Skill Check Basics
Inside and outside of combat, characters are confronted by dramatic situations that do not involve the swinging of a sword or slinging of a spell. Skills checks resolve these situations.
To make a skill check, roll 1d20 then add the character's quest bonus, relevant ability score modifier, and a bonus based on the character's rank in the skill. Skill checks can either fail, attain a weak success, attain a moderate success, or attain a strong success, depending on the roll and the level of the challenge.
When creating a character, your class and sometimes your race provide you with a number of "Trained" skills, referring to the "Trained" rank. Some class features and feats give characters the "Adept" rank. Upgrading a character's skill rank either requires downtime or feats.
Table of Skills
|Sleight of Hand||Dex|
Mobility skills are used to navigate perilous circumstances, with the circumstances dictating the skill to be used. If the obstacle does not carry some form of risk, then no roll is required.
A successful roll crosses a dangerous obstacle. A hard success crosses the obstacle and leaves the character with some form of preparedness or advantage on any immediate actions following the crossing. A weak success can force a hard bargain or difficult choice. A failure won't grind things to a halt, but will incur a major cost.
Investigation skills are used to find out information the players don't know. The sources a player draws from changes based on the skill used, but the process remains the same. Using an investigation skill takes up one period of downtime.
First, the player declares what topic they would like to investigate. Next, the player declares what specific source(s) they are drawing from, such as a specific library or local taverns. The player character then spends four hours investigating and will turn up three pieces of information. Depending on the roll, between zero and three of those pieces of information will be true and useful, while the others will be false or misleading.
Social skills are used to persuade NPCs to take actions they otherwise would not. Convincing an NPC to take actions they otherwise wouldn't form the basis of conflict in social scenarios When approaching a social scenario, the player should decide a skill and an objective, based on what they would like to persuade the target of.
The three objective choices are bargain, deceive, and intimidate. Bargaining involves honesty and making a fair deal. Deceiving involves false premises and promises and is opposed by the target's passive insight. Intimidation relies on the threat of loss to the target. Note that intimidation does not strictly rely on physical harm, but can involve other harms such as professional or reputational. Depending on the target, certain skills or objectives may be more or less effective, resulting in advantage or disadvantage.
A given NPC has an attitude somewhere on a 7-step spectrum; Hostile, Unfriendly, Uncooperative, Neutral, Cooperative, Friendly, or Helpful. These attitudes determine the cost for an NPC to help a PC. A weak success won't improve a target's attitude, but will progress towards resolving the conflict. A moderate success improves the target's attitude by 1 step and progresses towards resolving the conflict. A strong success improves the target's attitude by 2 steps and progresses towards resolving the conflict. Failing a social check by 5 or more worsens the target's attitude by 1 step and may even move away from conflict resolution.
Acrobatics is used to perform feats of agility and balance. Outside of combat, Acrobatic follows the mobility skill rules. Inside of combat, Acrobatics can be used to circumnavigate dangerous terrain.
Appeal is the art of persuasion through emotions. Bargaining through appeal involves flattery and exaggeration. Deceiving through appeal manipulates the targets emotions to believe something that isn't true. Intimidation through appeal involves playing on the target's fears.
Arcana is used to detect and evaluate magic, and is the skill used when performing a ritual. As a standard action a character can attempt to detect magic. On a weak success, the character learns the general strength of magic in the area around them. On a moderate success, the character learns what the specific sources of magic are. On a strong success the character learns specific details about the magic used.
Training in Arcana enables the casting of Rituals.
Athletics is used for regular climbing, swimming, and jumping. Outside of combat, Athletics follows the mobility skill rules. Inside of combat, Athletics can be used to circumnavigate dangerous terrain.
Debate is the art of persuasion through logic and facts. Bargaining through debate shows how both you and the target will benefit from the deal. Deceiving thorugh debate involves manipulating facts and figures to misportray the nature of things. Intimidation through debate involves detailing how the character is capable of harming the target.
Endurance is used for pushing beyond your characters limits in extended swimming, climbing, or forced marches, and is the skill to recover from diseases, injuries, and poisons.
When traveling, if there are inclement conditions or the party is attempting to travel for more than eight hours without a long rest, make an Endurance check for each hour. The quality of the check will determine any additional resources consumed, or in the event of a failure if an illness or injury occurs.
Handle Animal (Wis)
Handle Animal covers all interactions with non-sapient creatures, from calming a raging beast to riding a mount in difficult scenarios. The difficulty of the check is based on the objective and the circumstances of the check.
Impress is the art of persuasion through establishing authority and reputation. Bargaining through impress involves demonstrating the character as an impartial arbiter who can improve both parties quality of life. Deceiving through impress involves giving a false impression of the character's status. Intimidating through impress invokes a reputation of carrying out threats.
Insight is used to discern the truth. Insight is used to oppose deception and detect if someone is under a magical influence.
