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This is a question about the sometimes very confusing wording (or maybe "numbering" ?) of bestiary entries.

Preparing a Pathfinder campaign with friends, checking stats for animals that could potentially be useful to my character (Handle Animal is among the skills I spend most skill ranks in).

It is quite an understatement to say that the wording confuses me.

Example with the Black Bear :

Str 17, Dex 17, Con 15, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6

Base Atk +3; CMB +7 (+11 grapple); CMD 19 (23 vs. trip)

Feats Endurance, Run, Skill Focus (Survival)

Skills Perception +6, Survival +5, Swim +12; Racial Modifiers +4 Swim

Now let's look at the "Skills" part :

  • What exactly is taken into account in "Perception +6", "Survival +5" and "Swim +12"? Are these skill ranks, or the sum of skill ranks and other modifiers (from feats, class skill bonuses, race or abilities) ?

  • Do any of these numbers count against the limit of extra skill ranks gained by Animal Companions ?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Which system and edition is this for? \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Jan 10 '16 at 21:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Based on bestiary and Perception this seems to be Pathfinder, but Pathfinder eliminated skill points in favor of skill ranks, so I'm not entirely sure how to tag this (but it's probably Pathfinder). That said, this might be a couple of different questions: How can determine the manner in which Bestiary creatures' skill ranks are spent? and How do I spend my animal companion's skill ranks? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Jan 10 '16 at 22:42
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What exactly is taken into account in "Perception +6", "Survival +5" and "Swim +12"? Are these skill ranks, or the sum of skill ranks and other modifiers (from feats, class skill bonuses, race or abilities) ?

Those are totals, the sum of ranks, ability scores, class-skill bonuses (+3) and other bonuses, like the racial bonus to swim checks.

Do any of these numbers count against the limit of extra skill ranks gained by Animal Companions ?

Most animals get 1 skill rank per Hit Die, but those are already calculated in.

For clarification, Skill Ranks are what is invested from the points obtained by increasing your character level or a creature's Hit Die (HD), called Skill Points.

Perception and Swim are class-skills for all animals, thus the Black Bear automatically gets a +3 if he invested a single skill rank. Perception is based on wisdom (+1), so is Survival, while Swim is based on STR (+3), add the racial of +4 and we get to +7 Swim.

But Survival is not a class skill for animals, the bear got Skill Focus on Survival though (+3).

Total without ranks: Perception +4, Survival +4, Swim +10, so the bear has 2 skill ranks in Perception, 1 rank in Survival and 2 in Swim.

Being an animal with 5 HD, the bear has 5 skill points to distribute, which seems to match his skills ranks perfectly.

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