Athletics

Key Attribute: Constitution

The athletics skill is a movement skill. It allows you to ascend surfaces, swim through waters, or swing through a jungle on vines that would otherwise block you.

Untrained Ability

Climb and Hang
You can move up, down, across, or even just cling desperately to a wall or slope. A slope is an inclined surface between 45 and 60 degrees, a wall is an inclined surface of 60 degrees or greater. You must spend a move action and roll and athletics check each round you are climbing even if you don't want to go anywhere, your rate of progress is determined by your check result. The DC for this check is found on the tables above and you gain a bonus or penalty to your check result based on conditions as appropriate. Note that regardless of your actual modifier, you can not even attempt to climb a slope or wall with a base DC greater than 20 at this time.

You are less able to dodge blows while you are holding on to a wall, and are considered flatfooted while climbing. As there is limited space to bring it to bear, you do not benefit from the use of a shield while climbing. You need to use both hands and feet to make any progress while climbing. While you may use one hand to steady yourself while attacking or casting a spell with your other hand, you may not progress along the surface regardless of how good your check result was. Because you need both of your hands to assist in the climbing, it is difficult to charge while climbing unless you have another attack, like a bite or tail swipe.

If you take damage exceeding your athletics ranks while holding on to a surface you must immediately make a new check against the surface’s DC. Unlike the standard check, if you do not succeed on this check by matching or exceeding the DC you fall immediately from the space you took the damage. Additionally, taking any damage while climbing a surface ends your movement in the space where you were damaged, whether you pass the check or not.

If you fall, catching yourself is difficult. The DC to catch yourself while falling past a wall is the wall’s climb DC + 10. The DC to catch yourself while sliding down a slope is the slope’s DC + 5. You must have both hands free to attempt to grab a wall or slope you are falling past. If a friend is beneath you and makes a successful touch attack against you, he can attempt to stop your fall with an athletics check. These are all included in the check result table. Note that attempting to grab a wall or slope is a climb check, and so the penalties for failure of this check are the same as any other climb failure. This is why most climbers secure themselves with ropes and pitons.

Long term climbing is very difficult if the conditions are too difficult for you to take 10 on the check; the likelihood of failing and falling to the bottom in as short a period as one minute is simply too high. If you can take 10 you probably won’t fall off if you’re not attacked, but instead you run the risk of fatigue. Unless you reach an area that in which you can sit comfortably or secure yourself to the side of the surface with rope and pitons or something similar, you can not rest while climbing. Because of this your greatest enemy while climbing a surface that isn’t particularly difficult is time. See the revised movement and fatigue rules for more information.

Special: Creatures with a climb speed get a +8 bonus on this check, but do not need to make checks to move and always move their full climb speed as a move action. Creatures with a climb speed are not flatfooted while climbing. They are not restricted to keeping their limbs on the surface in any round that they wish to progress along it and may make attacks and move. Occasionally they will be required to make checks to avoid special hazards or perform special maneuvers, and they must make checks to remain attached to the surface if they take more that double their athletics modifier in damage during one round. Climbing is no more tiring than walking for these creatures, and they may rest at any time while climbing a surface. They may take flat-out movement actions with their climb speed that otherwise mimic the run action.

Base DC: Surface DC

Climbing Surface DC
Slope too steep to just walk up 5
Knotted rope 8
Wall with ledges 12
Unknotted rope 12
Wall with hand and foot holds 15
Uneven wall with narrow holds 20
Overhang with handholds 20
Rough wall with no regular holds 25
Rough overhang without handholds 30
Perfectly smooth, flat wall 30
Perfectly smooth, flat overhang 35
There is another wall to brace against -5
Climbing surface slightly slippery +2
Climbing surface very slippery +5

Success: As a move action, you climb up to one eighth of your base speed. If you are attached to a slope you can successfully hold on while stopping a companion’s slide.

If you exceed the DC by 5, you climb up to one quarter of your base speed. If you are falling or sliding down a slope you are able to grab on and end your fall. If you are attached to a wall you can successfully hold on while stopping a companion’s fall.

If you exceed the DC by 10, you climb up one half to your base speed. If you are falling past a wall you are able to grab on and end your fall.

Failure: You spend a move action attempting to make progress up the surface, but fail to do so. You just can’t quite find places to grip to move ahead. If you made this check in response to taking damage in excess of your athletics ranks, treat this result as if you had rolled the worse result below. If you fail the check by more than 5 points, you thought you had a good hold, but were very wrong. You lose your hold of the surface, and begin falling.

