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Character Build Step Two:
Set Character Skills

Through the years of gaming, we have become frustrated with some of the hurdles RPG gamers face using the other RPG gaming systems.

Here are just a few RPG challenges that the Atomic RPG System tackles head on.

Atomic RPG System Skills are another part of a Atomic character that you will use quite often. Atomic Skills are very similar to the character skills in Dungeons and Dragons and many other popular role play games. Atomic Skills are simplified and streamlined further than most systems to make them fast, easy, and designed for a wide variety of situations. These Atomic Skills show a character’s specialization or diversity and are used in a variety of ways. For more information on Atomic Role Play Game Skill checks and uses, please see the individual Skill pages.

What will your character's best Skills be?

Every Atmotic RPG System character can use any skill. This doesn’t mean they can all do it well! Player Characters will choose two skills at character creation. These skills will have a boost to them which will make that character better with those two skills over the others.

Primary Skill

The Primary Skill will likely be the characters best skill. This is their passion.

Primary Skill

The Secondary Skill act like a good "backup" skill.

Characters Gain 2 Addition Skill Points When They Level

All Atomic RPG System characters will receive 2 Skill Points at each level. The total Skill Points assigned should not exceed the character’s current level. The player can assign these points to the Skills which are most fitting for their character. This way every player can fine-tune their character. Skills have a Trait associated with them. These Traits provide bonuses to the Skill at a 3 to 1 ratio. For example, the Athletic Skill’s associated Trait is Body. The character’s Body Trait will be used to calculate the base score. A Body Trait of 9 will add a bonus of +3. Spending 2 Skill Points will then result in a total Skill Score of 5. When this character wants to use this Skill, they will be able to add +6 to their d20 roll.

Skills can be further modified by Powers, Items, Specialties, and more!

Summary of Skills Associations and Uses

AthleticsBodyBalancing, Breaking, Climbing, Jumping, Sneaking, Tumble
Crafting (TYPE)Highest TraitWeapons, Armor, Potions, Misc Magic, Other Items (Must have accompanying Specialties)
Language*NABinary, Dragonkin, Dwarven, Elven, Gnome, Giant, Goblinoid, Chinese
NatureSpiritAnimal Lore, Hunting, Navigation, Outdoor Survival, Weather
PerceptionSpiritHearing, Seeing, Smelling, Touching, Tasting
ReligionMindBeliefs, Religion, Morality, Spirituality
ScholarMindKnowledge, History, Item Lore, Use Devices
SocialSpiritBluffing, Intimidating, Performing, Determining Motive, Diplomacy
SubterfugeSpiritDeception, Hiding, Forging, Breaking and Entering, Hacking, Sneaking, Trapping, Pick Pocketing

*The Language skill does not have a specific Skill number to roll against. Instead, for every point spent in Language, you will know another language. You can read and write the languages that you know. Ask your Game Master (GM) to provide a list of available languages you can learn.

Atomic RPG System Character Skill Base Languages

Most campaign settings should have one language that is a common simple trading language that everyone in the setting should know.

On top of the common language, all characters should also know whatever racial, regional, or character-based language they’ve grown up with. Consult your GM if you are not sure which language you want to know or if you have something else in mind.

Rolling Character Skills for Success

The difficulty of the task will determine what number a player needs to roll and what Skill they will roll against. If the player rolls the predetermined number or higher the player will be successful. The GM will then let the player know what happens after the successful Skill Check.

To see what some of the exact rolls might be during play, check out the Game Rules Skill Di  fficulties and Checks page.

Failed Character Skill Rolls

If the player rolls under the predetermined number, the player fails the Skill check. The GM will then determine the results. Usually with a normal failure nothing is learned, seen, or done.

The player may not roll again to check the same situation until circumstances change. If a player fails on a Perception check scouting, they fail to see anything of importance such as the raiding party sneaking up on the parties position. The player cannot make rolls every five minutes, or just keep rolling until they succeed, as is possible in other games such as Dungeons and Dragons. In the Atomic RPG System, a failed roll has consequences. In the scenario above, it means the scout completely fails to Perceive the raiding party and will not be able to try again. The character will perceive the raiding party when the party attacks the group.

