Performance Proficiencies

Performance Proficiencies Slots Ability Modifier Prerequisites
Acting 1 Appearance -1
Chanting 1 Leadership +2
Crowd Working 1 Leadership +2
Dancing 1 Balance 0
Fortune Telling 2 Leadership -2
Hypnotism 1 Appearance -2
Juggling 1 Aim -1
Musical Instrument (specify) 1 Aim -1
Poetry 1 Reason -2
Prestidigitation 1 Aim -1
Seamanship 1 Balance +1
Singing 1 Leadership 0
Storytelling 1 Leadership 0
Sword Swallowing 1 Balance 0
Tightrope Walking 1 Balance 0
Tumbling 1 Balance 0
Ventriloquism 1 Reason -2
Voice Mimicry 2 Leadership 0
Whistling/Humming 1 Balance -2
Woodsongs 2 Intuition -3 Singing.

Acting: This proficiency allows a character to skillfully portray various roles, often as an entertainment. It can also be used to enhance a disguise. If a character has both acting and disguise proficiencies, the check for either is made with a +1 bonus.

Proficiency checks are required only if the actor must portray a particularly difficult role or is attempting to “ad lib” without rehearsal.

Chanting: Chanting is used to keep fellow workers or soldiers in pace. Proficiency checks are used to determine the effectiveness of a character’s chanting. Successful checks mean that those who can hear the chanting character become slightly hypnotized by the rhythmic sound, causing the time spent on arduous, repetitive tasks to pass quickly The DM can, at his option, adjust results for forced marching, rowing, digging, and other similar tasks accordingly.

Crowd Working: Characters with this proficiency are familiar with how to handle crowds. They are skilled at observing crowds and adjusting their behavior accordingly. This skill can be used to adjust the encounter reaction of a crowd. A successful proficiency check will alter the crowd’s reaction by two levels (or convinces them to donate twice as much money to the entertainers as they normally would).

Dancing: The character knows many styles and varieties of dance, from folk dances to formal court balls.

Fortune Telling: With this proficiency, characters know a variety of methods for divining the future — and they are all fake. Characters with this skill employ odd-looking devices, sonorous oratory, or other methods to convince others that they are authentic soothsayers. Common methods include cards, palm reading, counting bumps, casting runes, examining animal entrails, and more. Fortune tellers put on a good show, then proclaim whatever prediction they want. This is done to gain money from the gullible, to impress others, or even to substitute for a true diviner when none are available. Many humanoids are extremely superstitious, after all, and many tribes are happy to have the services of a fake when no true shaman is available. Without the fortune teller, many tribes might be paralyzed by their fear of the unknown.

A successful proficiency check indicates that the target believes the fortune. If it fails, the sham is discovered or the fortune is simply not believed. Failure for a character trying to convince a tribe of his powers could prove deadly — for the fake! The fast-talking modifiers can be used if the DM desires. Note that PCs are never forced to believe a prediction regardless of the roll.

If the player character calls the number on his d20 roll before rolling his check, then the prediction made by the fortune teller actually comes true.

Hypnotism: With this proficiency, the performer can hypnotize another character, placing him into a relaxed state in which he is susceptible to suggestions. The subject must be willing and must know he is being hypnotized. Only human, demihuman, and humanoid characters may be hypnotized, and the hypnotist and subject must be able to understand one another’s language.

It takes about five minutes to hypnotize someone in a reasonably calm or peaceful environment. Once hypnotized, the subject is willing to do almost anything that isn’t very dangerous or against his alignment. However, a hypnotized subject can be fooled into thinking he’s doing one thing when he’s actually doing something else. Hypnotism can have the following effects:

  • A character can be induced to remember things he has forgotten by reliving a frightening or distant event.
  • A character can be made calm and unafraid in the face of a specific situation that he has been prepared for, gaining a +2 bonus to saving throws versus fear effects or morale checks.
  • A character can be cured of a bad habit or addiction (but not of curses, physical diseases, or magical afflictions.)

Hypnotism can’t increase a character’s attributes, give him skills he does not normally possess, let him do things that are beyond his capabilities, or give him information he couldn’t possibly know. As a guideline for adjudicating effects, the hypnotism proficiency is substantially weaker than magical commands or directions, such as charm person, command, or hypnotism. Spells magically compel a person to obey the caster’s will; a well-phrased hypnotic command is nothing more than a strong suggestion.

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 unarmed attack roll vs. AC 20 (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).

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.

A character may become proficient in a large group of musical instruments by spending more slots on this proficiency. See Musical Instruments for specific group costs.

