What if skill activation wasn't random?

Just kind of a random thought that could maybe be interesting. What if skills that have a percent chance of activating (pavise, astra, adept, etc.) instead had a condition that had to be met to activate it? For example, adept could require you to attack from 1-2 range and have higher spd than your opponent. Something like Pavise could be tied to having a shield equipped. (To be honest, I’m kinda stumped on what the exact conditions would be. Like, what the hell would you do for something like Lethality?) It also makes me wonder what you’d have to do to activate a skill more than once during combat. Still, I think its interesting.

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Here’s some ideas I thought up on the spot.
Adept: Always activates when initiating at 2 range.
Pursuit: Same as adept, but it activates at 1 range.
Pavise/Aegis: Uses the dual guard system from Fates, with it building up as a meter.
Sol: Activates when at or below half HP?
Luna: Activates when at or above half HP?
Astra: Activates when at max HP for full damage each hit.
Miracle: FE4 style, gain evasion when at or below 10 HP during the turn you were attacked.
Accost: FE5 style, always activates when user has more HP and AS than the opponent.
Lethality: Halves crit chance, but guarantees all crits to be lethal (Basically unchanged).
Vengeance: Always activates, but adds 1/4 of missing HP as opposed to 1/2.

There’s probably other skills I missed but this is what I came up with.


Skills should have conditions to activate them, whether it’s an actual conditional trigger “If X, then Y” or something like a Combat Art or something like Heroes’ Specials where it requires some kind of meter (turns, attacks, etc.) to fill in order to activate. The randomness can be nice, especially when it’s helpful, but often times you’re left going “come on, proc, proc, proc!” to help move things along faster and you get nothing out of it. Giving the player more control over when Skills function is a good thing, and I really wish that Heroes’ skills would require player confirmation to activate instead of automatically happening when ready.

That said, for actual ideas, there are plenty of ways you could take it. Pavise could be “If unit’s Skl+Def > enemy’s Atk+Skl, incoming damage reduced by 50%” or something like that. Still something easy enough to plan for just by looking at core stats, but way less random than “happens ~22% of the time”.

As for multiple times per battle, I think you would have to go in with the Skill having that as part of its condition in mind. “Every attack by unit in initiated combat, if X, then Y”, or something along those lines.


Berwick sorta did this where some skills like Astra were activate-on-command. Most of these skills also had secondary requirements, like Astra having a cooldown, while Pulverize only being usable in lieu of moving.

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I would turn the %Chance into %effect of the skill itself.

For example, Luna: instead of SKL% chance to nullify enemy defences, it reduces enemy defences by SKL%.

Sol: Heals SKL% of damage dealt.


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Skill activation is a great way to obscure direct unit power level comparison in my opinion.

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There’s also the Heroes charge system, which is actually an option in Skill Systems (but I’ve never seen it used)

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Adept: Activates when you dodge an attack with triangle advantage. I just figured that it fits the name of the skill best, where your unit is “adept” at taking advantage of your enemy’s blunders.

Lethality: Activates when a critical hit can kill. Typically units that have access to lethality, namely thieves/assassins, have very low str so this doesn’t seem too overpowered. With effective weapons it would be super overpowered though, so maybe it’ll only factor base damage without the 3x bonus. This way the assassin is granted the role to target low def but high evade enemies.
It also makes enemy assassins much less threatening and RNG based so you could play around it, instead of just hoping your General doesn’t just die to RNG.

Sol/Luna/Astra/Sure Strike: To be honest, I think this is one of those proc skills that should have been an ability the player chooses to trigger like a combat art. Ideally you could also activate it for your next attack in enemy phase.

Accost: Activates when you’re attacking something that can’t fight back. Whether you’re targeting an archer at 1 range or a fighter at 2 range, this makes sure that accost can’t backfire. The rounds of extra combat you get is based on your skill, with every 5-8 points of skill giving you another round at a minimum of 1 extra round.

Ignis: Activates when the target is equipped with a physical weapon while you have a magical weapon. Also activates when the target is equipped with a magical weapon while you are equipped with a physical weapon. I just thought that it fit a tactician’s flavor the most.

Pavise/Aegis: Activates when an attack would do less than 5 damage. Every 10 points of def/res would increase this threshold by an additional 5. I think this would synergize better with the classes that typically learn the skill (Generals/Paladins) since Pavise and Aegis in its current state is better when you have low def/res. The numbers are just an example though, I have no idea if this would be overpowered or not.

