Virtual skill ranks & Skill Focus


Rules Questions


Hero Lab is giving a +3 bonus to a skill, with more than ten "virtual" ranks in the skill and the Skill Focus feat.
Skill Focus is supposed to grant a +3 bonus, which becomes a +6 bonus once you have ten or more ranks within the skill.

I'm actually interested in Spheres of Might, where based off of the number of talents within a given sphere, you have ranks in the associated sphere (capped to your character level).

The only Paizo class with a similar mechanic I can find is Versatile Training (The Fighter "weapon training" option, from The Weapon Master's Handbook).

"The fighter can use his base attack bonus in place of his ranks in two skills of his choice that are associated with the fighter weapon group he has chosen with this option (see below)...

"When using versatile training the fighter substitutes his total base attack bonus (including his base attack bonus gained through levels in other classes) for his ranks in these skills, but adds the skill's usual ability modifier and any other bonuses or penalties that would modify these skills."

In the case of Versatile Training, a Fighter of 10th level or higher is only gaining +3 extra bonus from Skill Focus with the skill that has zero ranks but as many virtual ranks as the Fighter's BAB.

Should Skill Focus grant only +3 (with 10+ virtual ranks in a skill) or the full +6?

Ideally looking for a Paizo ruling, so we can show Hero Lab it's coded wrong, if that is in fact the official ruling.

Thanks for your time.


It's unlikely you will get any developer attention since this system is half defunct after the release of the new one.

I don't see any issue with virtual ranks granting bonuses as actual ranks.

Herolab is notoriously wrong for weird interactions and should never be considered an authoritative rule source. Pretty much comes down to ask your GM, but words like 'substitute' are pretty compelling to me.


I'd tend to agree with that. The Lonewolf (HL company) often want a source to site, but are happy to change things that aren't done correctly if we can show them a ruling.

I can easily use an adjustment to grant as many free skill ranks as the bonus is giving, and then HL sees actual regular ranks in the skill and gives the appropriate bonus based on that.

I'm just not 100% sure if that is correct, RAW, or my interpretation of the rules.


Since Spheres of Might is 3pp you'll likely have much more luck getting a response from the creators on the intended interaction.


The guy who does the coding for the HL packages said he set it to work just like the "Versatile Training" fighter option.

Hero Lab has the virtual ranks from Versatile Training and the virtual ranks from the Spheres of Might stuff granting the correct number of ranks. However Hero Lab has the Skill Focus always only granting a +3 bonus, even after the character has 10 (or 20) virtual ranks in the skill.

Lone Wolf will change how the coding works, if they way they have it is wrong.

I personally believe that to be a bug in Hero Lab, as both the Might and Weapon Master's Handbook seems to imply that the virtual ranks act like actual ranks within the skills.

I was just looking for clarification either way on that.


Hero Lab correctly applies Skill Focus (Perform X) bonuses of +3 or +6 when calculating a bard's versatile performance.

Hero Lab applies the masterwork bonus for items to the performance skills totals when using a bard's versatile performance. This is incorrect according to some other posts, however, it isn't clear, and Paizo marked the thread as answered:
https://paizo.com/threads/rzs2jw28&page=2?Rules-Clarification-Bardic-Ve rsatile-Performance

Personally, I think the Hero Lab method makes more sense for the versatile performance with masterwork items than ignoring that bonus. It's just a +2, and doing a straight substitution is more clear (so if you have Strings +20 (with a masterwork item), you also have Diplomacy +20 (and not just a +18).

You should definitely report your issue on the fighter Versatile Training to the Lone Wolf forums. That function (from your description) is working backwards to how HL is working for the Versatile Performance for bards (where HL is more generous than a RAW reading).

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