Nonweapon Proficiency Descriptions
The following proficiency descriptions are arranged alphabetically, not according to character class. Each description gives a general outline of what a character with the proficiency knows and can do. Furthermore, some descriptions include rules to cover specific uses or situations, or exact instructions on the effects of the proficiency.
Agriculture: The character has a knowledge of the basics of farming. This includes planting, harvesting, storing crops, tending animals, butchering, and other typical farming chores.
Ancient History: The character has learned the legends, lore, and history of some ancient time and place. The knowledge must be specific, just as a historian would specialize today in the English Middle Ages, the Italian Renaissance, or the Roman Republic before Caesar. (The DM either can have ancient periods in mind for his game or can allow the players to name and designate them.) Thus, a player character could know details about the Age of Thorac Dragonking or the Time of the Sea-Raiders or whatever else was available. The knowledge acquired gives the character familiarity with the principal legends, historical events, characters, locations, battles, breakthroughs (scientific, cultural, and magical), unsolved mysteries, crafts, and oddities of the time. The character must roll a proficiency check to identify places or things he encounters from that age. For example, Rath knows quite a bit about the Coming of the Trolls, a particularly dark period of dwarven history. Moving through some deep caverns, he and his companions stumble across an ancient portal, sealed for untold ages. Studying the handiwork, he realizes (rolls a successful proficiency check) that it bears several seals similar to those he has seen on "banned" portals from the time of Angnar, doorways to the legendary realm of Trolhel.
Animal Handling: Proficiency in this area enables a character to exercise a greater-than-normal degree of control over pack animals and beasts of burden. A successful proficiency check indicates that the character has succeeded in calming an excited or agitated animal; in contrast, a character without this proficiency has only a 20% chance of succeeding in the attempt.
Animal Lore: This proficiency enables a character to observe the actions or habitat of an animal and interpret what is going on. Actions can show how dangerous the creature is, whether it is hungry, protecting its young, or defending a nearby den. Furthermore, careful observation of signs and behaviors can even indicate the location of a water hole, animal herd, predator, or impending danger, such as a forest fire. The DM will secretly roll a proficiency check. A successful check means the character understood the basic actions of the creature. If the check fails by 4 or less, no information is gained. If the check fails by 5 or more, the character misinterprets the actions of the animal.
A character may also imitate the calls and cries of animals that he is reasonably familiar with, based on his background. This ability is limited by volume. The roar of a tyrannosaurus rex would be beyond the abilities of a normal character. A successful proficiency check means that only magical means can distinguish the character's call from that of the true animal. The cry is sufficient to fool animals, perhaps frightening them away or luring them closer. A failed check means the sound is incorrect in some slight way. A failed call may still fool some listeners, but creatures very familiar with the cry automatically detect a false call. All other creatures and characters are allowed a Wisdom check to detect the fake.
Finally, animal lore increases the chance of successfully setting snares and traps (for hunting) since the character knows the general habits of the creature hunted.
Animal Training: Characters with this proficiency can train one type of creature (declared when the proficiency is chosen) to obey simple commands and perform tricks. A character can spend additional proficiencies to train other types of creatures or can improve his skill with an already chosen type. Creatures typically trained are dogs, horses, falcons, pigeons, elephants, ferrets, and parrots. A character can choose even more exotic creatures and monsters with animal intelligence (although these are difficult to control). A trainer can work with up to three creatures at one time. The trainer may choose to teach general tasks or specific tricks. A general task gives the creature the ability to react to a number of nonspecific commands to do its job. Examples of tasks include guard and attack, carry a rider, perform heavy labor, hunt, track, or fight alongside soldiers (such as a war horse or elephant). A specific trick teaches the trained creature to do one specific action. A horse may rear on command, a falcon may pluck a designated object, a dog may attack a specific person, or a rat may run through a particular maze. With enough time, a creature can be trained to do both general tasks and specific tricks. Training for a general task requires three months of uninterrupted work. Training for a specific trick requires 2d6 weeks. At the end of the training time, a proficiency check is made. If successful, the animal is trained. If the die roll fails, the beast is untrainable. An animal can be trained in 2d4 general tasks or specific tricks, or any combination of the two. An animal trainer can also try to tame wild animals (preparing them for training later on). Wild animals can be tamed only when they are very young. The taming requires one month of uninterrupted work with the creature. At the end of the month, a proficiency check is made. If successful, the beast is suitable for training. If the check fails, the creature retains enough of its wild behavior to make it untrainable. It can be kept, though it must be leashed or caged.
Appraising: This proficiency is highly useful for thieves, as it allows characters to estimate the value and authenticity of antiques, art objects, jewelry, cut gemstones, or other crafted items they find (although the DM can exclude those items too exotic or rare to be well known). The character must have the item in hand to examine. A successful proficiency check (rolled by the DM) enables the character to estimate the value of the item to the nearest 100 or 1,000 gp and to identify fakes. On a failed check, the character cannot estimate a price at all. On a roll of 20, the character wildly misreads the value of the item, always to the detriment of the character.
Armorer: This character can make all of the types of armor listed in the Player's Handbook, given the proper materials and facilities. When making armor, the proficiency check is rolled at the end of the normal construction time. The time required to make armor is equal to two weeks per level of AC below 10. For example, a shield would require two weeks of work, whereas a suit of full plate armor would require 18 weeks of work. If the proficiency check indicates failure but is within 4 of the amount needed for success, the armorer has created usable, but flawed, armor. Such armor functions as 1 AC worse than usual, although it looks like the armor it was intended to be. Only a character with armorer proficiency can detect the flaws, and this requires careful and detailed inspection. If the flawed armor is struck in melee combat with a natural die roll of 19 or 20, it breaks. The character's AC immediately worsens by 4 additional classes (although never above 10), and the broken armor hampers the character's movement. Until the character can remove the broken armor (a process requiring 1d4 rounds), the character moves at ½ of his normal rate and suffers a -4 penalty to all of his attack rolls. If an armorer is creating a suit of field plate or full plate armor, the character who will use the armor must be present at least once a week during the creation of the armor, since such types of armor require very exact fitting.
