An Ability Roll is used when you want to know if you succeed or fail at a given task using one of your Abilities. You roll (virtual) dice based on how good you are, and the result determines the outcome.
Players are always free to skip rolls and negotiate a resolution as befits the story, as long as everyone agrees. You should consider using an ability roll if the character is under significant stress, facing challenging circumstances or in conflict with another character.
The FS3 Player's Guide section on Conflict goes into detail about everything you need to know about ability rolls.
You may also want to read the section on Luck Points, since you can use them to influence rolls.
Here is a Quick Reference on the ability roll in-game commands.
You may have noticed that there are no social Action Skills like deception or persuasion here. This is because inter-personal conflict is not a main focus of the game. If it does come up, you can just RP it out based on poses.
If you can't sort things out through RP alone, you can make a roll using background skills or default to presence to advise RP.
Bear in mind, though: rolls are not mind control. If someone makes a successful roll to lie, that just means they sound convincing. It's still up to you to decide an appropriate reaction based on the situation. Maybe they posed something really stupid sounding, and you're still skeptical. Maybe they're your mortal enemy and you wouldn't trust them if they said the sky was blue. Maybe your character is really gullible. The code makes no attempt to account for these nuances.
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