I'm trying to teach myself how the game works with a view to doing some GMing. (Pathfinder core rulebook from 2009)

Rolled the following character so far:

Elf Sorcerer Str 10 Dex 13 Con 8 Int 18 Wis 12 Char 15

(that's with racial mods applied)

Don't understand how to calculate the number of skills I start with at L1. Please help.

  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ Note that sorcerers use Charisma, not Intelligence, for spellcasting. Typically a sorcerer should have Charisma as his highest score. A character with that much Intelligence would probably gravitate towards the wizard class. Also, a Constitution that low, particularly on a d6 class, is very likely to make this character's life as an adventurer quite brief. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jun 18, 2014 at 14:10
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan - Comment implies that ability scores dictate class. True to a degree, but important, especially with the way the opposite is NEVER true in dnd games, to note that it's PERFECTLY FINE to have a character who doesn't have 'traditional' stat outlays, and that the loss of utility is often made up for with additional roleplaying potential as a less 'cookie-cutter' character. \$\endgroup\$
    – user2754
    Jun 18, 2014 at 16:38
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @JackLesnie All I said was "typically." You're the one reading into it as saying that one must do so. I recommend it, particularly for a new player, but I don't think I really implied that it was necessary. Also, "weak stats" really don't make a character better for roleplaying. I can create compelling characters with powerful stats or boring characters with weak stats. The two things are almost entirely independent. Deciding that you must take weak stats "for roleplay" is as big a mistake as deciding you must have strong stats "for gameplay" or whatever. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jun 18, 2014 at 17:45
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @KRyan - You have to take into the account the meta of these things. I never - and I stress that - never - see any advice other than to use ideal stats for characters - and I so very rarely see characters without ideal stats. New players and GMs tend to take advice as law, and there is a strong meta that 'sorcerers should always have high CHA' etc. It's important to note that you CAN have characters with atypical stats - to stress that - as new players will be told the opposite many, many times from many, many sources. \$\endgroup\$
    – user2754
    Jun 18, 2014 at 17:56
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @JackLesnie Let's continue this discussion in this chat room I just made. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jun 18, 2014 at 20:19

1 Answer 1


From the sorcerer page:

Skill Ranks per Level: 2 + Int modifier.

Since the modifier for an 18 int is +4 (source), that means you get 6 skill points. If you choose Sorcerer as your favored class, you may choose to get one extra skill point OR one extra hit point.

As a first-level character, you have 1 HD. Therefore, you can only put up to one rank in each skill:

You can never have more ranks in a skill than your total number of Hit Dice.

If you put a rank into any of the sorcerer class skills, however, you gain an extra +3 bonus on your check with that skill. The sorcerer class skills are:

Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Fly (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Profession (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Use Magic Device (Cha).

Some sample calculations

Let's run down some scenarios, for completion's sake. If you put skill ranks into, say, Appraise, Craft (something), Knowledge (arcana), and Spellcraft, your total modifier for each of those skills would be:

1 rank + 3 for class skill + 4 int bonus = 8

and you would roll 1d20+8 to use each of those skills.

If you put one rank into Bluff, you would have:

1 rank + 3 for class skill + 2 cha bonus = 6

so you'd only roll 1d20+6 for a Bluff check.

If you put one rank into Knowledge(nature), which is not a class skill for Sorcerer, your total would be:

1 rank + 4 int bonus = 5

so you'd roll 1d20+5.

If you don't put any ranks into Acrobatics, which is also not a class skill but can be used untrained, you would roll:

0 ranks + 1 dex bonus = 1

so 1d20+1.

If you don't put ranks into Appraise, you don't get the class bonus either, so you'd roll:

0 ranks + 4 int bonus = 4

1d20+4 for a check.

I hope that helps!

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think it would also be helpful to mention that you then place those points into the skills and can have up to your character level ranks in each skill. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 18, 2014 at 14:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ So I can pick six skills and assign one point each, or one skill and assign six points, or some combo thereof? \$\endgroup\$
    – hoth
    Jun 18, 2014 at 14:10
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ you can't have more ranks in a skill than your level, so at first level that would be 1 rank per skill. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 18, 2014 at 14:15
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ 'Fly' is probably a bad example to use for a level 1 character: from the fly skill page ‘You cannot take ranks in this skill without a natural means of flight or gliding. Creatures can also take ranks in Fly if they possess a reliable means of flying every day (either through a spell or other special ability).’ \$\endgroup\$
    – Colin D
    Jun 18, 2014 at 15:05

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