The skills in the Core Rulebook allow for complex specialization. In some games, the GM might wish to use a smaller list to make characters more broadly talented, to group skills that characters typically choose together, and to speed up the leveling-up process. The consolidated skills system reduces the number of skills by combining related skills. In many cases, the new skills have been renamed to highlight the nature of the consolidated skill. This variant system makes each skill rank matter more. Even after reducing the number of skill ranks granted, characters will be somewhat more skilled. Character classes that are highly skilled, such as the bard or rogue, get the biggest boost.
The consolidated skills system reduces the number of skills from 35 to 12. Many knowledge skills have been placed into larger categories with a similar theme. Knowledge (arcana), for example, is combined with Use Magic Device under Spellcraft. The list of new skills appears on Table: Consolidated Skills, along with the key ability for each consolidated skill and the core skills it replaces. Several skills are removed and not replicated by this system, as indicated by a dash (—) on Table: Converting Core Skills. These are typically skills that are less important for adventuring, but can be put back into your game using the background skills variant. Skills can be converted to and from the consolidated skills system using Table: Converting Core Skills. This is most helpful when running published adventures or using monsters built using the core system.
|New Skill||Untrained||Ability||Core Skills Included|
|Acrobatics||Yes||Dex*||Acrobatics (except jumping), Escape Artist, Fly, Ride|
|Athletics||Yes||Str*||Acrobatics (jumping), Climb, Swim|
|Finesse||No||Dex*||Disable Device, Sleight of Hand|
|Influence||Yes||Cha||Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate|
|Nature||No||Int||Handle Animal, Knowledge (dungeoneering, geography, nature)|
|Perception||Yes||Wis||Perception, Sense Motive|
|Religion||No||Int||Knowledge (planes, religion)|
|Society||No||Int||Knowledge (history, local, nobility), Linguistics|
|Spellcraft||No||Int||Knowledge (arcana), Spellcraft, Use Magic Device|
|* Armor check penalty applies.|
|Core Skill||Consolidated Skill|
|Acrobatics (except jumping)||Acrobatics|
|Sleight of Hand||Finesse|
|Use Magic Device*||Spellcraft|
|* This skill's key ability changes under the consolidated skills system.|
This section describes each consolidated skill, its functions in the game, and a list of the core skills it replaces. Use these descriptions instead of those in the Core Rulebook, though many of the entries refer back to the skill descriptions of that book for more detailed explanations. Each skill listed below is broken down into its different functions, each of which is described in further detail. These details list the action needed to use the skill function, whether you can try again after a failed check, special benefits that apply to the function, and special circumstances that affect whether you can use that function untrained.
You can use certain skills to identify monsters and their special powers or vulnerabilities. A successful check allows you to remember a bit of useful information about that monster. For every 5 points by which your check result exceeds the DC, you recall another piece of useful information.
|Monster Rarity||Skill Check DC|
|Common (goblin)||5 + monster's CR|
|Most monsters||10 + monster's CR|
|Rare (tarrasque)||15 + monster's CR|
The list of creature types below indicates which skill to use for each monster type.
Some skills have the recall knowledge function. This lets you answer questions about the subjects in question. This has a DC of 10 (for really easy questions), 15 (for basic questions), or 20 to 30 (for really tough questions).
Action: Usually none. Using a library (see Untrained, below) takes 1d4 hours.
Untrained: You can't attempt an untrained knowledge check with a DC higher than 10 unless you have access to an extensive library on the subject.
The races of the Core Rulebook that gain bonuses to skills should change in the following ways.
Dwarf: Greed functions the same way if the campaign uses background skills; otherwise, its bonus instead applies to Spellcraft checks to identify magic items that contain precious metals or gemstones.
Elf: Keen senses grants a +1 bonus on Perception checks.
Gnome: Keen senses grants a +1 bonus on Perception checks. Obsessive functions the same way if the campaign uses background skills; otherwise, it instead grants a +1 bonus on the character's choice of Perform or Spellcraft checks.
Half-Elf: Keen senses grants a +1 bonus on Perception checks.
Half-Orc: Intimidating applies only to Influence checks to demoralize or intimidate.
The bonus from class skills functions the same way under this system, and provides the same +3 bonus. However, the class skill lists change, with the following entries replacing the normal class skills lists. The number in parentheses indicates the number of skill ranks a character of this class gains at each level. Always add 1/2 the character's Intelligence modifier to this number, even if the modifier is negative. A character always gains a minimum of 1 skill rank per level.
