Skills

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This is a comprehensive listing of the skills in Epic Path. Many of these skills are unchanged from Pathfinder at low levels of play.

Skills represent some of the most basic and yet most fundamental abilities your character possesses. As your character advances in level, he can gain new skills and improve his existing skills dramatically. This section describes each skill, including common uses and typical modifiers. Characters can sometimes use skills for purposes other than those noted here, at the GM's discretion.

Skill Key Ability Usable Untrained Armor Check Penalty
Acrobatics Dex Yes Yes
Barter Wis Yes -
Bluff Cha Yes -
Diplomacy Cha Yes -
Disable Device Dex No Yes
Disguise Cha Yes -
Divinity Special No -
Escape Artist Dex Yes Yes
Handle Animal Cha No -
Heal Wis Yes -
Intimidate Cha Yes -
Knowledge (Arcana) Int No -
Knowledge (Deep History) Int No -
Knowledge (Dungeoneering) Int No -
Knowledge (Engineering) Int No -
Knowledge (Geography) Int No -
Knowledge (History) Int No -
Knowledge (Local) Int No -
Knowledge (Logic) Int No -
Knowledge (Nature) Int No -
Knowledge (Nobility) Int No -
Knowledge (Planes) Int No -
Knowledge (Religion) Int No -
Linguistics Int No -
Might Str Yes Yes
Movement Dex Yes Yes
Naturalism Special No Special
Perception Wis Yes -
Perform Cha Yes -
Piloting Special Yes -
Profession Wis No -
Reason Special No -
Ride Dex Yes Yes
Sense Motive Wis Yes -
Sleight of Hand Dex No Yes
Spellcraft Special No Special
Spycraft Special No Special
Stealth Dex Yes Yes
Survival Wis Yes -
Use Magic Device Cha No -
Warfare Special No Special

Acquiring Skills

Each level, your character gains a number of skill ranks dependent upon your class plus your Intelligence modifier. Investing a rank in a skill represents a measure of training in that skill. You can never have more ranks in a skill than your total number of Hit Dice.

The number of skill ranks you gain when taking a level in one of the base classes is shown on Table: Skill Ranks. Characters who take a level in a favored class have the option of gaining 1 additional skill rank or an additional hit point.

If at some point, your character's intelligence ability score is increased by a permanent effect, such as a headband of intellect (after the 24-hour attuning period), you gain skill points equal to the increase in your Intelligence stat modifier times your current level. That is, if your intelligence score goes up by +2, and you are 10th level, your intelligence stat modifier goes up by +1, getting you 10 skill points to spend immediately (+1 Int modifier x 10 levels).

Class Skill Ranks
Alchemist 3 + Int modifier
Barbarian 6 + Int modifier
Bard 7 + Int modifier
Brawler 6 + Int modifier
Cleric 7 + Int modifier
Druid 6 + Int modifier
Fighter 6 + Int modifier
Monk 6 + Int modifier
Paladin 7 + Int modifier
Partisan 6 + Int modifier
Prowler 6 + Int modifier
Ranger 7 + Int modifier
Rogue 8 + Int modifier
Sorcerer 7 + Int modifier
Warlord 7 + Int modifier
Wizard 3 + Int modifier

Skill Basis

All characters have a Skill Basis modifier which is the 'foundation knowledge' your character has in all skills. This represents the fact that all player characters are exceptional, even in small ways, when compared to NPC's. The Skill Basis is the foundation number from which you calculate your skill rolls, in addition to adding in your stat modifiers, your ranks, magic bonuses, feat bonuses, and any other miscellaneous bonuses.

Your Skill Basis starts out as a +1 at first level, and every four levels goes up by any additional +1 (i.e., +2 at 4th level, +3 at 8th, +4 at 12th, and so on, to a maximum of +9 at 32nd level). Your Skill Basis increase reflects your greater knowledge of all things as you grow more world-wise, and can represent the 'school of hard knocks', the result of overhearing scholars talking in bars, hours of dedicated, solitary study, and many other things. Your Skill Basis increases in the same levels and for the same reasons that you get additional stat points as you level up: heroes are heroic, and their prowess is reflected in many ways.

