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Subterfuge Skill

The Subterfuge Skill in the Atomic RPG System is used whenever a character is trying to be sneaky or deceptive.

 The Subterfuge Skill is a catch-all for characters who want to do subversive things and not get caught. This doesn’t mean that other characters without a good Subterfuge Skill will not be able to do any related activities; they just may not be as good. Many activities that normally use the Subterfuge Skill may also be able to be accomplished through other Skill Checks. This will ultimately be up to the GM on what Character Skill can be used for any given task.

Sample Subterfuge Skill Checks

Below is a list of some of the most common uses of the Subterfuge Skill. The difficulty of these checks will be determined by the GM. Most checks should follow the Easy/Moderate/Hard rules but the GM may set static numbers as well. Reference the GM guide for Skill Checks for more details.

A character's Spirit Trait determines the base skill bonus.

Player Cooperation - Aid Another

Multiple characters can work together to figure something out. This is called Aiding Another.

To successfully Aid Another character the character helping must make the same check the as the one rolling the Skill Check. If they succeed then the player rolling the Skill Check can add their Character Tier to their roll.

However, if the character helping fails in the check, the player will get a penalty to the roll of their Character Tier. Only one player may Aid another at a time. 

Passive Subterfuge Checks

Your Passive Subterfuge check is your normal bonus + 10. This is used by the GM to determine things that you may notice or know without having to actively ask to use your skill. Things such as noticing a secret door or a disguise on someone.

This is a useful tool the GM can use to give out information in the game. Or can even be prompted by the player to see if the GM is willing to give you something for free.

Subterfuge Check as an Action

Subterfuge as an Action will happen when a player character tries to do something that may require a Subterfuge Skill. Examples that would require the use of an Action would include picking a lock, sneaking past a guard, or hacking a computer.


Use the Subterfuge Skill to don a disguise.  
With a Subterfuge Check a player can disguise who they are. Disguises can range from very basic changes to completely changing body type, species, and more!

The GM will set the difficulty to Easy/Moderate/Hard depending on how far from the "original" you decide to go.

Sometimes the GM might have you roll against a character. In that case the Subterfuge Skill Check rolled will set the difficulty of how hard it is to detect this disguise. The Perception Skill is usually what is used to detect a disguise.

Roleplaying your character's  new disguise can be tons of fun and is highly encouraged.

Forging Documents

Characters can forge documents with the Subterfuge Skill.
The Subterfuge Skill is used whenever a character wants to forge documents of some sort. This might be to forge papers to cross a border or to fake an ID to get into a building.

The GM should usually use the Easy/Moderate/Hard method.

However, don't be surprised if the GM instead has you do a direct character versus NPC roll. In this case the Subterfuge Skill Check rolled to forge the document is the difficulty of the Skill Check needed to detect the forgery. The Perception Skill is often the Skill Check that is used to check forged documents. However, other Skill Checks may be allowed by your GM depending on what is being forged.


Characters can hack into computers with the Subterfuge Skill.
The Subterfuge Skill is a great one to use if a character wants to break into a computer, change the personality of a robot, or mess with security.

The GM will usually use the Easy/Moderate/Hard method but on occasion the character might be directly battling another hacker. In this case they both should roll Skill Checks and the highest wins.

Commonly used for modern games but it can also be used in just writing to hide hidden messages or codes in everyday paper, books, and notes.


Characters can us the Subterfuge Skill to tell lies.
When characters are being questioned by the guards or enemy soldiers they may have occasion to lie. Or perhaps the character just loves to tell tall tales. In either case the Subterfuge Skill is a prime choice as a skill to use for the Skill Check.

The Social Skill is also a one that may be commonly used.

However, other Skills might be just as useful. For example, a Nature Skill Check can be used if the lie is about a natural place, a Scholar Skill Check might suffice if the lie is about local history or politics, or a Religion Skill Check could be used if the lie falls into the realm of religion and the supernatural.


Characters can use Subterfuge to sneak and hide.
One of the most common uses of the Subterfuge Skill is to sneak around unnoticed. The Subterfuge Skill represents more than just walking quietly or hiding in shadows. It takes into account all of the things to consider when being sneaky like blending in with a crowd or determining the wind direction to stay downwind.

GMs should use the Easy/Moderate/Hard method most of the time. However for character to character checks each rolls, the highest wins.

Perception range and conditions should be taken into account. Find out more details on the Perception Skill page.


Characters can us the Subterfuge Skill to create and disable traps.
Traps come in all shapes and sizes and the more creative the players and GM are, the better! Traps range from the traditional pit or snare traps to sophisticated motion detection systems.

The Subterfuge Skill will be used to set and disable most traps. However, possible exceptions might occur.
Learn More About Traps

Opening Locks

Characters can us the Subterfuge Skill to open locks without a key.
The Subterfuge Skill is used to open all manner of locked things, not just locks. Locks and doors are the classic barrier but with the Atomic RPG System, PCs are just as likely to run into a security keypad, need to bypass a biometric gate, or hack into the network undetected.

The GM should normally use the Easy/Moderate/Hard method by may substitute other checks. A 1st level character is not going to get only a Hard (27) to hack into the Federal Banking Mainframe. The GM might stick that at 50 or 60. Thus letting the party know that only high level characters will have a chance at this task.

Picking Pockets

Characters can use the Subterfuge Skill to steal things unnoticed.
Picking pockets is a crime that has been around since people have carried valuable items. There are many reasons to steal. To do this the player will use the Subterfuge Skill steal things.

The Subterfuge Skill should be used to steal the guard’s keys, or to take the evil magic item off of the church's altar. It can even be used to steal a thumb drive out of a security terminal.

However, stealing always has consequences. Reckless stealing and failed skill checks can lead to prison or worse!

The Subterfuge Skill for the Atomic RPG System is one that is used frequently in a game session. The Subterfuge Skill can cover a very wide variety of activities that players of the Atomic RPG System may want to do with their characters. GMs should do everything they can to foster this creative and exciting game environment. The Subterfuge Skill is a far-reaching skill and a lot of fun in the Atomic RPG System. It is bound to get characters into more exciting adventures than any other skill.

Find more information on the Subterfuge Skill read this wiki article about the Subterfuge Skill.

Are you a GM looking for Skill rules? Click below!

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