Feng Shui 2

I have a bag of blood money in my left hand and a silenced .45 in my right hand

Any news on Feng Shui 2? Playtesting? General status? Rule overview? Behind-the-scenes design philosophy? Other webpages describing the successor for the best RPG in a long time?


I wrote this on G+

Got the pdf, and it's a little more than 400 pages raw text, where usually 25% disappears in the layout. Here are what I find notable changes in the game mechanics.

× More focus on describing the actions. A roll of 4+ over difficulty lets the player add a little extra bonus in the description. Either going over the top with the description or gaining a benefit, like strategic placement or picking something up.
× Mooks goes down once hit. No more "roll of 5+" to get them.
× Acrobatic moves in combat auto-succeeds (instead of getting -2), but at a shot cost.
× Reloading are done with reload checks at the end of each sequence. No more keeping track of bullets.
× All wounds are removed at the beginning of each session, on top of other ways of decreasing them.
× No more -2 for doing repetitive actions. Finally. Never played with it myself.
× Awful failures gives a malfunction to firearms that costs shots to fix.
× Chase rules from one of the supplements are included in this book.
× Advancements follows advancement tracks that are specific for each archetype.
× Enemies comes in four groups, and the group type determines the values of the enemy.
× Foes got their own schticks.
× Random name tables.
× Attack AV is divided into six categories: Guns, Martial Arts, Sorcery, Creature, Scroungetech, and Mutant.

First read-through, some things I've noticed:

