Let's say a character is a cleric with a domain granting access to a skill in-class, such as Trickery granting Bluff, Disguise, and Hide. After maxing out one of those skills, how many ranks does the character have if the character suddenly becomes an ex-Cleric, losing all class abilities, including access to Domains?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't recall there being rules for ex-clerics- ex-PALADINS, definitely, but I haven't seen clerics be so strict on that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Cobalt
    Commented Jun 28, 2015 at 21:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Very end of the Cleric class description has a paragraph with the heading "Ex-Clerics". "A cleric who grossly violates the code of conduct ... loses all spells and class features [except for armor and weapon proficiencies]." \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 0:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ And skills count as class features in that case? I personally find that a little odd- considering how skills usually represent things you've learned through study or physical training I would find it very strange if you could just up and lose all that accumulated knowledge just from becoming an ex-Cleric or ex-Paladin. Or alternately, I think some DMs can let Clerics keep their class features if their violation of their code is part of a transition to a different faith, for all that's worth... \$\endgroup\$
    – Cobalt
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 3:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Cobalt Skills don't count as class features, but domain powers do, and some domain powers add class skills to your skill list. It's a weird and complicated edge case. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 1:25

2 Answers 2


They cannot put more ranks in that skill until the cross-class maximum exceeds their current ranks, but they keep the ranks they have.

Player’s Handbook pg. 62



  1. If you have not maxed out a skill, you can spend extra skill points on it and increase its rank further.

    First, find out what your character’s maximum rank in that skill is. If it’s a class skill, the maximum rank is the character’s new level + 3. If it’s a cross-class skill, the maximum rank is half that number (do not round up or down).

    You may spend the number of skill points it takes to max out the skill, provided that you have that many skill points to spend.

This is where we see the maximum implemented in detail (other places merely refer to it as “a maximum” without detail). The ability to spend skill points, here, is clearly limited by that maximum.

There is no indication that you should retroactively lose ranks in this situation.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Does the skill rank maximUm apply just to purchasing ranks or also to usage? I.E., similar to losing the prerequisite for a feat, are the ranks beyond the new maximum "unusable" until reaching a level where the ranks fall within the maximum? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 28, 2015 at 23:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MattHamsmith Unspecified, but given the lack of specification and the fact that the maximum only seems to get applied when attempting to spend skill points to gain more ranks, I would say that the rules seem to favor “no,” but it is debatable. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jun 28, 2015 at 23:03

I'd imagine that the intent wqs, it's in the culture of those that follow that domain. As a result the skill ranks remain & are effective, but the reason the character has ranks is because they were raised around individuals who have ranks in that skill. It could certainly be different dependent on the game your in, but to me that makes sense.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I see no reason to suspect this is the case. The benefits of cleric domains are Supernatural and directly given and rescinded by the cleric’s god; it has nothing to do with the culture in which one was raised. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 18:25

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .