Profession checks


Rules Questions


Hello all,

I have a question for you, which I haven't seen answered yet:
What are the DCs for actually using the Profession skill?

The rules say that to answer a routine question about a profession is DC 10, and more difficult questions incur a higher DC.
But what about actually doing the job? Since nothing is said about that, I think it falls under "Rule 0", but I'd like the boards' opinion.

I have a group of players wanting to steal a large boat and navigate it. What would the Profession(sailor) checks look like?
I think that them being a small number would push the DC into the 20s, as well as doing some Strength and Dexterity checks, because the work implied require them to pull ropes and the like.
Do you have similar situations I could take advice from?


Louis IX wrote:

Hello all,

I have a question for you, which I haven't seen answered yet:
What are the DCs for actually using the Profession skill?

The rules say that to answer a routine question about a profession is DC 10, and more difficult questions incur a higher DC.
But what about actually doing the job? Since nothing is said about that, I think it falls under "Rule 0", but I'd like the boards' opinion.

I have a group of players wanting to steal a large boat and navigate it. What would the Profession(sailor) checks look like?
I think that them being a small number would push the DC into the 20s, as well as doing some Strength and Dexterity checks, because the work implied require them to pull ropes and the like.
Do you have similar situations I could take advice from?

Sail within sight of shore dc 10

Sail across an ocean dc 15

Do something really tricky like sail through a narrow gap in a coral reef 25

Surf a tsunami DC 40

storms: +5
Skeleton crew +5


First, I would inflict any strength or dexterity checks on the party. They're certainly stronger and more dexterous than the average sailor, but that's not the point, knowing how to sail is the point.

Constitution is probably the most relevant attribute for sailing. Strength and dexterity help, of course, but sailing is very much an occupation of skill and endurance.

All you really need is sailing skill checks. I would suggest something like this:

Sailing in daylight under ideal conditions with a full crew DC 10
Calm seas DC 10
Rough seas DC 12
Storm DC 14
Hurricane DC 16

Night +2

Half crew +2
Quarter crew +4
Less than 1/4 crew: can't sail

I would say there are two watches every 24 hours, day and night to keep it simple. Each watch requires a check by each sailor. If at least half the checks succeed, normal progress is made during that watch.

0 succeed = ship flounders or sinks
< 1/4 succeed = no movement
1/4 succeed = half movement
1/2 succeed = normal movement
3/4 succeed = + 10% movement
All succeed = + 25% movement

Also, don't forget they need to be awake to sail the ship! A vessel would typically set off with three times the manpower needed to actually operate. So, if they're trying to run a ship with exactly the required number of people to sail it, they're probably better off with two shifts at 1/2 crew than taking the penalties for no sleep. Of course, there's magic that can solve that problem too.


Blueluck wrote:


Sailing in daylight under ideal conditions with a full crew DC 10
Calm seas DC 10
Rough seas DC 12
Storm DC 14
Hurricane DC 16

You're kidding about the hurricaine, right?

Walking in a hurricaine should be a DC 25 check, much less sailing.

Rough seas have troublesome winds sometimes, so you have an up and down motion alongside wind that is pushing sideways.

In a storm, the water is pushing you sideways as well.

In a hurricaine, crossing an open space on the deck takes reflex saves, probably in the DC20-25 range if you are hit with high winds, AND walls of water.

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If you can locate a copy of the 3.5 Stormwrack supplement, all of these questions are answered on p. 87-88 with various DCs and modifiers for the profession sailor check. Basically with a less than full crew, its harder, and the less you have beyond that, the harder it becomes. Ditto for varying levels of wind and trouble with currents as well.

In short, yes it can be done, but it will be tricky, and dangerous if they encounter any bad weather that would challenge a full crew of seasoned sailors.


Thanks all.

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