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Shadowrun Overhaul: Astral Reputation replacing Spirit Index


I really dislike the way that the Spirit Index is setup in Street Grimoire. My main problem is that it doesn’t allow for a positive reputation among spirits. There should be a difference between a mage who has just atoned for bad behavior and a mage who is new to the spirit game. It basically just seems to be a mechanic introduced to punish player characters.

Anyway, it seems weird to make up a brand new system of reputation when there is a perfectly good system sitting there for the GM to use towards runners. So, Astral Rep will replace Spirit Index and represents how spirits, awakened critters, faeries, and even magicians might know and respect about each other. Remember what an astral denizen might consider noteworthy is going to be different from how a runner or the public might see things.

Astral Reputation Game Mechanics:

Spirit Cred is equal to the magician’s Grade. It provides a positive or null Social Limit Modifier and Astral Limit Modifier with the awakened, astral denizens, and spirits for social interactions and conjurations. The greater the cred the more the spirit world responds. Man-Of-Many-Names can achieve more from a whisper in the ear of the right spirit than some conjurers can with a half dozen great form spirits.

Astral Notoriety is influenced by some Qualities at character generation such as Spirit Bane, Mentor Spirit, or Spirit Champion by raising or lowering your Astral Notoriety by one. For most characters it starts off at 0. It represents various non-private actions that could be conceivably spread around about the PC that are primarily focused on the negative though it can be positive. It provides a dice pool modifier for social and conjury tests with spirits or astral denizens and especially those who respect or worship spirits. It is compatible with Spirit Cred in that an Initiate may have their Social Limit increased and have a negative dice pool penalty at the same time.

A Positive Notoriety could be earned by always banishing opposing spirits rather than disrupting them or by a habit of providing extra reagents when binding or a reputation for mentoring lost cubs and getting them on their feet. This should be used sparingly.

Notoriety can be bought off via the “Setting things right” methods in Street Grimoire or by burning off a point of Spirit Cred.

How much is bought off by an act of contrition is up to the GM but a point of Street Cred should buy off at least 5 points worth. Be generous but consistent. It might help to categorize spirit apologies by minor, major, and grand and provide a framework like 1 to 3, 3 to 5, and 6+ depending on the type of act.

The listing for Spirit Index on page 206 of the Street Grimoire would all be things that could increase Notoriety. Astral Notoriety can quickly grow and impact a conjurer’s effectiveness.

Categorize each transgression as a minor, major, and grand.

Minor transgressions like disrupting spirits would slowly build up steam and eventually increase Notoriety by 1 with a maximum of 3 for that type of transgression. Basically after disrupting a hundred spirits your reputation isn’t going to be hit any worse by 101 and 110.

Major transgressions usually impact your Notoriety after only one to three actions of that type. They start at 1 and go to 3.

Grand transgressions impact your Notoriety immediately and repeated transgressions keep adding up with no limit.

Decide with your players what constitutes a transgression and apology and what type it might be so they aren’t too surprised by it happening. Maybe make a news sheet about a recent treatise on spirits and how reputation in the spirit world is starting to impact conjury. Maybe a mentor mentions that spirits are starting to organize and punish those who abuse them. In other words introduce it gradually and don’t be a jerk about it.

Spirit Awareness represents how likely a spirit or another mage may have heard of you without having time to research about you. It starts off equal to your Spirit Cred plus your Astral Notoriety and doesn’t go down. In game it goes up whenever your Spirit Cred or Astral Notoriety goes up and whenever there might be an event that astral denizens might care about that you participated in. The key about Spirit Awareness vs Public Awareness is that the Astral Realm cares about far different things than the mundane world. Things that increase Spirit Awareness may be the same things that increase Notoriety or could be influenced because you invented a neat new spell or told a funny joke to a domovoi during downtime hiding in a safehouse in Russia. It is built by actions that impact spirits. Participating in killing an insect spirit hive or successfully sending a Master Shedim back where they came from or creating an ally spirit are all things that increase your Spirit Awareness. Maybe you’re a magical musical composer and spirits really dig your concerts or you made a pact with a free spirit. The main thing to remember with Spirit Awareness is that it is neither positive or negative as it is simply the likelihood of an astral denizen or magician knowing information about you on the spot.

Spirit Awareness table

0 to 6: Who?

6 to 10: Spirits from the metaplane you visited on your initiation ordeal or magicians in your Tradition in your neighborhood may have vaguely heard of you. Shamans with their ears to the spirit world in your area may know a little more.

11 to 20: Most Spirits and most magicians in your Tradition in your neighborhood/suburb/county know something about you without having to do research.

21 to 50: Most astral denizens or magicians living in your city knows your name/pseudonym and rep. They may even know more about you especially if you have the Distinctive Style Quality or less for Blandness. Most outside of your niche have heard your name and maybe something you did.

51 to 100: Almost every astral denizen or trained magician in your circles knows of you and is likely to recognize you or your name or style if given a moment. You are likely to be influential in your area for better or worse. A spirit summoned by an Initiate of St. Sylvester could nod and intone a respectful greeting upon meeting the magician while a Wiccan with a talent for making trouble might get an “Oh, no. Not you!” from the poor spirit.

101+ : You are a legend wherever you go in the astral and among the awakened.

Shadowrun Overhaul: Reagents


This will be just a quick overview of my reagent house rules. More in depth rules will be covered in my Artificing Overhaul rules. I have added a new type of reagent called Flawless that is the step up from Radical. So instead of 30 Radical reagents being used to make Orichalcum it is 3 Flawless reagents.

For new Foci rules see here: New Foci

A big change is that only a single dram of a reagent can be used to aid a magical test or procedure. More than one reagent may be used in a long extended process by having the process be discrete. Each day of Artificing or building part of a Magical Lodge or each hour of Binding is a separate process for example allowing more than one reagent to be used in those cases.

Also, a reagent can be used by an Adept as long as the test is enhanced by their magic. An Adept with Nimble Fingers could benefit from the use of a reagent on a Palming test.