  • Chargen is gone. You pick an archetype, pick a name and a hook, and you're more or less done with chargen. The schticks are "pre-picked", although I suspect hot-swapping is just a handwave away. I'm... not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, there's no longer any confusing "Max" or "Equals", and no confusion about recalculating skill points. On the other hand, I liked some of the customization options of the old system. I suspect a Golden Comeback-style sourcebook can bring back the old system for disgruntled grognards.
  • I'm confused about where the attributes have gone... Bod, Ref appear to be gone, along with sub-attributes, but the rules keep referencing Constitution, Will, Magic, Fortune, etc. Looks like attributes/sub-attributes have been ditched. You either have a skill or you don't. If you don't have a skill, you can bullsh!t your way through an unskilled check by saying "another PC taught me this last week" and get an AV 10, or if you don't, you have a default AV 7 for everything. This lack of stats annoys me a little, but I suspect I will forget I'm annoyed about it once I start playing. However, it looks like several schticks/powers are still referencing sub-attributes that no longer exist (such as Will), so hopefully the final draft will catch all those.
  • 69 and 2056 junctures are gone. New ancient juncture is 690 AD. Given how little most gamers know about ancient China, the new 690 juncture will likely be indistinguishable from the old 69 juncture. I haven't checked Europe or Middle East stuff for interesting things going on in 690 yet.
  • 2074 is post-apocalypse Mad Max style, only with cybermonkeys and zombies. The biggest change here is the Jammers blew up the world and killed almost everybody on the planet, and the faction has splintered. A remorseful Potemkin now wants to reverse the big Chi-Bomb, while Furious George is willing to live with it and start over, creating a new "Planet of the Apes" society. If FS2 is going to get any kind of metaplot, it looks like it's going to center around this Chi-Bomb event.
  • 1850 is pretty much the same, but the Guiding Hand doesn't get a lot of attention in the new book. Which is fine, good excuse to put out a sourcebook.
  • Increased emphasis on Gun Schticks. New reload mechanic, more pervasive. The other type of schticks seem to get less attention.
  • Fu schticks have been simplified, and there are fewer of them. Another good excuse for the Guiding Hand sourcebook.
  • Most of the abusable/loophole schticks have been removed or reworked. No more lighting yourself on fire for infinite Chi. Water Sword still looks like it could be a ZOMG encounter-ender with a really high roll.
  • Good mix of archetypes from a variety of older sourcebooks. Most of the 2056 archetypes are gone, but the Two-Fisted Archaeologist is REPRESENTIN', YO!
  • Combat AV and Defensive Value have been separated. Most archetypes have Combat AV = Defensive AV, but some are up/down one or two points for flavor.
  • Old Master is BONKERS. AV=16, Chi=10 (thus max Fortune points), base punch/kick damage = 10. Only weakness seems to be "Tired Bones", which drops his DV as he takes damage, making him weaker as the fight goes on.
  • Big Bruiser is still at MA=12, although he now gets a +1 AV when he misses. The text also bluntly tells you not to attack mooks and focus on named GMCs.
  • Mooks now have a 13ish DV, but are "Glass Jaw Mooks" instead of looking for an outcome of 5. I am seriously annoyed at this, as it's functionally identical to the old system: DV is now 5 points higher than their Combat AV. Combat AVs are still in the 8-9ish range, which means they have no hope of hitting unless the positive 6 explodes. Rolling for mooks is now either done with a pre-rolled sheet, or you roll a single d6 and ignore it if it doesn't roll a 6. For the most part, I support this, but I'm a little butthurt that combat AVs are still so low. I will likely raise mooks' combat AVs to match DV so they're not so toothless.
  • XP has been done away with, so no need to track how many points it costs to raise skill/stat/fu schticks. After every session, one PC rolls 1d6 to determine if everyone advances, and if so, they pick up a new schtick, and each archetype has a "track" or list of advances available. Controlling Feng Shui sites give you a bonus on the roll. I like this. It still gives the PCs incentives to link to sites, but they are more likely to defend a small number rather than go on a "Must Collect Them All" spree. It's also flexible enough to ditch the Feng Shui sites entirely and do a campaign without the secret war. I have plans for this.
  • My only beef with ditching XP is raising skills has been seriously nerfed. It looks like you can't go above 15 AV on anything. On one hand, I like this, as there were problems with the old rules where the PCs realized quickly raising their combat AVs to Godlike-levels made them too... well, Godlike. This appears to encourage the PCs to focus on getting new schticks instead of raising AVs. I'm not sure how this will affect long-term play... it looks like it's supposed to encourage the combat AVs to stay in the 13-15 range for a very long time, and that may be a good thing. Not sure how it will wash out yet.
  • Vehicles and drive/chase rules have been overhauled, and are much more robust. Haven't dug into them yet, but at first glance this looks like a step in the right direction for a project I'm working on.
  • Creature Powers have been reworked... most of them get weaker on the 2nd/3rd/subsequent sequences, not sure I like that. The list of creature powers is also... very lackluster. The original book had a good flexible mixture that could be used to create a variety of iconic/favorite movie monsters, but this list doesn't seem as flexible or evocative. Hopefully a sourcebook will expand this. Most glaring absense is no Damage Immunity... I guess this was done for balance reasons, but it's an extremely iconic feature for many, many monsters. Huh. Maybe it's an editing mistake, because ghosts have Damage Immunity: Bullets, but it's not mentioned anywhere else in the text.
  • Ascended only had two archetypes listed, but a table later in the book provides stats for most of the classic animal types. Dragons have been overhauled and appear to be more playable from the get-go, although they may be so strong now that nobody bothers playing any of the other animal types.
  • Biggest new thing appears to be an expansive list of enemy-only schticks and powers. This looks cool, although I might feel quibblish about why some schticks aren't available to PCs...
  • Intro adventure... kinda lukewarm on this one so far, but haven't had a chance to play it yet. What I do like is it's not too linear/breadcrumbish (GUMSHOE influence, I suspect), and has lots of good seeds for further adventures.

Ok, I missed something big the first time through:

Fu/Chi points no longer refresh at the end of every sequence. The Fu schticks have been redesigned so that they no longer cost Chi, or they cost only 1 Chi and last longer. They refresh now at the start of each session, so all Chi/Magic/Super/etc. points refresh at the same rate. There are also a few more ways to get Chi back or steal/borrow points during a fight.

