Edges and Flaws

The new Edges and Flaws system is fairly obviously derived from White Wolf’s Storyteller system of Merits and Flaws, which in turn inherits from Ars Magica’s system of Virtues and Flaws. The calibration of an Edge’s or Flaw’s worth relative to the other systems is difficult; in general, Edge points buy you less than Virtue and Merit points did, and Flaws are worse. I interpret this to be a game balance call on the part of the designers at FASA. (After all, in Storyteller, it’s really trivial to have huge amounts of money at character creation time, since money isn’t a very large factor. In Shadowrun, it’s much more important.)

Physical Attributes

Value: +4

+1 to Body and Strength, both the stats and the maxima. The character is quite large and robust for their subspecies, and tends to stand out in a crowd of them. Humans with this Edge may find Ork-Looking a useful accompanying Edge; Trolls with this Edge are truly frightening.

Value: –4

Your character is much smaller than normal for their metatype; subtract 1 from your Body attribute and racial maximum. You have trouble seeing over many objects, and lose 1 from your Running multiplier. Humans, Elves, and Orks with this flaw may take a +1 Edge, Dwarf-Looking.

Value: –2

Your character is extremely fat. Gain one point of Body, but lose one point from your Running multiplier and suffer a +2 to all target numbers regarding athletic motion. This is common among couch potato mages and riggers. Only a –1 for people who take Paraplegic and –0 for those who take Quadriplegic.

Note that for all of the Missing [part] Flaws, these do not apply if you can easily have the part replaced with clonal tissue or cyberware. Come up with a reason why your character cannot get the piece taken care of with modern technology— perhaps it was lost to a fragmentation mine covered with a mutagenic virus, or was bitten off by some kind of nasty magical creature or spirit and all attempts at replacement have been rejected. At the game master’s option, you might be able to get a cyber or clonal replacement after a great deal of effort (perhaps involving getting a major corp to owe you a favor, or tracking down the spirit, slaying it, and performing a major Astral Quest).
Missing ear
Value: –1

You cannot locate the direction of sounds, and you often miss things said to your deaf side. +1 to all hearing TN’s.

Missing eye
Value: –2

You have no depth perception, and have a blind side on which people can approach unseen. Take a +2 penalty to all ranged attacks. If you want to take this Flaw twice, use Blind instead.

Missing hand
Value: –2

You can only use one hand for climbing, combat, and other such activities. Take a +2 to +4 penalty on any such actions.

Missing foot
Value: –2

You have an artificial (strapped on) or peg foot; lose two dice from your Combat Pool, lose one point from your Running multiplier, and gain a +2 penalty to actions involving keeping your balance. If you take this Flaw twice, it is only worth one Flaw point the second time.

Missing arm
Value: –3

You have only one arm; in addition to the penalties of Missing Hand, your balance is thrown off and you lose one die from your Combat Pool and gain a +1 penalty to actions involving keeping your balance.

Missing leg
Value: –3

You can get around on crutches, but cannot run, and your Combat Pool is cut in half. If you want to take this Flaw twice, use Paraplegic instead.

Unthinking Reflexes
Value: +3

Your reflexes are so fast, you react without thinking. Whenever you are surprised or startled, make a Reaction (4) roll. Even one success indicates that you react reflexively on the phase in which the startlement happens, independent of your Initiative roll: choose one type of action (dodging, blocking, attacking, shooting, running) which you are most likely to do, though the game master may override this if you have showed other choices in the past. (If you have been fully aware of someone making a startling move, you may follow your planned course of action.) This can, however, lead to blowing a joking friend’s head off if your reflexes are ready for an assassin’s strike.

Value: +1

A human character with the Ork-Looking Edge can “pass” for an Ork in most circumstances, though their teeth aren’t quite tusks and they need to hide their round ears under their hair.

Value: +1

A human character with the Elf-Looking Edge can “pass” for an Elf in most circumstances, though making their ears properly pointed will require good cosmetic surgery. An excellent Edge for competent Elf Posers.

Catlike Balance
Value: +2

You have an innately perfect sense of balance. You are able to land on your feet from a fall almost every time. You have two extra dice to roll on all balance-related matters.

Light Sleeper
Value: +1

You seem to sleep with one eye open, and become wide awake immediately when woken. –2 to all TN’s to waking up.

Versatile Sleeper
Value: +1

You’ve mastered the art of catching quick catnaps; perhaps you were in the military. You can fall asleep at will, any place, any time; you can get the equivalent of a full night’s sleep without having to occupy a large block of time with continuous unconsciousness. This goes well with Light Sleeper and Cat shamans.

Deep Sleeper
Value: –1

You sleep heavily, though you do not necessarily snore, have a +2 to all TN’s for being woken up, and suffer a +1 to all TN’s for up to half an hour after waking (though your morning coffee, hot shower, or a jolt of adrenaline can clear this up pronto).