Each reagent has a Quality and a Grade. See Talismonger’s Guide to Harvesting Reagents for information about a reagent’s Quality. Alchemists use their skills to refine lower grade reagents to higher grade reagents following the rules on pages 210 and 211 of the Street Grimoire. The main changes are that there is one more step before making Orichalcum because of the introduction of Flawless reagents. The other is that during the process of refining reagents the Quality of a given batch is equal to the worst reagent. So, 9 Prime Quality Refined reagents mixed with a Sub par Quality Refined reagent would distill into a Sub par Radical reagent.

Quality of Reagents:

The Quality of any reagent that has undergone refining is determined by the lowest quality of any component dram. This makes accurate discovery of the grade of all reagents important during the refining process especially with Orichalcum and Flawless reagents because of their cost and use in Artificing.

Prime: 100% higher base cost and 50% faster to refine than baseline reagents.

A critical glitch is downgraded to just a glitch and a regularly rolled glitch is treated as a normal roll while the reagent is in use with any magical tests. When using a Refined or Radical reagent the magician has the benefit of spending Edge on a single magical test during the duration of the reagent as well as gaining the benefits of being unlikely to glitch.. This is compatible with the magician actually spending a point of their Edge.

Superior:  50% higher base cost and 25% faster to refine than baseline reagents.

Using a Superior reagent reduces the chance of glitching by ignoring a single rolled 1 from any magical test during the duration of the reagent. When using a Refined or Radical reagent the magician has the benefit of using the rule of 6 on a single magical test while the reagent is in effect.

Baseline: No modifer to base cost or refining time.

Sub par: 25% lower base cost and 25% slower to refine than baseline reagents.

All magical tests while the reagent is effective are modified so any 2’s rolled are counted as a 1 for declaring a glitch or critical glitch.

Inferior: 50% lower base cost and 50% slower to refine than baseline reagents.

All magical tests while the reagent is effective are modified so any 2 or 3 rolled are counted as a 1 for declaring a glitch or critical glitch.

Tainted: 75% lower base cost and 75% slower to refine than baseline reagents.

All magical tests while the reagent is effective are modified so any non hit is counted as a 1 for declaring a glitch or critical glitch.

Unusable: No value and impossible to refine with current alchemical techniques. Can’t be used with any magic test.

Grades of Reagents:

A magical test is any test that is utilizing a magical skill as a component or is being enhanced by magic in some way. An Adept with Improved Con could enjoy the benefits of increased social limit for example.

Raw: A raw reagent raises the limit by 2 for a single magical test taking place in an action phase.

Refined: A Refined reagent raises the limit by 2 for all magical tests for an individual in a Combat Turn (6 seconds). Refined reagents are used as a component of Magical Lodges and Binding spirits. Spirits vastly prefer Refined reagents to Raw reagents. A Refined reagent is also used to craft telesma for the purposes of creating minor Foci and other minor enchantments. A Refined reagent is also used to brew potions by master alchemists, create fetishes, and used to make ink for magical scrolls.

Radical: A radical reagent raises the limit by 2 for all magical tests for a minute. Radical reagents are used to craft telesma for major Foci and other major enchantments. Radical reagents can also be used in place of spending Karma by unweaving the concentrated mana from the reagent and channeling it exactly the way a magician unweaves part of themselves to empower a Quickened spell for example.

Flawless: Flawless reagents are used exclusively in Artificing as the reagent is refined to such a point that the mana can’t be unwoven from its physical matter except with extreme caution via the refining process to create Orichalcum. A Flawless reagent is dual natured and solid in both the physical realm and astral realm. They are used to create telesma for Grand Foci and other masterful enchantments.

Orichalcum: Orichalcum is created by using three flawless reagents and can be used by master artificers to create the mightiest of Foci and Enchantments. It is also dual natured and very obvious in the astral unless covered in some way. Any Focus crafted from Orichalcum allows a magician to bond to the Focus with much greater ease than normal. Each dram used to craft the telesma halves the amount of Karma necessary to bond.

More on Orichalcum and Flawless reagents will be covered with my future Enchanting Overhaul post.

Pricing:

Item Retail Price Availability
Raw Grade 20¥ per dram
Refined Grade 450¥ per dram 6 + 1 per dram
Radical Grade 5000¥ per dram 8 +1 per dram
Flawless Grade 55,000¥ per dram 10 + 2 per dram
Orichalcum 175,000¥ per dram 14 +3 per dram
Prime Quality +100% Base Cost +2
Superior Quality +50% Base Cost +1
Subpar Quality -25% Base Cost -3
Inferior Quality -50% Base Cost -5
Enchanter’s Lab 5th Gen 75,000¥ 12
Enchanter’s Lab 4th Gen 40,000¥ 10
Enchanter’s Lab 3rd Gen 25,000¥ 10
Microlab 5th Gen 100,000¥ 12
Microlab 4th Gen 60,000¥ 10
Alchemy Kit 5th Gen 10,000¥ 12
Alchemy Kit 4th Gen 4000¥ 10
Alchemy Kit 3rd Gen 1000¥ 8
Alchemy Kit Enhancements 1000¥ each +1
Minor Foci (F x 900¥) + (F x OR x 250¥) (F x 2)
Major Foci (F x 10,000¥) + (F x OR x 250¥) (F x2) +4
Grand Foci (F x 110,000¥) + (F x OR x 250¥) (F x 3) + 3
Focus Tailoring (Days x 1000¥) + (3 x Reagent) +2
OR is Object Rating of Telesma Doesn’t include cost of Telesma

Shadowrun Overhaul: Ways and new Enhancements


The bonus Power Points provided by Ways is a needlessly complex and confusing system that encourages min/maxing when the purpose of the Ways should be to provide some aid mechanics-wise but mainly to provide roleplaying opportunities. As the Quality has a static cost the benefit should also be static and have the same value across characters in my opinion. The Magician’s Way doesn’t really add anything useful and I think was just carried over from the previous edition via inertia and is basically the equivalent of an “Undecided Way”. Ways should be mainly earned in game barring the really dedicated at character generation as it seems to me that a Way would be something learned after Initiating. Thus, no increased Karma cost when learned in game however the Way must be taught by an Instructor and Initiated Adepts aren’t cheap to hire. In game time it should take about three months of training or a season.

