Houserules: Edge (2/4: Cinematic Play)

As I started writing this, I realised there’s no way to fit the Edge-houserules into a single properly readable post. So this one will focus on Cinematic Play. Qualities/Gear-balancing and AR/DR will have to wait. This one is focused on the restrictions to gaining Edge: Max 2 per test, max 2 per turn, no more than 7 total.

So on one hand, it makes sense that Edge gains are limited. If you can only gain 2 Edge in an action, it prevents crazy gains that make the Edge flow waaaaaay too fast. It also means players won’t be pushing for yet another way to get Edge, since you cap at 2. And the limit of 2 Edge per turn, also means you won’t be tossing out big Edge moves one after another.

On the other hand, when granting an enemy Edge is supposed to be a downside and a big impact on the balance, that not happening due to the restriction is not balancing. For 1-on-‘1’ fights, it’s doable, but it just feels weird once dogpiling is concerned.

With that in mind, here’s a combination of rules that are meant to unify these concerns. Since under these rules Edge will still flow much faster and you can almost feel like you’re in an action movie (don’t forget, rerolling 2 enemy hits basically equals costing them 4 dice on average), I tend to label the set ‘Cinematic Gameplay’. Glossary involved: Temporary Edge is ‘spend or lose it’ Edge, kept/permanent is Edge that you’re allowed to keep past the Action and do so.

  • 2 Edge max gained per ACTION, including temporary Edge.
      • So a Jumped-In Rigger with Thermographic vision at night and a massive Attack Rating still only gets 2 Edge.  This way, players won’t be trying to farm method after method to gain Edge.
  • 2 Edge KEPT max per combat round. If you spend it on the Action (such as Spellcasting&Drain, or defense&Soak, or Attack), it doesn’t count against the limit.
      • This way we still maintain the max gain of 2, meaning that the really big Edge moves are still something you have to save up for.
  • Edge Pools max at 9.
      • Meaning high-Edge peeps don’t have to spend it at once but actually can save up a bit, and PR9 Grunts aren’t defying the limit.
  • Edge transfers ignore the limit, BUT you can’t transfer non-kept Edge.
      • Edge transfers are what you do for ‘hey this roll really matters big time’, such as big negotiations or crucial attacks on big foes. It’s also a way for people that got more Edge than they need to help the ones that have a harder time. But the cinematic style is focused on additional gains being ‘spend it or lose it’, not ‘hoard like crazy’. Being able to farm Edge and pass it around to bypass that restriction, violates the spirit, and now the letter as well.
  • If you and an ally are attacked together, and you transfer gained Edge immediately to the ally, it counts as kept Edge (and is restricted by the 2 kept max limit).
      • A partial exception to the rule above for a specific edge-case: If I didn’t keep my max 2 Edge yet, I can use what I gained to help pay for transfering, but it counts as part of the kept limit.

And for the grunt perspective, where I am introducing the term ‘unit’ for all grunts combined, which may be multiple grunt groups (e.g. 8-grunt unit => 2x grunt groups of size 4 each).

  • (Unit-size/5, rounded up) Edge Boosts allowed per turn, instead of 1 Edge Boost per turn for the entire unit.
      • Larger units should be a bigger threat, not be the perfect example of more foes meaning less competence. At the same time splitting a unit into more groups shouldn’t matter Edge-wise.
  • Downed grunts still count for the unit size (see rule above), but routed grunts do not. Routed grunts also cannot gain or spend Edge.
      • When your comrades are down, there’s more on the line than just your own hide. But those that ran away, won’t make you think more tactically. And when you’re running away, there’s no way you can be contributing tactically.
  • 2 Edge KEPT max per combat round, for the entire unit combined.
      • They have 1 shared Edge pool, so we’re restricting their gains as well, with similar reasons.
  • If Edge cannot be kept or spent, due to the Edge Boost and Edge Kept limits, convert the remaining point(s) into bonus dice
      • Limiting how often grunts can spend Edge is a nice limit, but we still want to prevent them from getting no benefit. Since we restrict both their Edge gains and expenses, we should add an auto-conversion for the excess Edge. Bonus dice is less powerful than forcing the PCs to reroll hits, but still makes it tougher to hit/dodge.
  • When multiple grunts are attacked at the same time, they gain Edge together (so just once), but also spend Edge together (e.g. they gain 1 Edge but spend 2 to reroll two of their failures? Then each grunt gets the benefit of the reroll).
      • The rules don’t describe how this goes, so here’s how I propose we handle it. A buff to AoE and Multiple Attacks, since you’re not giving away multiple points of Edge just because you target multiple enemies (just like you only gain once yourself). On the other hand, we shouldn’t penalize the grunts on their defensive use of Edge, when we already restrict their gain to once for all combined.

All these houserules combined mean that both players and grunts can benefit from Edge far more often, meaning no more ‘no worries, they’re already Edge-capped’, while still facing their natural restrictions and keeping the big-Edge actions as rare dramatic occasions. This hopefully will result in far more dramatic fights with fancy cinematic flow, impact lethality, and reward tactical choices more. And now, even if two dozen enemies all fire at you, you can still be badass.

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