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nunix
10-16-2010, 05:46 PM
http://img692.imageshack.us/img692/791/sr3.gif

Shadowrun (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadowrun) was put together with a pretty simple recipe:

* three parts William Gibson (Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive, used for most of the atmosphere and also for the tech)
* two parts Dungeons & Dragons (races and monsters)
* two parts part late 80s/early 90s grit (magic and atmosphere)

The title originates from what is ostensibly the characters' career: they're criminals. The governments have mostly fallen apart in the world, and megacorporations are the true powers in most everything. And to avoid getting into an open war with each other, they hire mercenaries to attack, steal from, and generally hamper the actions of their rivals. And this all happens in the (metaphorical and actual) shadows, so their capers, heists, and the like are called shadowruns.

The game suffers pretty significantly from the design mindset of its time. "We're going to make a game about <thing>! So what we need are a couple hundred pages on combat." In fact, there are extensive rules on just about everything; tedious, laborious, pace-killing rules. Despite this, the setting is pretty fantastic (up to a point: more later). The game begins in 2050. Over the course of the late '90s and up to the start time of the setting, the following happened, in no particular order:

* a kind of plague swept the world, creating mutant humans: your dwarves and elves are the minor sort of mutants, while orks and trolls are worse off.

* the Native Americans, having suffered at hands of the US government a second rounding-up, got their mystic shit together, performed a second Ghost Dance, caused a couple of volcanos to erupt and took back a large part of the United States and Canada, as well as Mexico. Mexico is ruled by Aztechnology and is a neo-Aztec empire, while the various North American tribes parcelled up and loosely affiliated.

* magic comes back to the world, so now you've got mystic critters (dragons included) alongside (meta)human mages (brainy magic) and shaman (natural magic).

* the internet goes virtual: this is basically a straight copy of Gibson's matrix, except capitalised. Cyberdecks, AIs, system hacking, the works. The one change is they drop the neuro-tiaras and go with datajacks, plugging the computer straight into your brain.

* a series of privatisation acts by most governments result in corporations becoming the major powers in day-to-day life. Governments still exist, and are nominally in charge, but no one puts much trust in 'em.

So in the mid 21st century, you've got your basic urban cyberpunk dystopia alongside the whole gamut of fantasy standards. Nowadays this would probably be something like "urban fantasy", but at the time it was just "D&D with guns and hackers". The default setting is Seattle, which is technically part of the UCAS (United Canadian and American States) but is surrounded by land of the Native American Nations on most of its borders; it exists as an inland island, of sorts, and is a major hotspot. Here (http://img46.imageshack.us/img46/7271/screenshot20101016at549.png) are three (http://img197.imageshack.us/img197/8462/screenshot20101016at550.png) maps (http://img651.imageshack.us/img651/8462/screenshot20101016at550.png) to give you an idea of Seattle and North America.

One of the line's biggest strengths, but also biggest weaknesses, were the splatbooks/sourcebooks. There was a rules-expansion book for every subsection of the rules: magic and combat, of course, but also deckers (the Matrix hackers), riggers (like deckers, but with vehicles), several of the big cities or locations within North America (Seattle, Denver, Chicago, Aztlan/Mexico, others) and some in Europe.. and while these all had rules, they all also had "Shadowland comments", which treated the books as if they were documents that had been posted to the Matrix and then had people go through and annotate. Lots of good adventure hooks and ideas within these. The rules are more of the same, but it's the setting and world that are the real benefactors.

Why it's a weakness is metaplot. I'm convinced that most of the writers at FASA were frustrated novelists who'd really rather be writing stories, and instead were "stuck" in games. The setting started out fairly neutral, but most of the sourcebooks, and almost all of the adventures, would tend to involve Big Name characters, and would advance an overarching storyline within the setting. "Big deal!" you say, "you can just ignore that." True, but the problem arises as the books become more and more metaplot and less and less "useful for everyone". You're no longer playing in the Shadowrun playground, exactly, you're participating in some overarching story that's being doled out to you. This becomes particularly vexing as the setting moved away from the technology and more towards the magic. "D&D with guns" is actually more relevent today than it was originally. So it's great if you like the direction it went, and terrible otherwise.

Currently in its 4th edition, Shadowrun has passed publisher/developer hands several times, and has little in common setting-wise with its original incarnation, and doesn't seem to have much anything to do with shadowrunning exactly, either; it's mostly urban fantasy generic adventuring, with the current time something like 2072.