Huh. So far this looks like the biggest incompatibility with the old system. The new Fu rules mention grandfathering in the old Fu paths, but you'd have to kitbash the old Fu rules in as well or rewrite each Fu schtick to work with how Chi points work now.

Wow! Thanks for posting all this - this is a LOT to take in! I have too many thoughts and it's too late, for me to respond. I'll have to re-read your posts again sometime. What a... what an overhaul!

@ jpneok

dont know if you have taken the plunge yet but for 10$ us you get the final pdf as well as the playtest draft. also i believe that for everyone that supports Feng Shui 2 another angel gets its wings .......... opps wrong movie sorry :slight_smile:

FS without classic character creation / stats? I am not quite sure if I like that. I really like the art overhaul, but I would have much preferred a free character creation system, not a stat carrier archetype without any relevance. I like the change for the "future juncture", dislike the advancement system. Sounds rather horrible, to be honest.

Personally I would have preferred a careful evolution of FS1.


im not sure myself on how ill like it since my group hasnt ran it yet but in one of the updates robin talked about why he was doing it this way and basically it was just un usefull numbers that rarely got used. they streamlined it to make it quicker. the way im understanding it is the skills you have listed are ones that you are extremely good at. it doesnt mean that you dont know how to drive for example, just that you are probably average at it. as far as the schticks most of the fu and gun schticks as well as the creature ones are swappable. just replace the ones that dont fit your idea of what your hero looks like and swap it with one that does. i believe they said in an interview or something that there was going to be a sidebar explaining it but i havnt seen it in the draft preview. not sure about the advancement tracks either, but once again they look like you could simply swap it out with what you wanted but if you have no fu than you prolly will never have fu or sorcery.

hope that helps. really you should throw in the 10 us dollars if you have it becouse you will get the final pdf.

It gets new players into the game faster. For old-school grognards, it should be easy enough to kitbash or reverse engineer something to keep the point-mongerers happy. If a player comes to me and says, "I want to increase this by a point and reduce this by a point, then I want to swap in these schticks because I came up with a really cool hook", then I can easily handwave that or fix it later if it throws something out of balance.

The missing stats that really stood out were Perception and Willpower. Notice/Perception/Spot checks tend to be very important in RPGs, and it was just weird not seeing something related to that on the sample characters. There were a lot of sorcery/creature schticks that were resisted by Willpower, and it seemed a little odd to give every archetype the same value for it. On the other hand... by 1st edition rules, almost every archetype wound up with a Willpower or Perception of 5, unless you specifically built up your Mind attributes, and how many players actually did that at the expense of Speed or Agility? Giving everybody a 7 is quicker and easier to remember. If you want it higher, then pitch something to the GM and make a good case for why it makes the character more interesting to play.

For that you have archetypes and example characters

I do not share this opinion. First because, the archetypes in FS1 had no consistent system when it came down to attribute, skills and schticks, and second "use houserules" is a very bad design start for a new system.

Almost everyone in my group, but of course that is not big sample data.

I still hope / have the feeling, that the character section is a work in progress, since later references to skills do show up but not at the archeteypes.


Notice/Perception/Spot checks are still there. Your AV is your Police/Detective skill if you have that. If you don't, it's a standard 7.


I`ve just purchased the draft rules and I must admit that at first sight I was quite shocked because the designers of FS2 have taken some risky elections while writing the new rules.

However I want to explain a couple of things:

  1. The first time I read the corebook in 2002 I was not very happy with it because the game made a lot of radical assumptions regarding how a roleplaying game should be, but, after seeing TONS of HK flicks I realized that there rules were perfectly fitted to emulate the films... and the more movies I watched, the more I liked the game.

  2. Twelve years after, I have just completed my first reading of the new rules and I agree with you that some of the new assumptions that the designers have made are really daring. For example, there in no "Strength" atribute anymore, so now all the weapons inflict a fixed damage value plus the outcome.
    It seems that the only way to increase your damage value is to be a Big Bruiser or using certain special abilites.
    Even more, the character experience system have been attached to Feng Shui sites and there are no more distribution of points. The thing runs like a video game and there are no more rewarding XP points for good roleplaying.

