These are the skills available for your character. The number of points you choose to spend on those skills will have a lot of influence on your character's shape and development. This section includes all the pertinent information on existing skills (from the PHB v.3.5) in an Aquerra campaign, along with a variety of new skills.

If a skill is not described here, then it can be assumed that it functions exactly as listed in the PHB v.3.5. Some skills are described only with pertinent notes as how to they apply to Aquerra campaigns – all other information on the skill is as listed in the mentioned source.

"Background" Skill Points: All beginning characters start with 6 bonus "background" skill points. These bonus points can only be spent on the Craft, Knowledge, Literacy, Profession, or Speak Language skills and should relate to a character's upbringing and profession. They must still be spent according to your starting class, in terms of whether they are class or cross-class skills. Barbarian Characters cannot spend these "background" skill points on any form of literacy.

Gaining New Skills: In most cases, training is required. Your DM has information on how long training takes and what it will cost, but usually this type of thing will take place in-game, as your character finds another to train her – or spends time with another PC to learn a skill.

Some skills are self-trainable – typically, this can take three to four times as long as normal training – and such skills are marked with an asterisk (*). Self-training can take the form of studying texts (in the case of knowledge skills), or simply practicing something tirelessly (like climbing). Some skills must simply be gained by instruction.

Improving Skills: A character may add ranks to skills she already has access to by merely stating she is whenever advancing a level. However, two things must be kept in mind:
  1. Skills are treated as class or cross-class based on the class your character has just gained.
  2. If the DM rules that your character has not used a skill sufficiently to warrant putting points into it, the character will have to train to gain the ranks. In this case, self-training is much easier and more likely, but still takes longer than being taught by another.

Skill List

Appraise
Escape Artist *
Listen *
Sign Language
Balance *
Forgery *
Literacy
Sleight Of Hand
Bluff
Gather Information
Move Silently *
Speak Language *
Climb *
Handle Animal
Open Lock *
Spellcraft
Concentration
Heal
Perform *
Spot *
Craft *
Hide *
Profession
Survival
Decipher Script
Intimidate
Ride *
Swim *
Diplomacy

Search *
Tumble
Disable Device *
Jump *
Sense Motive
Use Magic Device
Disguise *
Knowledge *
Signaling
Use Rope
*These skills can be self-trained.
Note: Self-training assumes access to the tools necessary to actually perform the skill and some at least passing knowledge of how the skill works. For example, a tome on anatomy and a few fresh cadavers would allow a character to learn the Knowledge (anatomy) skill, if he could read.
If a character uses a skill that is able to be used untrained with sufficient frequency the DM may rule that this is enough practice to gain ranks without training.

Skill Descriptions

Any changes and necessary details on the skills from the PHB v.3.5 are listed here. If a skill does not appear then you can simply assume it works exactly as described in the handbook. In addition, any new skills are also listed here.

Balance (Dex)

Balance checks can be used in place of Reflex saves against knockdown.

Bluff (Cha)

(See also: Social Mechanics)

Craft (Int)

(Trained Only)
This is actually a large number of separate skills from which your character must pick just one of to count as its own skill. The difference between the Craft skill and the Profession skill, is that craft is more specifically aimed towards the ability to create items, while profession is a bunch of related sub-skills that are used together to perform a task or tasks that a living can be made from. The Example Crafts table lists several possible craft skills.
Example Crafts
Alchemy
Crossbow Making
Armorsmithing
Crude-Weaponsmithing
Basket-Weaving
Glass-Blowing
Blacksmithing
Goldsmithing
Bow-Making
Leather-working
Brewing
Paper-Making
Carpentry
Pottery
Cartography
Tanner
Cooper
Weaponsmithing

The DCs for making masterwork items is as the normal listed DC +5. So, in the example of most commonly crafted weapons:
Item
Normal DC
Masterwork DC
Simple melee or thrown weapon
12
17
Martial melee or thrown weapon
15
20
Exotic melee or thrown weapon
18
23

The DC for making masterwork armor is 15 + the highest armor bonus it grants. Thus to make masterwork scale mail, the DC would be (15 + 5 (highest armor bonus) 20.
Special: A Craft check may be made untrained only to aid another who is trained in the particular craft. Some crafts give a synergy bonus to certain professions (and vice versa). An example of this is Craft (cartography), which gives a synergy bonus of +2 to Profession (surveyor), when 5 ranks or more are gained in it.

For information on the cost and crafting of masterwork weapons and armor, see Masterwork Weapons and Armor

Decipher Script (Int)

This skill may not be gained unless the character has at least one rank in Literacy of any language. A combination of 5 ranks in any three written languages gives a +2 synergy bonus to the Decipher Script skill.

