3
\$\begingroup\$

Page 61 of The Players Handbook says (emphasis mine):

Skill Ranks: A character’s number of ranks in a skill is based on how many skill points a character has invested in a skill. Many skills can be used even if the character has no ranks in them; doing this is called making an untrained skill check.

and

Miscellaneous Modifiers: Miscellaneous modifiers include racial bonuses, armor check penalties, and bonuses provided by feats, among others.

And Page 66 says Skill Synergy:

It’s possible for a character to have two skills that work well together, such as someone with both Jump and Tumble. In general, having 5 or more ranks in one skill gives the character a +2 bonus on skill checks with each of its synergistic skills,

So I read this to mean Racial Bonuses to Skills do not count toward the required 5 ranks for Synergy. This seems counter-intuitive to me, in respect that if you're good at Use Rope, I'd expect it counts towards Escape Artist with rope because I'm just so damned good at using ropes.

Is this correct from a Rules as Written point of view? Does this make sense outside of a strict Rules as Written view?

\$\endgroup\$
4
\$\begingroup\$

The rules say 5 or more skill ranks are required for a bonus from synergy...

That is, Skill Synergy says

It’s possible for a character to have two skills that work well together. In general, having 5 or more ranks in one skill gives the character a +2 bonus on skill checks with each of its synergistic skills, as noted in the skill description. In some cases, this bonus applies only to specific uses of the skill in question, and not to all checks. Some skills provide benefits on other checks made by a character, such as those checks required to use certain class features.

That means, for example, a minotaur with 1 rank in the skill Search because of its +4 racial bonus on Search skill checks does not get a +2 bonus due to synergy to Survival skill checks made to find or to follow tracks, and a rakshasa with 1 ranks in the skill Bluff because of it's +4 racial bonus on Bluff skill checks does not get a +2 bonus due to synergy on Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Sleight of Hand skill checks as well as Disguise skill checks when observed and acting in character.

...But make a house rule if you don't like it

If this rule doesn't make sense to you, and you're the DM, change it. If this rules doesn't make sense to you, and you're a player, convince the DM to change it. Seriously, though, in the end, getting a +2 bonus from synergy early likely won't break the game, and neither will getting a +2 bonus from synergy you wouldn't normally receive. It's a +2 bonus; it's rare that anyone will remember the house rule after level 5.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Note that letting people use bonuses instead of ranks to qualify for things is dangerous - synergy is okay, but things like feats and prestige classes use skill rank requirements as a level barrier. This houserule may be a slippery slope, so you should read the situation carefully before implementing it. \$\endgroup\$ – SPavel Mar 6 '16 at 16:21
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @SPavel Fortunately, that's beyond the scope of the question, which concerns itself solely with synergy. I totally agree that using skill bonuses instead of skill ranks to meet prerequisites and requirements is nuts. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Mar 6 '16 at 19:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.