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.)
+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.
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.
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
You cannot locate the direction of sounds, and you often miss things said
to your deaf side. +1 to all hearing TN’s.
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.
You can only use one hand for climbing, combat, and other such activities.
Take a +2 to +4 penalty on any such actions.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
You seem to sleep with one eye open, and become wide awake immediately
when woken. –2 to all TN’s to waking up.
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.
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).
You have –1 to all Perception target numbers with a particular sense.
You have +1 to all Perception target numbers with a particular sense.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
You have a –2 bonus or others a +2 penalty when attempts are made to confuse, befuddle, lie to, or fast talk you.
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.
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
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).
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
Jack of All Trades
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
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.
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
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
As Blatant Magic, but it continues while you sustain spells.
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.”
You tend to notice when magic is occurring around you.
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.
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
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.
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.Enemies
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.
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.
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.
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.