Natural Talent

At character creation, every character gains natural talent in their bailiwick skill and one additional skill. Natural talent allows players to re-map the chosen skill to the ability modifier of their choice, instead of the modifier normally used by the skill. This allows each character to demonstrate strength in one particular area, regardless of their character class and primary ability scores. For example, a durable character might Intimidate people using their constitution, cracking knuckles and popping the ligaments in their neck menacingly. Alternatively, a very intelligent person might Intimidate people based upon their intelligence, assaulting their foe with a barrage of cold, hard facts. The result is the same in either case.

Players are encouraged to choose skills which normally use an ability modifier in which their character is particularly weak, converting it to their strongest ability modifier instead. It is recommended that skills which already make use of your second-highest ability score, or even your third-highest, might be less important to remap via natural talent, than the one which uses your worst (or second-worst) ability modifier.

Bailiwick skills which are not available to your character class may not be selected as your natural talent. Only skills which you are allowed to put ranks into may be selected.

If you choose to have natural talent in one of the skills which have specializations (i.e. Knowledge, Perform, Piloting, and Profession), you only gain natural talent in one specialization for that skill. Getting all knowledge skills, for example, would require twelve different natural talents, one for each of Arcana, Deep History, Dungeoneering, Engineering, etc.

Skills in which you are naturally talented never suffer an armor check penalty, even if the chosen ability modifier is STR or DEX.

You can gain additional naturally talented skills via racial traits, feats, or the Character Retraining rules.

Bailiwick

Every class has access to one bailiwick skill representing specialized knowledge gained by being a member of that class, which is not available to people outside of those classes. The six bailiwick skills are: Divinity, Naturalism, Reason, Spellcraft, Spycraft and Warfare.

Characters are always naturally talented in their own bailiwick skill, meaning they can re-map it to the ability modifier of their choice. Once the modifier for their bailiwick skill is selected, it may not be changed, except through the Character Retraining rules. Note that naturally talented skills, and thus bailiwick skills, never suffer an armor check penalty, even if they are mapped to STR or DEX modifiers.

Characters may not place ranks in bailiwick skills which are not specifically available to them via their character class (or in some cases, from a racial trait). Characters cannot train fellow party members in their bailiwick skills, as the knowledge provided by these skills is gained by spending every hour of every day performing the actions of the classes which offer those skills. It's too specialized to teach to an outsider.

Linked Skills

Each Bailiwick has a linked knowledge skill. For each rank a character places in their bailiwick skill, the character receives a free rank in that bailiwick skill's linked skill. Note that no character may ever have more ranks in a skill than their character level.
Skill uses for the linked skills are not interchangeable with the bailiwick skill (i.e. you can't use Spycraft to gather information, you must still use your Knowledge (Local) check to do that). Furthermore, the linked skill is not automatically a natural talent, though you can certainly make it one, if you wish.
Bailiwick Skill Linked Knowledge Skill
Divinity Knowledge (Religion)
Naturalism Knowledge (Nature)
Reason Knowledge (Logic)
Spycraft Knowledge (Local)
Spellcraft Knowledge (Arcana)
Warfare Knowledge (Engineering)
If you gain a second bailiwick skill (usually through a racial trait), it is not automatically a natural talent (even though you typically get to choose which of your ability score modifiers is aligned to the second bailiwick skill). Armor check penalties do apply to the second bailiwick skill if you choose to associate it with your STR or DEX modifier, and you do not gain matching ranks in the linked skill for that bailiwick skill.

Skill Checks

When your character uses a skill, he isn't guaranteed success. In order to determine success, whenever you attempt to use a skill, you must make a skill check.

  • Each skill rank grants a +1 bonus on checks made using that skill. When you make a skill check, you roll 1d20 and then add your ranks and the appropriate ability score modifier to the result of this check.
  • If you are not trained in the skill (and if the skill may be used untrained), you may still attempt the skill, but you use only the bonus (or penalty) provided by the associated ability score modifier to modify the check.
  • Skills can be further modified by a wide variety of sources-by your race, by a class ability, by equipment, by spell effects or magic items, and so on. See Table: Skill Check Bonuses for a summary of skill check bonuses.
  • If the result of your skill check is equal to or greater than the difficulty class (or DC) of the task you are attempting to accomplish, you succeed. If it is less than the DC, you fail.
  • Some tasks have varying levels of success and failure depending on how much your check is above or below the required DC.
  • Some skill checks are opposed by the target's skill check. When making an opposed skill check, the attempt is successful if your check result exceeds the result of the target.

