Ability – The ability that adds its modifier as a bonus to every skill check. In most cases, you pick the ability to use when you make the skill check, however there are occasions when you will be forced to use a certain ability score, or even not be allowed to use your ability score modifier at all.

Synergy – If a skill has synergy with another skill, for every +5 worth of bonus you have in the original skill, you gain +1 in the synergy skill. You apply the synergy bonus last after all other bonuses have been calculated, meaning that a synergy bonus can never make you have another synergy bonus.

Quick Reference

Skill Abilities Synergy
Ancient History Int/Wis Dungeoneering
Appraise Int None
Arcana Int None
Athletics Str Climb, Swim
Balance Dex Tumble
Bluff Cha Diplomacy, Insight, Perform
Climb Str/Dex Balance
Diplomacy Cha Appraise, Insight
Disable Traps/Locks Dex/Int Set Traps/Locks
Drive Dex/Wis Balance, Handle Animal
Dungeoneering Int/Wis Perception
Handle Animal Wis None
Handle Rope Dex None
Heal Int/Wis None
Insight Int/Wis/Cha Diplomacy, Bluff
Intimidate Cha/Str Bluff
Modern History Int/Cha Streetwise
Perception Int/Wis Appraise, Stealth
Perform Cha Streetwise, Tumble, Bluff
Religion Wis Ancient History
Set Traps/Locks Dex Disable Traps/Locks
Stealth Dex/Int Steal
Steal Str/Dex Athletics
Streetwise Wis/Cha Modern History, Perform
Survival Wis/Con Perception, Athletics
Swim Str/Dex Athletics
Tumble Dex Balance, Perform

Ancient History

Ancient History is your character’s knowledge of the past, as it applies to your character’s origin. This means that there will be times where an Ancient History check might apply, but your skill will not help you because it is outside of the realm of your experience.

For example, if your character hails from Kaicho, your knowledge of Ancient History most likely consists of the emperors, dynasties, and legends regarding Old Man Mountain and the rivers. You could make an Ancient History check to learn more about these topics because you grew up hearing stories or had access to knowledge regarding them. However, if you were raised in Cornos and spent your years studying the history of that land, you couldn’t make an Ancient History check to learn about Kaicho, because you simply haven’t studied the history of that land.
In all cases, the DM is the final authority on what topics are outside the realm of your knowledge of Ancient History.

  • Ability: Intelligence or Wisdom
  • Synergy: Dungeoneering


Appraise is the primary skill for any sort of bartering. Knowing how much a given item is actually worth is the key to gaining the upper hand on a transaction, should you choose to haggle for the price. Typically the DCs for an Appraise check are lower the more common an item is. There is no opposed check for Appraise, it simply lets you know the value of an item. Whether you want to go higher or lower on a price depends on Diplomacy or Bluff.

  • Ability: Intelligence


For the most part, Arcana is the general-use skill for magic of any sort. It represents a deeper understanding of how magic works, whether it be through intense study or mystical knowledge. It can be used to identify specific spells, determine what a magic item might do, or recognize the presence of some other magical phenomenon.

It is possible to cast spells effectively without having a high Arcana bonus. You simply cast spells out of natural ability; you don’t know or care why. Arcana is the method behind the madness, trying to make sense of the extraordinary.

  • Ability: Intelligence


Athletics is a general-use skill for any action that requires physical conditioning to achieve. It includes hurdling, jumping, sliding, sprinting, and otherwise moving in some way. Some general guidelines for the mentioned actions are as follows:

Jumping: From the square you are in, the DCs for jumping horizontally are:

DC 5 1 square
DC 10 2 squares
DC 15 3 squares
DC 21 4 squares
DC 27 5 squares
DC 34 6 squares

You can jump vertically a number of squares equal to 1/5th of the distance you jump horizontally.

