Basic Concepts


Each character has 5 core Stats:

  • Cool – Your calm under pressure, ability to think and act in stressful situations
  • Hard – Your core badassery, your ability to hurt others and avoid being hurt
  • Hot – Your charisma, your sexy, your allure or force of personality
  • Sharp – Your awareness, cleverness, ability to think on your feet and notice the details
  • Will – Your drive to succeed, your ability to keep going despite overwhelming odds, your self-mastery and self-control


Game mechanics are expressed as “Moves.” Most moves require you to “roll +(Stat)” wherein you roll 2d6 and add the appropriate stat. A 10+ is a total success, a 7-9 is a partial success, granting the GM some power to complicate matters, and a 6- is a failure, granting the GM even more power to make the narrative go in ways not altogether to your liking (but always interesting). The GM never rolls dice, but rather reacts entirely to your die rolls as appropriate to the fiction.

Roll Modifiers

  • +(n)forward = add the value of “n” to your next die roll.
  • +(n)ongoing = add the value of “n” to all die rolls until the situation granting the bonus goes away.
  • boosted = die rolls that result in 6- are elevated to 7. You cannot fail.
  • glitched = die rolls that result in 10+ are reduced to 9. You cannot fully succeed.


You have two countdown clocks that look like this:

One is your shock clock, the other is your harm clock.

Shock: Whenever you take harm but your armor absorbs it all, mark one wedge off the shock clock. If you take more than one point of shock from a single source, you’re glitched on your next die roll. Shock is never negated by armor, but you may choose to reduce shields or barriers to absorb it (see Gear)

  • When the shock clock reaches 12:00-midnight, you’re unconscious
  • Any shock gained while already at 12:00-midnight spills over onto the harm clock
  • The clock resets to 9:00 (if beyond) when the violence is over, it resets entirely after a good night’s sleep.

Harm: Whenever you “take harm” from a move, or GM move, or “take harm as established” (harm of the incoming attack, minus your armor if any) mark that many wedges off the harm clock.

  • Harm to 6:00 is superficial and will recover fairly quickly given time to rest and get medical care.
  • Harm at 9:00 won’t get better naturally, but won’t get worse.
  • Harm at 10:00 or 11:00 gets worse if not treated.
  • Harm at 12:00-midnight or beyond triggers the call on inner strength basic move

Debilities: Whenever you take harm beyond 9:00 (even harm that would take you past 12:00-midnight) you may choose to instead take a debility and set your harm clock to 9:00. The debilities are:

  • shattered (-1 cool)
  • crippled (-1 hard)
  • disfigured (-1 hot)
  • broken (-1 sharp)
    You can only mark each of these debilities once. They’re permanent short some dramatic event, or buying them off (see XP and Advancement)

When you engage in a full-on battle (not just some random violence) you start counting down on a Battle Clock that looks just like one of the Harm countdowns above. Each “tick” of the clock represents a discrete narrative segment of the battle. In each tick (or round), every player can describe a single narrative action that their character takes. This action can involve the use of one or more moves. There are special Battle Moves that become available only in Battle. Also, a number of other moves specify that they are rolled when you go into battle. These moves are rolled at the beginning of the Battle countdown.

The first three ticks of the Battle Clock (12:00-3:00, 3:00-6:00, 6:00-9:00) represent positioning, preparation, pot-shots, and other light combat as the groups come to terms with each other. At the end of each of these ticks, the GM may use the GM Move Inflict Incidental Fire for free as bullets ricochet off armor, you trip on rubble, or whatnot. Incidental Fire can be anything, but usually represents attacks worth 1 to 2 Harm.

The last three ticks of the Battle Clock (9:00-10:00, 10:00-11:00, 11:00-12:00-midnight) represent the hot, scary, dangerous, full-on battle as each side tries to kill the other before being killed. At the end of each of these ticks, the GM may use the GM Move Inflict Concentrated Fire for free as the enemy tries to kill the player characters. Concentrated Fire is usually simply the harm inflicted by that enemy.

Note that Incidental Fire and Concentrated Fire are in addition to any other GM moves that may be made. The GM may also advance the clock to 9:00 at any time if it looks like the PCs and the enemy have started fighting in earnest.

Basic Concepts

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