All this things considered I am quite reluctant with the new system as it is written, but I will do a more conclusive veredict after playtesting the draft rules with my group.
Even with all these apparent drawbacks, it seems to me that the game session will be faster and more fun than never before; recreating even more closely the spirit of the films the game tries to emulate... (and if somebody asked me, I would sey that FS2 is the OPPOSITE of a generic rpg system; if you don´t like action movies you shouln´t buy it).

I`m sorry because my English isn´t very good, so please excuse all the grammar errors :wink:
Thanks for reading, I will try to share more thoughts in the future with all of you.

I forgot what the three numbers in a gun description mean. The .pdf file doesn't make that easy to find.

In the previous edition, I was a little annoyed that all melee weapons were just Str+X, where broad categories of weapons could be lumped together under X = +1, +2, etc. There was never any reason to switch or upgrade melee weapons unless the X was bigger than your last weapon. Iron & Silk tried to rectify this, but was too klunky to remember all the different bells and whistles, and I was disappointed that the book was just a big list of stuff that did +1, +2, etc. Under the old system, the effectiveness of a melee weapon depended a lot on how you built the character, so it varied wildly whether a sword was better than a 9mm handgun. I think I prefer the new system, where a basic sword is pegged to 10 damage (same as a 9mm), and if you want to go up from there, you need Very Strong, Signature Weapon, Path of the Sword, etc.

I've always been leery of giving individual XP awards, because with the wrong group or wrong player, it can send the wrong message, wander over into favoritism, or discourage someone who doesn't think they aren't a good role-player. I prefer the new advancement rules, because it's easier to ditch the Feng Shui attunement stuff and give a bonus on the roll for reaching certain story points. I think the players voting on who gets to make the advancement roll is supposed to reward good role-playing by publicly recognizing a particular player. There are also other ways to reward good role-playing: offering a player a better schtick, access to a mentor/contact, a special/magic weapon, etc.

I think you misread this. Skill AVs and combat AVs are no longer the same thing. On skill AVs, you can't go above a 15. On combat AVs (Guns, Martial Arts, Sorcery -- your main attack, in other words) you can... because they are no longer in the same category as skills. The drawback is, you can only raise them every 5th Advancement... and you can't raise them if you already have the highest score in the group. So if your, say, Martial Arts is 15, you cannot raise it to 16 until someone else raises theirs to 15.

The interesting question here is, what happens if your main attack type is one that no one else in the group uses? There's a line that specifically says "if your Fortune substat doesn't match anyone else's, raise it as high as you want" -- but what happens with the main attack?

I also have a bit of an issue with the advancement paths. [list]
[] Only 10 archetypes (out of 35) can raise their backup attack.
] Everyday Hero, Full Metal Nutball, Highway Ronin, Masked Avenger, Old Master and Supernatural Creature cannot learn new skills at all, period, end of sentence. The Supernatural Creature can raise existing skills, which would be very handy -- if it HAD any skills in the first place!
[*] Why on earth does the Scrappy Kid archetype get access to the Seduction skill? Yes, I know, HK movies can be darker and grittier than Western ones, but... THAT dark????

Let's remember that this is a playtest draft. The weird advancement paths should be collected and sent in, perhaps we should open a thread just for that. (Swordmaster can't learn any new sword schticks? I'm sure that wasn't the intention)

My group only meets a few times each year, so I will probably do away with rolling for advancement and just allow one every second episode and stat advancement every fifth.

Concerning the advancement of the attack stat the draft doen't list each possible main attack as it does with fortune and its substats, so I'd assume that you compare main attacks regardless of the flavor.

Good idea. I'll open one in a little bit, and put in the stuff I've gathered so far.

