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The Athletics skill is used to scale vertical surfaces, tie people up, escape bonds and holds, maneuver on foot, damage doors and other objects, play sports games, and swim. This skill is common to physically sturdy characters like military frontline grunts, powerful henchmen, endurance runners, and wrestlers.
Combat Actions:Bull Rush, Grapple
Dramatic Conflict:Chases
Sample Knowledge: The best path up any vertical surface; the strength of a door, wall, or other scenery; preparing a SCUBA tank for use; sports rules; regurgitating sports statistics.

Bind check

(Str; Secret; Cross-Check, Hands-On, Gear Only (Bindings))
1 Full Action (Take 10/Take 20) • Base Error Range 1

This skill check is used to blindfold, gag, or tie up a character (handcuffing a character or using other static restraints doesn’t require this skill check — it merely takes 1 half action). Your Bind check has no DC; instead, your result +10 becomes the DC opposed by the bound character’s subsequent Athletics/Escape checks. A blindfolded character gains the blinded condition and a gagged character gains the mute condition. A character whose hands are tied character gains the entangled condition and a character whose hands and feet are tied gains the bound condition (see page 340).
Cooperative: No.
Synergy Skills: Notice, Sleight of Hand, Survival.
Retry: Yes, but because the check is secret, you may be replacing a better result.
Threat: The time required to blindfold, gag, or tie the character up is reduced to 1/2 standard (rounded down, minimum 1 half action).
Critical Success: When tying a character up, your knot is expertly tied. The error range of each Escape check made to slip out of the binding is increased by +2.
Error: The target appears to be bound, but is in fact free.
Critical Failure: In addition to the effects of an error, your mistake leaves you feeling falsely secure. You automatically fail any Notice/Awareness or Search/Perception check made to spot the target trying to free himself.

Climb check

(Con; Active; Armor Check Penalty, Flat-Footed, Gear (Climbing Kit), Hands-On, Vision)
1 Half Action • Base Error Range 1

With a successful Climb check, you may move up, down, or across any surface with an incline greater than 60° at up to 1/4 your Speed (rounded down). Your Climb check’s DC is determined by the surface to be scaled and the climbing conditions, as shown on Table: Climb Checks.
If any Climb check results in a failure, you make no progress (you may still move your bonus 5-ft. step without a skill check — but only to move down). If you fail a Climb check by 5 or more, you fall from your current height, and may attempt to catch yourself as described later in this section.
Rappelling: With a climbing kit, a character may rappel down a vertical surface at up to his full speed. A Climb check is required as standard, but the DC is 10.
Being Attacked While Climbing: Someone who attacks you while you’re climbing gains a +2 bonus with the attack check. Additionally, unless you possess at least 5 ranks in Athletics, you lose your Dexterity bonus to Defense, if any. If you suffer any damag from this attack (after damage reduction and other modifiers are applied), you must immediately make another Climb check, adding 5 to your DC.
Catching Yourself When Falling: It’s impossible to catch yourself while falling alongside a surface with a DC of 30 or higher (i.e. a surface without ledges). Otherwise, catching yourself requires a successful free action Climb check (DC per the wall’s surface/ conditions + 10). With success, you come to a stop at a random point between where you fell and the ground below (per the GC’s discretion). In the process, you suffer 1d6 subdual damage that is not reduced by damage reduction.
Lifting Others: As a full action, you may raise or lower one or more people and/or cargo, up to a weight limit equal to double your maximum heavy load (see page 217). You may raise or lower the load a distance equal to 1/4 your Speed per round (rounded down). If the person being raised helps (making use of any available handholds and bracing options), the distance raised or lowered is increased to 1/2 your Speed per round (rounded down).
Cooperative: No.
Synergy Skills: Mechanics (when using climbing gear), Resolve, Survival.
Retry: No.
Threat: Your error range with the next Climbing check made on the same surface decreases by 1 (minimum 1). This effect is lost at the end of the current scene if unused.
Critical Success: You may move up to 1/2 your Speed, instead of 1/4.
Error: : You cramp up or lose your bearings. Until the end of the current scene, your DC with each Climb check made on the same surface increases by 5.
Critical Failure: You fall, suffering damage for the distance fallen (see pages 106 and 336).
Alternately, the GC may spend 2 action dice to force you freeze up, after which one of the following conditions must be met before you can perform another action.

