Skill Enhancement

As I said, the rules are very vauge and the only reference that I can find to skill enhancement at all is where the book says there is no limits to the competance bonus.  Somehow, I believe this was either an oversight on the writers part or a misprint.  In my campaign, I have characters with magic items that give bonuses to skills ranging from a +2 to a +20.  Some of my players have begun asking about items that would give them +30 to skills like Alchemy and Bluff.  Neccessity has made me lay out some ground rules to keep the ehnacements, and abilities, in check.

There are two ways to give skill bonuses with magic items.  The first way is to possess the knowledge and skill required to impart a competance bonus onto some related magic item.  The other is to possess a spell (like Jump) that ignores skill level and imparts a magical bonus to your skill checks.  Either method may be used or both may be combined to make superior items.

After much deliberation, I have come up with a table to guide the item creation process for skill bonuses.  The maximum bonus is what can be obtained using the skill level, materials, or magic at hand to create the item.  To create an enhanced item, the character must have at least 5 ranks in the appropriate skill.  The following table assumes that the character has at least the minimum ranks for the enhancement.  Without the minimum ranks, only magic may be used to give an enhancement.

Max
Bonus
Condition
+2
Item enchanted is only marginally* used for the skill checks.
(A glass vial for Alchemy checks.)
+5
This is the average bonus
+10
The enchanted item is of major use* in skill checks.
(Magnifying Glass for Appraise Checks.)
+15
A spell is used that emulates the skill but the character doesn't have the minimum ranks for the skill.
+30
A spell is used that emulates the skill and the character has at least the minimum ranks in the skill.
* If items are not neccessary for the skill check (i.e. Climb) then the item must be in contact with both the body of the character and the object of the skill check (i.e. Ring of Climbing).  In this example, pittons, or a special rope, would be capable of being granted the +10 bonus to Climb checks.

Confused yet?  I hope not.  This simple system should cover any questions that come up.  The only problems that I see are what items constitute marginal or major use.  I leave this issue up to the DM and the situation.  The other problem is that some skills can't have competance bonuses attatched to them, and some skills cannot have magical aid to enhance them.  Instead of making a generalization, I have decided to deal with each skill individually.  For new skills, find one that is a close match and adapt those rules.

SkillEnhancement capability
AlchemyThis skill is so complex that you may only gain a maximum of +5 enhancement to it.
Animal EmpathyHaving ranks in the skill does not matter.  Only magic can grant an enhancement so therefore the maximum enhancement is +15.
AppraiseMagic does not help this skill.  The maximum enhancement is +10.
BalanceThis skill is so dynamic that you may only gain a maximum of +5 enhancement to it.
BluffThis skill cannot be enhanced magically.  The exception is the feinting ability, a weapon can be granted up to a +2 enhancement with at least 5 ranks in the skill.
ClimbNo restriction.
ConcentrationThis skill cannot be enhanced magically.
CraftNo restriction.
Decipher ScriptThis skill cannot be enhanced magically.
DiplomacyHaving ranks in the skill does not matter.  Only magic can grant an enhancement so therefore the maximum enhancement is +15.
Disable DeviceNo restriction.  An item that grants a bonus to Open Locks may also grant a bonus to Disable Device.
DisguiseNo restriction
Escape ArtistNo restriction
ForgeryThis skill is so complex that you may only gain a maximum of +5 enhancement to it.
Gather InformationThis skill cannot be enhanced magically.
Handle AnimalThis skill is so complex that you may only gain a maximum of +5 enhancement to it.  Enhancements may only be granted for handling and pushing, all other uses of this skill cannot gain enhancments.
HealNo restriction
HideNo restriction.
InnuendoThis skill cannot be enhanced magically.
IntimidateNo restriction.
Intuit DirectionNo restriction.
JumpNo restriction.
Knowledge (all)This skill cannot be enhanced magically.  Either you know the information or you don't, magic can't help you.
ListenThis skill is so dynamic that you may only gain a maximum of +5 enhancement to it.
Move SilentlyNo restriction.
Open LocksNo restriction.  Items that give bonuses to Disable Device may also grant the bonus to Open Locks.
PerformNo restriction.
Pick PocketThis skill cannot be enhanced magically.
ProfessionNo restriction.
Read LipsThis skill is so dynamic that you may only gain a maximum of +5 enhancement to it.
RideNo restriction.
ScryThis skill cannot be enhanced magically.  Magic can create items that detect scrying attempts automatically, or items that allow you to Scry, not add bonuses to your Scry check.
SearchThis skill is so complex that you may only gain a maximum of +5 enhancement to it.
Sense MotiveThis skill cannot be enhanced magically.
Speak LanguageThis skill cannot be enhanced magically.  It is possible, however, to make an intelligent item that speaks specific languages.
SpellcraftThis skill cannot be enhanced magically.
SpotHaving ranks in the skill does not matter.  Only magic can grant an enhancement so therefore the maximum enhancement is +15.
SwimNo restriction.
TumbleThis skill is so dynamic that you may only gain a maximum of +5 enhancement to it.
Use Magic DeviceYou can create items that emulate specific class, alignment, or race.  The item only grants up to a +5 bonus for that specific occurence and none other.  If the item is worn while attempting to emulate another class, alignment, or race, then the enhancment becomes a penalty.  (i.e. wearing a lawful emulating ring while trying to emulate chaotic garners you a -5 penalty to the roll.  Remeber these items people!)
Use RopeNo restriction.
Wilderness LoreHaving ranks in the skill does not matter.  Only magic can grant an enhancement so therefore the maximum enhancement is +15.  This skill is so diverse that enhancements should only work on specific uses of the skill and not all uses of the skill.  (Such as a cloak that grants you a +15 on hunting checks due to its surpression of scent and sound.)  Enhancing ones tracking ability requires the creator also have the Track feat.