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Skip Navigation LinksHigh Fantasy HERO>Conversions>D&D>D&D 3rd Edition>DM to GM>Skill Conversions
Conversion Resource
FROM: D&D 3e
TO: HERO System 5th Edition
The D&D and HERO System Skill Lists line up pretty well, and it should generally be pretty clear what the HERO System equivalent is to a D&D Skill. A few exceptions include:
  • Balance: A literal translation of this ability would be Environment Movement Levels to offset penalties for narrow surfaces, or else a use of the Breakfall Skill. The Breakfall Skill is recommended.
  • Bluff: Aspects of this Skill fall under several of the Interaction Skills; however Persuasion is generally the closest fit if you are on a budget. The Combat application of Bluff to do Feints is best handled using a new Skill introduced in The Ultimate Skill called Feint.
  • Climb: This maps directly to the Climbing Skill in the HERO System. However, if a Character has an exceptionally high Climbing Skill, 15 or more Ranks for instance, the GM might allow the Character to simply buy the Clinging Power, limited to not allow clinging to ceilings and similar over the top abilities.
  • Concentration: This Skill has no real parallel in the HERO System, but the Power Skill could be adapted to this purpose if you chose. The conversions of the various D&D Magic Systems do not make use of Concentration, so you can ignore it entirely if you like (and your GM concurs).
  • Craft: Craft Skills typically map to Professional Skills (PS) on a one for one basis. The Poison aspects of Craft are best handled by a new Skill introduced in The Ultimate Skill called Poisoning.
  • Decipher Script: This could be modeled many ways in the HERO System, but the Cryptography Skill is probably the most straightforward way to handle it.
  • Diplomacy: Conversation is the closest match for this Skill.
  • Disable Device: Security Systems is the closest match for this Skill. However since this is primarily a Rogue ability this is covered in more detail in the Rogue Conversion document.
  • Escape Artist: Contortionist  is the closest match for this Skill.
  • Gather Information: This is primarily a function of Conversation (and role-playing) in the HERO System. However depending on the element of society one is moving in either High Society or Streetwise would also be useful, and Deduction would be a good related Skill to make sense out of the information gained.
  • Heal: Paramedics is the closest match for this Skill.
  • Hide & Move Silently: Both these Skills are covered by Stealth in the HERO System. However since most Characters that have one have both it is recommended that they take Concealment for their Hide equivalent and Stealth for their Move Silently equivalent. This is not an exact conversion, but the two abilities go well with one another in the HERO System. Since this is primarily a Rogue ability it is covered in more detail in the Rogue Conversion document.
  • Intimidate: There isn't an Intimidate Skill in the HERO System, but the idea of a PRE Attack fills that role. Buy 1 point of PRE as a Power with the Limitation "Offensive Use Only" for each Rank in Intimidate.
  • Jump: There is no direct Skill equivalent for this ability. Some aspects of it could be covered by the Acrobatics ability, or a Character could just buy a few more inches of Leaping, and / or with GM permission the Accurate Adder for their innate Leaping. Recommend that you simply equate every four (4) ranks of Jumping with 1 point of extra Leap.
  • Perform: Depending on the nature of performance this could be the Acting Skill or one or more Professional Skills related to a particular form of performance. Additionally a new Skill introduced in The Ultimate Skill called Music Instrument Familiarity is relevant as well.
  • Sense Motive: This Skill doesn't have an exact match in the HERO System; its most closely an aspect of Conversation. However just for ease of use and to avoid doubling up on Conversation (which is a stronger match for other Skills), the Interrogation Skill is recommended; the GM should allow a casual "Interrogation" in the form of normal conversation to get a feel for if they are being lied to.
  • Search: This ability does not have a pure corollary in the HERO System. Some of its functionality is covered by PER, but in general either the Concealment Skill (which is useful both for hiding and detecting hidden things) or a custom Detect or Sense Power are appropriate for modeling this Skill. Since this is primarily a Rogue ability this is covered in more detail in the Rogue Conversion document.
  • Spellcraft: A conversion of this Skill is provided here. However, the individual Magic System Conversion documents discuss its use vs. the use of KS based "School Skills". Consult with your GM prior to converting this Skill.
  • Spot and Listen: both of these abilities are a function of the Perception (PER) ability that all Character have in the HERO System; to convert a high Spot and or Listen simply buy Enhanced PER Bonuses; levels usable with 1 Sense Group cost 2 Character Points, while levels usable with all Sense Groups cost 3 Character Points. If a Character has levels in both Spot and Listen, where possible combine 2 point levels with either Sight and Hearing together for 3 point All PER levels.
  • Swim: As with Jump, this does not have a Skill equivalent in the HERO System. The most direct conversion is to simply take one or more extra inches of Swimming for your Character.
  • Tumble: Acrobatics most closely matches the functionality of this Skill.
  • Use Magic Device: There is no corollary for this Skill in the HERO System. As its rooted in a concept that has no real equivalent in the HERO System, you can either ignore it entirely or else discuss alternatives with your GM.
  • Use Rope: There is no corollary to this Skill in the HERO System, but  PS: Rope Use could certainly be taken as an equivalent.
Skill Ranks are harder to convert due to the differences between the d20 linear probability model and the HERO System Bell Curve probability model. In the HERO System the greatest benefit is gained in the first step from an 11- to a 12-.
However, as a rough rule of thumb you can divide the D&D 3e Skill Levels (not counting any stat bonuses) by four (4) and buy that many +1 bonuses with the equivalent Skill in the HERO System. As usual, round in the Character's favor.
1-5 Base Skill 3
6-9 Base Skill +1 5
10-13 Base Skill +2 7
14-17 Base Skill +3 9
18-21 Base Skill +4 11
etc ... ...

*These costs reflect standard Skills; some Skills such as Knowledge and Professional Skills have a variant pricing structure.

For D&D Skills that translate into HERO System Skills (rather than some other mechanic) don't take a bonus for the HERO System Skill if the D&D version has five (5) or less Ranks.
The adjoining chart summarizes the typical costs.
(Base Skill Bonus-4) / 4 = +1 to HERO System Skill
Once a Character's Skills have been converted, if they have +1 levels with four Skills, consider taking an 8 point All Skill level rather than a +1 with each of the four Skills. If a Character has five or more Skills that have a +1 level, consider buying a 10 point Overall Level instead of a +1 with each of the Skills. This is usually more efficient and flexible, though there are some Skills where you might prefer the +1 bonuses, such as Stealth and Breakfall.