ATHLETICS (STRENGTH)

Armor Check Penalty
Make an Athletics check to attempt physical activities that rely on muscular strength, including climbing, escaping from a grab, jumping, and swimming.

CLIMB

Make an Athletics check to climb up or down a surface. A creature that has a climb speed doesn’t have to make Athletics checks to climb.
        Action: The check is usually part of a move action, but it can be part of any of the creature’s actions that involve the creature moving.
        DC: See the Climb table. If a creature can brace itself between two surfaces, it gains a +5 bonus to the check.
        Success: The creature can climb on the surface for the rest of the action, using squares of movement from the action. The creature must spend 1 extra square of movement for each square it enters on the surface. While climbing, a creature grants combat advantage and might fall if it takes damage (see below).
    When a climber moves from a vertical surface to a horizontal surface, such as when climbing out of a pit, the climber chooses to arrive either standing or prone.
        Failure by 4 or Less: If the creature was already climbing, it doesn’t fall. If the creature was trying to start climbing, it fails to do so. Either way, the creature can’t move any farther as part of the current action.
        Failure by 5 or More: If the creature was already climbing, it falls (see “Falling”) but can try to catch hold (see below). If the creature was trying to start climbing, it fails to do so. Either way, the creature can’t move any farther as part of the current action.

Example: Fargrim the fighter has a speed of 5 and is 2 squares away from a brick wall that he wants to climb. He takes the walk action and moves 2 squares toward the wall. He then makes an Athletics check as part of the same action and gets a result of 20, enough to start climbing. He’s able to climb up only 1 square, however, since each square of the climb costs 1 extra square of movement, and he has only 3 squares of movement left. He ends the action 1 square up the wall.

Taking Damage while Climbing
While climbing, a creature must make a new Athletics check if it takes damage.


        Action: Free action. The check is a response to taking damage.
        DC: See the Climb table. If the damage bloodies the creature, the DC increases by 5.
        Success: The creature holds on.
        Failure: The creature falls but can try to catch hold (see below).



Catching Hold
A creature that falls while climbing can make an Athletics check to catch hold of something to stop the fall immediately.


        Action: Free action. The check is a response to falling.
        DC: See the Climb table, and add 5 to the normal DC.
        Success: The creature doesn’t fall.
        Failure: The creature falls and can’t try to catch hold again as part of this fall.



SurfaceAthletics DC
Ladder0
Rope 10
Uneven surface (cave wall)15
Rough surface (brick wall)20
Slippery surface+5
Unusually smooth surface+5

ESCAPE FROM A GRAB

The escape action allows the use of an Athletics check to muscle out of a grab (see “Escape”).

JUMP

Make an Athletics check to jump vertically to reach a dangling rope or a high ledge or to jump horizontally to leap over a pit, a patch of difficult terrain, a low wall, or some other obstacle.
    Simply scrambling onto a terrain feature such as a table or a chair doesn’t require an Athletics check, because such terrain features are usually difficult terrain.

High Jump
Make an Athletics check to make a high jump, usually to reach or grab hold of something overhead.


        Action: The check is usually part of a move action, but it can be part of any of the creature’s actions that involve the creature moving.
        Result: Divide the check result by 10 (round down). This value is the number of feet the creature jumps up, or in other words, the height that the creature’s feet clear.
    All the squares of the jump, if any, use squares of movement from the action. The High Jump table summarizes the total distances of various high jumps based on Athletics check results. If the creature runs out of movement before landing on something or grabbing onto something, it falls.
However, if the jump was part of a move action, the creature can continue the jump as part of a double move, ending the first move action in midair and continuing the jump as part of the second move action. The creature makes a single Athletics check for the jump but can use squares of movement from both actions for it.
        Running Start: If the creature moves at least 2 squares as part of the action and then jumps, double the result before dividing by 10 (or simply divide the result by 5).
        Reaching Something: To determine whether the creature can reach something while jumping, calculate what one-third of the creature’s height is (round down to the nearest inch). This extra one-third represents the length of a creature’s arms. Add that number to the creature’s height and the distance cleared based on its Athletics check.

    Example: A 6-foot-tall creature would add 2 for its arms’ length for a total of 8 feet, which would then be added to the distance cleared. A 4-foot-tall creature would add 5 feet to the distance.
    If a creature jumps and doesn’t have a height specified, consult the Vertical Reach table and use the value noted for the creature’s size. For example, if a Large creature’s height is unknown, add 15 feet to the result of its Athletics check to determine whether it can reach something.