A running start (moving at least 2 squares before the jump) reduces the DC by 5. Your jump distance can’t exceed the number of squares remaining to you per your Speed. If you fail your DC, you simply jump the number of squares that your check can reach.

Hurdling: The DC for hurdling over an object depends on the height of the object, with a DC equaling the height of the object in feet times 5. So it takes a DC 15 Athletics check to hurdle over a 3ft. tall object. As with jumping, a running start (at least 2 squares) reduces the DC by 5. For objects up to half your height it costs 1 extra square of movement to hurdle, and for objects taller than half your height it costs 2 extra squares. You can’t exceed your normal speed with a hurdle. If you fail your check, you fall prone in the square before the object.

Sliding: The DC for sliding on the ground depends on the ground you’re sliding on, the slope of the ground, and how far you intend to slide.

Terrain (Base DC):

DC 5 Smooth
DC 10 Rough
DC 20 Very Rough

Slope modifiers:

DC +15 Incline
DC +0 Level
DC -5 Slight Decline
DC -10 Steep Decline

The distance increases the DC per square slid (each square equals DC +3). Moving at least 2 squares before the slide reduces the DC by 5.

The distance you slide can not exceed your normal speed, unless you slide on a decline, in which case you move an additional number of squares equal to half the original distance slid on a slight decline, or the full distance slid on a steep decline (effectively doubling the number of squares slid).

The end result of a slide is always being prone at the end of your movement.

Sprinting: The rule for Sprinting (which simply doubles the number of squares you can move with a move action), is to divide your Athletics check by five. The result is the number of continuous rounds you can spend sprinting. You can not make another Athletics check while you’re sprinting to keep sprinting. You can only make a new check after you take a rest for at least 5 rounds.

For every extra round you spend sprinting past your Athletics check result, you take 5 minus your Constitution modifier points of nonlethal damage, which stacks every round for determining if you are knocked unconscious (if your total nonlethal damage equals or exceeds your current hit point amount, you fall unconscious from exhaustion). For every round you rest after sprinting, you reduce the nonlethal damage by 5, and if you spend at least 5 rounds resting you can sprint again, although you can keep moving at your normal rate after only 2 rounds of resting.

  • Ability: Strength
  • Synergy: Climb and Swim


Balance is used to counter Trip attempts and sometimes can be used to prevent being knocked prone by other means. If you exceed the result of the attack roll to Trip, you stay standing (ties go to the creature making the Trip). For every size category larger than the attacker, the defender gets +5 to Balance checks against a trip, and for every size category smaller, the defender takes a -5 penalty to Balance checks.

In other cases the DC is set by the DM, with the following guidelines: Slippery ground (DC 10), Normal ground (DC 0), Earthquake (DC 20), on a boat (DC +5), narrow ground (DC +10).

  • Ability: Dexterity
  • Synergy: Tumble


By its nature, Bluff checks are usually made in secret, unless they are used in combat to feint. Any time you try to lie, misdirect, mislead, misconstrue, or otherwise falsify the information you are presenting to another creature, a Bluff check is made. It is almost always opposed by Insight, with a tie going in favor of the Insight check.

  • Ability: Charisma
  • Synergy: Diplomacy, Insight, and Perform


Climb is set apart from general Athletics because there are numerous special movements and even specialized knowledge used in climbing. If you have a Climb speed, you generally don’t have to make Climb checks, you just simply move along the scale-able surface at the speed indicated. If you do not have a Climb speed, you must make a Climb check to move up vertical surfaces at half your normal speed as a move action.

The DC depends on the surface you’re climbing on:

DC 10 Rough with many handholds
DC 14 Semi-rough
DC 18 Normal
DC 22 Smooth
DC +5 Slippery
DC -5 Using climbing equipment

If you fail the check by 5 or less, you simply stay where you are and don’t move up or down. If you fail by more than 5, you fall.

