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System Reference Document v3.5

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Movement and Travel
Light Sources and Illumination
Movement and Distance
Terrain and Overland Movement
Hampered Movement
Mounts and Vehicles
Carrying Capacity
Carrying Loads
Getting Lost
Wilderness Threats
Actions in Combat
Attack Roll Modifiers
Armor Class Modifiers
Two-Weapon Fighting Penalties
Special Attacks
Turning Undead
Special Ability Types
Influencing NPC Attitudes
Breaking and Entering
Common Armor, Weapon,
Object Hardness and Hit Points
Size and Armor Class
Substance Hardness and Hit Points
DCs to break or burst items
Dungeon Features
Airborne, Aquatic, and Weather
Airborne Maneuverability
Random Weather
Wind Effects
Underwater Combat
Weather Effects



Candlen/a15 ft.1 hr.
Everburning Torch20 ft.40 ft.Permanent
Lamp, common15 ft.30 ft.6 hr./pint
Lantern, bullseye260-ft. cone120-ft. cone6 hr./pint
Lantern, hooded30 ft.60 ft.6 hr./pint
Sunrod30 ft.60 ft.6 hr.
Torch20 ft.40 ft.1 hr.
Continual flame20 ft.40 ft.Permanent
Dancing lights (torches)20 ft. (each)40 ft. (each)1 min.
Daylight60 ft.120 ft.30 min.
Light20 ft.40 ft.10 min.
1 A candle does not provide bright illumination, only shadowy illumination.
2 A bullseye lantern illuminates a cone, not a radius.


——————— Speed ——–————

15 feet20 feet30 feet40 feet
One Round (Tactical)1

Walk15 ft.20 ft.30 ft.40 ft.
Hustle30 ft.40 ft.60 ft.80 ft.
Run (x3)45 ft.60 ft.90 ft.120 ft.
Run (x4)60 ft.80 ft.120 ft.160 ft.
One Minute (Local)

Walk150 ft.200 ft.300 ft.400 ft.
Hustle300 ft.400 ft.600 ft.800 ft.
Run (x3)450 ft.600 ft.900 ft.1,200 ft.
Run (x4)600 ft.800 ft.1,200 ft.1,600 ft.
One Hour (Overland)

Walk1-1/2 miles2 miles3 miles4 miles
Hustle3 miles4 miles6 miles8 miles
One Day (Overland)

Walk12 miles16 miles24 miles32 miles
1 Tactical movement is often measured in squares on the battle grid (1 square = 5 feet) rather than feet.


TerrainHighwayRoad or TrailTrackless
Desert, sandyx1x1/2x1/2
Tundra, frozenx1x3/4x3/4


Movement Cost
Difficult terrainx2
Poor visibilityx2
1 May require a skill check


Mount/VehiclePer HourPer Day
Mount (carrying load)

Light horse or light warhorse6 miles48 miles
Light horse (151–450 lb.)14 miles32 miles
Light warhorse (231–690 lb.)14 miles32 miles
Heavy horse or heavy warhorse5 miles40 miles
Heavy horse (201–600 lb.)13-1/2 miles28 miles
Heavy warhorse (301–900 lb.)13-1/2 miles28 miles
Pony or warpony4 miles32 miles
Pony (76–225 lb.)13 miles24 miles
Warpony (101–300 lb.)13 miles24 miles
Donkey or mule3 miles24 miles
Donkey (51–150 lb.)12 miles16 miles
Mule (231–690 lb.)12 miles16 miles
Dog, riding4 miles32 miles
Dog, riding (101–300 lb.)13 miles24 miles
Cart or wagon2 miles16 miles

Raft or barge (poled or towed)21/2 mile5 miles
Keelboat (rowed)21 mile10 miles
Rowboat (rowed)21-1/2 miles15 miles
Sailing ship (sailed)2 miles48 miles
Warship (sailed and rowed)2-1/2 miles60 miles
Longship (sailed and rowed)3 miles72 miles
Galley (rowed and sailed)4 miles96 miles
1 Quadrupeds, such as horses, can carry heavier loads than characters can. See Carrying Capacity, above, for more information.
2 Rafts, barges, keelboats, and rowboats are used on lakes and rivers. If going downstream, add the speed of the current (typically 3 miles per hour) to the speed of the vehicle. In addition to 10 hours of being rowed, the vehicle can also float an additional 14 hours, if someone can guide it, so add an additional 42 miles to the daily distance traveled. These vehicles can’t be rowed against any significant current, but they can be pulled upstream by draft animals on the shores.


Light LoadMedium LoadHeavy Load
13 lb. or less4–6 lb.7–10 lb.
26 lb. or less7–13 lb.14–20 lb.
310 lb. or less11–20 lb.21–30 lb.
413 lb. or less14–26 lb.27–40 lb.
516 lb. or less17–33 lb.34–50 lb.
620 lb. or less21–40 lb.41–60 lb.
723 lb. or less24–46 lb.47–70 lb.
826 lb. or less27–53 lb.54–80 lb.
930 lb. or less31–60 lb.61–90 lb.
1033 lb. or less34–66 lb.67–100 lb.
1138 lb. or less39–76 lb.77–115 lb.
1243 lb. or less44–86 lb.87–130 lb.
1350 lb. or less51–100 lb.101–150 lb.
1458 lb. or less59–116 lb.117–175 lb.
1566 lb. or less67–133 lb.134–200 lb.
1676 lb. or less77–153 lb.154–230 lb.
1786 lb. or less87–173 lb.174–260 lb.
18100 lb. or less101–200 lb.201–300 lb.
19116 lb. or less117–233 lb.234–350 lb.
20133 lb. or less134–266 lb.267–400 lb.
21153 lb. or less154–306 lb.307–460 lb.
22173 lb. or less174–346 lb.347–520 lb.
23200 lb. or less201–400 lb.401–600 lb.
24233 lb. or less234–466 lb.467–700 lb.
25266 lb. or less267–533 lb.534–800 lb.
26306 lb. or less307–613 lb.614–920 lb.
27346 lb. or less347–693 lb.694–1,040 lb.
28400 lb. or less401–800 lb.801–1,200 lb.
29466 lb. or less467–933 lb.934–1,400 lb.


–—— Speed —–—
LoadMax DexCheck Penalty(30 ft.)(20 ft.)Run
Medium+3–320 ft.15 ft.x4
Heavy+1–620 ft.15 ft.x3

Survival check 1/hour.

Survival DC
Survival DC
Moor or hill, map6Poor visibility12
Mountain, map8Mountain, no map12
Moor or hill, no map10Forest15
+2 bonus with 5 ranks in Knowledge (geography) or Knowledge (local).
+ 2 bonus (or more) for recognized landmarks.
Effects of Being Lost: Randomly determine the direction for each hour of local or overland movement.
Recognizing that You’re Lost: Survival check (DC 20, –1 per hour of random travel) each hour to recognize that they are lost.
Setting a New Course: Survival check (DC 15, +2 per hour of random travel). To determine the correct direction; failure indicates a random direction is thought to be the “correct” one; multiple characters can make the attempt, which may result in conflicting directions; whether traveling the correct direction or not, they may get lost again.
Forest Fire (CR 6)
Avalanche (CR 6)


In a single round a combatant may perform, in addition to no-action or free actions:
1 Full-Round action; or
1 standard action and 1 move action; or
2 move actions
ActionTypeAttack of
5-ft. StepNo ActionNo
Activate a magic item (not potion/oil)StandardNo
Aid AnotherStandardMaybe2
Attack (melee)StandardNo
Attack (ranged)StandardYes
Attack (unarmed)StandardYes
Bull rushStandardNo
Cast a quickened spellFreeNo
Cast a spell (CT=1 standard action )StandardYes
Cease concentration on a spellFreeNo
Concentrate to maintain an active spellStandardNo
Control a frightened mountMoveYes
DelayNo ActionNo
Deliver coup de graceFull-roundYes
Direct or redirect an active spellMoveNo
Dismiss a spellStandardNo
Draw a weapon4MoveNo
Draw a hidden weapon (Sleight of Hand)StandardNo
Drink a potion or apply an oilStandardYes
Drop and itemFreeNo
Drop to the floorFreeNo
Escape a grappleStandardNo
Escape from a netFull-roundYes
Extinguish flamesFull-roundNo
Full AttackFull-roundNo
Light a torchFull-roundYes
Light a torch with a tindertwigStandardYes
Load a hand or light crossbowMoveYes
Load a heavy or repeating crossbowFull-roundYes
(Un)lock weapon in locked gauntletFull-roundYes
ActionTypeAttack of
Lower spell resistanceStandardNo
Manifest a quickened powerSwiftNo
Manifest a Power (MT = 1 standard actionStandardYes
Manifest a Power (MT = 1 immediate action)ImmediateNo
Make dying friend stable (Heal)StandardYes
Mount a horse or dismountMoveNo
Move a heavy objectMoveYes
Open or close a doorMoveNo
Pick up an itemMoveYes
Prepare components to cast a spell6FreeNo
Prepare to throw splash weaponFull-roundYes
Read a scrollStandardYes
Ready (triggers a standard action)StandardNo
Ready or loose a shield4MoveNo
Retrieve a stored itemMoveYes
Sheathe a weaponMoveYes
Stand up from proneMoveYes
Sunder a weapon (attack)StandardYes
Sunder an object (attack)StandardMaybe3
Total defenseStandardNo
Trip an opponent7VariesNo
Turn or rebuke undeadStandardNo
Use extraordinary abilityStandardNo
Use feat8VariesVaries
Use skill that takes 1 actionStandardUsually
Use skill that takes 1 roundFull-roundUsually
Use spell-like abilityStandardYes
Use supernatural abilityStandardNo
Use touch spell on up to 6 friendsFull-roundYes
1 Moving out of a threatened square usually provokes an attack of opportunity. The action itself provokes an attack of opportunity.
2 If you aid someone that provokes an attack of opportunity, then the act of aiding another also provokes an attack of opportunity.
3 If the object is being held, carried, or worn by a creature, yes. If not, no.
4 If you have a base attack bonus of +1 or higher, you can combine one of these actions with a regular move. If you have the Two- Weapon Fighting feat, you can draw two light or one-handed weapons in the time it would normally take you to draw one.
5 May be taken as a standard action if you are limited to taking only a single action in a round.
6 Unless the component is an extremely large or awkward item.
7 These attack forms substitute for a melee attack, not an action.
8 The description of a feat defines its effect.

