Cyberpunk Modes in Fate Core

Icon of a push pin. system, Fate, cyberpunk

A skill mode is a bundle of several skills that represents a broad area of competence. Modes are great for speeding up character creation even more than Fate Core already does. Instead of picking and rating 10 individual skills, players pick and rate three modes, and the skills come along for the ride.

Many cyberpunk games include strong archetypes that lend themselves to being represented using modes. By selecting several of these types, one can produce an interesting and rounded character that touches on the strong points of the genre.


The usual Fate Core skill pyramid doesn’t apply to skills in modes. Instead, each player picks three modes and rates them—one at Good (+3), one at Fair (+2), and one at Average (+1)—and the mode’s rating becomes the default rating for all of its skills. Skills at this rating are trained. Skills one step above their mode’s level are focused, and skills two steps above are specialized.

Reinforced Skills

If two or three of a character’s modes contain the same skill, it’s reinforced. When this happens, write it down under its highest-rated mode, but not under any other. No skill should appear more than once on a character sheet.

If a skill is reinforced once—meaning it’s shared by two modes—improve it from trained to focused. If it’s reinforced twice—shared by all three modes—improve it from trained to specialized.

Improving Skills

After that, each player has 7 points to further improve skills. No skill can ever be improved beyond specialized.

Improvement Cost
Focus a trained skill 1
Specialize a focused skill 2
Specialize a trained skill 3


The following modes use the standard skill list from Fate Core.


You are a street doctor, knowledgable, skilled in medicine, and able to read people. You are little use in a fight. Skills: Contacts, Empathy, Investigate, Lore, Notice, Rapport.


You call yourself a “people person,” a “problem solver.” What you really mean is that you are adept at working people and using them as tools to solve your and others’ problems. This is, incidentally, a lucrative talent. Skills: Contacts, Deceive, Empathy, Notice, Rapport, Resources


It is the age of data. Those who master data master the age. You have a natural affinity for the digital, and you use that knack to access information that others would much rather you never see. Skills: Burglary, Crafts, Deceive, Investigate, Lore, Stealth


You are a celebrity for one reason or another. Perhaps you are an entertainer, a respected journalist, or just one of the idol rich. Through boredom, duty, or genuine interest, you have chosen a life on the edge. Skills: Contacts, Drive, Notice, Rapport, Resources, Will


As the hacker has mastered the technologies of the virtual, you have embraced physical machines, particularly those of movement. You can drive or fly anything, both directly and remotely. Skills: Crafts, Drive, Lore, Notice, Shoot, Stealth


A warrior in every sense, you are the ultimate modern combatant. As deadly up close as you are from a distance, you are hired as often to kill as to defend. Skills: Athletics, Fight, Physique, Provoke, Shoot, Will

A sillouette in code.

Previous Post: Cybernetic Recovery in Fate
Next Post: Virtual Interpersonal Abilities in GUMSHOE