I haven't post in a long time, but I did pledge in the FS kicktrter.

These are some impressions along with some quick comments on things that others have stated.

Several of the well known 1st edition errors are also in the 2nd edition version of guns and archetypes.

Some archetypes now have problems that were fixed in latter printings of 1st edition.

Some guns did have some of the errata applied to them tough.


The Colt M1911A1 is said to be a 9mm. It is also incorrectly called the M1911A in FS 2 as the 1 after the A got dropped for some reason.

The Dessert eagle is still incorrectly said to fire .50 Magnum ammo instead of .50AE (AE = Action Express)

The Magic Cop is missing his Martial Arts skill.

The draft it looks like just used what was in the core book and some supplements but ignored that some archetypes got modified in latter books in parts of the text you'd miss if you just looked at the Archetype pages in 1t edition products and didn't look at or remember bits of texts that modified them in latter supplements.

Some characters don't have a Fortune stat but have Chi, Magic, Genome, Scroungetech instead that is the Fortune points they have. So some archetypes are way to powerful now. You have to us Fortune or whatever it is a labeled as on your archetype to to power schticcks and abilities and the points are all coming out of the same pool.

The Old Master in the 1st printing of 1st edition had a Fortune of 10 and a Chi of 10. This was one of the 1st errors that was found in FS and it was fixed in the latter 1st edition printings so the Old Master had a Fortune o and a Chi of 10 as the error made the type not balanced. 2nd edition the way it handles fortune has unbalanced several of the archetypes that were giving low Fortune in 1st because they had certain other advantages.

The base value for all resistance checks unless specified is 7. You also have to keep track of more schticks now too as some schticks are just meant to increase the value with certain checks. Defense is the only one that is given a specific number for each Archetype. By doing this some balance was lost as some Archetypes were made to be better or worse for game usage.

The Willpower of GMCs is based on how important they are and you have a chart to tell you what value to use for them in Will checks.

By lumping the sub stats together and getting rid of some it makes some types unbalanced.

A few archetypes have new abilities.

A couple lost things. The Old Master doesn't have his Noodle Making or Chinese Painting skills for example.

Characters don't have the any points to add to primary attributes, secondary attributes, or skills.

They don't get to pick any starting schticks.

The only things you can do is swap a skill for another of the same AV with the GM's permission or a Fu path for another.

Because of this new characters of the same archetype are basically just copies of each other. 1st edition let you customize your character much more.

Guns have a Reload value based on the magazine capacity of and in some cases this value is wrong as the authors used incorrect ones found in 1st edition products.

The reload rules now can cause some very unrealistic things in regard to reloading. If I have a 32 round magazine or a 300 round drum on a gun the reload chance is the same. So you could be forced to reload even though you have more ammo in the 300 round drum and didn't fire enough to empty it.

The way experience works now stinks. You are very limited in what new shticks you can buy and attributes have a major cap. Most of my old FS will not want to play FS2 because it limits the choices you have for improving a character. The new system seems more geared to keep archetypes doing only what they were maent to do and not growing up to do other things. The new system seems like it is better suited for those that don't want much customization and have a narrow idea of what sort of improvement a character can have. While the new system is quicker and easier to use what is lost isn't worth it IMHO.

Character's with Martial Arts are now told if they are formal martial artists or of the streetfighter type. I don't like ths at all as some archetypes could be of either. It would be best to let a player pic which type. Additionally, a streetfighter could change into a formal type latter on in a campaign. In 1st edition you had full Martial Martial Arts or a subskill version Brawling and you could increase your Brawling to full Martial Arts for 1 skill bonus. if you had Brawling you couldn't use the skill for Knowledge and Contact purposes. The 2nd edition version lets streetfighters use the skill for Knowledge and contact purposes.

If your Martial Arts is formal or not has also changed for some Archetypes too.

You get very little info on the various junctures and you see several major GMCs get mentioned in various parts of the text, but no stats for them or enough info to give you a real good of idea about who they are if you wanted to make stats. So we can expect at some point revived faction/ juncture source books to cover them.

