# Skill checks, can they go negative?

Example: Attempting to snipe with no perks means I get a -20 to my stealth check. When I roll the d20, can the result be negative, or is 0 the absolute minimum?

• @DoStuffZ he meant the check, not the DC Dec 12, 2014 at 9:21
• Just out of couriosity would it matter? If it was 0 or minus -20 you would still not pass the check. Dec 12, 2014 at 9:34
• Isn't a natural 1 still a possible success for a skill check?
– Erik
Dec 12, 2014 at 9:35
• @bennyboy Some skill checks are DC 0, but still present, like climbing a knotted rope along a wall. Dec 12, 2014 at 9:35
• @Erik yes. DoStuffZ is wrong on this part. Nat20/Nat1 only applies to attack rolls and saving throws. Dec 12, 2014 at 9:36

### It goes negative

This is a case of "the rules don't say otherwise". In particular, the Skills section has nothing to say about results being "low-capped" at 0.

Skills can be further modified by a wide variety of sources—by your race, by a class ability, by equipment, by spell effects or magic items, and so on. [...]

If the result of your skill check is equal to or greater than the difficulty class (or DC) of the task you are attempting to accomplish, you succeed. If it is less than the DC, you fail. Some tasks have varying levels of success and failure depending on how much your check is above or below the required DC. Some skill checks are opposed by the target's skill check. When making an opposed skill check, the attempt is successful if your check result exceeds the result of the target.

I would expect the rule to be found somewhere in this paragraph, but there's nothing.

Do note that some skills have DC 0 examples, like Climb

DC 0: A slope too steep to walk up, or a knotted rope with a wall to brace against.

This DC could never be failed without negative check results, e.g. due to low Strength, or the -5 penalty for accelerated climbing.

• DC can even go negative. A -5 DC can be passed every time except by someone working with significant impediments. Walking across a parking lot without a scooter might be DC -10, to use an IRL example. If you're disabled or carrying something bulky, it becomes an issue. Dec 12, 2014 at 16:37
• "Low capped" is a cute synonym for "floored." :) Dec 12, 2014 at 19:18
• Also note that tracking how far negative you go is important for opposed checks. I once passed a Move Silently check (it was 3.5, po-tay-to...) with a -2. Dec 12, 2014 at 22:08
• @Lexible I knew there was a real word for that... Dec 13, 2014 at 23:03