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Skill20 RPG

Skill20 Official Discord channel

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Quickstart Characters
  3. Playable Characters -- Languages -- Traits
  4. Races
  5. Skills
  6. Trappings, Equipment, Weapons, and Armor
  7. Magic
  8. Psionics
  9. Example Guilds
  10. Rules

Optional Sections:

Where to Start?

Head over to the Characters page.



  • Class-less, while still allowing players to quickstart as easy-to-play characters who fit the D&D classes if they choose to.
  • Map-less rules options provided in core, for those who prefer the "Mind's Eye Theater" style of play.
  • As compatible as possible with D&D-family material (except 4th edition).

Key Points for D&D veterans:

  • Class-less - but it is easy to put together a skill set that contains everything you liked about the classic classes. In particular, fighters and wizards can now branch out a lot more easily. The need for a pure Thief is reduced if each character takes one or two skills typically associated with Thieves.
  • Map-less rules options provided in the core ruleset. This ruleset is designed to maintain a fast pace, to reduce prep time, and to avoid getting bogged down in minutiae during combat. All spells and psionics will also gain map-less options. This opens up options for gaming on small tables without miniatures or maps, gaming online without a dedicated map program, and so on.
  • Characters can learn new skills from guilds. At higher levels, they can even learn from each other. No need for prestige classes - having a wide set of skills requires your character to be prestigious in role-playing terms instead. If there are special abilities that come only from prestige classes, then they can easily be rewritten to come from new skills that are exclusive to certain guilds.
  • Magic and psionics always take a full round to cast, making it more possible for spellcasters to get interrupted. The rules for interrupting spellcasting are also changed - damage must be dealt to the spellcaster in order to force a concentration check.
  • No attacks of opportunity, because they make no sense.
  • Grappling rules that are both fast and sensible, rather than just assuming that all acts of grappling are bear-hugging.
  • Characters don't start with gold - instead, they start with a loan from Adventure Capital. This way, it makes more sense that Level 1 characters would have the gear that they do.

Significant balance differences compared to D&D:

  • The increased flexibility in character creation means that parties should be much more well-rounded. A party of four should have all bases covered. "Fighters" can do more than just fight. "Wizards" should be able to fall back on some other skill when they run out of spells for the day.
  • It takes much longer for characters to be able to wear Full Plate Armor without penalty. Furthermore, there is only one hit die type. Consequently, frontline characters need to rely much more on healing, magic, setting up ambushes, etc. at the early levels.

This game uses d20 OGL content in order to get going as quickly as possible. Experienced GMs should make house rules to make the game work the way they want, since everyone must inevitably develop their own opinions on fantasy gaming. In fact, it is more concerning if the group never ponders how any rule could be different.

Swapping Out Whole Sections

Skill20 is intended to allow GMs to swap out entire sections, such as the Magic, Psionics, and Trappings sections. Skill20 uses the d20 OGL content to flesh out these sections, but GMs and players will inevitably decide on their own favorites.

Monster Conversion Notes

Monsters from editions other than the D&D 3rd edition group should be changed as follows:

  • If the monster is described as a front-line type, then half their Level is added to attack accuracy rolls and Armor Class.
  • If the monster is described as a rear-line type, then half their Level is added to saving throws.
  • If the monster has Hit Dice that are solely for hit points (e.g. HD listed as "7+3") then the extra Hit Dice are factored into saving throws against the player-characters.

Map-less Conversion Notes

  • Touch Attack --> Melee Attacking with the Unarmed weapon category
  • Touch Attack Spell --> Automatic hit to one enemy in the front row
  • Ranged Touch Attack --> Ranged Attacking with the Point-and-Shoot weapon category
  • Ranged Touch Attack Spell --> Automatic hit to one enemy in the front or back row
  • Ray --> One enemy in each row
  • Cone --> Front row of enemies
  • Large area of effect --> Whole Party or All Enemies

Damage Reduction X/Magic --> Immunity to normal weapons. Magic and psionic weapons will work normally.

Size categories --> +2 Strength and -2 Dexterity for larger size, or -2 Strength and +2 Dexterity for smaller size

Attacks of Opportunity do not exist. In fact, if your goal is to retreat, then it is realistically-safer to drop weapons and shields, turn around, and run as fast as you can. This method of retreat can only be punished by cavalry. Combatants may hold their attacks, then use them against enemies who come into range, but it is unrealistic for anyone to just suddenly turn around and hit someone to the side when they are already engaged in combat.

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