View Full Version : What Skill Bonuses Do Your PCs Have?

2007-04-21, 11:47 PM
Here's the question: Look at the actual character sheet for your character or the PCs in your playing group.

1. What is the skill bonus of their best skill?
2. What level are they?
3. What class are they?

I'm trying to accumulate some real world data regarding what actual PCs have in terms of a skill bonus at a given level.

I tried asking this question over at the Wizards boards and I got a bunch of people giving me hypothetical builds to prove whatever pet theory they had. But I'm not interested in hypothetical builds: I can put together all kinds of hypothetical builds in the privacy of my own home. So I thought I'd give it a try here and see if I got better results.

What I'm interested in knowing is what people's real world experience is when the rules meet real players and real players put together actual characters to play with.

Why am I interested in this? I'm doing some fundamental design work and I want to see what typical skill bonuses are at each level. This is useful for setting the DCs for particular tasks in an adventure module and it's also useful for setting DCs for tasks in general.

Thanks in advance.

Justin Alexander

2007-04-22, 12:31 AM
Profession +11, Intimidate and Bluff +6, Perform (sing) +16
6, 1, 5+1 LA
Charismatic Hero/Fast Hero, Hexblade, Charismatic Hero/Dedicated Hero/Fast Hero/Sorcerer

Note that the first and last character are for d20 Modern, not D&D.

2007-04-22, 12:36 AM
Do cross-class characters fit your needed sample data? Also, just to be clear, you're talking about total skill bonus, right? Not just ranks?

2007-04-22, 12:56 AM
My current PC has some fun skill bonuses. Let's see...

Well, for starters, it's a gestalt game, and he's a slightly-tweaked minotaur (4 Minotaur HD/+1 Level Adjustment/4 Fighter/1 Swordsage//10 Ranger). His most interesting skill bonuses:

Listen: +23
Spot: +21
Hide & Move Silently: +16

There are a few others, but I don't remember the numbers offhand.

Bears With Lasers
2007-04-22, 01:04 AM
Malzen of Xen'drik has Superb (+5) Weaponry, Great (+4) Athletics and Intimidate, Good (+3) Survival, Endurance, and Deceit, Fair (+2) Academics, Resolve, Stealth, and Resources, Average (+1) Art, Alertness, Archery, Mysteries, and Might, and Mediocre (+0) everything else.

But that's for a Spirit of the Century-system-using game. My only tabletop D&D PC, a wizard 5/Escalation Mage 5, has (ranks/total):
Bluff of 0/+1, which he can boost with spells to 0/+16 when he needs to Diplomacy of 0/+3, which he can boost with spells to 0/+15 when he needs to and:
-Concentration: 10/+14
-Hide: 6/+25
-Knowledge: Arcana: 8/+16
-Knowledge: Religion: 1/+7
-Knowledge: the Planes: 1/+7
-Move Silently: 4/+16
-Sense Motive: 8/+10
-Spellcraft: 9/+17
-Use Magic Device: 12/+13.

Jack Mann
2007-04-22, 01:28 AM
Let's see... A 6/2 Swordsage/Bloodclaw Master I'm hoping to play has a jump modifier of 17. A gestalt warblade//archivist 3//3 I'm playing has a knowledge (dungeoneering) of 11, and my level 5 wizard in Tippy's game has a spellcraft of 17.

2007-04-22, 01:34 AM
The 10th level rogue I'm using for the Core Class Battle here has a UMD bonus of +25 (to scrolls, +21 on everything else), +30 to hide and +28 to move silently. Though, since he's built for one on one fights, most of his funds are available to be spent on 1 use items.

2007-04-22, 01:38 AM
A rogue 10/ master thrower 5 of mine has +30 to climb, +25 to tumble and use magic device.

