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The Languages Skill is used to understand a language. Depending on the language, this usually includes the language’s spoken form, written form, or otherwise “normal” method of communicating in that language. Languages such as Sign Language would include being able read hand signals. 

Unlike other Skills in the Atomic RPG System, the Languages Skill does not have a base Character Trait to enhance it. Instead, all characters start off knowing two languages.

Common Language

This first language is a common trade language used in the region. The campaign setting determines this language, but what’s important is that it's a basic language that everyone can speak and understand, and it works for basic trading and communication.

Regional or Local Language

The second language a character has is a language of their choice, but usually it's a native language they grew up with. This language would be more complex and sophisticated, and can be used to communicate advanced thoughts and ideas. This language may not be spoken by everyone and may be used to keep others from overhearing a conversation, to code a message, or to remember and embrace a rich family heritage.

Gaining More Languages

Characters can gain more languages by training in additional Language Skills. For each time a character trains in the Language Skill, they will be able to select another language they can speak, read, and write.

Language Skill Rolls

In the Atomic RPG System game, there are no rolls against the Language Skill–a character either understands what is being said in the language or not. It is possible for a character to use the Social Skill to gain a basic understanding of a conversation they do not understand, such as if they are mad, happy, or possibly plotting something. However, it is not possible for a Social Skill check to determine the topic or specifics of a conversation in a language that is unknown.

The GM may require a Scholar Skill check to decipher a partially decoded message in a language that that character knows. This can add some weight and importance to the character’s Language Skill, but the actual rolls will usually be made against the character’s Scholar Skill or Social Skill.


The options and choices for speaking languages is infinite. Ask your GM to establish a language list of possible languages that the players may encounter. This way players will have the ability to choose languages that are both useful and make sense to the campaign that the characters are in. Some examples of possible languages for each broad genre are listed below.

Stone Age




The Overlooked  Skill

The Language Skill and its use in the Atomic RPG System can be easily overlooked since it is an “Automatic Skill”. However, Language can add a depth to an already great Atomic RPG System session by including specific languages in different regions. This can often help characters develop deeper role play, helps fellow players gain a better understanding, and can simply be a ton of fun to speak in an accent. Better yet, if the language that your characters know is a real language, the GM can work to integrate it into your Atomic RPG System gameplay. Using the Languages Skill in this way can really help to make the Atomic RPG System game experience a rich, fun, and enjoyable time with friends.

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