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Depending on the level achieved there is the choice of class level, skill points, attribute points, and feats to be gained. In which order are these done?

The only one I can tell for sure is that the class level determines the skill points for that level.

But can a feat gained that level be taken in preparation for a prestige class taken that same level? Or can an attribute point be added before the feat that requires said attribute score?

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up vote 16 down vote accepted

The 3.5 Player's Handbook describes the process on p58ff:

  1. Choose Class
  2. Adjust base attack bonus
  3. Adjust base save bonus
  4. Adjust ability score
  5. Adjust skill points
  6. Select feats
  7. Select spells
  8. Add class features

Based on this order, you select your class first and then any feats later, so you would not be able to take a feat in preparation for a prestige class at the same level.

Since ability score comes before feat, however, you could gain the ability point and then select a feat you now qualify for. This is further indicated in the feat prerequisites, from the d20 SRD

Some feats have prerequisites. Your character must have the indicated ability score, class feature, feat, skill, base attack bonus, or other quality designated in order to select or use that feat. A character can gain a feat at the same level at which he or she gains the prerequisite.

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Note that the last line in the second quote means you can qualify for a feat with a spell or class feature you just gained, even if you are just getting them this level (i.e. after the feat), because feats say explicitly that you can qualify at the same level. Also, the DMG has a similar section for prestige classes which says you cannot take one the same level as you qualify for it, even if you met the prerequisite in some “zeroth” step before choosing a class (as far as I know, there are no examples of this, but I’m imagining a prerequisite of “Character level X”—first level’s at X+1). –  KRyan Feb 28 at 0:19
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I think some things can be considered properties of the character itself (feats and ability score increases in your example) and should therefore be first, as they have no dependency on class selection. Other traits vary with class, and should obviously be done after. From this, we find a logical sort method from fewest to most potential dependencies and adjusting to make sure dependent selections are made first. Following this, I would start with ability scores, then address feats, which may have ability requirements. Then class selection, followed by things dependent on class selection in the same way. Skill points, class based bonus feats, etc.

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