What do I know how to do?

FATE/ICONS assumes you’re at least “Mediocre” with all the skills in the world. In Game Terms “Mediocre” means you have a +0 score in those skills. At this stage, we’re going to pick the things your character knew how to do WELL at the time he or she manifested powers. These are also listed on page 23 in the ICONS core book.


  • +1 (Specialist): This is basically like a Bachelor’s Degree, lots of self-study/hands on experience, or a Apprentice/Assistant at some kind of tradeskill.
  • +2 (Expert): This is like a Master’s Degree, years of experience doing something, or a Journeyman level of experience at some kind of skill.
  • +3 (Mastery): This is like a Doctorate, you’re not only good, you’re a Master and amongst the best there is in that particular field of study.

You have 3 points to spend at this stage. Remember, your character knows how to do ALL this stuff. You’re just focusing on the stuff you were really good at when your powers first manifested.

The Specialties

  • Acrobatics – Gymnastics or just plain ability to contort your body into or out of situations (like dodging fists, bullets, cars, etc.).
  • Aerial Combat – You know how to fly and do fancy stuff in the air… chances are good you weren’t trained it this before you became a mutant.
  • Art (Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Photography, etc.) – Group Skill – gotta pick one sub-area. Pretty much self-explanatory.
  • Athletics – This is the kind of stuff they stress in PE, sports, and the like. Running, jumping, swimming, or things that take some muscle tone and coordination (like riding a horse or doing “cowboy” things like roping horses and wrestling steers).
  • Business – You know about the business world. A +2 (Expert) at this is an MBA.
  • Computers – Pretty much self-explanatory. You know how to use a computer well. You only need to take this skill if your character is REALLY good at it. A +1 is the guy that all your friends ask you their computer questions. +0 is all you need to know how to use the silly things. This also includes Software Engineering (i.e. “programmer”) stuff.
  • Criminology – A +0 means you watch lots of detective shows on TV. +1 or higher means you’ve actually studied the principles around crime scene investigations and/or forensics… or maybe you’re a private detective and have lots of hands-on experience.
  • Drive – If it’s a surface vehicle you know how to operate it. Cars, motorcycles, boats, whatever. If it’s on the ground or water, you got it… hey, it’s a comic book RPG. Don’t sweat the details. +0 is typical driver. +1 is like a seasoned veteran of many hours. +2 is like a commercial driver. +3 is like a Hollywood Stuntman.
  • Electronics – Computers is stuff with a keyboard or touch-screen. Electronics is circuit boards, solder, soldering irons, transistors, radio waves, and microchips. This also includes all “circuit board” level electronics and/or electronic frequency (radio waves, etc.) related fields of Engineering.
  • Investigation – This is strongly linked with Criminology above. Criminology is specifically for crime scene investigation – the “book learning” side of things. Investigation is the “practical application” side used for everything else (finding people, tracking down clues, following a suspect, and all that stuff).
  • LanguagesFree languages: If you have an Intellect of 4, you know 1 additional language for free. 5, you know 2 additional languages. 6, you know 4 additional languages. More languages: For each point you stick into this Specialty your effective Intellect goes up by 1, and it doubles your languages again. So an Intellect of 6 with a +1 (7 total) is 8 additional languages (4 doubled). 8 total is 16 additional languages. 9 total is 32 additional languages. If you have an Intellect less than 3, each point here is 1 additional language.
  • Law – You know about The Law. +0 comes from public school, crime dramas, and/or practical first-hand experience with cops. Anything higher would pretty much require actual STUDY.
  • Leadership – Self-explanatory. If you want to be a team leader, high scores in this grant bonuses to the group. +1 is Boy Scout training, leadership seminars and programs, or practical application at work. Anything higher represents some amazing skill at leading people and thus inspiring them. A +2 might be organizing groups/protests/political events and the like. A +3 is pretty much unheard of outside the military, major political movements, and the like.
  • Martial Arts – Formal Martial Arts training adds to your Prowess when fighting. A good way to get an Ability Score point back to allocate somewhere else by dropping Prowess and allocating points here. Knowledge of Martial Arts also allows fancy maneuvers or for you to be able to choose between Strength or Prowess for any particular roll, or Coordination to avoid an attack (giving you crossover with Acrobatics above only when used to avoid an attack). A +1 would be good training in some kind of discipline (mass market suburban Dojo “black belts” or equivalent). A +2 represents real practical skill (multiple “dan” black belts, winning MMA matches, tournaments, etc.). A +3 is pretty much the mastery of any given style or form.