Recommendations

These are the books that I think give a good feeling for the original Shadowrun setting: Seattle 2050-2055. These should all be cheap to find used, and either your library or interlibrary loan will have them if you don't want to dole out bucks just to satisfy a curiousity. If you like the setting, my suggestion is to find a game that caters to the specific activity you want to do (whether that's crime, generic adventurin', ghost hunting, hacking, or whatever) and use that instead.

* Shadowrun, 2nd edition (http://www.amazon.com/Shadowrun-Second-Jordan-Weisman/dp/1555601804/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1287275449&sr=8-2). Of the sourcebooks this is most solidly on the "tech" side of things, has great artwork, and a good history writeup. Use it to get a feel for things, and then ignore all the rules.

* Seattle Sourcebook (http://www.amazon.com/Seattle-Sourcebook-Shadowrun-FASA-Corporation/dp/1555601111), first edition. Lots of Shadowland talk, lots of restaurants and clubs, good writeups on all the city districts. Lots and lots of campaign hooks and adventure ideas. Seattle is the default setting for Shadowrun.

* Virtual Realities 2.0 (http://www.amazon.com/Virtual-Realities-2-0-Shadowrun-Sourcebook/dp/1555602711/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1287275477&sr=1-1) or Matrix (http://www.amazon.com/Shadowrun-Matrix-FAS7909-7909/dp/1555604013/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1287275497&sr=1-1). The Matrix rules in the 1st and 2nd edition sourcebooks are very clunky and boring; these books do a good job at painting a simulated sensorium virtual reality network, and how that might play out. Also, that Matrix cover is different from mine, but the line number (7909) is correct, so I don't know...

* Any of the Grimoire (http://www.amazon.com/Grimoire-Manual-Practical-Thaumaturgy-Shadowrun/dp/1555601901/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1287275620&sr=1-3) copies would be good, for your magic needs.

* Corporate Shadowfiles (http://www.amazon.com/Corporate-Shadowfiles-Shadowrun-Sourcebook-7113/dp/1555602118) for the lowdown on the major megacorporations movin' and shakin' within the game.

General rule of thumb if you want more tech-y/gritty setting, go for the earlier books; more anime/urban fantasy, go newer.

The one thing I think 4th edition has going for it is a more modern sensibility in regards to the Matrix; everyone and everything is online, all the time. The original setting very much feels like a product of Gibson's early 80s vision, and it doesn't mesh very well with how things seem to be going with regards to technological advancements in our modern world. Something to consider!

Anyway. Did you play Shadowrun? Are you curious about Shadowrun? Do you think I am 100% wrong on everything and wish to balance out my blind, spitting hate with your reason'd wisdom? Speak up, frag face!

Bonus link for if you don't want to do anything else with your day: TVtropes' Shadowrun listing (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Shadowrun).

Ethan
10-16-2010, 07:32 PM
I'm looking forward to reading the replies in here. Shadowrun was always just a video game for me an obtuse, impossible, yet strangely compelling Genesis game and I didn't realize it was a well, established tabletop game until many years later.

Eddie
10-16-2010, 07:36 PM
I played a bit of Shadowrun back in the day, and while I had as many gripes about the game system as anyone could, the setting is admittedly cool. I played in a small campaign where me and my friend Curt did our best to end every session running away from an explosion, even if we had to manufacteur said explosion. Good times.

- Eddie

Ethan
10-16-2010, 07:48 PM
Ughhhhh, I can only find one LP of this on YouTube and the guy's voiceover is fucking insufferable. He sounds like a guy who probably loves Boondock Saints.

Sporophyte
10-16-2010, 07:51 PM
I read a large number of the shadowrun sourcebooks and really enjoyed all the flavor text and stories. My friends and I played a few games in the shadowrun world but I don't know that we ever really got through a whole campaign. Despite that fact I still really like the setting and debate rereading some of those books every time it comes up.

Crested Penguin
10-16-2010, 08:25 PM
I got a huge kick out of introducing Shadowrun to my gaming group in college, who were mostly exposed to D&D. Before we started the proper campaign, I gave them a "trial run" that wouldn't have consequences in the actual campaign. An hour in, one character was arrested, and at hour three, the players made a desperate stand against corpsec. Where they chose to make their stand? In an elevator. :(

It was pretty messy, but everyone was glad that we had that run because it helped get them in the mindset of being in a dangerous world where even a trained hardass can get way in over their head. That campaign is the one we always talk about when we get back together.

