Climb (Str; Armor Check Penalty)

The PC is skilled in scaling cliffs, trees, or other obstacles.

Check: With a successful Climb check, the character can advance up, down, or across a slope, a wall, or some other steep incline (or even a ceiling with handholds) at one-quarter his normal speed. A slope is considered to be any incline at an angle measuring less than 60 degrees; a wall is any incline at an angle measuring 60 degrees or more.

A Climb check that fails by 4 or less means that the character make no progress; one that fails by 5 or more means that he falls, but he can make another Climb check (see below) to arrest his fall; he takes 1d4 points of damage per 10 feet fallen. If he hits the ground before catching himself, he takes 1d6 points of damage per 10 feet fallen. If the character is using safety equipment (pitons, rope, harness, etc.), he falls 1d3 x 10 feet and takes 1d6 points of damage, but his fall is arrested and he can resume climbing the next round normally.

A climber's kit gives the character a +2 circumstance bonus on Climb checks.

The DC of the check depends on the conditions of the climb. Compare the task with those on the following table to determine an appropriate DC.

Example Surface or Activity DC
A slope too steep to walk up, or a knotted rope with a wall to brace against. 0
A rope with a wall to brace against, a knotted rope, or a rope affected by the rope trick spell. 5
A surface with ledges to hold on to and stand on, such as a very rough wall or a ship's rigging. 10
A surface with adequate hand- and footholds (natural or artificial), such as a very rough natural rock surface, a tree, or an unknotted rope, or pulling oneself up when hanging. 15
An uneven surface with some narrow hand- and footholds, such as a typical wall in a dungeon or ruins. 20
A rough surface, such as a natural rock wall or a brick wall. 25
An overhang or ceiling with handholds but no footholds. 35
Example Surface or Activity Modifier1
Climbing a chimney (artificial or natural) or other location where the character can brace against two opposite walls. -10
Climbing a corner where the character can brace against perpendicular walls. -5
Surface is slippery. +5

1 These modifiers are cumulative; use any that apply.

The PC need both hands free to climb, but he can cling to a wall with one hand while he casts a spell or takes some other action that requires only one hand. While climbing, he can't move to avoid a blow, so he loses his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any). He also can't use a shield while climbing. Anytime the PC takes damage while climbing, make a Climb check against the DC of the slope or wall. Failure means he falls and sustains the appropriate falling damage.

Accelerated Climbing: The PC can try to climb more quickly than normal. By accepting a -5 penalty, he can move half his speed (instead of one-quarter his speed).

A character can climb his or her speed as a move action, or double his or her speed as a full-round action (requiring two checks), but he takes a -20 penalty on his check.

Making Handholds and Footholds: The PC can make his own hand- and footholds by pounding pitons into a wall. Doing so takes 1 minute per piton, and one piton is needed per 3 feet of distance. As with any surface that offers hand- and footholds, a wall with pitons in it has a DC of 15. In the same way, a climber with a handaxe or similar implement can cut handholds in an ice wall.

Catching Oneself When Falling: It's practically impossible for a climber to catch himself on a wall while falling. Make a Climb check (DC = wall's DC + 20) to do so. It's much easier to catch oneself on a slope (DC = slope's DC + 10).

Catching a Falling Character While Climbing: If someone climbing above or adjacent to the PC falls, he can attempt to catch the falling person if he or she is within reach. Doing so requires a successful melee touch attack against the falling character (though he or she can voluntarily forego any Dexterity bonus to AC if desired). If the PC hits, he must immediately attempt a Climb check (DC = wall's DC + 10). Success indicates that he catches the falling character, but his or her total weight, including equipment, cannot exceed his heavy load limit or he automatically falls. If the PC fails his Climb check by 4 or less, he fails to stop the other person's fall but doesn't lose his grip on the wall. If the roll fails by 5 or more, the PC fails to stop the other person's fall and begins falling as well.

Action: Climbing is part of movement, so it's generally part of a move action (and can be combined with other types of movement in a move action). Each move action that includes any climbing requires a separate Climb check. Catching yourself or another falling character doesn't take an action.

Special: The PC can use a rope to haul someone upward (or lower him) through sheer strength. A PC can lift double his maximum load in this manner.

A halfling has a +2 racial bonus on Climb checks because halflings are agile and surefooted.

The master of a lizard familiar gains a +3 bonus on Climb checks.

A creature with a climb speed has a +8 racial bonus on all Climb checks. The creature must make a Climb check to climb any wall or slope with a DC higher than 0, but it always can choose to take 10, even if rushed or threatened while climbing. If a creature with a climb speed chooses an accelerated climb (see above), it moves at double its climb speed (or at its land speed, whichever is slower) and makes a single Climb check at a -5 penalty. Such a creature retains its Dexterity bonus to Armor Class (if any) while climbing, and opponents get no special bonus to their attacks against it. It cannot, however, use the run action while climbing.

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