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According to Designer George Ziets , the survival skill "expands the range you can see hostile creatures on the minimap, while in Tracking mode. Any character can activate Tracking mode, but only characters with the Track feat and points in the Survival skill are going to get much value from it."
3.5 Track Edit
Benefit: To find tracks or to follow them for 1 mile requires a successful survival check. You must make another survival check every time the tracks become difficult to follow. You move at half your normal speed (or at your normal speed with a –5 penalty on the check, or at up to twice your normal speed with a –20 penalty on the check). The DC depends on the surface and the prevailing conditions, see below for details.
If you fail a Survival check, you can retry after 1 hour (outdoors) or 10 minutes (indoors) of searching.
Normal: Without this feat, you can use the Survival skill to find tracks, but you can follow them only if the DC for the task is 10 or lower. Alternatively, you can use the Search skill to find a footprint or similar sign of a creature’s passage using the DCs given above, but you can’t use Search to follow tracks, even if someone else has already found them.
Special: Rangers, and Gray Orcs receive this feat for free and do not need to select it. Similarly Gray Orcs are able to track hidden or invisible enemies on the minimap regardless of their level, or stealth abilities. However revealing them once you track them down on the minimap requires the usual Spot/Listen checks.
Survival check DC based on surface Edit
|Very soft ground||5|
Very Soft Ground: Any surface (fresh snow, thick dust, wet mud) that holds deep, clear impressions of footprints.
Soft Ground: Any surface soft enough to yield to pressure, but firmer than wet mud or fresh snow, in which a creature leaves frequent but shallow footprints.
Firm Ground: Most normal outdoor surfaces (such as lawns, fields, woods, and the like) or exceptionally soft or dirty indoor surfaces (thick rugs and very dirty or dusty floors). The creature might leave some traces (broken branches or tufts of hair), but it leaves only occasional or partial footprints.
Hard Ground: Any surface that doesn’t hold footprints at all, such as bare rock or an indoor floor. Most streambeds fall into this category, since any footprints left behind are obscured or washed away. The creature leaves only traces (scuff marks or displaced pebbles).
Condition modifiers to to the Survival check Edit
|Condition||Survival DC Modifier|
|Every three creatures in the group being tracked||–1|
|Every 24 hours since the trail was made||+1|
|Every hour of rain since the trail was made||+1|
|Fresh snow cover since the trail was made||+10|
|Tracked party hides trail (and moves at half speed)||+5|
Also the size of the creatures being tracked applies a modifier as follows:
- Fine : +8
- Diminutive : +4
- Tiny : +2
- Small : +1
- Medium : +0
- Large : –1
- Huge : –2
- Gargantuan : –4
- Colossal : –8
For a group of mixed sizes, apply only the modifier for the largest size category.
Poor visibility may add a modifier as follows:
- Overcast or moonless night : +6
- Moonlight : +3
- Fog or precipitation : +3
Apply only the largest modifier for Poor visibility