Character CreationCharacters are constructed from the typical mix of descriptive sections, attributes, and secondary attributes (although no called as such). The attributes in Physique, Reflex, Canny (Intelligence), Education, Technical and Will[power]. What I will refer to as secondary attributes include move rate; whether the character is magic or psyonic sensitive; Karma, Survival and Life points; special advantages and disadvantages and equipment and weaponry. If that sounds like rather a lot, you're right. However, not all are required during play so the character sheet is not overburdened. A player can choose to begin with the pre-built selections of stats or build from scratch, where you assign the stats yourself. The choice allows both quick character creation and stat wrangling, a very nice touch I've written down for the next version of Icar. Karma points allow temporary ability boost for those dramatic moments, rewarding flamboyance. Survival points work like XP, plough them back into your character. There are no levels although skills become more difficult to raise the higher they are.
Starting characters have 18 dice (which are D6) to share between attributes, special abilities, psionics and to learn magic. Simply, you can assign dice to a given attribute, the more dice you have on the attribute, the better you'll be at it. You're going to roll these dice, add them up to beat a target number, so the more you have, the more likely that will be. You can also split a single dice between lots of attributes by splitting a dice into 'pips'. A dice can be converted into three pips. A pips gives you +1 to an attribute. The upshot is that if you assign 3 dice and a pip, you would end up with 3D+1. You can receive more dice for taking disadvantages and burn more on special abilities. There isn't a big list of these but guidance on how to set them (which is enough). Psionics, Magic and Priest powers are bought in the same way. You then take 7 dice to spread between skills. This is well explained with some good illustrative examples. This system allows you to specialise in a big way or spread yourself thin. It gives the players more than enough rope to hang themselves.
Skill, Magical, Psionic and Priest abilities are chosen from large, well described lists. Skills are derived from various attributes. For example, the skill Gymnastics is derived from the Reflex attribute. The skills are not well balanced betwen the different attributes: Physique has 4 skills, Dexterity has 20. Balance is achieved later in combat as Physique can be used to avoid damage. Skill specialisations can be purchased to denote particular talents. The skill list is comprehensive and I think just about any modern world task can be found amongst them with a leaning towards the setting with skills such as Parapsychology and Mythos. The spells also have a good modern-horror taint, which echoes the setting nicely. Craig could have gone down the fantasy route but didn't. Nice one. Psyonic attributes are dealt with in a similar manner. Language is all important here and Craig has struck the right balance, giving you something of a feel for the setting through the description of the mechanics. A difficult thing to achieve.