Climb

(Str, Use Untrained, Armour Check)

You are skilled at scaling vertical surfaces, from smooth concrete walls to rocky cliffs.

Check: With a successful Climb check, you can advance up, down, or across a slope, wall, or other steep incline (or even across a ceiling, provided it has handholds) at one-quarter your normal speed. A slope is 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 you make no progress, and one that fails by 5 or more means that you fall from whatever height you have already attained.

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.

Climb DC Example Surface or Activity
0 A slope too steep to walk up, or a knotted rope with a wall to brace against.
5 A rope with a wall to brace against, or a knotted rope.
10 A surface with ledges to hold on to and stand on, such as a very rough wall or a ship’s rigging.
15 Any surface with adequate handholds and footholds (natural or artificial), such as a very rough natural rock surface or a tree, or an unknotted rope, or pulling yourself up when dangling by your hands.
20 An uneven surface with narrow handholds and footholds, such as a typical wall in a dungeon.
25 A rough surface, such as a natural rock wall or a brick wall.
30 An overhang or ceiling with handholds only.
A perfectly smooth, flat vertical (or inverted) surface cannot be climbed.
Climb DC Modifier* Example Surface or Activity
–10 A location where you can brace against two opposite walls (e.g., inside a chimney).
–5 Climbing a corner where you can brace against perpendicular walls.
+5 Surface is slippery.
* These modifiers are cumulative; use all that apply.

You need both hands free to climb, but you may cling to a wall with one hand while you take an action that requires only one hand. While climbing, it’s more difficult to move to avoid a blow, so you take a circumstance penalty -5 to Dexterity bonus to Defence (to a minimum of zero). You also can’t use a shield while climbing. Anytime you take damage while climbing, make a Climb check against the DC of the slope or wall. Failure means you fall from your current height and sustain the appropriate falling damage.

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

Make Your Own Handholds/Footholds: You can make your own handholds and footholds by pounding pitons into a wall. Doing so takes 1 minute per piton, and you need one piton for every 5 feet of distance. As with any surface that offers handholds and footholds, a wall with pitons in it has a DC of 15. In the same way, a climber with a hand axe or similar implement can cut handholds in an ice wall.

Catch Yourself When You Fall: On a wall, you need to roll a Climb check DC equal to the wall’s DC +20, but on a slope, you need only the DC +10.

Catch a Falling Climber: If someone climbing above you or adjacent to you falls, you can attempt to catch them if they’re within your reach. Doing so requires a successful melee touch attack against the falling character, but they can forego any Dexterity bonus to Defence if they want to. If you hit, you then make a Climb check (DC = wall’s DC + 10). If you succeed, you catch the falling character. If their total weight, including equipment, exceeds your heavy load limit, you instantly lose your grip and they fall. If you fail your Climb check by 4 or less, you fail to stop the character’s fall but don’t lose your grip on the wall. If you fail by 5 or more, you fail to stop the character’s fall, but then both of you start falling.

Action: Climbing is part of movement, so it’s generally part of a move action (and may 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: You can use a rope to haul a character upward (or lower a character) through sheer strength. You can lift double your maximum load in this manner.

Anything with a natural climb speed has a racial bonus +8 to Climb checks, but they can take 10 even if they’re rushed or threatened (i.e., in combat). Their accelerated climb is twice their climb speed (or land speed, whichever is slower), and they make a single check at a -5 circumstance penalty. They also retain their Dexterity bonus to Defence while they climb, and opponents get no special bonus to their attacks against them. They cannot use the run action while they climb.

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