Now, a Way provides 1 Power Point that can be spent on the Powers listed under each Way. For every Grade the Adept gains the Quality provides .25 Power Points that can only be spent on the listed Powers. This bonus can be postponed to purchase more expensive Powers. (This allows for the Quality to provide benefits down the road like the existing rules would allow for increasing the adept’s Magic Rating by 2. A min/maxed character in standard rules with a Magic Rating of 6 could gain 1.5 Power Points at character generation through a Way so my option is a little weaker but allows for more freedom in choice of Powers and equal benefit to all Adepts.)

The Magician’s Way really serves no purpose that I can see. The enhancements for the Way can be folded into the Undecided list and the Way itself should be discarded. Digital Celerity really fits better with the Invisible Way thematically. This gives the Adept who doesn’t purchase a Way some Enhancements they could learn.

New Enhancements:

“Domain of the Spiritual” and “Domain of the Warrior” are reworked and balanced as Enhancements instead of Metamagics as their value even improved as I have done is simply not equal to Centering, Masking, or gaining an additional Power Point. Each Way will get their own new Domain that will instead of acclimating an Adept to a flavor of background count actually aligns the Adept to the BC.

An acclimated Adept takes no penalties from a positive BC of the Domain’s type; while an aligned Adept would gain benefits from the positive BC as they are in tune with the mana in the area. It basically provides the Adept with the same benefits a magician would have from their magical Tradition.

Each way has an unique “Domain” Enhancement that they can learn that applies to their expertise.

The Athlete’s Way provides an Enhancement “Domain of the Game” which grants alignment to BC created at sporting events, gyms, and competitions of any type. The emotions running through the mana are close enough at an Urban Brawl match to a tennis match to a poker match.

The Artist’s Way provides an Enhancement “Domain of the Show” which grants alignment to BC created at artistic, dance, plays, concerts, and performance events of any type. It also provides acclimation of up to 1 + Grade to any BC at any type of showcase for the arts even if there is no performance such as a museum, art collection, library, or art gallery.

The Beast’s Way provides an Enhancement “Domain of the Totem” which grants alignment to BC found in the favored habitat of her totem. “Desert, Forest, Jungle, Mountain, Polar, Urban, or other terrain.” This can be dangerous to the Adept for if the terrain has been polluted or irradiated than the distorted mana flowing through them can start the Adept on the toxic path and play havoc with their emotions making it more difficult over time to relax, sleep, and not be a curmudgeon.

The Burnout’s Way provides an Enhancement “Domain of the Tech Geek” which grants alignment to BC found in places of high technology and scientific advancement. A cyberdoc’s surgery room, a corporate research facility, a garage filled with prototype vehicles, a server farm, or an inventor’s lab all have a similar feel in the astral.

The Spiritual Way provides an Enhancement “Domain of the Spiritual” which grants alignment to BC found in places of worship and sacred locales regardless of Tradition, religion, or philosophy. Any complex with a chapel or holy place makes it easier for the Adept to adapt to different aspects of local mana allowing for acclimation of up to 1 + Grade of BC throughout the location. This could be as small as a small hospital or as large as an entire Arcology as long as the complex is a single “entity”.

The Invisible Way provides an Enhancement “Scouting the Joint” which grants a sped up acclimation period for the adept when studying an area’s mana. The Adept must be able to Assense the Astral Realm. Each day spent studying the target area allows the Adept to acclimate to one point of BC with a maximum over a period of days of up to 1 + their Grade or their Assensing Rating whichever is lower.

The Speaker’s Way provides an Enhancement “Domain of the fae” which grants alignment to the BC found in fae touched areas and those created by magicians of the Path of the Wheel Tradition which is particularly useful in Tir Nan Og. They are also acclimated to up to 1 + Grade of BC aligned to Druidism, Wicca, and other nature based Traditions. It also provides a situational bonus dice equal to their Grade to use with social interactions with the faerie and other fey touched beings like other Adepts of the Speaker’s Way or magicians following an “Elven Path”.

The Warrior’s Way provides an Enhancement “Domain of War” which grants alignment to the BC found in areas where blood has been spilled in combat or about to be. It acclimates the adept to 1 + Grade of BC for the emotions of Hate, Anger, Fear, and Despair.

Shadowrun Overhaul: New Focus Types and Enchanting Equipment


Enchanter’s Equipment:

An Enchanter’s Lab is usually part of an Enchanter’s Magical Lodge and allows a Mage to create Enchantments with ease and style. The original Labs were very basic and for Hermetics were often little better than a chemistry lab but as time has gone on there have been many advances in Enchanting allowing feats impossible or difficult just a decade ago to be achieved today. 4th Generation Enchanting equipment was the norm in 2075 but in the wake of the Dragon Civil War and the loss of so many Talismongers and Enchanters who dealt with Draconic reagents and telesma created an huge lack of supply at the same time that demand increased via new Enchanting abilities. This spurred an aggressive burst of pure research and new manatech allowing yesterday’s apprentices to try and compete with yesterday’s lost masters.

5th Gen Lab provides a bonus situational die to all Enchanting Tests including Drain. Additional bonuses can be gained with the Forge artifact component of a Magical Lodge if the lab is within such a location.

The Lab cuts down the time to refine reagents to a mere 8 hour workday and will often speed up other Enchanting processes as if the calculated Force was 1 less. For example an Enchanting process that normally takes Force days with a Force of 4 would only take 3 days instead.

The key enhancement of the Fifth Generation Laboratory is that Alchemists with the Fixation Metamagic are able to bypass the need to learn the Advanced Alchemy Metamagic and are able to create Magical Compounds, Charms, Potions, Scrolls and other advanced alchemical preparations.

4th Gen Lab is the standard Lab as described in the rules. It takes a 10 hour workday to refine reagents. These have been basically the same for the past decade barring a few minor improvements.

3rd Gen Lab doesn’t usually have any penalties as anything really backward was probably updated but they can make certain Enchanting processes take longer to do especially refining reagents which takes a full 12 hour workday. Most shamans haven’t updated from these as the new 4th and 5th gen Labs really focus more on Hermetics and Wuxing Traditions. Most are twenty to thirty years old.