Natural Ones and Twenties On Skill Checks

A result of a natural 1 on the die roll for a skill check always fails, even in a case where your skill bonus is higher than the DC you are attempting before adding the die roll. This means there is always a 5% chance of failing any skill roll. You can never be so good at a skill that you can't make a mistake sometimes.

A result in a natural 20 on die roll of a skill check grants you a +5 critical bonus to the skill check's result. Note that a natural 20 result does NOT cause a skill check to automatically succeed.

Skill Check DCs

The skill check's level should, whenever possible, be based on the creature who is forcing the skill check to be made, rather than the character attempting the check. For example, a rogue picking a lock on a nobleman's house would need to beat a DC based on the level of the lock (or locksmith), rather than using the rogue's level. This is why picking the same lock becomes easier as your character gains levels. The lock's DC doesn't change, but your skill may increase. Similarly, a heal check being performed on an ally PC to stop a Bleed condition would be based on the ally PC's level, not the healer's level. Making a Heal check to stop a Bleed condition on a level 1 peasant is quite easy for a higher level character.

Other times, the DC of a skill check is static, regardless of the level of the character attempting it, or the CR of the environment or monsters in the area. Just because you are in a level 30 dungeon doesn't mean that jumping across a 20-foot gap is any harder (or easier) than it would be in a level 1 dungeon. These DC's are typically described in the skill page of the relevant skill.

In some cases, it may not be obvious what the level of a skill check should be. GM's are encouraged to improvise something appropriate for the situation. If characters are in a dungeon filled with monsters 2 or 3 CR's higher than they are, any skill checks related to the dungeon will likely be of a similar level to the local monster CR's. Conversely, a character attempting things which should be simple at her level would likely need a skill DC based on a much lower level than the character.

Taking 10 and Taking 20

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, increasing the odds of success.

Table: Skill Check Bonuses
Skill Skill Check is Equal To*
Untrained 1d20 + skill basis + ability modifier
Trained 1d20 + skill ranks + skill basis + ability modifier
* Armor check penalty (ACP) applies to all Strength- and Dexterity-based skill checks except Natural Talents.

Taking 10

When your character is not in immediate danger 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).

Allies may never assist you on a skill check with which you are taking 10.

Taking 20

When you have plenty of time, 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, if you a d20 roll enough times, eventually you will get a 20. Instead of rolling 1d20 for the skill check, just calculate your result as if you had rolled a 20. Note that a 20 does not guarantee success; your check's total result must still equal or exceed the target DC.

Taking 20 means you are trying until you get it right, and it assumes that you fail many times before succeeding. Taking 20 takes 20 times as long as making a single check would take (usually 2 minutes for a skill that takes 1 round or less to perform).

Allies may assist you when you take 20 (up to a maximum of 5 allies), though the assisting allies must spend just as long to assist as you spend on the skill check.

Since taking 20 assumes that your character will fail many times before succeeding, your character would automatically incur any penalties for failure before he or she could complete the task (hence why it is generally not allowed with skills that carry such penalties). Common "take 20" skills include Disable Device (when used to open locks), Escape Artist, and Perception (when attempting to find traps).

Taking 20 is not considered a 'natural 20', and never grants a critical result.

Ability Checks and Caster Checks

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


Group Skill Checks

As an optional but strongly suggested system, it is possible to levy skill checks upon groups of players or NPC's. This is a handy method for resolving shared tasks, such as the entire party sneaking into a dire fortress, or everyone trying to make it through a stuffy diplomatic dinner without using the wrong fork. In such tests, everyone is in it together. There is no separate success or failure: You all will succeed or fail together. You all sneak into the fortress, or you are all seen. You all get the treaty signed, or you all wind up in a war.