Diplomacy (Cha)

When used against a hostile target, a rushed attempt takes one full minute, while a normal attempt takes at least 10 minutes.

Remember: Diplomacy does not make people do things, it only changes the attitude of the target to make them more (or less likely to do things). Successful diplomacy checks can help set up even more successful influence checks. A relevant reputation can benefit or penalize a diplomacy check. (See also: Social Mechanics)

The DC for using the diplomacy skill should be modified based on the relationship of the character to the target:
Modifier
Relationship
Description/Example
-10
Intimate
Someone who with whom you have an implicit trust. Example: A lover or spouse.
-7
Friend
Someone with whom you have a regularly positive personal relationship. Example: A long-time buddy or a sibling.
-5
Ally
Someone on the same team, but with whom you have no personal relationship. Example: A cleric of the same religion or a knight serving the same king.
-2
Acquaintance (Positive)
Someone you have met several times with no particularly negative experiences. Example: The blacksmith that buys your looted equipment regularly.
+0
Just Met
No relationship whatsoever. Example: A guard at a castle or a traveler on a road.
+2
Acquaintance (Negative)
Someone you have met several times with no particularly positive experiences. Example: A town guard that has arrested you for drunkenness once or twice.
+5
Enemy
Someone on an opposed team, with whom you have no personal relationship. Example: A cleric of a philosophically-opposed religion or an orc bandit who is robbing you.
+7
Personal Foe
Someone with whom you have a regularly antagonistic personal relationship. Example: An evil warlord whom you are attempting to thwart, or a bounty hunter who is tracking you down for your crimes.
+10
Nemesis
Someone who has sworn to do you, personally, harm. Example: The brother of a man you murdered in cold blood.

Escape Artist (Dex)

When using the escape artist skill to escape a grapple, size modifiers are NOT applied.

Gather Information (Cha)

Both Influence and Reputation can be used to aid Gather Information attempts.

Avoiding Suspicion: Characters wanting to gather information without arousing suspicions regading questions being asked when it is a sensitive subject may take a -15 penalty to their check. (See also: Social Mechanics)

Handle Animal (Cha)

Handle Animal may be used untrained to get a trained animal to perform one or more of its tricks.

Heal (Wis)

The Heal skill allows a character to do several things. Most of these are listed in the PHB v.3.5, and include: First Aid (binding bleeding wounds), Long Term Care (doubling the recovery rate of hps), Critical Effect Treatment (closing “bleeder” critical effects), Treat Poison and Treat Disease. (See Damage Recovery for more details).
Healer’s Kit: A healer’s kit grants a +2 circumstance bonus to any healing check. However, it is basically an essential part of performing the skill, so a not having a healer’s kit applies a –2 penalty to the check. A healer’s kit has 10 uses, and can be replenished for half its usual price. (See also: Healer's Kit)
First Aid: Performing first aid to stabilize a character at negative hit points, or to close off a critical wound take one minute (10 rounds), no matter how many wounds the character has. If a second person helps, this time is reduced to 5 rounds, and may make their own heal check versus DC 10 to add a +2 circumstance bonus to the lead healer. More than two people cannot work on the same person effectively.
Special Note on Loss of Limb: It assumed that the healer’s bag comes with tourniquets and unguents that will stop such rapid blood loss. If the healer does not have such equipment handy (or a reasonable substitute), only using a fire source to cauterize the wound (which does additional damage) will function to stop the blood loss.
Binding Critical Effects: The heal skill may be used to staunch the bleeding and dress the wound. The DC for stopping the bleeding is 10 + the maximum possible damage the bleeding could cause in a round:
  • Light Critical: 14 (d4 bleeding)
  • Moderate Critical: 18 (2d4 bleeding)
  • Serious Critical: 22 (3d4 bleeding)
  • Critical Critical: 26 (4d4 bleeding)
Dealing with a critical hit effect takes one minute1 (10 rounds) to accomplish. A second person helping lowers this to simply 5 rounds, and if they make a successful Heal check against DC 10 adds a +2 circumstance bonus to the healer’s check.
Special Note on Numbed Critical Effects: Some critical effects cause a penalty to the victim’s attack roll, or make a limb useless for a short period of time. These types of short-lived wounds must merely be waited out. All a healer can do for the victim of such a critical hit is make them feel more comfortable.
Setting Broken Limbs & Recovery: Setting a broken limb is a DC of 15. It requires six full weeks for a broken limb to be completely healed, if correctly set and taken care of. The victim may make a CON check against DC 20, with each point above lowering the healing time by one week. The results of a badly set and healed broken limb are left to the DM, but can lead to a permanent penalty to attack, AC, speed, or more.
Moving Stabilized Characters: When moving a character at negative hit points who stabilized naturally or through application of the heal skill, those who are doing the moving may make a heal check (DC 10) to grant the stabilized character a +2 circumstance bonus to their save. The DM may also add other circumstances modifiers depending on the mode and conditions under which the character is being moved.