Table: Attack Roll Modifiers

Attacker is . . .MeleeRanged
Flanking defender+2
On higher ground+1+0
Shaken or frightened–2–2
Squeezing through a space–4–4
1 An entangled character also takes a –4 penalty to Dexterity, which may affect his attack roll.
2 The defender loses any Dexterity bonus to AC. This bonus doesn’t apply if the target is blinded.
3 Most ranged weapons can’t be used while the attacker is prone, but you can use a crossbow or shuriken while prone at no penalty.

Table: Armor Class Modifiers

Defender is . . .MeleeRanged
Behind cover+4+4
Concealed or invisible— See Concealment —
Flat-footed (such as surprised, balancing, climbing)+01+01
Grappling (but attacker is not)+01+01,3
Helpless (such as paralyzed, sleeping, or bound)–44+04
Kneeling or sitting–2+2
Squeezing through a space–4–4
1 The defender loses any Dexterity bonus to AC.
2 An entangled character takes a –4 penalty to Dexterity.
3 Roll randomly to see which grappling combatant you strike. That defender loses any Dexterity bonus to AC.
4 Treat the defender’s Dexterity as 0 (–5 modifier). Rogues can sneak attack helpless or pinned defenders.

Table: Two-Weapon Fighting Penalties

CircumstancesPrimary HandOff Hand
Normal penalties–6–10
Off-hand weapon is light–4–8
Two-Weapon Fighting feat–4–4
Off-hand weapon is light and
Two-Weapon Fighting feat

Table: Special Attacks

Special AttackBrief Description
Aid anotherGrant an ally a +2 bonus on attacks or AC
Bull rushPush an opponent back 5 feet or more
ChargeMove up to twice your speed and attack with +2 bonus
DisarmKnock a weapon from your opponent’s hands
FeintNegate your opponent’s Dex bonus to AC
GrappleWrestle with an opponent
OverrunPlow past or over an opponent as you move
SunderStrike an opponent’s weapon or shield
Throw splash weaponThrow container of dangerous liquid at target
TripTrip an opponent
Turn (rebuke) undeadChannel positive (or negative) energy to turn away (or awe) undead  
Two-weapon fightingFight with a weapon in each hand

Table: Turning Undead

Turning Check
Most Powerful Undead Affected
(Maximum Hit Dice)
0 or lowerCleric’s level – 4
1–3Cleric’s level – 3
4–6Cleric’s level – 2
7–9Cleric’s level – 1
10–12Cleric’s level
13–15Cleric’s level + 1
16–18Cleric’s level + 2
19–21Cleric’s level + 3
22 or higherCleric’s level + 4

Table: Special Ability Types

Spell resistanceNoYesNo
Antimagic fieldNoYesYes
Attack of opportunityNoYesNo
Dispel: Can dispel magic and similar spells dispel the effects of abilities of that type?
Spell Resistance: Does spell resistance protect a creature from these abilities?
Antimagic Field: Does an antimagic field or similar magic suppress the ability?
Attack of Opportunity: Does using the ability provoke attacks of opportunity the way that casting a spell does?

Table: Influencing NPC Attitudes

New Attitude (DC to achieve)
HostileLess than 2020253550
UnfriendlyLess than 55152540
IndifferentLess than 111530
FriendlyLess than 1120
HelpfulLess than 11
AttitudeMeansPossible Actions
HostileWill take risks to hurt
Attack, interfere, berate, flee
UnfriendlyWishes you illMislead, gossip, avoid, watch suspiciously, insult
IndifferentDoesn’t much careSocially expected interaction
FriendlyWishes you wellChat, advise, offer limited help, advocate
HelpfulWill take risks to help
Protect, back up, heal, aid


Ability Damaged

Ability Damaged: The character has temporarily lost 1 or more ability score points. Lost points return at a rate of 1 per day unless noted otherwise by the condition dealing the damage.

A character with Strength 0 falls to the ground and is helpless.

A character with Dexterity 0 is paralyzed.

A character with Constitution 0 is dead.

A character with Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma 0 is unconscious.

Ability damage is different from penalties to ability scores, which go away when the conditions causing them go away.

Also see Ability Score Loss.

Ability Drained

Ability Drained: The character has permanently lost 1 or more ability score points.

The character can regain these points only through magical means.

A character with Strength 0 falls to the ground and is helpless.

A character with Dexterity 0 is paralyzed.

A character with Constitution 0 is dead.

A character with Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma 0 is unconscious.

Also see Ability Score Loss.


Blinded: The character cannot see.

He takes a –2 penalty to Armor Class,

loses his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any),

moves at half speed,

and takes a –4 penalty on Search checks and on most Strength- and Dexterity-based skill checks.

All checks and activities that rely on vision (such as reading and Spot checks) automatically fail.

All opponents are considered to have total concealment (50% miss chance) to the blinded character.

Characters who remain blinded for a long time grow accustomed to these drawbacks and can overcome some of them.

Blown Away

Blown Away: Depending on its size, a creature can be blown away by winds of high velocity.

A creature on the ground that is blown away is knocked down and rolls 1d4 x 10 feet, taking 1d4 points of nonlethal damage per 10 feet.

A flying creature that is blown away is blown back 2d6 x 10 feet and takes 2d6 points of nonlethal damage due to battering and buffering.


Checked: Prevented from achievingforward motion by an applied force, such as wind.

Checked creatures on the ground merely stop.

Checked flying creatures move back a distance specified in the description of the effect.


Confused: A confused character’s actions are determined by rolling d% at the beginning of his turn:

01–10, attack caster with melee or ranged weapons (or close with caster if attacking is not possible);

11–20, act normally;

21–50, do nothing but babble incoherently;

51–70, flee away from caster at top possible speed;

71–100, attack nearest creature (for this purpose, a familiar counts as part of the subject’s self ).

A confused character who can’t carry out the indicated action does nothing but babble incoherently.

Attackers are not at any special advantage when attacking a confused character.

Any confused character who is attacked automatically attacks its attackers on its next turn, as long as it is still confused when its turn comes.

A confused character does not make attacks of opportunity against any creature that it is not already devoted to attacking (either because of its most recent action or because it has just been attacked).


Cowering: The character is frozen in fear and can take no actions.

A cowering character takes a –2 penalty to Armor Class and loses her Dexterity bonus (if any).


Dazed: The creature is unable to act normally. A dazed creature can take no actions, but has no penalty to AC.

A dazed condition typically lasts 1 round.


Dazzled: The creature is unable to see well because of overstimulation of the eyes.

A dazzled creature takes a –1 penalty on attack rolls, Search checks, and Spot checks.


Dead: The character’s hit points are reduced to –10, his Constitution drops to 0, or he is killed outright by a spell or effect.

The character’s soul leaves his body.

Dead characters cannot benefit from normal or magical healing, but they can be restored to life via magic.

A dead body decays normally unless magically preserved, but magic that restores a dead character to life also restores the body either to full health or to its condition at the time of death (depending on the spell or device). Either way, resurrected characters need not worry about rigor mortis, decomposition, and other conditions that affect dead bodies.


Deafened: A deafened charactercannot hear.

She takes a –4 penalty on initiative checks,

automatically fails Listenchecks,

and has a 20% chance of spell failure when castingspells with verbal components.

Characters who remain deafened for along time grow accustomed to these drawbacks and can overcome some ofthem.


Disabled: A character with 0 hit points, or one who has negative hit points but has become stable and conscious, is disabled.

A disabled character may take a single move action or standard action each round (but not both, nor can she take full-round actions).

She moves at half speed.

Taking move actions doesn’t risk further injury, but performing any standard action (or any other action the DM deems strenuous, including some free actions such as casting a quickened spell) deals 1 point of damage after the completion of the act. Unless the action increased the disabled character’s hit points, she is now in negative hit points and dying.

A disabled character with negative hit points recovers hitpoints naturally if she is being helped. Otherwise, each day she has a 10% chance to start recovering hit points naturally (starting with thatday); otherwise, she loses 1 hit point.

Once an unaided character starts recovering hit points naturally, she is no longer in danger oflosing hit points (even if her current hit points are negative).


Dying: A dying character is unconscious and near death.

She has –1 to –9 current hit points.

A dying character can take no actions and is unconscious.

At the end of each round (starting with the round in which the character dropped below 0 hit points), the character rolls d% to see whether she becomes stable.

She has a 10% chance to become stable. If she does not, she loses 1 hit point.

If a dying character reaches –10 hit points, she is dead.

Energy Drained

Energy Drained: The character gains one or more negative levels, which might permanentlydrain the character’s levels.

If the subject has at least as many negative levels as Hit Dice, he dies.

Each negative level gives a creature the following penalties:

–1 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, ability checks;

loss of 5 hit points; and

–1 to effective level (for determining the power, duration, DC, and other details of spells or special abilities).

In addition, a spellcasterloses one spell or spell slot from the highest spell level castable.

Also see Energy Drain and Negative Levels.


Entangled: The character is ensnared.

Being entangled impedes movement, but does not entirely prevent it unless the bonds are anchored to an immobile object or tethered by an opposing force.

An entangled creature moves at half speed,

cannot run or charge,

and takes a –2 penalty on all attack rolls

and a –4 penalty to Dexterity.

An entangled character who attempts to cast a spell must make a Concentration check (DC 15 + the spell’s level) or lose the spell.


Exhausted: An exhausted character moves at half speed

and takes a –6 penalty to Strength and Dexterity.

After 1 hour of complete rest, an exhausted character becomes fatigued.

A fatigued character becomes exhausted by doing something else that would normally cause fatigue.


Fascinated: A fascinated creature is entranced by a supernatural or spell effect.

The creature stands or sits quietly, taking no actions other than to pay attention to the fascinating effect, for as long as the effect lasts.

It takes a –4 penalty on skill checks made as reactions, such as Listen and Spotchecks.

Any potential threat, such as a hostile creature approaching, allows the fascinated creature a new saving throw against the fascinating effect.

Any obvious threat, such as someone drawing a weapon, casting a spell, or aiming a ranged weapon at the fascinated creature, automatically breaks the effect.

A fascinated creature’s ally may shake it free of the spell as a standard action.


