Now that you mention it...
[[Basic Game Information]]
Characters may be of one of the five subgroups of Homo sapiens: human, elf, dwarf, ork, and troll. Non-humans are known as metahumans, while the five subgroups as a whole (including humans) are known as metahumanity. In the 2072s, humans are still the most numerous metatype.
A character’s inherent abilities.
*Agility represents fine motor control—manual dexterity, flexibility, balance, and coordination.
*Body-resistance to outside forces: the character’s cardiovascular fitness, immune
system, how well she heals, and her muscle and bone structure.
*Strength-raw lifting power and running speed.
*Charisma represents a character’s personal aura, self-image, ego, willingness to find out what people want, and ability to recognize what she can and can’t get out of people.
*Intuition covers “mental alertness”—the ability to take in and process information, to read a crowd, to assess a situation for danger or opportunity.
*Logic represents memorizing ability and raw brainpower.
*Willpower keeps a character going when she wants to give up, or enables her to control her habits and emotions.
*Initiative – the sum of Reaction and Intuition, plus any additional dice from implanted or magical reflex enhancers. As it implies, Initiative is used to make Initiative Tests which determines the character’s Initiative Score for a Combat Turn
Only magically-active characters (such as the Combat Mage) have Magic, the measure of the ability to use magic and of the body’s attunement to mana (the magic energy) that flows
through our physical plane (see The Awakened World, p. 10).
The standard range of natural human attributes is on a scale of 1 to 6, with 3 being average. Physical and Mental attributes have a maximum natural rating of 6 plus or minus metatype
modifiers—some metatypes can have ratings higher than 6 in some attributes. Augmented ratings (cyberware and magic) are listed in parentheses after the natural rating, such as: 4 (6).
The Condition Monitor consists of two tracks. The Physical Damage Track displays wound damage and indicates when the character dies. The Stun Damage Track shows fatigue and stun damage and indicates when a character falls unconscious. (See Resolving Damage, p. 8, for more information.)
Most shadowrunners have certain special qualities—that’s why they’re not the poor sod behind the counter at a Stuffer Shack. The pre-generated Character Record Sheets in these
quick-start rules list some qualities. While there are no associated game mechanics for them in these rules, they are included because their very names will allow players to instantly get a feel for the unique flavor of a given character.
Whereas attributes represent an individual’s inherent capacities, skills are abilities an individual learns over time. Each skill represents the training and methods a character has picked up that enable her to use her natural attributes in a certain way.
To reflect this connection, each skill is linked to an attribute. Skills are grouped into three categories: Active, Knowledge and Language. However, Knowledge and Language skills only
appear on the Character Record Sheets to provide additional flavor. For these quick-start rules and Food Fight 4.0, only Active Skills are used.
*Active skills are the skills characters use to take action. These skills are the ones that usually matter the most to shadowrunners—firing a gun, negotiating a new contract, driving a
hovercraft, and so on.
*Skill ratings are the numerical values assigned to skills and are written as the name of the skill, followed by the rating. For example, Infiltration 3 means the character has the Infiltration Skill at a rating of 3. The skill rating is added to the linked attribute to
determine the number of dice rolled when that skill is used.
For example, if the character with Infiltration 3 also had Intuition 4 she would roll 7 dice when making an Infiltration Test.
In these quick-start rules, the pre-generated Character Record sheets already note the total dice pool of a skill (see Dice Pools, below)
As an adventure unfolds, players are going to use their characters’ skills and attributes to get things done. Gamemasters must rely on their own judgment to decide which skills are needed, determine the situation modifiers, and interpret what it all means.
Shadowrun is filled with adventure, danger, and risk, and characters usually end up in the middle of it all. You determine what your character does in a situation and how well she does it by making a test—rolling dice and determining the outcome how well or poorly you rolled.
There are many situations in which the gamemaster will as you to make a test to determine how well you perform, be it bypassing an alarm system, shooting an assassin, or persuading
a security guard that your presence in the corporate facility is legitimate. Normal, everyday actions should not require a test.
When a gamemaster calls for a test, he will provide the player with a description of the task at hand and which skill is most appropriate for the test.
When a player makes a test, she rolls a number of dice equalvto her dice pool. The dice pool is the sum of the relevant skill plus its linked attribute. For these quick-start rules, on the pregenerated Character Record Sheets, the number in brackets following each skill is the total dice pool; i.e. the sum of the skill rating and the linked attribute value.
To this dice pool, based upon circumstances—the character is injured, fighting at night without proper vision equipment, the attempted task is extremely difficult, and so on—the gamemaster will then assign additional plus or minus modifiers (bonus or penalty dice) to determine the final dice pool.
