Use this skill to follow tracks, hunt wild game, guide a party safely through frozen wastelands, identify signs that owlbears live nearby, predict the weather, or avoid quicksand and other natural hazards.
Check: You can keep yourself and others safe and fed in the wild. The table below gives the DCs for various tasks that require Survival checks.
Survival does not allow you to follow difficult tracks unless you are a ranger or have the Track feat (see the Restriction section below).
|10||Get along in the wild. Move up to one-half your overland speed while hunting and foraging (no food or water supplies needed). You can provide food and water for one other person for every 2 points by which your check result exceeds 10.|
|15||Gain a +2 bonus on all Fortitude saves against severe weather while moving up to one-half your overland speed, or gain a +4 bonus if you remain stationary. You may grant the same bonus to one other character for every 1 point by which your Survival check result exceeds 15.|
|15||Keep from getting lost or avoid natural hazards, such as quicksand.|
|15||Predict the weather up to 24 hours in advance. For every 5 points by which your Survival check result exceeds 15, you can predict the weather for one additional day in advance.|
|Varies||Follow tracks (see the Track feat and Follow tracks).|
Action: Varies. A single Survival check may represent activity over the course of hours or a full day. A Survival check made to find tracks is at least a full-round action, and it may take even longer at the DM's discretion.
Try Again: Varies. For getting along in the wild or for gaining the Fortitude save bonus noted in the table above, you make a Survival check once every 24 hours. The result of that check applies until the next check is made, To avoid getting lost or avoid natural hazards, you make a Survival check whenever the situation calls for one. Retries to avoid getting lost in a specific situation or to avoid a specific natural hazard are not allowed. For finding tracks, you can retry a failed check after 1 hour (outdoors) or 10 minutes (indoors) of searching.
Restriction: While anyone can use Survival to find tracks (regardless of the DC), or to follow tracks when the DC for the task is 10 or lower, only a ranger (or a character with the Track feat) can use Survival to follow tracks when the task has a higher DC.
Special: If you have 5 or more ranks in Survival, you can automatically determine where true north lies in relation to yourself.
A ranger gains a bonus on Survival checks when using this skill to find or follow the tracks of a favored enemy (see ranger).
If you have the Self-Sufficient feat, you get a +2 bonus on Survival checks.
Synergy: If you have 5 or more ranks in Survival, you get a +2 bonus on Knowledge (nature) checks.
If you have 5 or more ranks in Knowledge (dungeoneering), you get a +2 bonus on Survival checks made while underground.
If you have 5 or more ranks in Knowledge (nature), you get a +2 bonus on Survival checks in aboveground natural environments, (aquatic, desert, forest, hill, marsh, mountains, and plains).
If you have 5 or more ranks in Knowledge (geography), you get a +2 bonus on Survival checks made to keep from getting lost or to avoid natural hazards.
If you have 5 or more ranks in Knowledge (the planes), you get a +2 bonus on Survival checks made while on other planes.
If you have 5 or more ranks in Search, you get a +2 bonus on Survival checks to find or follow tracks.
Following Tracks (Ranger or Track feat):
|Very soft ground||5|
Very Soft Ground: Any surface (fresh snow, thick dust, wet mud) that holds deep, clear impressions of footprints.
Soft Ground: Any surface soft enough to yield to pressure, but firmer than wet mud or fresh snow, in which a creature leaves frequent but shallow footprints.
Firm Ground: Most normal outdoor surfaces (such as lawns, fields, woods, and the like) or exceptionally soft or dirty indoor surfaces (thick rugs and very dirty or dusty floors). The creature might leave some traces (broken branches or tufts of hair), but it leaves only occasional or partial footprints.
Hard Ground: Any surface that doesn't hold footprints at all, such as bare rock or an indoor floor. Most streambeds fall into this category, since any footprints left behind are obscured or washed away. The creature leaves only traces (scuff marks or displaced pebbles).
Several modifiers may apply to the Survival check, as given on the table below.
|Condition||Survival DC Modifier|
|Every three creatures in the group being tracked||-1|
|Size of creature or creatures being tracked:1|
|Every 24 hours since the trail was made||+1|
|Every hour of rain since the trail was made||+1|
|Fresh snow cover since the trail was made||+10|
|Overcast or moonless night||+6|
|Fog or precipitation||+3|
|Tracked party hides trail (and moves at half speed)||+5|
|1 For a group of mixed sizes, apply only the modifier for the largest size category.|
2 Apply only the largest modifier from this category.
If you fail a Survival check, you can retry after 1 hour (outdoors) or 10 minutes (indoors) of searching.
Dwarves and Races of Stone
While most surface-dwellers only delve into the depths of the earth on brief excursions, seeking treasure or lost cities, the dwarves and other races of stone live there on a daily basis. These races have learned the ways of earth, and the flora and fauna that make the heart of the earth their home.
