A character gains skill points at character creation (level 1) and each time it gains a level from 2 to 20. Epic levels do not grant skill points. During level up, skill points are spent to increase skill ranks. The final bonus for a skill check is skill ranks + modifiers.
Skill Points per Level
Skill points are gained each level, based on:
At character creation (level 1), a character gains x4 normal skill points. This is because a level 1 character can have 4 ranks per class skill. Each subsequent level increases the maximum skill ranks by 1.
In general, each skill point per level will let you keep one skill at maximum ranks.
Skill Points by Class
- 2 per level for Clerics, Favored Souls, Fighters, Paladins, Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards.
- 4 per level for Barbarians, Artificers, Alchemists, Druids and Monks.
- 6 per level for Bards and Rangers
- 8 per level for Rogues.
Skill Points for Multiclassed Characters
Class skill points are gained based on the class currently being advanced.
Example: An elf with Int 10 and 2 levels of rogue has 40 skill points (4x8 + 8).
At level 3, the elf takes a level of fighter (rog2/ftr1, level 3 character). She gains 2 skill points for a total of 42 (4x8 + 8 + 2). The x4 bonus applies to character level 1 (character creation), not class level.
At level 4, the elf takes another level of rogue (rog3/ftr1, level 4 character). She gains another 8 skill points for a total of 50 (4x8 + 8 + 2 + 8).
If a level of rogue is planned it should be taken at level 1, to gain maximum benefit from the x4 bonus skill points.
Skill Points for Intelligence
Skill points per level is modified by the Intelligence modifier. Each +1 of Intelligence gains an extra skill point per level. Each -1 of Intelligence loses a skill point. A character will always gain at least 1 skill point per level. These values are x4 at level 1.
When calculating skill points, your intelligence score is calculated based on
- score at character creation
- Intelligence increases during level up
- Bonuses from a Tome of Clear Thought
Modifications to Intelligence from Enhancements, equipped items or other temporary effects do not contribute to skill points. If you can remove the bonus by anything short of reincarnation, it does not apply to skill points.
Racial modifiers to Intelligence (Drow, Sun Elf, Gnome, Deep Gnome: +2; Half-Orc and Wood Elf: -2) are applied at character creation and are included in the Intelligence score used to calculate skill points.
Human Skill Point Bonus
Spending Skill Points
- Each skill point buys 1 rank in a class skill
- Each skill point buys 0.5 ranks in a cross-class skill
Maximum skill ranks is level + 3 for class skills and (level + 3) / 2 for cross-class skills. Skills can have half-ranks, but these are rounded down (ignored) when calculating the skill bonus. At level 20 you can have a maximum of 23 ranks in any class skill and 11.5 in any cross-class skill (although the final 0.5 will do nothing, and should really be used for something else.)
All skill points must be spent during level up. You cannot save them. Skill points are gained and spent according to current Intelligence values. Increases to Intelligence gained after the current level up process do not retrospectively grant additional skill points, but will apply for future level gains. For this reason, if your build includes Intelligence as an important ability score and you intend to use some of your ability score increases on it, it is worth doing so as early as possible to maximise the skill points you can gain from it.
Skill ranks for multiclass characters
Multiclass characters purchase ranks using the costs for the class currently being advanced, but maximum ranks is level + 3 if the skill is a class skill for any trained class.
Example: A human rogue 1 advances to level 2 as a wizard (rogue 1, wizard 1). She previously had 4 ranks in Disable Device. Because Disable Device is a class skill for rogues, maximum ranks is 5. But because she is advancing as a wizard, she gains only 0.5 ranks per skill point so would need to spend 2 skill points to keep Disable Device at maximum ranks. If she later advanced as a rogue, she would only need to spend 1 skill point per rank.
Multiclass characters may need to choose whether to:
- delay advancing skills when cross-class and then spend lots of skill points at once to catch up the ranks as class skills, or
- spend double skill points and advance them as cross-class skills, keeping them at maximum ranks