Artistic Ability: Player characters with artistic ability are naturally accomplished in various forms of the arts. They have an inherent understanding of color, form, space, flow, tone, pitch, and rhythm. Characters with artistic ability must select one art form (painting, sculpture, composition, etc.) to be proficient in. Thereafter they can attempt to create art works or musical compositions in their given field. Although it is not necessary to make a proficiency check, one can be made to determine the quality of the work. If a 1 is rolled on the check, the artist has created a work with some truly lasting value. If the check fails, the artist has created something aesthetically unpleasing or just plain bad. Artistic ability also confers a +1 bonus to all proficiency checks requiring artistic skill--music or dance--and to attempts to appraise objects of art.
Astrology: This proficiency gives the character some understanding of the supposed influences of the stars. Knowing the birth date and time of any person, the astrologer can study the stars and celestial events and then prepare a forecast of the future for that person. The astrologer's insight into the future is limited to the next 30 days, and his knowledge is vague at best. If a successful proficiency check is made, the astrologer can foresee some general event--a great battle, a friend lost, a new friendship made, etc. The DM decides the exact prediction (based on his intentions for the next few gaming sessions). Note that the prediction does not guarantee the result--it only indicates the potential result. If the proficiency check is failed, no information is gained unless a 20 is rolled, in which case the prediction is wildly inaccurate.
Clearly this proficiency requires preparation and advance knowledge on the part of the DM. Because of this, it is permissible for the DM to avoid the question, although this shouldn't be done all the time. Players who want to make their DM's life easier (always a good idea) should consider using this proficiency at the end of a gaming session, giving the DM until the next session to come up with an answer. The DM can use this proficiency as a catalyst and guide for his adventures--something that will prompt the player characters to go to certain places or to try new things. Characters with the astrology proficiency gain a +1 bonus to all navigation proficiency checks, provided the stars can be seen.
Blacksmithing: A character with blacksmithing proficiency is capable of making tools and implements from iron. Use of the proficiency requires a forge with a coal-fed fire and bellows, as well as a hammer and anvil. The character cannot make armor or most weapons, but can craft crowbars, grappling hooks, horseshoes, nails, hinges, plows, and most other iron objects.
Blind-fighting: A character with blind-fighting is skilled at fighting in conditions of poor or no light (but this proficiency does not allow spell use). In total darkness, the character suffers only a -2 penalty to his attack roll (as compared to a -4 penalty without this proficiency). Under starlight or moonlight, the character incurs only a -1 penalty. The character suffers no penalties to his AC because of darkness. Furthermore, the character retains special abilities that would normally be lost in darkness, although the effectiveness of these are reduced by one-half (proficiency checks are made at half the normal score, etc.). This proficiency is effective only against opponents or threats within melee distance of the character. Blind-fighting does not grant any special protection from missile fire or anything outside the immediate range of the character's melee weapon. Thus, AC penalties remain for missile fire. (By the time the character hears the whoosh of the arrow, for example, it is too late for him to react.) While moving in darkness, the character suffers only half the normal movement penalty of those without this proficiency. Furthermore, this skill aids the character when dealing with invisible creatures, reducing the attack penalty to -2. However, it does not enable the character to discover invisible creatures; he has only a general idea of their location and cannot target them exactly.
Bowyer/Fletcher: This character can make bows and arrows of the types given in Table 44.
A weaponsmith is required to fashion arrowheads, but the bowyer/fletcher can perform all other necessary functions. The construction time for a long or short bow is one week, while composite bows require two weeks, and 1d6 arrows can be made in one day. When the construction time for the weapon is completed, the player makes a proficiency check. If the check is successful, the weapon is of fine quality and will last for many years of normal use without breaking. If the check fails, the weapon is still usable, but has a limited life span: An arrow breaks on the first shot; a bow breaks if the character using it rolls an unmodified 1 on his 1d20 attack roll. Option: If a character wishes to create a weapon of truly fine quality and the DM allows it, the player can opt to use the following alternative procedure for determining the success of his attempt. When the proficiency check is made, any failure means that the weapon is useless. However, a successful check means that the weapon enables the character to add Strength bonuses to attack and damage rolls. Additionally, if the proficiency check is a natural 1, the range of the bow is increased 10 yards for all range classes or is of such fine work that it is suitable for enchantment.
Brewing: The character is trained in the art of brewing beers and other strong drink. The character can prepare brewing formulas, select quality ingredients, set up and manage a brewery, control fermentation, and age the finished product.
Carpentry: The carpentry proficiency enables the character to do woodworking jobs: building houses, cabinetry, joinery, etc. Tools and materials must be available. The character can build basic items from experience, without the need for plans. Unusual and more complicated items (a catapult, for example) require plans prepared by an engineer. Truly unusual or highly complex items (wooden clockwork mechanisms, for example) require a proficiency check.
Charioteering: A character with proficiency in this skill is able to safely guide a chariot, over any type of terrain that can normally be negotiated, at a rate 1/3 faster than the normal movement rate for a chariot driven by a character without this proficiency. Note that this proficiency does not impart the ability to move a chariot over terrain that it cannot traverse; even the best charioteer in the world cannot take such a vehicle into the mountains.
Cobbling: The character can fashion and repair shoes, boots, and sandals.
Cooking: Although all characters have rudimentary cooking skills, the character with this proficiency is an accomplished cook. A proficiency check is required only when attempting to prepare a truly magnificent meal worthy of a master chef.
Dancing: The character knows many styles and varieties of dance, from folk dances to formal court balls.
Direction Sense: A character with this proficiency has an innate sense of direction. By concentrating for 1d6 rounds, the character can try to determine the direction the party is headed. If the check fails but is less than 20, the character errs by 90 degrees. If a 20 is rolled, the direction chosen is exactly opposite the true heading. (The DM rolls the check.)
Furthermore, when traveling in the wilderness, a character with direction sense has the chance of becoming lost reduced by 5%.
Disguise: The character with this skill is trained in the art of disguise. He can make himself look like any general type of person of about the same height, age, weight, and race. A successful proficiency check indicates that the disguise is successful, while a failed roll means the attempt was too obvious in some way. The character can also disguise himself as a member of another race or sex. In this case, a -7 penalty is applied to the proficiency check. The character may also attempt to disguise himself as a specific person, with a -10 penalty to the proficiency check. These modifiers are cumulative, thus, it is extremely difficult for a character to disguise himself as a specific person of another race or sex (a -17 penalty to the check).
Endurance: A character with endurance proficiency is able to perform continual strenuous physical activity for twice as long as a normal character before becoming subject to the effects of fatigue and exhaustion. In those cases where extreme endurance is required, a successful proficiency check must be made. Note that this proficiency does not enable a character to extend the length of time that he can remain unaffected by a lack of food or water.
Engineering: The character is trained as a builder of both great and small things. Engineers can prepare plans for everything from simple machines (catapults, river locks, grist mills) to large buildings (fortresses, dams). A proficiency check is required only when designing something particularly complicated or unusual. An engineer must still find talented workmen to carry out his plan, but he is trained to supervise and manage their work. An engineer is also familiar with the principles of siegecraft and can detect flaws in the defenses of a castle or similar construction. He knows how to construct and use siege weapons and machines, such as catapults, rams, and screws.
Etiquette: This proficiency gives the character a basic understanding of the proper forms of behavior and address required in many different situations, especially those involving nobility and persons of rank. Thus, the character will know the correct title to use when addressing a duke, the proper steps of ceremony to greet visiting diplomats, gestures to avoid in the presence of dwarves, etc. For extremely unusual occurrences, a proficiency check must be made for the character to know the proper etiquette for the situation (an imperial visit, for example, is a sufficiently rare event). However, having the character know what is correct and actually do what is correct are two different matters. The encounters must still be role-played by the character. Knowledge of etiquette does not give the character protection from a gaffe or faux pas; many people who know the correct thing still manage to do the exact opposite.
Fire-building: A character with fire-building proficiency does not normally need a tinderbox to start a fire. Given some dry wood and small pieces of tinder, he can start a fire in 2d20 minutes. Flint and steel are not required. Wet wood, high winds, or other adverse conditions increase the time to 3d20, and a successful proficiency check must be rolled to start a fire.
Fishing: The character is skilled in the art of fishing, be it with hook and line, net, or spear. Each hour the character spends fishing, roll a proficiency check. If the roll is failed, no fish are caught that hour. Otherwise, a hook and line or a spear will land fish equal to the difference between the die roll and the character's Wisdom score. A net will catch three times this amount. Of course, no fish can be caught where no fish are found. On the other hand, some areas teem with fish, such as a river or pool during spawning season. The DM may modify the results according to the situation.
Forgery: This proficiency enables the character to create duplicates of documents and handwriting and to detect such forgeries created by others. To forge a document (military orders, local decrees, etc.) where the handwriting is not specific to a person, the character needs only to have seen a similar document before. To forge a name, an autograph of that person is needed, and a proficiency check with a -2 penalty must be successfully rolled. To forge a longer document written in the hand of some particular person, a large sample of his handwriting is needed, with a -3 penalty to the check. It is important to note that the forger always thinks he has been successful; the DM rolls the character's proficiency check in secret and the forger does not learn of a failure until it is too late. If the check succeeds, the work will pass examination by all except those intimately familiar with that handwriting or by those with the forgery proficiency who examine the document carefully. If the check is failed, the forgery is detectable to anyone familiar with the type of document or handwriting--if he examines the document closely. If the die roll is a 20, the forgery is immediately detectable to anyone who normally handles such documents without close examination. The forger will not realize this until too late. Furthermore, those with forgery proficiency may examine a document to learn if it is a forgery. On a successful proficiency roll, the authenticity of any document can be ascertained. If the die roll is failed but a 20 is not rolled, the answer is unknown. If a 20 is rolled, the character reaches the incorrect conclusion.
Gaming: The character knows most common games of chance and skill, including cards, dice, bones, draughts, and chess. When playing a game, the character may either play out the actual game (which may take too much time for some) or make a proficiency check, with success indicating victory. If two proficient characters play each other, the one with the highest successful die roll wins. A character with gaming proficiency can also attempt to cheat, thus gaining a +1 bonus to his ability score. If the proficiency check for the game is 17 to 20, however, the character has been caught cheating (even if he won the game).
Gem Cutting: A character with this proficiency can finish the rough gems that are discovered through mining at a rate of 1d10 stones per day. A gem cutter derives no benefit from the assistance of nonproficient characters. A gem cutter must work with a good light source and must have an assortment of chisels, small hammers, and specially hardened blades.