Keen Sense
Value: +1

You have –1 to all Perception target numbers with a particular sense.

Poor Sense
Value: –1

You have +1 to all Perception target numbers with a particular sense.

Distinctive Features
Value: –1

These must be something you cannot hide without great difficulty— a sixth finger, tattoos all over your face, a missing ear— and a reason you aren’t going to have this corrected as soon as you’ve got the nuyen for cosmetic surgery.

Short of Breath
Value: –2

You have difficulty performing strenuous tasks because you cannot breathe properly; medical science has yet to find a cure for your asthma-like ailment. Because your lungs only pull in a fraction of the air you need for serious exertion, any time you attempt such, make a Body (4) roll or be unable to perform any action on the next round while you catch your breath.

Mental Edges and Flaws

Amend the Phobia table on page 29 of the Shadowrun Companion: common events such as magic, sunlight, crowds, and the outdoors are common; other common things include specific metahuman races. Uncommon phenomena include particular sorts of weather (storms, high winds), common animals (dogs, cats, insects), and spirits. Rare phenomena are worth –0 and are specific things (dogs barking, cats hissing, fire elementals, dragons, lightning).
Delusion, Compulsion, Obsession, Hatred, Intolerance
Value: –1 to –5

Use the Phobia table from the Shadowrun Companion, page 29, for comparison of the effects of your particular psychological Flaw.

Example: Barry, a Trollish Physical Adept, has been on the receiving end of discrimination one too many times. He is Intolerant of injustice, and tends to interfere when a bunch of humans gang up on an Ork, when a bunch of Orks gang up on a human, or when corrupt Lone Star officers begin brutalizing innocents. Such injustice is Uncommon in the world of Shadowrun, and he must make a Willpower (4) roll not to interfere in such troubles; if he fails to interfere, he is at +2 to target numbers as he watches. This is worth 3 points of Flaw.
Code of Honor
Value: +1

Unlike most shadowrunners, you possess a firm code of ethics. (You must define this as part of your character creation, though your character’s position on such issues may change over time.) You have little difficulty with most attempts to make you break your code; with respect to stronger temptations, such as torture or mental manipulations, your effective Willpower is two points higher.

Lightning Calculator
Value: +1

You have an exceptional talent for mental arithmetic, and are dangerous at the poker and blackjack tables due to your ability to estimate odds on the fly. Gain –2 to all appropriate target numbers.

Value: –1

The world seems to be a very distorted and twisted place, and you are often left confused. Sometimes, things just don’t make sense. Mostly, this is a roleplaying Flaw, but you should gain penalties to your target numbers when suffering from overwhelming sensory input, such as in a crowd or loud nightclub. This Flaw can work equally well on brainless thugs who just don’t bother making sense of the world and reclusive geniuses who fail to find a pattern in the wealth of information they can perceive.

Value: –1

You a naturally shy person, and prefer to avoid most social situations if you can. Increase your target numbers for Social activities with strangers by +1, or +2 if you are the center of attention.

Value: –1

You cannot bear to witness suffering, and causing it can bring you nights of nausea and days of sleepless grief. It may be that you empathize too strongly, or merely that being in the presence of such intense emotions drives you to distraction. Whenever you must witness suffering, difficulties of all rolls are increased by one for the next hour.

Value: –1

You have an exaggerated sense of your own abilities, and do not hesitate to meet challenges that would leave more sensible people quailing in their boots or heading for a fortified position. You can always find fault in others to blame for your failure. If you are a charismatic individual, you may be able to infect others with your overconfidence.

The following three Flaws have relatively large point values because they are especially dangerous to shadowrunners.
Short Attention Span
Value: –3

Your parents left you at home all day with the electronic babysitter, and you don’t understand why you can’t change the channel on the real world. Keeping watch, listening to complex orders, following the plot of a story, or performing other such tasks that require continued attention are usually not within your ability. Raising Knowledge Skills costs double the Karma for you.

Value: –3

You don’t actually forget your Knowledge skills, but details like names, addresses, and the last time you ate continue to escape your mind. In order to remember more than your name and home address, you need to make an Intelligence roll (target number varying with the obviousness and simplicity of the information— remembering your favorite restaurant is a 4, remembering where the meet with the Johnson is requires a 6, and the details of complex plans can be an 8 or 10).

Value: –3

Your natural curiosity is strong enough to override your common sense, even if you possess that Edge. To resist the temptation to investigate mysteries, make a Willpower roll. Resisting “I wonder what’s in that cabinet?” requires only a 4, but “I’ll just peek into the Renraku mainframe— no one will notice!” requires an 8.

Speech Impediment
Value: –1

You have a stammer or some other speech impediment that hampers verbal communication. Your TN’s for communication and some Social rolls can go up by 2 under appropriate circumstances.

