Athletics (Str, Armor Check Penalty)
With a successful Athletics check, you can advance up, down, or across a slope, a wall, or some other steep incline (or even a ceiling with handholds) at one-quarter your normal speed. A slope is considered to be any incline at an angle measuring less than 60 degrees; a wall is any incline at an angle measuring 60 degrees or more.
An Athletics check that fails by 4 or less means that you make no progress, and one that fails by 5 or more means that you fall from whatever height you have already attained.
The DC of the check depends on the conditions of the climb. Compare the task with those on the following table to determine an appropriate DC.
|Example Surface or Activity|
|0||A slope too steep to walk up, or a knotted rope with a wall to brace against.|
|5||A rope with a wall to brace against, or a knotted rope, or a rope affected by the rope trick spell.|
|10||A surface with ledges to hold on to and stand on, such as a very rough wall or a ship’s rigging.|
|15||Any surface with adequate handholds and footholds (natural or artificial), such as a very rough natural rock surface or a tree, or an unknotted rope, or pulling yourself up when dangling by your hands.|
|20||An uneven surface with some narrow handholds and footholds, such as a typical wall in a dungeon or ruins.|
|25||A rough surface, such as a natural rock wall or a brick wall.|
|25||An overhang or ceiling with handholds but no footholds.|
|—||A perfectly smooth, flat, vertical surface cannot be climbed.|
|Example Surface or Activity|
|-10||Climbing a chimney (artificial or natural) or other location where you can brace against two opposite walls (reduces DC by 10).|
|-5||Climbing a corner where you can brace against perpendicular walls (reduces DC by 5).|
|+5||Surface is slippery (increases DC by 5).|
You need both hands free to climb, but you may cling to a wall with one hand while you cast a spell or take some other action that requires only one hand. While climbing, you can’t move to avoid a blow, so you lose your Dexterity bonus to AC (if any). You also can’t use a shield while climbing.
Any time you take damage while climbing, make a Athletics check against the DC of the slope or wall. Failure means you fall from your current height and sustain the appropriate falling damage.
You try to climb more quickly than normal. By accepting a -5 penalty, you can move half your speed (instead of one-quarter your speed).
Making Your Own Handholds and Footholds
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 3 feet of distance. As with any surface that offers handholds and footholds, a wall with pitons in it has a DC of 15. In the same way, a climber with a handaxe or similar implement can cut handholds in an ice wall.
Catching Yourself When Falling
It’s practically impossible to catch yourself on a wall while falling. Make a Athletics check (DC = wall’s DC + 20) to do so. It’s much easier to catch yourself on a slope (DC = slope’s DC + 10).
Catching a Falling Character While Climbing
If someone climbing above you or adjacent to you falls, you can attempt to catch the falling character if he or she is within your reach. Doing so requires a successful melee touch attack against the falling character (though he or she can voluntarily forego any Dexterity bonus to AC if desired). If you hit, you must immediately attempt a Athletics check (DC = wall’s DC + 10). Success indicates that you catch the falling character, but his or her total weight, including equipment, cannot exceed your heavy load limit or you automatically fall. If you fail your Athletics check by 4 or less, you fail to stop the character’s fall but don’t lose your grip on the wall. If you fail by 5 or more, you fail to stop the character’s fall and begin falling as well.
Climbing is part of movement, so it’s generally part of a move action (and may be combined with other types of movement in a move action). Each move action that includes any climbing requires a separate Athletics check. Catching yourself or another falling character doesn’t take an action.
You can use a rope to haul a character upward (or lower a character) through sheer strength. You can lift double your maximum load in this manner.
A halfling has a +2 racial bonus on Athletics checks because halflings are agile and surefooted.
The DC and the distance you can cover vary according to the type of jump you are attempting (see below).
Your Athletics check is modified by your speed. If your speed is 30 feet then no modifier based on speed applies to the check. If your speed is less than 30 feet, you take a -6 penalty for every 10 feet of speed less than 30 feet. If your speed is greater than 30 feet, you gain a +4 bonus for every 10 feet beyond 30 feet.
