Fate Core


Pick and rate your character’s skills.

Once you have mapped out your character’s phases and chosen aspects, it’s time to pick skills. You’ll find descriptions and details for each skill in the Skills and Stunts section.

Your skills form a pyramid, with a single skill rated at Great (+4)—which is referred to as the peak skill—and more skills at each lower rating on the ladder going down to Average (+1):

  • One Great (+4) skill
  • Two Good (+3) skills
  • Three Fair (+2) skills
  • Four Average (+1) skills

For Veterans: Why The Pyramid?

If you’ve played The Dresden Files RPG, you know that skill columns are used for that instead of the pyramid.

In this build of Fate, character creation was designed to be as quick and accessible as possible, so the pyramid is standard. If you want to use the columns, go ahead—you get 20 skill points.

Skill columns didn’t completely go away. It’s just reserved for advancement.

The Skill Cap

By default, Great (+4) is the highest rated skill PCs start with. As characters advance, they can improve beyond this cap, but it’s more difficult than improving skills rated below the cap (see Major Milestones).

If you’re making a game about superheroes, pandimensional creatures, mythic gods or other beyond-human characters, feel free to set the tip of the skill pyramid—and thus the cap—at Superb (+5) or Fantastic (+6).

The number of skills you get should be relative to the size of the skill list. Our default skill list has 18 skills, and the Great pyramid gives you a rating in 10 of them, which means every character has some capability in over half of the total number of things you can do, and there’s room for six PCs to peak (as in, to choose their three top skills) without overlap. You can tweak this for individual games, especially if you adjust the skill cap. Just keep in mind that bigger pyramids mean more overlap between characters, unless your game has a longer skill list.

Mediocre (+0) is the default for any skill you do not take. Sometimes, a skill will state that it’s unavailable if a character didn’t take it; in those cases, it’s not even at Mediocre.

Ryan knows that Zird’s not like the other PCs in terms of skills, so he looks to distance Zird from them as much as possible. The group has decided that Zird’s magic is going to work off his Lore skill, so he’s naturally going to focus on that.

He takes Lore as Zird’s peak skill, followed by Crafts and Rapport—for a wizard, Zird considers himself a fairly social sort. Ryan takes Athletics, Will, and Investigate because he figures Zird will need them in his line of work, and a smattering of other skills either because neither of his friends have them, or because he wants a positive score in them when everyone’s separated. That ends up being Fight, Resources, Contacts, and Notice.

Note: a few skills have special benefits, notably those skills that affect the number of stress boxes and consequences you have available. If you know you want a certain number of those, put those skills on the pyramid first.