Microlabs allow the Enchanter to take their lab with them when they travel. They don’t provide a bonus die for all Enchanting Tests. A microlab cannot make a batch greater than one when brewing potions, alcohol, and other magical compounds because of space constraints. A 5th gen microlab gives the same access to Advanced Alchemy and Magical Compounds, Charms, Potions, and Scrolls. Microlabs weren’t produced during the time period of 3rd Generation Enchanting manatechnology.

Alchemy kits: are very portable tools for Alchemists and help with harvesting reagents, preserving, and focusing discovered reagents into a smaller more portable raw form. An Alchemist might take a vial and some rare herbs and powders and take a little blood from a slain paracritter and weave the mana from the corpse into the blood mixing into the vial or use a ritual athame to cut a wand from a lightning damaged tree and have the dozen “raw reagents” channeled into just the wand or takes a bucket of awakened berries and weaves the mana into an handful saving space and providing ease of use as no mage wants to carry a bucket of reagents while on a run. A fifth gen kit increases the Astral Limit by 1 and cuts harvesting time in half as well as concentrating the reagents into portable objects. A 4th gen is standard also concentrates reagents and a 3rd gen doubles the normal time. Includes Tool Cleansers and other items that allow for quality reagent harvesting.

Alchemy Kit Enhancements: Adding extra features like the Ghostbusters Enhancement that lets Talismongers salvage reagents from materialized Spirits or a kit tailored to a specific Tradition which raises Harvesting Test Limits by 1 if the Talismonger is of that Tradition. Think of a good enhancement and there is probably some doodads the alchemist can buy that will enable that aid.

Ties in with this post about Talismongering.

Astral Signatures and Foci:

If a sentient being is slain with any test directly aided by the use of a Focus than an Astral Signature is created that lasts Force hours.

When a Charm Focus is used for over a minute it creates an Astral Signature. The duration of the signature has a limit of the Focus’s Force and grows by 1 per minute of use of the Focus. This astral signature would look similar to an influence spell when assensed astrally. Thus, a Charm with a Force of 4 used for 3 minutes would create a Force 3 Astral Signature. If used for 5 minutes would create a Force 4 Astral Signature.

Any time a Focus contributes to a magical test then it adds its Force to the strength of the Astral Signature. A focus that provides four dice to a manabolt of Force 4 would have a total strength of 8.

Focus Addiction House Rule

Foci:

There are three major categories of Foci and they are Grand, Major, and Minor. Any Artifacts or other magical creations of Artificing fit into these three categories. So, if you invent something new for your game like using Artificing to create Legendary Critters or Chimera for the purpose of making a physical familiar or more powerful homunculi such as a Golem you can use these categories as a guide.

Grand Foci are Power, Shield, Battle, Charm, Genius, Muse, Stalwart, and Sublime Weapon. Karma to bond equal to F x 8.

Major Foci are Weapon, Combat, Detection, Health, Illusion, Manipulation, Invocation, and Initiate. Karma to bond equal to F x 4.

Minor Foci are Qi, Enchanting (helps with Alchemy and Disenchanting), Metamagic, Spell and Spirit Foci as described on SR5 p 320. Karma to bond equal to F x 2.

Descriptions of New Foci:

A Shield Focus provides equal to its Force a number of dice that can be used to help with passive defense, active defense, Counterspelling, defense against Critter and Spirit Powers, and defense against Alchemical Preparations. It provides half its Force rounded up as a bonus dice for surprise tests as well. Often has design that brings to mind shields, pentacles, pentagrams, defense runes, and the seal of solomon and usually takes the form of badges, amulets, decorative pins, earrings, and belt buckles.

Developed in Tir Tairngire to protect the Princes from rebels this Focus is a popular one for those in positions of power under threat of assassination. Organized crime has very much taken to producing and using this Focus.

A Battle Focus provides a dice pool up to its Force that can be used with any personal Combat Skill Test including using a personal sized weapon and has at least a Skill Rating equal to twice the Force of the Focus. Often has martial designs and takes many different forms like a gauntlet, ring, crown, armband, or torque.

Developed by an open source metamagical project by magicians involved with the Desert Wars to enhance Adepts without using Qi Foci. Afterall a Qi Foci can’t be used by a second adept. This way mercenary companies could boost their adepts without losing the benefits later when the adept dies or retires. The focus refines what is already there and is not a replacement for skill.

A Charm Focus temporarily increases your effective Charisma rating for the purposes of any tests involving Charisma. For instance it would not effect a conjurer’s number of spirits they can bind as that is not a test even though it is limited by Charisma. The maximum Force of this Focus is three at the moment though millions of nuyen are being spent to improve this limit.

Charm Foci take the form of flashy jewelry, earrings, vests, hats, glasses, and even things like a platinum tooth or a tongue piercing. The telesma is always a noticeable and memorable item and has a distinctive style per the negative quality. If it is hidden from view it does nothing to aid the owner.

The invention of the Charm Focus was a factor behind the meteoric rise of Horizon to megacorporate AAA status. Already the Charm Focus has become a very popular sign of status among the extremely wealthy with magical talent especially those involved in politics be it corporate or government. Megastars and wannabe megastars with the bare minimum of magical talent required to bond with a focus from trid stars to news anchors are liquidating their fortunes to get themselves in the long line of buyers.

A Genius Focus temporarily increases your effective Logic rating for the purposes of any tests involving Logic. The maximum Force of this Focus is three. This focus overrides the benefits of Cerebral Boosters so whichever rating is higher is the only one that applies.

Invented by the Great Dragon Schwartzkopf at the Charles University of Prague. The research team compared before and after astral photographs of magicians before they received cultured bioware enhancements. By mimicking how the astral form changes to match the new physical form the team were able to make the physical form match the astral and achieve the same goal. At the moment because Cerebral Boosters are limited to just Rating 3 the researchers haven’t been able to surpass this as they don’t have any material to reverse engineer.

The focus often takes on draconic, air/winds, and lightning imagery whether it is a scarf, torque, or a headband and is normally worn near the head.