  • Someone must move into an adjacent square, after which both of you must move up to the other character’s Speed toward the nearest square without a potential fall on any side. This reduces both your Initiative Counts to the lower initiative count between you.
  • You must succeed with 1 Resolve/Concentration check.
Table: Climb check
Scale/Climbing ChallengeDC/DC
Modifier
Error Range
Increase
Surface provides ample hand- and footholds and opportunities to brace
(e.g. climbing a knotted rope up through a narrow pit with rugged walls)
10 +0
Surface provides ample hand- and footholds or opportunities to brace (but not both)
(e.g. climbing an unknotted rope up through a narrow pit with rugged walls or the same pit without a rope)
15 +0
Surface provides ledges to climb between and hand- and footholds
(e.g. climbing scaffolding or balconies with gaps no larger than 10 ft. across, or a rock face with outcroppings where you can rest at intervals of less than 20 ft.)
20 +1
Surface provides ledges to climb between without hand- and footholds
(e.g. climbing scaffolding or balconies with gaps larger than 10 ft. across, or a rock face with outcroppings where you can rest at intervals of 20 ft. or more)
25 +1
Surface provides no ledges, but does provide hand- and footholds
(e.g. climbing a large tree, an unknotted rope, or a rough natural rock face)
30 +2
Surface provides no ledges or hand- or footholds (e.g. climbing a mostly smooth rock face or a brick wall) 35 +2
Surface is unusual and precarious, with handholds and footholds (e.g. climbing across an overhang or ceiling) 40 +3
Surface is smooth, flat, and vertical, providing absolutely no clinging method (e.g. climbing a polished steel wall) Impossible*  
Frequent jagged obstacles (e.g. razor wire) +5 +1
Slippery surface +10 +2
* Without a climbing kit.
 

Escape check

(Str; Active)
Time Varies (Take 10/Take 20) • Base Error Range 1

With a successful Escape check, you may lose the bound condition or break or slip out of a tied bond or static restraint (e.g. handcuffs, a blindfold, a gag). Your DC, error range, and the time required to make the escape are based on the nature of your restraints, as shown on Table: Escape Checks (see below).
Escaping Under Observation: When you try to escape a tied bond or static restraint without someone spotting you, you may also make a Sleight of Hand/Conceal Action check opposed by a Notice/Awareness or Search/Perception check made by each person with line of sight to you, as appropriate. If the Conceal Action check is successful, the observers don’t notice your attempt.
Cooperative: No.
Synergy Skills: Acrobatics, Bluff (when trying to escape unnoticed), Sleight of Hand.
Retry: Yes, unless you suffer a critical failure.
Threat: You escape your bonds in 1/2 the standard time (rounded up, minimum 1 half action).
Critical Success: If attempting to escape under observation, you gain 1 half action surprise round during which you may act before your observers; otherwise, you escape as a free action.
Error: : You cramp up or tighten your bonds. Your error range with each Escape check made against the same hold or restraint increases by 2. This effect lasts until the end of the current scene or until you succeed with an Escape check (whichever comes first).
Critical Failure: You’re trapped and may make no further Escape checks to slip out of your current bonds. Someone else must free you.

Table: Escape checks
Type of RestraintTime RequiredDCError Range Increase
Duct Tape/Rope 10 rounds* Athletics/Bind check result +0
Net 1 full action 20 +1
Zip ties 5 rounds* 25 +2
Handcuffs 10 rounds* 30 +2
* This time requirement is reduced by a number of rounds equal to the difference between your Escape check result and the DC (minimum 1 round/full action).
 

Forced March check

(Con; Active)
1 Hour • Base Error Range 1

This skill check is used to temporarily increase your overland movement limit.
Each Forced March check has a base DC of 20. DC and error range modifiers are based on how much you’re carrying, as shown on Table: Forced Marches (see below).
With success, your overland travel Speed is boosted by +5 ft. for 1 hour for the purpose of determining overland travel only, as shown on Table: Overland Travel (see below). Additionally, for every 10 by which your check result exceeds the DC (to amaximum of 50), you may apply one of the following two bonuses.

  • Your overland Speed is boosted by an additional +5 ft. for the same time period.
  • The time before your increased Speed wears off is boosted by 1 additional hour.

At the end of every hour or portion thereof during which your overland Speed is boosted, you suffer 1d6 subdual damage per 5 ft. of Speed boost.

Example: Kevin manages to boost his Speed by +10 ft. for 2 hours for the purpose of determining overland travel. At the end of the first hour, he suffers 2d6 subdual damage, and at the end of the second hour, he suffers an additional 2d6 subdual damage.