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One of my favourite things to do in Fire Emblem is to minmax every single action, turn and unit, down to using Divine Pulse/save states to RNG manipulate. Yes, I will do some gardening to get an extra Rocky Burdock so that Dimitri can ORKO 6 units in one turn. Yes, I will give Sylvain the Speedwing so that he will ORKO the archers in Hapi and Balthus’s paralogue.

Is it good design for the game to allow that? Who knows. Is it fun for me? Hell yeah it is. I feel like I’ve outsmarted the game when I manage to manipulate a favourable battle outcome that allows me to shave off a turn. The feeling of mastery over a system that acts in a predictable manner like this - that’s what tactical gameplay is all about.

So, I’m a big fan of creating specific conditions for skills to occur, but the randomness does give the game just a little bit more tension, which is fun in small amounts. Proc skills, especially offensive ones, otherwise just offer a differently flavoured critical hit.


I belive you might be thinking about Combat Arts. Which are skills that activate on command at the cost of some HP.

I’ve read the rest of the thread, where people suggest the skills should activate on certain conditions. But I don’t think that would be good design, because it restraints the player and doesn’t leave much room for strategy, as those conditions are highly dependant on the map design and enemy stats.

Personally, I’ve never been a fan of Combat Arts costing HP. I think they should instead cause a debuff, like Fates silver weapons, or like getting hit by a seal skill. And each combat art would have specific debuff.

Meanwhile, in my hack, I’ve decided to get rid of Proc skills altogether. O.pting for more consistent skills. Stuff like Vantage, Desperation, Arcane Blade, Patience, etc… But I’ve kept Despoil, and also added Witch’s Brew and Salvage Blow, because those only give you items, and they don’t directly affect combat.


Something i was thinking of is that on addition to a charge (uses per chapter) system, you could have the proc skills turned into menu activations (i.e select Luna instead of attack) get bonus charges based on stats chosen per skill, like you get an extra sol every 20 maxhp, an extra Luna every 5 skill. That sort of thing could be used to make “dump” stats way more valuable. Imagine an archer with low speed but high mag having a skill that adds magic to damage when using bows, going from a low tier unit that chips away at enemies, to a massive source of damage a couple times per chapter. Having something like that can push players towards rushing and not turtling, if they can get a few uses of those skills per chapter they’ll have to plan ahead when to use them in order to succeed. And by giving multiple uses and letting them increase over time they can feel the power growth of their characters even more as the game throws harder stuff at them.


for Combat Arts I quite like what Absolution does (they charge over time, some amount per turn and some per combat), and charges carry over between chapters but i’m not sure if they carry 100% or diminish.

as for “passives” like Adept or Luna, i’m very fond of how Heroes does its skills, where you also have counters that tick per attack, combat or turn. It makes strategizing around them more of a thing than percent skills, without overcomplicating the requirements.
However, these don’t scale with your unit’s growth, which imo is fine for promoted classes, but base class skills and personal skills kinda suffer a bit, as seeing your unit pull those Luck x2 % skills more and more often over the course of 20ish chapters is kinda rewarding in a sense.

I am biased in favor of less requirements, less +1s and +2s, and more general game rules instead of unit-specific ones, but it doesn’t mean other approaches are any less valid.

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I am working on Radiant Dawn and I have been phasing out the entire proc based system in favour of a Cool Down system with the help of another RD modder.

It means we can make skills like special spiral, cool down blockers like guard etc. The entire system imo grants more information to the player and allows for more strategic thinking on the player’s part.


Preaching to the choir with this one, but it’d absolutely help to make proc skills more viable if they could be activated at will, it’d give the characters who have those skills a real, consistent feat that moves over from their narrative to the gameplay well.

Though it could be argued if they weren’t random it peels out some of that surprise clutch factor when a skill really comes in handy at the right time, its trading a bit of that surprise when it happens with something more reliable. Plus, those sorts of skills are just more fun because it’s something you get to actively consider instead of just hoping RNG will proc.

And like Luba mentioned above, having a limited amount of times it could be done per map could work well, given it functions coding wise, keeps the spectacle of the skills being an occasionally popping up thing while not risking making the player almost always value using it over a basic attack on player phase.


Lethality could interpret assassination as “Finishing off” an enemy, dealing bonus damage based on the enemy’s missing percentage of health. Perhaps it could be a combat art that prevents you from making follow-up attacks, giving a unit that normally makes many weak attacks to apply many stacking on-hit stat penalties an option for one-shotting weakened enemies.


That could be interesting. Maybe make it so that for every point below max HP the enemy is, the attacking unit deals +2 true damage, without follow up attacks