  • Ability: Strength or Dexterity
  • Synergy: Balance


Diplomacy, like Bluff, is usually made in secret, since you really don’t know the exact reason for the reaction of the NPC you’re interacting with. If the creature is Hostile toward you, you take disadvantage on your check, and if it is a trusted ally, you gain advantage.

  • Ability: Charisma
  • Synergy: Appraise and Insight

Disable Traps/Locks

This check is fairly straightforward, but it also usually made in secret. You take disadvantage on the check if you do not have any tools to work with. Often this check will be opposed by the Set Traps/Locks check of the creature setting the trap.

  • Ability: Dexterity or Intelligence
  • Synergy: Set Traps/Locks


Much like Ancient History, Drive checks can be situational depending on your upbringing. If you’ve spent your entire life at sea, you can’t necessarily ride a horse more effectively. Usually the DC for this check is set by the DM, although some general guidelines apply:

DC 12 Driving over rough terrain
DC +8 Driving in inclement weather
DC 8 Driving on a road

If you fail a Drive check by more than 5, you run the risk of crashing.

  • Ability: Dexterity or Wisdom
  • Synergy: Balance and Handle Animal


This skill represents knowledge of the deep and dark places of the world. Knowledge of fungi, spelunking, dungeon design, and typical underground dwellers are all potential subjects for a Dungeoneering check.

  • Ability: Intelligence or Wisdom
  • Synergy: Perception

Handle Animal

Essentially Handle Animal is a Diplomacy, Bluff, or Intimidate check for a creature with animal-like intelligence. It represents training or a natural affinity with animals and knowing how to control them. Much like these skills it is also usually made in secret, unless you have a very close bond to the animal you’re trying to influence. For example, a Handle Animal check made to calm a dire bear is made in secret, but a Handle Animal check made to push your trusted steed to ford a river is made in the open.

  • Ability: Wisdom

Handle Rope

In any of the myriad of circumstance where you can use a rope, you make a Handle Rope check. Generally the check represents the DC for the rope to break, come loose, or otherwise cease to serve its intended purpose. This check might by made in secret, depending on the situation.

  • Ability: Dexterity


The Heal check represents knowledge of first aid and common injuries. Most of the time a Heal check will be made to speed up natural healing (DC 14, need at least a +5 bonus), let a PC spend its second wind (DC 16, need at least a +5 bonus), or stabilize an unconscious creature (DC 13). Other than these primary uses it can be used to diagnose sickness, identify injuries, or deal with poison/disease.

  • Ability: Intelligence or Wisdom


Insight is the counter skill to Bluff, representing your ability to see a lie for what it really is. For this purpose it is almost always made in secret. Insight may also be used to glean information from a situation to determine a possible course of action, and this check could be made in the open.

  • Ability: Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma
  • Synergy: Diplomacy and Bluff


Using threats, brute force, or some other way to get a target to cower before you are all Intimidate checks. It is usually made in secret, and there are a variety of factors that affect the DC. You gain advantage on Intimidate checks if you are a larger size category than the target, and you take disadvantage if you are smaller.

  • Ability: Charisma or Strength
  • Synergy: Bluff

Modern History

Modern History represents general knowledge of current events, politics, customs and traditions, and other major societal factors of the present. Much like Ancient History, Modern History is limited by the scope of your life’s experiences. If you are a noble from Cornos, your Modern History knowledge will grant you the ability to name various lords and ladies from the League, but will gain you nothing concerning the higher courts in the fey realm of Melagro. Again, the DM is the final arbiter on what is outside the scope of your knowledge.

  • Ability: Intelligence or Charisma
  • Synergy: Streetwise


Perception is usually made in secret if it pertains to noticing hidden things, or creatures using Stealth. If you are using it to search an area or look/listen for something in particular, the check can be made in the open. There are plenty of circumstances where a Perception check can me made, but using Perception as a frequent check to anticipate events with no in-game justification is not allowed.