Looking back on Shadowrun, there really are so many things wrong with the design of the game that reflect the 90's: Frequent huge metaplot shifts that diminish player agency, huge disconnected rule systems for different types of actions, and a huge system mastery element where it's easy to make a shit character. But there's a lot of good stuff, too. The drain mechanic for magic is mostly good at giving magic a risk/reward component. The material on megacorps and locations provides a lot of great hooks and campaign possibilities. The connection to the real world can give characters and locations grounding that is hard to reproduce with a more fantastic setting.

Googleshng
10-17-2010, 01:07 AM
OK, I totally get why 4th gets no love, but what's wrong with 3rd edition exactly? I've never had the chance to compare them directly, but it's essentially the same game but cleaned up and with all the useful splatbook rules condensed into the core book, isn't it?

It's rather tempting to grab one of those super cheap used copies of 2e off eBay just to compare...

shivam
10-17-2010, 01:08 AM
i love shadowrun, any edition. monofilament whips, bitch.

Falselogic
10-17-2010, 09:12 AM
The setting has always seemed so compelling to me, cyberpunk with orcs, how can it not be cool?

Admittedly I've never played it but I certainly want to.

sraymonds
10-17-2010, 10:36 AM
The setting has always seemed so compelling to me, cyberpunk with orcs, how can it not be cool?

Admittedly I've never played it but I certainly want to.

Crested Penguin
10-17-2010, 11:50 AM
OK, I totally get why 4th gets no love, but what's wrong with 3rd edition exactly? I've never had the chance to compare them directly, but it's essentially the same game but cleaned up and with all the useful splatbook rules condensed into the core book, isn't it?

It's rather tempting to grab one of those super cheap used copies of 2e off eBay just to compare...

3rd edition isn't substantially different from 2nd really. Initiative boosts aren't as strong because everyone gets one pass before the wired reflexes types go. I think they made a stab at making matrix stuff more explicable, though I'm pretty sure it was still problematic. There's nothing as dramatic as 4th.

One thing 4th did that was good is address my pet peeve about cyberlimbs being so horrible. In 2nd and 3rd there is no good reason to get a cyberlimb since you have to spend ungodly amounts of money to make their stats above average, on top of the huge essence cost of the cyberlimb. In 4th they're actually inexpensive to offset the essence expenditure. I actually like the economy changes in 4th in general.

I also like augmented reality stuff but maybe I'm crazy.

Heffenfeffer
10-17-2010, 01:49 PM
Ughhhhh, I can only find one LP of this on YouTube and the guy's voiceover is fucking insufferable. He sounds like a guy who probably loves Boondock Saints.

I've got a screenshot LP going in the LP forum right now, if you're interested. Also, I've never seen the Boondock Saints, so I'm ambivalent about them.

nunix
10-17-2010, 02:00 PM
re: 3rd Edition: the rules are streamlined and cleaned up, but pretty much all the sections say, "This is the basic stuff. For more, buy sourcebook N." Which is fine, except that.. it's still Shadowrun rules, which are still basically horrible. Also, I don't like the art in 3E as much. Some of it's good, but it gets away from that late 80s/early 90s thing.

If you're going to play Shadowrun as Shadowrun, grab 3E or 4E. If you're just going to use the setting, stick with the 2E book.

Rosencrantz
10-17-2010, 02:32 PM
I've always been fascinated with the Shadowrun setting. I'd love to play the tabletop version sometime, but that'll probably never happen.

Crested Penguin
10-17-2010, 03:18 PM
Thinking about Shadowrun makes me remember that I wish there was a dedicated heist-style RPG. Shadowrun can be that, but having so many layers and subsystems (magic, decking, rigging) makes it messy. In play it's the closest thing, since the game does usually resolve into mostly doing legwork and information gathering before pursuing the objective, but I'd love to see an RPG system that is based on a heist-movie style framework.

Comb Stranger
10-17-2010, 04:18 PM
I've never played, but I've read holes through the 4th edition books. I love the meticulous detail you can get into, customizing your weapons, vehicle, apartment et al. It's really bloated and a lot of themes don't really mesh, but you can turn that into a good thing with some tailoring. Cybernetics and hacking are integral to the setting, but more specialized things like technomancy or nanites can be neatly ignored to no ill effect. Magic is pretty ubiquitous, but if you don't want to use it you can snip it right out too. Whereas D&D would be boring as all hell without magic, there's enough to the system and setting in Shadowrun to make a non-magical campaign perfectly fleshed out and viable. At least, in theory.

