, typical tree
- Expert wall with small handholds and footholds
- Master ceiling with handholds and footholds, rock wall
- Legendary smooth surface
This table provides a quick reference for how far you can move with a Climb or Swim action.
|Climb Distance||Swim Distance||Speed||Success||Critical Success||Critical|
Force Open [one-action]
Using your body, a lever, or some other tool, you attempt to forcefully open a door, window, container or heavy gate.
With a high enough result, you can even smash through walls.
Without a crowbar, prying something open takes a –2 item penalty to the Athletics check to Force Open.
- Critical Success You open the door, window, container, or gate and can avoid damaging it in the process.
- Success You break the door, window, container, or gate open, and the door, window, container, or gate gains the broken condition. If it’s especially sturdy, the GM might have it take damage but not be broken.
- Critical Failure Your attempt jams the door, window, container, or gate shut, imposing a –2 circumstance penalty on future attempts to Force it Open.
Sample Force Open Tasks
- Untrained fabric, flimsy glass
- Trained ice, sturdy glass
- Expert flimsy wooden door, wooden portcullis Master sturdy wooden door, iron portcullis, metal bar
- Legendary stone or iron door
Requirements You have at least one free hand. Your target cannot be more than one size larger than you.
You attempt to grab an opponent with your free hand.
You can also Grapple to keep your hold on a creature you already grabbed.
- Critical Success Your opponent is restrained until the end of your next turn unless you move or your opponent Escapes.
- Success Your opponent is grabbed until the end of your next turn unless you move or your opponent Escapes.
- Failure You fail to grab your opponent. If you already had the opponent grabbed or restrained using a Grapple, those conditions on that creature end.
- Critical Failure If you already had the opponent grabbed or restrained, it breaks free. Your target can either grab you, as if it succeeded at using the Grapple action against you, or force you to fall and land prone.
High Jump [two-actions]
You Stride, then make a vertical Leap and attempt a DC 30
Athletics check to increase the height of your jump. If you didn’t Stride at least 10 feet, you automatically fail your check.
This DC might be increased or decreased due to the situation, as determined by the GM.
- Critical Success Increase the maximum vertical distance to 8 feet, or increase the maximum vertical distance to 5 feet and maximum horizontal distance to 10 feet.
- Success Increase the maximum vertical distance to 5 feet.
- Failure You Leap normally.
- Critical Failure You don’t Leap at all, and instead you fall prone in your space.
The Leap basic action is used for High Jump and Long Jump. Leap lets you take a careful, short jump. You can Leap up to 10 feet horizontally if your Speed is at least 15 feet, or up to 15 feet horizontally if your Speed is at least 30 feet. You land in the space where your Leap ends (meaning you can typically clear a 5-foot gap if your Speed is between 15 feet and 30 feet, or a 10-foot gap if your Speed is 30 feet or more). If you make a vertical Leap, you can move up to 3 feet vertically and 5 feet horizontally onto an elevated surface.
Long Jump [two-actions]
You Stride, then make a horizontal Leap and attempt an Athletics check to increase the length of your jump. The DC of the Athletics check is equal to the total distance in feet you’re attempting to move during your Leap (so you’d need to succeed at a DC 20 check to Leap 20 feet). You can’t Leap farther than your Speed.
If you didn’t Stride at least 10 feet, or if you attempt to jump in a different direction than your Stride, you automatically fail your check. This DC might be increased or decreased due to the situation, as determined by the GM.
- Success Increase the maximum horizontal distance you Leap to the desired distance.
- Failure You Leap normally.
- Critical Failure You Leap normally, but then fall and land prone.
Requirements You have at least one hand free. The target can’t be more than one size larger than you.
- Critical Success You push your opponent up to 10 feet away from you. You can Stride after it, but you must move the same distance and in the same direction.
- Success You push your opponent back 5 feet. You can Stride after it, but you must move the same distance and in the same direction.
- Critical Failure You lose your balance, fall, and land prone.
The Shove action can force a creature to move. When an effect forces you to move, or if you start falling, the distance you move is defined by the effect that moved you, not by your Speed. Because you’re not acting to move, this doesn’t trigger reactions triggered by movement.
You propel yourself through water. In most calm water, you succeed at the action without needing to attempt a check. If you must breathe air and you’re submerged in water, you must hold your breath each round. If you fail to hold your breath, you begin to drown. If the water you are swimming in is turbulent or otherwise dangerous, you might have to attempt an Athletics check to Swim.
If you end your turn in water and haven’t succeeded at a Swim action that turn, you sink 10 feet or get moved by the current, as determined by the GM. However, if your last action on your turn was to enter the water, you don’t sink or move with the current that turn.
- Critical Success You move through the water 10 feet, plus 5 feet per 20 feet of your land Speed (a total of 15 feet for most PCs).
- Success You move through the water 5 feet, plus 5 feet per 20 feet of your land Speed (a total of 10 feet for most PCs).
- Critical Failure You make no progress, and if you’re holding your breath, you lose 1 round of air.
Sample Swim Tasks
- Untrained lake or other still water
- Trained flowing water, like a river
- Expert swiftly flowing river
- Master stormy sea
- Legendary maelstrom, waterfall
Requirements You have at least one hand free. Your target can’t be more than one size larger than you.
When you fall more than 5 feet, you take falling damage when you land, which is bludgeoning damage equal to half the distance you fell. If you take any damage from a fall, you’re knocked prone when you land.
