Acrobatics (Dex; Armor Check Penalty)

You can keep your balance while traversing narrow or treacherous surfaces. You can also dive, flip, jump, and roll, avoiding attacks and confusing your opponents.

The following modifiers apply to all Acrobatics skill checks. The modifiers stack with one another, but only the most severe modifier for any given condition applies.

Table: Misc. Acrobatics Modifiers
Acrobatics Modifiers DC Modifier
Lightly Obstructed (gravel, sand) +2
Severely Obstructed (cavern, rubble) +5
Slightly Slippery (wet) +2
Severely Slippery (icy) +5
Slightly Sloped (<45°) +2
Severely Sloped (>45°) +5
Slightly Unsteady (boat in rough water) +2
Mildly Unsteady (boat in a storm) +5
Severely Unsteady (earthquake) +10
Move at full speed on narrow or uneven surfaces +51

1 This does not apply to checks made to jump.

Common Uses

The Acrobatics skill has three distinct uses:

  1. Cross Narrow Surfaces/Uneven Ground
  2. Move Through Threatened Squares
  3. Jumping and Falling

Cross Narrow Surfaces/Uneven Ground

First, you can use Acrobatics to move on narrow surfaces and uneven ground without falling. A successful check allows you to move at half speed across such surfaces—only one check is needed per round. Use the following table to determine the base DC, which is then modified by the Acrobatics skill modifiers noted below. While you are using Acrobatics in this way, you are considered flat-footed and lose your Dexterity bonus to your AC (if any). If you take damage while using Acrobatics, you must immediately make another Acrobatics check at the same DC to avoid falling or being knocked prone.

Table: Acrobatics DC’s to Cross Narrow Surfaces
Surface Width Base Acrobatics DC
Greater than 3 feet wide 01
1–3 feet wide 51
7–11 inches wide 10
2–6 inches wide 15
Less than 2 inches wide 20

1 No Acrobatics check is needed to move across these surfaces unless the modifiers increase the DC to 10 or higher.

Cross Narrow Surface DC Modifiers

  • Balancing Pole: Using a balancing pole while traversing a narrow surface grants a +1 circumstance bonus to the Acrobatics check.

Move Through Threatened Squares

In addition, you can move through a threatened square without provoking an attack of opportunity from an enemy by using Acrobatics. When moving in this way, you move at half speed. You can move at full speed by increasing the DC of the check by 10. You cannot use Acrobatics to move past foes if your speed is reduced due to carrying a medium or heavy load or wearing medium or heavy armor. If an ability allows you to move at full speed under such conditions, you can use Acrobatics to move past foes. You can use Acrobatics in this way while prone, but doing so requires a full-round action to move 5 feet, and the DC is increased by 5. If you attempt to move through an enemy’s space and fail the check, you lose the move action and provoke an attack of opportunity.

Table: Acrobatics DC’s to Move Through Threatened Areas
Situation Base Acrobatics DC1
Move through a threatened area Opponent’s Combat Maneuver Defense
Move through an enemy’s space 5 + Opponent’s Combat Maneuver Defense

1 This DC is used to avoid an attack of opportunity due to movement. This penalty increases by +2 for each additional opponent avoided in one round.

Jumping and Falling

Finally, you can use the Acrobatics skill to make jumps or to soften a fall. The base DC to make a jump is equal to the distance to be crossed (if horizontal) or four times the height to be reached (if vertical). These DCs double if you do not have at least 10 feet of space to get a running start. The only Acrobatics modifiers that apply are those concerning the surface you are jumping from. If you fail this check by 4 or less, you can attempt a DC 20 Reflex save to grab hold of the other side after having missed the jump. If you fail by 5 or more, you fail to make the jump and fall (or land prone, in the case of a vertical jump).

