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Character Disciplines

Think of Disciplines as the areas in which a character’s abilities are. A character’s Primary Discipline will match it’s Archetype. This is because your character’s Abilities should fall in line with the main “theme” of your character. A Combatant will have a Combatant Primary Discipline.

Now that you’ve chosen your character’s Focus, it’s time to determine the Power distribution your character will have in each Discipline.

In the Atomic RPG System it is important for players to know that every character can access what other Archetypes do. Meaning, which Power Effects they have access to for their Powers. This means a Combatant, can have a Secondary or Tertiary Discipline of Generalist or Mystic. This grants them the ability to have Powers with effects those Archetypes have access to. Basically, this means a “fighter” can heal. All characters can potentially access everything available to different Archetypes, they will just be of varying strength. Primary Discipline is the strongest, Secondary Discipline is the middle ground, and the Tertiary Discipline will be the weakest.

This is not the time to choose specific Powers, but rather to designate what kind of Power Pools each Discipline will use to create them.

Basic Guidelines When Choosing Disciplines

There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing Disciplines:

Determine the specifics of the Disciplines you choose so you can build the rest of your character to complement the chosen Disciplines.

Each Discipline Has Two Parts:


Will this Power Discipline be Offensive or Defensive?


What type of Power Effects with these Powers have access to?

First: Choose Offensive or Defensive Style for the Discipline

Determine if the character’s main focus will be helping allies or hurting enemies.

Defensive Discipline Powers are designed to heal and benefit allies.

Offensive Discipline Powers are designed to harm and hinder enemies.

Second: Choose the Specific Discipline for Powers

Selecting the specific Discipline for each of a character’s Power Pools determines the overall type of effects available for the character’s Powers. You can select the same Archetype for Disciplines for Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary. Doing so will limit the overall number of effects the character will be able to choose for their Powers. By selecting and using different Archetypes for the Disciplines, players allow their character much greater flexibility throughout the course of the game due to ultimately having access to more Power Effects.

Archetype Power Effects

Players can use the Archetype Power Effect Comparison to see what different Archetypes have access to specific Power Effects.

Learn About Archetype Effect Differences

Most Power Effects in the game are shared by two of the three Archetypes. Find out exactly what Power Effects each Archetype has available to them.
Archetype Access to Power Effects

The above Discipline set is a possibility for a Combatant. This character’s primary strength is in hurting enemies with Combatant Powers such as doing damage. It’s secondary strength is in hurting enemies with Mystic Powers such as moving them back with moving an enemy away. It’s final strength is in the “backup” Discipline, the Tertiary Discipline, where it can use Generalist Powers to help and aid allies such as healing them.

The Primary Discipline should match the overall character concept and Archetype. Choose the sub choices that also match the character concept. A character will have at least one, if not two, other Disciplines to balance out the Power.

The Primary Discipline will also determine what the character’s At Will Powers will be. The characters At Will Power will match whatever the Primary Discipline is. If a players wants to have an At Will Heal ability, make sure the Primary Discipline is Defensive. If the players wants their character to have a damaging At Will Power, then make sure the Primary Discipline is Offensive.

  1. Style – Either Offensive or Defensive.
  2. Discipline – Automatically is set based off the Character’s Archetype.

The Secondary Discipline should complement a character’s Primary Discipline or represent the second part of the character concept. This Discipline will not be as powerful as your Primary Discipline (unless the character is Balance Focused).

  1. Style – Either Offensive or Defensive.
  2. Discipline – This should match a character’s second most important Archetype (Combatant /Generalist/Mystic).

The Tertiary Discipline should complement the overall character. If the character is Devoted, they will not have a Tertiary Discipline. A Tertiary Discipline is good for utility and buffing powers. It will have a lower Power Cap than the others as well as a smaller pool of Points.

  1. Style – Either offensive or defensive.
  2. Discipline – This should match a character’s least important Archetype (Combatant /Generalist/Mystic).


Note: Devoted Characters will not have access to a Tertiary Discipline.

This should be the final step in conceptualizing a character!

If you haven’t noticed, we have spoken very little about the actual mechanics of the Atomic RPG System system. This is purposeful. Through several decades of D&D gaming, we’ve discovered that truly memorable and enjoyable characters came from creating the character first and the character sheet second.

This is the reason the Atomic RPG System is designed this way, to help players make the best characters possible. Atomic RPG System is meant to have players create a character to fit a vision first. The Atomic RPG System is highly flexible. It is specifically designed to let players play exactly what they want.  That is one of the things that makes the Atomic RPG System so amazing. In the Atomic RPG System, players create their character concept first, then assign Traits, Archetype, Style, Focus, Disciplines, Powers, Skills, and Specialties. This way players can build the mechanics and the stats to fit exactly what they want for their character.

Now that you have a good idea of your character, what it does, and how it does it, you can begin to assign the appropriate Atomic RPG System system mechanics to it. This system is streamlined, customizable and fun. This is the Atomic RPG System!

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