This section covers basic definitions for important game terms. Complicated terms will be explained in more detail in the related chapters.
Souls define a PC’s primary source of power in the world. A cyber-soul draws power from technology, a wild-soul focuses on supernatural powers from Wild Strain mutations, and a mortal-soul derives strength from humanity’s adaptability and social bonds. A PC primarily picks special abilities from within their soul.
Each player creates their character by choosing their Life Paths. These life paths represent the character’s history, from the legacy of their grandparents and parents, down to their own life experiences before the game starts. These will shape your starting actions, soul type, and abilities. They also give you a starting place for backstory without needing to decide on many details before play.
PCs address challenges with Actions. Actions describe how the character approaches an obstacle and determines how many dice you roll. All actions are grouped under a specific Attribute. When you try to resist complications you roll your attribute to determine how much stress it costs. If you take a condition, it is based on the attribute involved.
Special Abilities allow characters to act in ways that defy normal rules.
PCs are distinct from other characters because they possess a special reservoir of effort called Stress. Stress allows PCs to gain extra dice and mitigate harmful consequences. Stress is limited, and must be regained by Rebelling against the status quo during downtime.
PC’s also have the capacity to Overcome Limits, and can take a Condition to turn a failure into a success. Conditions must be recovered during downtime.
All of the PCs belong to the same community. Many different life paths may have led the characters to this town, but they all consider it their home now. After you create characters, your group will pick a Town Type. This will determine the general fiction of your town like its history (e.g. former factory town or a former tourist town), primary struggles, local factions, and potential upgrades.
Each town also comes with a description of landmarks, notable supporting characters, and possible venture hooks. While you will focus on developing your town type, you can use the other towns in your game as distant locations or even rival communities. Similarly, while the town’s local Factions will likely impact your team immediately, all of the game’s factions have competing goals and are struggling for dominance, so you will see many of them in play.
The game can be broken down into sections of different lengths. Many special abilities used by PC’s will last for one of these lengths.
A Session is the entire time your group plays in one day. So if you play for three hours, that is one session; or if you play for seven hours, that’s still one session.
A Phase refers to the three distinct play modes in the game: venture, town, and free play phases. This time lasts for the length of that phase, regardless of how long (or short) it is.
An Episode, (think of a television episode) refers to one complete cycle of phases, from the start of your venture to completing your town phase.
A Scene is shorthand for an action sequence. This could be one combat encounter, an extended chase, or be marked by literally changing physical scenes. Scenes are often organized around specific obstacle or a chain of smaller, linked obstacles, and once the group overcomes that obstacle they move into another scene. If it helps, most scenes last 15-30 minutes of real time.