Alternate-Rule Skills and Prerequisites

In my last post I had a little throwaway sentence about skill ranks and how to determine them: ranks equals the sum of level bonus, proficiency bonus, and specialization bonus.

This really didn’t sit well with me because skill ranks are often used as prerequisites, specifically level-derived prerequisites, and being able to have six ranks at first level really complicates things.

This morning I realized, though, that there’s a pretty simple and consistent prerequisite progression.

Prerequisite Met By Meaning
3 ranks One of group proficiency, skill specialization, level bonus You have some minimal ability beyond natural talent.
Trained One of group proficiency, skill specialization You’re actually trained in the skill.
Skill unlock 1 Skill specialization You’re specialized in the skill.
6 ranks Any two of group proficiency, skill specialization, level bonus You are trained in the skill and experienced, or very well-trained.
Skill unlock 2 Skill specialization and one of group proficiency or level bonus You are specialized in the skill and experienced or very well-trained.
9 ranks Level bonus, plus any two of group proficiency, skill specialization, signature skill You are experienced, and very well-trained.
Skill unlock 3 Skill specialization plus level bonus, plus one of group proficiency and signature skill You are specialized and experienced, and either very well-trained or very experienced
12 ranks Group proficiency, skill specialization, level bonus, signature skill. You are exceedingly well-trained, and very experienced.
Skill unlock 4 As 12 ranks, included for completeness. As 12 ranks, included for completeness

These are ordered by how specific or difficult the requirements are. There are three ways to get ‘3 ranks’, two ways to get ‘trained’, but only one way to have ‘skill unlock 1’. There are also three ways to get ‘6 ranks’, but they require two improvements rather than one so are considered more difficult (and you cannot get there without proficiency or specialization, so it means you must be trained).

I’m going to have to rewrite some feat prerequisites, but it looks like I’ve got some decent guidelines on how to handle the skill-oriented ones.

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