Understanding Skill Checks in Disco Elysium

Discover the different types of skill checks in Disco Elysium, their impact on gameplay and the game’s narrative, and how you can improve your chances of passing them.

Like many RPGs, Disco Elysium uses a dice roll to determine the success of an action. There are two types of skill checks in the game: Passive and Active.

  • Passive Skill Checks
  • Active Skill Checks
  • Modifiers
  • Can You Retry a Skill Check?

Passive Skill Checks

Passive skill checks occur in the background and are automatically scored when the character makes a positive dice roll. Passing a passive skill test often unlocks new dialogue options.

Formula: Skill level (with positive or negative modifiers) +6.

Active Skill Checks

Active skill checks are chosen by the player during interviews. When you hover over a skill test, a box appears showing the probability of passing the test. Active skill tests require rolling 2 six-sided dice (2D6), with a 2×1 throw resulting in a loss and a 2×6 throw resulting in a win.

Formula: 2D6 + Skill level (with positive or negative modifiers).

The probability of passing the test displayed in the box is a comparison of the test’s difficulty with the character’s skill level and possible modifiers.


Modifiers in Disco Elysium are positive bonuses or negative statuses that impact skill tests. These can be obtained through items, stimulants, thoughts, or specific actions. Check your character’s inventory on the left to see all modifiers.

Pay attention to your character’s equipped items and adjust them depending on the skill test you’re attempting.

Can You Retry a Skill Check?

Some failed skill tests can be retaken under certain conditions in Disco Elysium.

  1. White Skill Checks: can be retried by increasing the relevant skill level by at least 1 point or researching specific thoughts;
  2. Red Skill Checks: cannot be retried.


1. What are skill checks in Disco Elysium?

Skill checks are a major gameplay mechanic in Disco Elysium. They are essentially tests of your character’s abilities, and they can occur at any time during gameplay. When a skill check occurs, you will see a dialogue box with the name of the skill being tested and the percentage chance of success. You can choose to attempt the skill check or not. If you attempt it and fail, there may be consequences, such as losing health or gaining negative status effects. On the other hand, if you succeed, you may gain valuable information or progress the story in a certain way.

2. What skills are there in Disco Elysium?

There are 24 different skills in Disco Elysium, divided into four categories: Intellect, Psyche, Physique, and Motorics. The Intellect skills are Logic, Encyclopedia, Drama, and Rhetoric. The Psyche skills are Volition, Inland Empire, Empathy, and Authority. The Physique skills are Endurance, Pain Threshold, Electrochemistry, and Shivers. The Motorics skills are Hand/Eye Coordination, Perception, Reaction Speed, and Savoir Faire. Each skill has unique dialogue options and can affect the outcome of certain situations.

3. How do you level up skills in Disco Elysium?

You can level up skills in Disco Elysium by earning experience points (XP). XP is earned by completing quests, discovering new information, and passing skill checks. When you earn enough XP, you will level up and earn a skill point, which can be used to increase a skill level. Each skill has six levels, and the higher the level, the better your character will be at that particular skill. However, leveling up a skill also increases the difficulty of related skill checks, so you must choose which skills to focus on carefully.

4. Can you increase your chances of passing a skill check?

Yes, there are several ways to increase your chances of passing a skill check in Disco Elysium. The first is to level up the relevant skill, as mentioned above. You can also equip items that give bonuses to specific skills, such as a tie that increases your Rhetoric skill. Additionally, certain dialogue options or actions can increase your chances of success. For example, if you’re trying to convince someone of something, choosing a dialogue option that appeals to their values can increase your chances of success.

5. What happens if you fail a skill check?

If you fail a skill check in Disco Elysium, there may be consequences. For example, if you fail a Perception check to notice something important, you may miss out on valuable information. If you fail an Endurance check to resist the effects of drugs, you may become poisoned or suffer negative status effects. Additionally, certain failed skill checks can lead to the story progressing in a different direction, or even ending prematurely. It’s important to weigh the potential consequences before attempting a skill check, and to save your game frequently in case things don’t go as planned.

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