HIGH JUMP

Athletics ResultDistance Cleared
9 or lower0 feet
10-191 foot
20-292 feet
30-393 feet
40-494 feet
And so on...


VERTICAL REACH
Creature SizeVertical Reach
Tiny2½ feet
Small10 feet
Medium10 feet
Large15 feet
Huge25 feet
Gargantuan35 feet


Example: Dendric, a 6-foot-tall human fighter, attempts a high jump to catch a rope dangling 12 feet overhead. His check result is 26. If Dendric leaps from a standing position, he can’t quite reach the end of the rope (26 ÷ 10 = 2 feet plus 1⅓ × his height [8 feet] for a final reach of 10 feet). If Dendric leaps with a running start, he can reach the end of the rope (52 ÷ 10 = 5 feet plus 1⅓ × his height [8 feet] for a final reach of 13 feet).

Long Jump
Make an Athletics check to make a long jump.


        Action: The check is usually part of a move action, but it can be part of any of the creature’s actions that involve the creature moving.
        Result: Divide the Athletics check result by 10 (rounded down). This determines the number of squares the creature clears with the jump. The creature lands 1 square beyond the squares it clears. All the squares of the jump, including the landing square, use squares of movement from the action. The Long Jump table summarizes the total distances of various long jumps, including the landing square.
    If the creature ends the movement over a drop, it falls and can’t move any farther as part of the current action. If the creature runs out of movement before landing, it also falls. However, if the jump was part of a move action, the creature can continue the jump as part of a double move, ending the first move action in midair and continuing the jump as part of the second move action. The creature makes a single Athletics check for the jump but can use squares of movement from both actions for it.
        Running Start: If the creature moves at least 2 squares as part of the action and then jumps, double the result before dividing by 10 (or simply divide the result by 5).
        Distance Cleared Vertically: To determine the number of feet that the creature clears vertically during the long jump, divide the check result by 10 and then add 2 if the result is at least 1. If the creature doesn’t jump high enough to clear an obstacle along the way, it hits the obstacle, falls prone, and can’t move any farther as part of the current action.



Long Jump
Athletics ResultDistance ClearedTotal Move
9 or lower0 squares0 squares
10–191 square (3 feet up)2 squares
20–292 squares (4 feet up)3 squares
30–393 squares (5 feet up)4 squares
40–494 squares (6 feet up)5 squares
And so on . . .


Example: Lyriel the fighter attempts a long jump to leap over a 2-square-wide pit and clear the 5-foot-high wall of thorns beyond it. Her check result is 24. With a running start, she easily jumps the distance [(24 × 2) ÷ 10 = 4 squares] and clears the wall (4 + 2 = 6 feet). If Lyriel jumps from a standing position, she jumps over the pit (24 ÷ 10 = 2 squares) but doesn’t clear the wall (2 + 2 = 4 feet). She hits the wall of thorns and falls prone—right into the pit.

SWIM

Make an Athletics check to swim, which includes treading water. A creature that has a swim speed doesn’t have to make Athletics checks to swim or tread water.
    Creatures that hold their breath for more than 3 minutes or that take damage while holding their breath risk suffocation. See the Endurance skill for information on swimming or treading water for an hour or more. See “Currents” for rules on swimming in a strong current.
        Action: The check is usually part of a move action, but it can be part of any of the creature’s actions that involve the creature moving.
        DC: See the Swim table.
        Success: The creature can swim for the rest of the action, using squares of movement from the action. The creature must spend 1 extra square of movement for each square it enters while swimming. Alternatively, the creature simply stays afloat, treading water.
        Failure by 4 or Less: The creature can’t move any farther as part of the current action, but it treads water.
        Failure by 5 or More: The creature can’t move any farther as part of the current action and sinks 1 square.

SWIM
WaterAthletics DC
Calm10
Rough15
Stormy20

IMPROVISING WITH ATHLETICS

        Hang onto a wagon while being dragged behind it (hard DC)
        Force your way through an earthen tunnel that is too small for you (hard DC)
        Move into a strong headwind while flying (moderate DC)

Update (6/18/2012)
Updated in Rules Compendium.

Published in Player's Handbook, page(s) 182, Rules Compendium, page(s) 136.