If you fall into water, snow, or another soft substance, calculate the damage from the fall as though your fall were 20 feet shorter. The reduction can’t be greater than the depth of the water (so when falling into water that is only 10 feet deep, you treat the fall as 10 feet shorter).
You can Grab an Edge as a reaction to reduce or eliminate the damage from some falls.
- Critical Success The target falls and lands prone and takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage.
- Success The target falls and lands prone.
- Critical Failure You lose your balance and fall and land prone.
Athletics Trained Action
Requirements You have at least one hand free. The target can’t be more than one size larger than you.
You try to knock something out of an opponent’s grasp.
- Critical Success You knock the item out of the opponent’s grasp. It falls to the ground in the opponent’s space.
- Success You weaken your opponent’s grasp on the item. Until the start of that creature’s turn, attempts to Disarm the opponent of that item gain a +2 circumstance bonus, and the target takes a –2 circumstance penalty to attacks with the item or other checks requiring a firm grasp on the item.
- Critical Failure You lose your balance and become flat-footed until the start of your next turn.
You can use this skill to create, understand, and repair items.
Even if you’re untrained, you can Recall Knowledge.
Recall Knowledge about alchemical reactions, the value of items, engineering, unusual materials, and alchemical or mechanical creatures. The GM determines which creatures this applies to, but it usually includes constructs.
Requirements You have a repair kit.
You spend 10 minutes attempting to fix a damaged item, placing the item on a stable surface and using the repair kit with both hands. The GM sets the DC, but it’s usually about the same DC to Repair a given item as it is to Craft it in the first place. You can’t Repair a destroyed item.
- Critical Success You restore 10 Hit Points to the item, plus an additional 10 Hit Points per proficiency rank you have in Crafting (a total of 20 HP if you’re trained, 30 HP if you’re an expert, 40 HP if you’re a master, or 50 HP if you’re legendary).
- Success You restore 5 Hit Points to the item, plus an additional 5 per proficiency rank you have in Crafting (for a total of 10 HP if you are trained, 15 HP if you’re an expert, 20 HP if you’re a master, or 25 HP if you’re legendary).
- Critical Failure You deal 2d6 damage to the item. Apply the item’s Hardness to this damage.
Crafting Trained Actions
You must be trained in Crafting to use it to Earn Income.
Earn Income by crafting goods for the market.
You can make an item from raw materials. You need the Alchemical Crafting skill feat to create alchemical items, the Magical Crafting skill feat to create magic items, and the Snare Crafting feat to create snares.
To Craft an item, you must meet the following requirements:
- The item is your level or lower. an item that doesn’t list a level is level 0. If the item is 9th level or higher, you must be a master in Crafting, and if it’s 16th or higher, you must be legendary.
- You have the formula for the item; see Getting Formulas below for more information.
- You have an appropriate set of tools and, in many cases, a workshop. For example, you need access to a smithy to forge a metal shield.
- You must supply raw materials worth at least half the item’s Price. You always expend at least that amount of raw materials when you Craft successfully. If you’re in a settlement, you can usually spend currency to get the amount of raw materials you need, except in the case of rarer Precious materials.
You must spend 4 days at work, at which point you attempt a Crafting check. The GM determines the DC to Craft the item based on its level, rarity, and other circumstances.
If your attempt to create the item is successful, you expend the raw materials you supplied. You can pay the remaining portion of the item’s Price in materials to complete the item immediately, or you can spend additional downtime days working on it. For each additional day you spend, reduce the value of the materials you need to expend to complete the item. This amount is determined using Table 4–2: Income Earned, based on your proficiency rank in Crafting and using your own level instead of a task level. After any of these downtime days, you can complete the item by spending the remaining portion of its Price in materials. If the downtime days you spend are interrupted, you can return to finish the item later, continuing where you left off. an example of Crafting appears in the sidebar.
- Critical Success Your attempt is successful. Each additional day spent Crafting reduces the materials needed to complete the item by an amount based on your level + 1 and your proficiency rank in Crafting.
- Success Your attempt is successful. Each additional day spent Crafting reduces the materials needed to complete the item by an amount based on your level and your proficiency rank.
- Failure You fail to complete the item. You can salvage the raw materials you supplied for their full value. If you want to try again, you must start over.
- Critical Failure You fail to complete the item. You ruin 10% of the raw materials you supplied, but you can salvage the rest. If you want to try again, you must start over.
Consumables and Ammunition
You can Craft items with the consumable trait in batches, making up to four of the same item at once with a single check. This requires you to include the raw materials for all the items in the batch at the start, and you must complete the batch all at once. You also Craft non-magical ammunition in batches, using the quantity listed in Table 6–8: Ranged Weapons (typically 10).
You can gain access to the formulas for all common items in Equipment by purchasing a basic crafter’s book. See the rules for information on how to acquire other formulas.
A 5th-level wizard is an expert in Crafting. He has a Crafting modifier of +13 and the Magical Crafting feat. With 2 weeks of downtime ahead of him, he decides to craft a Striking Rune, a 4th-level item. The GM secretly chooses a DC of 19.
The item has a Price of 65 gp, so he prepares 32 gp, 5 sp worth of raw materials. He has another 32 gp, 5 sp worth of raw materials on hand. After spending 4 days building and incanting spells, he rolls a 12 on his Crafting check, for a result of 25. That’s a success! At this point, he can spend the additional 32 gp, 5 sp worth of materials to complete the item immediately for 65 gp.
However, he has 10 more days on his hands, so he decides to spend additional time to complete the item.