Value: –1

While you are not a complete Pacifist, you consider killing to be the last resort, and will only do so when it is obvious that a person cannot be brought to justice or in self-defense; even then, you do so in as humane a means as possible. You have a firm conviction in your beliefs, and will attempt to exhort your teammates to avoid wetwork contracts against all but the most heinous of criminals.

Clear Thinker
Value: +1

You have a –2 bonus or others a +2 penalty when attempts are made to confuse, befuddle, lie to, or fast talk you.


Piercing Gaze
Value: +2

By gazing intently at someone, you make them feel uneasy, as if their inner secrets were on display. Those with ulterior motives, uneasy consciences, nervous dispositions, and those who are lying must make Willpower rolls against your Charisma or suffer a +2 penalty to all Social rolls as they fidget.

Venus’ Blessing
Value: +1

You gain a –2 to Social rolls with sexually compatible characters in appropriate situations. People are often attracted to you; at times, this can be put to good use, at other times it’s an annoyance.

Curse of Venus
Value: –1

You are very attractive to people whom you do not wish to attract (±3 to appropriate target numbers). People whom you detest are constantly getting crushes on you, and tend to overlook your rejection of them. On the other hand, people you wish to attract or endear tend to think you are vain and shallow (±1 to appropriate target numbers).

Value: +1

For some reason, everyone considers you pure and innocent, though not necessarily naïve. You have a saintly quality that is hard to put a finger on, but others tend to see it in you; you are trusted, even if you are not trustworthy. You tend to receive lesser punishments for wrongdoing and are liked by most; you get a great deal less hassling on the street than most.

Value: –1

For some reason, you just seem to be the guilty party; even when you’re asleep, you look like you’re up to something. People seldom trust you, even if you’ve done nothing wrong, and you are often singled out for special attention.

Eerie Presence
Value: –1

You may be physically unexceptional, but there’s just a creepy aura about you; choose how it manifests, whether people are simply uneasy around you, if they get the feeling you exude waves of invisible slime, if menace and evil hang over your head like smog, et cetera. You possess a +2 penalty to Social rolls around most people, though friends may grow to overlook your magical air and some people— often magically active, though many enlightened, self-assured people also possess such capabilities— may automatically overlook it. People with Eerie Presence can seldom detect this presence in other people.


Nine Lives
Value: +6

You must have earned some very good karma in your last life, because something is taking care of you in this one. You get nine chances at life. Any time that an event occurs that would kill you, fate intervenes. The mechanics of this are up to the game master: they may quietly divert you from a dire fate before it happens and mark off one life, or they may simply allow you to mark off one life and reroll any roll that would kill your character. After eight of these are up, you’re on your own.

Weirdness Magnet
Value: –1

Whenever weird shit comes down, it happens in your neighborhood or to you directly. Spirits seem to find you absolutely fascinating for reasons they can’t or won’t describe, and paranormal animals keep popping up in your neighborhood. You keep getting Elvis shamans as free contacts. Not-quite-sane street people seem to consider you a valuable confidante.

Trouble Magnet
Value: –2

Perhaps you were a very evil person in a previous life; you cannot seem to escape the vicissitudes of the world. Gang wars seem to break out around you, and trouble happens in your general vicinity and neighborhood, if it doesn’t seek you out directly. If you’re in a bad neighborhood, it’s gangs and muggers; if you’re in a good one, it’s intrigue and happenstance occurrences that piss off powerful people. Thugs will cross the street to get in your way. Surviving this kind of trouble may get you a reputation as a badass.

When multiple characters with Weirdness Magnet or Trouble Magnet group together, sum the number of Flaw points devoted to this magnetism. This is the level of the Flaw that the group has. Thus, three people with Trouble Magnet should regularly run into lethal danger; two with Trouble Magnet and two with Weirdness Magnet will be in similar amounts of trouble, but it will be somewhat less lethal and somewhat more bizarre.


These Aptitudes are worth considerably more than the number of Aptitudes required to purchase bonuses with all the separate skills. However, I think that these work well as package deals.
Electronic Aptitude
Value: +6

You have an Aptitude with all matters related to computers and electronics, including Computer, Computer B/R, Computer Theory, Electronics, Electronics B/R, Electronics Theory, and Cybertechnology B/R. This does not apply when defaulting off these skills to related ones.

Crack Pilot
Value: +6

You have an Aptitude with all vehicle piloting skills, including Hovercraft, Bike, Car, Motorboat, Sailboat, Winged Craft, Rotorcraft, Vector Thrust, and LTA. This does not apply when defaulting other skills off the piloting skills.

