The Skill Check is used when a character wishes to accomplish something that is not otherwise covered by a rule.
Examples may include scouting ahead, hunting for food, picking a lock or researching an ancient text.
Skill Checks should be used when there is some risk, challenge or threat.
If the characters are in no danger, have no time limits and face no consequences of failure, their intended action succeeds.
Likewise, tasks that aren't particularly important to the story or a character goal can often just be allowed to work without a Skill Check.
A Skill Check can be handled in one of three ways:
Option 1 - Dice
The player may roll dice to bypass the Skill Check.
For each Ability Score, the character will have a Skill Check value equal to the score minus 3.
For example, if my Constitution is a 13, my Skill Check value is 10.
These values should be recorded on the character sheet, rather than calculated during play.
Any applicable bonuses are added to the Skill Check value when testing.
"Difficulty" modifiers may be applied at the GM's discretion but the GM is encouraged to only do so in exceptional or dramatic circumstances.
Roll 3D6. If the roll is equal or lower than the Skill Check value, the character has bypassed the Check.
Failure will incur any appropriate consequences.
Option 2 - Roleplay
If the player can convincingly explain how they will solve a situation, then the GM may permit them to bypass the Skill Check without rolling.
Examples may include outlining how the character disarms a trap or narrating a conversation with a Non Player Character.
The GM may either approve or deny the Check outright or if unconvinced or uncertain may let the player attempt a dice roll to pass with a +3 bonus.
Option 3 - Struggle
The player may offer up a negative consequence.
If the GM approves, the character suffers the consequence but bypasses the Skill Check.
For example, if bluffing your way past a guard, you may offer that the guard lets you go but will become suspicious and pursue in a few minutes.
Unless the GM judges the consequence to be uninteresting or too trivial, this will bypass the Check.
Unless exceptional circumstances exist, a given encounter, scene, location or situation should not demand more than 3 Skill Checks.
Once that limit has been reached, further complications in the same encounter, scene or location should either succeed or fail automatically based on the GM's decision.
This rule is intended to keep the game moving and ensure that you only Check when significant and interesting things are at stake.
Don't roll dice for trivial problems.
If you consistently bump up against this limit, it may be a good indication that you are gate-keeping too many things behind Skill Checks.
You may opt to not use this rule during your initial plays of the game.