Because he’s a 5th-level character and an expert at Crafting, he reduces the amount he has to pay by 1 gp for each day spent. After spending 10 days working, he reduces the cost to complete the item from 65 gp to 55 gp. He spends the remaining portion of its Price in materials, completes the Striking Rune, and goes out on his next adventure. (He could have stayed home to keep working on the Striking Rune, eventually reducing the item’s total Price to just the half he paid up front, but adventuring is far more lucrative!)
If his Crafting check result were a 29 or higher, he’d have gotten a critical success. In that case, he’d reduce the remaining amount by 2 gp per day, lowering the amount needed to complete the item after 10 additional days of work to 45 gp.
Concentrate Exploration Secret
Requirements You have alchemist’s tools.
You can identify the nature of an alchemical item with 10 minutes of testing using alchemist’s tools. If your attempt is interrupted in any way, you must start over.
- Success You identify the item and the means of activating it.
- Failure You fail to identify the item but can try again.
- Critical Failure You misidentify the item as another item of the GM’s choice.
You can trick and mislead others using disguises, lies, and other forms of subterfuge.
Create a Diversion [one-action]
With a gesture, a trick, or some distracting words, you can create a diversion that draws creatures’ attention elsewhere.
If you use a gesture or trick, this action gains the manipulate trait. If you use distracting words, it gains the auditory and linguistic traits.
Attempt a single Deception check and compare it to the Perception DCs of the creatures whose attention you’re trying to divert. Whether or not you succeed, creatures you attempt to divert gain a +4 circumstance bonus to their Perception DCs against your attempts to Create a Diversion for 1 minute.
- Success You become hidden to each creature whose Perception DC is less than or equal to your result. (The hidden condition allows you to Sneak away.) This lasts until the end of your turn or until you do anything except Step or use the Hide or the Sneak action of the Stealth skill. If you Strike a creature, the creature remains flat?footed against that attack, and you then become observed. If you do anything else, you become observed just before you act unless the GM determines otherwise.
- Failure You don’t divert the attention of any creatures whose Perception DC exceeds your result, and those creatures are aware you were trying to trick them.
Concentrate Exploration Manipulate Secret
You create a disguise to pass yourself off as someone or something you are not. Assembling a convincing disguise takes 10 minutes and requires a disguise kit, but a simpler, quicker disguise might do the job if you’re not trying to imitate a specific individual, at the GM’s discretion.
In most cases, creatures have a chance to detect your deception only if they use the Seek action to attempt Perception checks against your Deception DC. If you attempt to directly interact with someone while disguised, the GM rolls a secret Deception check for you against that creature’s Perception DC instead. If you’re disguised as a specific individual, the GM might give creatures you interact with a circumstance bonus based on how well they know the person you’re imitating, or the GM might roll a secret Deception check even if you aren’t directly interacting with others.
- Success You trick the creature into thinking you’re the person you’re disguised as. You might have to attempt a new check if your behavior changes.
- Failure The creature can tell you’re not who you claim to be.
- Critical Failure The creature can tell you’re not who you claim to be, and it recognizes you if it would know you without a disguise.
Auditory Concentrate Linguistic Mental Secret
You try to fool someone with an untruth. Doing so takes at least 1 round, or longer if the lie is elaborate. You roll a single Deception check and compare it against the Perception DC of every creature you are trying to fool. The GM might give them a circumstance bonus based on the situation and the nature of the lie you are trying to tell. Elaborate or highly unbelievable lies are much harder to get a creature to believe than simpler and more believable lies, and some lies are so big that it’s impossible to get anyone to believe them.
At the GM’s discretion, if a creature initially believes your lie, it might attempt a Perception check later to Sense Motive against your Deception DC to realize it’s a lie. This usually happens if the creature discovers enough evidence to counter your statements.
- Success The target believes your lie.
- Failure The target doesn’t believe your lie and gains a +4 circumstance bonus against your attempts to Lie for the duration of your conversation. The target is also more likely to be suspicious of you in the future.
Deception Trained Action
Requirements You are within melee reach of the opponent you attempt to Feint.
- Critical Success You throw your enemy’s defenses against you entirely off. The target is flat-footed against melee attacks that you attempt against it until the end of your next turn.
- Success Your foe is fooled, but only momentarily. The target is flat-footed against the next melee attack that you attempt against it before the end of your current turn.
- Critical Failure Your feint backfires. You are flat-footed against melee attacks the target attempts against you until the end of your next turn.
You influence others through negotiation and flattery.
You canvass local markets, taverns, and gathering places in an attempt to learn about a specific individual or topic. The GM determines the DC of the check and the amount of time it takes (typically 2 hours, but sometimes more), along with any benefit you might be able to gain by spending coin on bribes, drinks, or gifts.
- Success You collect information about the individual or topic. The GM determines the specifics.
- Critical Failure You collect incorrect information about the individual or topic.
Sample Gather Information Tasks
- Untrained talk of the town
- Trained common rumor
- Expert obscure rumor, poorly guarded secret
- Master well-guarded or esoteric information
- Legendary information known only to an incredibly select few, or only to extraordinary beings
Make an Impression
Auditory Concentrate Exploration Linguistic Mental
With at least 1 minute of conversation, during which you engage in charismatic overtures, flattery, and other acts of goodwill, you seek to make a good impression on someone to make them temporarily agreeable. At the end of the conversation, attempt a Diplomacy check against the Will DC of one target, modified by any circumstances the GM sees fit. Good impressions (or bad impressions, on a critical failure) last for only the current social interaction unless the GM decides otherwise.