This subdual damage is not recovered until you spend at least 1 hour sleeping (see page 342).
Cooperative: No.
Synergy Skills: Resolve, Survival, Tactics.
Retry: Yes, though you may only benefit from one Forced March check to boost your overland Speed at any time. If you make a second check to boost your overland Speed when a previous boost is still active, the new check’s outcome replaces that of the previous one — even if it’s worse.
Threat: You suffer only 1d4 subdual damage at the end of each hour during which your overland Speed is boosted.
Critical Success: Your base overland Speed boost is increased to +10 ft. This base Speed boost is not counted when figuring the subdual damage you suffer at the end of each hour.
Error: You suffer 1d6 subdual damage with no benefit.
Critical Failure: : You suffer 1d6 subdual damage and 1d6 lethal damage with no benefit.

Table: Forced Marches
CircumstanceDC ModifierError Range Increase
Encumbrance*
Light load +0 +0
Medium load +10 +2
Heavy load +20 +4
Extreme load Impossible Impossible
Overloaded Impossible Impossible
* If your encumbrance is pushed higher than usual when you make your Forced March check, use the increased numbers to determine these DC and error range modifiers.
 
Table: Overland travel
SpeedBase Travel Rate*Plains/Desert*Arctic/Forest*Jungle/Swamp/Mountains*
5 ft. 0.5/4 0.4/3 0.3/2 0.2/1
10 ft. 1.0/8 0.8/6 0.6/4 0.4/2
15 ft. 1.5/12 1.2/9 0.9/6 0.6/3
20 ft. 2.0/16 1.6/12 1.2/8 0.8/4
25 ft. 2.5/20 2.0/15 1.5/10 1.0/5
30 ft. 3.0/24 2.4/18 1.8/12 1.2/6
35 ft. 3.5/28 2.8/21 2.1/14 1.4/7
40 ft. 4.0/32 3.2/24 2.4/16 1.6/8
45 ft. 4.5/36 3.6/27 2.7/18 1.8/9
50 ft. 5.0/40 4.0/30 3.0/20 2.0/10
55 ft. 5.5/44 4.4/33 3.3/22 2.2/11
60 ft. 6.0/48 4.8/36 3.6/24 2.4/12
+5 ft. +0.5/+4 +0.4/+3 +0.3/+2 +0.2/+1
* The number to the left of the slash is miles per hour, while the number to the right of the slash is miles per day.
 

Maneuver check

(Str; Active; Armor Check Penalty, Vision)
1 Half Action • Base Error Range 1

This skill check is used to maneuver on foot. No skill check is required to take a Standard Move action, but a risky one — made during a chase or other threatening circumstances — requires a skill check.
The DC and error range of each Maneuver check are determined by the activity you’re attempting, as shown on Table: Maneuver Checks.
With success, you perform the desired maneuver without mishap ; otherwise, you fail to perform the desired maneuver and you become sprawled in your current square. Additional Untrained Penalty: When you make this check untrained, you suffer an additional penalty as described in Chapter 4 (see page 289).
Cooperative: No.
Synergy Skills: Acrobatics, Streetwise (in a city), Survival (in the wild).
Retry: Yes, with GC permission (some maneuvers are impossible a second time). Also, the circumstances of a maneuver may change with each attempt (if you become trapped somehow, you may not be able to continue moving).
Threat: : Your error range with your next Maneuver check made on foot decreases by 1 (minimum 1). This effect is lost at the end of the current scene if unused.
Critical Success: Your error range with each Maneuver check made on foot decreases by 1 (minimum 1). This effect lasts until the end of the current scene or until you fail a Maneuver check on foot (whichever comes first).
Error: You collide with something or strain yourself. You must make a Fortitude save against damage equal to your Maneuver check DC minus 10 or suffer 1d6 subdual damage.
Critical Failure: You collide with something or strain yourself. You must make a Fortitude save against your Maneuver check DC + 5 per action die spent to activate the critical failure (maximum +20). With failure, you suffer 1d6 subdual and 1d6 lethal damage.

Power lifting check

(Str; Active, Flat-Footed)
1 Free Action • Base Error Range 1–2

This skill check is used to increase your encumbrance limit temporarily. Each Power Lifting check has a base DC of 20. With success, your Strength score is boosted by +2 for 1 minute — for the purposes of determining encumbrance only. Additionally, for every 10 by which your check result exceeds the DC (to a maximum of 50), you may apply one of the following two bonuses.

  • Your Strength score is boosted by an additional +2 for the same time period.
  • The time before your increased encumbrance Strength wears off is boosted by 1 additional minute.

