One of my players has the following power, which comes from Heroes of Shadow:

Ghost of the Rooftops Assassin Utility 6
At-Will (Special), Martial
Move Action, Personal

Effect: You climb or make a long jump, moving a number of squares up to your speed, without making an Athletics check.
Special: You can use this power only once per round.

There doesn't appear to be any limit on the difficulty of the climb. So, to take an extreme example, could this character climb up a polished crystal glass wall that is inclined backward without any equipment?

What about climbing along the ceiling like a fly... or spider?

  • \$\begingroup\$ your title makes this sound really opinion based, vs the rules focused question you seem to be asking, can you leave out the spiderman bit and focus on the rules? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 7, 2015 at 19:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JoshuaAslanSmith Is that better for you? \$\endgroup\$
    – DCShannon
    Jan 7, 2015 at 19:11

1 Answer 1


Yes... well almost.

Any Possible Climb Automatically Succeeds

The only way to represent how difficult an attempted climb is going to be is with the DC for the Athletics check.

However, the only reason you normally do an Athletics check when you climb is because the Climb action defined under the Athletics section in the Rules Compendium requires one.

Since the player is not using the Climb action, but instead Ghost of the Rooftops, no check is made. Therefore, it doesn't matter how difficult the climb is. If it is theoretically possible to climb, the player can climb.

DM Decides What is Possible

Of course, it's up to the DM to decide what qualifies as a 'possible' climb.

Since the power is Martial, and not magical, I'm assuming that the character is still using their fingers and toes to grip. Therefore, climbing a completely smooth surface might seem impossible. On the other hand, you could say that the friction from their fingerprints is so amazing that they just climb right up anyway.

Do what seems fun for your game. I told my player that he can climb like Spider-Man, and that should lead to some fun scenarios.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Wouldn't a more practical definition of possible actually involve the difficulty of the check and the skills of the character? For example, for a character with a Climb skill of 5 any check with a difficulty of 26+ (skill + a roll of 20 + 1) would be impossible for that character. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 8, 2015 at 14:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ I wouldn't say the character's Athletics bonus matters for determining the difficulty of the climb (that's the point of the power), but using the climbing DC to determine difficulty certainly makes sense. \$\endgroup\$
    – Brian S
    Jan 8, 2015 at 15:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HighlandRat I think that the point of the power is that the difficulty is not an issue. In particular, the character attempting the climb shouldn't be a factor in whether the climb is possible. Possible doesn't mean below a certain level of difficulty, it means possible. A force from below could pick up a 20-ton boulder, so lifting such a boulder is possible, even though no living human is currently strong enough to actually do so. \$\endgroup\$
    – DCShannon
    Jan 8, 2015 at 20:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DCShannon You seem to be assuming that's the case, but in your question you say that that there doesn't -appear- to be a limit on difficultly. Is there something in the text that makes you come to this conclusion? Because if there isn't it seems more likely that possibility should be determined in respect to the character, as it usually is in the game. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 9, 2015 at 15:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HighlandRat The text that leads me to that conclusion - actually the lack thereof - is in my answer. There's nothing in the rules anywhere to imply that there's any limit on the difficulty at all. If you can find something to support your assumption (and mine, initially) that there ought to be, then please share it. \$\endgroup\$
    – DCShannon
    Jan 9, 2015 at 18:53

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