Crested Penguin
10-17-2010, 10:38 PM
Magic is pretty self-contained. I do wish that there was a counter to a magical threat besides more magic. Without a magic user of some kind, a team is very vulnerable to spells and spirits (especially spirits!). You definitely could entirely take out a subsystem like magic turn it into a nonmagical cyberpunk game.

The way I generally played, we took out the matrix rules and had the party hire NPC deckers, whose tasks would be resolved with a single die roll, just because having someone run a solo hacking adventure for an hour to do some legwork, sabotage, etc, didn't seem like the best use of our time.

Edit: Not sure how that would play out with the AR stuff in 4th edition, but I guess part of the idea of that is that deckers don't really operate separately from the team as much.

Googleshng
10-18-2010, 03:31 AM
The way I generally played, we took out the matrix rules and had the party hire NPC deckers, whose tasks would be resolved with a single die roll, just because having someone run a solo hacking adventure for an hour to do some legwork, sabotage, etc, didn't seem like the best use of our time.

The other sane option is to literally run the a separate session for the decker, earlier in the week, and take notes on when he botches stuff. Which actually works great if you have someone who wants in but has schedule conflicts. Bonus points if you get'em on the phone or something during the main session later in the week.

Seriously though, aside from the matrix being neat but totally impractical, I REALLY like Shadowrun mechanically. Wads of dice have a more practically scalable curve than 1d20+increasingly huge modifier.

Comb Stranger
10-18-2010, 10:53 AM
Seriously though, aside from the matrix being neat but totally impractical, I REALLY like Shadowrun mechanically. Wads of dice have a more practically scalable curve than 1d20+increasingly huge modifier.

Plus the fact that you can buy successes at a 1/4 rate. A professional driver with the best driving score in the world won't flip his car going to the market because he rolled a 1.

Egarwaen
10-19-2010, 11:02 AM
Thinking about Shadowrun makes me remember that I wish there was a dedicated heist-style RPG. Shadowrun can be that, but having so many layers and subsystems (magic, decking, rigging) makes it messy. In play it's the closest thing, since the game does usually resolve into mostly doing legwork and information gathering before pursuing the objective, but I'd love to see an RPG system that is based on a heist-movie style framework.

There are a couple floating around; search around on IPR (http://www.indiepressrevolution.com/xcart/home.php).

Shadowrun was always kind of this odd duck to me that was compelling but I never quite got, until something clicked for me: it's not a cyberpunk setting, it's a straight-up fantasy setting with cyberpunk trappings. The SIN-less masses, corporate enclaves, the NAN, the Elven nations... They all make a lot more sense through that lens. The setting's history is all designed to generate said fantasy setting from the early '90s, rather than be a plausible history in and of itself.

In that respect, I think 4e's Augmented Reality changes both help (in that they make the deckers/riggers = psionics relationship clearer) and hinder (in that they try to make the science 'harder' and ignore a lot of the weirder corners of the setting).

I'll admit that I'm curious about Shadowrun playstyles. I've always seen Shadowrun as a very action-heavy game - designed around running gunfights, dramatic chases, on-edge break-in sequences, tense showdowns, magical duels, etc. There's definite horror and mystery elements, but the game's system definitely emphasizes the action aspect.

Falselogic
10-21-2010, 02:36 PM
What are the best books, magazines, movies, and musics that best convey the cyberpunk genre? Which of these types of resources are best to go to, to get inspiration for your shadowrun game?

The most clear to me are Blade Runner and Hackers for movies. William Gibson for books, but probably some oF Phillip K. Dick's stuff as well. I have no idea for music or magazines though...

Thoughts?

shivam
10-21-2010, 02:44 PM
As far as books, i'd put down Effinger's Budayeen trilogy as well--absolutely gorgeous islamic inspired cyberpunk. Also, Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination, which presages cyberpunk by about 30 years, and is freaking excellent.

Music is pretty easy-- aphex twin, autechre, and lots and lots of dark IDM style music. Also, much of the late 90s techno scene. See folks like Frontline Assembly, Die Krupps, Razed in Black, KMFDM, and all that crazy post NIN industrial music.

