Combining Skill Attempts

When more than one character tries the same skill at the same time and for the same purpose, their efforts may overlap.

Individual Events

Often, several characters attempt some action and each succeeds or fails independently.

For example, Krusk and each of his friends needs to climb a slope if they're all to get to the top. Regardless of Krusk's roll, the other characters need successful checks, too. Every character makes a skill check.

Aid Another

You can help another character achieve success on his or her skill check by making the same kind of skill check in a cooperative effort. If you roll a 10 or higher on your check, the character you are helping gets a +2 bonus to his or her check, as per the rule for favorable conditions. (You can't take 10 on a skill check to aid another.) In many cases, a character's help won't be beneficial, or only a limited number of characters can help at once. The DM limits cooperation as he or she sees fit for the given conditions.

For instance, if Krusk has been badly wounded and is dying, Jozan can try a Heal check to keep him from losing more hit points. One other character can help Jozan. If the other character makes a Heal check against DC 10, then Jozan gets a +2 circumstance bonus on the Heal check he makes to help Krusk. The DM rules that two characters couldn't help Jozan at the same time because a third person would just get in the way.

In cases where the skill restricts who can achieve certain results (such as with Disable Device, Search, and Survival), you can't aid another to grant a bonus to a task that your character couldn't achieve alone. For instance, a character who doesn't have the trapfinding class feature can't use Search to help a rogue find a magic trap, since the helper couldn't attempt to find the magic trap on his own.

Skill Synergy

It's possible for a character to have two skills that work well together, such as someone with both Jump and Tumble. In general, having 5 or more ranks in one skill gives the character a +2 bonus on skill checks with each of its synergistic skills, as noted in the skill description and on the Skill Synergies Table. In some cases, this bonus applies only to specific uses of the skill in question, and not to all checks. Some skills provide benefits on other checks made by a character, such as those checks required to use certain class features.

Skill Synergies
5 or more ranks in ...Gives a +2 Bonus on...
BluffDiplomacy checks
BluffDisguise checks to act in character
BluffIntimidate checks
BluffSleight of Hand checks
Craftrelated Appraise checks
Decipher ScriptUse Magic Device checks involving scrolls
Escape ArtistUse Rope checks involving bindings
Handle AnimalRide checks
Handle Animalwild empathy checks (class feature)
JumpTumble checks
(arcana)Spellcraft checks
(architecture and engineering)Search checks involving secret doors and similar compartments
(dungeoneering)Survival checks when underground
(geography)Survival checks to keep from getting lost or for avoiding hazards
(history) bardic knowledge checks (class feature)
(local)Gather Information checks
(nature)Survival checks in aboveground natural environments
(nobility and royalty)Diplomacy checks
(religion)checks to turn or rebuke undead (class feature)
(the planes)Survival checks when on other planes
SearchSurvival checks when following tracks
Sense Motive Diplomacy checks
SpellcraftUse Magic Device checks involving scrolls
SurvivalKnowledge (nature) checks
TumbleBalance checks
TumbleJump checks
Use Magic Device Spellcraft checks to decipher spells on scrolls
Use RopeClimb checks involving climbing ropes
Use RopeEscape Artist checks involving ropes

Your DM may limit certain synergies if desired, or he map add more synergies for specific situations.

Ability Checks

Sometimes you try to do something to which no specific skill really applies. In these cases, you make an ability check. An ability check is the roll of 1d20 plus the appropriate ability modifier. Essentially, you're making an untrained skill check. The DM assigns a Difficulty Class, or sets up an opposed check when two characters are engaged in a contest using one ability score or another. The initiative check in combat, for example, is essentially a Dexterity check. The character who rolls highest goes first.

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. When two characters arm wrestle, for example, the stronger character simply wins. In the case of identical scores, flip a coin.

Example Ability Checks
TaskKey Ability
Breaking open a jammed or locked doorStrength
Threading a needleDexterity
Holding one's breathConstitution
Navigating a mazeIntelligence
Remembering to lock a doorWisdom
Getting oneself singled out in a crowdCharisma

Breaking Open Doors: A common use of Strength is to break open doors. For example, Krusk approaches a locked door. He tries his Strength against it. He takes 10, adds +3 for his Strength, and gets a 13. The DM says that the door holds. (The player doesn't know that the door's DC is 15.) Krusk's player can keep making checks. He needs a roll of 12 or higher to get a result of 15 or higher. If he can devote sufficient time, he can take 20, for a total of 23, and plow through the door.

Larger and smaller creatures get size bonuses and size penalties on these checks: Fine -16, Diminutive -12, Tiny -8, Small -4, Large +4, Huge +8, Gargantuan +12, Colossal +16.

A portable ram improves a character's chance of breaking open a door.

Example Door DCs
10 or lowerA door just about anyone can break open.
11 to 15A door that a strong person could break with one try and an average person might break with one try.
13Typical DC for a simple wooden door.
16 to 20A door that almost anyone could break, given time.
18Typical DC for a good wooden door.
21 to 25A door that only a strong or very strong person has a hope of breaking, and probably not on the first try.
23Typical DC for a strong wooden door.
25Typical DC for an iron-barred wooden door.
26 or higherA door that only an exceptionally strong person has a hope of breaking.
28Typical DC for an iron door.
+5*Hold portal (increases DC by 5).
+10*Arcane lock (increases DC by 10).
*Not cumulative; if both apply, use the larger number.

Character Creation