2007-04-22, 02:26 AM
Nigel Bristol elven wizard6/sunmage5 highest spellcraft at +23 2nd place knowledge:Planes and arcana both at +21
Shamiel of the desert human cleric4 survival and concentration at +7
Suicide Sam orc barbarian 5/orc paragon1/ fighter 2 jump at +16
Talis halfling rogue9 hide and move silently both at +23

2007-04-22, 02:26 AM
Do cross-class characters fit your needed sample data?


Also, just to be clear, you're talking about total skill bonus, right? Not just ranks?

Right. Total skill bonus.

Thanks to everyone who's responded so far. Keep 'em coming. ;)

Justin Alexander

2007-04-22, 02:55 AM
I'll give you my top two (Or more, in case several are tied) skills for each of my characters, since studying the variance might be interesting I have a huge ego.

My human Warlock 6/Mindbender 1 with a +1 moderate bloodline LA (Variant rule, it's not actually a bloodline "level") has:
Bluff and Use Magic Device +21 (10 ranks, +4 for 18 Charisma, +2 for the bloodline on Bluff and Magical Aptitude on UMD, +3 for a circlet of persuasion, and +2 for a +4 Cha mask I don't always wear)
Diplomacy +17 (4 ranks, +4 Cha, +3 circlet, +2 mask, +4 special homebrew modifier for zodiac sign)

My Athasian Human (+1 LA, from Dragon 319) Cleric 5/Pyrokinetic 4 has:
Intimidate +16 (12 ranks, +4 Cha)
Concentration +15 (12 ranks, +3 Con)
(She's actually a new character, and hasn't had a chance to claim some random magical goods. Most of her WBL went for a weapon and some augment crystals.)

And rounding out my list of characters, my elven Artificer 5 has:
Search +19 (8 ranks, +4 Int, +2 racial, +5 Goggles of Minute Seeing)
Craft (Armorsmithing) and Disable Device +12 (8 ranks, +4 Int)
Use Magic Device and Appraise reach +12 on certain items due to synergy bonuses.

2007-04-22, 03:37 AM
Malon Flammar, level 1 Cleric. Diplomacy +11

2007-04-22, 06:11 AM
My wizard 7/loremaster 2:

Spellcraft: +22
Use Magic Device: +18/+20
Knowledge (arcana): +19
Concentration: +17
Perform: +16/+18

The Perform's a bit low, since the character's been in a whole lot of non-stop battles and I've been focusing on picking up the Use Magic Device skill instead. Next level I'll be able to get Perform up to +22/+24 and that'll become my new highest skill.

- Saph

Lord Lorac Silvanos
2007-04-22, 06:29 AM
Druid 7

Knowledge Nature: +16 (10 ranks + 2 Int + 2 Nature Sense +2 Synergy (survival))

2007-04-22, 06:39 AM
Wizard 3/ Master Specialist 8
Spellcraft +26
Knowledge (3 of them) +20

Warblade 8
Tumble 12
Jump 12
Balance 12
Knowledge History and Local 14

2007-04-22, 06:49 AM
OK, you asked about one single skill...

My Char...Lvl 3 Monk...

Best single skill...Diplomacy....

Total Modifiers...

Sacred Vow....+2
Wisdom Mod +3
Diplomacy SKill +4

That's +9 to all Diplomacy based Rolls.

Sounds a little sad, but when you think about it....

That's +9 on all attempts to interrogate prisoners. ( Hey, I know, you're tied up at the moment, but I can get you free, if you just answer a couple of really important questions....)
+9 on all attempts to Bluff.
+9 on all calls to Surrender when in combat....( "Hey, dude, there are five of us..we've already killed half of your guys, and the worst off of us has taken 1 point of damage...make it easy on yourself"....)

OK, so it's not so impressive as, say "Weapon Skill, 5"....but it's far more versitile.....

