Put one rank into each skill you want until you run out of ranks. You can’t put more than one rank into a skill at 1st level. Pick skills that match your idea for your character. For example, if your character likes living outdoors, you could put a rank in Climb and a rank in Swim. You can put a rank into any skill you want, even if it seems like an odd choice. For example, you can put a rank in Spellcraft even if you’re a fighter—maybe your sister was a wizard, or maybe you flunked out of wizard school before deciding to become a fighter. Or, you could put a rank in Disable Device even if you’re a cleric—maybe you were a burglar before becoming a priest. Write your skill ranks in Section D of your character sheet.


Every skill is linked to one of the Ability Modifiers—Acrobatics is a DEX skill, Climb is a STR skill, and so on. If you put a rank in a skill, you should write on your character sheet the linked Ability Modifier for that skill in the Ability Mod box for that skill. For example, if you put 1 rank in Climb and your STR Mod (from Section B) is +2, write down +2 in the Ability Mod box next to Climb.


Your class training means you are automatically better at some skills than others—clerics are good at Knowledge Religion, fighters are good at Climb, and so on. The skills you’re good at are called class skills—they’re the skills listed for your class. (Also, the color codes next to the skill names show which classes have that skill as a class skill.)
   If you have at least 1 rank in a class skill, you get a +3 bonus on that skill—write that +3 in the Misc Mod box for that skill in Section D of your character sheet. The class skill bonus always stays +3.


For every skill you have a rank in, add up the numbers and put the total in the Total box. The numbers should include your rank in that skill, your Ability Mod for that skill (if you have one), your class skill bonus (if you have one), and your race bonus (if you have one). Until you level up, the Total is the only number you need to worry about for the skill.


When you try to use a skill, roll 1d20 + the skill’s Total. Higher rolls are better than lower rolls. You compare your roll to the Difficulty Class(DC) of what you’re trying to do. Higher DCs are harder than lower DCs. If your skill check roll is the same as or more than the DC, you succeed! If your skill check is lower than the DC, you fail—but you can usually try again on your next turn.
If you don’t have any ranks in a skill, your Total for that skill is just your Ability Mod for that skill (if you have one) plus your racial modifier (if you have one).


Sometimes you have to make an opposed skill check. Instead of having a DC set by the Game Master, you roll against another character or a monster. For example, if you’re trying to sneak up on a goblin, you make a Stealth check, the goblin makes a Perception check, and the goblin’s DC is what you rolled on your Stealth check. If the goblin’s Perception check is the same as or higher than your Stealth check, it notices you.


If a skill has a gray bar instead of a black bar , you must have some training (at least 1 rank) in that skill to use that skill. If you don’t have any ranks in it, you can’t make the check at all.




You use Acrobatics to jump, keep your balance, do flips, land safely after a fall, and do other physical things that require Dexterity. Using Acrobatics isn’t its own action—it’s part of whatever movement you’re doing.


If you make an Acrobatics check, you can move at half speed across a ledge (or even a rope) for 1 round. If you take damage while balancing, you have to make another check or you fall.

1 foot wide or greater No check needed
7–11 inches wide 10
2–6 inches wide 15
Less than 2 inches wide 20


You can use Acrobatics to jump horizontally or vertically. If you don’t have at least 10 feet to make a running start, multiply these DCs by ×2! If you fail a jump across a pit by 4 or less, you can attempt a DC 20 Reflex saving throw to catch the side. If you fail by 5 or more, you fall. If you deliberately jump down, you can make a DC 15 Acrobatics check to treat the distance as 10 feet shorter, which reduces your falling damage.

5 feet
10 feet 10
15 feet 15
20 feet 20
Greater than 20 feet +5 per 5 feet

1 foot 4
2 feet 8
3 feet 12
4 feet 16
Greater than 4 feet +4 per foot

Poor ground conditions add to the DC for using Acrobatics. These modifiers add together, but only use the worst of each modifier type (for example, if the ground is slightly obstructed from sand and severely obstructed from rubble, only add +5).