Table: Acrobatics DC’s for Long Jumps
Long Jump Acrobatics DC
5 feet 5
10 feet 10
15 feet 15
20 feet 20
Greater than 20 feet +5 per 5 feet

Table: Acrobatics DC’s for High Jumps
High Jump Acrobatics DC
1 foot 4
2 feet 8
3 feet 12
4 feet 16
Greater than 4 feet +4 per foot

Jump DC Modifiers

  • Faster Base Movement: Creatures with a base land speed above 30 feet receive a +4 racial bonus on Acrobatics checks made to jump for every 10 feet of their speed above 30 feet. Creatures with a base land speed below 30 feet receive a –4 racial bonus on Acrobatics checks made to jump for every 10 feet of their speed below 30 feet. No jump can allow you to exceed your maximum movement for the round.
  • Running Jump: For a running jump, the result of your Acrobatics check indicates the distance traveled in the jump (and if the check fails, the distance at which you actually land and fall prone). Halve this result for a standing long jump to determine where you land. Also, see Pole.
  • Pole: If you use a pole as part of a running jump, you gain a +2 circumstance bonus on your Acrobatics check (but must let go of the pole in the process).
  • Falling: When you deliberately fall any distance, even as a result of a missed jump, a DC 15 Acrobatics skill check allows you to ignore the first 10 feet fallen, although you still end up prone if you take damage from a fall. See Falling Damage for more details.)

Special Situation: Diving or Jumping into Water

Source Cerulean Seas © 2010 Alluria Publishing. All rights reserved.

The rules presented here for diving or jumping into water are from a Pathfinder 3rd Party Publisher and are not part of this game rules created by Paizo. Consult your GM to see if these rules are allowed or in use in his or her campaign.

Characters who jump or dive into water take no damage on a successful DC 15 Acrobatics skill check, so long as the water is at least 10 feet deep for every 30 feet fallen. Water 30 feet deep is sufficient for a dive from any height. However, the DC of the check increases by 5 for every 50 feet of the dive. Table: Diving summarizes these rules.

If the water is not deep enough for a safe dive, add 5 to the DC and treat your dive or fall as 30 feet higher than its actual height on the Table: Diving.

Table: Diving
Safe Depth
Damage for
Failed Dive
10 ft. 10 ft. 15 None
20 ft. 10 ft. 15 None
30 ft. 10 ft. 15 1d3 nonlethal
40 ft. 20 ft. 15 2d3 nonlethal
50 ft. 20 ft. 20 2d3 nonlethal +1d6
60 ft. 20 ft. 20 2d3 nonlethal + 2d6
70 ft. 30 ft. 20 2d3 nonlethal + 3d6
80 ft. 30 ft. 20 2d3 nonlethal + 4d6
90 ft. 30 ft. 20 2d3 nonlethal + 5d6
100 ft. 30 ft. 20 2d3 nonlethal + 6d6
110 ft. 30 ft. 25 2d3 nonlethal + 7d6
120 ft. 30 ft. 25 2d3 nonlethal + 8d6
160 ft. 30 ft. 30 2d3 nonlethal + 12d6
210 ft. 30 ft. 35 2d3 nonlethal + 17d6
240 ft. 30 ft. 35 2d3 nonlethal + 20d6*

*Maximum falling damage.

Action: None. An Acrobatics check is made as part of another action or as a reaction to a situation.


  • Skills If you have 3 or more ranks in Acrobatics, you gain a +3 dodge bonus to AC when fighting defensively instead of the usual +2, and a +6 dodge bonus to AC when taking the total defense action instead of the usual +4.
  • Feats If you have the Acrobatic feat, you get a +2 bonus on all Acrobatics checks. If you have 10 or more ranks in Acrobatics, the bonus increases to +4.

Acrobatics Unchained

Source PFU

About This Section Optionally, a character who reaches 5, 10, 15, or 20 ranks in a skill unlocks various bonuses and abilities unique to that skill. The unchained rogue uses these rules extensively, but others can gain access to them with a new feat.

In this system, characters unlock additional abilities when they attain 5, 10, 15, and 20 ranks in a skill. The skill unlocks system interfaces with the unchained rogue to make the rogue the true master of skills.