- Critical Success The target’s attitude toward you improves by two steps.
- Success The target’s attitude toward you improves by one step.
- Critical Failure The target’s attitude toward you decreases by one step.
Your influence on NPCs is measured with a set of attitudes that reflect how they view your character. These are only a brief summary of a creature’s disposition. The GM will supply additional nuance based on the history and beliefs of the characters you’re interacting with, and their attitudes can change in accordance with the story.
The attitudes are detailed in the Conditions Appendix and are summarized here.
- Helpful: Willing to help you and responds favorably to your requests.
- Friendly: Has a good attitude toward you, but won’t necessarily stick their neck out to help you.
- Indifferent: Doesn’t care about you either way. (Most NPCs start out indifferent.)
- Unfriendly: Dislikes you and doesn’t want to help you.
- Hostile: Actively works against you—and might attack you just because of their dislike.
No one can ever change the attitude of a player character with these skills. You can roleplay interactions with player characters, and even use Diplomacy results if the player wants a mechanical sense of how convincing or charming a character is, but players make the ultimate decisions about how their characters respond.
Auditory Concentrate Linguistic Mental
You can make a request of a creature that’s friendly or helpful to you. You must couch the request in terms that the target would accept given their current attitude toward you. The GM sets the DC based on the difficulty of the request. Some requests are unsavory or impossible, and even a helpful NPC would never agree to them.
- Critical Success The target agrees to your request without qualifications.
- Success The target agrees to your request, but they might demand added provisions or alterations to the request.
- Failure The target refuses the request, though they might propose an alternative that is less extreme.
- Critical Failure Not only does the target refuse the request, but their attitude toward you decreases by one step due to the temerity of the request.
You bend others to your will using threats.
Auditory Concentrate Emotion Exploration Linguistic Mental
With threats either veiled or overt, you attempt to bully a creature into doing what you want. You must spend at least 1 minute of conversation with a creature you can see and that can either see or sense you. At the end of the conversation, attempt an Intimidation check against the target’s Will DC, modified by any circumstances the GM determines. The attitudes referenced in the effects below are summarized in the Changing Attitudes sidebar and described in full in Conditions.
- Critical Success The target gives you the information you seek or agrees to follow your directives so long as they aren’t likely to harm the target in any way. The target continues to comply for an amount of time determined by the GM but not exceeding 1 day, at which point the target becomes unfriendly (if they weren’t already unfriendly or hostile). However, the target is too scared of you to retaliate—at least in the short term.
- Success As critical success, but once the target becomes unfriendly, they might decide to act against you—for example, by reporting you to the authorities or assisting your enemies.
- Failure The target doesn’t do what you say, and if they were not already unfriendly or hostile, they become unfriendly.
- Critical Failure The target refuses to comply, becomes hostile if they weren’t already, and can’t be Coerced by you for at least 1 week.
Auditory Concentrate Emotion Mental
With a sudden shout, a well-timed taunt, or a cutting put-down, you can shake an enemy’s resolve. Choose a creature within 30 feet of you who you’re aware of. Attempt an Intimidation check against that target’s Will DC. If the target does not understand the language you are speaking, you’re not speaking a language, or they can’t hear you, you take a –4 circumstance penalty to the check. Regardless of your result, the target is temporarily immune to your attempts to Demoralize it for 10 minutes.
- Critical Success The target becomes frightened 2.
- Success The target becomes frightened 1.
You have specialized information on a narrow topic.
Lore features many subcategories. You might have Military Lore, Sailing Lore, Vampire Lore, or any similar subcategory of the skill. Each subcategory counts as its own skill, so applying a skill increase to Planar Lore wouldn’t increase your proficiency with Sailing Lore, for example.
You gain a specific subcategory of the Lore skill from your background. The GM determines what other subcategories they’ll allow as Lore skills, though these categories are always less broad than any of the other skills that allow you to Recall Knowledge, and they should never be able to fully or mainly take the place of another skill’s Recall Knowledge action. For instance, Magic Lore wouldn’t enable you to recall the same breadth of knowledge covered by Arcana, Adventuring Lore wouldn’t simply give you all the information an adventurer needs, and Planar Lore would not be sufficient to gain all the information spread across various skills and subcategories such as Heaven Lore.
If you have multiple subcategories of Lore that could apply to a check or that would overlap with another skill in the circumstances, you can use the skill with the better skill modifier or the one you would prefer to use. If there’s any doubt whether a Lore skill applies to a specific topic or action, the GM decides whether it can be used or not.
Even if you’re untrained in Lore, you can use it to Recall Knowledge.
Recall Knowledge about the subject of your Lore skill’s subcategory.
Common Lore Subcategories
Backgrounds often grant you a Lore from this list.
- Academia Lore
- Accounting Lore
- Architecture Lore
- Art Lore
- Circus Lore
- Engineering Lore
- Farming Lore
- Fishing Lore
- Fortune-Telling Lore
- Games Lore
- Genealogy Lore
- Gladiatorial Lore
- Guild Lore
- Heraldry Lore
- Herbalism Lore
- Hunting Lore
- Labor Lore
- Legal Lore
- Library Lore
- Lore about a specific deity
- Lore about a specific creature or narrow category of creatures (Demon Lore, Owlbear Lore, Vampire Lore, etc.)
- Lore of a specific plane other than the Material Plane, or the plane in which the game is set if not the Material Plane (Abyss Lore, Astral Plane Lore, Heaven Lore, etc.)
- Lore about a specific settlement
- Lore about a specific terrain (Mountain Lore, River Lore, etc.)