Slightly obstructed (gravel, sand) +2
Severely obstructed (rough cavern, rubble) +5
Slightly slippery (wet) +2
Severely slippery (icy) +5
Slightly sloped (less than 45°) +2
Severely sloped (more than 45°) +5
Slightly unsteady (boat in rough water) +2
Moderately unsteady (boat in a storm) +5
Severely unsteady (earthquake) +10



You use Bluff to tell lies successfully. If someone thinks you’re lying, he can make a Sense Motive check. If your Bluff check beats his Sense Motive check, you convince him that what you’re saying is true. Telling a lie takes as long as it takes to say the lie (usually 1 round or more). If the person doesn’t believe you, you take a –10 penalty to Bluff him after that.


It’s easier to fool people if they want to believe you, and harder if your lie is ridiculous.

The target wants to believe you +5
The lie is believable +0
The lie is unlikely –5
The lie is far-fetched –10
The lie is impossible –20



You use Climb to climb walls, cliffs, curtains, ropes, and so on. If you beat the Climb check’s DC, you can climb 1/4 of your speed. Or, if you take a –5 penalty and then succeed at the check, you can climb at 1/2 your speed. You must make a check once per move action. If you fail by 4 or less, you don’t move at all. If you fail by 5 or more, you fall.
   You need 2 hands free to climb, but can hold on (without moving) using one hand and still use the other hand to cast a spell or take a one-handed action (like attacking with a weapon or taking something out of your belt pouch). If you take damage while climbing, you must succeed at another check or you fall.


A knotted rope against a wall 0
A rope against a wall or a knotted rope with nothing to brace against 5
The rigging of a ship or a rocky hillside 10
A rock wall, a tree, or a rope with nothing to brace against 15
A stone wall 20
A brick wall 25
A ceiling with handholds only 30
A perfectly smooth, vertical surface unclimbable


You can make your own handholds and footholds by pounding pitons into a wall. Doing so takes 1 minute per piton, and one piton is needed per 5 feet of distance. Climbing a wall with pitons is DC 15. You could use an axe in the same way to climb an ice wall or a tree.


Trying to stop falling is nearly impossible. If you make a Climb check against the normal DC + 20, you succeed.



You use Diplomacy to persuade people to agree with you, to resolve differences, and to gather valuable information or rumors from people. If you succeed at the check, the target helps you in some way (determined by the GM). If you fail, it does not help you. If you fail by 5 or more, its attitude toward you and your friends gets worse—if it was already unfriendly, it may attack! You can’t use Diplomacy against a creature that can’t understand you, that has an Intelligence of 3 or lower, or that is planning to harm you in the immediate future. Diplomacy takes as long as it takes to talk to the creature (usually at least 1 round).


The DC of the check depends on the creature’s attitude and Charisma modifier.
Hostile 25 + creature’s CHA Mod
Unfriendly 20 + creature’s CHA Mod
Indifferent 15 + creature’s CHA Mod
Friendly 10 + creature’s CHA Mod
Helpful 0 + creature’s CHA Mod


The DC of this check is also modified by the nature of the aid or advice. Some requests automatically fail if the request goes against the target creature’s values or its nature (determined by the GM).

Give simple advice or aid –5
Give detailed advice or complex aid +0
Reveal an unimportant secret or give lengthy aid +5
Reveal an important secret or more give dangerous aid +10
Additional requests +5 per request


If you spend several hours talking to people in town, you can use Diplomacy to gather information about a specific topic or person. To do this, you must spend at least 1d4 hours canvassing people at local taverns, markets, and gathering places. The DC of your Diplomacy check depends on how well-known the information is. The DC of earning common facts and rumors is 10, but for obscure or secret knowledge it’s usually 20 or higher. The GM might rule that some topics are simply unknown to common folk.


You can influence the same creature once every 24 hours. You can always spend more time trying to gather information.




You use Disable Device to disarm traps, open locks, and sabotage simple mechanical devices (like catapults, wagon wheels, and doors). It’s easier when you use thieves’ tools.


When disarming a trap, the GM rolls your Disable Device check for you so you don’t know whether you made it or not. If you don’t have thieves’ tools, you take a –2 penalty. If you succeed, you disable the device. If you fail by 4 or less, you have failed, but you can try again. If you fail by 5 or more, something goes wrong—if the device is a trap, you trigger it, or if you’re attempting some sort of sabotage, you think the device is disabled, but it still works normally. Disabling a simple device takes 1 round and is a full-round action. Disabling a tricky or difficult device requires 1d4 or 2d4 rounds.

