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Using Skills Edit

When a character uses a skill, the player makes a skill check to see how well the character does. Based on the circumstances, the check must match or beat a specific target number (a DC or an opposed skill check) to be successful. The harder the task, the higher the number you must roll.

The basic formula for a skill check is as follows:

1d20 + the character’s total skill modifier

A skill’s total modifier includes its number of ranks, the bonus of its key ability(one of the six abilities described in Chapter 1), plus any other miscellaneous modifiers that may apply such as racial bonuses or armor check penalties. The higher the check, the better the result. A roll of a natural 20 is not an automatic success, and a natural 1 is not an automatic failure. 

Skill Checks Against a Difficulty Class:Many skill checks are made against a Difficulty Class (DC). The DC is the number the character must tie or beat to succeed in the skill check. Individual skill descriptions in this chapter provide DCs for certain common and specific tasks. 

Opposed Skill Checks:Sometimes your character will make an opposed check against another character’s or creature’s skill check result. For example, a human rogue would make a Stealth check opposed by a Forsaken sentry’s Listen check in order pass by undetected. The highest result wins the contest. In the event of a tie, the higher total skill modifier wins; if these figures are the same, the character with the higher key ability for the skills used wins. If both the total skill modifier and key ability figures are equal, reroll or flip a coin. 

Retries Edit

In general, characters can try skill checks again if they fail, and they can keep trying indefinitely. Some skills, however, have consequences for failure that must be accounted for. A few skills are effectively useless once a check has failed for accomplishing a particular task. For example, a tauren shaman fails a Heal check to stabilize his wounded orc scout companion, but he can try again in the next round; or, a dwarven tinker fails an Appraise check to establish the market value of a technological device, and he cannot try again with that object. For most skills, when a character succeeds at a given task, additional successes are meaningless.If a skill carries no penalties for failure, characters can take 20 (see “Checks Without Rolls”). They are assumed to go at the task long and carefully enough to succeed. 

Untrained Skill Checks Edit

Skill Table

If characters attempt to use skills they do not possess, players make skill checks as normal. Skill ranks do not affect the total skill modifier, as characters will not have ranks in these “untrained” skills. Characters can, however, add other elements such as racial bonuses and key ability modifiers. Some other skills can be used only by characters trained in them — i.e., having at least 1 rank in them. Skills that cannot be used untrained are indicated by a “No” in the Untrained column on Table 5–2: Skills. 

Favorable and Unfavorable Conditions Edit

Some situations make a skill easier or harder to use, resulting in a bonus or penalty to the skill modifier for the skill check or in a change to the skill check’s DC. The GM can alter the chance of success in four ways to account for exceptional circumstances: 

1. Give the skill user a +2 circumstance bonus to represent conditions that improve performance. 

2. Give the skill user a –2 circumstance penalty to represent conditions that hamper performance. 

3. Reduce the DC by –2 to represent circumstances that make the task easier. 

4. Increase the DC by +2 to represent circumstances that make the task harder. 

Conditions that affect a character’s ability to perform the skill change the skill modifier, while conditions that modify how well a character must perform the skill to succeed change the DC. A bonus to the skill modifier and a reduction in the check’s DC amount to the same result: they create a better chance of success. Yet they represent different circumstances, and sometimes that difference is important to maintain 

Time and Skill Checks Edit

Most skill uses are standard actions, move actions, or full-round actions (see Chapter 12: Combat, “Actions in Combat,”Action Types). These types of actions define how long activities take to perform within the framework of a combat round (6 seconds) and how movement is treated with respect to the activity. Some skill checks are instant and represent reactions to an event, or they are included as part of an action; these skill checks are not actions. Other skill checks represent part of movement. When a skill takes more than 1 round to use, its description usually specifies how much time is needed. 

Practically Impossible Tasks Edit

In general, attempting to do something considered practically impossible requires a character to have at least 10 ranks in the appropriate skill and entails a penalty of –20 on the check or of +20 to the DC (which amounts to the same thing). Practically impossible tasks are hard to define ahead of time — they should represent accomplishments of incredible, truly heroic skill and luck. Thus, the GM decides what is actually impossible (i.e., no roll is allowed) and what is practically impossible.  

Extraordinary Successes Edit

If a character has at least 10 ranks in a skill and beats the DC by 20 or more, the GM should assign an appropriate game advantage to such an extraordinary success.  

Checks Without Rolls Edit

Taking 10:When your character is not in a rush and not being threatened or distracted, you may choose to “take 10” on a skill check. Instead of rolling 1d20, calculate the result as if you had rolled a 10. Characters cannot normally take 10 during combat. 

Taking 20:When your character has plenty of time and is neither threatened nor distracted, and when the skill being attempted carries no risk of failure, you can “take 20.” Instead of rolling 1d20, calculate the result asnif you had rolled a 20. Taking 20 means your character keeps trying until she succeeds; taking 20 also takes about 20 times as long as needed for a single check.  

Combining Skill Checks Edit

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

Individual Events:Often, several characters attempt a similar action, and they succeed or fail individually. 

Aid Another:Characters can help each other achieve success on their skill checks by making the same skill check in a cooperative effort. In such cases, one character is designated as the leader and makes a skill check, while any helpers make a skill check against DC 10. (Helpers cannot take 10 on these checks.) For each helper whon succeeds, the leader gets a +2 circumstance bonus (as for favorable conditions). In many cases, a character’s help will not prove beneficial, or only a limited number of characters can help at once. 

Skill Synergy:Several skills complement each other. In general, having 5 or more ranks in one skill gives a +2 synergy bonus on skill checks with related, synergistic skills, as noted in a skill’s description. Some synergy bonuses apply all the time, while others apply only to certain uses of the synergistic skill. Synergy bonuses always stack.  

Ability Checks Edit

Sometimes, a character tries to do something to which no specific skill really applies. In these cases, the character makes an ability check: a roll of 1d20 plus the appropriate ability modifier (essentially, an untrained skill check). The GM assigns a DC to the task. Occasionally, an action is simply a test of one’s ability with no luck involved. Just as you wouldn’t make a height check to determine who is taller, you don’t make a Strength check to determine who is stronger. 

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