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I have a simple, yet complicated question regarding skill ranks and the initial trained bonus of +3. My question arose when one of my players stated that he was a Pale Master at level 5 because he had 8 ranks in Religion and qualified for the rest of the prerequisites. However, I am under the impression that you can only put a number of ranks in a skill that does not exceed total hit dice. The player then stated that he was able to get 8 ranks in Religion because of the +3 bonus. My question is: Does the +3 actually count as ranks even though they can exceed the total hit dice, or do they just count as a bonus that would fall under 'Misc Mod' on the character sheet?

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Hi Lost Echo, welcome to RPG.StackExchange! Please take a look at the About page. I've closed this excellent questions as duplicate because it's been asked before. –  C. Ross Mar 27 '13 at 23:22
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marked as duplicate by C. Ross Mar 27 '13 at 23:17

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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No. Only Ranks count as ranks, no other bonuses apply for qualification for "rank" pre-requisites.

The +3 bonus itself is a bonus not a skill rank.

In addition, each class has a number of favored skills, called class skills. It is easier for your character to become more proficient in these skills, as they represent part of his professional training and constant practice. You gain a +3 bonus on all class skills that you put ranks into. If you have more than one class and both grant you a class skill bonus, these bonuses do not stack.

Note that it says +3 bonus, not +3 skill ranks.

So; Only the ranks themselves count, indeed you don't even get the +3 bonus until you have one rank itself.

See also this question: What are class skills

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Thank you very much for the clarification! –  Lost Echo Mar 27 '13 at 22:50
    
Worth noting: for this exact reason, part of the conversion process for 3.5 to Pathfinder is to reduce the highest skill requirements on things by 3. –  KRyan Mar 27 '13 at 23:06
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