Through a series of poor decisions, my players have managed to get themselves trapped in a tomb with a full hard encounter of enemies coming down the stairs and another full medium encounter at the bottom.

They're concerned that they may die, which is a very real possibility at this point.

One of the players is playing an Assassin (Executioner) who has a daily ability that lets him turn invisible. He's trying to figure out how he can get out when we play again next week if everybody starts going down. He's mentioned that he might try to turn invisible and use a wall run to get past the enemies blocking the bottom of the stairs.

He has very high acrobatics and Ghost on the Rooftops (which lets him skip the athletics check for long jumps and climbing when moving up to his speed).

This seems like a reasonable idea, I'm just not sure how I'm going to handle it if he tries it. Getting up onto the wall seems like an acrobatics check, but then running fast enough to not fall off immediately seems like an athletics check.. I guess?

How should I handle this? If you can cite something in published material that would be best. A good second option would be an instance of this occurring in a professional game, like how Chris Perkins handled it one time. Failing those, maybe you did this in one of your games one time?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there a reason not to just use a Athletics(climb) check to model the whole movement? The effect is the same, the narration is all that changes. \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Jan 7, 2015 at 18:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Wall run to point A, leap to wall B as you fall off, lather rinse repeat. The question is, will the encounter mask the sound or will the enemies hear/locate him? \$\endgroup\$
    – JohnP
    Jan 7, 2015 at 18:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @waxeagle I hadn't really thought about modeling it as a climb. I suppose you could look at it as climbing with his feet. This has prompted another question: rpg.stackexchange.com/q/55055/12011 \$\endgroup\$
    – DCShannon
    Jan 7, 2015 at 19:09
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I would advise against trying to model it "realistically". You only get one strong step off a wall. Watch some parkour videos and you'll quickly see what I mean. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 7, 2015 at 19:17
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @WesleyObenshain This resulted in me watching a video of a guy run 12 feet along a wall, taking three steps, and sort of tapping a fourth. \$\endgroup\$
    – DCShannon
    Jan 7, 2015 at 19:41

1 Answer 1


Here are a couple suggestions depending on your playstyle. I'm leaning towards using a single Acrobatics roll, but I'll run these options by my players if/when they attempt it and see which they'd prefer.

Multi-Roll Method

If you really want to simulate all the steps of this action, you'll need multiple rolls.

After some input in comments and reviewing a few videos to better understand how wall running actually works, I think my initial suggestion was backwards.

Jump Up

A wall run starts with a jump up to the height at which the person is going to run, followed by a series of steps along the wall and a final jump off the wall.

Jumping up to a certain height is Athletics.

Run Along

The steps on the wall must be precisely angled so that they don't push the person away from the wall, and even more precisely angled to actually help the person stay up and move forward.

Precise foot movements are Acrobatics.

Jump Off

Then there is a final push-off from the wall, which is essentially a long jump.

Long jumps are athletics.


The mechanics for high jumps and long jumps are well understood, and don't require further discussion here.

So, I think the question would be: how far does the character get to run along the wall?

Here, the rules get vague and leave it up to you to pick a DC... somehow. I figure it would make sense to model it along the long jump rules, but using Acrobatics instead of Athletics.

The world long jump record is 29 ft 41⁄4 in, or about 6 squares. This is from a running start. That would require an Athletics check of 30. The world record for a wall run is about 12 feet. Wall running is not an Olympic event like the long jump, so let's optimistically assume that if it were, and countries around the world were spending absurd time and money on finding/creating the best wall runner, someone could get 15 feet, i.e. 3 squares.

So, I'll say you need an acrobatics check of 30 to get three squares along the wall, which means divide the result by 10.

So, if your Athletics and Acrobatics are similar, you could actually get further jumping. If however your Acrobatics is much higher, like my player's character's is, then wall running might be a better option.


High jump Athletics check for height, Acrobatics check divided by 10 for distance along the wall, long jump Athletics check for distance jumped after leaving the wall.

One-Roll Method

Not everybody wants to roll multiple times for a single action, and doing that habitually can slow the game down.

As Wesley Obenshain has pointed out, the steps on the wall don't really help much. It's mostly just a long jump. So, you could just assume they make it up onto and off of the wall fine, and have them roll a long jump to see how far they get along the wall. If you need to determine how high up the wall they got, use the Distance Cleared Vertically section of the long jump rules in the Rules Compendium, and figure they're that high up.

However, since the whole point of this is that, in the player's mind, this is an acrobatic action rather than an athletic action, I think it would be perfectly reasonable to allow them to roll Acrobatics instead of Athletics.


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