  • Ability: Intelligence or Wisdom
  • Synergy: Appraise and Stealth


Perform includes singing, dancing, juggling, acrobatics, acting, and any other means of entertaining an audience. Unless otherwise noted, a Perform check is usually contested by an opponent’s Will save to determine the viewer’s reaction to the performance. If the Will save is higher, the viewer can choose how to react to the performance. If the checks tie, or if the Performance check exceeds the Will save by less than 5, the viewer has a neutral reaction to the performance. If the Performance check exceeds the Will save by 5 or more, the viewer is overcome by the emotion the Performance check hopes to instill.

  • Ability: Charisma
  • Synergy: Streetwise, Tumble, Bluff


As with Ancient History and Modern History, Religion is limited by your character’s particular breadth of experience. If you are a devout follower of Hosán from the deserts of Elter, your Religion check will tell you absolutely nothing about the traditions of Old Lady Luck amongst the Crystal Isles. Unless you are a student of world religions, the DM is allowed to limit the circumstances in which you can make a check with this skill.

  • Ability: Wisdom
  • Synergy: Ancient History

Set Traps/Locks

Usually opposed with Disable Traps/Locks, Set Traps/Locks does exactly what it says, and can determine the DC for any creature trying to disable the device. Some traps and locks require that your check be above a certain DC or else the device will backfire or break.

  • Ability: Dexterity
  • Synergy: Disable Traps/Locks


Stealth checks may be made in the open or in secret, depending on the situation. For general sneaking around and hiding objects, the check can me made in the open, but if the check might affect other players, it should be made in secret. There are various circumstances that merit a Stealth check, and the DM has a lot of room to make decisions regarding its exact use.

  • Ability: Dexterity or Intelligence
  • Synergy: Steal


Steal is a straightforward skill, used to take objects from their owners. Depending on the circumstance, it may be opposed by a Dexterity check, an opposing Steal check, or simple a static DC.

  • Ability: Strength or Dexterity
  • Synergy: Athletics


Street smarts, urban survival, and knowledge of gangs are all Streetwise checks. It can also be used to gain favor with the poor or the common folk of a city or large settlement.

  • Ability: Wisdom or Charisma
  • Synergy: Modern History and Perform


Survival is a skill with a wide range of uses, not the least of which is simply surviving in the wilderness, finding food, water, shelter—all the basics to survive. Mostly this check will be made in the open, but there are particularly dire circumstances where it may need to be made in secret.

  • Ability: Wisdom or Constitution
  • Synergy: Perception and Athletics


Unless you have a Swim speed, you always have to make Swim checks when you move through a liquid and can not stand. The DC depends on several factors:


DC 8 Water
DC 15 Blood
DC 20 Syrup


DC -5 With current
DC +0 Still
DC +5 Against current

For every 10 lbs. of weight you’re carrying over your unencumbered weight it adds +1 to the Swim DC.

On a successful check you can swim up to half your speed. If you fail your Swim check by 5 or less, you simply do not move. If you fail by more than 5, you start to drown.

  • Ability: Strength or Dexterity
  • Synergy: Athletics


Tumble has two main uses: reducing damage from a fall and rolling away from an attack.

To reduce damage from a fall, you make a Tumble check with a DC equal to the number of feet fallen plus 4. You do not need to make a Tumble check if you fall 5 feet or less. On a success, you reduce the amount of damage you take by half. If you beat the DC by 5 or more, you land on your feet after rolling.

As a move action you can attempt to dodge the next attack made against you before the start of your next turn. If you try to roll way from an attack, you make a Tumble check opposed by the attack roll. If you exceed the result, you tumble away (allowing you to shift 1 square) and the attack is an automatic miss. If you tie or roll less than the opposing attack roll, the attack automatically hits. Certain attacks can not be avoiding by a Tumble check, and the DM is the judge of whether or not a Tumble check is allowed.

  • Ability: Dexterity
  • Synergy: Balance and Perform

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