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All Rules in Pathfinder Unchained

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Grouped Skills

Source Pathfinder Unchained pg. 70
Using the grouped skills system, characters gain bonuses for large categories of skills and higher bonuses for specific skills. Instead of replacing or modifying the skill list, this system finds commonalities among skills and divides them into groups. Choosing skills is simplified, so instead of expending skill ranks to gain one skill at a time, a character gains training in a small number of skill groups, and gains specialties that give her bonuses to particular skills as she advances in level. The groups represent broad talents, and the skill specialties draw from the standard skill list.

With this system, players don’t need to worry about expending skill ranks. A character adds 1/2 her level when attempting skill checks for her chosen grouped skills, thereby making that character at least somewhat competent in skills she might otherwise neglect. This system makes characters more broadly skilled, but gives them fewer skills they truly excel at—at least at low levels.

Grouped Skills in Other Variants

With a bit of adaptation, skill groups can work alongside the background skills or consolidated skills systems.

Background Skills: Instead of gaining background skill ranks at every level, a character gains one additional skill specialty at 1st level that can be used only to select a background skill. She can expend her normal skill specialties to select either background or adventuring skills. The Artistry and Lore skills fall under the Scholarly skill group. The character can take a specialty in Lore any number of times, choosing a different type of Lore each time. To attempt a check with a Lore skill, a character must have a specialty in it. Having training in the Scholarly skill group doesn’t allow a character to use all the potential Lore skills untrained, but it does enable a character with one or more Lore skills to add her full level as a bonus on those checks, rather than just 1/2 her level.

Consolidated Skills: Reduce both the number of skill groups and the number of skill specialties characters gain by 1/2 (rounded down, to a minimum of 1). Use 1/2 the class’s skill ranks per level from the core rules to determine that class’s number of skill groups and specialties, not 1/2 the adjusted values presented in the Class Skills section.

You also need to change the skill groups to the following.

Skill GroupsIncluded Skills
NaturalNature, Survival
PhysicalAcrobatics, Athletics
ScholarlyReligion, Society, Spellcraft
SocialInfluence, Performance
ThievingFinesse, Stealth

Skill Group Rules

Source Pathfinder Unchained pg. 70
At 1st level, a character gains training in a number of skill groups determined by her class’s number of skill ranks per level, as shown on Table 2–3: Skill Specialties and Groups by Level. A character can gain training in any skill group, even if none of the included skills are class skills for her.

At 1st level, a character gains one skill specialty, plus a number of bonus skill specialties equal to 1/2 her Intelligence modifier. At 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter, a character gains a specialty in one additional skill. If at any point her Intelligence modifier increases or decreases, her number of bonus skill specialties changes accordingly. Each skill specialty applies to a single, specific skill, and a character is allowed to take a specialty in a skill that isn’t in one of her skill groups. However, her bonus with that skill isn’t as high as it would be if she were also trained in the corresponding skill group.

When determining whether a character can use a trained-only skill, the character counts as trained if she has either a specialty in that skill or training in the skill’s group.

Skill GroupsIncluded Skills
NaturalHandle Animal, Heal, Survival
PerceptivePerception, Sense Motive
PhysicalAcrobatics, Climb, Escape Artist, Fly, Ride, Swim
ScholarlyAppraise, Craft, Knowledge (All), Profession, Spellcraft
SocialBluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Linguistics, Perform
ThievingDisable Device, Disguise, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, Use Magic Device

For example, a 1st-level druid with an Intelligence score of 12 gains training in two skill groups. She chooses Natural and Physical. She has one specialty to spend (1/2 her Intelligence modifier rounds down to 0 in this case, so she won’t gain bonus specialties unless she increases her Intelligence score to 14 or higher). The druid chooses Perception for her skill specialty.

Table 2-3: Skill Specialties and Groups by Level

Character LevelSkill Specialties12+Int24+Int36+Int48+Int5
1 A character adds 1/2 her Intelligence bonus to her number of specialties; characters always have a minimum of 1 specialty.
2 This category includes the arcanist, cleric, fighter, magus, paladin, sorcerer, summoner, warpriest, witch, and wizard.
3 This category includes the alchemist, barbarian, bloodrager, brawler, druid, gunslinger, monk, oracle, shaman, skald, and swashbuckler.
4 This category includes the bard, cavalier, hunter, inquisitor, investigator, ranger, and slayer.
5 This category includes the rogue.