Group skill checks are complimentary to assisted skill checks (see below), but they are aimed at a different goal. Group skill checks are for situations where all the characters are in a shared situation. Assist are for times when one person is doing something (sweet-talking an innkeep, or threatening an orc) where one person is doing the action, but others can 'help out' (either smiling flirtatiously, or pantomiming bloody murder, in the background). The difference can be subtle, but the DM decides which mechanic is used in each situation. Note, however, that group skill checks and assisted skill checks never stack! You do one, or the other, and you can never give an assist in a group skill check.

To resolve a group skill check, the GM assigns one or more skills to be rolled, a target difficulty number, and a number of successes required. The most common group skill check is a shared stealth roll in most games, and the typical default is that you must roll a Stealth check, against an Average difficulty for the CR of the creatures you are opposing, and you need one success for each person in your party.

Success or failure in a shared check is calculated very simply. All members of the group making the shared check, both players and any non-player characters, roll a skill check (using all systems detailed above). They compare this check to the difficulty. If an Average difficulty is required, then all rolls must equal or exceed the Average DC for the party to succeed. This only rarely happens. However, in a shared check, those members of the party who are more skilled in a particular skill can 'help out' those who are less skilled. For every success class above the target success needed (or for every 5 the roll exceeded the target), a high roll counts as an additional success.

Rolling very poorly can only fail once, unless you roll a 1, which counts as two failures. Rolling a natural 20, of course, always counts as an extra success as the +5 bonus will add a success.

Example: Five players and an NPC are trying to sneak out of the NPC's house before his wife spots them. If they fail, their planned evening of partying and sports events will be ruined! The GM decides they need six successes (one for each player and an extra one for the NPC), the target is an Average DC for the challenge rating of the wife (and we all know how tough THAT can be), and they must make either a Stealth check or a Sense Motive check. Three of the players decide to make Stealth checks, and two players decide to make Sense Motive checks, to guess when the wife will be distracted. The GM rolls a Stealth check for the NPC.

Of all the rolls, most went smoothly, getting an Average success. However, the groups heavily armored combat monster failed badly, rolling a 1. This counts as TWO failures. To counteract this, the groups highly-skilled roguish 'face' rolled a natural 20 on her Sense Motive, scoring an Impossible success! An impossible success with a natural 20 counts as a whopping four successes all by itself! Thus, four players and NPC's scored one success with average rolls, one player scored two failures with a natural one, but another player scored four successes with a natural 20. Four successes, minus two failures, plus four successes, equals six total successes, and thus by the skin of their teeth, the players slip out to eat delicious tavern food, drink tasty beverages, and watch the arena fights.

Shared checks can be adjusted to any difficulty required, and can scale to as many or as few players are needed. The GM may declare by fiat that more or fewer successes are needed, or otherwise adjust the shared check as they see fit. Very difficult checks (lifting a castle door off its hinges) may require party size plus two successes against a Hard target. Very easy checks may require party size minus one success against an Easy target.

Referees are encouraged to be flexible and use Group Skill Checks to advance the game while generating maximum fun for all.

Libraries

Libraries can be used to grant one-time bonuses to a single skill check.