Fatigued: A fatigued character can neither run nor charge

and takes a –2 penalty to Strength and Dexterity.

Doing anything that would normally cause fatigue causes the fatigued character to become exhausted.

After 8 hours of complete rest,fatigued characters are no longer fatigued.


Flat-Footed: A character who has not yet acted during a combat is flat-footed, not yet reacting normally to the situation.

A flat-footed character loses his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) and cannot make attacks of opportunity.


Frightened: A frightened creature flees from the source of its fear as best it can.

If unable to flee, it may fight.

A frightened creature takes a –2 penalty on all attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks.

A frightened creature can use special abilities, including spells, to flee; indeed, the creature must use such means if they are the only way to escape.

Frightened is like shaken, except that the creature must flee if possible. Panicked is a more extreme state of fear.


Grappling: Engaged in wrestling or some other form of hand-to-hand struggle with one or more attackers.

A grappling character can undertake only a limited number of actions.

He does not threaten any squares, and loses his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any) against opponents he isn’t grappling.

Also see the grapple rules.


Helpless: A helpless character is paralyzed, held, bound, sleeping, unconscious, or otherwise completely at an opponent’s mercy.

A helpless target is treated as having a Dexterity of 0 (–5 modifier).

Melee attacks against a helpless target get a +4 bonus (equivalent to attacking a prone target).

Ranged attacks gets no special bonus against helpless targets.

Rogues can sneak attack helpless targets.

As a full-round action, an enemy can use a melee weapon to deliver a coup de grace to a helpless foe.

An enemy can also use a bow or crossbow, provided he is adjacent to the target.

The attacker automatically hits and scores a critical hit. (A rogue also gets her sneak attack damage bonus against a helpless foe when delivering a coup de grace.)

If the defender survives, he must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + damage dealt) or die.

Delivering a coup de grace provokes attacks of opportunity.

Creatures that are immune to critical hits do not take critical damage, nor do they need to make Fortitude saves to avoid being killed by a coup de grace.


Incorporeal: Having no physical body.

Incorporeal creatures are immune to all nonmagical attack forms.

They can be harmed only by other incorporeal creatures, +1 or better magic weapons, spells, spell-like effects, or supernatural effects.

Also see Incorporeality.


Invisible: Visually undetectable.

An invisible creature gains a +2 bonus on attack rolls against sighted opponents, and ignores its opponents’ Dexterity bonuses to AC (if any).

Also See Invisibility, under Special Abilities.)

Knocked Down

Knocked Down: Depending on their size, creatures can be knocked down by winds of high velocity.

Creatures on the ground are knocked prone by the force of the wind.

Flying creatures are instead blown back 1d6 x 10 feet.


Nauseated: Experiencing stomach distress.

Nauseated creatures are unable to attack, cast spells, concentrate on spells, or do anything else requiring attention.

The only action such a character can take is a single move action per turn.


Panicked: A panicked creature must drop anything it holds and flee at top speed from the source of its fear, as well as any other dangers it encounters, along a random path.

It can’t take any other actions.

In addition, the creature takes a –2 penalty on all saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks.

If cornered, a panicked creature cowers and does not attack, typically using the total defense action in combat.

A panicked creature can use special abilities, including spells, to flee; indeed, the creature must use such means if they are the only way to escape.

Panicked is a more extreme state of fear than shaken or frightened.


Paralyzed: A paralyzed character is frozen in place and unable to move or act.

A paralyzed character has effective Dexterity and Strength scores of 0 and is helpless, but can take purely mental actions.

A winged creature flying in the air at the time that it becomes paralyzed cannot flap its wings and falls.

A paralyzed swimmer can’t swim and may drown.

A creature can move through a space occupied by a paralyzed creature - ally or not. Each square occupied by a paralyzed creature, however, counts as 2 squares.


Petrified: A petrified character has been turned to stone and is considered unconscious.

If a petrified character cracks or breaks, but the broken pieces are joined with the body as he returns to flesh, he is unharmed.

If the character’s petrified body is incomplete when it returns to flesh, the body is likewise incomplete and there is some amount of permanent hit point loss and/or debilitation.


Pinned: Held immobile (but not helpless) in a grapple.


Prone: The character is on the ground.

An attacker who is prone has a –4 penalty on melee attack rolls and cannot use a ranged weapon (except for a crossbow).

A defender who is prone gains a +4 bonus to Armor Class against ranged attacks, but takes a –4 penalty to AC against melee attacks.

Standing up is a move-equivalent action that provokes an attack of opportunity.


Shaken: A shaken character takes a –2 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks.

Shaken is a less severe state of fear than frightened or panicked.


Sickened: The character takes a –2 penalty on all attack rolls, weapon damage rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks.


Stable: A character who was dying but who has stopped losing hit points and still has negative hit points is stable.

The character is no longer dying, but is still unconscious.

If the character has become stable because of aid from another character (such as a Heal check or magical healing), then the character no longer loses hit points.

He has a 10% chance each hour of becoming conscious and disabled (even though his hit points are still negative).

If the character became stable on his own and hasn’t had help, he is still at risk of losing hit points.

Each hour, he has a 10% chance of becoming conscious and disabled.

Otherwise he loses 1 hit point.


Staggered: A character whose nonlethal damage exactly equals his current hit points is staggered.

A staggered character may take a single move action or standard action each round (but not both, nor can she take full-round actions).

A character whose current hit points exceed his nonlethal damage is no longer staggered; a character whose nonlethal damage exceeds his hit points becomes unconscious.


Stunned: A stunned creature drops everything held,

can’t take actions,

takes a –2 penalty to AC,

and loses his Dexterity bonus to AC (if any).


Turned: Affected by a turn undead attempt.

Turned undead flee for 10 rounds (1 minute) by the best and fastest means available to them.

If they cannot flee, they cower.


Unconscious: Knocked out and helpless.

Unconsciousness can result from having current hit points between –1 and –9, or from nonlethal damage in excess of current hit points.


Skill (Key Ability)UntrainedArmor Check PenaltyAttack of Opportunity1
Appraise (Int)YesNoNo
Balance (Dex)YesYesNo
Bluff (Cha)YesNoNo
Climb (Str)YesYesMaybe
Concentration (Con)YesNoNo
Craft (Int)YesNoNo
Decipher Script (Int)NoNoNo
Diplomacy (Cha)YesNoNo
Disable Device (Int)NoNoYes
Disguise (Cha)YesNoNo
Escape Artist (Dex)YesYesNo
Forgery (Int)YesNoNo
Gather Information (Cha)YesNo-
Handle Animal (Cha)NoNoNo
Heal (Wis)YesNoNo
Hide (Dex)YesYesNo
Intimidate (Cha)YesNoNo
Jump (Str)YesYesMaybe
Knowledge (Int)NoNoNo
Listen (Wis)YesNoNo
Move Silently (Dex)YesYesMaybe
Open Lock (Dex)NoYesYes
Perform (Cha)YesNoNo
Profession (wis)NoNo-
Ride (Dex)YesNoNo
Search (Int)YesNoYes
Sense Motive (Wis)YesNoNo
Sleight of Hand (Dex)NoYesNo
Speak Language (None)NoNo-
Spellcraft (Int)NoNoMaybe
Spot (Wis)YesNoNo
Survival (Wis)YesNoNo
Swim (Str)YesYes (double)Maybe
Tumble (Dex)NoYesMaybe
Use Magic Device (Cha)NoNoNo
Use Rope (Dex)YesNoNo


Common Armor, Weapon, and Shield Hardness and Hit Points

Weapon or ShieldHardnessHP1
Light blade102
One-handed blade105
Two-handed blade1010
Light metal-hafted weapon1010
One-handed metal-hafted weapon1020
Light hafted weapon52
One-handed hafted weapon55
Two-handed hafted weapon510
Projectile weapon55
Armorspecial2armor bonus x 5
Light wooden shield57
Heavy wooden shield515
Light steel shield1010
Heavy steel shield1020
Tower shield520
1 The hp value given is for Medium armor, weapons, and shields. Divide by 2 for each size category of the item smaller than Medium, or multiply it by 2 for each size category larger than Medium.
2 Varies by material; see Table: Substance Hardness and Hit Points.

Object Hardness and Hit Points

ObjectHardnessHit PointsBreak DC
Rope (1 inch diam.)0223
Simple wooden door51013
Small chest5117
Good wooden door51518
Treasure chest51523
Strong wooden door52023
Masonry wall (1 ft. thick)89035
Hewn stone (3 ft. thick)854050
Masterwork manacles101028
Iron door (2 in. thick)106028

Size and Armor Class of Objects

SizeAC Modifier

Substance Hardness and Hit Points

SubstanceHardnessHit Points
Paper or cloth02/inch of thickness
Rope02/inch of thickness
Glass11/inch of thickness
Ice03/inch of thickness
Leather or hide25/inch of thickness
Wood510/inch of thickness
Stone815/inch of thickness
Iron or steel1030/inch of thickness
Mithral1530/inch of thickness
Adamantine2040/inch of thickness

DCs to Break or Burst Items

Strength Check to:DC
Break down simple door13
Break down good door18
Break down strong door23
Burst rope bonds23
Bend iron bars24
Break down barred door25
Burst chain bonds26
Break down iron door28
ConditionDC Adjustment1
Hold portal+5
Arcane lock+10
1 If both apply, use the larger number.

Dungeon Features
Wall Type
Typical Thickness
Break DC
Hit Points1
Climb DC

Masonry Walls: The most common kind of dungeon wall, masonry walls are usually at least 1 foot thick.

Often these ancient walls sport cracks and crevices, andsometimes dangerous slimes or small monsters live in these areas and wait for prey.

Masonry walls stop all but the loudest noises.

It takes a DC 20 Climb check to travel along a masonry wall.

1 ft.35890 hp20
Superior Masonry

Superior Masonry Walls: Sometimes masonry walls are better built (smoother, with tighter-fitting stones and less cracking), and occasionally these superior walls are covered with plaster or stucco.

Covered walls often bear paintings, carved reliefs, or other decoration.

Superior masonry walls are no more difficult to destroy than regular masonry walls but are more difficult to climb (DC 25).

1 ft.35
890 hp25
Reinforced Masonry

Reinforced Walls: These are masonry walls with iron bars on one or both sides of the wall, or placed within the wall to strengthen it.

