Master Edition is essentially compatible with the Core 2E rules, as it alludes in the book (e.g., p. 37). Some salient changes/updates in ME include:
- BUILD: The system for allocating points during character creation has been revamped, generally resulting in slightly more powerful starting PCs.
- EFFORT: The EFFORT categories have been reworked; magic is more powerful, and guns are now distinct from other weapons.
- DEFENSE: The DEFENSE (“armor class”) stat now includes your CON bonus. You no longer allocate build points directly to this stat.
- MILESTONES: ME has all the character milestone pathways from ICRPG Worlds included for leveling up, and it lists additional suggested milestones for each new character type.
- MASTERY: One really cool addition in Master Edition is a leavening-up feature known as Mastery Rewards, a trio of abilities player characters acquire with essential random pacing the more they adventure.
- TYPES: The character “classes” have changed in both Alfheim and Warp Shell settings. In Alfheim, most of the martial classes are now essentially subsumed under Warrior, and Hunter and Bard types have been introduced. Most of the original character types from Core 2.0 are still viable; I think only Guardian has been rendered obsolete, as that class’ stating ability is now common to all characters with the revision of DEFENSE/ARMOR.
- BIO-FORMS: There are new bio-forms for both Alfheim and Warp Shell, and while many are no longer listed in ME, it states expressly that the ones listed in Core 2.0 are still valid. Some of the lifeform bonuses have changed.
- SETTINGS: The big narrative change in Alfheim is an elf invasion that has completely turned everything on its ear. ‘Nuff said…
- SPELLS & MAGIC: There are new spell lists for both WIS and INT magic. The spell system from ICRPG Magic has been revamped, condensed, and included in Master Edition for your consideration.
- LOOT: Starting loot rules and options differ from Core 2.0.
That’s most of the significant difference. Hope that helps.
You should totally grab Master Edition if you haven’t already. It’s basically three books in one, combined and updated to the latest ICRPG tabletop standard.
But really, you should grab BOTH. Core 2.0 contains the earlier classes and bio-forms that are still relevant, and it offers more detailed and complete mechanics and flavor on many of the creatures in the Monster section, which was condensed about 50% (while still keeping all the entries!) for Master Edition. (If you get your hands on a copy of ICRPG Worlds, you’ll also have a very full and complete description of the kingdoms of Alfheim before “the turn” for a broader historical context on the setting.)