Intimidate (Cha)

Both Influence and Reputation can be used to aid Intimidation attempts. (See also: Social Mechanics)

Knowledge (Int)

There are a great number of different areas of knowledge that may be gained with this skill, with different levels of specificity — all as different skills. The DM should determine the level of specificity of the information the character is trying to figure out if he knows compared to the level of specificity of the knowledge skill he has. The DC for determining knowledge is as follows: General: 10, Broad: 15, Specific: 20, Detailed: 25. A specific example of this might be the Knowledge (ancient history) skill focused on Third Age:
To know:
Of course, the DM should always allow a character to have access to the most basic knowledge of the area without needing to make a check at all. For example, a character with the Knowledge (nature) skill would not have to make a check to know that pine cones come from pine trees, that elms are not coniferous, or what poison ivy looks like.
Examples of Knowledge Skills
Agriculture
Mathematics
Anatomy
Modern History (Black Islands)
Ancient History (Dwarven)
Modern History (Fourth Age)
Ancient History (Elven)
Modern History (Herman Land)
Ancient History (Second Age)
Modern History (Neergaard)
Ancient History (Third Age)
Modern History (Northern Reaches)
Arcana
Modern History (Thricia)
Astronomy
Modern History (UKSF)
Dragon Lore
Nature
Etiquette
Navigation //(aka Oceanography)//
Giant Lore
Necrology (undead)
Goblin Lore
Netherworld (outsiders)
Heraldry
Planar
Law
Religion
Local Lore
Tactics
Note: A Knowledge (tactics) check may be used in place of Sense Motive check to oppose a feint.

Literacy (Int)

Literacy is not a guaranteed skill for all characters. It considered a class skill for aristocrats, bards, paladins, priests and wizards, and a cross-class skill for other classes.
Check: Generally, a skill check is not required to use the Literacy skill, as a character’s level of proficiency determines what he can read with the skill. However, in cases where the DM is unsure where to categorize some writings, he can require a check against DC 15.

The level of proficiency a character has in a written language is determined by the number of ranks in it:
  • One Rank - The ability to read basic signs and very simple words and sentences.
  • Two Ranks - This is basic literacy. This is the ability to read letters, common books and a general understanding of basic writings.
  • Three Ranks - This allows a deeper understanding of literature, poetry and contracts in the language.
  • Four Ranks - At this rank or higher, the character can hope to understand the most convoluted of written works, treatises and genealogies — including the ability to interpret meanings from the most abstruse of tomes.

The native tongue of humans is considered to be the common tongue and whatever local dialect may be spoken where they're from. For non-human races, it is their racial tongue.

But, not all spoken tongues have a written equivalent. Examples of this are the centaur and lizardfolk languages. See also: Written Languages

Retry: Once a character fails a check to read a writing, he cannot do so until increasing his ranks.
Special: A character with 5 or more combined ranks in three written languages gains a +2 synergy bonus to the Decipher Script skill.

Open Lock (Dex)

Opening a lock takes 5 full rounds (30 seconds). A character may attempt to open a lock as a full round action by taking a -10 circumstance penalty.

Profession (Wis)

The difference between the Profession skill and the Craft skill, is that Craft is more specifically aimed towards the ability to create items, while Profession is a bunch of related sub-skills that are used together to perform a task or tasks that a living can be made from. While some of these sub-skills may be similar or related to normal skills, they are extremely focused. For example, a character with the Profession (sailor) skill would know something about using rope in terms of its function on board a ship, but would not be sufficient to be considered a rank of the Use Rope skill. There are a great number of possible professions that can be taken as a skill. Several examples are given on the Example Professions table below.
Example Professions
Archivist
Fisherman
Beggar
Gambler
Chirurgeon
Herbalist
Cook
Hunter
Domestic
Sailor
Engineer
Steward
Soldier
Ferryman