Uncut gems, while still of value, are not nearly as valuable as the finished product. If the cutting is successful (as determined by a proficiency check), the gem cutter increases the value of a given stone to the range appropriate for its type. If a 1 is rolled, the work is exceptionally brilliant and the value of the gem falls into the range for the next most valuable gem (the DM has the relevant tables).
Healing: A character proficient in healing knows how to use natural medicines and basic principles of first aid and doctoring. If the character tends another within one round of wounding (and makes a successful proficiency check), his ministrations restore 1d3 hit points (but no more hit points can be restored than were lost in the previous round). Only one healing attempt can be made on a character per day. If a wounded character remains under the care of someone with healing proficiency, that character can recover lost hit points at the rate of 1 per day even when traveling or engaging in nonstrenuous activity. If the wounded character gets complete rest, he can recover 2 hit points per day while under such care. Only characters with both healing and herbalism proficiencies can help others recover at the rate of 3 hit points per day of rest. This care does not require a proficiency check, only the regular attention of the proficient character. Up to six patients can be cared for at any time. A character with healing proficiency can also attempt to aid a poisoned individual, provided the poison entered through a wound. If the poisoned character can be tended to immediately (the round after the character is poisoned) and the care continues for the next five rounds, the victim gains a +2 bonus to his saving throw (delay his saving throw until the last round of tending). No proficiency check is required, but the poisoned character must be tended to immediately (normally by sacrificing any other action by the proficient character) and cannot do anything himself. If the care and rest are interrupted, the poisoned character must immediately roll a normal saving throw for the poison. This result is unalterable by normal means (i.e., more healing doesn't help). Only characters with both healing and herbalism proficiencies can attempt the same treatment for poisons the victim has swallowed or touched (the character uses his healing to diagnose the poison and his herbalist knowledge to prepare a purgative). A character with healing proficiency can also attempt to diagnose and treat diseases. When dealing with normal diseases, a successful proficiency check automatically reduces the disease to its mildest form and shortest duration. Those who also have herbalism knowledge gain an additional +2 bonus to this check. A proficient character can also attempt to deal with magical diseases, whether caused by spells or creatures. In this case, a successful proficiency check diagnoses the cause of the disease. However, since the disease is magical in nature, it can be treated only by magical means.
Heraldry: The knowledge of heraldry enables the character to identify the different crests and symbols that denote different persons and groups. Heraldry comes in many forms and is used for many different purposes. It can be used to identify noblemen, families, guilds, sects, legions, political factions, and castes. The symbols may appear on flags, shields, helmets, badges, embroidery, standards, clothing, coins, and more. The symbols used may include geometric patterns, calligraphed lines of script, fantastic beasts, religious symbols, and magical seals (made for the express purpose of identification). Heraldry can vary from the highly formalized rules and regulations of late medieval Europe to the knowledge of different shield patterns and shapes used by African tribesmen. The character automatically knows the different heraldic symbols of his homeland and whom they are associated with. In addition, if the character makes a successful proficiency check, he can correctly identify the signs and symbols of other lands, provided he has at least a passing knowledge of the inhabitants of that land. His heraldry skill is of little use upon first entering a foreign land.
Herbalism: Those with herbalist knowledge can identify plants and fungus and prepare nonmagical potions, poultices, powders, balms, salves, ointments, infusions, and plasters for medical and pseudo-medical purposes. They can also prepare natural plant poisons and purgatives. The DM must decide the exact strength of such poisons based on the poison rules in the DMG. A character with both herbalism and healing proficiencies gains bonuses when using his healing talent (see the Healing proficiency).
Hunting: When in wilderness settings, the character can attempt to stalk and bring down game. A proficiency check must be made with a -1 penalty to the ability score for every nonproficient hunter in the party. If the die roll is successful, the hunter (and those with him) have come within 101 to 200 yards (100+1d100) of an animal. The group can attempt to close the range, but a proficiency check must be made for each 20 yards closed. If the stalking is successful, the hunter automatically surprises the game. The type of animal stalked depends on the nature of the terrain and the whim of the DM.
Juggling: The character can juggle, a talent useful for entertainments, diversions, and certain rare emergencies. When juggling normally (to entertain or distract), no proficiency check is required. A check is made when trying spectacular tricks ("Watch me eat this apple in mid-air!"). However, juggling also enables the character to attempt desperate moves. On a successful attack roll vs. AC 0 (not a proficiency check), the character can catch small items thrown to harm him (as opposed to items thrown for him to catch). Thus, the character could catch a dagger or a dart before it hits. If this attack roll fails, however, the character automatically suffers damage (sticking your hand in the path of a dagger is likely to hurt).
Jumping: The character can attempt exceptional leaps both vertically and horizontally. If the character has at least a 20-foot running start, he can leap (broad jump) 2d6+his level in feet. No character can broad jump more than six times his height, however. With the same start, he can leap vertically (high jump) 1d3 plus half his level in feet. No character can high jump more than 1-½ times his own height. From a standing start, a character with this proficiency can broad jump 1d6 plus half his level in feet and high jump only three feet. The character can also attempt vaults using a pole. A vault requires at least a 30-foot running start. If a pole is used, it must be four to 10 feet longer than the character's height. The vault spans a distance equal to 1-½ times the length of the pole. The character can clear heights equal to the height of the pole. He can also choose to land on his feet if the vault carries him over an obstacle no higher than ½ the height of his pole. Thus, using a 12-foot pole, the character could either vault through a window 12 feet off the ground (tumbling into the room beyond), land on his feet in an opening six feet off the ground, or vault across a moat 18 feet wide. In all cases, the pole is dropped at the end of the vault.
