Skills are a collection of capabilities which represent a character’s training, practice, and experience with a related set of tasks. Nature represents a character’s knowledge of the natural world, while acrobatics represents a character’s ability to perform acrobatic feats like balancing on a tight rope.

Skills are used to perform all manner of tasks, such as opening locks, convincing an NPC to help you, identifying ancient artifacts, and crafting items.

Key Ability

Each skill is tied to a single ability score. When making a check with that skill, you add your ability modifier for that ability score. For example: Medicine’s key ability is Wisdom, so you add your Wisdom modifier to Medicine checks.

This means that characters will naturally excel with skills that depend on a character’s high ability scores. For example: wizards typically have high Intelligence, so they’re well equipped to use skills like Arcana. As you gain levels, proficiency can become a significant bonus, so a well-trained character with a low ability score may be more effective than an untrained character with a high ability score. But a high ability score will never stop being an advantage.

Skill Proficiency

Skills use the same proficiency system as everything else in Pathfinder 2e. At level 1, characters can be Trained in a number of skills determined by their ancestry, background, class, and intelligence modifier.

Advancing Skill Proficiency

Every class will grant you “Skill Increases” as you gain levels. These can be used to increase your proficiency in one skill. This allows you to become Trained in more skills or to advance the skills in which you’re already proficient.

For most characters, you’ll recieve Skill Increases at 3rd level and every odd-numbered level thereafter. You can increase skills from Trained to Expert at any level, but you can’t reach Master or Legendary until you reach the minimum level (see the table below).

Proficiency RankProficiency BonusMinimum Level
TrainedYour level + 2
ExpertYour level + 4
MasterYour level + 67
LegendaryYour level + 815

Skill Checks

Skills use the normal system for checks.

Skill Actions

Every skill has a number of associated actions which can be peformed with a skill check.

Untrained Actions

Many skills have actions which can be taken untrained, such as performing a long jump with Athletics. These actions are things that anyone could attempt without any training or familiarity, but you’ll be more successful if you’re proficienct.

Trained Actions

Some skills have actions which can only be performed if you’re at least Trained with that skill. For example: the Medicine skill lists “Treat Poison” as a Trained Action, so you can only use Medicine to treat poison if you’re at least Trained in Medicine.

General Skill Actions

Some skill actions are present across multiple skills. These actions work the same way regardless of which skill you use with these actions. A common example is Earn Income, which allows characters to earn money during downtime.

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