2007-04-22, 07:11 AM
Level 4: (Ranger 2 / Fighter 1 / Swashbuckler 1)

best skills: tumble & use rope at 8
also bluff against humans (fav enemy) 8

2007-04-22, 07:16 AM
I am in 2 games, and starting a 3rd over the summer:
Zatara :
Open Lock +15, Sneak +10-+15with spells, level 8 Mojh Iron Witch
Skywise :
+14 Spot, Survival, Profession (astrology), and Knowledge: Nature, +10 diplomacy
lvl 9 elven druid
TalMalvolen :
+9 track, +18 strength checks to break stuff when raging,
Barb 4/ranger 2/ fght 1/bear warrior 1
Mordreth the Pure :
+13 bluff, +10 knowledge (religion)
Sorceror 3
Skywise and Tal Malvolen are in the same game (they are part of a mercenary group, and I play whichever one is best for the mission.)

2007-04-22, 08:07 AM
My lvl 2 Ranger has +9 Survival, +8 move silent, +7 Knowledge: Nature, Spot, and Swim.

2007-04-22, 08:17 AM
Wizard 6; Spellcraft +16, Craft Alchemy/Decipher Script/Kn. Arcana +14, and Concentration +11 with a close 3rd.

2007-04-22, 08:18 AM
cleric 5 / seeker of the misty isle 1 has Survival +13.

wizard 6 has concetration, search spellcraft +17.

wizard 5 has Kno: History +18.

battle sorc 4 has concentration +9.

2007-04-22, 08:55 AM
My level thirteen beguiler has some massive skill bonuses, but then I built him around that, since I am playing the skill monkey in our party. I'll just list the main skills, since I have bonuses in just about every possible skill.

Bluff: 29
Concentration: 17
Diplomacy: 26
Disguise: 36
Forgery: 21
Gather Information: 24
Intimidate: 23
Knowledge (Arcana): 20
Knowledge (History): 13
Knowledge (Local): 16
Knowledge (Nobility): 12
Knowledge (All others): 6-9
Listen: 12
Sense Motive: 24
Sleight of Hand: 19
Spellcraft: 27
Spot: 10
Use Magic Device: 14

2007-04-22, 08:56 AM
Druid 3rd level
Handle Animal, +14 on Animal Companion (+1 Cha, +5 Raniks, +4 Skill Focus, +4 Link Class feature)
Next best
Ride, +9 (+2 Dex, +5 Ranks, +2 Synergy)
Spot +9 (+4 Wis, +5 Ranks). I aim to get this up around 30 by lev 9 by taking the 2 Wild feats that boost Spot (+4 & +8). Yeah, I know they're weak, but IMHO if you can't sub-optimise a Druid and still have a powerful PC you're doing something wrong.


2007-04-22, 02:06 PM
For the two characters I'm playing at the moment, plus my players' characters...

My characters, both level 1:
Concentration, Spellcraft, and Knowledge (Religion) all +5 (4 ranks, +1 Int). Human Cleric.
Open Lock +9 (4 ranks, +3 Dex, +2 MW thieves' tools). Human Rogue.

For my players, all level 2:
Bluff and Disguise, +9 (5 ranks, +2 Cha, +2 racial to bluff, +2 synergy from bluff to disguise). Changeling Beguiler.
Concentration +11 (5 ranks, +3 Con, +3 Skill Focus). Human Druid.
Use Magic Device +11 (5 ranks, +4 Cha, +2 from Spellcraft). Human Warlock. (That's for scrolls; it's still her highest, +9, otherwise.)

2007-04-22, 02:18 PM
Callipalore Viano, the 4th level Grey Elf Wizard:

Dex bonus +3, Int bonus +4, Wis bonus +1, Cha bonus +3, for the untrained skills:

Concentration +6 (7 ranks -1 con penalty)
Decipher Script +11 (7 ranks +4 int)
Diplomacy +5 (untrained, cha + synergy bonus)
Know: Arcana +11 (7 ranks + int bonus)
Know: Nobility +9 (5 ranks + int bonus)
Know: The Planes +11 (7 ranks + int bonus)
Know: Nature +6 (2 ranks + int bonus)
Spellcraft: +11 (7 ranks + int bonus)
Listen/Spot: +5 (wis bonus + racial bonus + Alterness feat)
Search: +6 (int bonus + racial bonus)

- Eddie

2007-04-22, 05:14 PM
Marigold Bywater, Halfling Rogue 7/Avenging Executioner 1 (Complete Scoundrel)
Best Skill Modifier: Move Silently, +16 (+3 Dex +6 Ranks +2 Racial Bonus +5 Cloak of Elvenkind)
I try to be something of a generalist, so many of my skills are unfortunately not maxxed out. In spite of that, I manage to do pretty well for myself in-game.

