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If you have multiple classes and/or prestige classes, what happens to the lists of class skills you have? Do they exist seperately and you use them when you take a level of that skill, or are they all tossed onto one great heap as if you were a gestalt character?

Example: You are a Wizard 5/Rainbow Servant 4. You have just gained another level of Rainbow Servant, and want to put a skill point into Knowledge (Religion) because you want to qualify for the Contemplative prestige class later down the line. For a Wizard this is a class skill, but for the Rainbow Servant it is not. Can you take the extra point as if you were a Wizard, or is it a cross-class skill because it is not a class skill for the Rainbow Servant?

And to avoid some confusion, I do understand that your max ranks equate your character's total level + 3.

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Can I just comment that it's insane that the rainbow servant, a class that's all about adding cleric spells to your arcane spellcasting, doesn't have Knowledge (relgion) as a class skill? –  KRyan Jul 10 at 22:04
    
Regarding your edit: I don't think it's a good idea. This site (somehow, I'm shocked to discover it) doesn't have an answer to the question of multiclassing plus class skills, which is a common source of confusion. So I think it's a good thing to make this the canonical question on the subject. It's your question and you don't have to ask about multiclass characters' skill rank maximums, but I think it's useful to have both in one place. –  KRyan Jul 10 at 22:15
    
Going by what we know of the Couatl and their goddess, Jazirian, it's not. In 2e she's not a divine being in the way that the gods are: she's an entity predating the gods who created the Unity of Rings and the Rule of Three alongside her counterpart, Ahriman. Neither of them can give spells the same way the gods do, so the spells the Couatl grant come from some kind of other obscure source that allow mortals to harness the power of divinity. Though it's odd that such a secret only comes at the cost of Knowledge (Religion) 4... –  Thomas Jacobs Jul 10 at 22:25

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

Skill Point Cost: Only current class’s class skills

From Skills Summary

Each skill point you spend on a cross-class skill gets your character ½ rank in that skill. Cross-class skills are skills not found on your character’s class skill list.

From Player’s Handbook pg. 60.

Skill points must be spent according to the class that the multiclass character just advanced in.

Max Ranks: Once a class skill, always a class skill

From Skills Summary

Regardless of whether a skill is purchased as a class skill or a cross-class skill, if it is a class skill for any of your classes, your maximum rank equals your total character level + 3.

From Multiclass Characters

If a skill is a class skill for any of a multiclass character’s classes, then character level determines a skill’s maximum rank. (The maximum rank for a class skill is 3 + character level.)

If a skill is not a class skill for any of a multiclass character’s classes, the maximum rank for that skill is one-half the maximum for a class skill.

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Regarding the latter guideline (one-half the maximum for a class skill), I seem to recall that, at usual, it is rounding down. –  Matthieu M. Jul 21 at 19:53
    
@MatthieuM. Actually, no: here there would be no rounding. You could put in the half-rank for one skill point, in effect working towards that next rank on the next level. You would round down when adding your ranks to your skill check. –  KRyan Jul 21 at 19:55

You purchase the skills according to the description of the class in which you are advancing. You are indeed gaining proficiency as a Rainbow Servant and not a Wizard. Therefore you should treat Knowledge (Religion) as a cross-class skill in the scope of this level-up.

There is though an exception regarding the maximum skill you could reach, but it does confirm that the same skill can be bought as a class or cross-class, depending on the class you are leveling:

Regardless of whether a skill is purchased as a class skill or a cross-class skill, if it is a class skill for any of your classes, your maximum rank equals your total character level + 3. From SRD on Skills

So in theory you could have just 1 level of Wizard and have Skill level in Knowledge (Religion) amounting to your Character level +3, but it would require double the expense in skill points in every Rainbow Servant level-up.

The idea is that a skill is a class skill for a member of a class when advancing in that class, and not for a character. Imagine a barbarian, who learns Concentration and Spellcraft as class skills, because he happened to take one level of bard along the way - that is just not how it is supposed to work.

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I don't believe this is correct: From an earlier paragraph on the same page: "Class skills are the skills found on your character’s class skill list." [Emphasis mine.] Not the class currently being leveled up. Taken with the general rule that your character abilities are the sum total of your class abilities, as well as the distinction between "class level" and "character level" here and throughout the rules, I believe the correct interpretation is that a skill is a class skill if it's such for any of a character's classes. –  Kromey Jul 10 at 21:44
    
I think the purpose of the maximum rank is so that one can take 5 levels of Wizard, and then take one level of Rogue and put 9 points into lockpick all at once. That was my interpretation. –  Mooing Duck Jul 10 at 21:44
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@Kromey You're wrong. It's stated in multiple places that the skill point cost only considers your current class. There's even a feat (Able Learner, Races of Destiny) that fixes that (so class skills from previous classes only cost skill points as if class skills). –  KRyan Jul 10 at 21:55
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@Kromey Grammatic ambiguity. The intended emphasis should be "Class skills are the skills found on your character’s class skill list." [Emphasis mine.]. Does a character have a class skill list? I have never seen one. Does a character's class have a skill list? Most certainly, and skills on that list are considered class skills for that class. –  eimyr Jul 10 at 22:21
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@eimyr The list of class skills a character has would be the character's class skill list. It's how I and my groups have always read it (especially as the official character sheets have a simple box to check for "class skills"). I agree there's some ambiguity, and the SRD does nothing to clear that up; KRyan's quotation from the PHB, however, is crystal clear -- I and every group I've gamed with have all been doing it wrong. Oh well, live and learn! –  Kromey Jul 10 at 23:16

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