6 – Skills

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  • SRD Reference: Skills
  • Rules Reference: pg 46 (Fate Core Systems Book)

About Skills

Empty Skills Tree
Empty Skills Tree

Take a good look at your High Concept, Trouble, Aspects, and your history when considering which skills to pick. The standard setup has the following skill ratings:

  • 1 @ +4
  • 2 @ +3
  • 3 @ +2
  • 4 @ +1

Pick and rate your skills. You may find the default skill list (18 skills) is on page 96. You may also feel free to keep some skill slots open and fill them out during the game when the inspiration hits you or when you find it useful.

Note: Below is the default skill list for the Tower of Serpents fantasy campaign which is found in Fate Worlds Vol 1 – Worlds on Fire.  Your campaign’s skill list may be different than this, but this should give you an idea where to start.  Check with your GM for your campaign’s skill list or check your campaign’s Creation Worksheet, Campaign Description Sheet, or other campaign reference.

AthleticsEmpathyProvoke
BurglaryFightRapport
ContactsInvestigateResources
CraftsLoreShoot
DeceiveNoticeStealth
DrivePhysiqueWill

These skill ratings (+2, +1, etc…) will be added to the net total from your Fate Dice roll and compared to either a set rating difficulty (such as a set  difficulty of +3 to overcome)  or will be used in an opposed roll.

Hint: You may also check out Appendix I – Character Aspects Made Clear? for more information on the relationship between aspects, skills, and stunts.

Hint: You can also try to use the Skill Prompt Cards to assist with the skill picking process.

Fatesville Gaming Group

As the players were handing over their character creation sheets to Tess, she started to bring out newly printed and laminated Skill Prompt Cards to begin the skill picking process. Neatly, she laid them all out on the table so everyone could see them. She even had 1 blank one with Stormcaller written on it with a dry erase marker.

So, for round 1 we will go around the table starting with…. Sarah. You will pick up the card for the 1 skill that you want for your top skill at +4 and then we will go clockwise around the table. Then the last person to pick their top skill, which would be Dan, will go first in picking their first skill at +3, going counter-clock wise from there (and then clock-wise again), until all of your +3 skills are selected. After that, we can lay the cards back down so you can freely pick or wait to pick the rest of your skills.” She looked right to Sarah: “And… GO!

Picking Skills using Skill Prompt Cards - 4 Players
Picking Skills using Skill Prompt Cards – 4 Players

Round 1 – Top Skill @ +4

Sarah, knew exactly what she wanted for her first skill. She picked up the card for Deceive, which will power her Mark of the Faceless One’s shapechanging ability. Jeff, of course, picked up the card for the custom skill, Stormcaller, as his top skill, which is what will power his magic. George picked the card for Fight for his fluffy melee-monster Knight. Dan picked Stealth for his Dwarven Dark Runner so he can hit’em when they least expect it.

Round 2 – First Skill @ +3

The first round was easy. Now, on to round two where they will pick their first skill at +3.

Dan, who went last in the first round, will pick first in this round. He picked Shoot for his second skill so he can provide ranged support from the shadows. George picked Rapport so he can woo the ladies in effective but inappropriate ways. Jeff picked Lore, which is another skill which is very appropriate for a wizard character. Sarah, picked Empathy so she can be good at reading people and to be able to keep people at a distance.

Round 3 – Second Skill @ +3

In Round 3 they will pick their last skill at +3 and it is last round where they will pick-up the Skill Prompt Cards.

Since Sarah went last in round 2, she will go first. She picked Contacts to show that being a noble person of Larion means she will know people everywhere in the Vale. Jeff saw Will as a great wizardly choice for Lysteria who would be dealing with tough magical forces. George wants Dinbi to be a rather manly in his fluffiness, so he selected Physique, which will also allow him to tank a bit too. Dan chose Notice so that Trangath, being the twitchy hunter that he is, would be able to see ambushes or other sneaky events.

Here are their skill lists after the first 3 rounds:

 @ +4@ +3@ +3
TrangathStealthShootNotice
TylaDeceiveEmpathyContacts
LysteriaStormcallerLoreWill
DinbiFightRapportPhysique

Round 4 – Other Skills @ +2 and +1

Now the group returned the cards back to the table so that everyone could see them. Without restriction, the players could then take a moment to choose whichever skills they want for their +2 and +1 skills. They could pick some, all, or none of their remaining skill slots. Any open skill slots may be selected on-the-fly during the game.

Dan (Trangath) went with picking his skills @ +2: Athletics, Investigate, and Burglary all of which will help him as as scout and in sneaky things. He will leave his +1’s for discovery during play.

Sarah (Tyla), did the same as Dan, decided on her +2’s: Provoke and Will which will be useful as a social character and then Shoot because she will also need some combat ability.

Jeff (Lysteria) picked all of his character’s skills: @ +2 – Fight, Stealth and Athletics which shows the thorough guerilla combat training she has received; @ +1 – Notice, Physique, Investigate, and Crafts which are good survival skills to make Lysteria more well-rounded.

George (Dinbi) picked all 3 skills @ +2 which he knew he would need: Athletics so Dinbi would be mobile. Provoke to try to make sure he was able to get his soon-to-be-victims’ attention so he can draw major aggro. Will to help make him fearless. Fear the white fluffy rabbit-man with the blood-soaked sword!


Sarah and Jeff picked up their cards first, without any thought. They knew what skills they needed and so did George. He snapped up the blue and white Skill Prompt card for Fight so Dinbi, the Silver Knight, could deftly wield his Silver Knight’s Blade to cut down any vile dragoman who chose to get in their way. With his skill card in hand, he confidently exclaimed “I am really gonna mess something up with my sword!

Jeff snickered. “Well, you will still never do as well in melee as my wizard. My dice will make sure of that. I am a gish! When I play Fate I should be wearing a shirt that says ‘Succeeding with style. It’s what I do.’. Nothing will be able stop me! Muahahahahah!

Well, there was some truth to that. Jeff’s dice rolling was something to see. In D&D seeing some 20’s pop up consecutively on a d20 was NOT uncommon when he was rolling. No matter what the system, Jeff’s die rolling seemed to have just the right spin. There is always that one guy in your gaming circle where you often wondered if they went so far as to make an unholy deal to make sure there dice rolled true, or if there really were dice gods and this person was really blessed by them while your very existence manages to offend them somehow. Jeff was that guy.

There was a collective ‘Uggh!’ at Jeff’s words. They are true but are annoying to hear…every… single…session. The group just smiled and tried to move on. George, unphased the the whole siutation, just shrugged his shoulders and was tapping away at his smartphone. He had already moved on in his mind. He was just thinking that his friend John might like this game.

Tess fake coughed while trying to disguise a single word “Kutr”. Dan and Sarah chuckled quietly while looking to see if Jeff noticed. George was not paying attention, he was tapping away, most likely texting someone. Jeff just furled his brow confused and then looked at his character sheet. They were pretty sure he did not hear. The three of them remembered Jeff’s Tiefling Warlock from 4E who spent most of each game unconscious after insisting on going hand-to-hand with everything that got near him instead of cursing and casting from the back.