The hardness of a reinforced wall remains the same, but its hit points are doubled and the Strength check DC to break through it is increased by 10.

1 ft.458180 hp15
Hewn Stone

Hewn Stone Walls: Such walls usually result when a chamber or passage is tunneled out from solid rock.

The rough surface of a hewn wall frequently provides minuscule ledges where fungus grows and fissures where vermin, bats, and subterranean snakes live.

When such a wall has an “other side” (it separates two chambers in the dungeon), the wall is usually at least 3 feet thick; anything thinner risks collapsing from the weight of all the stone overhead.

It takes a DC 25 Climb check to climb a hewn stone wall.

3 ft.508540 hp25
Unworked Stone

Unworked Stone Walls: These surfaces are uneven and rarely flat.

They are smooth to the touch but filled with tiny holes, hidden alcoves, and ledges at various heights.

They’re also usually wet or at least damp, since it’s water that most frequently creates natural caves.

When such a wall has an “other side,” the wall is usually at least 5 feet thick.

It takes a DC 15 Climb check to move along an unworked stone wall.

5 ft.658900 hp15

Iron Walls: These walls are placed within dungeons around important places such as vaults.

3 in.301090 hp25

Paper Walls: Paper walls are the opposite of iron walls, placed as screens to block line of sight but nothing more.

Paper-thin1-1 hp30

Wooden Walls: Wooden walls often exist as recent additions to older dungeons, used to create animal pens, storage bins, or just to make a number of smaller rooms out of a larger one.

6 in.205
60 hp21
Magically Treated3

Magically Treated Walls: These walls are stronger than average, with a greater hardness, more hit points, and a higher break DC.

Magic can usually double the hardness and hit points and can add up to 20 to the break DC.

A magically treated wall also gains a saving throw against spells that could affect it, with the save bonus equaling 2 + one-half the caster level of the magic reinforcing the wall.

Creating a magic wall requires the Craft Wondrous Item feat and the expenditure of 1,500 gp for each 10 foot-by-10-foot wall section.

1 Per 10-foot-by-10-foot section.   
2 These modifiers can be applied to any of the other wall types.
3 Or an additional 50 hit points, whichever is greater.
Door Type
Typical Thickness
Hit Points
----Break DC----
When assigning a DC to an attempt to knock a door down, use the following as guidelines:

DC 10 or Lower: a door just about anyone can break open.

DC 11-15: a door that a strong person could break with one try and an average person might be able to break with one try.

DC 16-20: a door that almost anyone could break, given time.

DC 21-25: a door that only a strong or very strong person has a hope of breaking, probably not on the first try.

DC 26 or Higher: a door that only an exceptionally strong person has a hope of breaking.

Stuck Doors: Dungeons are often damp, and sometimes doors get stuck, particularly wooden doors. Assume that about 10% of wooden doors and 5% of nonwooden doors are stuck. These numbers can be doubled (to 20% and 10%, respectively) for long-abandoned or neglected dungeons.

Barred Doors: When characters try to bash down a barred door, it’s the quality of the bar that matters, not the material the door is made of. It takes a DC 25 Strength check to break through a door with a wooden bar, and a DC 30 Strength check if the bar is made of iron. Characters can attack the door and destroy it instead, leaving the bar hanging in the now-open doorway.

Simple Wooden

Wooden Doors: Constructed of thick planks nailed together, sometimes bound with iron for strength (and to reduce swelling from dungeon dampness), wooden doors are the most common type.

Wooden doors come in varying strengths: simple, good, and strong doors.

Simple doors (break DC 13) are not meant to keep out motivated attackers.

Good doors (break DC 16), while sturdy and long-lasting, are still not meant to take much punishment.

Strong doors (break DC 23) are bound in iron and are a sturdy barrier to those attempting to get past them.

Iron hinges fasten the door to its frame, and typically a circular pull-ring in the center is there to help open it.

Sometimes, instead of a pull-ring, a door has an iron pull-bar on one or both sides of the door to serve as a handle.

In inhabited dungeons, these doors are usually well maintained (not stuck) and unlocked, although important areas are locked up if possible.

1 in.
10 hp
Good Wooden1-1½ in.
15 hp
Strong Wooden2 in.
20 hp

Stone: Carved from solid blocks of stone, these heavy, unwieldy doors are often built so that they pivot when opened, although dwarves and other skilled craftsfolk are able to fashion hinges strong enough to hold up a stone door.

Secret doors concealed within a stone wall are usually stone doors.

Otherwise, such doors stand as tough barriers protecting something important beyond.

Thus, they are often locked or barred.

4 in.
60 hp

Iron: Rusted but sturdy, iron doors in a dungeon are hinged like wooden doors.

These doors are the toughest form of nonmagical door.

They are usually locked or barred.

2 in.
60 hp
Portcullis, Wooden

Portcullises: These special doors consist of iron or thick, ironbound, wooden shafts that descend from a recess in the ceiling above an archway.

Sometimes a portcullis has crossbars that create a grid, sometimes not.

Typically raised by means of a winch or a capstan, a portcullis can be dropped quickly, and the shafts end in spikes to discourage anyone from standing underneath (or from attempting to dive under it as it drops).

Once it is dropped, a portcullis locks, unless it is so large that no normal person could lift it anyway.

In any event, lifting a typical portcullis requires a DC 25 Strength check.

3 in.
30 hp
Portcullis, Iron2 in.
60 hp

Locks: Dungeon doors are often locked, and thus the Open Lock skill comes in very handy. Locks are usually built into the door, either on the edge opposite the hinges or right in the middle of the door. Builtin locks either control an iron bar that juts out of the door and into the wall of its frame, or else a sliding iron bar or heavy wooden bar that rests behind the entire door. By contrast, padlocks are not built-in but usually run through two rings, one on the door and the other on the wall. More complex locks, such as combination locks and puzzle locks, are usually built into the door itself. Because such keyless locks are larger and more complex, they are typically only found in sturdy doors (strong wooden, stone, or iron doors).

The Open Lock DC to pick a lock often falls into the range of 20 to 30, although locks with lower or higher DCs can exist. A door can have more than one lock, each of which must be unlocked separately. Locks are often trapped, usually with poison needles that extend out to prick a rogue’s finger.

Breaking a lock is sometimes quicker than breaking the whole door. If a PC wants to whack at a lock with a weapon, treat the typical lock as having hardness 15 and 30 hit points. A lock can only be broken if it can be attacked separately from the door, which means that a built-in lock is immune to this sort of treatment. In an occupied dungeon, every locked door should have a key somewhere.

A special door (see below for examples) might have a lock with no key, instead requiring that the right combination of nearby levers must be manipulated or the right symbols must be pressed on a keypad in the correct sequence to open the door.

Magic Seals: In addition to magic traps spells such as arcane lock can discourage passage through a door. A door with an arcane lock spell on it is considered locked even if it doesn’t have a physical lock. It takes a knock spell, a dispel magic spell, or a successful Strength check  to get through such a door.

30 hp


Hinges: Most doors have hinges. Obviously, sliding doors do not. (They usually have tracks or grooves instead, allowing them to slide easily to one side.)

Standard Hinges: These hinges are metal, joining one edge of the door to the doorframe or wall. Remember that the door swings open toward the side with the hinges. (So, if the hinges are on the PCs’ side, the door opens toward them; otherwise it opens away from them.) Adventurers can take the hinges apart one at a time with successful Disable Device checks (assuming the hinges are on their side of the door, of course). Such a task has a DC of 20 because most hinges are rusted or stuck. Breaking a hinge is difficult. Most have hardness 10 and 30 hit points. The break DC for a hinge is the same as for breaking down the door.

Nested Hinges: These hinges are much more complex than ordinary hinges, and are found only in areas of excellent construction. These hinges are built into the wall and allow the door to swing open in either direction. PCs can’t get at the hinges to fool with them unless they break through the doorframe or wall. Nested hinges are typically found on stone doors but sometimes on wooden or iron doors as well.

Pivots: Pivots aren’t really hinges at all, but simple knobs jutting from the top and bottom of the door that fit into holes in the doorframe, allowing the door to spin. The advantages of pivots is that they can’t be dismantled like hinges and they’re simple to make. The disadvantage is that since the door pivots on its center of gravity (typically in the middle), nothing larger than half the door’s width can fit through. Doors with pivots are usually stone and are often quite wide to overcome this disadvantage. Another solution is to place the pivot toward one side and have the door be thicker at that end and thinner toward the other end so that it opens more like a normal door. Secret doors in walls often turn on pivots, since the lack of hinges makes it easier to hide the door’s presence. Pivots also allow objects such as bookcases to be used as secret doors.

30 hp

1 DC to lift. Use appropriate door figure for breaking.


Flagstone: Like masonry walls, flagstone floors are made of fitted stones. They are usually cracked and only somewhat level. Slime and mold grows in these cracks. Sometimes water runs in rivulets between the stones or sits in stagnant puddles. Flagstone is the most common dungeon floor.

Flagstone, Uneven

Uneven Flagstone: Over time, some floors can become so uneven that a DC 10 Balance check is required to run or charge across the surface. Failure means the character can’t move in this round. Floors as treacherous as this should be the exception, not the rule.

Hewn Stone Floor

Hewn Stone Floors: Rough and uneven, hewn floors are usually covered with loose stones, gravel, dirt, or other debris. A DC 10 Balance check is required to run or charge across such a floor. Failure means the character can still act, but can’t run or charge in this round.

Light Rubble

Light Rubble: Small chunks of debris litter the ground. Light rubble adds 2 to the DC of Balance and Tumble checks.

Dense Rubble

Dense Rubble: The ground is covered with debris of all sizes. It costs 2 squares of movement to enter a square with dense rubble. Dense rubble adds 5 to the DC of Balance and Tumble checks, and it adds 2 to the DC of Move Silently checks.

Smooth Stone Floor

Smooth Stone Floors: Finished and sometimes even polished, smooth floors are found only in dungeons with capable and careful builders.