|Class||Skill Ranks per Level||Class Skills|
|Alchemist||2 + 1/2 Int||Finesse, Spellcraft, Survival|
|Arcanist||1 + 1/2 Int||Religion, Society, Spellcraft|
|Barbarian||1 + 1/2 Int||Athletics, Nature|
|Bard||3 + 1/2 Int||Influence, Perception, Performance, Society, Spellcraft.|
|Bloodrager||2 + 1/2 Int||Athletics, Spellcraft|
|Brawler||2 + 1/2 Int||Acrobatics, Athletics, Perception|
|Cavalier||2 + 1/2 Int||Acrobatics, Athletics, Nature|
|Cleric||1 + 1/2 Int||Religion, Spellcraft, Survival|
|Druid||2 + 1/2 Int||Athletics, Nature, Survival|
|Fighter||1 + 1/2 Int||Acrobatics, Athletics|
|Gunslinger||2 + 1/2 Int||Athletics, Survival|
|Hunter||3 + 1/2 Int||Athletics, Nature, Perception, Stealth|
|Inquisitor||3 + 1/2 Int||Influence, Perception, Spellcraft, Stealth, Survival|
|Investigator||3 + 1/2 Int||Acrobatics, Finesse, Influence, Perception, Society, Spellcraft.|
|Magus||1 + 1/2 Int||Athletics, Spellcraft|
|Monk||2 + 1/2 Int||Acrobatics, Athletics, Perception|
|Oracle||2 + 1/2 Int||Religion|
|Paladin||1 + 1/2 Int||Religion, Survival|
|Ranger||3 + 1/2 Int||Athletics, Nature, Perception, Stealth, Survival|
|Rogue||4 + 1/2 Int||Acrobatics, Finesse, Influence, Perception, Society, Stealth|
|Shaman||2 + 1/2 Int||Nature, Religion, Survival|
|Skald||2 + 1/2 Int||Influence, Performance, Society, Spellcraft.|
|Slayer||3 + 1/2 Int||Athletics, Influence, Stealth, Survival|
|Sorcerer||1 + 1/2 Int||Influence, Spellcraft|
|Summoner||1 + 1/2 Int||Religion, Spellcraft|
|Swashbuckler||2 + 1/2 Int||Acrobatics, Athletics, Influence, Perception|
|Warpriest||1 + 1/2 Int||Athletics, Religion, Survival|
|Witch||1 + 1/2 Int||Nature, Religion, Spellcraft|
|Wizard||1 + 1/2 Int||Religion, Society, Spellcraft|
When converting to the consolidated skills system in the middle of an ongoing campaign, it's typically best to allow each player to completely reset her character's skill ranks and spend them again from scratch. She should also be able to retrain any feats or other abilities that affect her skill bonuses.
To adjust the rest of the system, use the guidelines below. Generally, an ability or effect that would normally grant a bonus on multiple types of skill checks instead grants a bonus on half as many, rounded down (minimum 1).
For feats and abilities that grant bonuses or penalties to skills, it's best for the GM to either ban them or adjust them to work only with specific functions of the feat. That is to say, the consolidated skills still cover the functions of the skills they've absorbed, so a bonus can still apply to only a specific function. For example, the Intimidating Prowess feat should add a character's Strength modifier instead of Charisma only when using the Influence skill to intimidate, rather than adding it to the Influence skill in all cases. The jump spell should give a bonus only on Athletics checks to jump, rather than on all Athletics checks. There are no direct conversions for this effect, so it must be done on a case-by-case basis.
If a feat, prestige class, or other ability requires a certain number of ranks in a skill, directly convert that core skill to the consolidated skill. Use the same number of ranks. For example, the Mounted Combat feat would require Acrobatics 1 rank instead of Ride 1 rank.
When running a prebuilt monster, the GM can convert core skills to consolidated skills on the fly. The GM can choose one of two paths: either use the monster's highest printed bonus as its bonus with the relevant consolidated skill, or treat each bonus as though it applies only to a sub-function of a consolidated skill. For example, an ice devil has a +22 bonus on Acrobatics checks and a +13 bonus on Fly checks. The GM could either give the devil a +22 bonus on all Acrobatics checks, or use the +22 bonus if the monster is moving through a threatened area and the +13 bonus if it's flying. Either approach can work, but the GM should be consistent with which she uses.
A GM using the highest-bonus approach still might want to consider separating out the bonuses in the case of large racial modifiers. A monster with a climb speed should probably not get its +8 racial bonus on Athletics checks to jump or swim.
Feats that give bonuses on skill checks need to be adjusted or removed in the consolidated skills system. This section presents a list of the skill feats in the Core Rulebook that shouldn't be used with this system. It also presents an alternative version of Skill Focus that replaces the core version to make its power level work better with this system. If an ability or class feature would grant access to one of the banned feats, use the most appropriate Skill Focus feat instead, as determined by the GM. For example, a familiar that grants Alertness would instead grant Skill Focus (Perception). For feats that modify skills in other ways, see the Bonuses for Function section above.
Removed Feats: Acrobatic, Alertness, Animal Affinity, Athletic, Deceitful, Deft Hands, Magical Aptitude, Persuasive, Self-Sufficient, Stealthy.
Choose a skill. You are particularly adept at that skill.
Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus on all checks involving the chosen skill. If you have 10 or more ranks in that skill, this bonus increases to +4.
Special: You can gain this feat multiple times. Its effects do not stack. Each time you take the feat, it applies to a new skill.