  • Medicine – Physical health care. +0 is basic first aid training and what you’ve learned from watching too much TV or a boy scout handbook. +1 represents actual in-depth school and/or classroom study. +2 would be a practicing medical professional (including nurses, etc.). +3 is an actual fully trained medical doctor or specialist. Mental health is a different skill.
  • Mechanics – Gears, wires, plumbing, engines, motors, servos, robotics, fixing cars, fixing houses, air-conditioners, refrigerators, and all that practical stuff. This also includes all practical mechanical/physical fields of Engineering (mechanical, aeronautical, civil, etc.).
  • Mental Resistance – This is pretty tough to get in the normal world. +1 would represent a really, really stubborn and strong willed person. +2 and +3 would pretty much require constant exposure to powerful telepathic attack to gain.
  • Military – You served in the military or ROTC and know all that military political stuff (“mickey mouse BS”) as well as how to use the equipment you were trained on/with. +0 is TV show training. +1 is a military brat/ROTC/enlisted person on the first tour, etc. etc. +2 is a multiple tour veteran or officer. +3 is like a career soldier or big brass.
  • Occult – This is knowledge of strange and mystical odd stuff. For purposes of this game, that includes formal Religion. Anything that involves spirits, magic, cults, gods, demons, ghosts, faeries, spells, miracles, or whatever.
  • Performance (Acting, Comedy, Dancing, Music, Singing, Mime, Radio Personality, etc.) – Group Skill – gotta pick one sub-area. Pretty much self-explanatory. Pretty much redundant since any of these you can specify with “Art” above but these are more specifically “up in front of an audience” type skills, whereas “Art” is stuff you can do alone.
  • Pilot – If it’s a airborne vehicle you know how to operate it. Airplanes, helicopters, rockets, the space shuttle, whatever. If it’s got wings, rotors, or flies in the air or space, you got it… hey, it’s a comic book RPG. Don’t sweat the details. +0 is typical pilot out of flight school. +1 is like a seasoned veteran of many hours. +2 is like a commercial pilot or military professional. +3 is like a military ace/flight demonstration team.
  • Power – This is unlikely to be a skill you have at first. It represents actual study and experience using your powers. Even a +1 allows you to use either Prowess or Coordination when conducting your attacks (your choice). This is a “group specialty” in that each time you take it you have to specify which of your powers its for.
  • Psychiatry – Anything involving the mind, mental illness, moods, personalities, and the like is covered by this one. Other than that, it’s like Medicine above.
  • Science (Anthropology, Archeology, Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Genetics, Physics, and other -ology) – Group Skill – gotta pick one sub-area. Book learning about the specified field.
  • Sleight of Hand – Anything needing fine hand-eye coordination, from magic tricks, to cheating at cards, to picking pockets and filching things.
  • Stealth – Sneaking around like a ninja. +1 is a really good hunter (like a bow hunter or photo hunter), +2 would be like military special forces or your Mom when you’re doing something you shouldn’t be, +3 is like … well … NINJAS!
  • Underwater Combat – See Aerial Combat. This is like that… except under water. A +1 would be like a world champion Marco Polo or Pool Tag player. +2 is like Olympic synchronized swimmer. +3 is like Namor the Sub-Mariner.
  • Weapons (Blades, Bludgeons, Bows, Guns, Throwing) – Your character knows how to use a broad category of weapons. Blades is anything sharp (be it pokey or cutty). Bludgeons is anything that smashes, from a mace, to a club, to a quarterstaff. Bows is … well.. bows, including crossbows. Guns is anything that shoots projectiles out of a muzzle after you pull a trigger (for things like field artillery and howitzers see Military). Throwing is anything thrown, from baseballs to playing cards (see what I did there?). If you’re throwing fireballs or bolts from your hands as part of a mutant power… that would be “Power” above, not Weapons.
  • Wrestling – Martial Arts adds to Prowess for hand-to-hand fighting, Wrestling allows you to use Strength! It also allows various grappling and wrestling moves. Like Martial Arts, having it at least at +1 allows you to select Prowess, Coordination, OR Strength depending on whatever it is you need to do. However, unlike Martial Arts you usually can’t substitute Wrestling for Acrobatics to avoid an attack that isn’t a hand-to-hand attack (you have to take is separately).


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