- Lore of a type of food or drink (Alcohol Lore, Baking Lore, Butchering Lore, Cooking Lore, Tea Lore, etc.)
- Mercantile Lore
- Midwifery Lore
- Milling Lore
- Mining Lore
- Sailing Lore
- Scouting Lore
- Scribing Lore
- Stabling Lore
- Tanning Lore
- Theater Lore
- Underworld Lore
- Warfare Lore
Lore Trained Action
You must be trained in Lore to use it to Earn Income.
Earn Income by using your knowledge to practice a trade.
You can patch up wounds and help people recover from diseases and poisons. Even if you’re untrained in Medicine, you can use it to Recall Knowledge.
Recall Knowledge about diseases, injuries, poisons, and other ailments. You can use this to perform forensic examinations if you spend 10 minutes (or more, as determined by the GM) checking for evidence such as wound patterns. This is most useful when determining how a body was injured or killed.
Administer First Aid [two-actions]
Requirements You have healer’s tools.
You perform first aid on an adjacent creature that is dying or bleeding. If a creature is both dying and bleeding, choose which ailment you’re trying to treat before you roll. You can Administer First Aid again to attempt to remedy the other effect.
- Stabilize Attempt a Medicine check on a creature that has 0 Hit Points and the dying condition. The DC is equal to 5 + that creature’s recovery roll DC (typically 15 + its dying value).
- Stop Bleeding Attempt a Medicine check on a creature that is taking persistent bleed damage, giving them a chance to make another flat check to remove the persistent damage. The DC is usually the DC of the effect that caused the bleed.
- Success If you’re trying to stabilize, the creature loses the dying condition (but remains unconscious). If you’re trying to stop bleeding, the creature attempts a flat check to end the bleeding.
- Critical Failure If you were trying to stabilize, the creature’s dying value increases by 1. If you were trying to stop bleeding, it immediately takes an amount of damage equal to its persistent bleed damage.
Medicine Trained Actions
Requirements You have healer’s tools.
You spend at least 8 hours caring for a diseased creature. Attempt a Medicine check against the disease’s DC. After you attempt to Treat a Disease for a creature, you can’t try again until after that creature’s next save against the disease.
- Critical Success You grant the creature a +4 circumstance bonus to its next saving throw against the disease.
- Success You grant the creature a +2 circumstance bonus to its next saving throw against the disease.
- Critical Failure Your efforts cause the creature to take a –2 circumstance penalty to its next save against the disease.
Treat Poison [one-action]
Requirements You have healer’s tools.
You treat a patient to prevent the spread of poison. Attempt a Medicine check against the poison’s DC. After you attempt to Treat a Poison for a creature, you can’t try again until after the next time that creature attempts a save against the poison.
- Critical Success You grant the creature a +4 circumstance bonus to its next saving throw against the poison.
- Success You grant the creature a +2 circumstance bonus to its next saving throw against the poison.
- Critical Failure Your efforts cause the creature to take a –2 circumstance penalty to its next save against the poison.
Exploration Healing Manipulate
Requirements You have healer’s tools.
You spend 10 minutes treating one injured living creature (targeting yourself, if you so choose). The target is then temporarily immune to Treat Wounds actions for 1 hour, but this interval overlaps with the time you spent treating (so a patient can be treated once per hour, not once per 70 minutes).
The Medicine check DC is usually 15, though the GM might adjust it based on the circumstances, such as treating a patient outside in a storm, or treating magically cursed wounds. If you’re an expert in Medicine, you can instead attempt a DC 20 check to increase the Hit Points regained by 10; if you’re a master of Medicine, you can instead attempt a DC 30 check to increase the Hit Points regained by 30; and if you’re legendary, you can instead attempt a DC 40 check to increase the Hit Points regained by 50. The damage dealt on a critical failure remains the same.
If you succeed at your check, you can continue treating the target to grant additional Healing. If you treat them for a total of 1 hour, double the Hit Points they regain from Treat Wounds.
The result of your Medicine check determines how many Hit Points the target regains.
- Critical Success The target regains 4d8 Hit Points, and its wounded condition is removed.
- Success The target regains 2d8 Hit Points, and its wounded condition is removed.
- Critical Failure The target takes 1d8 damage.
You know a great deal about the natural world, and you command and train animals and magical beasts. Even if you’re untrained in Nature, you can use it to Recall Knowledge.
Recall Knowledge about fauna, flora, geography, weather, the environment, creatures of natural origin (like animals, beasts, fey, and plants), the Fey World, the Material Plane, and the Elemental Planes.
Command an Animal [one-action]
You issue an order to an animal. Attempt a Nature check against the animal’s Will DC. The GM might adjust the DC if the animal has a good attitude toward you, you suggest a course of action it was predisposed toward, or you offer it a treat.
You automatically fail if the animal is hostile or unfriendly to you. If the animal is helpful to you, increase your degree of
Issuing commands to an animal doesn’t always go smoothly. an animal is an independent creature with limited intelligence. Most animals understand only the simplest instructions, so you might be able to instruct your animal to move to a certain square but not dictate a specific path to get there, or command it to attack a certain creature but not to make its attack nonlethal. The GM decides the specifics of the action your animal uses.
The animal does what you commanded as soon as it can, usually as its first action on its next turn. If you successfully commanded it multiple times, it does what you said in order. It forgets all commands beyond what it can accomplish on its turn. If multiple people command the same animal, the GM determines how the animal reacts. The GM might also make the DC higher if someone has already tried to Command the Animal that round.
success by one step. You might be able to Command an Animal more easily with a feat like Ride.