Wood-cutter

Special: A Profession check may be made untrained only to aid another who is trained in the particular profession. Some professions give a synergy bonus to certain skills. Typically, this a +2 for the first five ranks, but in all the cases below the synergy bonuses increase by an additional +1 for each additional 5 ranks in the profession.
  • Profession (archivist): 5 or more ranks in the profession (archivist) skill grants a +2 synergy bonus to Decipher Script checks, and to Knowledge checks for the Knowledge skill most relevant to the character's archival background (w/ DM Approval).
  • Profession (beggar): 5 or more ranks in the profession (beggar) skill grants a +2 synergy bonus to Hide checks in urban settings, and to Diplomacy checks to acquire alms. This profession earns half normal income in cities, one-quarter normal income in towns, and cannot be used in villages or other non-urban locations.
  • Profession (chirurgeon): 5 or more ranks in the profession (chirurgeon) skill grants a +2 synergy bonus to Heal and Knowledge (anatomy) checks.
  • Profession (cook): 5 or more ranks in the profession (cook) skill grants a +2 synergy bonus to Appraise checks involving live animals, foodstuffs and cooking gear.
  • Profession (domestic): 5 or more ranks in the profession (domestic) skill grants a +2 synergy bonus to Search checks to find things in a domicile or place of business and to Bluff, Diplomacy, and Sense Motive checks when dealing with a long-time employer.
  • Profession (engineer): 5 or more ranks in the profession (engineer) skill grants a +2 synergy bonus to Knowledge (architecture and engineering) checks.
  • Profession (farmer): 5 or more ranks in the profession (farmer) skill grants a +2 synergy bonus to Handle Animal and Knowledge (agriculture) checks.
  • Profession (ferryman): 5 or more ranks in the profession (ferryman) skill grants a +2 synergy bonus to Swim checks, and to Gather Information checks when dealing with customers.
  • Profession (fisherman): 5 or more ranks in the profession (fisherman) skill grants a +2 synergy bonus to Knowledge (local lore) and Knowledge (nature) checks involving aquatic animals and plants.
  • Profession (gambler): 5 or more ranks in the profession (gambler) skill grants a +2 synergy bonus to Sleight of Hand checks involving gaming paraphernalia that are not currently in another being's possession and to Bluff checks during and in relation to a game.
  • Profession (gladiator):
  • Profession (herbalist): 5 or more ranks in the profession (herbalist) skill grants a +2 synergy bonus to Appraise and Knowledge (nature) checks involving plants, and to Heal checks when using medicinal herbs.
  • Profession (hunter): 5 or more ranks in the Profession (hunter) skill grants a +2 synergy bonus to Hide, Move Silently and Tracking checks when in natural surroundings.
  • Profession (merchant): 5 or more ranks in the profession (merchant) skill grants a +2 synergy bonus to Appraise checks and to Bluff and Diplomacy checks when haggling over prices.
  • Profession (sailor): 5 or more ranks in the Profession (sailor) skill grants a +2 synergy bonus to Balance, Climb, and Use Rope checks made aboard a ship, and to Survival checks when used to predict weather. Any Profession (sailor) checks made to control or navigate a ship requires a full crew (called a 'watch'), for every quarter (or part thereof) less than the full watch the DC is increased by +5.
  • Profession (soldier): 5 or more ranks in the profession (soldier) skill grants a +2 synergy bonus to Listen and Spot checks while on watch. In addition, a Profession (soldier) check against DC 10 grants a +2 synergy bonus to Constitution checks made during a forced march. The profession check must be made with each required Con check.
  • Profession (steward):
  • Profession (woodcutter): 5 or more ranks in the profession (woodcutter) skill grants a +2 synergy bonus to Survival (wilderness) checks in forests and to Climb checks when climbing trees.

Sense Motive (Cha)

Relevant reputation can benefit (or penalize) attempts to sense motive.

Signaling (Int)

This trained only skill allows a character to create and interpret signals of a particular type, that are used to communicate over distances. Common forms of signaling include: smoke signals, mirrors, semaphore (flags) and underground tapping.
Check: The DC for sending most messages is 10, however, the DM may raise the DC for more complex messages. For example: Using smoking signals to say “enemies are coming” would be rather simple—to use the signals to convey the type, number, armaments and speed of the enemies would be more difficult, DC 15 or 20. A failed roll does not mean complete and utter failure (see interpreting a signal).
Interpreting a Signal: The DC for interpreting a signal is 15, modified by how much the signaler made or failed his save by. Thus, if the signaler failed his roll by 2, the interpretation DC would be 17. A roll of a natural 1 by the signaler indicates disastrous failure and cannot be interpreted.
Retry: A character may attempt to resend the message, but only one attempt to interpret a signal is allowed for each sending.
Special: Each form of signaling is considered its own trained skill. Five ranks in any one form grants a +2 synergy bonus when attempting to interpret any form you have at least one rank in.