2007-04-22, 05:26 PM
Human Paladin 6, Ride 8(10)
Elf Wizard 9, Spell Craft 12(20)

Jacob Orlove
2007-04-22, 07:32 PM
Level 10 Sorcerer has +22 Spellcraft (note: Int is his primary casting stat)
Level 5 Wizard has +18 Spellcraft
Level 2 Beguiler has +11 Disable Device
Level 3 Beguiler has +9 Bluff (or +16 Disguise, but that's with a +10 Changeling racial bonus)

Those are my four active characters right now. I'll see if I can grab some other numbers from those games and edit them in here.
Level 3 Ranger has +9 to Hide, Ride, and Knowledge (Nature)
Level 3 Rogue has +9 to Open Locks and Climb

Level 5 Psion has +13 Concentration and Psicraft
Level 5 Druid has +13 Survival (or +15 Disguise, again with the Changeling +10)

2007-04-22, 07:43 PM
First of all, I <3 jump, I think its the best skill ever.
I once had an ECL 6 character with a +74 to jump, the problem was landing...

2007-04-22, 07:54 PM
1. What is the skill bonus of their best skill?
2. What level are they?
3. What class are they?

For most situations, the best skill is not the one you want to focus on for setting DCs...it's their worst skills, the semi-trained ones, the people maxing things out cross-class, etc., that you want to focus on. People that have done their best to maximize one skill should not be penalized by giving it a higher DC...unless they're trying something WAY above their level.

On my level 13 mostly-sorceror, my HIGHEST skill bonus is Use Magic Device (which is only at 9 ranks), at +25.

2007-04-22, 08:47 PM
For most situations, the best skill is not the one you want to focus on for setting DCs...it's their worst skills, the semi-trained ones, the people maxing things out cross-class, etc., that you want to focus on. People that have done their best to maximize one skill should not be penalized by giving it a higher DC...unless they're trying something WAY above their level.

This is all true. But from a design stand-point, however, the lower scores don't give you any meaningful information.


Well, for starters, I can already tell you what the lowest skill bonuses will be: Something near or below +0. And that's going to essentially remain true for at least the first 20 levels of play and probably beyond.

You can also pull useful information straight out of the system by simply looking at the max ranks at a given level and then adding somewhere between +4 to +10 to the total (depending on the level you're talking about). That's what people will get simply by maxing out their ranks and adding their best attribute bonus.

Dabblers -- including virtually all cross-classers -- are going to fall somewhere in the range between +0 and and that max-ranker.

So that's all information you can pull straight out of the system and it's going to be fairly accurate.

Now, you can also go in and start trying to make some assumptions what people who choose to really focus on a given skill will look like. Do they pick up Skill Focus? A skill feat? How big a bonus from a boost item?

And I've done that. But ultimately those assumptions aren't as useful as you might think. Personal experience is idiosyncratic, for starters.

And collecting these numbers isn't about trying to screw players who specialize their skills. In some cases it's about NOT screwing them:

It's not actually fun for the specialist if, after spending all their effort on boosting an skill, you've set all your DCs so low that even the fighter with an Intelligence of 6 can make thjem without breaking a sweat.

On the other hand, it's not fun for the specialist if you've made some false expectations and given all your NPC guards Spot bonuses that are 10 points higher than their Hide bonus (because you assumed their Hide bonus would be 20 points higher than it actually is).

