- 1 Acquiring Skills
- 2 Calculating Skill Bonus
- 3 Skill Checks
- 4 Skill Challenges
- 5 Libraries
- 6 Assist
- 7 Monster Lore Checks
- 8 Bogey Lore Checks
- 9 Skill Description Format
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|
|Knowledge (Deep History)||Int||No||-|
|Sleight of Hand||Dex||No||Yes|
|Use Magic Device||Cha||No||-|
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
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.
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.
All characters gain additional natural talent skills at character levels 11, 21, and 31 (note that this is only the same as class level if you don't multi-class or dual-class). They can also be acquired via some racial traits, or the Self-Improvement rules.
- Special: You can also expend a natural talent on a skill which is already a natural talent for you. If you do so, instead of remapping the skill to a different ability score, a result of a natural 1 is no longer considered an automatic failure for skill checks made with this skill. Furthermore, you can never fail a skill check in this skill by 5 or more. In such a case, the result is always treated as having failed by 4, no matter how badly you actually rolled (or how high the difficulty of the check was).
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:
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 Reselection 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Calculating Skill Bonus
To calculate your total skill bonus for each skill, the following elements should be added together:
Skill Bonus = Stat Mod + Skill Basis + Ranks + Armor Check Penalty + Training Bonus + Feat Bonus + Enhancement Bonus + Integral Bonus + Other Bonus
- Stat Modifier: Each skill has an ability score associated with it (for example, Acrobatics uses Dexterity). Your character's ability score modifier (not the score) for that ability score is added into the skill bonus of the skill. Natural Talent skills use the ability score modifier of your choice, as described above. The ability score modifier is applied to your skill bonus regardless of whether you have any ranks in the skill or not.
- Skill Basis: As described above, all skills add the Skill Basis value. Skill Basis is equal to 1 + your character's total level /4 (drop fractions).
- Skill Ranks: Any ranks you place into a given skill are added into the skill bonus. If you place at least 1 rank into a skill, it is considered 'trained'.
- Armor Check Penalty: Skills which use STR or DEX modifiers, and which are not Natural Talents, are subject to any Armor Check Penalty you may have, as a result of any armor you are wearing. Heavier armors have higher armor check penalties.
- Training Bonus: Racial traits and class features can sometimes grant a bonus to one or more skills. Note that multiple training bonuses to the same skill do not stack; only the higher of the available bonuses is applied.
- Feat Bonus: Some feats grant a bonus to one or more skills. Note that multiple feat bonuses to the same skill do not stack; only the higher of the available bonuses is applied.
- Enhancement Bonus: Magic items can grant a bonus to one or more skills, in the form of an enhancement bonus. Note that multiple enhancement bonuses to the same skill do not stack; only the higher of the available bonuses is applied.
- Integral Bonus: As described above, you can get a magic item that grants an Integral bonus to one or more skills. Integral bonuses are only applied if you have fewer ranks in the skill than your total character level. Even then, the sum of your ranks in the skill and your Integral bonus cannot exceed your total character level. Any Integral bonus which you possess which is in excess of this is ignored when calculating your total skill bonus. For example, a level 10 character with 5 ranks in Stealth and a magic item which grants a +7 integral bonus to Stealth would get reduced to a +5 integral bonus, since the sum of ranks + integral bonus cannot exceed the character's level. Note that multiple integral bonuses to the same skill do not stack; only the higher of the available bonuses is applied.
- Other Bonus: Generally, only permanent (always on) bonuses from sources not listed above are included here. A common example would be the +1 bonus to Stealth that sized-small characters receive.
Temporary modifiers, such as those from a spell or status condition, can also affect your skill bonus. In general, multiple bonuses of the same bonus type (e.g. Arcane Bonus) to the same skill do not stack; only the higher of the available bonuses is applied. If the bonus does not list a bonus type, or it states that the bonus type is "untyped", it stacks with any other bonuses you may possess.
In addition, you might gain one or more circumstance bonuses to a skill check, either because the GM awards the bonus to you (due to circumstances, obviously), or because of some other specific factor that grants a circumstance bonus. Unlike most other bonus types, multiple circumstance bonuses can stack, even on the same skill.
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.
|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.|
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.
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.
Using the Skills system, it is possible to convert a fairly dry 'make a roll to do a thing' into an exciting and fun activity for your players.
Skill Challenges are ways to use Skills and Skill checks in collaborative ways, so that you can run entire 'skill-based' 'combats' if you desire.
See the Designing Skill Challenges page for details!
Libraries can be used to grant one-time bonuses to a single skill check. After a single full day 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 full day 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. The circumstance bonus, once acquired, can be rolled immediately, or saved until the next time a skill check for the designated skill is made (even if that is several days after the research is performed). Research is a useful method of retrying a failed knowledge check (which is normally not permitted).
- Settlement Size: As a general rule, 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, or settlement size greater than a Large Town, gets the full +4 circumstance bonus for research, as described above.
- Great Libraries: A Great Library is a library which holds a diverse and plentiful collection of books, scrolls, knowledge crystals, and other bodies of knowledge. While not necessarily magical in nature, they are rare and awesome places nonetheless. Great Libraries are often found in the tower of powerful wizards, the castle of an erudite king, or the hidden bowels of a secret college. They are usually not open to the public, and often only to members of an exclusive group, caste, or kin, though sometimes access can be purchased for favors, feats of heroism, or a reward for some great deed. Great Libraries in a Small City provide an additional +1 circumstance bonus over and above the normal bonus (total bonus +3). A Great Library in a Large City gains an additional +2 (total bonus +6). 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 GMs 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: Some 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 each full day of research costs the CR squared x 100 gold pieces, based on the CR of the topic being researched. This price is CR squared x 1,000 gp (per day) for research in a Great Library. It should be noted that these prices are highly variable, and GMs are encouraged to be creative in how this is applied. ("BRING ME A...SHRUBBERY.")
- Magical and Wondrous Libraries: At the GMs discretion, it is possible to find Libraries in many shapes and sizes and types out in the world. Players might stumble upon 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 the price of 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 GM 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 GMs follow the guidelines for bonuses as laid out for settlement libraries, above. Magical and wondrous libraries can often provide answers to specific questions immediately, or in significantly less time than normal research.
- 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 is unlikely to have materials on how to improve 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. Players wishing to acquire a new language must have an available language 'slot' from their ranks in Linguistics before they begin studying. No Library, ever, will have textbooks available to the public for secret languages.
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.
- The skill name line is followed by a general description of what using the skill represents.
- What a character ("you" in the skill description) can do with a successful skill check and the check's Difficulty Class (DC).
- The type of action using the skill requires, or the amount of time required for a check.
- Try Again
- Any conditions that apply to successive attempts to use the skill successfully. If the skill doesn't allow you to attempt the same task more than once, or if failure carries an inherent penalty (such as with the 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.
- 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.
- The full utility of certain skills is restricted to characters of certain classes. This entry indicates whether any such restrictions exist for the skill.
- 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 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.