Wizards have a somewhat limited pick of really useful skills: Concentration and Spellcraft are of course mandatory, Decipher Script and Knowlege (arcana) are good ideas as well, but what about the others? Should you pour them all into your knowledge skills or should you cross-class into some others? Or perhaps take Able Learner and pick whatever you want?
closed as too broad by Ernir, Jack Lesnie, Colin D, MadMAxJr, doppelgreener Aug 5 '14 at 10:23
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It barely matters.
Concentration is mandatory, spellcraft and knowledge (arcana) are expected and useful. The other “big six” knowledges (dungeoneering, local, nature, religion, the planes – the ones that can identify creatures and their weaknesses) are always nice, and they’re in-class so why not?
Beyond that, it doesn’t really matter. Decipher script might come up once or twice in a campaign, but comprehend languages or tongues tend to be useful anyway. Same for the other knowledge skills. Craft has pretty good saving rates (⅓ cost), but takes forever and most of the things you can make with it aren’t that expensive anyway. Profession is worthless.
Cross-class, the only really good skills are autohypnosis, diplomacy, listen, spot, tumble, and use magic device. None use intelligence, and you have the cross-class rank maximum, so you probably won’t do any of them well, though. At high levels, autohypnosis, tumble, and use magic device have static DCs that you can probably hit reliably. When you can, 5 ranks in Balance is really nice for avoiding being flat-footed while balancing, and 5 ranks in Bluff gets you the +2 synergy bonus on quite a few nice skills.
But you’ll probably have quite a few ranks to play with, what with your huge intelligence, and they’re not very valuable to you, so feel free to do whatever you want with them. Most of the effects will be obviated with spells anyway.
It really, really depends upon what your wizard's concept is. There's so many different ways of building a wizard that it's hard to give you just a 'what skills to pick?'
Is it a land-based game? Ride skill might be useful. Are you a wizard on a pirate ship? Better take swim and/or profession: sailor.
Are you generating a battle mage wizard - ready to just start slinging fireballs and whatnot around? This, to me, is the weakest wizard concept, but you might want to have knowledge skills towards understanding what monsters are vulnerable or protected against which elemental energies. You might want to have professions or knowledges to lend itself to war tactics. And devoting skill ranks towards actually noticing things is always, always useful.
Are you generating an artificer wizard - always ready with the right tool for the right job? Then you might want appraise, use magic item, and a whole plethora of craft skills.
Are you generating an illusionist wizard? You might want a lot of performance skills to supplement your illusions.
'Wizard' is a class with SO MANY possibilities - you need to narrow down your focus before you can determine what skills will be useful for you.