Challenges are the bread-and-butter of the system. When a character attempts something significant, their Skill Rating (modified by a die roll) is compared to the Challenge Rating. The Challenge rating (or CR) is a numerical representation of how difficult a task is; it ranges from -5 to 50.
Odds: When a character’s Skill Rating is equal to the Challenge Rating (Skill 10 vs CR 10, for example), they have a 55% chance of Success. The character succeeds more often than not, but they still find it a struggle. (Hence the name “challenge”.)
Rules: A character automatically succeeds at Challenges with a CR 10 points lower than his skill (as the lowest possible Bonus Number is -10). Conversely, he cannot succeed at Challenges with a CR 11 points higher. (Absent heroic luck in the form of Action Deck cards.)
Gamemasters pick appropriate Challenge Ratings based on the following table:
CR -5, Trivial: “Anyone can do that.” A task so easy, one barely notices performing it.
Rule: No one ever has to roll for Trivial Skill Challenges.
CR 0, Routine: “No sweat.” A task anyone with training can accomplish effortlessly.
Rule: Trained characters never have to roll for Routine Challenges (no matter their Skill), but Untrained do.
CR 5, Easy: “That shouldn’t be too hard.” Entry-level employees find this difficult.
CR 10, Moderate: “That’s complicated.” The inexperienced struggle with these.
CR 15, Difficult: “This isn’t a job for greenies.” Veterans find it challenging.
CR 20, Formidable: “We need a specialist.” Experts quail at such endeavors.
CR 25, Grueling: “Only 6 people in the world could make that shot.” Something so difficult, even a world champion has to strive to overcome it.
CR 30, Monumental: “Only one man for the job.” The foremost living expert finds this stressful.
CR 35, Heroic: “Even you would find this difficult, I think.” When attempting this, even a DaVinci or Napoleon often fails.
CR 40, Astounding: “How did you do that?” A task that pushes the outermost limits of what humans are capable of.
CR 45, Nearly Impossible: “I don’t believe it. I saw it, but I don’t believe it.” Something so difficult, that for a mere human to succeed is almost miraculous.
CR 50, Superhuman: This is literally impossible without superhuman abilities or supernatural assistance.
Rule: Un-augmented humans can’t even roll against Challenges with a base (or unmodified) CR of 50 or higher, no matter what cards are at their disposal. They simply fail. Miracles, magic, super-powers, cyberware, or other extraordinary tools or abilities are required even to attempt it.