Magical influence includes charm, illusion, and polymorph effects. Examples include "Charm Person", "Alter Self", and the Changeling's "Changeling Disguise" racial.
Once per conversation, each PC can make an insight check to answer one of the following questions
- Who's really in control here?
- What is an NPC about to do?
- What should I be on the lookout for?
- What is an NPC's motivation?
- What does an NPC wish I do?
Medicine is used to cure ailments of all kinds. For injuries and diseases a character trained in medicine can make a check once per day to improve the target. For poisons, the check can be made once per endurance check against the poison. A strong success will improve the patient's condition, while a regular success will give the patient advantage on their next endurance check. Failure will impose disadvantage on the patient's next endurance check.
Inside of combat, Medicine can be used to stabilize downed and dying allies. An easy success will stabilize the target, while a regular success will give the target the opportunity to use their Second Wind if it has not already been used. A strong success will give the target the full ability to expend healing surges to recuperate.
Perception is used to search for hidden things, see through illusions, follow tracks, listen for sounds, and as a defense against stealth and sleight of hand.
Examples of hidden things include traps, clues, and secret doors. Character's automatically detect anything hidden below their passive perception. Active perception requires the space and time to actively examine a PC's surroundings.
Once per scene, each PC can make a perception check to answer one of the following questions
- What happened here recently?
- What is about to happen?
- What should I be on the lookout for?
Repair is used to fix objects, constructs and mechanical devices. For constructs and living constructs Repair can be used the same way Medicine is for the stabilization of downed and dying allies.
If a vehicle is actively under attack, repair checks can be made to help the vehicle resist damage or improve its condition. A strong success will improve the vehicle's condition, while a regular success will give the vehicle advantage on their next endurance check. Failure will impose disadvantage on the vehicle's next endurance check.
In some scenarios Repair is also the relevant skill for fixing broken magical contraptions, with the complexity varying with the complexity of the contraption.
Research is the ability to gather information from static sources such as libraries and newspapers. Researching can also be used to examine and understand ruins and architecture.
In addition to its purpose as a downtime investigation skill, Research is used for surveying crime scenes or other such detail-oriented searches.
Sleight of Hand (Dex)
Sleight of Hand is used for any fine finger movements, such as pickpocketing, lockpicking, and disabling traps. Against creatures, the check is made against an opposed perception roll if they are aware of the character's actions, or against passive perception if they are not.
When attempting to lockpick, disable a trap, or engage with a fine motor mechanism, the complexity of the challenge varies based on the complexity of the mechanism. Upon three total failures the character can no longer progress on the challenge and risks alerting any nearby guards or activating the mechanism.
Socialize is the ability to gather information from people. As opposed to the social skills, Socialize is used to interact with a large number of people to pick up gossip and rumors.
Stealth is used to hide yourself and your actions. Outside of combat, Stealth follows the mobility skill rules. Weak successes and failures may result in detection, where a character is still hidden but have aroused suspicion.
Inside of combat, Stealth follows a particular set of specific rules. At the end of any move action that did not break the "Hidden" status where the character has Total Concealment or Superior Cover, that character may roll Stealth to become hidden. If the stealth roll beats each enemy's passive perception, the character becomes hidden. Keep track of this roll. Once hidden, a character must follow the following rules or lose the hidden status.
- Maintain (basic) cover or concealment. If cover or concealment ever drops, even mid-action, that character loses hidden.
- Stay quiet. Against enemies that can hear, anything louder than a whisper will break hidden
- Keep still. Movement more than 10' requires rerolling Stealth with disadvantage (against each enemy's passive perception), with this new roll replacing the initial one made to become hidden.
- Don't attack. If a power has the "Hidden" keyword then it is exempt from this rule.
- Avoid enemies. Enemies can make active perception rolls as a minor action to find a hidden character. If the perception roll beats the stealth roll associated with the hidden status, the character loses hidden.
Any action that breaks hidden does not fully end the status until the end of the action, so powers that include movement before an attack keep the hidden status until the end of the attack.
Hidden comes with two main benefits
- The character gains Edge on attacks against enemies they are hidden to.
- The enemies must guess the location of the character when making an attack. Note, characters become hidden at the end of a move action, so enemies will typically guess the "last known location" which will be the same as the one the character became hidden in.
Survival is used for navigation and acquiring supplies. Traveling without a map requires a Survival check for each day of travel to avoid getting lost.
While traveling in inclement conditions, trained Survival checks can be made to help other group members. A strong success can upgrade an ally's Endurance check result by two steps (Eg from failure to moderate success), a regular success upgrades an ally's check result by one, but a failure imposes disadvantage on the Endurance check of the character attempting the Survival roll.
Outside of inclement conditions, characters trained in Survival can attempt to gather supplies once per day during their downtime. A strong success acquires two days worth of supplies, a moderate success acquires one days worth of suppplies, and a weak success acquires half a day's worth of supplies.