Mass Effect (Shadowrun 4th ed)
OK after playtesting it became obvious a few things need clarity.
Biotic quality , Biotic attribute, force, threshold …what’s all this mean?
First: the Biotic quality is a positive quality you can buy with BP during character creation. It means the character has innate biotic talents and can learn to use them through skills. It basicaly means they are “strong in the force” .
Second: The Biotic attribute called “Biotic”. This is an attribute that only people with the Biotic quality can buy. It represents the actual biotic strength of the character. It always starts at 1 and can be increased during character creation for the same cost as other attributes. (10 bp per point , 25 bp for the point that reaches the “cap”) A higher number means the character can produce more powerful effects.
Third: The biotic skills. There are three; Spatial distortion , Kinetic fields and telekinesis. These are used as your "cast magic power " skill. All the powers in the biotics section use these three skills. You don’t need to “learn” each power, instead you learn the base skill it uses. For example if you want to be good and tossing people around you can learn Telekinesis at a high level. It lets you use all Biotic powers based off telekinesis. The three skills can have specializations. For specializations you pick a particular biotic power based off of that skill and you get to add +2 dice to use that particular biotic power. For example you take Telekinesis at level 3 and specialize in Lift. This means when using lift you get 5 dice, when using any other Telekinesis power you use 3 dice.
Fourth: Force rating. In SR4 the “force” rating means the level of power you put into a spell. When trying to kill people it was often good to use the highest force possible however this also raised the drain. A player will learn that some powers can be effective at lower forces and others need a high force to be effective. For example; using lift at lower force means you will move the object slower than a high-force version. Force becomes very important when deliberately detonating biotic powers.
Fifth: What is this Threshold business? In SR4 the general difficulty of a skill roll is expressed by how many successes you need. most powers need only one success by default. Some powers are so challenging that only experienced practitioners can use them to the fullest. Some powers can be modified with special extras but this makes them more difficult. For example LIFT requires 1 threshold per 200 kg you want to move. So lifting a normal human is something “easy” and lifting a Krogan (250 to 500 kilos on average) requires a higher threshold and is “hard”