Some GMs I suspect will not want to run campaigns with certain faction and in certain junctures till more details get released on them.

1st edition FS took several years to get all the faction / juncture books out and that was a major hindrance I found with running games with some factions in the past.

1st edition is more complete, now given all the books for it. 2nd is a work in progress and the lack of background on some junctures, GMCs, etc. is another reason I'll stay with 1st till and if that get resolved.

Most of the better crunch bits in 1st edition FS have been removed and it is more geared to the newer less rules school of RPGs and this is going to be a problem for some gamers.

Some things like military weapons, rocket launchers, etc. have been handled better in 1st edition fan material and in BTRC's Guns, Guns, Guns and More Guns books.

Attributes and Skills all have default values now, which can be confusing to old FS players.

The vehicle rules are new and appear to be a streamlined refinement of the Golden Comeback ones. Many of the options you had for vehicles aren't in the boo.

The core book has more archetypes but less in the way of iconic schticks/powers, etc. you got to pick for characters and many are lackluster.

The Enemy only schticks are ok and may help reduce the number of custom GMC unique schticks found in many GMCs.

Some of theses schticks ought to be acquirable by PCs and some of them ought to just be equipment with an effect anyone can use.

A few of them are very lackluster and won't be of much use.

The 690 Juncture is a bad idea because most GMs and players are not going to know much about that period.

Well, they will may know historically incorrect version about thee period and this will make 690 seem exactly like 69. I'll elaborate on the how and why of this in a minute.

The main inspiration for having a 690 Juncture appears to be because Robin D. Laws is a fan of the film Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame

Unfortunately this movie is not a good depiction of the period and is full of numerous historical errors. It was created mostly to take advantage of the popularity of Judge Dee in China. Several popular TV series about Judge Dee aired in China before the release of this film. The Dee in the film has little resemblance to the historical Dee and the fictional verionn of Dee the Robert von Gulick wrote about in the popular Judge Dee series of books.

The movie is popular with gamers and very few I suspect have never bothered to read Robert von Gulicks novels or know about the real Dee and the Tang dynasty. (Empress Wu established the Zhou Dynasty in 690 AD and it lasted till 705 AD, but history books place her reign as be lumped in as part of the the Tang Dynasty (618-907).) The film IMHO is not very good as it becomes very ludicrous and is all style and no substance.

It also spawned a prequel film.

In addition to the above, Robert von Gulick excellent Judge Dee novels have been recommend by many FS players on the old FS mailing list to help in running 69 games and many will most likely go and read them since they are set around the time period of the 690 juncture.

Robert von Gulick's wrote to emulate a specific convention so while the novels are in the Tang period, much latter Ming customs, etc. are used and reading them will not be historically accurate about some things of the Tang period. (Example: Monogamy was the norm of marriage and you could not have multiple wives under law. Dee and several other characters in the books do have multiple wives. The 2nd and other wives would have been consorts if one wanted to be historically accurate.)

Also, since many old FS GMs were using them to help with 69 games I suspect most 690 games will be very similar to 69 ones in several aspects because of this.

I recommend you check out Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D excellent article about Judge Dee.


Ross also has several other excellent articles about Chinese history, philosophy, etc. on his site worth checking out too.

Judge Dee is also featured in a video game which also has historical errors, but does bear more of a resemblance to Robert von Gulick's novels.

The Master Li an Number Ten Ox series of books by Barry Hughart while set in roughly around the time of 690 AD. The 3rd on is set in 640AD according the text. the series plays a very lose with history and takes things from different periods of Chinese history and they have numerous fantasy / supernatural things in them ghosts, demons, etc.

The books were highly recommended on the old FS mailing list and many used them to help with 69 AD games. So again you may see little difference between 69AD & 690AD games because of this.