Natural Stone Floor

Natural Stone Floors: The floor of a natural cave is as uneven as the walls. Caves rarely have flat surfaces of any great size. Rather, their floors have many levels. Some adjacent floor surfaces might vary in elevation by only a foot, so that moving from one to the other is no more difficult than negotiating a stair step, but in other places the floor might suddenly drop off or rise up several feet or more, requiring Climb checks to get from one surface to the other. Unless a path has been worn and well marked in the floor of a natural cave, it takes 2 squares of movement to enter a square with a natural stone floor, and the DC of Balance and Tumble checks increases by 5. Running and charging are impossible, except along paths.

Special Floors

Slippery: Water, ice, slime, or blood can make any of the dungeon floors described in this section more treacherous. Slippery floors increase the DC of Balance and Tumblechecks by 5.


Grate: A grate often covers a pit or an area lower than the main floor. Grates are usually made from iron, but large ones can also be made from iron-bound timbers. Many grates have hinges to allow access to what lies below (such grates can be locked like any door), while others are permanent and designed not to move. A typical 1-inch-thick iron grate has 25 hit points, hardness 10, and a DC of 27 for Strength checks to break through it or tear it loose.


Ledge: Ledges allow creatures to walk above some lower area. They often circle around pits, run along underground streams, form balconies around large rooms, or provide a place for archers to stand while firing upon enemies below. Narrow ledges (12 inches wide or less) require those moving along them to make Balance checks. Failure results in the moving character falling off the ledge. Ledges sometimes have railings. In such a case, characters gain a +5 circumstance bonus on Balance checks to move along the ledge. A character who is next to a railing gains a +2 circumstance bonus on his or her opposed Strength check to avoid being bull rushed off the edge.

Ledges can also have low walls 2 to 3 feet high along their edges. Such walls provide cover against attackers within 30 feet on the other side of the wall, as long as the target is closer to the low wall than the attacker is.

Transparent Floor

Transparent Floor: Transparent floors, made of reinforced glass or magic materials (even a wall of force), allow a dangerous setting to be viewed safely from above. Transparent floors are sometimes placed over lava pools, arenas, monster dens, and torture chambers. They can be used by defenders to watch key areas for intruders.

Sliding Floors

Sliding Floors: A sliding floor is a type of trapdoor, designed to be moved and thus reveal something that lies beneath it. A typical sliding floor moves so slowly that anyone standing on one can avoid falling into the gap it creates, assuming there’s somewhere else to go. If such a floor slides quickly enough that there’s a chance of a character falling into whatever lies beneath-a spiked pit, a vat of burning oil, or a pool filled with sharks-then it’s a trap.

Trap Floors

Trap Floors: Some floors are designed to become suddenly dangerous. With the application of just the right amount of weight, or the pull of a lever somewhere nearby, spikes protrude from the floor, gouts of steam or flame shoot up from hidden holes, or the entire floor tilts. These strange floors are sometimes found in an arena, designed to make combats more exciting and deadly. Construct these floors as you would any other trap.


Characters walking on ice must spend 2 squares of movement to enter a square covered by ice, and the DC for Balance and Tumble checks increases by +5. Characters in prolonged contact with ice may run the risk of taking damage from severe cold.

Miscellaneous Features

Stairs: The usual way to connect different levels of a dungeon is with stairs. Straight stairways, spiral staircases, or stairwells with multiple landings between flights of stairs are all common in dungeons, as are ramps (sometimes with an incline so slight that it can be difficult to notice; Spot DC 15). Stairs are important accessways, and are sometimes guarded or trapped. Traps on stairs often cause intruders to slide or fall down to the bottom, where a pit, spikes, a pool of acid, or some other danger awaits.

Gradual Stairs: Stairs that rise less than 5 feet for every 5 feet of horizontal distance they cover don’t affect movement, but characters who attack a foe below them gain a +1 bonus on attack rolls from being on higher ground. Most stairs in dungeons are gradual, except for spiral stairs (see below).

Steep Stairs: Characters moving up steep stairs (which rise at a 45- degree angle or steeper) must spend 2 squares of movement to enter each square of stairs. Characters running or charging down steep stairs must succeed on a DC 10 Balance check upon entering the first steep stairs square. Characters who fail stumble and must end their movement 1d2×5 feet later. Characters who fail by 5 or more take 1d6 points of damage and fall prone in the square where they end their movement. Steep stairs increase the DC of Tumble checks by 5.

Spiral Stairs: This form of steep stairs is designed to make defending a fortress easier. Characters gain cover against foes below them on spiral stairs because they can easily duck around the staircase’s central support.

Railings and Low Walls: Stairs that are open to large rooms often have railings or low walls. They function as described for ledges (see Special Floors).


Bridge: A bridge connects two higher areas separated by a lower area, stretching across a chasm, over a river, or above a pit. A simple bridge might be a single wooden plank, while an elaborate one could be made of mortared stone with iron supports and side rails.

Narrow Bridge: If a bridge is particularly narrow, such as a series of planks laid over lava fissures, treat it as a ledge (see Special Floors). It requires a Balance check (DC dependent on width) to cross such a bridge.

Rope Bridge: Constructed of wooden planks suspended from ropes, a rope bridge is convenient because it’s portable and can be easily removed. It takes two full-round actions to untie one end of a rope bridge, but a DC 15 Use Rope check reduces the time to a move action. If only one of the two supporting ropes is attached, everyone on the bridge must succeed on a DC 15 Reflex save to avoid falling off, and thereafter must make DC 15 Climb checks to move along the remnants of the bridge. Rope bridges are usually 5 feet wide. The two ropes that support them have 8 hit points each.

Drawbridge: Some bridges have mechanisms that allow them to be extended or retracted from the gap they cross. Typically,  the winch mechanism exists on only one side of the bridge. It takes a move action to lower a drawbridge, but the bridge doesn’t come down until the beginning of the lowering character’s next turn. It takes a full-round action to raise a drawbridge; the drawbridge is up at the end of the action. Particularly long or wide drawbridges may take more time to raise and lower, and some may require Strength checks to rotate the winch.

Railings and Low Walls: Some bridges have railings or low walls along the sides. If a bridge does, the railing or low walls affect Balance checks and bull rush attempts as described for ledges (see Special Floors). Low walls likewise provide cover to bridge occupants.

Chutes and Chimneys

Chutes and Chimneys: Stairs aren’t the only way to move up and down in a dungeon. Sometimes a vertical shaft connects levels of a dungeon or links a dungeon with the surface. Chutes are usually traps that dump characters into a lower area-often a place featuring some dangerous situation with which they must contend.


Pillar: A common sight in any dungeon, pillars and columns give support to ceilings. The larger the room, the more likely it has pillars. As a rule of thumb, the deeper in the dungeon a room is, the thicker the pillars need to be to support the overhead weight. Pillars tend to be polished and often have carvings, paintings, or inscriptions upon them.

Slender Pillar: These pillars are only a foot or two across, so they don’t occupy a whole square. A creature standing in the same square as a slender pillar gains a +2 cover bonus to Armor Class and a +1 cover bonus on Reflex saves (these bonuses don’t stack with cover bonuses from other sources). The presence of a slender pillar does not otherwise affect a creature’s fighting space, because it’s assumed that the creature is using the pillar to its advantage when it can. A typical slender pillar has AC 4, hardness 8, and 250 hit points.

Wide Pillar: These pillars take up an entire square and provide cover to anyone behind them. They have AC 3, hardness 8, and 900 hit points. A DC 20 Climb check is sufficient to climb most pillars; the DC increases to 25 for polished or unusually slick ones.


Stalagmite/Stalactite: These tapering natural rock columns extend from the floor (stalagmite) or the ceiling (stalactite). Stalagmites and stalactites function as slender pillars.


Statue: Most statues function as wide pillars, taking up a square and providing cover. Some statues are smaller and act as slender pillars. A DC 15 Climb check allows a character to climb a statue.


Tapestry: Elaborately embroidered patterns or scenes on cloth, tapestries hang from the walls of well-appointed dungeon rooms or corridors. Crafty builders take advantage of tapestries to place alcoves, concealed doors, or secret switches behind them.

Tapestries provide total concealment (50% miss chance) to characters behind them if they’re hanging from the ceiling, or concealment (20% miss chance) if they’re flush with the wall. Climbing a big tapestry isn’t particularly difficult, requiring a DC 15 Climb check (or DC 10 if a wall is within reach).


Pedestal: Anything important on display in a dungeon, from a fabulous treasure to a coffin, tends to rest atop a pedestal or a dais. Raising the object off the floor focuses attention on it (and, in practical terms, keeps it safe from any water or other substance that might seep onto the floor). A pedestal is often trapped to protect whatever sits atop it. It can conceal a secret trapdoor beneath itself or provide a way to reach a door in the ceiling above itself.

Only the largest pedestals take up an entire square; most provide no cover.


Pool: Pools of water collect naturally in low spots in dungeons (a dry dungeon is rare). Pools can also be wells or natural underground springs, or they can be intentionally created basins, cisterns, and fountains. In any event, water is fairly common in dungeons, harboring sightless fish and sometimes aquatic monsters. Pools provide water for dungeon denizens, and thus are as important an area for a predator to control as a watering hole aboveground in the wild.

Shallow Pool: If a square contains a shallow pool, it has roughly 1 foot of standing water. It costs 2 squares of movement to move into a square with a shallow pool, and the DC of Tumble checks in such squares increases by 2.

Deep Pool: These squares have at least 4 feet of standing water. It costs Medium or larger creatures 4 squares of movement to move into a square with a deep pool, or characters can swim if they wish. Small or smaller creatures must swim to move through a square containing a deep pool. Tumbling is impossible in a deep pool. The water in a deep pool provides cover for Medium or larger creatures. Smaller creatures gain improved cover (+8 bonus to AC, +4 bonus on Reflex saves). Medium or larger creatures can crouch as a move action to gain this improved cover. Creatures with this improved cover take a -10 penalty on attacks against creatures that aren’t also underwater.

Deep pool squares are usually clustered together and surrounded by a ring of shallow pool squares. Both shallow pools and deep pools impose a -2 circumstance penalty on Move Silently checks.

Special Pools: Through accident or design, a pool can become magically enhanced. Rarely, a pool or a fountain may be found that has the ability to bestow beneficial magic on those who drink from it. However, magic pools are just as likely to curse the drinker. Typically, water from a magic pool loses its potency if removed from the pool for more than an hour or so.

Some pools have fountains. Occasionally these are merely decorative, but they often serve as the focus of a trap or the source of a pool’s magic.