A Muse Focus temporarily increases your effective Intuition rating for the purposes of any tests involving Intuition. The maximum Force of this Focus is three. The focus overrides the benefits of Cerebellum Booster so whichever rating is higher is the only one that applies.

Invented by a professor of art history in her garage; Doctor Alkonis was searching for the nature or origin of creativity and may have found it via magical stimulation of the astral form’s cerebellum much like scientists discovered with boosting processing in the cerebellum via cultured bioware.

This focus often seems innocuous and could be a cameo locket necklace of a loved one which inspires or an armband with musical bells that hit the right tone with the right movement to put a dancer or a painter in the right frame of mind to create.

A Stalwart Focus temporarily increases your effective Body and Strength for the purposes of any tests involving those attributes. The maximum Force of this Focus is three. This focus is compatible with other means of enhancements and is of course limited to the +4 Augmentation maximum rule. As this just increases Body for the purposes of tests it doesn’t increase any derived component of body like additional boxes on the physical damage track.

Most often taking the form of gauntlets, belts, feather headdresses, armbands, and helmets this focus can take any form.

A popular focus for the elite Sioux special forces the “Wildcats” and even apocalyptic cults from Norway. Rumors say both groups ended up inventing this in parallel. Few are found outside of the two organizations though they are a sign of high status among the trolls of the Black Forest Kingdom.

A Sublime Weapon Focus provides its Force as a dice pool bonus with melee attack tests using the weapon. It also enhances Accuracy and AP by its Force/2 rounded up. There are currently three types of Sublime Weapon Foci. Whatever the type this focus when active is very noticeable in the physical and astral realms as it is wreathed in an aura appropriate for the type of focus.

An Elemental Weapon Focus adds to the Weapon an Elemental Effect (SR5 p 170).

There are two main types of Elemental Effects which are penetrative and impact. A Water or Blast effect may knockdown a target easier and cause additional stun damage. A penetrative effect increases physical damage by various methods like having a flaming sword or an electric trident.

Impact elemental effects like Water and Blast are put on blunt weapons and add twice their Force to the DV for the purpose of the Knock down called shot and add their Force to determine Knockdown on a normal attack in addition to having an Elemental Effect. The weapon adds its Force to the DV if the target is knocked down.

Penetrative elemental effects like Fire and Acid are put on slashing or piercing weapons. If the modified damage value of an attack causing physical damage is greater than AP modified armor rating then add the Force to the DV minus the appropriate specialized protection. (Ignore this if the DV is less than the specialized protection)

Depending on the elemental type the weapon may have secondary effects when penetrating armor or even just when hitting armor as in the case of Acid. The Artificer must know a spell of that Elemental type to create the Focus.

A Bane Weapon Focus adds to the Weapon a Slay/Slaughter Effect in addition to the standard Sublime Weapon bonuses. When used against the species or type targeted by the Bane Focus directly in combat add twice the Force of the Bane to the weapon’s DV.

Additionally add the Bane’s Force as additional situational bonus dice for any opposed Tests targeting the Bane category when the Focus is active. A Bane focus in the hands of an expert in Intimidation can be especially terrifying to the target.

The Artificer must know the specific Slay or Slaughter spell targeting a type for death.

Rumors are common with this type of rare focus. It is known that many megacorps and governments have Insect Spirit Bane Foci for their elite best of the best HTR teams and that developing this manatechnology was a major goal of Ares.

There is a tale about an artificer who crafted many of these Bane’s against Shedim after discovering a payload of naturally occurring orichalcum in his backyard. He had discovered his child had been possessed by a Master Shedim and wanted to make sure people had weapons to defend themselves. At least half a dozen artifacts were made before the Shedim found out and the artificer disappeared. These were mailed to different parts of the world with crafting instructions.

People who are initially neutral emotionally toward the Bane type tend to over time grow more and more inimical toward their Bane. For those already negatively charged against the Bane’s type the process towards antipathy is much quicker. The character wielding a Bane facing focus addiction can easily become irrational and quickly develop a Prejudice against the Bane type and receive no karma for the negative quality.

A Toxic Greater Weapon Focus adds to the Weapon an attack that corrupts the body and astral form of anyone who isn’t aligned with Toxic energies. The Artificer must be a toxic magician to craft this focus. Anyone who binds to this Focus will inevitably have their essence altered until their magic becomes as Toxic as the Focus. Taking a physical wound from a Toxic focus will require a Test resisting anaphylactic shock if it is a Pollutant or resist Radiation per rules on page 105 of the Street Grimoire.

A Combat, Detection, Health, Illusion, and Manipulation Focus grants bonus dice equal to its Force for any Tests involving its Category of Spells. Spellcasting, Ritual Spellcasting, and Counterspelling and also assists Conjuring Tests involving the type of Spirit related to that category of magic that their Tradition can summon. It can also sustain a spell of its type up to the Force of the Focus.

An Initiate Focus adds its Force to the mage’s Grade for the determining of effects for any Metamagics that she might know.

An Invocation Focus acts by increasing the character’s effective Magic Rating with most types of Conjuring tests and when using the Invocation Ritual to buff their Spirits to Great Form. For Banishing it raises the Limit by the Force of the Focus instead of adding dice.

Prices:

Add +1 Availability and 20% to the prices of Magical Compounds in published materials because of the heightened demand and low supply following the devastation to the Talismonger industry during the Dragon Civil War. Loss of all draconic reagents and telesma plus the loss of hundreds of top tier Enchanters, Talismongers, and Talisleggers who used or dealt with draconic reagents has had a staggering effect on the enchanting economy.