  • Base Library Bonus: After 1d4 hours of research, characters can make a roll on a skill of their choice and add a +4 circumstance bonus to the roll. This roll may be repeated after another 1d4 hours of research on the same topic, though the bonuses are not cumulative. Knowledge, Bailiwick, and Profession skills are the most frequently boosted skills in a Library, but any other skill could potentially be boosted with GM approval. Finding a brightly illustrated scroll of leverage techniques could lend a bonus to a Might check, for example.
  • Settlement size and Libraries: As a rule of thumb, no settlement smaller than a Small Town will have a library, and the Circumstance bonus for a Small Town Library is reduced to a +2 circumstance bonus. A Library in a Large Town gets the Base library Bonus described above.
  • Great Libraries: Most libraries in larger settlements will also grant the above bonus, unless the GM rules there is a Great Library in the settlement. A Great Library in a Small City gains an additional +1 circumstance bonus, a Great Library in a Large City gains an additional +2, a Great Library in a Metropolis gains an additional +3 (total circumstance bonus +7), a Great Library in a Megalopolis gains an additional +4 (total bonus +8), and a Great Library in a Dimensional Nexus gains an additional circumstance bonus of +5 or even more, depending upon the GM's ruling, for a total circumstance bonus of +9 or even greater. Gaining access to a Great Library is a Big Deal!
  • Cost of Library Research: Many libraries are free for all to use, and they are wonderful things indeed. Other libraries, unfortunately, are not so generous. Libraries in schools and scolams often charge for research time, and religious libraries can be very expensive indeed. A shining paladin who needs to do research in the Library of the Church of Invincible Evil is rarely going to get in without a steep price, paid in one way or another. A rule of thumb is that four hours of research costs 100 gold pieces per CR of the topic being examined in a normal library, and ten times as much in a Great Library. It should be noted that these prices are highly variable, and GM's are encouraged to be creative in how this is applied. ("BRING ME A...SHRUBBERY.")
  • Magical and Wondrous Libraries: At the GM's discretion, it is possible to find Libraries in many shapes and sizes and types out in the world. A Gypsy's Wagon with a wise old crone who always seems to have the right book for any topic, for example. An alchemical automaton that will lecture on any topic for a small gem, a magnifying glass that finds small print on any subject you wish on a normal book you already own, a magic book that you put under your pillow at night, and even that old reliable mystical fish that shows up in a stream and will answer any question, all can be seen as magical and wondrous libraries, of as temporary or as permanent a nature as the DM desires. The size of the circumstance bonus such libraries grant is determined by the GM, as is any monetary expense or other price they may require. It is strongly recommended that GM's follow the guidelines for bonuses as laid out for settlement libraries, above.
  • Limits on Topics: Some libraries might not be capable of granting a research bonus to some skills (for example, a library in a city where magic is outlawed would not grant any research bonuses for Spellcraft or Knowledge (Arcana) skills). The Library of the Church of Infinite Evil see above, is unlikely to have materials on how to create healing spells, for example.
  • Language Textbooks: Any full library (granting a +4 Circumstance bonus or greater) usually has materials available to learn new non-secret languages with sufficient time, generally a week or more per language. No Library, ever, will have textbooks available to the public for secret languages.

Assist

You can help someone achieve success on a skill check by making the same kind of skill check in a cooperative effort.

As a standard action, you can assist an adjacent ally on a skill check by rolling at least an Easy DC on the same skill, versus the same CR as the main check.

  • If successful, the ally you are assisting gets a +2 circumstance bonus on his or her check.
  • If you roll less than an Easy DC result, you instead inflict a -1 circumstance penalty to the check being made by the ally you are assisting.

You can't take 10 on a skill check to assist. In many cases, assists are not possible or only a limited number of characters can help at once. In all cases, no more than 5 characters can ever assist with a skill check. Note that circumstance bonuses stack with all other bonuses including other circumstance bonuses.

If a skill is trained only, or requires a particular specialization (such as Perform, Piloting, or Profession), you must have at least one rank in the same skill or specialization to assist. GM's may adjudicate that some skills or specializations are complementary enough to also allow assistance.

If you wish to assist an ally with an epic skill use of a skill (a skill use which requires at least 21 ranks to attempt), you must also have at least 21 ranks in the skill in question.

Assisting an ally with a skill use that provokes attacks of opportunity also provokes attacks of opportunity.

Note: to provide combat bonuses to an ally, refer to Aid Another.

Monster Lore Checks

Characters can use certain knowledge skills to identify monsters and recall details about their special powers or vulnerabilities. In general, the DC of such a check is double the monster's CR. A successful check allows them to remember a little bit of useful information about that monster. GM's should either read, or allow the character to read, the introductory text of the monster's bestiary entry. If a player instead beats a DC of 15 + double the monster's CR, their character knows quite a lot about the monster in question, and GM's should allow that player to look over the monster's bestiary entry in its entirety.

Basic Monster Lore: DC = double the monster's CR
Complete Monster Lore: DC = 15 + double the monster's CR

Warfare can also be used to identify information about a monster's CR, in addition to its offensive, defensive and tactics sections.

Reason may be used to determine the 'programming' of a mindless creature.