Most pools are made of water, but anything’s possible in a dungeon. Pools can hold unsavory substances such as blood, poison, oil, or magma. And even if a pool holds water, it can be holy water, saltwater, or water tainted with disease.


Elevator: In place of or in addition to stairs, an elevator (essentially an oversized dumbwaiter) can take inhabitants from one dungeon level to the next. Such an elevator may be mechanical (using gears, pulleys, and winches) or magical (such as a levitate spell cast on a movable flat surface). A mechanical elevator might be as small as a platform that holds one character at a time, or as large as an entire room that raises and lowers. A clever builder might design an elevator room that moves up or down without the occupants’ knowledge to catch them in a trap, or one that appears to have moved when it actually remained still.

A typical elevator ascends or descends 10 feet per round at the beginning of the operator’s turn (or on initiative count 0 if it functions without regard to whether creatures are on it. Elevators can be enclosed, can have railings or low walls, or may simply be treacherous floating platforms.


Ladders: Whether free-standing or rungs set into a wall, a ladder requires a DC 0 Climb check to ascend or descend.

Shifting Stone or Wall

Shifting Stone or Wall: These features can cut off access to a passage or room, trapping adventurers in a dead end or preventing escape out of the dungeon. Shifting walls can force explorers to go down a dangerous path or prevent them from entering a special area. Not all shifting walls need be traps. For example, stones controlled by pressure plates, counterweights, or a secret lever can shift out of a wall to become a staircase leading to a hidden upper room or secret ledge.

Shifting stones and walls are generally constructed as traps with triggers and Search and Disable Device DCs. However they don’t have Challenge Ratings because they’re inconveniences, not deadly in and of themselves.


Teleporters: Sometimes useful, sometimes devious, places in a dungeon rigged with a teleportation effect (such as a teleportation circle) transport characters to some other location in the dungeon or someplace far away. They can be traps, teleporting the unwary into dangerous situations, or they can be an easy mode of transport for those who built or live in the dungeon, good for bypassing barriers and traps or simply to get around more quickly. Devious dungeon designers might place a teleporter in a room that transports characters to another seemingly identical room so that they don’t even know they’ve been teleported. A detect magic spell will provide a clue to the presence of a teleporter, but direct experimentation or other research is the only way to discover where the teleporter leads.


Altars: Temples-particularly to dark gods-often exist underground. Usually taking the form of a stone block, an altar is the main fixture and central focus of such a temple. Sometimes all the other trappings of the temple are long gone, lost to theft, age, and decay, but the altar survives. Some altars have traps or powerful magic within them. Most take up one or two squares on the grid and provide cover to creatures behind them.

Cave-Ins and

Slimes, Molds, and Fungi
Green Slime (CR 4)

Green Slime (CR 4): This dungeon peril is a dangerous variety of normal slime. Green slime devours flesh and organic materials on contact and is even capable of dissolving metal. Bright green, wet, and sticky, it clings to walls, floors, and ceilings in patches, reproducing as it consumes organic matter. It drops from walls and ceilings when it detects movement (and possible food) below.

A single 5-foot square of green slime deals 1d6 points of Constitution damage per round while it devours flesh. On the first round of contact, the slime can be scraped off a creature (most likely destroying the scraping device), but after that it must be frozen, burned, or cut away (dealing damage to the victim as well). Anything that deals cold or fire damage, sunlight, or a remove disease spell destroys a patch of green slime. Against wood or metal, green slime deals 2d6 points of damage per round, ignoring metal’s hardness but not that of wood. It does not harm stone.

Yellow Mold (CR 6)

Yellow Mold (CR 6): If disturbed, a 5-foot square of this mold bursts forth with a cloud of poisonous spores. All within 10 feet of the mold must make a DC 15 Fortitude save or take 1d6 points of Constitution damage. Another DC 15 Fortitude save is required 1 minute later-even by those who succeeded on the first save-to avoid taking 2d6 points of Constitution damage. Fire destroys yellow mold, and sunlight renders it dormant.

Brown Mold (CR 6)

Brown Mold (CR 2): Brown mold feeds on warmth, drawing heat from anything around it. It normally comes in patches 5 feet in diameter, and the temperature is always cold in a 30-foot radius around it. Living creatures within 5 feet of it take 3d6 points of nonlethal cold damage. Fire brought within 5 feet of brown mold causes it to instantly double in size. Cold damage, such as from a cone of cold, instantly destroys it.

Phosphorescent Fungus (no CR)

Phosphorescent Fungus (No CR): This strange underground fungus grows in clumps that look almost like stunted shrubbery. Drow elves cultivate it for food and light. It gives off a soft violet glow that illuminates underground caverns and passages as well as a candle does. Rare patches of fungus illuminate as well as a torch does.

Typical House

A typical lower-story wall is 1 foot thick, with AC 3, hardness 8, 90 hp, and a Climb DC of 25. Upper-story walls are 6 inches thick, with AC 3, hardness 5, 60 hp, and a Climb DC of 21. Exterior doors on most buildings are good wooden doors that are usually kept locked, except on public buildings such as shops and taverns.

Most city buildings are made of a combination of stone or clay brick (on the lower one or two stories) and timbers (for the upper stories, interior walls, and floors). Roofs are a mixture of boards, thatch, and slates, sealed with pitch.


Rooftops: Getting to a roof usually requires climbing a wall (see the Walls section), unless the character can reach a roof by jumping down from a higher window, balcony, or bridge. Flat roofs, common only in warm climates (accumulated snow can cause a flat roof to collapse), are easy to run across. Moving along the peak of a roof requires a DC 20 Balance check. Moving on an angled roof surface without changing altitude (moving parallel to the peak, in other words) requires a DC 15 Balance check. Moving up and down across the peak of a roof requires a DC 10 Balance check.

Eventually a character runs out of roof, requiring a long jump across to the next roof or down to the ground. The distance to the next closest roof is usually 1d3×5 feet horizontally, but the roof across the gap is equally likely to be 5 feet higher, 5 feet lower, or the same height. Use the guidelines in the Jump skill (a horizontal jump’s peak height is one-fourth of the horizontal distance) to determine whether a character can make a jump.


Crowds: Urban streets are often full of people going about their daily lives. In most cases, it isn’t necessary to put every 1st-level commoner on the map when a fight breaks out on the city’s main thoroughfare. Instead just indicate which squares on the map contain crowds. If crowds see something obviously dangerous, they’ll move away at 30 feet per round at initiative count 0. It takes 2 squares of movement to enter a square with crowds. The crowds provide cover for anyone who does so, enabling a Hide check and providing a bonus to Armor Class and on Reflex saves.

Directing Crowds

Directing Crowds: It takes a DC 15 Diplomacy check or DC 20 Intimidate check to convince a crowd to move in a particular direction, and the crowd must be able to hear or see the character making the attempt. It takes a full-round action to make the Diplomacy check, but only a free action to make the Intimidate check.

If two or more characters are trying to direct a crowd in different directions, they make opposed Diplomacy or Intimidate checks to determine whom the crowd listens to. The crowd ignores everyone if none of the characters’ check results beat the DCs given above.

Environmental Hazards

Corrosive acids deals 1d6 points of damage per round of exposure except in the case of total immersion (such as into a vat of acid), which deals 10d6 points of damage per round. An attack with acid, such as from a hurled vial or a monster’s spittle, counts as a round of exposure.

Acid Fumes

The fumes from most acids are inhaled poisons. Those who come close enough to a large body of acid to dunk a creature in it must make a DC 13 Fortitude save or take 1 point of Constitution damage. All such characters must make a second save 1 minute later or take another 1d4 points of Constitution damage.


Cold and exposure deal nonlethal damage to the victim. This nonlethal damage cannot be recovered until the character gets out of the cold and warms up again. Once a character is rendered unconscious through the accumulation of nonlethal damage, the cold and exposure begins to deal lethal damage at the same rate.

An unprotected character in cold weather (below 40° F) must make a Fortitude save each hour (DC 15, + 1 per previous check) or take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage. A character who has the Survival skill may receive a bonus on this saving throw and may be able to apply this bonus to other characters as well (see the skill Description).

A character who takes any nonlethal damage from cold or exposure is beset by frostbite or hypothermia (treat her as fatigued). These penalties end when the character recovers the nonlethal damage she took from the cold and exposure.

Severe Cold

In conditions of severe cold or exposure (below 0° F), an unprotected character must make a Fortitude save once every 10 minutes (DC 15, +1 per previous check), taking 1d6 points of nonlethal damage on each failed save. A character who has the Survival skill may receive a bonus on this saving throw and may be able to apply this bonus to other characters as well (see the skill description). Characters wearing winter clothing only need check once per hour for cold and exposure damage.

Extreme Cold

Extreme cold (below –20° F) deals 1d6 points of lethal damage per minute (no save). In addition, a character must make a Fortitude save (DC 15, +1 per previous check) or take 1d4 points of nonlethal damage. Those wearing metal armor or coming into contact with very cold metal are affected as if by a chill metal spell.


Falling Damage: The basic rule is simple: 1d6 points of damage per 10 feet fallen, to a maximum of 20d6.

If a character deliberately jumps instead of merely slipping or falling, the damage is the same but the first 1d6 is nonlethal damage. A DC 15 Jump check or DC 15 Tumble check allows the character to avoid any damage from the first 10 feet fallen and converts any damage from the second 10 feet to nonlethal damage. Thus, a character who slips from a ledge 30 feet up takes 3d6 damage. If the same character deliberately jumped, he takes 1d6 points of nonlethal damage and 2d6 points of lethal damage. And if the character leaps down with a successful Jump or Tumble check, he takes only 1d6 points of nonlethal damage and 1d6 points of lethal damage from the plunge.

Falls onto yielding surfaces (soft ground, mud) also convert the first 1d6 of damage to nonlethal damage. This reduction is cumulative with reduced damage due to deliberate jumps and the Jump skill.

Falling Into Water

Falling into Water: Falls into water are handled somewhat differently. If the water is at least 10 feet deep, the first 20 feet of falling do no damage. The next 20 feet do nonlethal damage (1d3 per 10-foot increment). Beyond that, falling damage is lethal damage (1d6 per additional 10-foot increment).

