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1st I am ONLY looking for RAW answers, I have plenty of my own logical reasonings for the answer should be what I think it should be so I don't need more of those. Please read the whole question to get a full understanding of why the question is being asked.

In UA, under Variant Classes the rules state:

"...Each fully detailed variant has entries for one or more of the following topics. If an entry does not appear, use the material for the class as presented in the Player’s Handbook."

Class Skills: Additions or subtractions from the class skill list, and/or changes in the number of skill points gained per level.


Now when we skip down to the Cloistered Cleric we see (emphasis mine):

Class Skills: The cloistered cleric’s class skill list includes Decipher Script, Speak Language, and all Knowledge skills (from the Knowledge domain, see below). The cloistered cleric gains skill points per level equal to 6 + Int modifi er (and has this number ×4 at 1st level).

The wording is important because it does not say "Add" or "Replace" it just says includes. If we go to the dictionary it says: Includes: "comprise or contain as part of a whole". So we see that this wording doesn't explicitly exclude the original clerics skills but it also doesn't explicitly include them and is at best ambiguous in itself.

So, to solve the mystery, lets compare it to another class:
Fighter Variant: Thug has the following entry (again, Emphasis Mine):

Class Skills: Add the following skills to the fighter’s class skill list: Bluff, Gather Information, Knowledge (local), and Sleight of Hand. The thug gains skill points per level equal to 4 + Int modifier (and has this number ×4 at 1st level).

The other variant classes either follow this same "Add/Remove" skills or say replace skill X with skill y. So, why is the Cloistered Cleric different? The only conclusion that could be drawn from the RAW is that the list ONLY includes those listed and now excludes those from the original Cleric's list. Of course, the flavor behind the Cloistered Cleric contradicts this so I believe that the RAI was for them to be ADDED to the list.

Bottom Line: RAW, Does the Cloistered Cleric's Skill list include the original Cleric's Skills as well (Heal, Concentration, etc) or does it now ONLY include the new list (Decipher Script, Speak Language & all Knowledges)? Has this been errata'd or addressed by WotC elsewhere?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 15 down vote accepted

The word include indicates a subset: every element that is included appears in the including set.

So the statement about the cloistered cleric’s class skills is that the given list, “Decipher Script, Speak Language, and all Knowledge skills (from the Knowledge domain, see below),” is a subset of the full set cloistered cleric class skills. This explicitly does not tell us whether or not this is the complete list: the word includes means that these skills definitely are present, but does not say whether or not anything else is also present.

However, the statement that the class operates as normal for that class unless otherwise specified does tell us about the complete skill set: it also includes the original cleric skill list.

So the complete list must include both the original cleric skill list, as well as the specifically named skills. They are, in effect, added. Which is consistent with the description of how skills may be changed: variants may list “Additions or subtractions from the class skill list,” but the rules do not allow for the possibility of outright replacement. Only additions and subtractions are allowed. Since nothing in the cloistered cleric description explicitly subtracts any of the original cleric class skills, the cloistered cleric has each as a class skill.

Would it have been clearer if they’d just said “add”? Yes. I don’t know why they didn’t. But despite the lack of clarity here, the rules still amount to the same thing.

TL;DR: Cloistered clerics have all the cleric class skills, plus a few more

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+1, and I would also like to add that "add" and "include" can be used as synomyns. –  Thales Sarczuk Jun 9 at 13:56
    
I see your logic, it's the same logic I used. Maybe I can best state paraphrase my thought as a different Question: @KRyan "Does your name include the letters K R y a n?" –  Ben-Jamin Jun 13 at 1:48
    
@Ben-Jamin Yes, it does. The statement that "my name includes the letters K y n" is also true, however: includes indicates a subset. So we know that what's included is in the set, but we don't know if that's the whole set or if there are more things in the set from that statement. The other statements regarding how variants work, however, indicate other skills that belong in the set, i.e. the usual cleric class skills. –  KRyan Jun 13 at 1:51
    
There actually are several instances of "Replace" x with y, but it doesnt actually say that in this case. The lack of clarity is what caused the dispute and honestly, if you couldn't tell already I AGREE with exactly what you're saying but in order to solidify the argument was hoping that it was explicitly worded somewhere. –  Ben-Jamin Jun 13 at 2:59

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