Knowledge Skill Creature Type
Arcana Constructs, dragons, magical beasts
Dungeoneering Aberrations, oozes
Local Humanoids, proteans
Nature Animals, fey, giants, monstrous humanoids, plants, vermin
Planes Elementals, Demons, Devils, Outsiders
Religion Undead

Bogey Lore Checks

If the optional Vehicle Combat rules are being used, player characters can use certain knowledge skills to identify enemy bogeys (NPC-controlled vehicles) and recall details about their special powers or vulnerabilities. As with monster lore checks, the DC of this check is double the bogey's CR. A successful check allows them to remember a little bit of useful information about that bogey. GM's should either read, or allow the character to read, the introductory text of the bogey's fleet entry. If a player instead beats a DC of 15 + double the bogey's CR, their character knows quite a lot about the bogey in question, and GM's should allow that player to look over the bogey's fleet entry in its entirety.

Basic Bogey Lore: DC = double the bogey's CR
Complete Bogey Lore: DC = 15 + double the bogey's CR
Knowledge Skill Bogey Type
Engineering Subaquatic, Subterranean
Geography Ground, Aerial
Logic Aether
Nobility Naval

Skill Description Format

Skill descriptions adhere to the following guidelines.

Skill Name 
The skill name line includes (in addition to the name of the skill) the following information.
Key Ability 
The abbreviation of the ability whose modifier applies to the skill check.
Trained Only 
If this notation is included in the skill name line, you must have at least 1 rank in the skill to use it. If this notation is omitted, the skill can be used untrained (with a rank of 0). If any special notes apply to trained or untrained use, they are covered in the Untrained section (see below).
Armor Check Penalty 
If this notation (ACP) is included in the skill name line, an armor check penalty applies to checks using this skill. If this entry is absent, an armor check penalty does not apply. Note: Armor check penalties apply to all Strength- and Dexterity-based Skills. Most armors as well as any shield, hurt a character's ability to use Dex- and Str-based skills. An armor check penalty applies to all Dex- and Strength-based skill checks. A character's encumbrance may also incur an armor check penalty. If a character is wearing armor and using a shield, the armor check penalties of both are added together before being applied to Dex and Str-based skills.
  • Non-Proficiency: A character who wears armor and/or uses a shield with which he is not proficient takes the worst of either a -4 non-proficiency penalty (similar to the penalty for using a non-proficient weapon), or the armor's (and/or shield's) armor check penalty on all Dex- and Str-based ability and skill checks. If a character is wearing both armor and a shield with which he is non-proficient, the non-proficiency penalties of both are added together before being applied to Dex and Str-based skills.
Description 
The skill name line is followed by a general description of what using the skill represents.
Check 
What a character ("you" in the skill description) can do with a successful skill check and the check's Difficulty Class (DC).
Action 
The type of action using the skill requires, or the amount of time required for a check.
Try Again 
Any conditions that apply to successive attempts to use the skill successfully. If the skill doesn't allow you to attempt the same task more than once, or if failure carries an inherent penalty (such as with the Movement skill), you can't take 20. If this paragraph is omitted, the skill can be retried without any inherent penalty other than the additional time required.
Special 
Any extra facts that apply to the skill, such as special effects deriving from its use or bonuses that certain characters receive because of class, feat choices, or race.
Restriction 
The full utility of certain skills is restricted to characters of certain classes. This entry indicates whether any such restrictions exist for the skill.
Untrained 
This entry indicates what a character without at least 1 rank in the skill can do with it. If this entry doesn't appear, it means that the skill functions normally for untrained characters (if it can be used untrained) or that an untrained character can't attempt checks with this skill (for skills that are designated "Trained Only").

Epic Skills

Epic skill uses require the character to have a minimum of 21 ranks in the skill to even attempt them. With skill bonus items, many of these DC's would be feasible even below Epic levels of play, but sadly, such rolls are not allowed until you are high enough level, and more importantly, have expended the skill ranks to enable this skill use.

Skill bonuses: Items with skill bonuses are capped, so that the maximum bonus allowable falls into acceptable limits. After the Apotheosis, all limits are removed and each referee defines their game as they wish.