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I'm interested in the skill unlocks granted by signature skill and rogue's edge. They provide extra abilities when the skill to which they apply has 5, 10, 15 or 20 ranks.

Is there any way to exceed the 1 skill rank per level limit to, for instance, get the level 10 heal unlock at level 9?

I suspect not because this would, for example, allow early entry into dragon disciple (5 ranks in knowledge (arcana)) but confirmation either way would be ideal.

Please excuse formatting, I'm currently on mobile

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The Phantom Thief rogue archetype gains early access to skill unlocks.

While it is generally almost impossible for your number of skill ranks in a skill to exceed your character level (barring loopholes), there IS a way to get what you're looking for without exceeding the limit. The Phantom Thief rogue archetype gains a class feature that allows them early access to the benefits of skill unlocks. Specifically, this class feature is worded:

(...) she adds half her rogue level to her number of ranks to determine when she receives a skill unlock (so a 7th level rogue (phantom thief) with 7 ranks in a chosen skill would count as having 10 ranks and receive the second skill unlock).

This allows access to the first unlock at 4th level, second unlock at 7th level, third at 10th and fourth at 14th.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Looks like a more legit way to do that than my answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Anne Aunyme Jan 31 '18 at 18:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AnneAunyme I honestly don't know if it's easier for a PC that wants early access to skill unlocks to either just go ahead take the archetype phantom thief for at least 2 levels or somehow gain continuously the services of a level 9 bard. Those seem equally complicated to me… and demonstrates just how much the game doesn't want folks doing this. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jan 31 '18 at 18:27
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You can benefit from them early… but not all the time

If you are a bard or have a bard in you party, there's inspire greatness:

A bard of 9th level or higher can use his performance to inspire greatness in himself or a single willing ally within 30 feet, granting extra fighting capability. (...) A creature inspired with greatness gains 2 bonus Hit Dice (d10s), (...) The bonus Hit Dice count as regular Hit Dice for determining the effect of spells that are Hit Dice dependent. (...)

Then combine inspire greatness with a headband of vast intelligence:

A headband of vast intelligence has one skill associated with it per +2 bonus it grants. After being worn for 24 hours, the headband grants a number of skill ranks in those skills equal to the wearer’s total Hit Dice.

So if you have such a headband associated with the skill you want, the number of your ranks in it will increase while you are under the effect of inspire greatness, and you can benefit from the better effect of the skill unlock while the inspire greatness effect continues.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The number of natural ranks stacks with the ranks granted from the headband? \$\endgroup\$ – FrancisJohn Feb 1 '18 at 3:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @FrancisJohn Not really. The headband (per +2 bonus it grants) gives the wearer 1 skill rank per Hit Die the wearer possesses for a specific skill that's picked when the headband is created, so it overlaps with any existing skills. However, when a wearer gets more Hit Dice—like from the special ability inspire greatness—the virtual ranks granted by the headband correspondingly increase, and poof! access to skill unlocks. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Feb 1 '18 at 19:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan I knew they overlapped, so this explanation makes more sense now, thank you \$\endgroup\$ – FrancisJohn Feb 1 '18 at 20:06

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