Heroes of the New Day
[Page currently being “worked on”, but you’re welcome to read what I’ve got so far.]
The Races page lists lots of stuff you know or have heard if you belong to a particular race (or were raised with members of that race), but there are other things you might know based on your Skills(z).
Sure, you can make a check to see if your studies of a particular area yielded a particular bit of knowledge relevant to whatever situation you’re in by making an active check, but there are plenty of general things that you’ll know just for having a particular skill trained. This is a page to tell you those things. Most skills will just list a few things you know or can do, but the specific Knowledge skills will also link to separate pages with more that you’ve learned through your specific studies of whatever the skill happens to be.
ACROBATICS… You know proper stretching techniques, flexibility exercises, and how to do a cartwheel. Acrobatics is used for balancing, wriggling out of grabs or restraints, and even reducing falling damage (trained only).
ATHLETICS… You know muscle building/maintenance steps, how to properly life (with your legs, not your back), and how to throw a football. Athletics covers any strength-based physical activities like climbing, bursting out of a grab, jumping, and swimming.
BLUFF… Liar! LIAR!!! Bluff is the are of making what’s false appear true, making what’s suspicious look nonchalant, and making something ordinary seem extraordinary. Bluff can also be used for feinting and making distractions, with specific rules for that being covered in the books.
DIPLOMACY… Can you talk your way out of a problem? You can with this skill. You’ll know how to best defuse situations, how to approach aloof royals, and how best to explain the value of your ideas. Training in this skill will also give you info about diplomatic procedures, the ways governments work, and what that colored flag on the battlefield means.
ENDURANCE… While bluff will make you a liar, Endurance will help you withstand the whole “pants on fire” aftermath. Seriously, though, Endurance is useful for any sustained physical task, including treading water for a while, marching across a desert, holding your breath, not getting sick in a rainstorm, not getting poisoned by mine air, and eating food that has gone past its expiration date. Endurance is also really important when fighting off diseases, as a low roll will mean the disease gets worse (which is bad).
HEAL… Many people ignore the heal skill, because magical healing tends to do a better job. But when it’s the cleric who’s dying, suddenly you may want this skill. With the Heal skill, not only can you ascertain someone’s life status (not married/single… but living/dead/poisoned), but you can also use it to allow an ally to make a saving throw, spend his/her second wind, stabilize while bleeding to death, and otherwise get healthier. When an ally has contracted a disease, if you’re trained in Heal and choose to spend time caring for them, the next time they make an Endurance check to see how the disease is progressing, you can use the higher of their Endurance check or your Heal check to see if they get better. And believe me, with the general nastiness of diseases in this game, that extra check can be HUGE.
INSIGHT… Sort of like Perception for people, Insight is the skill that helps you determine what folks are really intending. While not mind-reading, this is the skill you’ll use to go up against a liar’s Bluff check. If you roll higher, you’ll see through his ruse. It’s also super handy for getting DM/plot hints about what a reticent NPC needs to loosen his tongue. Also can be handy for the more naturey sort of folks if you want to know whether that bear is hungry and about to attack… though that can start to get into Nature as well. Still, there are certain Wilderness Knacks in the Druid & Ranger classes that will let you use Insight on animals, too. Your passive Insight represents how generally in-tune you are with folks around you, while active Insight checks happen when you’re specifically paying attention to someone.
INTIMIDATE… When trying to convince folks of something, you have 3 options. Bluff is for when you want to tell them what they want to hear. Diplomacy is for when you want to reason things out with them. Intimidate is for when you just need them to do what you want, RIGHT NOW. While great physical size or an army behind you can certainly provide situational modifiers to Intimidate checks, it’s just as likely that a really creepy barmaid might use Intimidate as she quietly, calmly explains every detail of what she’ll do to that patron if he can’t learn to keep his hands to himself. The other handy thing with Intimidate is that when an opponent is bloodied, you can try to Intimidate him (albeit with a reasonable penalty) into leaving the field of battle (which still counts as “defeating” the enemy, but can save you several rounds of combat).
PERCEPTION… “Rub that elf on the wall, there might be secret doors!” Ah, how the game has changed over the years. Perception is your “notice stuff” skill. It is used for detecting secret doors, many traps, hidden foes (opposed by their Stealth check), and any other generally important thing. The passive Perception exists so that the DM doesn’t have to clue you in that there’s something to notice every time he asks for a Perception check, because metagaming other players might suddenly start searching more carefully if the DM asks someone to make that check. Now, unless you are actually looking carefully for something, I’ll just check the notice DC against the party members’ passive Perception scores to see if the item in question is noticed. For this reason, you’ll want someone in your party with a high passive Perception.
STEALTH… Stealth is not just how to be quiet. It’s also how to remain unnoticed and otherwise unobserved. It’s as much a skill of blending-in as it is of hiding. While a sleight of hand might require a Thievery check, it’s the Stealth check that’ll allow you to control your body posture, facial expressions, and other indicators that might “tell” a casual observer that something is up. Of course, Stealth is also infinitely useful for disappearing into the shadows, hiding, and otherwise being a ninja. Oh, and when you’re hidden, you get combat advantage against enemies who can’t see you, which can be great for sniping unsuspecting foes (especially if you have some sort of roguish thing that lets you deal extra damage vs. enemies who grant you combat advantage). Pay attention to the movement restrictions and other hiding rules if you plan on using this skill extensively, though, because there are lots of situational things that can make your hiding attempts less hidey.
STREETWISE… The catch-all skill for general social mingling, Streetwise can be used to garner useful bits of information from the crowd at large. It’s also the “social engineering” skill, though it often pairs with Bluff and/or Insight in these situations. A high enough Streetwise check will reveal to you the flaws in an organization’s people structure, or point out to you which guy is likely to break under interrogation (or with enough alcohol). Streetwise is also a useful skill for understanding local customs, so even if you don’t know the particular religious beliefs of a strange location, you’ll quickly understand that they each lovingly touch the household god statue upon entering a room, and to fail to do so might be insulting to the household and its owner… etc etc.
THIEVERY… Pickpockets, locksmiths, escape artists, rope users, and many who do intricate things with their hands are all making frequent use of the Thievery skill. It’s not just thieves who possess it. A vital skill for disabling traps (see Dungeoneering, above), Thievery is also handy for charlatan “magic” and any other sleight of hand. Also, if you’re trying to casually pull out a potion or draw a weapon without being noticed, that’s Thievery you’ll be using to do so secretly. Training in Thievery will also inform you of things like basic lock design, where the safest place is to store your money pouch, how to walk without looking like you have a concealed firewand, etc.