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I currently have a Monk that is soon going to be getting Tattooed Monk as a prestige class and I want to prestige again later into an Ur-Priest. I am human, INT 10, and am a level 5 monk.

I meet every requirement for Ur-Priest except for the Spellcraft of 8.

Is there any way to get skill levels into Spellcraft without taking any levels in spell casting classes?

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There is a list called Alternative Ways to Get Class Skills that covers ever possible way of making a non-class skill into a class skill.

There's only a few options;

Keeper of Forbidden Lore [Abyssal Heritor] from Fiendish Codex 1,

Aereni Focus from Player's Guide to Eberron,

Flexible Mind [chaotic] (Drag Mag326 p80),

and the Academy Graduate feat (Savage Tide Player's Guide, p10).

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The question, as posed in the title, is about getting Spellcraft without using class levels. The Keeper of Forbidden Lore feat from Fiendish Codex I, as Jack mentions, can do that for you. The Alternative Ways to Get Class Skills list that he links is also an excellent resource for similar inquiries.

But it should be said: multiclassing really is an easy and simple solution here.

Monk 5 has exceedingly little going for it. Almost everything a monk 5 has, a monk 2 already has. See the thorough discussion of the problems of the monk class. Tattooed monk is awesome, and ur-priest is a really neat addition, but you do not need monk 5. Monk 2, on the other hand, has a lot of things going for it.

You lose out on:

  • Fast movement. Largely unimportant, as you are rarely going to need it in combat, and out of combat, separating yourself from the rest of the party is usually a bad idea. If all else fails, magic items can replace this.

  • Still mind. A small bonus against a limited number of effects. Chances are fairly high that you’d forget you have this bonus.

  • Ki strike. This one is replaced by a necklace of natural attacks that you’re going to want anyway.

  • Slow fall. This is just insultingly pointless.

  • Purity of body. Decent, except your saving throws are going to be enormous anyway, and mundane disease isn’t usually that threatening. Supernatural or magical diseases are really the ones you need to look out for.

  • A +1 enhancement bonus to AC. A single AC just isn’t worth that much.

  • An average of +¾ damage on your unarmed strikes. Not worth worrying about much.

And with three more levels to play with, you can easily get 8 ranks in Spellcraft from a class that has it in-class. There are many options for this.

  • Cleric is usually an awesome choice, but won’t work well due to ur-priest unless your DM is willing to do some adaptation. That’s OK. If your DM is willing, cleric becomes an amazing option because of domains.

  • Druid is interesting; great chassis, and you can use the shapeshift variant from Player’s Handbook II to trade animal companion and wild shape for the very-cool shapeshift—at will, gain stat bonuses, natural weapons, and other advantages.

  • Ranger might be even better: decent bonus feat options (including Endurance, which you need for tattooed monk), full BAB, great skill points, and so on. The arcane hunter variant from Complete Mage is quite nice. The celestial slayer from Exemplars of Evil is extremely fitting.

    If available, the moon-warded ranger becomes a strong contender for best option available: it grants Wis-to-AC in light-or-no armor. This stacks with the monk’s AC bonus, unambiguously since the class feature has a different name (armor of the senses), so that would be 2×Wis to AC when unarmored.

  • If you are going for a high-Charisma build (with the Bellflower tattoo and Ascetic Mage, this is a solid idea), the hexblade from Complete Arcane becomes interesting. In this approach, I would actually strongly consider losing a level of either monk or tattooed monk in order to get hexblade 4, which with Player’s Handbook II has the option of getting the awesome and fitting dark companion. You lose evasion, which is sort of a shame but not the end of the world, and you miss a bonus feat, but being able to apply a −2 penalty to the saving throws of all creatures in a 10-foot radius, at will and without action cost, is just incredible.

  • Two levels of paladin gets the amazing divine grace, which can be made Wisdom-based with the Serenity feat from Dragon Compendium. Would require an evil-variant paladin, but plenty of those exist.

  • The duskblade from Player’s Handbook II gives arcane channeling at 3rd level. It’s also full BAB and has Spellcraft in-class. Plus you get Combat Casting without having to waste a feat on it. You could do far worse than this.

  • Complete Arcane’s warlock gives you eldritch blast 2d6, which qualifies you for the Eldritch Claws feat from Dragon vol. 358, netting you claw attacks that deal unarmed strike damage plus eldritch blast damage. The Beast Strike feat from Dragon vol. 355 gives adds your claw damage to your unarmed strike damage, so now your unarmed strikes deal twice as much damage as they used to, plus your eldritch blast damage. If, as with the hexblade, you drop a level of monk or tattooed monk to get a 4th level of warlock, you also get the phenomenal ability to take-10 on Use Magic Device.

Also note that, since all of these are spellcasting classes, they improve your ur-priest caster level. That’s really nice. You can also consider using mystic theurge to advance your ur-priest spellcasting alongside some of these, though that will require Precocious Apprentice shenanigans (excepting the warlock, for whom eldritch disciple from Complete Mage is the prestige class of choice, and for which you would qualify if you went that route).

Finally, there’s really not much reason not to advance ur-priest with sacred fist levels rather than just going with ur-priest.

My personal recommendation for your base then is ranger 2/paladin 2/monk 1/ur-priest 1 with the Serenity feat from Dragon Compendium and the Intuitive Attack feat from Book of Exalted Deeds (requires a way to ignore the Exalted requirement on that feat, but if any Evil character can swing that an ur-priest ought to be able to). That gets you Wisdom to attack, Wisdom to all saving throws, and twice Wisdom to AC, plus ur-priest spellcasting. Sacred fist and tattooed monk would then fill out the rest of your levels.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Nice answer. I suspect from the wording that it's too late for the OP to not be a Monk 5, though. \$\endgroup\$ – Bobson Jun 30 '14 at 12:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Bobson Yes, later edits have made that clear. A shame, but still, the answer is not just for the original querent, but also for those with similar answers. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jun 30 '14 at 13:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why not mention Swordsage? Unarmed Swordsage often replaces monk, but regular swordsage is still a good monk dip. Also sorcerer. Sorc 3 = Alter Self, Fist of Stone, Expeditious Retreat, Feather Fall, Sorc/Monk opens up the Ascetic Mage feat for cha-based monk antics, too. \$\endgroup\$ – user2754 Jun 30 '14 at 13:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JackLesnie There are a lot of necessary feats here, which monk helps with. Especially if you want sacred fist: getting Stunning Fist takes a long time if you don't get it as a bonus feat. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Jun 30 '14 at 13:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Monk 2/Swordsage 2-3, or Monk 2/Sorc 3 is what i'm talking about. \$\endgroup\$ – user2754 Jul 1 '14 at 3:41

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