Skill unlocks give characters new abilities and ways to use their skills upon reaching 5, 10, 15, and 20 ranks in a skill. Any character with the Signature Skill feat can earn skill unlocks for a single skill, and they are a prime feature of the revised version of the rogue who uses her rogue’s edge ability to gain skill unlocks for several of her most iconic skills. Alternatively, you might make skill unlocks a universal part of the game, but you should be aware they add significant power and flexibility to skills, so giving them for free to all classes would grant power boosts to other highly skilled classes such as the investigator and bard, particularly in comparison to the rogue. Another alternative is to eliminate access to the Signature Skill feat, limiting skill unlocks to rogues and rogues alone.

With sufficient ranks in Acrobatics, you earn the following.

5 Ranks: You can move at normal speed through a threatened square without provoking an attack of opportunity by increasing the DC of the check by 5 (instead of by 10). You aren’t denied your Dexterity bonus when attempting Acrobatics checks with DCs of 20 or lower.

10 Ranks: You can attempt an Acrobatics check at a –10 penalty and use the result as your CMD against trip maneuvers. You can also attempt an Acrobatics check at a –10 penalty in place of a Reflex save to avoid falling. You must choose to use this ability before the trip attempt or Reflex save is rolled. With a successful DC 20 Acrobatics check, you treat an unintentional fall as 10 feet shorter plus 10 feet for every 10 by which you exceed the DC, and treat an intentional fall as 10 feet shorter for every 10 by which you exceed the DC.

15 Ranks: You do not provoke attacks of opportunity when standing up from prone.

20 Ranks: You double the result of any Acrobatics check when jumping and never fall prone at the end of a fall as long as you remain conscious.

Time Machine!

The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game merged the Balance and Jump skills from its predecessor into the Acrobatics skill. While this has been mostly good, in the transition some information seems to have been left behind.

Note: The information below is NOT official. However, you may find it helpful in some situations to consider how the rules were previously written. Use at your GMs discretion.

Long Jump

A long jump is a horizontal jump, made across a gap like a chasm or stream. At the midpoint of the jump, you attain a vertical height equal to one-quarter of the horizontal distance.

If your check succeeds, you land on your feet at the far end. If you fail the check by less than 5, you don’t clear the distance, but you can make a DC 15 Reflex save to grab the far edge of the gap. You end your movement grasping the far edge. If that leaves you dangling over a chasm or gap, getting up requires a move action and a DC 15 Climb check.

High Jump

Creature Size Vertical Reach
Colossal 128 ft.
Gargantuan 64 ft.
Huge 32 ft.
Large 16 ft.
Medium 8 ft.
Small 4 ft.
Tiny 2 ft.
Diminutive 1 ft.
Fine ½ ft.

A high jump is a vertical leap made to reach a ledge high above or to grasp something overhead.

If you jumped up to grab something, a successful check indicates that you reached the desired height. If you wish to pull yourself up, you can do so with a move action and a DC 15 Climb check. If you fail the Acrobatics check to jump, you do not reach the height, and you land on your feet in the same spot from which you jumped. As with a long jump, the DC is doubled if you do not get a running start of at least 20 feet.

Obviously, the difficulty of reaching a given height varies according to the size of the character or creature. The maximum vertical reach (height the creature can reach without jumping) for an average creature of a given size is shown on the table below. (As a Medium creature, a typical human can reach 8 feet without jumping.)

Quadrupedal creatures don’t have the same vertical reach as a bipedal creature; treat them as being one size category smaller.

Hop Up

You can jump up onto an object as tall as your waist, such as a table or small boulder, with a DC 10 Acrobatics (jump) check. Doing so counts as 10 feet of movement, so if your speed is 30 feet, you could move 20 feet, then hop up onto a counter. You do not need to get a running start to hop up, so the DC is not doubled if you do not get a running start.

Section 15: Copyright Notice

Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook. Copyright 2009, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Author: Jason Bulmahn, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, and Skip Williams.

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