My group is fairly small (3 characters including my own), and ranks in skills seem to be a bit off for us. We are calculating skill ranks properly for each of our characters, but our ranger seems to have more skill points than what he can put into skills. He is level 2, and already has close to 50 skill points. He does not want to put ranks into skills he wouldn't need, so he has extra skill points, since he can only put 2 ranks in each skill (since he only has 2 HD). Are there any house-rules that are balanced that can solve this problem?

The ranger's intelligence score is 14, he's human, and he chose to gain a skill point because ranger is his favored class.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not sure if this question is about D&D 3.5 or Pathfinder. The question talks about 1 skill point per HD and also about a extra skill point gained from the favored class. Both of those mechanics are from PF, not D&D. \$\endgroup\$
    – T. Sar
    Nov 11, 2014 at 19:47

4 Answers 4


How to Use Skill Points

The maximum number of skill points a character can put into a skill is equal to his current level +3. Each skill point buys 1 rank of a class skill or 0.5 ranks of a cross-class skill. Anyway, I suspect if the ranger has too many skill points he's not putting the maximum number of skill points in his skills.

Sample Skills for a Human Rrg2 with Int 14
The human Int 14 Rgr1 has 6 skill points granted by his class (PH 47) and 2 granted by his Intelligence modifier (PH 9). That 8 is multiplied by 4 at level 1 for 32 skill points. As a level 1 human he also receives 4 skill points from his racial trait (PH 13) for a total of 36 skill points. At level 2 when he takes his second level of ranger he'll receive 6 skill points from his class, 2 from his Intelligence modifier, and 1 from his human racial trait for a total of 9 more. That's a grand total of 45 skill points as a Rgr2.

The following is one method of spending all of these skill points.

  • Bluff [4 skill points but a cross-class skill so only 2 ranks]
  • Handle Animal [1 skill point thus 1 rank]
  • Hide [5 skill points thus 5 ranks]
  • Knowledge (dungeoneering) [1 skill point thus 1 rank]
  • Knowledge (nature) [1 skill point thus 1 rank]
  • Listen [5 skill points thus 5 ranks]
  • Move Silently [5 skill points thus 5 ranks]
  • Search [5 skill points thus 5 ranks]
  • Sense Motive [4 skill points but a cross-class skill so only 2 ranks]
  • Spot [5 skill points thus 5 ranks]
  • Survival [5 skill points thus 5 ranks]
  • Tumble [4 skill points but a cross-class skill so only 2 ranks]

I picked the skill Bluff as it's both used to create a diversion to hide (PH 68) and one of the skills to which the ranger's favored enemy bonus applies, as is the skill Sense Motive, which I also picked. I didn't pick the skill Balance because having 2 cross-class ranks in the Balance skill isn't a worthwhile investment compared to the 5 ranks in Balance that the character will be able to put into the skill at a later level.

The skilled city dweller alternative class feature (available here) allows a ranger to trade the following class skills: Handle Animal for Gather Information, Knowledge (nature) for Knowledge (local), Survival for Sense Motive, and Ride for Tumble. Trades aren't made all-or-nothing group but can be done individually. Trading the skill Ride for the skill Tumble is an especially good deal in most campaigns.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Your link isn't working; do you mean archive.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/we/20070228a? \$\endgroup\$ Nov 11, 2014 at 10:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Pantalaimon The question dates to before Dungeons and Dragons, 5th Edition, in anticipation of which Wizards of the Coast changed a lot of their URLs, obsoleting a lot of folks' links all over the Internet. Thank you for making this one easier to fix. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 11, 2014 at 11:28

As a level 2 human ranger with Int mod +2, you should have 45 skill points at level 2. (4 * (6+2+1) + 6+2+1 = 5*9=45)

In each class skill, you can put level +3 skill points, so you can put a maximum of 5 ranks in each class skill. (In non-class skills, you can put in the same number of skill points, but you need two per rank, so for the same number of points you end up with (level + 3) / 2 ranks.)

You might be thinking of the Pathfinder rules, where you can put only your level in skill points in each skill, but you start with a quarter of the skill points and get an automatic +3 on every class skill in which you've invested any points. But there you'd start with only 9 skill points at level 1, instead of the 36 you'd get in D&D 3.5.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I probably was thinking of pathfinder skill ranks, I play both fairly often and get some rules mixed up. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 27, 2014 at 15:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ Skill points from favoured class is also Pathfinder, not 3.5. Though I forgot what favoured class meant in 3.5. \$\endgroup\$
    – mcv
    Feb 27, 2014 at 16:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mcv favored class in 3.5 is the one class you don't count when looking for XP penalties for multiclassing. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zachiel
    Nov 11, 2014 at 20:17

I know you're getting several different answers but there appears to be either math or source problems so allow me to copy from the books:

Humans get:

4 extra skill points at 1st level (The 4 skill points at 1st level are added on as a bonus, not multiplied in) and
1 extra skill point at each additional level

Rangers get:

Skill Points at 1st Level: (6 + Int modifier) × 4.
Skill Points at Each Additional Level: 6 + Int modifier.

Now you're Human Ranger is 2nd level with an int score of 14 granting a +2 modifier:


Your Level 2 Human Ranger has 45 Skill Points to spend and

Your maximum rank in a class skill is your character level + 3.
If it’s a cross-class skill, the maximum rank is half of that number (no rounding)

Note: Purchasing a cross-class skill costs 1 point for every 1/2 rank, so to get 1 point in a cross-class you would spend 2. This does leave the possibility for 1/2 ranks, which are counted on your sheet for the purpose of completing purchases next level, but do not actually count towards meeting the DC

Therefore, spending those 45 Skill points, the ranger can have no more than 5 "ranks" in any one skill. However, to determine total bonus he still gets to add his ability modifier and any feats or synergies. (at later levels there are magic item boosts or PRC bonuses as well but that't beyond the scope of this question.

Final Answer:
Level 2 Human Ranger has 45 Skill Points with a max rank of 5 ranks in any class skill & 2.5 for cross class skills.
Also, none of us have directly answered your question "Are there any house-rules that are balanced that can solve this problem?" But I think you can see a house rule is not needed to fix the "problem", rather the existing rules just need to be followed. That said house rules are up to each "house" (DM) who runs them so there could be an endless amount of house rules.

  • \$\begingroup\$ aha, I call out the incorrect math only to mess it up a different way myself! Thx @3Doubloons \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben-Jamin
    Feb 28, 2014 at 20:30

You may be calculating the number of skill points he has to put into skills correctly but you may not know just how many ranks he can put into those skills. You mention that he can only put 2 points into skills since he has 2 HD. This is not correct. At level 1 maximum skill ranks in any (class) skill is 4. So at level 2 your Ranger would be able to have 5 ranks in any skill that is a class skill.

From the d20srd:

Your maximum rank in a class skill is your character level + 3.

Skills Summary :: d20srd.org

To calculate your skills I must know if you are Human or not. Humans gain an extra skill point per level. Assuming your ranger IS NOT HUMAN you would calculate your skill points in the following manner:

At first level: (6 + Int modifier) ×4. So for you with an INT of 14 would be (6 + 2) x4 = 32. So a non-human ranger with an INT of 14 has 32 skill points at level 1. When your non-human ranger gains a level he gets 6 + Int modifier skill points so for you that would be 8. At level two your non-human Ranger would have 40 skill points to spend. And then each class skill can have a maximum of 5 ranks in it. So basically you could max out 8 class skills at 5 ranks each.


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