Poetry: This proficiency includes the skills necessary to recite poetry and judge its quality. It also indicates that a character has a repertoire of poems memorized for recital at any time. No check is required for a normal recital. If the character can read and write, original poems can be written. A successful check indicates that the poem is of above average quality.

Prestidigitation: This is the art of street magic or sleight of hand, the trade of the magician. The character is skilled at concealing or manipulating small items and familiar with such tricks as pulling a coin from a child’s ear, separating two joined rings, or causing a pigeon or rabbit to vanish. For the most part, nothing more than manual dexterity and showmanship are required, and any kind of character may learn prestidigitation.

A character proficient in Prestidigitation also gains a +2 bonus on Pick Pockets proficiency checks.

Seamanship: The character is familiar with all manner of sail-powered ships, skilled at rigging. He is qualified to work as a crewman, although he cannot actually navigate. In addition, your skill with lines and canvas makes you as comfortable with a stage and proscenium as a deck and mast. Most major theaters throughout the realms employ off-duty Seamen as stagehands, and many a boy who learned his craft on fly rigging has gone on to ply his trade aboard ship.

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.

Story Telling: This character can spin a dramatic story about a chosen topic. If the story is about a specific person, then reactions to that person can be modified on a successful proficiency check. The DM may adjust the listeners’ reactions based on the listener’s Willpower and how well the listener knows the subject of the story (see Fast Talking. If the character sings the story as a ballad, or tells the story to musical accompaniment, he may add a +1 bonus to his proficiency check. Combining singing and instrumentation allows a +2 to the check.

This proficiency also allows a character to weave a believable lie. A successful proficiency check, with a penalty equal to the listener’s magical defense adjustment (for Willpower), means that a given statement is believed by the listener. The DM is encouraged to modify the proficiency check further based on the statement’s outlandishness.

Sword Swallowing: This proficiency allows the character to manipulate his mouth and throat to accept long and pointed objects like swords. The sword swallower can also swallow fire and do other muscle-related tricks with his throat. The character gains a +2 bonus on saving throws against ingested poisons because his throat reflexes are improved.

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 Balance. If he is struck while on the rope, he must roll an immediate proficiency check to retain his balance.

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 Reason 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 Reason score modifies this as follows:

Reason Modifier
less than 3 +6
3-5 +4
6-8 +2
9-14 0
15-16 -1
17-18 -2
19+ -4

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.

Voice Mimicry: Voice mimicry is the art of convincingly imitating the voices of other people. It is a very demanding skill, requiring intense training and practice. A character with voice mimicry can imitate any accent he has heard. Success is automatic unless confronted by those who speak the mimicked accent (which then requires a check with a +2 modifier).

It is more difficult to imitate a specific person’s voice. Characters can only attempt to imitate voices they have heard. A proficiency check must be made to determine if the imitation is detected. Success is certain if the listener is a stranger to the mimicked character. There is no modifier if trying to fool an acquaintance, -2 to fool a friend, -5 a close friend, and -7 for extremely close friends and relatives.

Whistling/Humming: Characters with this proficiency are exceptional whistlers and hummers. They can produce tunes as captivating as most songs. If a successful check is made, the character knows any particular tune in question. If he also has the animal lore proficiency, he can mimic any bird call he has ever heard.

Adventurers also use this proficiency to communicate with each other. This type of communication is only possible among the characters who have this proficiency. If two or more characters with this proficiency make successful checks, a single concept can be communicated between them.

Woodsongs: Woodsongs are a form of lyrical magic that draws upon the forces of nature. Some scholars have suggested that they are remnants of the first elven magic, heartfelt songs inspired by animals and the sounds of the weather. This skill requires that the character first have the Singing proficiency, as the character must be skilled with the ancient elven tunes and verses. Woodsongs are subtle magic and most observers mistakenly believe the character is merely singing, never attributing the magical effects to the song. Zero-level woodsongs may be used by any character with both the Singing and Woodsongs proficiencies. Each day, a character may sing one 0th-level woodsong for every 3 levels he possesses (round up).

A spellcaster may memorize higher level woodsongs in place of his normal spell slots (using a spell slot of a level equal to the woodsong’s level). A character with this proficiency is assumed to know all 0-level woodsongs. Priests (including Rangers and Paladins) know all higher-level woodsongs that fall within their granted spheres.

Wizards (and spellcasting rogues) may learn Woodsongs as a Path and learn higher-level woodsongs in place of a spell known of that level (they must succeed a normal chance to learn spell roll).

Performance Proficiencies

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