Item Retail Price Availability
Raw Grade 20¥ per dram
Refined Grade 450¥ per dram 6 + 1 per dram
Radical Grade 5000¥ per dram 8 +1 per dram
Flawless Grade 55,000¥ per dram 10 + 2 per dram
Orichalcum 175,000¥ per dram 14 +3 per dram
Prime Quality +100% Base Cost +2
Superior Quality +50% Base Cost +1
Subpar Quality -25% Base Cost -3
Inferior Quality -50% Base Cost -5
Enchanter’s Lab 5th Gen 75,000¥ 12
Enchanter’s Lab 4th Gen 40,000¥ 10
Enchanter’s Lab 3rd Gen 25,000¥ 10
Microlab 5th Gen 100,000¥ 12
Microlab 4th Gen 60,000¥ 10
Alchemy Kit 5th Gen 10,000¥ 12
Alchemy Kit 4th Gen 4000¥ 10
Alchemy Kit 3rd Gen 1000¥ 8
Alchemy Kit Enhancements 1000¥ each +1
Minor Foci (F x 900¥) + (F x OR x 250¥) (F x 2)
Major Foci (F x 10,000¥) + (F x OR x 250¥) (F x2) +4
Grand Foci (F x 110,000¥) + (F x OR x 250¥) (F x 3) + 3
Focus Tailoring (Days x 1000¥) + (3 x Reagent) +2
OR is Object Rating of Telesma Doesn’t include cost of Telesma

For example:

A minor Force 4 Focus with a telesma of a gold wedding ring with a sapphire setting an OR of 5 and a value of 1,400¥ might retail for 10,000¥ at a Talismonger’s shop.

From Sendaz on the dumpshock Forum:

“For the more bashful shapeshifter (one raised among humans perhaps?) tired of the ‘where’s my pants’ game, might we suggest the Wear & Wolf Line from Talbot & Chaney Fashions Ltd which features a new line of shapeshifter friendly apparel.

Using sustainably sourced shapechanger fur specially enchanted and woven into tasteful Apparel Foci designed to be bonded to it’s owner, these pieces transform along with the busy shapeshifter on the go (often taking the form of a collar or otherwise woven among their fur/feather/etc in their primal form…).

These outfits have no intrinsic armor value beyond normal clothing themselves (Armor 1-2 tops at GM discretion) and start at Force 3 rating so as to avoid embarrassing wardrobe malfunctions in some of the wilder areas like Chicago and similar.

Rumours abound of a projected ‘War Wolf’ Line, utilizing shifter bone and shells(presumably from a weretortoise or similar) to increase the armor potential of the range, however this still remains on the drawing boards at present as well as being very controversial due to sourcing issues.”

Shadowrun Overhaul: Astral Combat House Rule and two new Qualities


Astral Combat:

Eliminate the Active Skill Astral Combat.

From a game mechanic min/maxing meta point of view the only character likely to purchase Astral Combat at an high level would be an Adept wanting to fight non-materialized spirits. Even in that case a smart spirit would take advantage of the astral environment to stay out of range of a dual natured enemy limited to just close combat. The adept would be a 2d character fighting a 3d enemy.

A magician would be better off using any Karma spent on Astral Combat on specialized spells that target astral beings from an effectiveness and efficiency perspective.

If Mystic Adepts could Astrally Project and you were making an astral combat warrior than there might be some usefulness to the skill as the mystic adept could combine ranged and close combat in the astral then but since they can’t without a house rule even that option falls flat. Otherwise the 42 Karma spent to make a solid professional Astral Combat skill could be spent on 8 spells or raising your Magic rating or Spellcasting and the character would see a much larger return on their investment.

So, why have the skill if it is just a point sink, not very effective compared to Spellcasting or Banishing, and is very rarely used even in magic heavy campaigns? You get the occasional character getting a 1 in it just for emergencies. Even then with a 1 you’re not likely to be effective in astral combat so you might as well use that Karma somewhere that provides consistent benefit in as many arenas as possible.

In the end a magically talented character is more powerful and more versatile in the Astral Realm by NOT learning Astral Combat. This kind of defeats the purpose.

Instead…

An astrally projecting Mage with a weapon focus can just use her Weapon Skill or use her Unarmed Skill when attacking with her astral body just as if she was attacking an astral form with her meat body. Absolutely no need for the skill. If a PC has sunk points into the Skill give her one or both Qualities below or add the karma cost to a close combat skill. The character can even use appropriate Martial Arts Techniques against Astral opponents. Rumors of a Martial Art devoted to Astral Combat have surfaced in Hong Kong involving a variant of Wu Shu which takes advantage of the possibilities in the astral realm and uses maneuvers that would only be possible while in astral form.

A sapient creature native to the Gaiasphere may attack a materialized Spirit and substitute Charisma for Strength during a melee attack for damage purposes and bypass the Spirit’s Immunity to Normal Weapons. The creature may also be able to defend against a materialized spirit by using the Steeling the Will Interrupt Action. These actions should be powered by the story and fueled by powerful emotion and not something that a typical being would be able to tap into at will or very often. Hate, Fear, Rage or even Love of another could empower even the most physically feeble of defenders to harm the mightiest of spirits. This also brings some hope for a team should the mage get geeked as spirits are pretty much unstoppable by mundanes in many situations. I could imagine a water elemental drowning a Face and getting a little surprise. A PC can tap into this rage or will by spending a point of Edge and taking the appropriate Interrupt Action if there isn’t adequate story reasons or if they don’t have the necessary Qualities.

Spirit Brawler:

Positive Quality: 10 Karma (Can be learned after character creation without doubling Karma cost with an Instructor who has this Quality and takes a month of intensive training)

This Quality was originally codified by charismatic welterweight boxing champion Lee Ray McDaniel after an event in 2018 when a shadow boogeyman spirit tormenting his daughter caused her to scream in terror waking him up and he rushed into her room and lashed out with all his fear and rage into the materialized spirit with a single right hook that ‘knocked it out’ in one hit.

Decades later a squad of Red Samurai honored an elderly Lee Ray upon his induction to the Boxing and MMA Hall of Fame with a masterwork Daisho crafted by the Imperial Swordsmith saying that the reason they were able to survive the Manila Bug swarm of ’58 and save thousands of lives was because of his techniques that he freely taught to respectful members at his dad’s gym in between fights during his entire career.

A spirit brawler can in melee combat add his Charisma to his Strength to increase the DV of his attack against a spirit in the physical world or any astral being that is Materialized. The attack also counteracts the power Immunity to Normal Weapons for materialized astral forms. A dual natured spirit brawler can do the same against astral targets when in close combat.

