Background Skills

The skill list has been split into two categories: adventuring skills and background skills. Characters get an extra 2 ranks/level which must be spent on background skills, allowing them to acquire skills that rarely come up during adventures. Though these skills don’t directly affect the careers of typical adventurers the same way that Bluff, Perception, and Stealth do, they are useful means for characters to interact with and explore the world outside of combat.

Adventuring Skills
Acrobatics Bluff Climb Diplomacy
Disable Device Disguise Escape Artist Fly
Heal Intimidate Knowledge (arcana) Knowledge (dungeoneering)
Knowledge (engineering) Knowledge (local) Knowledge (nature) Knowledge (planes)
Knowledge (religion) Perception Ride Sense Motive
Spellcraft Stealth Survival Swim
Use Magic Device
Background Skills
Appraise Artistry* Craft Handle Animal
Knowledge (geography) Knowledge (history) Knowledge (nobility) Linguistics
Lore* Perform Profession Sleight of Hand
New Skills

Artistry (Int)

You are skilled in the creative arts, following your aesthetic sensibilities to bring to life the wonders of your imagination. Like Craft, Perform, and Profession, Artistry is actually a number of separate skills. You could have several Artistry skills, each with its own ranks. The most common Artistry skills are choreography, criticism, literature (including poetry), musical composition, philosophy, and playwriting.

Like Craft, an Artistry skill is focused on creating something. However, what it creates is not necessarily a physical object; it could be a pattern or blueprint for an item, or a better method for crafting a type of item. Thus, an Artistry (musical composition) check could be used to create a new song, but the important act of creation is the song itself, not the paper on which it is written or even the performance. An artist is not necessarily a skilled performer, though she might be. An artist’s province is the creation of ideas and concepts, and the realization of those ideas in a way that can be enjoyed by others and contribute to the broader culture of the arts. Some art forms (such as painting or sculpture) skirt the line between Artistry and Craft.

Check: You can create works of art and try to earn a living by impressing possible patrons with your talent and ideas. You can also create commissioned works. See the charts on this page for specifics.

Action: Varies. Trying to earn money by creating minor works of art typically involves a full week’s work. If you work less than 1 week, you earn the daily average amount appropriate for your level of workmanship. Creating a commissioned work typically takes a week or more.

Try Again: Yes. Retries are allowed, but they don’t negate previous failures. If you’re trying to earn a living as an artist in a city where the public hasn’t been impressed with your work (because you failed a DC 15 Artistry check in the previous week), you have a hard time breaking into the marketplace with future artwork (increase the DC by 2 for each previous failure). If you leave the area for a month or more before trying again, this increase resets to 0.


Lore (Int; Trained Only)

You possess a specialized area of knowledge, generally narrower than that of a full-fledged scholar. Lore acts as a catchall skill for information, similar to how Craft handles artisanal skills and Profession handles professional skills.

The category of a Lore skill can vary widely from that of another Lore skill. It could be regional (such as a city or country), about a discipline (such as cryptography), or related to a narrow set of people (such as famous musicians). The scope of region-based Lore skills can also refer to specific subcategories, such as taverns in a particular region.

A Lore skill must be narrow—far narrower than the most relevant Knowledge skill. The broader the scope of a given category of Lore, the shallower your knowledge is on that topic. If you know about taverns in a wide region, you know less about each of them than you would if you had Lore in taverns of a specific city. Lore skills normally can’t be used to identify monsters the way Knowledge skills can, unless they refer to a specific type of monster (such as owlbears or vampires). If Lore involves a common, broad category of race or monster, it needs to be more specific. Lore (elves) would be too broad, as would Lore (dragons).

Check: Lore skills use the same DC scale as Knowledge skills: DC 10 to answer easy questions, DC 15 for basic questions, and DC 20 to 30 for really tough questions. In many cases, Lore can substitute for a Knowledge skill, such as Lore (elven history) filling in for Knowledge (history) in a check involving elves. At the GM’s discretion, a player might be able to apply a Lore skill that’s only partially related to a subject with a –5 penalty, such as using a Lore skill about a region to recall information about a particular city in that region or applying knowledge of distilling to winemaking.

Bards: Lore is treated as a Knowledge skill for the purposes of bardic knowledge and lore master, as well as similar abilities found in other classes, creatures, and archetypes. This applies only to Lore skills in which a character is trained. In other circumstances, use the more relevant Knowledge skill.


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Background Skills

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