Most animals know the Leap, Seek, Stand, Stride, and Strike basic actions. If an animal knows an activity, such as a horse’s Gallop, you can Command the Animal to perform the activity, but you must spend as many actions on Command an Animal as the activity’s number of actions. You can also spend multiple actions to Command the Animal to perform that number of basic actions on its next turn; for instance, you could spend 3 actions to Command an Animal to Stride three times or to Stride twice and then Strike.
- Success The animal does as you command on its next turn.
- Failure The animal is hesitant or resistant, and it does nothing.
- Critical Failure The animal misbehaves or misunderstands, and it takes some other action determined by the GM.
Nature Trained Actions
You must be trained in Nature to use it for the following general skill actions.
- Identify Magic, particularly primal magic.
- Learn a Spell from the primal tradition.
You know a great deal about ancient philosophies, esoteric lore, obscure mysticism, and supernatural creatures. Even if you’re untrained in Occultism, you can use it to Recall Knowledge.
Recall Knowledge about ancient mysteries; obscure philosophies; creatures of occult significance (like aberrations, spirits, and oozes); and the Positive Energy, Negative Energy, Shadow, Astral, and Ethereal Planes.
Occultism Trained Actions
You must be trained in Occultism to use it for the following general skill actions.
- Decipher Writing on occult topics, including complex metaphysical systems, syncretic principles, weird philosophies, and incoherent ramblings.
- Identify Magic, particularly occult magic.
- Learn a Spell from the occult tradition.
You are skilled at a form of performance, using your talents to impress a crowd or make a living.
Some performances require you to be more than just charismatic, and if you don’t meet the demands of the art form or the audience, the GM might apply a penalty based on the relevant ability score. For example, if you’re dancing and have a negative Dexterity modifier, you might take a penalty to your attempt at dancing.
Likewise, if you are orating and have a negative Intelligence modifier, you might have to hope your raw Charisma can overcome the penalties from your intellectual shortcomings—or ask someone to help write your speeches!
When you use an action that utilizes the Performance skill, it gains one or more traits relevant to the type of performance. The GM might change these depending on the circumstances, but the most common performance-based traits are listed below.
|Act or perform comedy||Auditory, linguistic, and visual|
|Dance||Move and visual|
|Play an instrument||Auditory and manipulate|
|Orate or sing||Auditory and linguistic|
When making a brief performance—one song, a quick dance, or a few jokes—you use the Performance action. This action is most useful when you want to prove your capability or impress someone quickly. Performing rarely has an impact on its own, but it might influence the DCs of subsequent Diplomacy checks against the observers—or even change their attitudes— if the GM sees fit.
- Critical Success Your performance impresses the observers, and they’re likely to share stories of your ability.
- Success You prove yourself, and observers appreciate the quality of your performance.
- Failure Your performance falls flat.
- Critical Failure You demonstrate only incompetence.
Sample Performance Tasks
- Untrained audience of commoners
- Trained audience of artisans
- Expert audience of merchants or minor nobles
- Master audience of high nobility or minor royalty
- Legendary audience of major royalty or otherworldly beings
Performance Trained Action
You must be trained in Performance to use it to Earn Income.
Earn Income by staging a performance.
The secrets of deities, dogma, faith, and the realms of divine creatures both sublime and sinister are open to you. You also understand how magic works, though your training imparts a religious slant to that knowledge.
Even if you’re untrained in Religion, you can use it to Recall Knowledge.
Recall Knowledge about divine agents, the finer points of theology, obscure myths regarding a faith, and creatures of religious significance (like celestials, fiends, and undead), the Outer Sphere, and the Positive and Negative Energy Planes.
Religion Trained Actions
You must be trained in Religion to use it for the following general skill actions.
- Decipher Writing of a religious nature, including allegories, homilies, and proverbs.
- Identify Magic, particularly divine magic.
- Learn a Spell from the divine tradition.
You understand the people and systems that make civilization run, and you know the historical events that make societies what they are today. Further, you can use that knowledge to navigate the complex physical, societal, and economic workings of settlements. Even if you’re untrained in Society, you can use it for the following general skill actions.
- Recall Knowledge about local history, important personalities, legal institutions, societal structure, and humanoid cultures. The GM might allow Society to apply to other creatures that are major elements of society in your region, such as the draconic nobility in a kingdom of humans ruled by dragons.
- Subsist in a settlement by finding shelter, scrounging, or begging for food.
Society Trained Actions
You must be trained in Society to use it to Decipher Writing.
Decipher Writing that’s a coded message, text written in an incomplete or archaic form, or in some cases, text in a language you don’t know.
You create a forged document, usually over the course of a day or a week. You must have the proper writing material to create a forgery. When you Create a Forgery, the GM rolls a secret DC 20 Society check. If you succeed, the forgery is of good enough quality that passive observers can’t notice the fake. Only those who carefully examine the document and attempt a Perception or Society check against your Society DC can do so.
If the document’s handwriting doesn’t need to be specific to a person, you need only to have seen a similar document before, and you gain up to a +4 circumstance bonus to your check, as well as to your DC (the GM determines the bonus).
To forge a specific person’s handwriting, you need a sample of that person’s handwriting.
If your check result was below 20, the forgery has some obvious signs of being a fake, so the GM compares your result to each passive observer’s Perception DC or Society DC, whichever is higher, using the success or failure results below.
Once the GM rolls your check for a document, that same result is used against all passive observers’ DCs no matter how many creatures passively observe that document.
