When a character in Seed performs something other than a combat action, and their success is in question, it's a skill check. Skill checks serve as a simple, quick manner to adjudicate the success and failure of everything from lying to your mother about where you're going to breaking the seal which binds you to the X-Zone.

Skill checks are determined and affected by "Skill Systems", which grant characters various sorts of skills which represent their capability to perform certain tasks. Skill Systems decide the scope of skills and the nature of how they affect the result checks.

A skill check is basically a result check with a CoS determined by the GM according to the task's difficulty and affected by the skills the character possesses. Though theoretically the GM could name any CoS, typically the CoSes of skill checks are:

70 - Normal - An action which is somewhat challenging for adventurers, but is difficult to imagine them failing at. Leaping over a series of rocks jutting out from rapids, convincing a pair of guards not to search your wagon, or piloting an airship to takeoff for the first time. Characters have a reasonable expectation of succeeding at this, and any character with some expertise in it will almost never fail. Any action without an associated danger or pressure should probably be a Normal check, if it is a check at all.

50 - Tough - An action which could go either way, which has some aspect of risk to it. Sneaking past the Emperor's lieutenant as you creep out of jail, shattering the illusion of a fiend, performing an opera aria you learned at the last minute. If the stakes are high, most characters won't like to be attempting these without expertise, and they'll probably apply some of their limited-use skills on it. These are probably the most interesting skill checks.

30 - Risky - An action where the odds are stacked against the character. These should be rare, for they indicate one of two things; the character is either up against truly overwhelming opposition, or they are truly taking the wrong approach. Risky actions generally have high stakes, but they accomplish an awful lot on success. Characters with many applicable skills may attempt them anyway, and the ability to succeed on risky skill checks serves as a reward for specialization.

Generally, the stakes are somewhat connected to the difficulty of the roll, because if the stakes are low, failure is uninteresting. One could imagine rolls with low stakes yet high difficulty, or rolls with high stakes yet low difficulty, fairly easily. For example, if the party has just defeated an ancient spirit of hatred after a long campaign and now needs to seal it back into the void from which it sprung, if there was a skill check for the binding it would probably be fairly high CoS, in order to reinforce the feeling of triumph.

A skill check proceeds like this:

1. For some reason or another, a skill check will be performed. The applicable skill is declared by the GM, as well as the CoS.
1a. The player may ask about what exactly is at stake and what success on the roll will achieve.
1b. If so, the GM should answer. (The GM may withhold information if there are hidden dangers.)
1c. The player may ask if another skill related to the matter might be applicable.
1d. The GM may allow or refuse the substitution. If they allow it, the applicable skill is changed.
2. The player decides whether or not they are willing to perform the skill check at that CoS. If not, they narrate their character as backing off in some way. If they decide to perform it, they declare which skills will be applicable to the roll, paying any relevant costs.
3. Then they roll.
4. The GM declares success or failure.
5. The GM describes the result of the skill roll.

Depending on the dynamic of your group, a skill check can begin in one of a few ways. Not all of these three models are suitable to all styles of game, and the group should discuss which of them they like, and for what sort of situations. Alternately, they can just have skill checks occur as they feel appropriate without really thinking about it too much.

Types of Skill Checks


The character does or attempts something, or something happens in the game. At this point, the GM declares a skill check will be in order. A skill check is performed.
Backing out of this skill check might not be possible - for example, it might be a skill check to see if you notice assassins sneaking up on you, or it might be a skill check to see if you can leap aside as the floor crumbles beneath your feet.


The player wishes their character to accomplish something, and declares that they will be performing a skill check, usually of a skill they are good at. This can serve to insist that the action lies within the scope of the character's specialty. If the GM agrees that a skill check is in order, the skill check is performed. Alternately, the GM might say that the character succeeds without rolling, or has no chance of success, as it lies outside of the game's scope.

Players should be calm in declaring skill checks. As any given skill check can vastly change the situation at hand, the group should not all be rushing to declare ways to solve a problem at once!


A character is performing some action, and the action achieves some result without a skill check. The player requests a skill check to improve the result, and if the GM allows it, a skill check is performed. This typically applies to social interaction - the character is speaking with someone, the GM's natural instinct is that that non-player character will react in a certain way, and the player wishes to alter that reaction with a skill check.

This sort of skill check might appeal to those that usually dislike rolling to govern social interaction in roleplaying games, but still want some skills to govern social interaction to represent characters that are more well-spoken and charismatic than your players. This model might also work for other situations as well.

Using Skill Checks

Scope and Difficulty

The difficulty of a skill check in Seed does not actually have all that much to do with how difficult it actually is. Characters in Seed are written on the grand scale, and all of them are fairly competent. What a skill check's difficulty is really based on is "within the style of the game, how difficult should this task feel?" This is related to the pacing of the game - tasks might be more difficult if they are attempted at the beginning of the campaign, and easier later, simply because at this point it now feels more appropriate for them to be done.

