Ruins of Adventure
A Note on Stealth: Any character can try to move quietly at any time simply by announcing that he intends to do so. While moving quietly, the character’s movement rate is reduced to 1/3 normal, but any opponent must make a Surprise roll unless they succeed on a Detect Noise proficiency check.
Appraising: This proficiency allows characters to estimate the value and authenticity of antiques, art objects, jewelry, cut gemstones, or other crafted items they find. 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.
Begging: Begging serves two functions. First, it allows characters to pose convincingly as beggars. Success in this function is automatic and no checks must be made. Second, it allows the character to earn a minimal daily income. To use this proficiency to earn money, it must be used in an area where people are present.
The following modifiers are suggested as guidelines. They do not take into account the wealth of a particular locale, just the population density. Impoverished regions might have greater negative modifiers, as might certain affluent areas with long traditions or great reputations for stinginess.
A successful check enables a character to beg for enough money, goods or services to meet his basic needs (a little food and drink, a place to sleep). Begging cannot force PCs to give away money. Players are always free to decide how generous (or not) their characters are.
Chicanery: Chicanery is the art of trickery, and gives the character knowledge of several forms of sleight-of-hand tricks, swindles, and deceptions, and the ability to perform them. These range from the classic shell game to carefully opening a goose egg, stuffing a baby snake inside, sealing it closed again, then presenting it to an unsuspecting victim to be cracked open.
The Pick Pockets and Prestidigitation proficiencies give the character a +1 bonus (each) when attempting to perform Chicanery.
Disarm Traps: A character with this proficiency can attempt to remove or disarm a trap, so long as he knows that the trap exists. Disarming a trap requires 1d10 rounds. If the dice roll indicates success, the trap is disarmed. If the dice roll indicates failure, the trap is beyond the character’s current skill. He can try disarming the trap again when he advances to the next experience level. On a natural 20 on the check, the character accidentally triggers the trap and suffers the consequences.
This skill can also be used to disarm magical traps (such as an Explosive Runes or Wyvern Watch spell), but the chance of success is halved when dealing with such hazards. Some traps (such as open pits) simply do not have mechanical components and cannot be disarmed (though they can often be circumvented).
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).
Escape: There comes a time in every character’s career when his luck runs out and he is apprehended. This proficiency allows the character to escape bonds such as ropes, leather thongs, manacles, chains, and even straight jackets—feats of contortion and determination.
The character must roll to break free of each device binding him. If he’s tied at the wrists and at the ankles, he must make two successful rolls to free himself. Each attempt takes five rounds. A failure on any attempt means that the character cannot loosen that bond or pick the lock.
The DM assigns a penalty based on the type and circumstance of the binding. The table below shows standard penalties for a variety of situations.
|Rawhide, soaked and shrunken||-4|
|Wire or chains||-3|
|Fingers individually tied/taped||-4|
|Binding character takes extra time||-2|
|Binding character takes little time / attention||+2|
|Binding character is a thief||-3|
|Binding character makes a Disarm Traps check||-2|
|Character with this proficiency untying another||+4|
|Bound character attempting to untie another||-4|
The Escape proficiency does not allow the character to undo locks. If the character’s bindings include a lock, he must first succeed on a separate Locksmithing check to open the locks before attempting to slip the bonds.
Feign Sleep: People who pretend to be sleeping seldom do it right. However, most people don’t how how to tell the fakers from those really asleep. Characters with this proficiency are trained to feign sleep accurately and to determine when others are feigning sleep.
This skill is of special use to characters on guard duty and those infiltrating a secure site. A character will use this skill when listening to seemingly sleeping guards and guests. If he detects one who is breathing wrong, he can take steps to capture or silence the faker. Likewise, a character can use this skill to convince an intruder that he is truly asleep, so that he can creep up on the intruder from behind when his back is turned.
The Acting proficiency can convey the ability to feign sleep, but the Acting check is made at a -4 penalty.
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.
Hiding: Hiding is the ability to instinctively select the best hiding place under nearly any condition, whether that be shadows, bushes, curtains, crannies, rocks, or any other type of concealment. A character who makes a successful check can virtually disappear from view. Success is determined by modifiers based upon the Reason of the character being hidden from.
|3 or less||+5|
An additional -2 penalty is applied to the check if the target being hidden from has special sensory capabilities, such as Infravision, unless special precautions are taken (such as covering oneself with cold mud or hiding behind a thermal insulating barrier). Spells, magical items, and special abilities that reveal invisible objects can reveal the location of a hidden character.
A character can never become hidden while being directly observed, no matter what his dice roll is—he might not be visible, but his position is still obvious to the observer. However, trying to hide from a creature that is locked in battle with another is possible, as the enemy’s attention is fixed elsewhere.
Locksmithing: This is the specialized skill of making locks. It is treated like other Craft Proficiencies when checking for success. In addition, a character with this skill can, because of their familiarity with how locks are constructed and operate, attempt to pick padlocks, finesse combination locks, and solve puzzle locks.