Against an astral target a projecting spirit brawler still knows the right way to channel their rage and strike an astral form in close combat to do the most damage and thus have their DV and appropriate Limit/Accuracy raised by 1 when in astral melee combat.

A spirit brawler is experienced with combat with spirits and has improved defenses to prove it. Their limit is increased by 1 when actively defending against any attack by an astral form or a materialized spirit.

Steeling the Will: 

Positive Quality: 5 Karma (Can be learned after character creation without doubling Karma cost with an Instructor who has this Quality and takes a month to learn)

A newly commonly available ability by many soldiers in special or elite forces that deal with dangerous spirits on a regular basis. This Quality allows the use of a new Interrupt Action “Steeling the Will” at will. Developed separately by the Sioux and by the Wuxing Megacorporation in the sixties it has since been made available to be trained in by most of the world’s armed forces.

Interrupt Action

(-5 Initiative)

A trained and prepared defender with the Quality of the same name can at will take a brief moment to focus their minds and gain additional “Armor” equal to their Willpower for the rest of the Combat Turn when resisting physical attacks or damage from a physical medium that are caused by Materialized Spirits. This Interrupt Action can be spontaneously used by the untrained who are mentally very disciplined through meditation or introspection or it can be the product of a cold rage such as could be felt by a parent defending a child from a malicious spirit.

Shadowrun Overhaul: New Metamagic: Astral Protrusion


Astral Protrusion:

This metamagic allows an Adept or Mystic Adept to manipulate their astral form and have it leave the physical body. To learn this metamagic the Adept or Mystic Adept must purchase Astral Perception as an Adept Power as a requirement. This Metamagic was developed by the Great Dragon Professor Schwartzkopf’s research team at the Charles University of Prague that has been focusing on a Grand Unifying Theory of Magic for decades and lead to the discovery by MIT&M in 2075 on how Adepts and Mystic Adepts can learn the Power of Astral Projection.

With this metamagic the Initiate can Astrally Protrude for free for the Initiate’s Grade in minutes a day and after that the character has a limit of her Magic Rating in minutes a day before her astral form starts to degrade which can lead to death or psychosis. This time doesn’t recover until the character gets a full 8 hours of rest. The Initiate’s astral form is connected to their physical body by a different colored cords or threads with at least one being silver which represents the character’s awakened gift. This astral thread can be attacked with Astral Combat or by a dual natured strike from the physical realm but since the thread has a natural sense of self preservation it gets a chance to defend itself normally though the character cannot use an interrupt defensive action. The speed of the astral form is limited to 100 meters a Combat Turn.

The Initiate uses their Physical Realm Initiative instead of the normal Astral Realm Initiative typical of a magician astrally projecting as they are so tied to the limitations and capabilities of their physical bodies that it transfers over to their astral bodies.The Adept Power Astral Projection requires this metamagic.

This metamagic also opens up more functionality with other Adept Powers in the Astral Realm.

If the Adept had Improved Strength +2 than that would also augment their Astral Form giving a +2 to their Charisma Rating to find out their Astral Strength. Traceless Walk transfers usefulness to the Astral Realm with the Adept leaving little or no traces of astral passage or trail and being undetectable to some forms of Astral Security by exerting control over her astral presence and the reaction of the astral realm’s mana to her form. Some Improved Senses work in the Astral Realm giving the Adept such as increasing visual acuity or transferring usefulness like heightened sense of smell allowing the Initiate to pick up a “smell or odor” when a particular type of spirit was in the area for example.

The Initiate can learn Astral Martial Art Maneuvers and use them with their astral form.

For example the maneuver Ghost Lightning Strike allows the Adept to take advantage of the blinding speed of her astral form and strike a distant opponent with a close combat attack as long as they are within Magic Rating x 2 Meters. This strike can use Killing Hands or a Weapon Focus and the target must be an astral form or dual natured form to have any effect. This strike uses the Astral Combat Skill.

(This maneuver has the visual appearance of the Lord Marshall from the Chronicles of Riddick movie)

 

Shadowrun Overhaul: Using the Draconis awards to explain Mystic Adepts in 5e


One of the main differences in 4e and 5e is how Mystic Adepts are more powerful and capable now that they can apply their full Magic rating to both Adept powers and Magician skills. In fourth edition a Mystic Adept was forced to divide their abilities between Adept Powers and Magical Skills like Sorcery. Now in 5e they are able to apply their entire Magic Rating to their Magical Skills and develop with Karma expenditure up to their Magic Rating with Power Points.

As I have previously mentioned I love using the Draco Foundation’s awards as a way to introduce new technologies and magics to the player characters. In this case the Draconis Awards give an opportunity to explain or retconn why things are different now and how to explain why and how converted characters from 4e to 5e would gain their new gifts. It also allows for a new beginning for Awakened characters converting from fourth edition to fifth edition. Enjoy the surprise the when the PC’s archvillain who was just a physical adept suddenly drops a manaball on them.

If you used the year of 2074 as a downtime year for conversion to fifth edition then you can just use the time for any Mystic Adepts to take a class or classes and have lifestyle cover any costs and use the story of going to school to explain increasing academic knowledges or skills. Going to the University is a great excuse to pick up new contacts for your runner during conversion. Adepts and Magicians becoming Mystic Adepts can also use 2074 as a downtime year to change their Awakened Qualities but must pay at least the Karma costs.

If playing before this or during this research being released there are many potential run opportunities because of this research. One might ask why this whole idea necessary at all? Well, the better the background the more stories arise. How much you want to bet an early version of the Mystic Adept Enhanced Theory of Magic would be worth to lets say a megacorp or a magical group? Maybe the Black Lodge had it two years before it was released to the public. That would make them really dangerous and give them recruiting power and maybe their rivals want their secret. Maybe another group or organization tried to kill Schwartzkopf to prevent this from going public. The mystic adepts that have this increased power would have a major advantage if the public lacked it. All sorts of run potential. Maybe there is an even better more refined theory that Schwartzkopf is sitting on to give his Benandanti an edge and Lofwyr wants hit for his drakes and elite operatives.