At the end of every minute or portion thereof during which your encumbrance Strength is boosted, you suffer 1d6 subdual damage per +2 of Strength boost.

Example: Kevin manages to boost his encumbrance Strength by +4 for 2 minutes. At the end of the first minute, he suffers 2d6 subdual damage, and at the end of the second minute, he suffers an additional 2d6 subdual damage.

This subdual damage is not recovered until you spend at least 1 hour sleeping (see page 342).
Cooperative: No.
Synergy Skills: Resolve.
Retry: Yes, though you may only benefit from one Power Lifting check to boost your encumbrance Strength at any time. If you make a second check to boost your encumbrance Strength when a previous boost is still active, the new check’s outcome replaces that of the previous one — even if it’s worse.
Threat: : You suffer only 1d4 subdual damage at the end of each minute during which your encumbrance Strength is boosted.
Critical Success: Your base encumbrance Strength boost is increased to +4. Further, this base encumbrance Strength boost is not counted when figuring the subdual damage you suffer at the end of each minute.
Error: You suffer 1d6 subdual damage with no benefit
Critical Failure: You suffer 1d6 subdual and 1d6 lethal damage with no benefit.

Smash check

(Str; Active; Grasp)
1 Half Action (Take 10/Take 20) • Base Error Range 1

This skill check represents your brute ability to break one item or self-contained piece of scenery within a single square (such as a door), or one 5-ft. piece of scenery (such as part of a wall).
A Smash check can only target an item within your reach with a Damage save bonus equal to your Strength score or lower; any item with higher Damage save bonus cannot be broken by brute force and must be attacked. When an attack is made to smash an item, the time required to make the attack becomes the time required to make this check (the Smash check becomes a free action made with a successful hit).
Your Smash check has no DC; instead, your result becomes the damage against which the target item must make a Damage save (see page 224). If an item or self-contained piece of scenery fails its save, it is broken or destroyed, per the Damage save rules (see page 224). Either way, the item or scenery is rendered useless until repaired with the Electronics or Mechanics skill (see pages 127 and 141, respectively). If a 5-ft. piece of scenery fails its save, you punch a hole through it just large enough for one person of your Size to get through per half action (usually 5-ft. × 5-ft for a Medium character).
Cooperative: : Yes, but only if the target item is Small or larger (maximum 7 helpers).
Synergy Skills: Resolve.
Retry: Yes, unless you suffer a critical failure.
Threat: Your skill check result is doubled.
Critical Success: : The item automatically fails its Damage save.
Error: The item is unaffected and you suffer 1d4 subdual damage.
Critical Failure: You cannot break the item or scenery (though someone uninvolved in the current check may try to do so). Further, you suffer 1d4 subdual and 1d4 lethal damage.

Speed push check

(Con; Active; Armor Check Penalty, Flat-Footed)
1 Free Action • Base Error Range 1–2

This skill check is used to increase your standard tactical Speed temporarily.
Each Speed Push check has a base DC of 20. With success, your Speed is boosted by +5 ft. for 1 minute. Additionally, for every 10 by which your check result exceeds the DC (to a maximum of 50), you may apply one of the following two bonuses.

  • Your Speed is boosted by an additional +5 ft. for the same time period.
  • The time before your increased Speed wears off is boosted by 1 additional minute.

At the end of every minute during which your Speed is boosted, you suffer 1d6 subdual damage per 5 ft. of Speed boost.
Example: Kevin manages to boost his Speed by +10 ft. for 2 minutes. At the end of the first minute, he suffers 2d6 subdual damage, and at the end of the second minute, he suffers an additional 2d6 subdual damage.
This subdual damage is not recovered until you spend at least 1 hour sleeping (see page 342).
Cooperative: No.
Synergy Skills: Resolve.
Retry: Yes, though you may only benefit from one Speed Push check to boost your Speed at any time. If you make a second check to boost your Speed when a previous boost is still active, the new check’s outcome replaces that of the previous one — even if it’s worse.
Threat: You suffer only 1d4 subdual damage at the end of each minute during which your Speed is boosted.
Critical Success: : Your base Speed boost is increased to +10 ft. Further, this base Speed boost is not counted when figuring the subdual damage you suffer at the end of each minute.
Error: You suffer 1d6 subdual damage with no benefit.
Critical Failure: : You suffer 1d6 subdual and 1d6 lethal damage with no benefit.