All 3 of the books in the series have been printed in a single volume called The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox and you can fin a copy of of one of the omnibus printing for around $20. (The series was going to have 7 books in total, but they were never published.) The omnibus printing I have also has illustrations by Kaja Foglio in it. (This is the same Kaja Foglio that did the art for several Feng Shui characters that appear in the Shadowfist game.)

I highly recommend the books, but don't rely on them for an accurate depiction of the time period.

Some historical things that are important and need to be remembered and taken into account to the 690 background and how they would impact some things.

Eunuchs were married and often had adopted children.

Several Eunuchs in power became greatly know for their sense of justice, devotion to the Emperor, military skill, way they helped the common people, etc The whole all eunuchs are Lotus members and evil stereotype needs to be dropped. Players will need to figure out who is a good and who is bad.

During Empress Wu reign Eunuchs got more power and she even proposed making an entire army out of the Eunuchs she command in order to elevate them. Eunuchs would continue to gain even more power with latter rulers.

The way 690 AD is described the Lotus are in hiding because Wu has banished sorcery doesn't really work. It would be more interesting and better if they were operating to help the Empress Wu secretly or even having some members helping openly as the Lotus well knows from future history books that they will gain more power and influence in the government during Wu's reign and in those that follow. (By openly i mean it is known that certain Lotus members are sorcerers, but not that they belong to the Lotus. The Secret War, history of the Lotus, etc. will not be known. They will just be a know practitioner of magick that the supports the Empress and can be consulted upon for advice in dealing with supernatural things.)

Most 690 operation the Lotus does that could cause them to lose power and that they wold have done more openly in 69AD will be hidden as not to draw attention and connect them with the Lotus and those in position of power.

It also sets up an interesting thing in which you have good eunuchs not part of the Lotus and the evil Lotus members sometimes at odds with each other or working together to deal with threats in 690 AD.

Women had more power in this period too and this is something that ought to be expanded a little on. The Lotus do take in female members now according to FS 2, but they ought to be more prominent with Lotus members that originate from 690 since Eunuchs were married and because of the actions of Penny Bane. (Penny Bane is the Lotus mastermind of the contemporary juncture in 1st edition.) Some of the old surviving 69 AD ones may not like women, but the Lotus that survived in history after 69 up to 690 that were not able to use junctures but only knew about the Secret War from history texts, etc. would have adapted to be more like fellow Eunuchs from that period and would be aware that women could be good Lotus members.

Also, if you are going to be a 690 character or run a 690 game get a copy of the expensive book China's Golden Age: Everyday Life In the Tang Dynasty, by Charles Benn.

The 2076 juncture sounds interesting but it would have been nice if we had another futuristic juncture that was more like the old 2056 or had a high tech feel along with the 2076 one.

In a long running game the 1850s juncture may cause problems as that juncture advanced time wise but the C-bomb caused that to close and a new juncture to 1850 open. The reset didn't affect memories of advances in the previous 1859 timeline.

Some quick comments and observations on creating custom Archetypes in 2nd edition since others have mentioned it.

You can't really reverse engineer a 2nd edition character directly. As you have no idea what Attributes, Skills, Schticks, etc. cost in 2nd edition.

In 1st edition you knew how much it cost to improve them or acquire a new one at least. The new skills, improvements, shticks all cost the same in 2nd edition.

Most FS 1st edition Core Book character are roughly 162 point Nexus: The Infinity City characters. Nexus uses a point based system, like Champions, to make a PC.

With a copy of Nexus you knew exactly how much it coasted to make a new Archetype's Attributes & Skills (Info skills that Archetypes had a variation cost wise based on what it covered and how useful it was and would fit into one of the different costing Nexus skill categories based on this.)

Some of the schticks are doing the job of Secondary Attributes in 1st edition or things that you could get a cost for in Nexus.

A few character who are super strong in 2nd edition get a damage bonus schtick in hand to hand or when using melee weapons to cover what extra damage they would do if they had a high Strength in 1st edition.