Languages, Ancient: The character has mastered a difficult and obscure tongue, now primarily found in the writings of pedantic sages and sorcerers. The main use of the language is to read tomes of ancient secrets written by long-dead mystics. This proficiency enables the character to either read and write or speak the language (his choice).
Languages, Modern: The character has learned to speak a language of the known world. To do so, there must be a teacher available. This could be another player character, an NPC hireling, or simply a local townsman.
Leatherworking: This proficiency enables a character to tan and treat leather and to make clothing and other leather objects. The character can make leather armor, as well as backpacks, saddlebags, saddles, and all sorts of harnesses.
Local History: The character is a storehouse of facts about the history of a region the size of a large county or a small province. The character knows when the ruined tower on the hill was built and who built it (and what happened to him), what great heroes and villains fought and fell at the old battlefield, what great treasure is supposed to be kept in a local temple, how the mayor of the next town miraculously grew hair on his balding pate, and more. The DM will provide information about local sites and events as the character needs to know them. Furthermore, the character can try to retell these events as entertaining stories. Once the subject is chosen, he can either make a proficiency check and, if successful, add that tale to his repertoire, or actually tell the story to other characters. If the character succeeds in entertaining them, the player need not make a proficiency roll for the character, since he has succeeded. The character can tell these stories to entertain others, granting him a +2 bonus to his Charisma for the encounter. But telling stories to hostile beings is probably not going to do any good.
Mining: A character with mining proficiency is needed to site and supervise the operations of any mine. First, the character can attempt to determine what types of ores or gems can be found in a given area. To do this, he must spend at least a week searching a four-square-mile area. The DM may rule that more area must be searched to find anything of value and may thus increase the amount of time required. At the end of the search, the character can say what is likely to be found in this area. After this, the character can site the mine. On a successful proficiency check (made secretly by the DM), the character has found a good site to begin mining for any minerals that may be in the area. The check does not guarantee a successful mine, only that a particular site is the best choice in a given area. The DM must determine what minerals, if any, are to be found in the region of the mine. On a failed check, the character only thinks he has found a good site. Much effort is spent before the character is proved wrong, of course. Once the mine is in operation, a character with mining proficiency must remain on site to supervise all work. Although this is a steady job, most player characters will find it better to hire an NPC for this purpose.
Mountaineering: A character with this proficiency can make difficult and dangerous climbs up steep slopes and cliffs with the aid of spikes, ropes, etc. If a character with mountaineering proficiency leads a party, placing the pitons (spikes) and guiding the others, all in the party can gain the benefit of his knowledge. A mountaineer can guide a party up a cliff face it could not otherwise climb. A character with this proficiency gains a 10% bonus per proficiency slot spent to his chance to climb any surface. Note that mountaineering is not the same as the thief's climbing ability, since the latter does not require aids of any sort.
Musical Instrument: The character can play a specific musical instrument. An additional instrument can be added for every extra slot devoted to this proficiency. The character plays quite well, and no proficiency check is normally required. The DM may direct the character to make a proficiency check in what he feels are extraordinary circumstances.
Navigation: The character has learned the arts of navigating by the stars, studying currents, and watching for telltale signs of land, reefs, and hidden danger. This is not particularly useful on land. At sea, a successful proficiency check by the navigator reduces the chance of getting lost by 20 percent.
Pottery: A character with this proficiency can create any type of clay vessel or container commonly used in the campaign world. The character requires a wheel and a kiln, as well as a supply of clay and glaze. The character can generally create two small- or medium-sized items or one large-sized item per day. The pieces of pottery must then be fired in the kiln for an additional day. The raw materials involved cost 3 cp to make a small item, 5 cp to make a medium-sized item, and 1 sp to make a large item.
Reading Lips: The character can understand the speech of those he can see but not hear. When this proficiency is chosen, the player must specify what language the character can lip read (it must be a language the character can already speak). To use the proficiency, the character must be within 30 feet of the speaker and be able to see him speak. A proficiency check is made. If the check fails, nothing is learned. If the check is successful, 70% of the conversation is understood. Since certain sounds are impossible to differentiate, the understanding of a lip-read conversation is never better than this.
Reading/Writing: The character can read and write a modern language he can speak, provided there is someone available to teach the character (another PC, a hireling, or an NPC). This proficiency does not enable the character to learn ancient languages (see Languages, Ancient).
Religion: Characters with religion proficiency know the common beliefs and cults of their homeland and the major faiths of neighboring regions. Ordinary information (type of religious symbol used, basic attitude of the faith, etc.) of any religion is automatically known by the character. Special information, such as how the clergy is organized or the significance of particular holy days, requires a proficiency check. Additional proficiencies spent on religion enable the character either to expand his general knowledge into more distant regions (using the guidelines above) or to gain precise information about a single faith. If the latter is chosen, the character is no longer required to make a proficiency check when answering questions about that religion. Such expert knowledge is highly useful to priest characters when dealing with their own and rival faiths.
Riding, Airborne: The character is trained in handling a flying mount. The particular creature must be chosen when the proficiency is chosen. Additional proficiency slots can be used to learn how to handle other types of mounts. Unlike land-based riding, a character must have this proficiency (or ride with someone who does) to handle a flying mount. In addition, a proficient character can do the following:
• Leap onto the saddle of the creature (when it is standing on the ground) and spur it airborne as a single action. This requires no proficiency check.