An observer who was fooled on a passive glance can still choose to closely scrutinize the documents on the lookout for a forgery, using different techniques and analysis methods beyond the surface elements you successfully forged with your original check. In that case, the observer can attempt a Perception or Society check against your Society DC (if they succeed, they know your document is a forgery).
- Success The observer does not detect the forgery.
- Failure The observer knows your document is a forgery.
You are skilled at avoiding detection, allowing you to slip past foes, hide, or conceal an item.
Conceal an Object [one-action]
You hide a small object on your person (such as a weapon of light Bulk). When you try to sneak a concealed object past someone who might notice it, the GM rolls your Stealth check and compares it to this passive observer’s Perception DC. Once the GM rolls your check for a concealed object, that same result is used no matter how many passive observers you try to sneak it past. If a creature is specifically searching you for an item, it can attempt a Perception check against your Stealth DC (finding the object on success).
You can also conceal an object somewhere other than your person, such as among undergrowth or in a secret compartment within a piece of furniture. In this case, characters Seeking in an area compare their Perception check results to your Stealth DC to determine whether they find the object.
- Success The object remains undetected.
- Failure The searcher finds the object.
If you want to sneak around when there are creatures that can see you, you can use a combination of Hide and Sneak to do so.
First, Hide behind something (either by taking advantage of cover or having the concealed condition due to fog, a spell, or a similar effect). A successful Stealth check makes you hidden, though the creatures still know roughly where you are.
Second, now that you’re hidden, you can Sneak. That means you can move at half your Speed and attempt another Stealth check. If it’s successful, you’re now undetected. That means the creatures don’t know which square you’re in anymore.
If you were approaching creatures that didn’t know you were there, you could begin Sneaking right away, since they didn’t know your location to start with. Some actions can cause you to become observed again, but they’re mostly what you’d expect: standing out in the open, attacking someone, making a bunch of noise, and so forth. If you Strike someone after successfully Hiding or Sneaking, though, they’re flat-footed to that Strike.
Creatures can try to find you using the Seek action.
Three conditions explain the states of detection.
Remember that these conditions are relative to each creature—you can be observed by one creature while hidden to another and undetected by a third.
You’re in the creature’s clear view.
The creature knows your location but can’t see you.
The creature doesn’t know your location.
You huddle behind cover or greater cover or deeper into concealment to become hidden, rather than observed. The GM rolls your Stealth check in secret and compares the result to the Perception DC of each creature you’re observed by but that you have cover or greater cover against or are concealed from. You gain the circumstance bonus from cover or greater cover to your check.
- Success If the creature could see you, you’re now hidden from it instead of observed. If you were hidden from or undetected by the creature, you retain that condition.
If you successfully become hidden to a creature but then cease to have cover or greater cover against it or be concealed from it, you become observed again. You cease being hidden if you do anything except Hide, Sneak, or Step.
If you attempt to Strike a creature, the creature remains flatfooted against that attack, and you then become observed. If you do anything else, you become observed just before you act unless the GM determines otherwise. The GM might allow you to perform a particularly unobtrusive action without being noticed, possibly requiring another Stealth check.
If a creature uses Seek to make you observed by it, you must successfully Hide to become hidden from it again.
You can attempt to move to another place while becoming or staying undetected. Stride up to half your Speed. (You can use Sneak while Burrowing, Climbing, Flying, or Swimming instead of Striding if you have the corresponding movement type; you must move at half that Speed.)
If you’re undetected by a creature and it’s impossible for that creature to observe you (for a typical creature, this includes when you’re invisible, the observer is blinded, or you’re in darkness and the creature can’t see in darkness), for any critical failure you roll on a check to Sneak, you get a failure instead.
You also continue to be undetected if you lose cover or greater cover against or are no longer concealed from such a creature.
At the end of your movement, the GM rolls your Stealth check in secret and compares the result to the Perception DC of each creature you were hidden from or undetected by at the start of your movement. If you have cover or greater cover from the creature throughout your Stride, you gain the +2 circumstance bonus from cover (or +4 from greater cover) to your Stealth check. Because you’re moving, the bonus increase from Taking Cover doesn’t apply. You don’t get to roll against a creature if, at the end of your movement, you neither are concealed from it nor have cover or greater cover against it. You automatically become observed by such a creature.
- Success You’re undetected by the creature during your movement and remain undetected by the creature at the end of it. You become observed as soon as you do anything other than Hide, Sneak, or Step. If you attempt to Strike a creature, the creature remains flat-footed against that attack, and you then become observed. If you do anything else, you become observed just before you act unless the GM determines otherwise. The GM might allow you to perform a particularly unobtrusive action without being noticed, possibly requiring another Stealth check. If you speak or make a deliberate loud noise, you become hidden instead of undetected. If a creature uses Seek and you become hidden to it as a result, you must Sneak if you want to become undetected by that creature again.
- Failure A telltale sound or other sign gives your position away, though you still remain unseen. You’re hidden from the creature throughout your movement and remain so.
- Critical Failure You’re spotted! You’re observed by the creature throughout your movement and remain so. If you’re invisible and were hidden from the creature, instead of being observed you’re hidden throughout your movement and remain so.
You are adept at living in the wilderness, foraging for food and building shelter, and with training you discover the secrets of tracking and hiding your trail. Even if you’re untrained, you can still use Survival to Subsist.
Subsist in the wild by foraging for food and building shelter.
