Sufficiently Advanced revolves around Complications and Advantages, collectively known as Effects. In order to understand the rest of the game system, you need to understand Effects.
Complications are bad things that happen to your character, or unfortunate circumstances that surround him or her. Being injured, losing money or prestige, and being kidnapped by your opponents are all Complications. A Complication that does not cause problems for its character is not a Complication.
Advantages are the reverse: favorable circumstances and good things that happen to your character. Financial windfalls, election victories, and discovering your opponent’s plans are all potential Advantages.
Advantages and Complications are broken up into five levels, as shown below. The number shown is the Twist cost for that level. There are no even-leveled Effects – you can’t choose something between Moderate and Major, for example.
- Trivial (1): Immediate and minor impact to unnamed characters. No important information is involved. Such Complications are used to provide flavor and verisimilitude rather than game effects. Examples: Your foe is annoyed or distracted. Your opponent is barely taxed. Cameras lose track of a single being among dozens during a riot. Prevent yourself from stumbling at an unimportant time. Give your foe a moment of doubt.
- Minor (3): Minor effects are short-term, low- impact, and involve skeletal information. They can still be potent if several build up, but they are unlikely to be a problem in the short term. Examples: An escape, but not without consequence. A delay or acceleration in plans. Your location is revealed to a distant enemy or vice versa. You are pointed toward the next piece of the puzzle. Minor but noticeable monetary impact. Minor injury.
- Moderate (5): Moderate effects are long-term, or high-impact, or involve accurate information, but not more than one. Examples: Kidnappings. Your actions are revealed to a distant enemy or vice versa. Unable to access a Capability or Profession. Core Values reduced or increased. You are befriended by the enemy. Plans significantly delayed or accelerated. Material possessions destroyed. Substantial injury. Resources severely taxed or substantially increased. A clean escape.
- Major (7): Major effects are long-term and high-impact and can involve accurate information. Examples: Deluded by the enemy, or successfully feed them misinformation. Unable to access several Capabilities or Professions. One Core Value changed. Convinced of a particular fact or falsehood. Important secrets revealed to the enemy. Allies turn against you. Friends lost. Your Society rejects you. Severe injury. Unconsciousness. Resources lost forever.
- Critical (9): Effects at this level may bring the Rule of Force into play. Examples: Death and fates worse than death. All Core Values changed. A major character is dying or near death. Your target is unable to exercise any number of Capabilities or Professions. You are exiled from your beloved homeland. Extensive brainwashing or mesh-hacking. Friends’ allegiances reversed. Long-term plans ruined, or coming to fruition immediately.
It is possible to recover from any Complication, short of certain items at the Critical level. The general length of time that Complications last is “until you get them fixed,” which can vary greatly depending on the situation the characters find themselves in. Seeing a psychologist, visiting a hospital, spending time to reconnect with a friend, all of these can be useful actions to take if you need to recuperate.
Complications created through conflict can be removed by the use of Themes. Complications willingly accepted in order to gain Twists cannot be alleviated through Theme use. This is referred to as the "Frying Pan Rule."
- Characters and systems large enough to qualify for the Infrastructure descriptor have special rules for Complications.
- Willingly accepting Complications is the most common way of gaining Twists. Players may only willingly accept one Trivial and one Critical complication per game session, but may take as many others as their aching backs can carry. Each one provides Twists equal to its rating, minus your character's Tech score.