They really are completely arbitrary. If you feel that something shouldn't be done within the game, simply declare it out of scope - using Libra magic to determine whether someone is the killer, or purchasing parts from chop shops to put together an airship. If the GM feels it's out of tone for the game, simply say "no".

Furthermore, as a gamemaster, if you dislike the arbitrary CoSes, feel free to use a more consistent system for them of your own invention.

Only Do It Once

A given skill check to solve a certain problem in a certain fashion should only be performed once, for the sole reason that trying over and over to do something can both become very frustrating and isn't very interesting. If a skill check is failed, the party should generally back off and try another approach.

This does not apply for actions that the characters need to accomplish individually - for example, all climbing up a cable, or all sneaking into a base.

One exception would perhaps be if a second character would be much better at the skill check than the first character who attempted it. For example, someone tries to lift something, can't budge it an inch, and then their well-muscled friend walks over to it and heaves it up into the air. This makes perfect sense, so feel free to allow it - but don't allow the party three attempts at something simply because they have three characters with Aptitude I, II and III.

For the same reason, skill checks shouldn't be called from the entire party if one success would be enough to solve the problem - success is basically guaranteed. Select one character who is in the best position to notice the ambush or whatever is relevant and ask them for the check - probably the character who is most specialized in that sort of thing!

About Skills and Other Players

Can you use skill checks to regulate interactions between two characters? Say, one character attempting to lie to another, or attempting to pickpocket another's ring.

The answer is "yes, but only with the consent of the players". Essentially, if such a matter is entirely between two players - one character as the target, one character as the actor, the CoS, stakes and result of the roll should probably be decided by the player, if they feel it's acceptable.

If they don't, then no skill check occurs. The player is also completely free to make the CoS any number they desire, regardless of whatever is actually being done. It's their character, you see.

This is shaky ground, so be careful about it.

If outside situations are important, the gamemaster may choose to raise the stakes, lessen the impact, or increase the CoS, but they may not move it in the opposite direction. This is important when Trigger actions come into play.

Skill Checks in Combat

Skill Checks can also be used in combat, if characters are performing actions in combat other than straight-up fighting using the combat game.

There are three sorts - Quick, Trigger, and Extended actions, in increasing order of importance.

Quick skill actions are any actions that do not have an immediate mechanical effect. They are 20D F0 actions with the Speedy keyword. (you don't take a status phase, and you cannot perform two in a row) They can represent performing some small thing during the battle but tangential to it, an action done for flavor, or an action used to interact with certain battle situations, as outlined in chapter 6.

Trigger skill actions are actions performed for immediate combat effect. Knocking a stack of barrels over to hit the enemy or rigging a crane to short-circuit and zap the field, perhaps. They're 40D F15 - if the skill check is successful, they have one of these effects, as selected by the GM -
200 x Character Tier damage to an enemy.
100 x Character Tier damage to a group.
A Negative Status (4) or Effect to an enemy or group.
A Positive Status to an ally (6) or to your party (4).
- though they are free to alter it, it generally should not be weaker than this.

Trigger actions involving physical, technical and magic-related skills can damage and daunt enemies when the battlefield is particularly interesting. They should generally be only performed when there's interesting scenery to toy with - applying one's prowess directly to monsters is generally better modeled by combat actions.

Mental skills - internal ones like Determination and Grace, and those pointed outwards like Charm and Leadership - can be suitable to granting allies positive statuses in times of narrative tension. These should be rarely used and saved for the very dramatic scenes.

Generally, the more often trigger actions are used, and the less specific they are to the certain scene and situation, the less interesting they are. On the other hand, your group might enjoy a campaign where skill actions are used every battle!

If the Gamemaster thinks a trigger action won't be useful or interesting, they might refuse the skill check. The player character still does the action - if the action still has some effect but no mechanical one it becomes a Quick skill action, if it's purely flavorful it's no action at all, and the character may act again.

Extended skill actions are actions taken when success at the task will greatly change the shape of the battle, even ending it. They represent situations where the battle is about the skill check, as opposed to vice-versa, and are 40D F15. Say, if you need to open a giant door so that the party can escape, or if the fight is simply your party stalling a wave of monsters while you download data from a mainframe. The GM generally declares when Extended skill actions will be at play in a battle, as well as how many successes will be required to complete it. When that many successes are accrued, the task is complete. Generally, the task will be performed by a single character, though the GM may adjudicate otherwise.

"Three" is generally a good number of successes, by the way. Don't use Risky checks for these.

Status effects apply to skill actions in whatever manner the GM sees fit, based on what exactly is being done. Silence seals those that involve talking, Immobilize seals those that involve jumping about, Pain keeps you from lifting things, and so on.

Skill Systems

Skill Systems grant characters skills, improving their ability to perform Skill Checks. It's possible for skill systems to alter the core skill check mechanics, as well. Skill Systems generally have their own skill lists, deciding what categories skill checks are sorted into.

The Talent System - Characters earn talents as they level up, which allow them to modify skill checks in a variety of ways. Characters also have a "free" talent which may be reassigned between sessions.
Talent Skill List

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