Many traits offer a +1 trait bonus on core skill checks and make those skills class skills. With the consolidated skills system, those traits instead grant a +1 trait bonus on traits involving the functions of those consolidated skills corresponding to the traits' listed core skills, or a +4 trait bonus if the skills are not class skills. If you later receive that skill as a class skill, this trait bonus reduces to +1.
Some class features function differently because of the consolidated skills list. Clarifications appear here, divided by class. These entries cover only the main class features, so the GM might need to adjudicate how certain arcane schools, domains, and the like interact with the consolidated skills system. Class features are omitted if they can be handled with a simple substitution, such as changing an ability that requires a Disable Device check to instead require a Finesse check.
Alchemist: Because the consolidated skills system removes Craft skills by default, the GM should either treat the alchemist's Craft (alchemy) bonus as though it were equal to his character level + his Intelligence modifier + 3 or use the background skills system.
Rage Powers: Raging climber, raging leaper, and raging swimmer are replaced with raging athlete, which adds the barbarian's level as an enhancement bonus on all Athletics checks and treats all such checks to jump as though the character had a running start.
Bard: Note that Performance applies to all types of performance, rather than being broken down like the core Perform skills. Bardic knowledge adds 1/2 the bard's class level (minimum 1) on all Nature, Religion, Society, and Spellcraft checks, and the bard can attempt checks with these skills untrained. Versatile performance allows the bard to substitute Performance when attempting either Acrobatics or Influence checks. He must choose only one of these two skills, and doesn't increase the number of substituted skills at higher levels. Lore master applies to Nature, Religion, Society, and Spellcraft checks.
Cavalier: A cavalier order adds only one skill to the cavalier's list of class skills (of the GM's choice, but the choice can't overlap with the cavalier's normal class skills). The bonus on checks applies only to the specific skill function listed.
Hunter: The bonus from the monkey aspect applies only to Athletics checks to climb.
Investigator: Because the consolidated skills system removes Craft skills by default, the GM should either treat the investigator's Craft (alchemy) bonus as though it were equal to his character level + his Intelligence modifier + 3 or use the background skills system. The investigator's ability to apply inspiration without expending uses applies to Nature, Religion, Society, and Spellcraft checks (he must still be trained in the skill). The trapfinding bonus applies to both Perception checks to locate traps and Finesse checks to disable traps. An investigator can use Finesse to disable magical traps. Keen recollection applies to Nature, Religion, Society, and Spellcraft checks.
Investigator Talents: Device talent allows the investigator to use Spellcraft untrained, but has no effect if the investigator is trained in Spellcraft. Empathy applies only when the investigator uses Perception to sense motive. Expanded inspiration can be used with Perception and Survival checks. Inspirational expertise applies when the investigator identifies a monster's special powers or vulnerabilities using whichever skill is appropriate. Inspired intelligence applies to Nature, Religion, Society, and Spellcraft checks. Underworld inspiration applies to Finesse and Influence checks.
Oracle: An oracle gains two class skills from her mystery (chosen by the GM).
Ranger: The favored enemy bonus applies to Perception and Survival checks against creatures of the selected type, and to checks with the monster knowledge function of the relevant skill. The favored terrain bonus applies to initiative checks, Nature checks, Perception checks to notice things, Stealth checks, and Survival checks.
Rogue Talents: The skill mastery talent applies to a number of skills equal to 1 + 1/2 the rogue's Intelligence modifier. It can still be taken multiple times.
Skald: Note that Performance applies to all types of performance, rather than being broken down like the core Perform skills. Bardic knowledge adds 1/2 the skald's class level (minimum 1) on all Nature, Religion, Society, and Spellcraft checks, and the skald can attempt checks with these skills untrained. The Acrobatics skill and the intimidate function of Influence can be used while in an inspired rage. Versatile performance allows the skald to substitute Performance when attempting either Influence checks or Perception checks to sense motive. He must choose only one of these two skills, and doesn't increase the number of skills substituted at higher levels. Lore master applies to Nature, Religion, Society, and Spellcraft checks.
Slayer: The studied target bonus applies to Influence checks to bluff, Perception checks, and Survival checks against the studied target. The stalker bonus applies to Influence checks to intimidate a creature, Perform checks to use a disguise, and Stealth checks.
Slayer Talents: Foil scrutiny applies to Influence checks to bluff a creature and Perform checks to use a disguise. Trapfinding grants Finesse as a class skill. The bonus from trapfinding applies to both Perception checks to locate traps and Finesse checks to disable traps. A slayer with trapfinding can use Finesse to disable magical traps.
Sorcerer: A bloodline's class skill applies to all uses of the corresponding consolidated skill.
Summoner: Change the eidolon's class skills to Perception and Stealth. The summoner can choose two additional class skills for the eidolon. An eidolon with a fly speed does not gain Acrobatics as a class skill.
Witch: The bonus from the flight hex is a +4 racial bonus on Athletics checks to swim.
Abilities that aren't tied only to one class appear here.
Familiars: The skill bonus from the familiar applies to all uses of the corresponding consolidated skill, but the bonus is reduced to +2. The raven familiar grants a +2 bonus on Society checks.