1st edition had no system, deliberately, for creating new Archetypes in it. Robin D. Laws did post some guidelines on making new Archetypes to the FS mailing list for 1st edition though.

Your best option is to make a 1st edition Archetype and convert it to 2nd if you want a new 2nd edition Archetype. 2nd edition just on its' own isn't going to be of any help in making a new Archetype and a player with just 2nd edition can't reverse engineer a system or even rough guidelines to help in making one.

Overall, I'm disappointed with FS2 it dumbed down FS and took out too much I liked in FS edition.

At a glance, the good news is, the core combat mechanic isn't trash anymore.

Having a single number that determines how often you hit, how hard you hit, how hard you are to hit, and how much you reduce damage when you are hit was stupid, let's face it. A character with a 15 AV was just better at everything all the time than a character with a 13 AV, and putting points into anything but AV was just a trap to reduce how much fun you have. And of course, Sorcerers getting to attack, dodge, reduce and boost damage with their AV AND use it as their rating to make up crazy powers was even more broken than the rest.
Now, your attack rating is not your defense rating, and weapons do more damage which means (and this seems to have been overlooked by other commenters) that the margin of attack vs. defense is less impactful, which means the Toughness stat isn't just "Attack value but less good". So things like a tough character that misses a lot can actually exist now, instead of the high AV/low toughness character being just as 'tough' as the bruiser by virtue of the fact that his AV reduces damage. So the fixed the fact that the core mechanic made game balance a joke.

The bad news is,  they got rid of all character customization for some reason. I have no idea why you would do this, other than because a -/+d6 based system is such a tight margin that it's very easy to break a character if you let them choose to put points somewhere.  Even if every Thief or whatever starts off with the same stats, they really really need to expand the Schtick or Skill list so that a new character is choosing from a list, or otherwise add some level of customization.

EDIT: I take it back. Having attack and defense as separate things was a huge step in the right direction. However, the fact that almost every class has the same attack value as their defense value, and there is no way to change your stats, means they actually didn't solve the core problem very much. Also, I forgot they got rid of Strength (lol) for some reason, so weapons actually don't do more damage. Toughness is still exactly like defense except worse, and since Defense is always within 1-2 of Attack (usually equal), the original problem still seems to be there.

The Core problem was this: A character with an AV of 16 and a Toughness of 4 was mechanically identical to a character with an AV of 13 and a Toughness of 7, except that the second character misses all the time. They both reduce damage by the exact same amount...in fact, since being missed outright eliminates the damage bonus for using a weapon, the Tough character in the above example is actually more fragile.

Adding Defense helps with this a little, because it means an offensive character isn't necessarily reducing damage just as much as a defensive character. Having almost everybody have a defense equal to their attack with no customization eliminates this potential fix, though, and it still has the problem where Defense does everything Toughness does plus more. Toughness is still a wasted number, in other words.

You could say the same thing about Strength- a character with STR 4, AV 16 hit exactly as hard as a character with STR 8, AV 12...again, except that the second character misses all the time, and when you miss you don't get to add bonus weapon damage. They 'fixed' this by just getting rid of Strength.

All they need to do is spread out attack and defense values a little more, get rid of the rule that adds the margin of attack outcome to the damage on a 1:1 ratio, add STR back in, and add actual character creation rules and they're going to have something worth playing instead of a 'neat concept' that people nod at while rolling Shadowrun characters. I am encouraged by the addition of a defense stat that they are at least aware of the issues!

I would suggest either rolling for damage, or having the new "hitting by +4 means a special effect" rule include an option for +2 damage. Do this, and damage mitigation actually feels different from dodging.

This was something I thought was hilarious with the first edition: armor gave -1 to Reflexes but +1 to Toughness. So someone who had AV 13 and Toughness 8 ended up with AV 12 and Toughness 9. The same thing, but worse. I always thought that was a way of saying "Action heroes don't wear armor".

They fixed this in the second edition, which make me wonder if the rules in the first one was a mistake.