Simple 1 round 10 Jam a lock
Tricky 1d4 rounds 15 Sabotage a wagon wheel
Difficult 2d4 rounds 20 Disarm a simple trap,reset a simple trap
Extreme 2d4 rounds 25 Disarm a complex trap


The DC for opening a lock depends on its quality. If you aren’t using thieves’ tools, these DCs increase by 10. Attempting to open a lock requires you to spend a standard action and a move action.

Simple 20
Average 25
Good 30
Superior 40



You use Heal to perform surgery, treat disease and poison, save the dying, and help injured people recover.


The DC and effect of a Heal check depend on the type of healing you attempt.

First aid
Long-term care 15
Treat deadly wounds 20
Treat poison Poison’s save DC
Treat disease Disease’s save DC


You use first aid to save a dying character. If a character has negative hit points and is losing hit points, you can make her stable. A stable character regains no hit points but stops losing them. This is a standard action.


You treat a wounded person for a day. If your Heal check is successful, the patient recovers 2 hit points per character level after resting for a full 8 hours, or 4 hit points per character level for a full day of complete rest. You cannot give long-term care to yourself.
   You can treat up to six patients per day. Long-term care requires 8 hours of your day.


You perform surgery to heal an injured creature. This restores 1 hit point per character level of the creature. If you beat the DC by 5 or more, add your WIS Mod to this amount. The creature can only be healed like this once per day. This takes 1 hour.


You tend to one poisoned creature who is going to take more damage from the poison. Every time the creature makes a saving throw against the poison, you make a Heal check. If your Heal check beats the DC of the poison, the creature gets a +4 bonus on that save. This is a standard action.


You tend to one diseased creature. Every time the creature makes a saving throw against disease effects, you make a Heal check. If your Heal check beats the DC of the disease, the creature gets a +4 bonus on that save. This takes 10 minutes.




You use Knowledge to answer simple and complex questions. The Knowledge skill is actually seven different knowledge skills, but the rules for them all work the same way.


You treat the Knowledge skills as different skills when putting ranks in them (for example, having a rank in Arcana doesn’t give you a bonus on History). Check your class to determine which ones are class skills for you.

Arcana arcane symbols, constructs,dragons, magical beasts
Dungeoneering aberrations, caverns, oozes, slimes
Geography climate, lands, people, terrain
History colonies, exploration, founding of cities, wars
Local humanoids, laws, legends,personalities, traditions
Nature animals, monstrous humanoids,plants, vermin, weather
Religion gods and goddesses, holy symbols,mythic history, undead


If you don’t have ranks in a Knowledge skill, you can’t answer questions with a DC higher than 10. If you fail a Knowledge check, you can’t try again until you level up. A successful check can give you a clue about a monster’s abilities or weaknesses.

Really easy 10
Basic 15
Tough 20
Really tough 30



You use Perception to spot traps, notice someone is sneaking up on you, hear a faint sound, taste poison in food, and so on. You don’t have to spend an action to use Perception unless you’re actively searching for something—searching a 5-footsquare area is a move action.


If a creature is sneaking up on you, you make an opposed Perception check against the DC of the creature’s Stealth check. If you equal or exceed the DC, you notice the creature. If you fail, it can sneak past you or attack you. Here are some common Perception DCs.

Hear the sound of battle –10
Detect the smell of smoke 0
Hear the details of a conversation 0
Hear the sound of a creature walking 10
Hear the details of a whispered conversation 15
Find the average secret door 20
Notice a creature using Stealth Opposed by Stealth
Find a hidden trap Varies by trap


Spotting an orc sneaking 100 feet away is a lot harder than spotting one from 10 feet away! Here are some common modifiers to Perception DCs.

Distance to the source, object, or creature +1/10 feet
Through a closed door +5
Through a wall +10
Creature making the check is asleep +10



You use Ride to ride or control an animal you’re riding, usually a horse.


