Since the Awakening, there are now five types of (meta)humanity.
- Humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) What do you think they are? They tend to be luckier than the others (represented by increased Edge), but are balanced in all other ways.
- Dwarfs (Homo sapiens pumilionis) Short, a little round, and hardier than humans. But still short and living in a world for bigger people.
- Elves (Homo sapiens nobilis) Tall, thin, pointy-eared, good-looking, agile, they’re elves. You’ve probably read Tolkien or played D&D, so you know what these guys are. “Lovingly” nicknamed keebs, though I don’t think I’d see one making cookies in a tree (maybe). There are rumors that some few elves were hiding out before the Awakening.
- Orks (Homo sapiens robustus) Big guys, ugly, with tusks and a very short life-span, especially those deciding to live up to the stereotypical bad guy brute. Their short life drives them to get the most out of life while they can.
- Trolls (Homo sapiens ingentis) Very big guys, with thick, curled horns protruding from their heads, and extremely tough skin (literally provides armor). They’re big, they’re scary, and you don’t want to piss one off. Orks and trolls get along better with each other than they do with any other race, so they often live in the same neighborhoods. Mostly that’s because everyone else still kinda thinks they’re both monsters.
There are eight normal attributes, split into physical and mental. These attributes describe the inherent characteristics of your runner. There is a third category: special. All runners have at least two special attributes, Essence and Edge, but the others are for magic users or Technomancers.
- Body (BOD) Health and resiliency; get hit, shot or poisoned? If it physically hurts you, you resist with body.
- Agility (AGI) Hand-eye coordination, balance, flexibility, the important things to martial artists, shooters, and anybody else trying to carefully control their body motions (like that guy quilty sneaking up behind you: DON’T LOOK!).
- Reaction (REA) Those reflexes that let you respond before anyone else. Useful for trick driving and going first in combat.
- Strength (STR) Hmmm, what could this be? If you punch a lot, important. Want to throw a car? Also important. Out on a date? Might still be important; I don’t know the kind of people you’re in to.
- Willpower (WIL) Thick body, but for the mind. This measures your ability to resist certain spell effects, keep yourself moving when you just want to lay down and die, and so forth.
- Logic (LOG) Mental acuity. It’s a measure of your ability to calculate and work through problems. You want a logical person patching up your ride or setting your broken leg. Also, hermetic mages use Logic when resisting the Drain of their spells and other stuff.
- Intuition (INT) That unconscious awareness of your surroundings that causes your brain to scream at you that something isn’t quite right. Avoid ambushes, spot the shiney in the corner, or figuring out just the right cut to make on a prized sculpture.
- Charisma (CHA) Okay, this is probably more for that hot date than strength, but they’re kinda similar. Not so much a measure of looks, but of the force of your personality, Charisma lets you get your way with just your words or even only a look. Shamanic magic users use Charisma to resist the Drain of their mage-craftery.
- Essence (ESS) Think of this as a measure of your character’s soul. The more parts of you that you replace with cyberware, the less essence remains, the less metahumanity remains. This also sets the maximum rating for any Magic or Resonance you have. And, whenever you experience Essence loss, you also might lose Magic or Resonance.
- Edge (EDG) Better lucky than good, amirite? This is the attribute you go to to push things in your favor. This makes the impossible possible, eradicating limits or bringing you back from the brink of death.
- Magic (MAG) This: geek the guys with this first. Bullets are bad, fireballs are worse, spirits are downright frightening. This measures mages’ strength in using spells or the amount of nifty powers Adepts get. Not a magic-user? Then this is zero.
- Resonance (RES) Technomancers use Resonance to manipulate the Matrix into doing things it doesn’t really want to do. This connection also allows them to compile Sprites. Basically spirits for the Matrix. Not a Technomancer? NO RES FOR YOU.
Initiative & Condition Monitors
Your Initiative, covered in more detail in Combat Rules, determines when you go in a combat turn, and how many initiative passes you get. Your Initiative is your Reaction plus your Intuition. Then there are your Initiative Dice, which you roll and add to your Initiative score. The dice kind of depend on what you’re doing, starting at 1D6 and maxing out at 5D6.
