Skull & Shackles
Ability Checks: Ability checks will be conducted in a more “realistic” manner. For example, in order to break a door or recall a piece of previously heard information, the player will not roll a d20 to add to their ability score. Instead, the character will either succeed or fail, based purely on the appropriate ability score itself, and DCs will be adjusted accordingly. For opposed checks, which can have more varied results, characters will use their ability scores as normal, adding only a d6, instead of a d20. This way, someone with 20 Dexterity will always outbalance a clumsy creature with 6 Dexterity, but may be bested by someone with 16 Dexterity—inferior, but still a respectable score.
Danger: Your adventure will likely take place entirely, or largely, within the Shackles region of Golarion, which will serve as a sandbox environment where potential friends, foes, and challenges of all degrees of power and difficulty reside. It will be up to you to decide for which ports and waters you will set sail, so beware of not only the potential rewards you may find, but dangers as well.
Channel Energy: Rather than choosing channeled positive/negative energy to either heal OR harm, channeled energy will automatically heal and/or harm all applicable targets within its range (the Selective Channeling feat still functions normally).
Critical Hits and Critical Fumbles: Critical hits will be threatened and confirmed normally. However, in order to reflect the training, experience, and heroic nature of the characters in this adventure path, provided a character possesses the Weapon Focus feat for the weapon being used, a Natural 1 on an attack die will result in a Critical Fumble only if the subsequent fumble confirmation roll is also a Natural 1.
Weapon Focus: Normally, a Natural 20 on an attack roll results in an automatic hit, regardless of the final attack result. In order to increase the level of “realism”, this will now only apply to weapons for which the wielder possesses the Weapon Focus feat and the final attack result is within 5 or less of the target’s AC. If the Greater Weapon Focus feat is taken later, a Natural 20 will result in an automatic hit, regardless of the final attack’s result in relation to target AC.
Skill Focus: Normally, a Natural 1 on a skill check results in an automatic failure, regardless of the final check result. In order to reflect the training and heroic nature of the characters in this adventure path, a Natural 1 on a skill check will not result in automatic failure, provided the character attempting the check possesses the Skill Focus feat for the corresponding skill.
Ship-to-Ship Combat: Instead of the rules provided in the Skull & Shackles Player’s Guide and Adventure Path, we’ll skim over ship combat (which is usually merely a prelude to boarding) and proceed more directly to the boarding/crew combat stage, when appropriate.
Other: If there are any additional changes you would like to see, just let me know.