Sports check

(Str or Con; Active; Armor Check Penalty, Gear Only (Per Sport), Hands-On, Vision)
Time Varies • Base Error Range 1

This skill check is used to resolve competitive sports, from baseball to football to soccer to golf. The GC sets the time required for any Sports check, which can range from a single shot in golf to a single inning in baseball to an entire game of either. He also sets the key attribute for the competition, based on whether the sport in question primarily requires speed (Strength) or endurance (Constitution).
The error range for each Sports check is determined by the game being played, as shown on Table: Sports Checks.
Any number of participants or participating teams may compete with 1 Sports check each by using the standard opposed check rules (see page 91).
Finally, the GC may determine that some sports — for instance, some track and field events — do not require the use of your hands. This removes the Hands-On skill tag.
Cooperative: : Yes — in many cases, it’s mandatory (any number of helpers, but always the same number on both sides in any competition).
Synergy Skills: Resolve, Sense, Tactics.
Retry: no.
Threat: Whether you win or lose the competition, your showing is stellar, improving the dispositions of each onlooker toward you or your team by 1 grade. This effect lasts until the end of the current scene, or until you fail a Sports check (whichever comes first).
Critical Success: : If making a standard skill check, you set a personal record (e.g. fastest 200-yd. dash time, most RBIs, or most yards gained during one game of football). If making a cooperative skill check, your team sets the record.
Error: Whether you win or lose the competition, your showing is poor, worsening the dispositions of each onlooker toward you or your team by 1 grade until the end of the current scene, or until you succeed with a Sports check (whichever comes first).
Critical Failure: If making a standard skill check, you’re hurt during the game, suffering 1d8 lethal damage per die spent to activate the critical failure (maximum 4d8). If making a cooperative skill check, the GC determines the character injured at random.

Table: Sports checks
SportError Range Increase
Largely safe (e.g. golf, tennis, track and field) +0
Mildly dangerous (e.g. baseball, basketball, gymnastics) +1
Moderately dangerous (e.g. football, soccer, wrestling) +2
Violently dangerous (e.g. hockey, jai-alai, rugby) +3

Swim check

(Con; Active; Armor Check Penalty, Flat-Footed)
1 Half Action (Take 10/Take 20) • Base Error Range 1

With one successful Swim check, you may move up, down, or through a body of water at 1/4 your Speed (rounded down). Each Swim check’s DC and error range are determined by the water conditions and how much you’re carrying, as shown on Table 2.24: Swim Checks (see page 118).
If any Swim check results in a failure, you make no progress (you may still move your bonus 5-ft. step without a skill check — but only to move toward the surface). If you fail a Swim check by 5 or more, you slip another 5 ft. under the surface and must begin holding your breath (see page 349).
Being Attacked While Swimming: Someone who attacks you while you’re swimming gains a +2 bonus with the attack check. Additionally, unless you possess 5 or more ranks in Athletics, you lose your Dexterity bonus to Defense, if any. If you suffer any damage from an attack while swimming (after damage reduction and other modifiers are applied), you must immediately make another Swim check, adding 5 to your DC.
Dragging Others: You may swim with up to 2 people in tow, up to a weight limit equal to double your maximum heavy load (see page 217). You may drag the load a distance equal to 1/8 your Speed per round (rounded down). A character held in tow may not help you move faster.
Treading Water: A character can dog paddle in place for a number of hours equal to his Constitution score. At the start of each hour thereafter, he must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + 5 per previous save). With failure, he begins to drown (see Suffocation, page 349).
Long-Term Swimming: After every 30 minutes you spend swimming or 1 hour you spend treading water, you must make a Swim check (DC 20) or suffer 1d4 points of subdual damage as a result of growing exhaustion. This subdual damage is not reduced by damage reduction, and only heals while you’re out of the water.
Cooperative: No.
Synergy Skills: Resolve, Survival.
Retry: no.
Threat: You find your rhythm. Your error range with each Swim check made in the same body of water decreases by 1 (minimum 1). This effect lasts until the end of the current scene or until you fail a Swim check (whichever comes first).
Critical Success: You may move up to 1/2 your Speed, instead of 1/4.
Error: You cramp up or lose your bearings. Your DC with each Swim check made in the same body of water increases by 5. This effect lasts until the end of the current scene or until you succeed with a Swim check (whichever comes first).
Critical Failure: You become tangled up in some obstruction and begin to drown (see page 349).
Alternately, the GC may spend 2 action dice to force you freeze up. One of the following conditions must be met in order for you to perform another action.

  • Someone must move into an adjacent square, after which both of you must move up to the other character’s swimming Speed toward the nearest solid ground. This reduces both your Initiative Counts to the lower initiative count between you.
  • You must succeed with a Resolve/Concentration check.