Characters who deliberately dive into water take no damage on a successful DC 15 Swim check or DC 15 Tumble check, so long as the water is at least 10 feet deep for every 30 feet fallen. However, the DC of the check increases by 5 for every 50 feet of the dive.

Falling Objects

Just as characters take damage when they fall more than 10 feet, so too do they take damage when they are hit by falling objects.

Objects that fall upon characters deal damage based on their weight and the distance they have fallen.

For each 200 pounds of an object’s weight, the object deals 1d6 points of damage, provided it falls at least 10 feet. Distance also comes into play, adding an additional 1d6 points of damage for every 10-foot increment it falls beyond the first (to a maximum of 20d6 points of damage).

Objects smaller than 200 pounds also deal damage when dropped, but they must fall farther to deal the same damage. Use Table: Damage from Falling Objects to see how far an object of a given weight must drop to deal 1d6 points of damage.

Object WeightFalling Distance
200–101 lb.20 ft.
100–51 lb.30 ft.
50–31 lb.40 ft.
30–11 lb.50 ft.
10–6 lb.60 ft.
5–1 lb.70 ft.

For each additional increment an object falls, it deals an additional 1d6 points of damage. Objects weighing less than 1 pound do not deal damage to those they land upon, no matter how far they have fallen.


Heat deals nonlethal damage that cannot be recovered until the character gets cooled off (reaches shade, survives until nightfall, gets doused in water, is targeted by endure elements, and so forth). Once rendered unconscious through the accumulation of nonlethal damage, the character begins to take lethal damage at the same rate.

A character in very hot conditions (above 90° F) must make a Fortitude saving throw each hour (DC 15, +1 for each previous check) or take 1d4 points of nonlethal damage. Characters wearing heavy clothing or armor of any sort take a –4 penalty on their saves. A character with the Survival skill may receive a bonus on this saving throw and may be able to apply this bonus to other characters as well (see the skill description). Characters reduced to unconsciousness begin taking lethal damage (1d4 points per hour).

A character who takes any nonlethal damage from heat exposure now suffers from heatstroke and is fatigued. These penalties end when the character recovers the nonlethal damage she took from the heat.

Severe Heat

In severe heat (above 110° F), a character must make a Fortitude save once every 10 minutes (DC 15, +1 for each previous check) or take 1d4 points of nonlethal damage. Characters wearing heavy clothing or armor of any sort take a –4 penalty on their saves. A character with the Survival skill may receive a bonus on this saving throw and may be able to apply this bonus to other characters as well. Characters reduced to unconsciousness begin taking lethal damage (1d4 points per each 10-minute period).

Extreme Heat

Extreme heat (air temperature over 140° F, fire, boiling water, lava) deals lethal damage. Breathing air in these temperatures deals 1d6 points of damage per minute (no save). In addition, a character must make a Fortitude save every 5 minutes (DC 15, +1 per previous check) or take 1d4 points of nonlethal damage. Those wearing heavy clothing or any sort of armor take a –4 penalty on their saves. In addition, those wearing metal armor or coming into contact with very hot metal are affected as if by a heat metal spell.

Boliling Water

Boiling water deals 1d6 points of scalding damage, unless the character is fully immersed, in which case it deals 10d6 points of damage per round of exposure.

Catching on Fire
Catching on Fire

Characters exposed to burning oil, bonfires, and noninstantaneous magic fires might find their clothes, hair, or equipment on fire. Spells with an instantaneous duration don’t normally set a character on fire, since the heat and flame from these come and go in a flash.

Characters at risk of catching fire are allowed a DC 15 Reflex save to avoid this fate. If a character’s clothes or hair catch fire, he takes 1d6 points of damage immediately. In each subsequent round, the burning character must make another Reflex saving throw. Failure means he takes another 1d6 points of damage that round. Success means that the fire has gone out. (That is, once he succeeds on his saving throw, he’s no longer on fire.)

A character on fire may automatically extinguish the flames by jumping into enough water to douse himself. If no body of water is at hand, rolling on the ground or smothering the fire with cloaks or the like permits the character another save with a +4 bonus.

Those unlucky enough to have their clothes or equipment catch fire must make DC 15 Reflex saves for each item. Flammable items that fail take the same amount of damage as the character.

Lava Effects

Lava or magma deals 2d6 points of damage per round of exposure, except in the case of total immersion (such as when a character falls into the crater of an active volcano), which deals 20d6 points of damage per round.

Damage from magma continues for 1d3 rounds after exposure ceases, but this additional damage is only half of that dealt during actual contact (that is, 1d6 or 10d6 points per round).

An immunity or resistance to fire serves as an immunity to lava or magma. However, a creature immune to fire might still drown if completely immersed in lava (see Drowning, below).


Smoke: A character who breathes heavy smoke must make a Fortitude save each round (DC 15, +1 per previous check) or spend that round choking and coughing. A character who chokes for 2 consecutive rounds takes 1d6 points of nonlethal damage.

Smoke obscures vision, giving concealment (20% miss chance) to characters within it.

Starvation and Thirst
Starvation and Thrist

Characters might find themselves without food or water and with no means to obtain them. In normal climates, Medium characters need at least a gallon of fluids and about a pound of decent food per day to avoid starvation. (Small characters need half as much.) In very hot climates, characters need two or three times as much water to avoid dehydration.

A character can go without water for 1 day plus a number of hours equal to his Constitution score. After this time, the character must make a Constitution check each hour (DC 10, +1 for each previous check) or take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage.

A character can go without food for 3 days, in growing discomfort. After this time, the character must make a Constitution check each day (DC 10, +1 for each previous check) or take 1d6 points of nonlethal damage.

Characters who have taken nonlethal damage from lack of food or water are fatigued. Nonlethal damage from thirst or starvation cannot be recovered until the character gets food or water, as needed—not even magic that restores hit points heals this damage.


Suffocation: A character who has no air to breathe can hold her breath for 2 rounds per point of Constitution. After this period of time, the character must make a DC 10 Constitution check in order to continue holding her breath. The save must be repeated each round, with the DC increasing by +1 for each previous success.

When the character fails one of these Constitution checks, she begins to suffocate. In the first round, she falls unconscious (0 hit points). In the following round, she drops to –1 hit points and is dying. In the third round, she suffocates.

Slow Suffocation

Slow Suffocation: A Medium character can breathe easily for 6 hours in a sealed chamber measuring 10 feet on a side. After that time, the character takes 1d6 points of nonlethal damage every 15 minutes. Each additional Medium character or significant fire source (a torch, for example) proportionally reduces the time the air will last. When a character falls unconscious from this nonlethal damage, she drops to –1 hit points and is dying. In the next round, she suffocates.

Small characters consume half as much air as Medium characters. A larger volume of air, of course, lasts for a longer time.

Water Dangers
Water Dangers

Any character can wade in relatively calm water that isn’t over his head, no check required. Similarly, swimming in calm water only requires skill checks with a DC of 10. Trained swimmers can just take 10. (Remember, however, that armor or heavy gear makes any attempt at swimming much more difficult. See the Swim skill description.)

By contrast, fast-moving water is much more dangerous. On a successful DC 15 Swim check or a DC 15 Strength check, it deals 1d3 points of nonlethal damage per round (1d6 points of lethal damage if flowing over rocks and cascades). On a failed check, the character must make another check that round to avoid going under.

Very deep water is not only generally pitch black, posing a navigational hazard, but worse, it deals water pressure damage of 1d6 points per minute for every 100 feet the character is below the surface. A successful Fortitude save (DC 15, +1 for each previous check) means the diver takes no damage in that minute.

Very cold water deals 1d6 points of nonlethal damage from hypothermia per minute of exposure.


Any character can hold her breath for a number of rounds equal to twice her Constitution score. After this period of time, the character must make a DC 10 Constitution check every round in order to continue holding her breath. Each round, the DC increases by 1.

When the character finally fails her Constitution check, she begins to drown. In the first round, she falls unconscious (0 hp). In the following round, she drops to –1 hit points and is dying. In the third round, she drowns.

It is possible to drown in substances other than water, such as sand, quicksand, fine dust, and silos full of grain.


Airborne Maneuverability


Minimum Forward

Minimum Forward Speed: If a flying creature fails to maintain its minimum forward speed, it must land at the end of its movement. If it is too high above the ground to land, it falls straight down, descending 150 feet in the first round of falling. If this distance brings it to the ground, it takes falling damage. If the fall doesn’t bring the creature to the ground, it must spend its next turn recovering from the stall. It must succeed on a DC 20 Reflex save to recover. Otherwise it falls another 300 feet. If it hits the ground, it takes falling damage. Otherwise, it has another chance to recover on its next turn.


Hover: The ability to stay in one place while airborne.

Move Backward

Move Backward: The ability to move backward without turning around.


Reverse: A creature with good maneuverability uses up 5 feet of its speed to start flying backward.

Free–5 ft.NoNoNo

Turn: How much the creature can turn after covering the stated distance.

Any90º/5 ft.45º/5 ft.45º/5 ft.45º/10 ft.
Turn in place

Turn in Place: A creature with good or average maneuverability can use some of its speed to turn in place.

Any+90º/–5 ft.+45º/–5 ft.NoNo
Maximum turn

Maximum Turn: How much the creature can turn in any one space.

Up angle

Up Angle: The angle at which the creature can climb.

Up speed

Up Speed: How fast the creature can climb.

Down angle

Down Angle: The angle at which the creature can descend.

Down speed

Down Speed: A flying creature can fly down at twice its normal flying speed.

Between down
and up

Between Down and Up: An average, poor, or clumsy flier must fly level for a minimum distance after descending and before climbing. Any flier can begin descending after a climb without an intervening distance of level flight.

005 ft.10 ft.20 ft.

Random Weather

d%WeatherCold ClimateTemperate Climate1Desert
01–70Normal weatherCold, calmNormal for season2Hot, calm
71–80Abnormal weatherHeat wave (01–30) or cold snap (31–100)Heat wave (01–50) or cold snap (51–100)Hot, windy
81–90Inclement weatherPrecipitation (snow)Precipitation (normal for season)Hot, windy
91–99StormSnowstormThunderstorm, snowstorm3Duststorm
100Powerful stormBlizzardWindstorm, blizzard4, hurricane, tornadoDownpour
1 Temperate includes forest, hills, marsh, mountains, plains, and warm aquatic.
2 Winter is cold, summer is warm, spring and autumn are temperate. Marsh regions are slightly warmer in winter.

