Skill Focus: Endurance

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on March 11, 2009

Do you think your really high Endurance is only good for holding your breath? You couldn’t be more wrong. Here are 10 new and creative ways to get more out of Endurance. So, for all those Fighters who have training in Endurance and don’t know what to do with it, read on.

The DC for these checks will vary depending on the circumstances. I leave it up to the DM to assign a suitable DC. Hopefully these suggestions will give players some ideas for how to get more out of Endurance during the next skill challenge.

10 New Ways to Use Endurance

  1. Remain conscious

  2. When reduced to 0 or fewer hit points, make an Endurance check as an immediate action to remain conscious.

    Success: You remain conscious but are dazed. If you are still at 0 or fewer hit points at the end of your next turn you fall unconscious and must make a death save.
    Failure: You are unable to remain conscious and suffer a -2 penalty to your first death save.

  3. Balance the load

  4. You check everyone’s equipment to ensure that their gear is packed in the best possible way. You look for ways to balance their load and eliminate undue stress from carrying an uneven pack.

    Success: You provide your allies with a +2 bonus on their first physical check relating to extended travel.
    Failure: You allies suffer -2 to their first physical check relating to extended travel.

  5. Stay awake

  6. Sometimes it’s just easier to have one guy stand guard while everyone else gets a good nights rest. You opt to forego sleep during the next extended rest.

    Success: You manage to remain awake and alert for the entire night. You shrug off any adverse affects of being tired. You still gain the full benefits of taking an extended rest.
    Failure: You manage to stay up all night, but suffer penalties for being tired. You do not gain any of the benefits associated with taking an extended rest.

  7. Endure elements

  8. You know how to survive the elements but the rest of your party is clueless. You can make an Endurance check (at +10 DC) on their behalf to stave off the ill effects of harsh environmental conditions of travel such as extreme heat, arctic cold, thinning air at high altitudes, etc.

    Success: You provide adequate assistance and your allies don’t have to make Endurance checks themselves.
    Failure: You didn’t do as good a job as you thought and your allies pay the price. Each PC you helped loses 1 healing surge.

  9. Hold your liquor

  10. Prove that you can consume more alcohol than anyone else.

    Note: Any drinking games should require multiple checks. Each failure results in a cumulative penalty making subsequent checks more difficult. The specific details are up to the DM.

    Success: You’re not drunk yet.
    Failure: You’re getting drunk

  11. Reduce your armor penalty

  12. As a minor action you make an Endurance check in an attempt to reduce your armor penalty.

    Success: You reduce your armor penalty by 1 until the end of your next turn.
    Failure: Your armor penalty remains unchanged and you lose 1 healing surge.

  13. Eliminate your armor’s speed penalty

  14. As a minor action you make an Endurance check in an attempt to eliminate your armor’s speed penalty.

    Success: You eliminate your armor’s speed penalty until the end of your next turn.
    Failure: Your speed remains unchanged and you lose 1 healing surge.

  15. Sleep in your armor

  16. Fearing an ambush in the middle of the night, you decide to sleep in your armor.

    Success: You get a full night’s rest and don’t suffer any ill effects from sleeping in your armor.
    Failure: You wake up stiff and sore. Sleeping in your armor may not have been such a good idea in retrospect. You lose two healing surges.

  17. Help a drowning ally

  18. Aid an ally who fails an Athletics check (swimming) or an Endurance check (holding their breath).

    Success: Your assistance prevents your ally from drowning. You manage to keep their head above water while staying afloat yourself.
    Failure: Your assistance prevents your ally from drowning. You manage to keep their head above water, but while keeping yourself afloat you take in some huge gulps of water and loose one healing surge.

  19. Iron stomach

  20. You taste someone’s food in order to test it for poison.

    Success: If the food is poisoned you avoid any ill effects.
    Failure: If the food is poisoned you suffer the ill effects.

Let us know what you think of these suggested uses of Endurance. If you’ve come up with new and creative ways to use Endurance, please share them.

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out all of our Skill Aides, including other entries in the Skill Focus series.

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1 Dawn Raven March 11, 2009 at 6:38 am

Not bad, these are essentially stunts for endurance. I may have to propose these to the players and see what they say..

2 Ameron March 11, 2009 at 7:53 am

@Dawn Raven

Thanks for stopping by Dungeon’s Master. I’m glad you liked these suggestions. You’re absolutely right, they are skill stunts.

Some of the players at my gaming table are having a lot of trouble coming up with creative uses for their best skills. I thought this kind of post would help them understand how versatile skills are in 4e.

My intention is to do an article like this for every skill. We’ve already covered Perception. Our next one is Heal, coming in the next couple of weeks.

3 elfbiter March 11, 2009 at 9:02 am

In fact, this gives me some ideas even if I’m not using D&D (any more)

4 Swordgleam March 11, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Our fighter would love those, especially the first one.

I think #3 needs a bit more detail in order not to be perhaps a little too strong. If there’s an encounter during the night, do you still get the benefits of an extended rest? I would think not.

With #10, I see a similar issue: the endurance check allowing you to avoid all problems associated with a specific action. I think perhaps a large bonus on the check to resist ill effects would be better. After all, you can’t shrug off hemlock just by being a total badass.

I like the armor speed penalty thing. I think you could extend it to overland travel, but it would have to carry some penalties even with success, or you’d negate the dwarf racial trait about armor and speed.

5 Ameron March 13, 2009 at 7:23 am

These are just suggestions of course and may still need some fleshing out to work. My group is still waiting for opportunities to play test them all.

I think your feedback is good and after re-reading #3 I agree that it can use more fine-tuning. I’m open to suggestion.

I agree that #10 should be tweaked as well. Perhaps a success should merely allow the taste tester a +2 to their save or Fort defense depending on the circumstance. Just because one guys says “I’ll tastes your food for poison” shouldn’t grant him temporary immunity. Good feedback.

6 Felonius May 12, 2009 at 11:08 am

Correct me if I’m wrong… but #8 is a moot point in 4e, which I assume you’re playing since you mention Healing Surges, etc. I haven’t found any rules regarding sleeping in armor in 4e…

I like the ideas of everything else, though. Overall, great ideas.

7 Ameron May 13, 2009 at 8:06 am

Although there doesn’t seem to be any rules in 4e for sleeping in your armor, as a DM I won’t let my players do it. Unless of course they’re willing to make a couple of skill checks in the morning or suffer some other negative consequence for being uncomfortable for 8 hours. It’s one of those situations where I think common sense trumps 4e game mechanics. As a plus for the PCs, I rarely ambush them while they’re sleeping so being unarmored doesn’t usually pose too many problems. However, I have thrown a couple of slightly lowered encounters at them in the middle of the night, but I’ve taken into consideration that they’ll have a sword and shield and not plate armor.

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