Sign Language (Int)

Sign language is a form of communication and language as complex and detailed as any spoken or written language. While used as a form of communication between or with deaf or hearing-impaired people, it has also become a form of clandestine communication. Sign language works exactly like a spoken language (see Speak Language), but there are varying forms of Sign Language and each is a separate skill. Unless a character is a member of an organization like the Conclave of Sorcerers that has a particular form of sign language, it is assumed that the character has it in its basic form.


Speak Language (Int)

There are a great number of spoken languages in Aquerra, many more than there are written equivalents.
Check: Generally, a skill check is not required to use the Speak Language skill, as a character’s level of proficiency determines what he can speak and understand with the skill. However, in cases where the DM is unsure where to categorize something being said, he can require a check against DC 10.

A character’s proficiency in a language is determined by the number of ranks in the skill:
  • One Rank - The ability to speak basic words and phrases to express simple ideas, get directions, talk about day to day things.
  • Two Ranks - This is common fluency in the language. The character can speak and understand most common usage of the language, and interpret idioms.
  • Three Ranks - The character can speak in a grammatically correct manner, and has an extensive vocabulary, being able learn and understand oral poetry and tales.
  • Four Ranks - The character is fluent in the most obscure areas of the language, knowing several dialects, and being able to figure out others, and use language to express obscure bits of knowledge.

All characters begin with at least some ranks in Speak Language. Humans begin with 2 free ranks in the common tongue and 1 free rank whatever local dialect they might have access to based on their place of origin (or vice versa) — for example, Neergaardian characters would have 1 rank in Vulgar. The half-breed races have a choice about what languages these free ranks go to (whether common tongue or the racial tongue). Other races begin with 2 ranks in their racial tongue and 1 rank in the common tongue. See also: Spoken Languages

Retry: A character may retry to understand something being said, or re-say something by rephrasing it, gaining a number of re-tries equal to their number of ranks in the skill.
Special: At times the DM may allow a skill check to try to understand a very closely related language, like any of the human dialects to the common tongue. Or an ancient spoken version of a modern language.

Survival (Wis)

This skill is divided into 3 areas of expertise: wilderness, oceanic, and subterranean. Each one is purchased as a seperate skill. Survival (wilderness) is used in aboveground natural environments, such as forests, moutains, marsh, and plains. Survival (oceanic) is used on the open seas, whether on the ocean surface or deep under water. Survival (subterranean) is used in subterranean environments, as in the Plutonic Realms. Accomplishing the tasks associated with the each Survival skill are comparatively more or less difficult, depending on the particular environment.
Check: You can keep yourself others fed and safe outside of "civilized" areas.
DC
TASK
15
Move up to half your base speed while foraging for edible moss, molds, insects, and water. You can provide food and water for one person for every two points you succeed your check by.
20
Gain +2 on all Fortitude saves versus severe weather if moving up to one-half your speed, or gain +4 if stationary. You may grant the same bonus to one person for every point your check exceeds 20.
20
Avoid getting lost, or avoid natural hazards like deadfalls and structurally unstable caverns.
20
Predict the weather up to 24 hours in advance. For every 5 points by which your Survival check result exceeds 20, you can predict the weather for one additional day in advance. This task is not possible in the subterranean environment or deep under water.
25
Intuit Depth. Subterranean and Oceanic environments only.
Retry: The check for gaining the bonus to the Fortitude save, or for foraging is made every 24 hours, and the effects last until the next check is made. To avoid getting lost or natural hazards the check is made whenever called for. There are no retries in these cases.

Tumble (Dex)

Tumbling through threatened areas and through occupied squares is slightly more difficult in Aquerra:
  • Through a Threatened Area: In order to tumble through a threatened area at one-half speed as part of normal movement, provoking no attacks of opportunity while doing so, make a Tumble check. Opponents are allowed a base attack check modified by Dexterity against the Tumble check result to be allowed an attack of opportunity as normal. Check separately for each opponent you move past, in the order in which you pass them (tumbler’s choice of order in case of a tie). Each additional enemy after the first applies a -2 penalty to your Tumble check.
  • Through an Occupied Square: As above, except the opponent gains +4 to his BAB check and your Tumble check must be at least 15 to succeed. A successful check by an opponent means you stop before entering the enemy-occupied area and provoke an attack of opportunity from that enemy. Check separately for each opponent. Each additional enemy after the first applies a -2 penalty to your Tumble check.

Use Magic Device (Cha)

This skill cannot be used to emulate race. In addition, it can only be used to emulate alignment in regards to avoiding negative effects from aligned magical items, not in order to use the beneficial ones.

See also: Classes, Combat, Damage Recovery, Feats, Influence, Psionic Skills, Reputation