Mechanical Aptitude
Value: +6

You have an Aptitude with working with mechanical devices, including Lockpicking, Aircraft B/R, Ground Vehicle B/R, Boat B/R, and any other such skills that are introduced as part of the campaign (plumbing, clockwork). This does not apply when defaulting other skills off the repair ones.

Jack of All Trades
Value: +6

You are widely experienced, and can generally fake any skill test as if you actually have one dot in an appropriate skill a single spot away on the Skill Web. You must purchase actual skills normally.


People taking Priority D on magic may take Magical Edges and Flaws without any other sort of magical ability. These Edges and Flaws will go away if your Essence drops below 1.0. The social penalties associated with that should be an excellent replacement for the Flaws, and the sources of such Flaws might show up rather upset with you that you’re no longer connected to them.
Cyclic Magic
Value: +3, +6, –3, –6

You experience a harmonious effect from particular astrological phenomena, whether it be the position of the sun in the sky, the phase of the moon, or the motion of the sun in the zodiac. For every three points of Edge or Flaw, your target numbers for magic are adjusted by 1 for roughly half the time, are adjusted by 2 at the peak of the cycle, and adjusted by 1 the other way at the nadir. (Thus, a person with 3 Edge points in solar cyclic magic might get a –1 bonus during the day, –2 for two minutes at precisely noon, and a +1 penalty for the two minutes surrounding midnight, while a person with annual cyclic magic might get a bonus in the months surrounding winter and a doubled one on Midwinter’s Day.) This occurs most often in Hermetic mages, with their ties to astrological cycles, but has also turned up among the Germanic mages who follow the icons.

Elemental Ties
Value: +2, +4, –2, –4

Hermetic mages only. Your magic resonates strongly with a particular element, in harmony or disharmony. For each two points in the Edge or Flaw, you have a one-point bonus or penalty with respect to dealing with spells and elementals of that particular element. With respect to the metaplanes, it only aids in understanding the geography of that particular plane, and does not help in the usual tests made on Astral Quests.

Blatant Magic
Value: –1

Your magic is always obvious whenever you cast spells, though you may sustain them normally. Perhaps your totemic mask appears at the drop of a hat— often regarded as a good thing by shamans— or glowing signs and sigils appear in the air when you cast your spells.

Continuous Blatant Magic
Value: –2

As Blatant Magic, but it continues while you sustain spells.

Oracular Ability
Value: +3

Life, for you, is filled with signs and portents; pigeons sitting above a door, clouds in the sky, and reflections in puddles of spilled water stand out to you with significance. Recognizing the meaning of such things requires a Special Skill, Omen Interpretation. Your teammates will quickly learn to duck when you say, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

Magic Sensitivity
Value: +2

You tend to notice when magic is occurring around you.

Value: +4

You have an uncontrolled ability to catch glimpses of the future. When and how your visions come to you, and what they relate to, are up to the game master, as well as whether they are the future as might-be or will-be. You may have developed some rituals that can occasionally induce such premonitions, such as reading Tarot cards, drinking yourself into a stupor, or meditating with the stereo turned up to 110 dB.

Value: +2

Similar to Precognition, but the nature of the visions you experience is usually allegorical, and are always related to your own life. Like Precognition, you may have rituals that increase the probability that you will have visions. The Dream Interpretation Specialization of Psychology may be very useful to you.

The Bard’s Tongue
Value: –1

Somehow, you are in contact with a pool of universal knowledge, or some spirit deep in the metaplanes has hooks set deeply into you. Roughly once per adventure, an uncomfortable truth will come into your head and proceed immediately to your lips; only making a Willpower (6) roll and biting your tongue hard enough to cause a Light wound can prevent it. Gamemasters who do not feel up to making use of such a Flaw should ban it.

Danger Sense
Value: +?

You have a sixth sense that warns you of danger. When danger threatens, the game master should have you make a perception check against a target number based on the remoteness of the danger.


The notion in the Shadowrun Companion that a character should have more enemies because they had more starting nuyen just doesn’t make sense; we’re ignoring it.
Value: –1 to –6

Each point in Enemies is another purchase point for buying Enemies with. If you choose to buy many small Enemies rather than one large one, you should end up in more trouble than having simply gotten one large one if ever they have cause to network.

Background Trouble
Value: –1

Somewhere in your past, you’ve left problems that could lead to difficulties if ever you go back where you left the trouble. You might have a relatively large organization gunning for you, but insufficiently motivated to chase you to your current location.

Hidden Past
Value: –1

Either you’re trying to keep your own past secret, or there’s something about it you yourself are not aware of. Either way, respectable amounts of trouble may ensue when it’s uncovered that you’re not just any orphan, you’re the illegitimate grandchild of a megacorporate CEO, or you were once a charter member of the Humanis Policlub.

Value: –1

Someone did something major for you in the past and you owe them, big time. They can call on you for favors which may be fairly dangerous.