Picking a padlock requires tools (at minimum a rake and a tension wrench). Using typical thief’s tools grants normal chances for success. Using improvised tools (a bit of wire, a thin dirk, a stick, etc.) imposes a -5 penalty on the character’s chance for success. The amount of time required to pick a lock is 1d10 rounds. A character can attempt to pick a particular lock only once per experience level. If the attempt fails, the lock is simply too difficult for the character until he learns more (i.e. goes up a level).
Looting: This proficiency represents a knack for grabbing the best loot in the shortest amount of time. A successful proficiency check allows a character to recognize and grab the most valuable combination of items that is feasible, given the situational limits of time and space.
A successful check can also suggest the most likely places in a given room or building where loot is likely to be stored. Thus he might recognize that a specific painting looks like it may have a safe behind it, or recall that peasants sometimes sew valuables into mattresses.
Night Vision: Through extensive conditioning and practice, this proficiency improves a character’s ability to see in low-light conditions. Night Vision is distinct and different from Infravision, as it trains the eyes to collect more visible light, rather than shifting to the infrared.
To use his Night Vision, the character must spend five rounds in the type of light he will be moving or waiting in. Until he has spent that amount of time in the dark, this proficiency just does not work. (However, the character can be doing other things while letting his eyes adjust, so long as these other tasks do not expose him to varying light conditions.)
Once his eyes have adjusted, the character can use his Night Vision at any time. Whenever he looks at something, he must make Night Vision proficiency check. With a successful check, the character’s Visibility Ranges are doubled in the following conditions: Fog (dense or blizzard), Fog (moderate), Night (full moon), Night (no moon), Twilight. Thus, a character under a full moon at night would be able to spot movement at 200 feet rather than at 100 feet.
If the character with this proficiency is exposed to a change in illumination, such as by having a fireball go off within 500 feet or by having a torch or lamp waved in his face, his eyes are dazzled. His Night Vision is gone and cannot be regained until the character has again spent five rounds letting his eyes adjust.
Pick Pockets: The character uses this skill when filching small items from other peoples’ pockets, sleeves, girdles, packs, etc., when palming items (such as keys), and when performing simple sleight of hand.
A failed attempt means the character did not get an item, but does not mean that his attempt was detected. Any roll of a natural 20 or natural 1 on the check means that the attempted thievery (either failed or successful respectively) was detected by the victim. The character can try to pick someone’s pocket as many times as he wants. Neither failure nor success prevents additional attempts, but getting caught might!
Poison Use: With this proficiency, a character learns how to safely handle and administer both magical and mundane poisons. There is no danger of such a character accidentally poisoning himself when applying poison to a blade, slipping poison into a drink, or otherwise deploying his craft.
In addition, this proficiency allows the character to concoct simple poisons. Making a dose of poison requires a day spent gathering herbs, fungi, minerals, and other less savory ingredients from wild or dungeon environments. Making a dose of poison requires a successful check, with failure resulting in wasted time and materials. A typical poison must be injected. It can be used to coat a weapon, inflicting 1d6 points of damage per two levels of the character (round up to a maximum of 10d6) on a successful hit. The victim is allowed a saving throw vs. poison for half damage.
An unused dose of poison loses its efficacy after 1 week. The character can attempt to extend the life of the poison by taking a -1 penalty on the proficiency check for each additional week. The character can also choose to make weaker poisons. For each 1d6 less damage the poison would inflict, he reduces the check penalty by 1 (to a minimum of 0).
Other types of poisons, such as Those described in the DMG may also be created. This requires the poisoner to learn a recipe for that specific poison type. When a new poison type is encountered, the poisoner can attempt to devise a recipe by making a roll against his chance to Learn Spell (based on his Knowledge score). A poisoner can learn a number of additional recipes equal to the maximum number of spells per level listed for his Reason score.
Quick Study: This proficiency allows a character to temporarily learn enough about a skill, a job, or an area of scholarship to pass as someone who belongs to a related profession. When using this proficiency, the character spends one week (eight hours a day) studying the skill she wishes to learn. At the end of the week, the character has a working knowledge of the field studied. Over the next several days, she will be able to pass as a practitioner of that skill, though not as an expert.
When she has completed his study and must utilize the skill, the character makes a normal proficiency check for the skill in question with an additional -3 penalty. One week after the character has completed her study, she suffers an additional -2 penalty because she has forgotten some details of the skill. Each week thereafter, she takes another cumulative -2 penalty.
This proficiency will not allow a character to demonstrate an expert level of ability with the skill being simulated. If the character undertakes a task that, in the DMs estimation, calls for an especially baoad or deep knowledge of the subject, the DM can decide that the character cannot perform the task. The character can then make a Reason check; success means that she realizes that she’s in over her head and cannot succeed.
It is not possible to spend extra proficiency slots on Quick Study to improve the roll. However, it is possible to buy the proficiency more than once in order to study two skills per mission.