The GM can allow another roll on the same situation if circumstances change. Perhaps the scout did not like their vantage point and moved to the other side of the valley to scout. In this case the GM can allow a second Perception Skill Check to spot the raiding party. However, even if the Skill check succeeds and the character sees the raiding party, the party should be spotted much closer to camp. There is still some consequence  due to the previous failure, but the player may still have a chance to warn the party.

Rolling a 20 on a Skill Check
Critical Success

If you roll a natural 20 (before the modifier is added) on a d20 Skill Check,  it doesn't necessarily mean the attempt is automatically successful (as it does for an Attack). However, if the roll is successful with a natural roll of 20 on a Skill Check, it is a critical success and the Game Master should grant a greater deal of success. This might mean you learn more information (Scholar Check), or get further (Athletics), find an amazing glade with a fresh water waterfall, fruit and as many fish as you can eat (Nature).

Rolling a 1 on a Skill Check
Fumbled Failure

Rolling a 1 on a Skill Check is considered an abysmal failure. In this case the Game Master might assign some extra penalties or create other issues caused by such a terrible failure on a skill check. This might mean:

The Game Master will make the decision depending on the situation. But rolling a 1 is always bad news.

Passive Character Skills

Passive Skills are the normal and everyday ability a player character or non player characters have in any particular Skill. A character’s Passive Skill is determined by whatever the bonus is to their roll plus 10. Passive skills are not rolled. These are very useful to determine a what a character is capable of in everyday normal situations.

Passive Skills are very handy and allow the Game Master to know who might notice a secret door just by being near it, or to be able to immediately determine that a Non Player Character might not be telling the truth. Passive Skills allow players to know certain things in the game world without being prompted or using an action.

A player can ask if their character’s Passive Skills help them in any way. However, if they want to roll, they will use their Skills as normal.

Using Skills as an Action

Most of the time when a player uses a Skill in Atomic, they will need to roll a d20 to determine their success. A character must be able to use a Standard Action to make a Skill check. If the player is unable to or unwilling to use a Standard Action to use a Skill, they cannot do the check.

Examples include; Subterfuge to become sneaky, Perception to see a sneaky character, Athletics to break a door,  Nature to understand an animal’s temperament, Craft to disable a trap. 

Using a Skill as Part of a Move

There may be times where a player in the Atomic RPG System should be allowed to use a Skill during a move. The most common use is when a player is moving and needs to jump up, over, or across something. At this point they will need to roll an Athletics Skill check but it will not count towards their Action for the round. It is just used at the same time as the move. 

Examples include; Nature to climb a tree, Scholar to scale a building, Athletics to swim across a river, Craft to cross a rickety bridge. 

Aiding Another with Character Skills

There will come a time when a character may be able to assist another character on a Skill check. This can happen often during Turn Time encounters, but there may be other situations this might arise.

To Aid Another the aiding character rolls the Skill Check first. If they succeed, then they increase the primary character skill roll by their Character Tier. If they fail, they penalize the primary characters skill roll by their Character Tier. 

Players should consider carefully when they should and should not Aid Another.

  • Characters can only Aid Another once a round, but they can do this even if it is not their turn during the round.
  • Aiding another uses a Move Action.
  • Characters must be able to perceive the Character they are attempting to Aid Another.
  • Only 1 character can Aid Another on a Skill Check.


Here is a quick example of this gameplay.

Player 1: I want to roll a Skill Check to see if the weather will hold out. 

GM: OK I will need a Nature or Perception Skill Check of 15 or higher.

Player 2: I’m good at Perception, so I want to Aid Player 1. I rolled a 16. I’m Character Tier 2, so that gives you a +2!

Player 1: OK thanks! I rolled a 13, but with your +2 we succeed!

GM: Great! You get the hints of a storm rolling in. Maybe it is not a good day to set sail.

Just like so many other roleplay games such as Dungeons & Dragons, the Atomic RPG System system also uses Skills to tune characters and round out game play. However in the Atomic RPG System, Skills are highly streamlined and easy to understand. Any character can use any Skill. Atomic RPG System Skills cover the gamut of character activities, are easy to use, and keep a Atomic RPG System game moving fast. This is just another facet of why the Atomic RPG System is the table top gaming system of the future.

Create your own custom worlds easily in any genre or setting online for use at the tabletop!

Play for free as long as you want! Take your time to see just how flexible the Atomic RPG is with it's combination of digital tools, balanced rules, and ease of play.
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