All Athletics DCs given here assume that you get a running start, which requires that you move at least 20 feet in a straight line before attempting the jump. If you do not get a running start, the DC for the jump is doubled.
Distance moved by jumping is counted against your normal maximum movement in a round.
If you have ranks in Athletics and you succeed on a Athletics check, you land on your feet (when appropriate). If you attempt a Athletics check untrained, you land prone unless you beat the DC by 5 or more.
|Long Athletics Distance||Athletics DC1|
A long jump is a horizontal jump, made across a gap like a chasm or stream. At the midpoint of the jump, you attain a vertical height equal to one-quarter of the horizontal distance. The DC for the jump is equal to the distance jumped (in feet).
If your check succeeds, you land on your feet at the far end. If you fail the check by less than 5, you don’t clear the distance, but you can make a DC 15 Reflex save to grab the far edge of the gap. You end your movement grasping the far edge. If that leaves you dangling over a chasm or gap, getting up requires a move action and a DC 15 Climb check.
|High Athletics Distance1||Athletics DC2|
A high jump is a vertical leap made to reach a ledge high above or to grasp something overhead. The DC is equal to 4 times the distance to be cleared.
If you jumped up to grab something, a successful check indicates that you reached the desired height. If you wish to pull yourself up, you can do so with a move action and a DC 15 Climb check. If you fail the Athletics check, you do not reach the height, and you land on your feet in the same spot from which you jumped. As with a long jump, the DC is doubled if you do not get a running start of at least 20 feet.
|Creature Size||Vertical Reach|
Obviously, the difficulty of reaching a given height varies according to the size of the character or creature. The maximum vertical reach (height the creature can reach without jumping) for
an average creature of a given size is shown on the table below. (As a Medium creature, a typical human can reach 8 feet without jumping.)
Quadrupedal creatures don’t have the same vertical reach as a bipedal creature; treat them as being one size category smaller.
You can jump up onto an object as tall as your waist, such as a table or small boulder, with a DC 10 Athletics check. Doing so counts as 10 feet of movement, so if your speed is 30 feet, you could move 20 feet, then hop up onto a counter. You do not need to get a running start to hop up, so the DC is not doubled if you do not get a running start.
If you intentionally jump from a height, you take less damage than you would if you just fell. The DC to jump down from a height is 15. You do not have to get a running start to jump down, so the DC is not doubled if you do not get a running start.
If you succeed on the check, you take falling damage as if you had dropped 10 fewer feet than you actually did.
None. A Athletics check is included in your movement, so it is part of a move action. If you run out of movement mid-jump, your next action (either on this turn or, if necessary, on your next turn) must be a move action to complete the jump.
Effects that increase your movement also increase your jumping distance, since your check is modified by your speed.
A halfling has a +2 racial bonus on Athletics checks because halflings are agile and athletic.
- If you have 5 or more ranks in Acrobatics, you get a +2 bonus on Athletics checks.
- If you have 5 or more ranks in Athletics, you get a +2 bonus on Acrobatics checks.
Make an Athletics check once per round while you are in the water. Success means you may swim at up to one-half your speed (as a full-round action) or at one-quarter your speed (as a move action). If you fail by 4 or less, you make no progress through the water. If you fail by 5 or more, you go underwater.
If you are underwater, either because you failed an Athletics 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 twice your Constitution score, but only if you do nothing other than take move actions or free actions. If you take a standard action or a full-round action (such as making an attack), the remainder of the duration for which you can hold your breath is reduced by 1 round. (Effectively, a character in combat can hold his or her breath only half as long as normal.) After that period of time, you must make a DC 10 Constitution check every round to continue holding your breath. Each round, the DC for that check increases by 1. If you fail the Constitution check, you begin to drown.
The DC for the Swim check depends on the water, as given on the table below.
Each hour that you swim, you must make a DC 20 Swim check or take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage from fatigue.
Athletics checks for swimming are subject to double the normal armor check penalty and encumbrance penalty.