Rules Index | GM Screen

Chapter 4: Variant Rules

Skill Points

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 199
The default progression of skill proficiency ranks is simple and doesn’t require many mathematical calculations as a player assigns skills. However, some players prefer a more granular system with a greater ability to diversify their skills. This variant allows characters to assign their skill increases more flexibly, potentially having fewer skills at the highest possible rank in exchange for more skills at a lower rank.

Assigning Skill Points

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 199
At 1st level, a character using the Skill Points variant gains their initial skill proficiencies as described in the Core Rulebook. However, at every level beyond 1st, instead of gaining skill increases, the character gains a number of Skill Points, as indicated on Table 4–19: Skill Points by Level. The character can spend these Skill Points to increase their proficiency rank in various skills, as shown on Table 4–20: Cost to Increase Rank. A character must meet the minimum level indicated on the table to increase their rank, primarily to avoid having a player becoming unrealistically good at one skill early in their adventuring career while neglecting everything else. Characters can save up Skill Points between levels for a more expensive increase later on.

Table 4-19: Skill Points by Level

LevelSkill Points Gained
1Initial proficiencies

Table 4-20: Cost to Increase Rank

RankMinimum LevelSkill Point Cost
Untrained to trained11
Trained to expert32
Expert to master74
Master to legendary158


Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 199
Because rogues get skill increases at every level in the standard rules, they also get more Skill Points. Rogues gain double the number of Skill Points listed on Table 4–19.


Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 199
A character can retrain the proficiency ranks they gained using Skill Points much as they would retrain a skill increase under the normal rules. With a week of downtime, a character can reduce their proficiency rank in one skill by one step to get back the number of Skill Points spent to gain that increase. For example, reducing a master proficiency rank to expert would grant a character 4 Skill Points. The character can then reassign those points as they see fit or save them for later. Reducing proficiency ranks for multiple skills or reducing a single proficiency rank by multiple steps takes additional weeks of downtime.

Skill Points in Play

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 199
Players using Skill Points have more flexibility to build characters with a broader range of skills in which they’re trained or better than normal, and this variant encourages that flexibility by increasing the cost of specializing. For instance, a 19th-level fighter could use Skill Points to be a master in seven different skills, or to be legendary in three skills. While this makes the variance in skills slightly less predictable, it shouldn’t have a big enough effect on a group’s capabilities that you need to make any significant adjustments when you run the game.