Skill Points and Class skills:
Whenever you gain a level in a class, you gain more skill points. The
number of skill points is listed under the classes table. However, you
get additional skill points each level equal to your Intelligence
score. If your Intelligence score permanently increases, you earn extra
skill points as if you had always had that Intelligence score.
If you buy a class skill, your character gets 1 rank (equal to a +1
bonus on checks with that skill) for each skill point. If you buy other
skills (cross-class skills), you get ½ rank per skill point.
If a skill is a class skill for any of your classes, it is a class
skill for all of your classes. If you purchase ranks in a cross-class
skill and that skill later becomes a class skill for you, those
previously purchased ranks are doubled (as if they had always been a
Your maximum rank in a class skill is your character level.
Your maximum rank in a cross-class skill is one-half of this number (do
not round up or down).
Each skill has a special Power connected to it; knowledge of this Power
allows a character to use the skill in a new way or improves the
skill's existing uses. Some characters (such as Experts) gain Skill
Powers for free. However, any character can buy a Skill Power. If you
have at least 3 ranks in a skill, you may pay 2 Skill Points to learn
that skill's Skill Power.
Some skills have more than one Power. Each must be gained separately.
To make a skill check, roll: 1d20 + skill modifier
(Skill modifier = skill rank + ability score + miscellaneous modifiers)
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
A character’s number of ranks in a skill is based on how many skill
points a character has invested in a skill. Skills can be used even if
the character has no ranks in them; doing this is called making an
untrained skill check.
The ability score used in a skill check is 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 include racial bonuses, armor check penalties,
and bonuses provided by feats, among others.
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.
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.
A skill check takes into account a character’s training (skill rank),
natural talent (ability score), and luck (the die roll). It may also
take into account his or her race’s knack for doing certain things
(racial bonus) or what armor he or she is wearing (armor penalty), or a
certain feat the character possesses, among other things.
To make a skill check, roll 1d20 and add your character’s skill
modifier for that skill. The skill modifier incorporates the
character’s ranks in that skill and that skill’s key ability, plus any
other miscellaneous modifiers that may apply, including racial bonuses
and armor check penalties. The higher the result, the better. Unlike
with attack rolls and saving throws, a natural roll of 20 on the d20 is
not an automatic success, and a natural roll of 1 is not an automatic
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.
Difficulty Class scale:
Very easy (0)
Nearly impossible (40)
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.
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.
Untrained Skill Checks:
Generally, if your character attempts to use a skill he or she does not
possess, you make a skill check as normal. The skill modifier doesn’t
have a skill rank added in because the character has no ranks in the
skill. Any other applicable modifiers, such as the modifier for the
skill’s key ability, are applied to the check.
Some skills can be used only by someone who is trained in them.
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
-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.
-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.
-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
-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
These skill checks are not actions. Other skill checks represent part
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.
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
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.
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.
Often, several characters attempt some action and each succeeds or
fails independently. The result of one character’s Parkour check does
not influence the results of other characters Parkour check.
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.
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.
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 score.
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.