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When a character levels up they get a number of skill ranks based on their class and race. But the core rulebook says that a character gets × Int skill ranks.

Does that mean those skill ranks can only apply to skills based on Int?

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No.

The Pathfinder Core Ruleboo0k has the clearest explanation, p.86:

Each level, your character gains a number of skill ranks dependent on your class plus your Intelligence modifier. You can never have more ranks in a skill than your total number of Hit Dice.

There are more words, but no additional restrictions. It also points out that humans get an extra skill rank each level, and races which take a level in a favored class may receive an additional skill rank.

Table 4-1: Skill Ranks, which shows the ranks each core class gains at each level, reinforces this by describing the base ranks gained as (for example) "4 + Int modifier."

So, there is no distinction between ranks gained from class and those gained from Intelligence, and you may freely assign the entire pool to skills however you like (subject to the Hit-Dice limit).

This is paraphrased in the "Allocate Skill Ranks" section of the character creation page of the online Pathfinder SRD. I find it slightly harder to follow there, but the meaning is identical.


There is a minor terminology discrepancy in the description of skill ranks between the skill section and the description of Intelligence on page 17 (thanks to KRyan and Hey I Can Chan for pointing it out in the comments). Under the Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 system (which was generalized in the d20 SRD, which Pathfinder was derived from) there was an additional step to this process: skill points. At each level in 3.5, you received some number of "skill points" based on class and intelligence, then bought skill ranks with those skill points, subject to some additional rules (not germane to this answer). The description of Intelligence on Pathfinder p.17 (and on the Pathfinder SRD) refers to gaining Skill Points instead of Skill Ranks. There is a similar error on Pathfinder p.30, under "Advancing Your Character," and there may be other similar issues.

"Skill Points" is almost certainly a translation error (and is certainly some sort of error). You should read it as gaining additional Skill Ranks instead, wherever it occurs.

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No, you're misreading the notation.

Characters receive X + Y skill points per level, where X is the amount determined by class, and Y is your Int modifier. The total of these two values is the total amount you can spend on skill ranks, regardless of what attributes correspond to them.

The notation is saying that you get more points based on Int, not that they are skill points only for Int-based skills. There is actually an addition sign, not a multiplication sign.

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