I'll be posting some of my findings in a little bit. I think part of my mistake on the WotC boards, though, was posting my preliminary number crunches -- so I didn't get any of the useful real-world spot-checking that I'm interested in here.

Justin Alexander

PnP Fan
2007-04-22, 11:09 PM
I've two D&D 3.5 characters active currently, and several others laying about that are just handy. I should also point out that my groups typically give bonus Skill Points for both INT and WIS, because our GM's tend to run Skill heavy games. I also tend to play the Diplomancer, so my character's skill ranks tend to reflect this.

Artemidorius Tanlandryn (a.k.a. Art) of Aerenal (Cleric 3/ Sword Sage 3/ house ruled version of the Ruby Knight Vindicator 1) has a bonus of 12 in Heal, Hide, and Move Silent. For what it's worth, most of these are max ranks, with decent attributes, no magical abilities/feat/spells up.

Father Joramund the Devout of the Great Empire of Thyatis is a Cleric7 / Warpriest 9. He has a total bonus of 38 in Diplomacy (max ranks, ridiculous att bonus, a magical item, and some miscellaneous in-house bonus related to reputation).

Samael Vines (Pratchett can sue me ;-) of Cyre, Exorcist of the Flame is an Urban Ranger 2 / Cleric 3 / Exorcist of the Silver Flame: 2. His highest skill is a 10 in Search, but that is partially dependant upon a feat that is only applicable during "detective" work. Otherwise his highest skills are Hide, K: Religion, and Sense Motive all at 9.

Yahneth of Yahneth's Down Yahnder Ylixirs, located in Sterling Shire, Started out as a Druid 3/Sorcerer 3 build, with 16's in spot/survival, 15 in K: Nature, and 14's in C: Alchemy, Listen, and Spellcraft.
Yahneth was forcefully re-written, at a later level, as a Cleric 5/Sorcerer 3, with the following skills: 15 in Heal and Diplomacy, 14's in C: Alchemy, K: Nature, Spellcraft.

Finally, we have Keitokaze Shin'yo (a.k.a. Kato), of Kara'Tur was a Samurai 1/Paladin 5/Kensai 2. His skill ranks were as follows: 18 Diplomacy, 13 Concentration.

Hope this helps your study.

Archpaladin Zousha
2007-04-22, 11:31 PM
I have a Level 2 Diviner with the following:

Knowledge (Arcana): 12 (5 ranks, +4 INT bonus and +3 from Skill Focus)
Knowledge (Arch/Eng): 9 (5 ranks, +4 INT bonus)
Knowledge (History): 9 (5 ranks, +4 INT bonus)
Knowledge (Local): 9 (5 ranks, +4 INT bonus)
Knowledge (The Planes): (5 ranks, +4 INT bonus)
Spellcraft: 9 (5 ranks, +4 INT bonus)
Concentration 8 (5 ranks, +3 CON bonus)

Hope it's of use to you.

2007-04-23, 06:35 AM
Okay, lets see...
best skills: Jump: +48, Tumble +28
Character level 10, took the blade dancer prestige class

Jump: 12 ranks, +4 from Strength, +2 skill synergy bonus from tumble, + 10 from the Acrobatics class feature, and a whopping +20 from a land speed of 80 ft.

2007-04-23, 09:46 PM
In an Eberron game a couple of years ago, I had a half-elven bard named Leandra, who had a +20 Diplomacy modifier by level 4. Let me see if I remember how that went...

Max ranks in Diplomacy (7), +4 Cha modifier (I think; it might only have been a +3), +2 synergy from Bluff, +2 Synergy from Sense Motive, +2 from being a half-elf, +2 from Negotiator, +1 from glamourweave clothes, is 20. That sounds about right.

At some point I need to figure out what Tannen's Survival modifier is for the purposes of tracking... max ranks at level 10 is +13, +4 Wis mod, +2 synergy from Knowledge: Nature, +2 synergy from Search, +4 when tracking by scent (Deep Denizen feat from Savage Species), +6 vs. his highest Favored Enemy... I think that's +31 when tracking evil outsiders by scent in an aboveground natural environment. Fun stuff. (His class levels are included earlier in the thread.)