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.
Sabotage: This proficiency allows the character to plan or cause a malfunction in a construct or machine or to cause the collapse of a portion of a building. This can be as simple as rigging a crossbow to misfire or a wagon wheel to fall off or as complex as collapsing a tower. The time involved depends on the complexity and size of the object. A failed check means that the object is obviously damaged, or that the sabotage failed completely, whichever the DM thinks would disadvantage the character most. Also, the DM should give additional penalties for more complicated contraptions or larger structures. A wagon wheel, for instance, would not require any penalties. A catapult, however, may require an additional penalty of -2, being a larger and more complicated object. Causing the potential collapse of a stone tower would require much time and elaborate efforts (such as removal of stones or tunneling), at the end of which a -5 penalty should be applied to the proficiency check.
Sign Language: Although nothing as extensive as American Sign Language exists in the realms, numerous organizations make use of hand signs and gestures to communicate in situations where stealth is important. The Harpers, the Zhentarim, the Night Masks, many dwarven clans, and numerous smaller thief and spy guilds throughout the Realms are known to employ such communication. Many established adventuring parties have developed similar modes.
Sign language permits silent communication with anyone who sees and understands the signals. The maximum range of such communication is the receiver’s line of sight. Signs typically allow the communication of a few easy to understand phrases such as “attack,” “orcs behind the rock,” or “you three move left.” A proficiency check must be made to both accurately send and receive and interpret a sign.
Characters who did not learn signs from the same source (for example a Harper and a Zhent) can still communicate in this way, but at a -4 penalty to the receiver’s check. For, as they say, “A nod’s as good as a wink to a blind bat”.
If a spy is suspected, characters communicating via sign language can attempt to deliberately obfuscate their messages. Doing this incurs a -4 penalty to both the sender’s and receiver’s checks, but, if successful, the message cannot be interpreted by a third party.
Street Sense: This proficiency imparts an understanding of the way the underclass, the combination of poorer classes and criminal elements, works in a society. A character with this proficiency is adept at making a good impression on contacts in the less-savory neighborhoods of towns and cities. Those whom the character contacts are not necessarily moved to trust the character using this skill, but they may decide the character is worth talking to because he is so entertaining or because he is a person of importance, and thereby allow the character to learn things about the underworld of any community he visits.
A Street Sense skill check can be attempted once whenever the character is talking to a member of a city’s lower class or criminal elements. Success means that the contact becomes favorably inclined toward the character, improving their reactions by one step, and may cause the contact to reveal additional information. Unlike Intimidation or Persuasion, the character’s Street Sense leaves a lasting impression, and any improved reactions of the contact remain for future interactions, until other circumstances would cause them to shift.
Possession of this skill adds a +2 bonus to any Information Gathering skill check.
Trailing: Trailing resembles Tracking, except tracking is associated chiefly with the wilderness, and trailing typically is used in major urban centers (i.e., cities and large towns). It is the talent of tailing someone—of keeping a certain distance or even catching up to them, though they may be attempting to blend into a crowd, or at least get lost in the confusion of a street full of people.
A proficiency check is first made to see if the character is able to trail without being noticed. If the person followed has the Alertness proficiency, then the trailer suffers a -5 penalty. If the trailer is noticed, the person being followed may attempt to evade. To keep from losing the trail, the character must make another Trailing proficiency check. A modifier from -3 to +3 (varying from first time in a foreign city to the character’s home neighborhood) may be used to reflect how well the character knows the area. The DM should warn the player beforehand if you will apply modifiers (though you needn’t tell exactly what they are).
The DM should feel free to use situational modifiers on these rolls. For example, if a street is relatively clear, the thief should get -1 or -2 on an attempt to follow unnoticed, but +1 or +2 if he has been seen and is chasing after his subject. The opposite numbers could be used for exceptionally crowded situations, or at night.
For any Trailing proficiency roll, a -3 penalty applies if the person followed has the Trailing proficiency as well (and, presumably, knows better how to foil the tricks of his own trade).
Trap Setting: This proficiency is used to keep strongholds, dungeons, and buildings free of pests and intruders. This is similar to the Set Snares proficiency, but intended for indoor use. Traps may be set to trigger metal cages, drop nets, open pits, or iron doors that shut off individual tunnel sections. Potentially lethal traps such as crossbows, spiked springboards, or small deadfalls may also be rigged using this proficiency.
To prepare any trap, the character must have appropriate materials on hand. A character with this proficiency does not have the ability to make the items required for these devices, he can only set the traps and their triggers. Setting a standard trap requires 1d8 hours of work. Constructing and setting a particular large or complex trap (such as a room with moving walls) requires additional time and may require one or more people assisting depending on its size and nature.
A proficiency check must be rolled when the trap is set. A failed proficiency check means that the trap will fail to operate. It may not have been set properly, was poorly concealed, or it was too small or too large for the creature to trigger.