If you are riding a mount without a saddle, you take a –5 penalty on Ride checks.
Guide with your knees 5
Soft fall 15
Leap 15
Fast mount or dismount 20


You can guide your mount with your knees so you can use both hands in combat. Make your Ride check at the start of your turn. If you fail, you can use only one hand this round because you need to use the other to control your mount. This does not take an action.


Normally when you fall off a mount, you take 1d6 points of damage and are prone on the ground. If you make this Ride check, you don’t take any damage from the fall and you land on your feet. This use of the Ride skill does not take an action (you can even do it when it is not your turn).


You can get your mount to leap obstacles as part of its movement. If you succeed at the DC 15 Ride check, you can make a check for the mount (using the Total bonus from your Ride skill or the Total bonus for the mount’s Acrobatics skill, whichever is lower) to see how far it jumps. If you fail your Ride check, you fall off the mount when it leaps and take the appropriate falling damage (at least 1d6 points). This use of the Ride skill does not take an action but is part of the mount’s movement.


Normally, mounting or dismounting is a move action. If you have a move action available on your turn, you can attempt a Ride check to mount or dismount as a free action. If you fail the Ride check, you must spend your move action to mount or dismount (but you still have your free action).



You use Sense Motive to detect whether someone is lying to you (with the Bluff skill), determine how trustworthy a person is, or sense whether something weird is going on with a person.


If you think someone is trying to Bluff you, you can make a Sense Motive check. If your check equals or exceeds the other person’s Bluff check, you sense he is lying. If he is not actually lying, then you think he is telling the truth, no matter how you roll.
   You can use Sense Motive to get a gut feeling about the situation, like thinking the person you’re talking to is an impostor or under a mind-control spell. The DC for this is 20. If you succeed, you realize something is odd about the person’s behavior. You can also use this skill to get an idea of whether a sneaky sort of person is actually trustworthy. Getting a sense of someone takes about 1 minute.




You use Spellcraft to understand active magic effects and spells.


The DC and effect of a Spellcraft check depend on the task.

Identify potion, scroll, or wand 15 + caster level
Identify a spell an enemy is casting 15 + spell level
Identify other magic item 20
    Note that the detect magic cantrip or orison can identify magic items without a Spellcraft check.



You use Stealth to keep other creatures from noticing you, allowing you to sneak past them or attack when they don’t expect it. This skill covers hiding and moving silently.


Your Stealth check is opposed by the Perception check of anyone who might notice you—if you beat the creature’s DC, it doesn’t notice you. Normally, the GM makes your Stealth check for you because you don’t know exactly how stealthy you are.   
   If you’re still or moving no more than 1/2 your speed, you can use Stealth without a penalty. If you move more than 1/2 your speed, you take a –5 penalty on your Stealth check. You can’t use Stealth when attacking, running, or charging.
   If a creature is watching you, you can’t use Stealth. Most of the time, if you are around a corner or behind a large object (cover), or behind a curtain or some bushes (concealment), you can make a Stealth check against a creature. You can make a Bluff check opposed by the creature’s Perception check to create a small distraction (“look behind you!”), which lets you quickly move out of sight and make a Stealth check at a –10 penalty.



You use Swim to move through water, whether vertically or horizontally. If you make the Swim check DC, you can swim 1/4 of your speed as a move action or 1/2 your speed as a full-round action. You must make a check once per move action or full-round action. If you fail by 4 or less, you don’t move (though the current may move you). If you fail by 5 or more, you sink underwater.
   If you are underwater, either because you failed a Swim check or because you are swimming underwater intentionally, you must hold your breath. You can hold your breath for a number of rounds equal to 2 × your Constitution ability score, but only if you do nothing but take move actions or free actions. If you take a standard action (such as making an attack), reduce the remaining time by 1 round (this means if you attack every round, you can only hold your breath for a number of rounds equal to your Constitution ability score instead of 2 × your Constitution ability score). Once your breath runs out, you have to make a Constitution ability check (1d20 + your CON Mod) every round, starting at DC 10 and increasing by +1 every round. If you fail the Constitution ability check, you begin to drown (see the suffocation).


The DC for the Swim check depends on the water.

Calm 10
Rough 15
Stormy 20