Using the stars, the position of the sun, traits of the geography or flora, or the behavior of fauna, you can stay oriented in the wild. Typically, you attempt a Survival check only once per day, but some environments or changes might necessitate rolling more often. The GM determines the DC and how long this activity takes (usually just a minute or so).
More unusual locales or those you’re unfamiliar with might require you to have a minimum proficiency rank to Sense Direction. Without a compass, you take a –2 item penalty to checks to Sense Direction.
- Critical Success You get an excellent sense of where you are. If you are in an environment with cardinal directions, you know them exactly.
- Success You gain enough orientation to avoid becoming hopelessly lost. If you are in an environment with cardinal directions, you have a sense of those directions.
Sample Sense Direction Tasks
- Untrained determine a cardinal direction using the sun
- Trained find an overgrown path in a forest
- Expert navigate a hedge maze
- Master navigate a byzantine labyrinth or relatively featureless desert
- Legendary navigate an ever-changing dream realm
Survival Trained Actions
Concentrate Exploration Move
You cover your tracks, moving up to half your travel Speed). You don’t need to attempt a Survival check to cover your tracks, but anyone tracking you must succeed at a Survival check against your Survival DC if it is higher than the normal DC to Track.
In some cases, you might Cover Tracks in an encounter. In this case, Cover Tracks is a single action and doesn’t have the exploration trait.
Concentrate Exploration Move
You follow tracks, moving at up to half your travel Speed). After a successful check to Track, you can continue following the tracks at half your Speed without attempting additional checks for up to 1 hour. In some cases, you might Track in an encounter. In this case, Track is a single action and doesn’t have the exploration trait, but you might need to roll more often because you’re in a tense situation.
The GM determines how often you must attempt this check.
You attempt your Survival check when you start Tracking, once every hour you continue tracking, and any time something significant changes in the trail. The GM determines the DCs for such checks, depending on the freshness of the trail, the weather, and the type of ground.
- Success You find the trail or continue to follow the one you’re already following.
- Failure You lose the trail but can try again after a 1-hour delay.
- Critical Failure You lose the trail and can’t try again for 24 hours.
Sample Track Tasks
- Untrained the path of a large army following a road
- Trained relatively fresh tracks of a rampaging bear through the plains
- Expert a nimble panther’s tracks through a jungle, tracks after the rain
- Master tracks after a winter snow, tracks of a mouse or smaller creature, tracks left on surfaces that can’t hold prints like bare rock
- Legendary old tracks through a windy desert’s sands, tracks after a major blizzard or hurricane
You are trained in a particular set of skills favored by thieves and miscreants.
Palm an Object [one-action]
Palming a small, unattended object without being noticed requires you to roll a single Thievery check against the Perception DCs of all creatures who are currently observing you. You take the object whether or not you successfully conceal that you did so. You can typically only Palm Objects of negligible Bulk, though the GM might determine otherwise depending on the situation.
- Success The creature does not notice you Palming the Object.
- Failure The creature notices you Palming the Object, and the GM determines the creature’s response.
You try to take a small object from another creature without being noticed. Typically, you can Steal only an object of negligible Bulk, and you automatically fail if the creature who has the object is in combat or on guard.
Attempt a Thievery check to determine if you successfully Steal the object. The DC to Steal is usually the Perception DC of the creature wearing the object. This assumes the object is worn but not closely guarded (like a loosely carried pouch filled with coins, or an object within such a pouch). If the object is in a pocket or similarly protected, you take a –5 penalty to your Thievery check. The GM might increase the DC of your check if the nature of the object makes it harder to steal (such as a very small item in a large pack, or a sheet of parchment mixed in with other documents).
You might also need to compare your Thievery check result against the Perception DCs of observers other than the person wearing the object. The GM may increase the Perception DCs of these observers if they’re distracted.
- Success You steal the item without the bearer noticing, or an observer doesn’t see you take or attempt to take the item.
- Failure The item’s bearer notices your attempt before you can take the object, or an observer sees you take or attempt to take the item. The GM determines the response of any creature that notices your theft.
Thievery Trained Actions
Disable A Device [two-actions]
Requirements Some devices require you to use thieves’ tools when disabling them.
This action allows you to disarm a trap or another complex device. Often, a device requires numerous successes before becoming disabled, depending on its construction and complexity. Thieves’ tools are helpful and sometimes even required to Disable a Device, as determined by the GM, and sometimes a device requires a higher proficiency rank in Thievery to disable it.
Your Thievery check result determines how much progress you make.
- Critical Success You disable the device, or you achieve two successes toward disabling a complex device. You leave no trace of your tampering, and you can rearm the device later, if that type of device can be rearmed.
- Success You disable the device, or you achieve one success toward disabling a complex device.
- Critical Failure You trigger the device.
Pick a Lock [two-actions]
Requirements You have thieves’ tools.
Opening a lock without a key is very similar to Disabling a Device, but the DC of the check is determined by the complexity and construction of the lock you are attempting to pick. Locks of higher qualities might require multiple successes to unlock, since otherwise even an unskilled burglar could easily crack the lock by attempting the check until they rolled a natural 20. If you lack the proper tools, the GM might let you used improvised picks, which are treated as shoddy tools, depending on the specifics of the lock.
- Critical Success You unlock the lock, or you achieve two successes toward opening a complex lock. You leave no trace of your tampering.
- Success You open the lock, or you achieve one success toward opening a complex lock.
- Critical Failure You break your tools. Fixing them requires using Crafting to Repair them or else swapping in replacement picks (costing 3 sp, or 3 gp for infiltrator thieves’ tools).