Rank 2 Ability

Pull Up
You can pull yourself up over the edge after a jump, or over the ledge of that smooth wall. The DC to do so is 15, and you gain a bonus or penalty to your check result based on conditions. You must have a move action remaining to attempt to pull yourself up, but the actual action needed depends on the check result.

Base DC: 15

Success: You pull yourself up the ledge and stand up (if you want) as a move action. If you exceed the check by 5, you may do this as a swift action. If you exceed the DC by more than 10, you may do this as a free action.

Failure: You spend a move action attempting to pull yourself up, but don’t quite make it. You don’t fall off either, which is good. If you fail by more than 5, you shift badly during the attempt, and lose your grip. You begin falling.

Rank 3 Ability

Swim
The swim ability is used to traverse liquids you can’t generally walk on, like water, acid, lava, and other fun things. Each round you are suspended in liquid, you must make one or more athletics checks. The DC is indicated in the table above, and you gain a bonus or penalty to your check based on conditions. If you do not wish to make any progress, you must spend an action to tread water. The action type is determined by your check result, but one tread water action will suffice for the round regardless of how you spend your other actions. If you want to make progress through the liquid, you must make a check as a move action. Your check result determines how quickly you move through the liquid. Note that regardless of your actual modifier, you can not even attempt to swim in conditions with a base DC greater than 20 at this time.

You are less able to dodge blows while you are trying to pull and kick yourself through a liquid, and you are considered flatfooted while swimming. As it is difficult to quickly bring a shield to bear in the water, you do not benefit from its use while swimming unless you spend the round treading water. You need both hands to make significant progress while swimming. The penalties for not keeping your hands free are shown in the table above.

If you take damage exceeding your athletics ranks while swimming you must immediately make a new check against the current DC. Unlike the standard check, if you do not succeed on this check by matching or exceeding the DC your swim is interrupted and your immediately sink in space you took the damage. Taking any damage while swimming ends your movement in the space where you were damaged, whether you pass the check or not.

Long term swimming is very difficult if the conditions are too difficult for you to take 10 on the check; the likelihood of failing and sinking to the bottom in as short a period as one minute is simply too high. If you can take 10 you probably won’t drown if you’re not attacked, but instead you run the risk of fatigue. Unless you are skilled enough to tread water as a free action in the conditions, you can not rest while swimming. Because of this your greatest enemy in the water is time. See the revised movement and fatigue rules for more information.

Special: Creatures with a swim speed get a +8 bonus on this check, but do not need to make checks to move and always move their full swim speed as a move action. Creatures with a swim speed are not flatfooted while swimming. They are not restricted to keeping their limbs free of implements while moving. Occasionally they will be required to make checks to avoid special hazards or perform special maneuvers, and they must make checks to remain in position if they take more that double their athletics modifier in damage during one round. Swimming is no more tiring than walking for these creatures, and they may rest at any time while in liquid. They may take flat-out movement actions with their swim speed that otherwise mimic the run action.

Base DC: Surface DC

Swimming Condition DC
Calm 8
Rough 15
Stormy 20
Hurricane 25
Tsunami 30
1 hand occupied +5
2 hands occupied +10

Success:As a move action, you move up to one quarter of your base speed through the liquid. You may tread water as a swift action.

If you exceed the DC by 5, you move up to one half of your base speed through the liquid.
You may tread water as a free action, which also allows you to rest if you’re so inclined.

If you exceed the DC by 10, you move up to your base speed through the liquid.
You may tread water as a free action, which also allows you to rest if you’re so inclined.

Rank 4 Ability

Swinging by your arms and occasional leg, you can move through tree branches, jungle vines, banquet hall chandeliers, complex monkey bars, etc. at half of your base land speed. This is considered a natural base speed so you can run and charge at no penalty, but you need both of your arms free to assist your movement. If one hand is full, you may only take a single move action in this fashion before you have to return to the ground. The objects used to brachiate must be able to swing within one square of each other to be usable for movement in this way.

Rank 5 Ability

Sure Grip
You can use Strength (instead of Dexterity) on an attack roll with a thrown weapon.

Rank 6 Ability

Combat Athlete
You are no longer flatfooted while climbing or swimming.

Rank 7 Ability

Fleet of Arm and Leg
You may swim, and make progress, in any conditions with a base DC of 30 or less.

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