• Leap from the back of the mount and drop 10 feet to the ground or onto the back of another mount (land-based or flying). Those with only light encumbrance can drop to the ground without a proficiency check. In all other situations, a proficiency check is required. A failed roll means the character takes normal falling damage (for falling flat on his face) or misses his target (perhaps taking large amounts of damage as a result). A character who is dropping to the ground can attempt an immediate melee attack, if his proficiency check is made with a -4 penalty to the ability roll. Failure has the consequences given above.
• Spur his mount to greater speeds on a successful check, adding 1d4 to the movement rate of the mount. This speed can be maintained for four consecutive rounds. If the check fails, an attempt can be made again the next round. If two checks fail, no attempt can be made for a full turn. After the rounds of increased speed, its movement drops to 2/3 its normal rate and its Maneuverability Class (see Glossary) becomes one class worse. These conditions last until the mount lands and is allowed to rest for at least one hour.
• The rider can guide the mount with his knees and feet, keeping his hands free. A proficiency check is made only after the character suffers damage. If the check is failed, the character is knocked from the saddle. A second check is allowed to see if the character manages to catch himself (thus hanging from the side by one hand or in some equally perilous position). If this fails, the rider falls. Of course a rider can strap himself into the saddle, although this could be a disadvantage if his mount is slain and plummets toward the ground.
Riding, Land-Based: Those skilled in land riding are proficient in the art of riding and handling horses or other types of ground mounts. When the proficiency slot is filled, the character must declare which type of mount he is proficient in. Possibilities include griffons, unicorns, dire wolves, and virtually any creatures used as mounts by humans, demihumans, or humanoids. A character with riding proficiency can perform all of the following feats. Some of them are automatic, while others require a proficiency check for success.
• The character can vault onto a saddle whenever the horse or other mount is standing still, even when the character is wearing armor. This does not require a proficiency check. The character must make a check, however, if he wishes to get the mount moving during the same round in which he lands in its saddle. He must also make a proficiency check if he attempts to vault onto the saddle of a moving mount. Failure indicates that the character falls to the ground--presumably quite embarrassed.
• The character can urge the mount to jump tall obstacles or leap across gaps. No check is required if the obstacle is less than three feet tall or the gap is less than 12 feet wide. If the character wants to roll a proficiency check, the mount can be urged to leap obstacles up to seven feet high, or jump across gaps up to 30 feet wide. Success means that the mount has made the jump. Failure indicates that it balks, and the character must make another proficiency check to see whether he retains his seat or falls to the ground.
• The character can spur his steed on to great speeds, adding 6 feet per round to the animal's movement rate for up to four turns. This requires a proficiency check each turn to see if the mount can be pushed this hard. If the initial check fails, no further attempts may be made, but the mount can move normally. If the second or subsequent check fails, the mount immediately slows to a walk, and the character must dismount and lead the animal for a turn. In any event, after four turns of racing, the steed must be walked by its dismounted rider for one turn.
• The character can guide his mount with his knees, enabling him to use weapons that require two hands (such as bows and two-handed swords) while mounted. This feat does not require a proficiency check unless the character takes damage while so riding. In this case, a check is required and failure means that the character falls to the ground and sustains an additional 1d6 points of damage.
• The character can drop down and hang alongside the steed, using it as a shield against attack. The character cannot make an attack or wear armor while performing this feat. The character's Armor Class is lowered by 6 while this maneuver is performed. Any attacks that would have struck the character's normal Armor Class are considered to have struck the mount instead. No proficiency check is required.
• The character can leap from the back of his steed to the ground and make a melee attack against any character or creature within 10 feet. The player must roll a successful proficiency check with a -4 penalty to succeed. On a failed roll, the character fails to land on his feet, falls clumsily to the ground, and suffers 1d3 points of damage.
Rope Use: This proficiency enables a character to accomplish amazing feats with rope. A character with rope use proficiency is familiar with all sorts of knots and can tie knots that slip, hold tightly, slide slowly, or loosen with a quick tug. If the character's hands are bound and held with a knot, he can roll a proficiency check (with a -6 penalty) to escape the bonds. This character gains a +2 bonus to all attacks made with a lasso. The character also receives a +10% bonus to all climbing checks made while he is using a rope, including attempts to belay (secure the end of a climbing rope) companions.
Running: The character can move at twice his normal movement rate for a day. At the end of the day he must sleep for eight hours. After the first day's movement, the character must roll a proficiency check for success. If the die roll succeeds, the character can continue his running movement the next day. If the die roll fails, the character cannot use his running ability the next day. If involved in a battle during a day he spent running, he suffers a -1 penalty to his attack rolls.
Seamanship: The character is familiar with boats and ships. He is qualified to work as a crewman, although he cannot actually navigate. Crews of trained seamen are necessary to manage any ship, and they improve the movement rates of inland boats by 50 percent.
Seamstress/Tailor: The character can sew and design clothing. He can also do all kinds of embroidery and ornamental work. Although no proficiency check is required, the character must have at least needle and thread to work.
Set Snares: The character can make simple snares and traps, primarily to catch small game. These can include rope snares and spring traps. A proficiency check must be rolled when the snare is first constructed and every time the snare is set. A failed proficiency check means the trap does not work for some reason. It may be that the workmanship was bad, the character left too much scent in the area, or he poorly concealed the finished work. The exact nature of the problem does not need to be known. The character can also attempt to set traps and snares for larger creatures: tiger pits and net snares, for example. A proficiency check must be rolled, this time with a -4 penalty to the ability score. In both cases, setting a successful snare does not ensure that it catches anything, only that the snare works if triggered. The DM must decide if the trap is triggered. Thief characters (and only thieves) with this proficiency can also attempt to rig man-traps. These can involve such things as crossbows, deadfalls, spiked springboards, etc. The procedure is the same as that for setting a large snare. The DM must determine the amount of damage caused by a man-trap.