Wind Effects

Wind ForceWind SpeedRanged Attacks
Normal/Siege Weapons1
Creature Size2Wind Effect on CreaturesFort Save DC

Light Wind: A gentle breeze, having little or no game effect.

0–10 mph—/—AnyNone

Moderate Wind: A steady wind with a 50% chance of extinguishing small, unprotected flames, such as candles.

11–20 mph—/—AnyNone

Strong Wind: Gusts that automatically extinguish unprotected flames (candles, torches, and the like). Such gusts impose a –2 penalty on ranged attack rolls and on Listen checks.

21–30 mph–2/—Tiny or smallerKnocked down10

Small or largerNone

Severe Wind: In addition to automatically extinguishing any unprotected flames, winds of this magnitude cause protected flames (such as those of lanterns) to dance wildly and have a 50% chance of extinguishing these lights. Ranged weapon attacks and Listen checks are at a –4 penalty. This is the velocity of wind produced by a gust of wind spell.

31–50 mph–4/—TinyBlown away15

SmallKnocked down


Large or largerNone

Windstorm: Powerful enough to bring down branches if not whole trees, windstorms automatically extinguish unprotected flames and have a 75% chance of blowing out protected flames, such as those of lanterns. Ranged weapon attacks are impossible, and even siege weapons have a –4 penalty on attack rolls. Listen checks are at a –8 penalty due to the howling of the wind.

51–74 mphImpossible/–4Small or smallerBlown away18

MediumKnocked down

Large or HugeChecked

Gargantuan or ColossalNone

Hurricane-Force Wind: All flames are extinguished. Ranged attacks are impossible (except with siege weapons, which have a –8 penalty on attack rolls). Listen checks are impossible: All characters can hear is the roaring of the wind. Hurricane-force winds often fell trees.

75–174 mphImpossible/–8Medium or smallerBlown away20

LargeKnocked down


Gargantuan or ColossalNone

Tornado (CR 10): All flames are extinguished. All ranged attacks are impossible (even with siege weapons), as are Listen checks. Instead of being blown away (see Table: Wind Effects), characters in close proximity to a tornado who fail their Fortitude saves are sucked toward the tornado. Those who come in contact with the actual funnel cloud are picked up and whirled around for 1d10 rounds, taking 6d6 points of damage per round, before being violently expelled (falling damage may apply). While a tornado’s rotational speed can be as great as 300 mph, the funnel itself moves forward at an average of 30 mph (roughly 250 feet per round). A tornado uproots trees, destroys buildings, and causes other similar forms of major destruction.

175–300 mphImpossible/impossibleLarge or smallerBlown away30

HugeKnocked down

Gargantuan or ColossalChecked
1 The siege weapon category includes ballista and catapult attacks as well as boulders tossed by giants.
2 Flying or airborne creatures are treated as one size category smaller than their actual size, so an airborne Gargantuan dragon is treated as Huge for purposes of wind effects.

Underwater Combat

Underwater Combat

Land-based creatures can have considerable difficulty when fighting in water. Water affects a creature’s Armor Class, attack rolls, damage, and movement. In some cases a creature’s opponents may get a bonus on attacks. The effects are summarized in the accompanying table. They apply whenever a character is swimming, walking in chestdeep water, or walking along the bottom.

Ranged Attacks Underwater: Thrown weapons are ineffective underwater, even when launched from land. Attacks with other ranged weapons take a –2 penalty on attack rolls for every 5 feet of water they pass through, in addition to the normal penalties for range.

Attacks from Land: Characters swimming, floating, or treading water on the surface, or wading in water at least chest deep, have improved cover (+8 bonus to AC, +4 bonus on Reflex saves) from opponents on land. Landbound opponents who have freedom of movement effects ignore this cover when making melee attacks against targets in the water. A completely submerged creature has total cover against opponents on land unless those opponents have freedom of movement effects. Magical effects are unaffected except for those that require attack rolls (which are treated like any other effects) and fire effects.

Fire: Nonmagical fire (including alchemist’s fire) does not burn underwater. Spells or spell-like effects with the fire descriptor are ineffective underwater unless the caster makes a Spellcraft check (DC 20 + spell level). If the check succeeds, the spell creates a bubble of steam instead of its usual fiery effect, but otherwise the spell works as described. A supernatural fire effect is ineffective underwater unless its description states otherwise.

The surface of a body of water blocks line of effect for any fire spell. If the caster has made a Spellcraft check to make the fire spell usable underwater, the surface still blocks the spell’s line of effect.

————— Attack/Damage —————

ConditionSlashing or BludgeoningTailMovementOff Balance?4
Freedom of movementnormal/normalnormal/normalnormalNo
Has a swim speed–2/halfnormalnormalNo
Successful Swim check–2/half1–2/halfquarter or half2No
Firm footing3–2/half–2/halfhalfNo
None of the above–2/half–2/halfnormalYes
1 A creature without a freedom of movement effects or a swim speed makes grapple checks underwater at a –2 penalty, but deals damage normally when grappling.
2 A successful Swim check lets a creature move one-quarter its speed as a move action or one-half its speed as a full-round action.
3 Creatures have firm footing when walking along the bottom, braced against a ship’s hull, or the like. A creature can only walk along the bottom if it wears or carries enough gear to weigh itself down—at least 16 pounds for Medium creatures, twice that for each size category larger than Medium, and half that for each size category smaller than Medium.
4 Creatures flailing about in the water (usually because they failed their Swim checks) have a hard time fighting effectively. An off-balance creature loses its Dexterity bonus to Armor Class, and opponents gain a +2 bonus on attacks against it.

Weather Effects

Precipitation: Roll d% to determine whether the precipitation is fog (01–30), rain/snow (31–90), or sleet/hail (91–00). Snow and sleet occur only when the temperature is 30° Fahrenheit or below. Most precipitation lasts for 2d4 hours. By contrast, hail lasts for only 1d20 minutes but usually accompanies 1d4 hours of rain.


Fog: Whether in the form of a low-lying cloud or a mist rising from the ground, fog obscures all sight, including darkvision, beyond 5 feet. Creatures 5 feet away have concealment (attacks by or against them have a 20% miss chance).


Rain: Rain reduces visibility ranges by half, resulting in a –4 penalty on Spot and Search checks. It has the same effect on flames, ranged weapon attacks, and Listen checks as severe wind.


Snow: Falling snow has the same effects on visibility, ranged weapon attacks, and skill checks as rain, and it costs 2 squares of movement to enter a snow-covered square. A day of snowfall leaves 1d6 inches of snow on the ground.

Heavy snow

Heavy Snow: Heavy snow has the same effects as normal snowfall, but also restricts visibility as fog does (see Fog, below). A day of heavy snow leaves 1d4 feet of snow on the ground, and it costs 4 squares of movement to enter a square covered with heavy snow. Heavy snow accompanied by strong or severe winds may result in snowdrifts 1d4×5 feet deep, especially in and around objects big enough to deflect the wind—a cabin or a large tent, for instance. There is a 10% chance that a heavy snowfall is accompanied by lightning (see Thunderstorm, below). Snow has the same effect on flames as moderate wind.


Sleet: Essentially frozen rain, sleet has the same effect as rain while falling (except that its chance to extinguish protected flames is 75%) and the same effect as snow once on the ground.


Hail: Hail does not reduce visibility, but the sound of falling hail makes Listen checks more difficult (–4 penalty). Sometimes (5% chance) hail can become large enough to deal 1 point of lethal damage (per storm) to anything in the open. Once on the ground, hail has the same effect on movement as snow.


The combined effects of precipitation (or dust) and wind that accompany all storms reduce visibility ranges by three quarters, imposing a –8 penalty on Spot, Search, and Listen checks. Storms make ranged weapon attacks impossible, except for those using siege weapons, which have a –4 penalty on attack rolls. They automatically extinguish candles, torches, and similar unprotected flames. They cause protected flames, such as those of lanterns, to dance wildly and have a 50% chance to extinguish these lights. See Table: Wind Effects for possible consequences to creatures caught outside without shelter during such a storm. Storms are divided into the following three types.

Duststorm (CR 3)

Duststorm (CR 3): These desert storms differ from other storms in that they have no precipitation. Instead, a duststorm blows fine grains of sand that obscure vision, smother unprotected flames, and can even choke protected flames (50% chance). Most duststorms are accompanied by severe winds and leave behind a deposit of 1d6 inches of sand. However, there is a 10% chance for a greater duststorm to be accompanied by windstorm-magnitude winds (see Table: Wind Effects). These greater duststorms deal 1d3 points of nonlethal damage each round to anyone caught out in the open without shelter and also pose a choking hazard (see Drowning—except that a character with a scarf or similar protection across her mouth and nose does not begin to choke until after a number of rounds equal to 10 × her Constitution score). Greater duststorms leave 2d3–1 feet of fine sand in their wake.


Snowstorm: In addition to the wind and precipitation common to other storms, snowstorms leave 1d6 inches of snow on the ground afterward.


Thunderstorm: In addition to wind and precipitation (usually rain, but sometimes also hail), thunderstorms are accompanied by lightning that can pose a hazard to characters without proper shelter (especially those in metal armor). As a rule of thumb, assume one bolt per minute for a 1-hour period at the center of the storm. Each bolt causes electricity damage equal to 1d10 eight-sided dice. One in ten thunderstorms is accompanied by a tornado (see below).

Powerful Storms

Powerful Storms: Very high winds and torrential precipitation reduce visibility to zero, making Spot, Search, and Listen checks and all ranged weapon attacks impossible. Unprotected flames are automatically extinguished, and protected flames have a 75% chance of being doused. Creatures caught in the area must make a DC 20 Fortitude save or face the effects based on the size of the creature (see Wind Effects). Powerful storms are divided into the following four types.


Windstorm: While accompanied by little or no precipitation, windstorms can cause considerable damage simply through the force of their wind.


Blizzard: The combination of high winds, heavy snow (typically 1d3 feet), and bitter cold make blizzards deadly for all who are unprepared for them.


Hurricane: In addition to very high winds and heavy rain, hurricanes are accompanied by floods. Most adventuring activity is impossible under such conditions.


Tornado: One in ten thunderstorms is accompanied by a tornado.