2007-04-23, 10:09 PM
I'm currently playing in a gestalt campaign. Just so you know, we're using a fairly high-powered method of character creation - roll 4d6, drop lowest as usual, but re-rolling any result of "1." I did a number of sample rolls and this method appears to result in characters worth about 37 points in the DMG point-buy method.

Terace Gripsphere, TN Half-elf druid/wizard 3
Str 10, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 18, Wis 17, Cha 15
Concentration +10 (6 ranks)
Handle Animal +8 (6 ranks)
Knowledge (arcana) +10 (6 ranks)
Knowledge (nature) +14 (6 ranks)
Profession (cook) +9 (6 ranks)
Spellcraft +12 (6 ranks)
Spot +10 (6 ranks)
Survival +11 (6 ranks)
Skill Focus (Concentration), Scribe ScrollB, Eschew Materials

2007-04-23, 10:17 PM
I think it's a +7 on open lock, and a +9 or something on my disable device. I've got a level 1 rogue/ level 1 sorcerer.

But I've got a barbarian with a... +7 to bluff, if I remember correctly. Level one. I took persuasion as a feat. good stuff.

2007-04-23, 10:40 PM
The right skills to focus on depend somewhat on the campaign, and what skills your DM frequently asks you to roll or allows you to roll in the first place. My characters tend to either max out a skill (because it's very important to the class or character concept), or put just one rank into it (for the various "trained only" skills so I at least have the option to do them). Having options available is a good thing! For the important maxed out skills, I sometimes enhance them further with magic items or spells. For example, for my Wizard:

Concentration (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/concentration.htm): Always maxed out
Spellcraft (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/spellcraft.htm): Always maxed out
Knowledge (Arcana) (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/knowledge.htm): Maxed out assuming I have the points
Decipher Script (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/decipherScript.htm): Maxed out or at least raised a bit assuming I have the points
Craft (Alchemy) (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/craft.htm): Maxed out if I want to make Alchemist's Fire and such

Ride (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/ride.htm): A few ranks (so I can always pass DC 5 Ride checks)
Knowledge (Whatever) (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/knowledge.htm): One rank in each of the default Knowledge areas (so I have the option of rolling)
Use Magic Device (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/useMagicDevice.htm): One rank (so I have the option to use items with spells not on my class list)
Tumble (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/tumble.htm): One rank (so I have the option to Tumble when needed)
Autohypnosis (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/skills/autohypnosis.htm): One rank (a number of nice things you can do with it)
Profession (Whatever) (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/profession.htm): One rank in a few professions can be useful

2007-04-23, 10:44 PM
Diviner 5, Spellcraft +14

2007-04-23, 10:45 PM
The right skills to focus on depend somewhat on the campaign, and what skills your DM frequently asks you to roll or allows you to roll in the first place. My characters tend to either max out a skill (because it's very important to the class or character concept), or put just one rank into it (for the various "trained only" skills so I at least have the option to do them). Having options available is a good thing!
If you have the feat slot available, the Jack of All Trades feat (Complete Adventurer) allows you to use trained-only skills without having to put ranks in them (it gives you, effectively, a phantom 1/2 rank in each). If you're playing a wizard, it's pretty much a sure thing that you meet the prerequisite for the feat. :smallsmile:

I use it from time-to-time for characters I want to be Knowledge-able without having to drop massive ranks into each of the 11-or-so Knowledge skills; specialize in one or two, then let the character's Int-bonus carry the rest.

2007-04-24, 01:38 AM
Level 12 sorcerer with, I think, about a +24 to Bluff, +17 to Diplomacy, and something like +22 to Concentration.

2007-04-24, 08:54 AM
Level 12 Cleric: best skills:
Heal +11, Concentration +8