Check: All the normal uses of the Survival skill apply underground as well as on the surface. In addition, with a successful DC 15 Survival check, you gain a +2 bonus on all Fortitude saves against natural hazards of the underground (such as trapped gases, heat from lava or other volcanic features, and so on) while moving up to one-half your overland speed, or you gain a +4 bonus if you remain stationary. You may grant the same bonus to one other character for every point by which your Survival check result exceeds 15.
Expanded Description - Complete Adventurer
You can blaze a trail through the wilderness, improving your and your allies' overland speed.
Trailblazing: When traveling in poor conditions or difficult terrain, you can attempt a Survival check to hasten your group's progress.
On a check result of 15 or better, you increase the movement modifier for overland movement by 1/4, to a maximum of x1 (see Table 9-5: Terrain and Overland Movement, page 164 of the Player's Handbook). For example, you could increase your movement rate through trackless jungle from x1/4 to x1/2 your normal overland movement rate. With a result of 25 or higher, you can increase the movement modifier by 1/2 (and thus could travel through trackless jungle at X3/4 your normal rate). In either case the x1 maximum still applies - that is, you can improve up to but not exceed your normal movement rate by this means.
You can guide a group of up to four individuals (including yourself) at no penalty. However, for each three additional people (rounded up) in the group being guided, apply a -2 penalty to the trailblazing attempt. Thus, a group of five to seven (yourself and four to six others) would incur a -2 penalty, a group of eight to ten a -4 penalty, and so forth.
This ability applies only to long-distance overland movement - it has no effect on tactical movement.
Expanded Description - Races of the Wild
Elves and raptorans have developed many techniques for getting along the wild. Halflings have developed similar methods for making do when traveling between settlements.
Create Trail Signs: You can leave brief messages for anyone following you or using your route after you pass by.
To create a message, you make marks in the ground, pile up rocks or twigs, bend plants into unusual shapes, or perform some other fairly subtle alteration of the landscape. Halflings make use of simple drawings, which they scratch into the ground or on some object with a sharp implement or draw with a piece of chalk or charcoal.
Very simple messages, such as "Go this way" or "Don't go this way," are fairly easy to convey (DC 10). More complex messages, such as "Walk west three days, then turn left at the bluff," have a DC of 15. In general, a message that could be written in four words or less has a DC of 10, and messages of five to ten words have a DC of 15. Failure by 4 or less means the signs you leave don't get the message across. Failure by 5 or more means that the signs convey some false information (see below).
Finding Trail Signs: Once trail signs are in place, anyone passing through the area where you left them can find them with a DC 10 Survival or Spot check. You can make them easier or more difficult to find. Making the signs big or putting them in an obvious place sets the DC lower (DC 5 or DC 0). Similarly, you can make the signs difficult to find by hiding them. In this case, make a Survival check to set the DC for finding the signs, but the minimum DC remains 10. Older signs are harder to find, and poor visibility can make trail signs more difficult to locate, as indicated below.
|Survival Condition||DC Modifier|
|Every 24 hours since the signs were made||+1|
|Every hour of rain since the signs were made||+1|
|Fresh snow cover since the signs were made||+10|
|Overcast or moonless night||+6|
|Fog or precipitation||+3|
|*Apply only the largest modifier from this category.|
Reading Trail Signs: If the character who placed trail signs created them correctly, the Survival check DC to read them is the same as that it took to create them. If the check fails by 4 or less, the reader cannot make any sense of the signs. If the check fails by 5 or more, the reader perceives an incorrect message.
If the character who placed trail signs failed his or her check and created meaningless signs, you can still try to read them. The DC is the same as the DC to create the signs; if you succeed, you know the signs are meaningless. If you fail by 4 or less, you cannot make sense of the signs. If you fail by 5 or more, you perceive an incorrect message.
Action: Creating trail signs requires a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity.
Locating trail signs usually is reactive; when you have a chance to notice trail signs, you can make a Survival or Spot check without using an action. However, if you know or suspect someone has left trail signs in a certain area, you can use a full-round action to search a 5-foot-by-5 foot area; this requires you to use the Search skill, with the same DC as the Survival DC to locate the signs.
Reading trail signs requires a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.
Try Again: If you fail to create or read trail signs, you cannot try again. If you fail a reactive check to find trail signs someone else has left, you cannot try again (you simply pass by the signs). When using the Search skill to locate signs that you know or suspect are present, you can try again.
Expanded Description - Stormwrack
The open ocean is one of the most hostile environments in the world. Food and drinking water are extremely hard to come by; drinking seawater simply increases the rate at which dehydration kills anyone unfortunate enough to be caught out at sea without fresh water to drink, and mid-ocean waters can be surprisingly barren of fish to catch and eat.
For non-aquatic creatures, surviving in the open ocean without stores of food and water requires ingenuity and more than a little luck - a passing rainstorm for drinking water, a seabird or unlucky flying fish for food.
|20||Get along on the sea without provisions. Provide food and water for one other person for every 2 points by which your check result exceeds 20.|