Check this skill to successfully scale a surface steeper than about 30º; different grades and surfaces will demand different checks, and give different bonuses or penalties:

Slope 30-45º 45-60º 60-90º Overhang
Die d4 d6 d8 d12
Surface Ideal for climbing Rough and sturdy Smooth or unstable Very smooth or slippery
Modifier +2 0 -2 -6

Pitons or similar climbing gear count as stable handholds and are “ideal for climbing,” although they double the time required to climb a given distance. A rope, too, usually counts as an ideal surface and either lies along a slope (for slopes up to 90º) or hangs at a 90º angle to the ground (in the case of overhangs). In contrast, if a rope is held taut at an angle, trying to climb it counts as hanging from an overhang.

Failing a check by one point results in the character being unable to proceed on that check. Failing by two points results in the character sliding back, or being forced to retrace their route, by their last check result. Failing by more than two means the character falls. On the first check of a climb, no failure has any result other than delaying progress.


Bob the Undertaker wants to climb The C-Shaped Cliff of Danger. The YAM decides to divide this task into three checks: first, the 60º bottom section; next, the sheer vertical middle section; and finally the overhanging top section. The cliff face is full of little crevices but not particularly crumbly; the YAM rules that it is “rough and sturdy.”

Including skill points and modifiers, Bob’s Climb skill is 5. On the first check he rolls a d6 and gets a result of 4, a little tricky but a passing score. On the next he rolls a d8 and gets a 1 — he’s really hit his stride, or perhaps was lucky enough to choose an easy section of wall. On the last check, though, he rolls a 9 on the d12 check and falls. If only Bob had thrown up a grappling hook and rope at the beginning, he’d have been able to make the last roll on a d8 as well, and all three would have received a +2 bonus. Lacking a rope, he should perhaps have used climbing gear for a +2 bonus. Then the 9 result would have been a failure by 2, enough to force him to retrace his route across the vertical section but without endangering his life. Poor Bob.


YAOSC (Yet Another Old School Clone) Confanity Confanity