Skills

Skills represent some of the most basic and yet most fundamental abilities the character possesses. As a character advances in level, they can gain new skills and improve their existing skills.

Acquiring Skills

Each level, a character gains a number of skill ranks dependent upon their class plus their Intelligence modifier. Investing a rank in a skill represents a measure of training in that skill. Character's can never have more ranks in a skill than their total number of Hit Dice. In addition, each class has a number of favored skills, called class skills. It is easier for a character to become more proficient in these skills, as they represent part of his professional training and constant practice. Characters gain a +3 bonus on all class skills that they have ranks allocated to. If a character has more than one class and both grant a class skill bonus, these bonuses do not stack.

The number of skill ranks a character gains when taking a level in one of the base classes is shown on Table: Skill Ranks. Humans gain 1 additional skill rank per class level. Characters who take a level in a favored class have the option of gaining 1 additional skill rank or an additional hit point. If they select a level in a new class, all of its class skills are automatically added to their list of class skills, and a character gains a +3 bonus on these skills if they have ranks in that skill.

Skill Checks

When character uses a skill, they aren't guaranteed success. In order to determine success, whenever they attempt to use a skill, they must make a skill check.

Each skill rank grants a +1 bonus on checks made using that skill. When a character makes a skill check, they roll 1d20 and then add their ranks and the appropriate ability score modifier to the result of this check. If the skill they are using is a class skill (and the character has invested ranks into that skill), the character gains a +3 bonus on the check. If they are not trained in the skill (and if the skill may be used untrained), they may still attempt the skill, but they use only the bonus (or penalty) provided by the associated ability score modifier to modify the check. Skills can be further modified by a wide variety of sources - by their race, by a class ability, by equipment, by spell effects or magic items, and so on.

Taking a 10 and Taking a 20

A skill check represents an attempt to accomplish some goal, usually while under some sort of time pressure or distraction. Sometimes, though, a character can use a skill under more favorable conditions, increasing the odds of success.

Taking 10: When a character is not in immediate danger or distracted, they may choose to take 10. Instead of rolling 1d20 for the skill check, calculate the result as if the character had rolled a 10. For many routine tasks, taking 10 makes them automatically successful. Distractions or threats (such as combat) make it impossible for a character to take 10. In most cases, taking 10 is purely a safety measure - the character knows (or expects) that an average roll will succeed but fear that a poor roll might fail, so the character elects to settle for the average roll (a 10). Taking 10 is especially useful in situations where a particularly high roll wouldn't help.

Taking 20: When a character has plenty of time, the character is faced with no threats or distractions, and the skill being attempted carries no penalties for failure, they can take 20. In other words, if a player rolls a d20 enough times, eventually they will get a 20. Instead of rolling 1d20 for the skill check, just calculate result as if you had rolled a 20.

Taking 20 means the character is trying until they get it right, and it assumes that you fail many times before succeeding. Taking 20 takes 20 times as long as making a single check would take (usually 2 minutes for a skill that takes 1 round or less to perform).

Since taking 20 assumes that the character will fail many times before succeeding, the character would automatically incur any penalties for failure before they could complete the task (hence why it is generally not allowed with skills that carry such penalties). Common take 20 skills include Disable Device (when used to open locks), Escape Artist, and Perception (when attempting to find traps).

Ability Checks and Caster Level Checks: The normal take 10 and take 20 rules apply for ability checks. Neither rule applies to concentration checks or caster level checks.

Skill Ranks

Class Skill Ranks per Level
Alchemist4 + int modifier
Arcanist2 + int modifier
Barbarian4 + int modifier
Bard6 + int modifier
Bloodrager4 + int modifier
Brawler4 + int modifier
Cavalier4 + int modifier
Cleric2 + int modifier
Cowboy4 + int modifier
Druid4 + int modifier
Fighter2 + int modifier
Gunslinger4 + int modifier
Hunter6 + int modifier
Inquisitor6 + int modifier
Investigator6 + int modifier
Magus2 + int modifier
Monk4 + int modifier
Ninja8 + int modifier
Oracle4 + int modifier
Paladin2 + int modifier
Ranger6 + int modifier
Rogue8 + int modifier
Samurai4 + int modifier
Shaman4 + int modifier
Skald4 + int modifier
Slayer6 + int modifier
Soldier2 + int modifier
Sorcerer2 + int modifier
Summoner2 + int modifier
Swashbuckler4 + int modifier
Warpriest2 + int modifier
Witch2 + int modifier
Wizard2 + int modifier

Skill Check Bonues

Skill Skill Check is Equal To*
Untrained 1d20 + ability modifier + racial modifier
Trained 1d20 + skill ranks + ability modifier + racial modifier
Trained Class Skill 1d20 + skill ranks + ability modifier + racial modifier + 3
* Armor check penalty applies to all Strength- and Dexterity-based skill checks.

Skills

Skill descriptions adhere to the following guidelines.

Skill Name: The skill name line includes the following information.

Key Ability: The abbreviation of the ability whose modifier applies to the skill check.

Trained Only: If this notation is included in the skill name line, you must have at least 1 rank in the skill to use it. If this notation is omitted, the skill can be used untrained (with a rank of 0). If any special notes apply to trained or untrained use, they are covered in the Untrained section (see below).

Armor Check Penalty: If this notation is included in the skill name line, an armor check penalty applies (see Equipment) to checks using this skill. If this entry is absent, an armor check penalty does not apply.

Description: The skill name line is followed by a general description of what using the skill represents.

Check: What a character can do with a successful skill check and the check's Difficulty Class (DC).

Action: The type of action using the skill requires, or the amount of time required for a check.

Try Again: Any conditions that apply to successive attempts to use the skill successfully. If the skill doesn't allow you to attempt the same task more than once, or if failure carries an inherent penalty (such as with the Climb skill), you can't take 20. If this paragraph is omitted, the skill can be retried without any inherent penalty other than the additional time required.

Special: Any extra facts that apply to the skill, such as special effects deriving from its use or bonuses that certain characters receive because of class, feat choices, or race.

Restriction: The full utility of certain skills is restricted to characters of certain classes. This entry indicates whether any such restrictions exist for the skill.

Untrained: This entry indicates what a character without at least 1 rank in the skill can do with it. If this entry doesn't appear, it means that the skill functions normally for untrained characters (if it can be used untrained) or that an untrained character can't attempt checks with this skill (for skills that are designated Trained Only).