It's time to take some action! You want to charge across the rickety bridge? Climb the crumbling wall to escape the dire wolf? Kick down the old, rotting door? Great—now make an ability check to see if you succeed.

This chapter sets out some changes to rolling mechanics—such as untyped skill bonuses, broader social interaction, and other minor additions.

Open Skills

With Open Skills, your skills are no longer tied to a single ability—instead, you may apply your skill bonus to any ability check that feels appropriate.

When you are taking an action, try to consider which ability and skill pairing is the best fit for your situation. You may only use one ability and one skill per check.

  • GM:Valiant, a guard blocks the door with his spear. "You ain't going in there," he says bluntly.
  • Valiant:Do I recognize the guard?
  • GM:No, but you do recognize the symbol on his necklace—the scales of Kelemvor, Lord of the Dead.
  • Valiant:He follows my god? Perfect. "Not often I meet one of His agents," I say, showing my necklace and symbol. "How long have you served Him?"
  • GM:The guard smiles at you. "Oh since I were a boy. My old man was a gravedigger—knew the rites, taught me the words. Done right by me so far, has the Lord."
  • Valiant:I'll ask a few more questions, talk a little more about our faith—see if I can get this guard on my side and let me pass.
  • GM:You're trying to get him to like you? That'll be a DC 15 Charisma (Religion) check.

Social Interaction

There's more to social interaction than just charisma—intelligence and wisdom are just as important, and each has their own role to play in conversation.

When you interact with an NPC, the context of your action determines which ability you are using: smarts (intelligence), feelings (wisdom), or presence (charisma).

  • Intelligence: You're trying to be clever. Debate, reason, negotiate, lie, manipulate, wit, and threaten.
  • Wisdom: You're trying to soothe or connect feelings. Rapport, empathize, calm, discretion, and tact.
  • Charisma: You're trying to be likeable or dominating. Charm, bluff, banter, incite, command, and intimidate.

Here we see Clanda, sitting with her friends in a village tavern, overhear an ill-informed farmer.

  • GM:The farmer says "I 'eard that if yous eat a frog on a full moon, yous get to jump high like a frog".
  • Clanda:Ugh, this stupid peasant. "There is no way that is true," I tell him. Angrily.
  • GM:"Yea it is, I 'eard it from those boys over at the Grange farm. The moon magic turns you into one o' them lick-oh-tropes."

    The farmer is resolute in his belief—it's going to be very hard to change his mind.

  • Clanda:Hold my beer, guys—I'm going to talk some brains back into this fool. Ok farm boy, let's start off with some basic pronunciation...
  • GM:You're trying to change the farmer's mind with logic and words? That'll be a DC 25 Intelligence (Persuasion) check.


If you take the Help action to grant advantage to an ally, you get to roll one of the two d20 during the attempt.

Your ally adds their normal bonuses as if they had rolled the die themselves.

  • GM:The owlbear screeches as the two of you surround it. Viridian, Krazak—what do you do?
  • Viridian:This guy looks pretty wild. I'll help distract the beast, Krazak, while you—
  • Krazak:Hit it with the axe?
  • Viridian:Hit it with the axe. Ok I'll make a feint to the left (rolls 18)...
  • Krazak:And I'll swing the axe to the right (rolls 6)...
  • GM:Thanks to Viridian's feint, Krazak's axe bites deep into the owlbear. Roll your damage, Krazak.


You can't roll multiple attempts for the same action—recalling a piece of knowledge, sweet-talking the castle guard, pushing a heavy boulder aside, etc. But you can work together with your allies to make that one attempt as successful as possible.

Anyone with a relevant skill or background may help you attempt something—the first person grants you advantage (per the Help action), and every additional person grants you a +1 bonus. If the roll fails, however, everyone involved is liable for the consequences.


Reaction speed is determined first-and-foremost by your thoughts—the faster you can think, the faster your brain can tell your body to act.

When rolling for initiative, do not add your Dexterity modifier—instead, add your Intelligence modifier. Break ties first with Dexterity, then Wisdom.

Tactical Wit

If you are a War Wizard, your Tactical Wit class feature now grants a Dexterity bonus—not Intelligence.

This may also apply to other unique class features or item powers, so judge accordingly.


A tool helps you do something you couldn't otherwise do—pick a lock, craft an item, forge a document. Some tools are basic enough to provide basic use without training—cook's utensils, painter's supplies, dice games. Most, however, require proficiency to use properly.

If you are proficient with a tool, you can add your proficiency bonus to any ability check made with it.

Tools & Skills: If you are proficient with both a tool and a skill—for example, an instrument with Performance, cook's utensils with Survival, a healer's kit with Medicine—you may add your proficiency bonus and make your roll with advantage.

  • GM:The crowd are getting restless around you, Viridian. You can sense tempers starting to flare.
  • Viridian:This could get ugly... Everyone likes music, right? I'll play a song, see if I can calm everyone down before the mob does something stupid.
  • GM:You want to sooth the rowdy crowd with music? Ok, that'll be a DC 20 Wisdom check.
  • Viridian:I'm proficient in Performance, and I'll use my lyre—I'm proficient with that as well.
  • GM:Perfect. You know a skill and a tool—add your proficiency and make the roll with advantage.

Secret Knowledge

Knowledge is a valuable resource—out in the wilds, it can mean the difference between life or death. Players shouldn't be able to tell if their information is false by knowing that they rolled a low number on the check.

The GM always rolls knowledge checks—including perception and insight checks—in secret on behalf of the player, and then reveals knowledge accordingly. If it's a failure, give the character some misleading information—the larger the failure, the greater the mislead.

  • GM:The creature lumbers out of the shadows, stretching out a rotten vine. You recognize it as a shambling mound, Chansi—what do you do?
  • Chansi:I've spent a long of time out in the wilds—do I know what their weakness is?
  • GM:Let's see... (rolls 3 in secret—a failure). You remember notes from an old almanac. Apparently lightning is very bad for mounds and their senses.
  • Chansi:Perfect! And I have four lighting arrows left. I shoot one immediately at the mound (rolls 19).
  • GM:A clear hit. The arrow strikes the mound and a burst of lightning erupts... to no effect. The mound advances on you, unfazed.
  • Chansi:...What?
  • Viridian:That's some good memory you have there, Chansi. Real effective.
  • Chansi:Shut. Up. Viridian.
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