The Gamemaster’s Screen (p. 19) contains several tables that a gamemaster can use during the adventure to determine which modifiers may apply in a given situation. If the players find themselves in a situation not covered by any of the modifiers on the table, and yet
the gamemaster feels that additional modifiers are needed, the gamemaster can also use those tables as guidelines to quickly create appropriate modifiers.
The player then rolls a number of dice equal to the dice pool
If the character lacks the appropriate skill for the test, she can still attempt the action, but will find it harder to succeed.
Improvising in this manner is called defaulting. Characters who default use only the linked attribute in their dice pool.
Additionally, they suffer a –1 dice pool modifier.
TARGET NUMBER AND HITS
When you roll the dice in Shadowrun, you do not add them together. Instead, you compare
each individual die to the standard target number of 5. This target number never changes.
Instead, as noted above, all modifiers— whether positive or negative—are applied to the dice pool (the number of dice rolled).
Each die that is equal to or greater than 5 (a 5 or 6) is considered a hit. The more hits, the
better the result. Players should count the number of hits they score on each test and tell the gamemaster.
Note that scoring one or more hits does not necessarily equal success—it is possible to score hits but still fail a test, if you don’t score enough (see Thresholds, p. 5).
If half or more of the dice rolled come up as 1s, then a glitch results. A glitch is an error, fumble, or random fluke that causes the action to go wrong. It’s possible to both succeed in a task and get a glitch at the same time. For example, a character who rolls a glitch when jumping over something may knock the item over, or land on a nail she didn’t see
on the far side.
If a character rolls a glitch and scores zero hits, then she has made a critical glitch. Critical glitches are far worse than regular glitches—they may cause serious injury or even threaten the character’s life.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF TESTS
There are two types of tests: Success Tests and Opposed Tests.
A Success Test is the standard test to see if a character can accomplish a given task, and how well. Use Success Tests when the character is exercising a skill or ability for immediate effect and is not directly opposed by another person or force. To make a Success Test,
the character rolls her dice pool and counts the number of hits.
Hits represent a measure of achievement on a test. In order to succeed completely on a Success Test, you must meet or exceed a gamemaster-determined threshold with your hits. The higher the threshold, the more difficult the action. The average threshold is 2
(so 2 hits is necessary to succeed), though other tests may have a threshold as high as 4. If the threshold is larger than the character’s dice pool, then there is simply no way the character can succeed.
The Difficulty Table on the Gamemaster’s Screen (p. 19) provides an easy-to-use formula to determine thresholds, based upon the difficulty of the task.
It may prove useful for the player involved in a test, as well as the Gamemaster, to write out the requirements of a Success Test. People usually remember something better when they
write it down. Taking the time to write tests out at the beginning will have players
determining the requirements of such tests in no time.
Additionally, published adventures may include pre-determined Success Tests for a given situation, so knowing how to read the information isimportant.
The standard notation for a Success Test uses the skill called for by the test plus the skill’s linked attribute, followed by the number indicating the threshold in parentheses. For example, the Success Test for using the Hardware skill with a threshold of 2 would be written as:
“Hardware + Logic (2) Test.” Note that additional modifiers the gamemaster may apply are not included in this standard notation as they can change from situation to situation.
If no threshold is listed, then the threshold for the test is 1.
An Opposed Test occurs when two characters are in direct conflict with one another. In this case, the chance of success is based more on the opponent than the situation. When making
an Opposed Test, both characters roll their dice pools and compare the
number of hits.
The character generating the greater number of hits achieves her goal. In the event of a tie, the action is typically a stalemate, and the characters have to choose between continuing with another test or withdrawing.
If the gamemaster needs a result on a tie, then rule in favor of the defending character.
*Opposed Test Modifiers
Situational modifiers that affect both sides of an Opposed Test in an equal fashion are applied to both dice pools. Situational modifiers that give an advantage to one character in an Opposed Test over another are only applied to the one initiating the action. Thresholds are never applied to Opposed Tests.
*Opposed Test vs. a Group
Some situations may call for a character to act against an entire group of opposing characters, such as a runner trying to sneak past a group of guards. In this event, only roll once for the entire opposing group, using the highest dice pool available to the group, but add +1 die for each additional person in the group (to a maximum +5 modifier).
*Opposed Test Notation
When an Opposed Test is called for, write it out (as with the Success Test, it will make it easier to understand and train you how to quickly determine such tests for future games) using the skill + attribute for each side of the test: “Athletics + Strength Opposed Test.”
Many Opposed Tests, however, call for two different skills to be used against each other. For example, if a character is trying to sneak past a guard, the gamemaster would call for an “Opposed Test between the character’s Infiltration + Agility and the guard’s Perception + Intuition.”
If the Opposed Test is between attributes, use the attribute in place of the skill: “Agility + Body Opposed Test.”