Setting a small snare or trap takes one hour of work. Setting a larger trap requires two to three people (only one need have the proficiency) and 2d4 hours of work. Setting a man-trap requires one or more people (depending on its nature) and 1d8 hours of work. To prepare any trap, the character must have appropriate materials on hand. Characters with animal lore proficiency gain a +2 bonus to their ability score when attempting to set a snare for the purposes of catching game. Their knowledge of animals and the woods serves them well for this purpose. They gain no benefit when attempting to trap monsters or intelligent beings.
Singing: The character is an accomplished singer and can use this ability to entertain others and perhaps earn a small living (note that bards can do this automatically). No proficiency check is required to sing. The character can also create choral works on a successful proficiency check.
Spellcraft: Although this proficiency does not grant the character any spellcasting powers, it does give him familiarity with the different forms and rites of spellcasting. If he observes and overhears someone who is casting a spell, or if he examines the material components used, he can attempt to identify the spell being cast. A proficiency check must be rolled to make a correct identification. Wizard specialists gain a +3 bonus to the check when attempting to identify magic of their own school. Note that since the spellcaster must be observed until the very instant of casting, the spellcraft proficiency does not grant an advantage against combat spells. The proficiency is quite useful, however, for identifying spells that would otherwise have no visible effect. Those talented in this proficiency also have a chance (equal to ½ of their normal proficiency check) of recognizing magical or magically endowed constructs for what they are.
Stonemasonry: A stonemason is able to build structures from stone so that they last many years. He can do simple stone carvings, such as lettering, columns, and flourishes. The stone can be mortared, carefully fitted without mortar, or loosely fitted and chinked with rocks and earth. A stonemason equipped with his tools (hammers, chisels, wedges, block and tackle) can build a plain section of wall one foot thick, ten feet long, and five feet high in one day, provided the stone has already been cut. A stonemason can also supervise the work of unskilled laborers to quarry stone; one stonemason is needed for every five laborers. Dwarves are among the most accomplished stonemasons in the world; they receive a +2 bonus when using this skill.
Survival: This proficiency must be applied to a specific environment--i.e., a specific type of terrain and weather factors. Typical environments include arctic, woodland, desert, steppe, mountain, or tropical. The character has basic survival knowledge for that terrain type. Additional proficiency slots can be used to add more types of terrain. A character skilled in survival has a basic knowledge of the hazards he might face in that land. He understands the effects of the weather and knows the proper steps to lessen the risk of exposure. He knows the methods to locate or gather drinkable water. He knows how to find basic, not necessarily appetizing, food where none is apparent, thus staving off starvation. Furthermore, a character with survival skill can instruct and aid others in the same situation. When using the proficiency to find food or water, the character must roll a proficiency check. If the check is failed, no more attempts can be made that day. The survival skill in no way releases the player characters from the hardships and horrors of being lost in the wilderness. At best it alleviates a small portion of the suffering. The food found is barely adequate, and water is discovered in minuscule amounts. It is still quite possible for a character with survival knowledge to die in the wilderness. Indeed, the little knowledge the character has may lead to overconfidence and doom!
Swimming: A character with swimming proficiency knows how to swim and can move according to the rules given in the Swimming section (Chapter 14: Time and Movement). Those without this proficiency cannot swim. They can hold their breath and float, but they cannot move themselves about in the water.
Tightrope Walking: The character can attempt to walk narrow ropes or beams with greater than normal chances of success. He can negotiate any narrow surface not angled up or down greater than 45 degrees. Each round the character can walk 60 feet. One proficiency check is made every 60 feet (or part thereof), with failure indicating a fall. The check is made with a -10 penalty to the ability score if the surface is one inch or less in width (a rope), a -5 penalty if two inches to six inches wide, and unmodified if seven inches to 12 inches wide. Wider than one foot requires no check for proficient characters under normal circumstances. Every additional proficiency spent on tightrope walking reduces these penalties by 1. Use of a balancing rod reduces the penalties by 2. Winds or vibrations in the line increases the penalties by 2 to 6. The character can attempt to fight while on a tightrope, but he suffers a -5 penalty to his attack roll and must roll a successful proficiency check at the beginning of each round to avoid falling off. Since the character cannot maneuver, he gains no adjustments to his Armor Class for Dexterity. If he is struck while on the rope, he must roll an immediate proficiency check to retain his balance.
Tracking: Characters with tracking proficiency are able to follow the trail of creatures and characters across most types of terrain. Characters who are not rangers roll a proficiency check with a -6 penalty to their ability scores; rangers have no penalty to their ability scores. In addition, other modifiers are also applied to the attempt, according to Table 39.
Soft or muddy ground +4
Thick brush, vines, or reeds +3
Occasional signs of passage, dust +2
Normal ground, wood floor 0
Rocky ground or shallow water -10
Every two creatures in the group +1
Every 12 hours since trail was made -1
Every hour of rain, snow, or sleet -5
Poor lighting (moon or starlight) -6
Tracked party attempts to hide trail -5
The modifiers in Table 39 are cumulative--total the modifiers for all conditions that apply and combine that with the tracker's Wisdom score to get the modified chance to track. For example, if Thule's Wisdom score is 16 and he is trying to track through mud (+4), at night (-6), during a sleet storm (-5), his chance to track is 9 (16+4-6-5). (Thule is a ranger so he does not suffer the -6 penalty for non-rangers tracking.) For tracking to succeed, the creature tracked must leave some type of trail. Thus, it is virtually impossible to track flying or non corporeal creatures. The DM may allow this in rare instances, but he should also assign substantial penalties to the attempt. To track a creature, the character must first find the trail. Indoors, the tracker must have seen the creature in the last 30 minutes and must begin tracking from the place last seen. Outdoors, the tracker must either have seen the creature, have eyewitness reports of its recent movement ("Yup, we saw them orcs just high-tail it up that trail there not but yesterday."), or must have obvious evidence that the creature is in the area (such as a well-used game trail). If these conditions are met, a proficiency check is rolled. Success means a trail has been found. Failure means no trail has been found. Another attempt cannot be made until the above conditions are met again under different circumstances.
