I am sorry if this has been asked before, but I can not figure it out. I am playing D&D 3.5, and am attempting to make my character sheet.

I am a rogue halfling, so I have 40 skill points to distribute. I marked down all of the ones from the handbook (my class skills) - do I assign my skill points to those as ranks? For abilities that do not need training, should I give them lower ranks, or no ranks at all and relay on my modifiers?

Also, should I list my ability modifiers for all skills within my class, just the ones I have chosen, or all of them?

Thank you!

  • \$\begingroup\$ What level you are starting at? \$\endgroup\$
    – Mołot
    Commented Mar 26, 2019 at 0:42
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    – V2Blast
    Commented Mar 26, 2019 at 0:50

2 Answers 2


The rules for this are detailed on page 62 of the D&D 3.5 Player's Handbook, under the heading "Acquiring Skills at 1st Level".

You receive (8 + Int modifier) x 4 skill points at level 1. The example used in the Player's Handbook is, conveniently for you, a halfling rogue with a +2 Int modifier who has 40 skill points to spend.

Each point you spend on a class skill (those listed as such in the rogue class description) gives one rank, with a maximum rank of 4 at first level, so it's convenient and beneficial to max out 10 class skills at 4 ranks each. This is in fact the officially recommended approach, as detailed in the halfling rogue starting package on page 51, and in my experience this is the preferred way among players. Pick any ten from the class skills list on page 50, but I most strongly recommend the recommended list on page 51.

  • The five most important skills for a rogue are typically Hide, Move Silently, Disable Device, Open Lock, and Search. Spot and Listen are highly useful too.
  • Among the worst skills are Forgery (I have never seen this used ever) and Profession (if you wanted to be a cobbler you wouldn't have become an adventurer).

Since cross-class skills cost two points per skill rank and have a lower maximum rank, it is generally not recommended to invest any skill points in those. However, your character may still find themself needing to use these skills at some point (e.g. you fall into water and need to use Swim untrained), so you should fill in all the skills on the character sheet anyway (you simply have zero ranks).

Even for trained-only skills, your character may find themself in a situation in which the DM specially allows them to use the skill untrained, such as a very easy check or a field the character is familiar with. It's not often important, but it does look tidy.

  • \$\begingroup\$ and in my experience this is the preferred way among players => Actually, at first level, I like putting a single rank in those "trained only" skills such as "Appraise" or the various "Knowledge" skills when I have points to spare. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 26, 2019 at 19:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MatthieuM. That's also a valid approach, especially with a class that gets a lot of Knowledge class skills. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 26, 2019 at 20:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Opinion: I like to fill in my non-ranked skills as they come up. Saves some paperwork on creation. \$\endgroup\$
    – joedragons
    Commented Mar 26, 2019 at 22:14

You assign them however you want...

As a level 1 character your max rank in a skill is 4 (character level + 3). If you have 40 skill points, that means you can distribute that between 10 skills if you want to have maximum ranks in each. For your class skills, this will correspond to a rank of 4, for cross class skills this will correspond to a rank of 2 since cross class ranks cost 2 skill points each.

You don't have to distribute the maximum amount of points to every skill you invest in. It might make sense to invest a little into skills that require training so you may have a chance to use the skill even if you don't want to focus on mastering it. Especially in relaxed situations, take 10 and take 20 can still lead you to be somewhat successful in low ranking skills. This is ultimately a personal choice.


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