Example- Spahn Ranch - Heretic's Fork (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anv83o-hT1s)

kaisel
10-21-2010, 02:54 PM
I've wanted to play/run Shadowrun at some point, but I don't know if I'll ever get a chance to, since the group I game with aren't as big of fans of cyberpunk.

Thinking about Shadowrun makes me remember that I wish there was a dedicated heist-style RPG. Shadowrun can be that, but having so many layers and subsystems (magic, decking, rigging) makes it messy. In play it's the closest thing, since the game does usually resolve into mostly doing legwork and information gathering before pursuing the objective, but I'd love to see an RPG system that is based on a heist-movie style framework.

If you don't mind a licensed RPG, there's always the Leverage RPG that's supposed to come out in November I think. It's apparently very much based on the style of the show (which is all about heists and con games), so I don't know how well it does as a general heist game.

shivam
10-21-2010, 02:57 PM
my friend wrote the leverage RPG! buy it and support it!

kaisel
10-21-2010, 03:10 PM
my friend wrote the leverage RPG! buy it and support it!

I've been looking forward to it for a while, and was bummed when it didn't make the September release date. I enjoy the show, and from everything I've heard/read about it, it seems like it's going to be a great adaptation of the show to an RPG. Soon as my local comic shop gets it, I'm picking it up.

And that's it for my thread derailment.

Crested Penguin
10-21-2010, 04:08 PM
f you don't mind a licensed RPG, there's always the Leverage RPG that's supposed to come out in November I think. It's apparently very much based on the style of the show (which is all about heists and con games), so I don't know how well it does as a general heist game.

I'll keep an eye out. Not familiar with the show, but depending on how it's done that may not matter.

Re: Cyberpunk Worth Reading, I would submit Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash as a good entry point. It's imaginative and very funny in a way that is missed in a lot of cyberpunk fiction, imo. As far as William Gibson stuff, Neuromancer and Virtual Light are my favorites.

Traumadore
10-21-2010, 09:01 PM
I submit some tangential resources: Jennifer Government and a short story by Philip Jose Farmer called Riders of the Purple Wage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riders_of_the_Purple_Wage). Also some great characterization for human hating cyborgs in another short story Incident in Moderan by David R Bunch.

Googleshng
10-21-2010, 10:10 PM
I'll keep an eye out. Not familiar with the show, but depending on how it's done that may not matter.

Re: Cyberpunk Worth Reading, I would submit Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash as a good entry point. It's imaginative and very funny in a way that is missed in a lot of cyberpunk fiction, imo. As far as William Gibson stuff, Neuromancer and Virtual Light are my favorites.

Ghost in the Shell merits some mention too, being one of the few cyberpunk works that doesn't focus exclusively on gritty crime and a vibe of advancing technology ruining society. Which is kinda getting away from the point here, but hey.

shivam
10-21-2010, 10:25 PM
ghost in the shell, armitage the third (both of em), serial experiments lain, battle angel alita....

nunix
10-23-2010, 01:45 PM
Every time the Genesis LP updates, I get all wizzed up about Shadowrun again~

I've wanted to play/run Shadowrun at some point, but I don't know if I'll ever get a chance to, since the group I game with aren't as big of fans of cyberpunk.

...which is why I'm mulling the idea of doing either a one- or two-shot over IRC or something for any TT folk that're interested.

Googleshng
10-23-2010, 02:38 PM
Tempting. Which version?

nunix
10-23-2010, 04:40 PM
Well, it'd be 2050s Seattle, but technically no "version" of Shadowrun rules. See: the first post in this thread where I mention how terrible said rulesets are. I'd use either something homebrew for the specific activities involved (planning/researching phase, running phase) or grabbing another small or indie system that catches the mood I'd want for the game.

Between the Genesis LP*, making this thread, and digging through the Seattle Sourcebook, I'm just recalling how much I really enjoyed the setting, despite the fact that my tastes have changed pretty drastically in the intervening years.