Once the trail is found, additional proficiency checks are rolled for the following situations:
• The chance to track decreases (terrain, rain, creatures leaving the group, darkness, etc.).
• A second track crosses the first.
• The party resumes tracking after a halt (to rest, eat, fight, etc.).
Once the tracker fails a proficiency check, another check can be rolled after spending at least one hour searching the area for new signs. If this check is failed, no further attempts can be made. If several trackers are following a trail, a +1 bonus is added to the ability score of the most adept tracker. Once he loses the trail, it is lost to all. If the modifiers lower the chance to track below 0 (for example, the modifiers are -11 and the character's Wisdom is 10), the trail is totally lost to that character and further tracking is impossible (even if the chance later improves). Other characters may be able to continue tracking, but that character cannot. A tracking character can also attempt to identify the type of creatures being followed and the approximate number by rolling a proficiency check. All the normal tracking modifiers apply. One identifying check can be rolled each time a check is rolled to follow the trail. A successful check identifies the creatures (provided the character has some knowledge of that type of creature) and gives a rough estimate of their numbers. Just how accurate this estimate is depends on the DM. When following a trail, the character (and those with him) must slow down, the speed depending on the character's modified chance to track as found from Table 39.
Movement While Tracking
Chance to Track Movement Rate
1-6 ¼ normal
7-14 ¼ normal
14 or greater ¾ normal
In the earlier example, Thule has a modified tracking chance of 9, so he moves at ½ his normal movement rate.
Tumbling: The character is practiced in all manner of acrobatics--dives, rolls, somersaults, handstands, flips, etc. Tumbling can only be performed while burdened with light encumbrance or less. Aside from entertaining, the character with tumbling proficiency can improve his Armor Class by 4 against attacks directed solely at him in any round of combat, provided he has the initiative and foregoes all attacks that round. When in unarmed combat he can improve his attack roll by 2. On a successful proficiency check, he suffers only one-half the normal damage from falls of 60 feet or less and none from falls of 10 feet or less. Falls from greater heights result in normal damage.
Ventriloquism: The character has learned the secrets of "throwing his voice." Although not actually making sound come from somewhere else (like the spell), the character can deceive others into believing this to be so. When using ventriloquism, the supposed source of the sound must be relatively close to the character. The nature of the speaking object and the intelligence of those watching can modify the character's chance of success. If the character makes an obviously inanimate object talk (a book, mug, etc.), a -5 penalty is applied to his ability score. If a believable source (a PC or NPC) is made to appear to speak, a +2 bonus is added to his ability score. The observer's intelligence modifies this as follows:
less than 3 +6
A successful proficiency check means the character has successfully deceived his audience. One check must be made for every sentence or response. The character is limited to sounds he could normally make (thus, the roar of a lion is somewhat beyond him). Since ventriloquism relies on deception, people's knowledge of speech, and assumptions about what should and shouldn't talk, it is effective only on intelligent creatures. Thus, it has no effect on animals and the like. Furthermore, the audience must be watching the character since part of the deception is visual ("Hey, his lips don't move!"). Using ventriloquism to get someone to look behind him does not work, since the voice is not actually behind him (this requires the ventriloquism spell). All but those with the gullibility of children realize what is truly happening. They may be amused--or they may not be.
Weaponsmithing: This highly specialized proficiency enables a character to perform the difficult and highly exacting work involved in making metal weapons, particularly those with blades. The character blends some of the skill of the blacksmith with an ability to create blades of strength and sharpness. A fully equipped smithy is necessary to use this proficiency. The time and cost to make various types of weapons are listed on Table 41.
Weapon Time Cost
Arrowhead 10/day 1 cp
Battle Axe 10 days 10 sp
Hand Axe 5 days 5 sp
Dagger 5 days 2 sp
H. Crossbow 20 days 10 sp
L. Crossbow 15 days 5 sp
Fork, Trident 20 days 10 sp
Spear, Lance 4 days 4 sp
Short Sword 20 days 5 sp
Long Sword 30 days 10 sp
2-hd Sword 45 days 2 gp
Weather Sense: This proficiency enables the character to make intelligent guesses about upcoming weather conditions. A successful proficiency check means the character has correctly guessed the general weather conditions in the next six hours. A failed check means the character read the signs wrong and forecast the weather incorrectly. The DM should roll the check secretly. A proficiency check can be made once every six hours. However, for every six hours of observation, the character gains a +1 bonus to his ability score (as he watches the weather change, the character gets a better sense of what is coming). This modifier is cumulative, although sleep or other activity that occupies the attention of the character for a long period negates any accumulated bonus. Sometimes impending weather conditions are so obvious that no proficiency check is required. It is difficult not to notice the tornado funnel tearing across the plain or the mass of dark clouds on the horizon obviously headed the character's way. In these cases, the player should be able to deduce what is about to happen to his character anyway.
Weaving: A character with weaving proficiency is able to create garments, tapestries, and draperies from wool or cotton. The character requires a spinning apparatus and a loom. A weaver can create two square yards of material per day.