You will get hurt. These are how you track that. Each Condition Monitor is a set of boxes with three to a row. The Physical Condition Monitor is a number of boxes equal to half your Body (rounded up) + 8. Stun Condition Monitor is half your Willpower (rounded up) + 8. If a row is filled with damage (three boxes), then just about everything you do is at a -1 penalty. Two rows? -2 penalty. Heal up fast, bub.
While boxes from one Monitor does not stack with the other, their penalties do. Getting hit with both a shock glove and a katana is bad news.
There are several things you can do with that Edge stat of yours. First, note that no more than 1 point of Edge can be spent on any given action; spend it for more dice but glitch anyway: tough. Second, spending a point of Edge doesn’t reduce your Edge attribute; that merely represents your maximum Edge rating. Third, you can only spend it on your own actions; no sharing.
- Push the Limit (before you roll): Add your Edge rating to your test, ignore any Limits, and use the Rule of Six. This means you get to count any 6 as a hit and then re-roll that die (or just roll another one, if you have a lot on hand). Note that the rating used for this is your Edge attribute, not however many “Edge points” you have left.
- Push the Limit (after you roll): You can choose to spend Edge after you’ve already rolled and maybe failed or didn’t quite succeed enough. Everything is the same as above, except you only apply the Rule of Six to your extra Edge dice.
- Second Chance: Failed that roll? Re-roll any dice that weren’t hits! Does not negate a glitch or critical glitch and does not affect limits.
- Seize the Initiative: Go first! Moves you to the top of the initiative order, regardless of your Initiative Score. If others also spend Edge to do this, then those guys go in order of Initiative Score, then everybody else gets to go. This will last for 1 entire Combat Turn, for every Initiative Pass in that turn (Combat Rules). After that Turn, you go back to your normal place in the Initiative Order.
- Blitz: Roll 5D6 for Initiative for 1 Combat Turn.
- Close Call: Negate the effect of one glitch, or turn a critical glitch into a glitch (remember, you can’t spend 2 Edge, so the best you can do is turn a critical into a normal glitch).
- Dead Man’s Trigger: About to die or fall unconscious? Spend 1 Edge and make a Body + Willpower (3) test. If you succeed, you can take a single action of any type before everything goes black.
You get 1 point of Edge back after a good meal and a good night’s sleep (at least 8 hours). So, don’t squander it, but don’t just sit on it, either. You also get Edge back for important things, at GM discretion.
- good roleplaying (all the players should chime in if they think someone deserves this)
- heroic acts of self-sacrifice
- achievement of important personal goals
- enduring a critical glitch without using a Close Call (sometimes, anyway); kind of balancing the scales
- succeeding in an important objective
- being particularly brave or smart (doesn’t have to be both)
- pushing the storyline forward
- having the right skills in the right place at the right time
- impressing the group with humor or drama (again, chime in!)
- good roleplaying (wait a second….)
Sometimes you need more than your normal extra boost. Instead of spending a temporary point of Edge, you can burn 1 and guarantee the result you’re after. This permanently reduces your Edge rating by 1 (though you can spend Karma to raise it later, I promise). You can do two things by burning your Edge.
- Smackdown: Automatically succeed in an action with four net hits. That’s four net hits. This has to be something the character is actually capable of performing, so don’t try tap dancing without legs or summoning a spirit without Magic. You don’t have to be good at it, but you still need to be capable. To that end, Limits are ignored. You get four net hits, even if your Limit is a 2.
- Not Dead Yet: Survive. Maybe with horrid burn scars, part of your skull missing, and your lower torso shredded beyond use, but survive. It doesn’t matter what happened: Lofwyr bit you in half, grenade when off in your mouth, or anything else, this lets you make it through. You’re still missing your legs, but the rest of the team actually has a chance to stabilize you and get those things replaced. GM gets to devise exactly what happened (but I’m sure players can help figure this out, since grenades in the mouth are a hard one to wave off).