Use Athletics for physical feats like climbing, jumping, riding animal mounts, and swimming.






A ladder


A knotted rope


A rope


An uneven surface, like a rock-face


A rough surface, like a brick wall



An air duct, chimney, or other area where you can brace against two opposite walls


A corner where you can brace against perpendicular walls


Climb of less than 10 feet total


Surface slightly slippery


Surface very slippery


+1 speed rank (up to your full speed)


Not vulnerable while climbing

With a successful Athletics check, you can climb along a slope, wall, or other steep incline at your ground speed rank minus 2 as a move action. A perfectly smooth, flat, vertical surface can’t be climbed without the Wall-crawling effect of Movement.

A failed Athletics check indicates you make no progress, and two or more degrees of failure means you fall from whatever height you attained (unless you are secured with a safety harness or other equipment). Make an Athletics check to catch yourself (DC equal to the initial check + 10). Someone else within arm’s reach can also make an Athletics check to catch you with the same DC. If your attempt to catch someone else gets more than one degree of failure, you fall as well.

Since you can’t easily move to avoid attacks, you are vulnerable while climbing unless you accept a +5 increase in the DC. Any time you fail a resistance check while climbing, make an immediate Athletics check against the DC of the climb. Failure means you fall.

At the GM’s discretion, certain kinds of climbing attempts might require tools like ropes, pitons, harness, and so forth. Attempting such a climb without tools incurs a –5 circumstance penalty.

A fall inflicts damage rank 4 plus twice the distance rank fallen, to a maximum of rank 16 damage. A fall with a damage rank of 0 or less, such as a fall of 6 feet or less, inflicts no damage. You are prone at the end of a fall. You can use Acrobatics to lessen the damage from a fall.





Running Long-Jump

Athletics check result

Standing Long-Jump

Athletics check result, divided by 2

Running Vertical Jump

Athletics check result, divided by 5

Standing Vertical Jump

Athletics check result, divided by 10

If you want your hero to jump tens, hundreds, thousands of feet, or even miles, see Leaping effect. The result of an Athletics check is the distance (in feet) you can clear in a running long-jump. If you make a standing jump, divide the distance in half. If you make a vertical jump (straight up) divide the distance by 5, and if you make a standing vertical jump, divide it by 10.

Your Athletics bonus + 10 is the base distance you can jump under routine circumstances. So a hero with a +10 Athletics bonus can make a routine long-jump of 20 feet, a standing long-jump of 10 feet, a vertical jump of 4 feet, and a standing vertical jump of 2 feet on a routine basis.


You can make a DC 15 Athletics check as a free action to run faster: one or more degree of success increases your ground speed rank by +1 for one round.


A successful DC 10 Athletics check allows you to swim your ground speed rank minus 2 as a move action. If the check fails, you make no progress through the water during the action. With more than one degree of failure, you go under. If underwater, you must hold your breath to avoid drowning.





Rescuing another character who cannot swim


Rough or choppy water


+1 speed rank (up to your full ground speed)


Stormy or turbulent water


D20Hero SRD Skills article-

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