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In Pathfinder do class skill bonuses count as ranks, especially for the purpose of prestige classing, or are they a generic bonus?

If they are a bonus, how should I adjust the required ranks for prestige classes and feats when converting from D&D3?

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2 Answers

up vote 17 down vote accepted

No, they do not.

Skill ranks refer only to the number of well, ranks that you've put into the skill.

I can't find an exact reference to back that up, but they make a big deal when referring to ranks vs bonuses:

Each level, your character gains a number of skill ranks dependent upon your class plus your Intelligence modifier. Investing a rank in a skill represents a measure of training in that skill. You can never have more ranks in a skill than your total number of Hit Dice.

And

Each skill rank grants a +1 bonus on checks made using that skill.

Since you can only have a number of Ranks in a given skill equal to your level, that means that a minimum number of ranks is effectively a level requirement.

So, when for example you have an Assassin who has a requirement of minimum 5 ranks in Stealth, you must be at least 6th level before even being able to become an assassin.

Edit:

You're doing conversions! This free PDF will cover most of what you need to do: http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/v5748btpy89m6 (You do need a Paizo account to download it, but that too is free).

From the Prestige Classes section in the conversion guide:

Make sure to check the prestige class requirements (and the rest of the class) for any skills that have been altered or removed from the game and adjust them accordingly. In addition, the skill rank requirements should be equal to the 3.5 requirements – 3 (minimum 1 rank). Note that some of the core prestige classes do not follow this formula exactly and you should consider these requirements carefully.

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Well then, how do I need to adjust? Subtract 3? –  C. Ross May 26 '11 at 14:52
    
@C. Ross You're not keeping track of ranks separately? On most of the sheets I've seen there's a column for "rank" and then all the other columns. For Example, I use this sheet and I like it: pathfinderdb.com/character-sheets/static-character-sheets/…. It has a column for "Class skill bonus" as well, so you can keep track of those things. –  Cthos May 26 '11 at 14:59
    
But yes, if you're not tracking rank vs bonus subtracting 3 will work. –  Cthos May 26 '11 at 15:00
    
@Cthos Adjust feats and class requirements, from D&D 3.5. –  C. Ross May 26 '11 at 15:45
    
OOOH! You're doing conversions! Well why didn't you say so? :) (You did but I missed it). Editing my answer. –  Cthos May 26 '11 at 15:53
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No, they don't.

But if you're making a conversion, using the standard method of requiring 3 less ranks than it would on 3.x could result in awkward conversions.

Several 3.x prestige classes work on the assumption that you're purchasing some cross-class skills. That's mostly the case of "8 ranks of this plus 4 ranks of this, this and that".

Personally, I'd rule that you need a score of (3.x ranks needed) between ranks and the +3 bonus for putting ranks in a class skill.

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