* not to slight the SNES LP, which was also great; the Genesis game just hews so much closer to the tabletop that it's easier for it to jog them sentimentalities.

pence
12-03-2010, 01:36 PM
It's not Shadowrun, but Eclipse Phase is an RPG designed by a bunch of former Catalyst employees, who worked on Shadowrun's 4th edition. If Shadowrun is 80s sci-fi mixed with Tolkien, Eclipse Phase is 00s sci-fi mixed with Lovecraft:

http://www.eclipsephase.com/

Plus, the core rulebook is under the Creative Commons license, meaning you can feel un-shameful if you torrent it somewhere. No, really, just download the whole thing from the designer's blog (http://robboyle.wordpress.com/writing-samples/). You can also pay money for the PDF or a hard copy if you like it.

fugu13
12-03-2010, 01:44 PM
I've been reading the Eclipse Phase rules recently, myself, and am sorely tempted to run a game sometime. Well, I would be, if I had time to run a game. And people to run a game with (note: I just can't do non-in-person RPGs, for some reason).

pence
12-03-2010, 02:22 PM
Well, I would be, if I had time to run a game. And people to run a game with...

*raises hand!*

(note: I just can't do non-in-person RPGs, for some reason).

:[

I understand that, though. I'm running an in-person Pathfinder game and a Tyrant-filled online DnD4E game. It's two different worlds (and I have no idea how much of that is due to the sensibilities of the two groups and the two systems, either). The one thing for sure, though, is it's a lot harder to run off the cuff online, if you like to use minis/tokens.

Although play-by-post is probably less stress and committment. I've been curious about those types of games, myself.

Lucas
12-03-2010, 02:30 PM
Welp, Eclipse Phase is downloaded. It does look mightily interesting, but even if I do add it to the revolver queue for my group it'll still be at least third in line, and I'm having enough trouble getting my players to pay attention to my attempts to get the first game off the ground.

sraymonds
12-03-2010, 02:31 PM
If Shadowrun is 80s sci-fi mixed with Tolkien, Eclipse Phase is 00s sci-fi mixed with Lovecraft:

Wait, what? I'll be right back.

fugu13
12-03-2010, 02:52 PM
I'm particularly impressed with the little details in the Eclipse Phase mechanics. They've taken a simple percentile system and given it nuance and complexity, addressing many of the negatives of percentile systems while keeping the fundamental simplicity.

Add in the awesome ego/morph mechanics, and the really well-done setting, and it is one great game.

Comb Stranger
12-03-2010, 02:58 PM
Like the criticals on double digits. Rather than a flat 5% chance, your odds of critically succeeding or failing changes along with your skill.

Also, you can be a sentient octopus.

fugu13
12-03-2010, 03:00 PM
Also, you can be a sentient octopus.

Heh, I just went to find this link (from the official site), which shows the content I saw that told me I absolutely had to learn the system (warning: pdf):
http://www.eclipsephase.com/sites/default/files/eclipsephase_preview1_mercurialscavenger.pdf

Yeah, I'm a big fan of the points that let you switch the tens and ones dice occasionally, too.

shivam
12-03-2010, 03:03 PM
can someone summarize the mechanics?

fugu13
12-03-2010, 03:29 PM
Skill-based, percentiles. Each skill has a base attribute, and then goes above that. A test has a difficulty modifier, which is added to the player's skill before rolling (ranging from +30 for effortless to -30 for hard). Modifiers can affect that further, depending on the situation. Then the player rolls percentile dice against the target number. 99 critical failure, 00 (which is not 100) critical success. Every other double is also a critical failure or success, but which it is depends on whether it is above your target number or not (above is critical failure, otherwise critical success). If you don't have a skill, default to the related attribute, or possibly another closely related skill (at -30), unless the skill is overly specialized, in which case no defaulting, you just can't do it. You can take extra time to increase the chances of success, and if you have time to do a test again, you can redo it at a cumulative -10.

In opposed tests, both players are still rolling against a target number. If only one succeeds, they win, if both succeed, the one who rolled higher wins (or the one who rolled a crit). If neither succeeds, they're in deadlock.

Every game session you have somewhere from 1 to 10 moxie points. You can spend the points to do a variety of things: ignore modifiers (before rolling) a test, flip the 1 and 10 dice on a test, turn a normal success into a critical success, turn a critical failure into a normal failure, or go first in an action phase instead of normal turn order.

The other especially nifty mechanic is that players are an ego (a mind) with a morph (a body). Some things are properties of the ego, and some of the morph. Egos can change morphs, be backed up, et cetera, and this is all part of the in-game mechanics, making player death much less a problem (though it is still frequently a major setback), and making it easy to keep playing the same character, but switch things up a bit.