 

2074 Draconis Award for Magical Theory and Application:

The Draconis Award for advances in Magical Theory and Application in 2074 goes to Professor Schwartzkopf the Great Dragon and his research team at Charles University of Prague for their work in applying Professor Schwartzkopf’s Grand Unifying Theory of Magic towards unlocking the full abilities of Adepts and Mystic Adepts. A few decades ago the first Mystic Adepts appeared and until recently they were forced to divide their power between two paths but have now fully Awakened to their power. With these techniques and training around 15% of “normal” Adepts have been found to have the talent to become Mystic Adepts and have begun to learn Magical Skills which by itself would’ve been an advance worthy of a Draconis Award. Some 5% of Magicians have also made the transition to becoming Mystic Adepts by learning how to channel their magic inwards but as of yet none have been able to keep their ability to astrally project as tying their magic to their bodies makes it harder it seems to free the astral body from the physical.

We at the Draco Foundation are amazed and happy to support such magnificent research and applications of research into the real Sixth world we all live in. We are also pleased by the fair and extremely low licensing cost that Professor Schwartzkopf allowed so that magical schools, colleges, and universities all over the world could train their teachers and professors in this advancement and return to their homes and spread this incredibly valuable knowledge to all corners of the globe.

Game Mechanics:

Classes at a magical school or university can range in price and length depending on the training involved and powers that need to be learned. A good lifestyle can alleviate all or part of this cost. A personal instructor can also be hired which will speed the process greatly.

Generally a Mystic Adept/4e can go to an university and in 3 months of 12 hours a week learn how to be a Mystic Adept/5e. The price can range from 5,000 nuyen to 50,000 nuyen. No roll is necessary and missed time can be made up later in the quarter as the pace is slow and explained thoroughly by experts who spend some time one on one with each student. Character must have at least a 2 in Arcana to comprehend the basics of what they are learning. The Mystic Adept must pay the 5 Karma cost for each Power Point he learns. GMs who don’t allow Mystic Adepts to purchase Power Points after character creation should allow 4th to 5th edition converting characters to spend karma for Power Points and should consider allowing karmic debt if the newly converted Mystic Adept has no Karma.

For an Adept of either edition to become a Mystic Adept they must spend 50 Karma and take either four quarters of university or have the personal instruction of a Mystic Adept with at least four in instruction and in all Magical Skills. They must get four training periods with an instructor representing one for basics covering assensing, arcana, and heavy introspection with aural manipulations and three for sorcery, conjury, and enchanting. At the end of training they will need to have at minimum an Arcana 3, Assensing 1 (if the have Astral Perception), Sorcery group 1, Conjury group 1, and Enchanting group 1 to represent the rigorous training and education necessary to overcome the Adept’s previous self-taught limitations and bad habits from learning magic from a flawed theory or cobbled together self taught philosophy.

For a Magician of either edition to become a Mystic Adept requires two quarters of schooling and 25 Karma.

Cost of a personal instructor is between 500 nuyen to 2500 nuyen a day (8 hours) depending on area, contacts, skill of the instructor, and negotiation. The teacher must be a Mystic Adept who has gone through the training process either legally or illegally and as such the price is reflected by that.

Arcana + Intuition [Magical Lodge] Test. The time is equal to 28 days divided by number of successes and is the equivalent of a quarter of education at a school or university. If the full 8 hours is not spent for at least five days in a week or if a roll is failed then Karma is not spent but the training must begin again.

Below is the link for training to learn Power Points for Mystic Adepts as Adepts get their Power Points for free whenever they raise their Magic Rating. A Power Point covers whatever Powers learned equal to that Power Point. If spending 1.5 Power Points simply increase time/costs by 50%.

Training to learn Power Points

Shadowrun Overhaul: Draconis Awards from the Draco Foundation 2075 CE


Whenever I want to introduce new technology or magic into the mainstream of my Shadowrun Campaigns I take advantage of a little blurb I read I believe in Dunkelzahn’s will talking about competitions and awards each year for those who push the boundaries of science and magic.

After a few of these happening the players realized they had hit the big time when they figured out that the run they were on was to ruin an university’s research project that was sure to win this year’s competition. I imagine the Draconis Awards (the awards weren’t named in the source material and I thought that Draconis would be perfect as their name) as to be on par with the Nobel Prize in overall importance but for Shadowrunners they would be very important both as a source for runs but also as a resource to gain access to for character improvement.

Draconis Awards from the Draco Foundation 2075 CE:

 

Astral Projection:

MIT&M wins a Draconis Award for creating a new technique that applies Schwartzkopf’s Grand Unifying Theory of Magic towards the limitation that Mystic Adepts and Adepts have in Astral Projection. So far they haven’t succeeded with helping Aspected Magicians astrally project.

Gene Optimization:

Universal Omnitech wins a Draconis Award after successful clinical trials with its Gene Optimization line of products. The cognitive line fails to be predictable in which areas it enhances because of epigenetics and the complexity of the brain’s neural network but the physical line has made a full success with one treatment enhancing your potential physical performance traits.

Metagene DNA Astral Shadows Assaying:

Celedyr’s personal research team at Neonet has recently uncovered how to detect metagenes for a sizeable portion of the population and give a probability of likelihood of a phenotype expressing its latent metatraits be it Goblinization or Awakening. The test only works on fresh samples so the team and their equipment need to be onsite and old samples can’t be tested because Astral Shadows fade fairly quickly within an hour or two of when the sample is taken.

Game Mechanics:

Astral Projection:

An Adept or Mystic Adept with the Astral Perception Power may Initiate and learn the Metamagic Astral Protrusion to project for Magic Rating + Grade minutes. After learning this the Initiate may purchase the Astral Projection Power for 1 Power Point.

Gene Optimization:

Physical Genetic Optimization: Raises your natural limit by one in Body, Agility, Reaction, and Strength. Compatible with Exceptional Attribute. Further Optimization has no effect.

Treatment time: 6 weeks.

Essence Cost: .5.

Availability: 9

Cost: 150,000 nuyen.

Mental Genetic Optimization: Raises one mental Attribute’s natural limit by one. Usually it is the highest rated attribute but it is somewhat random because of a limited understanding of the brain and variations amongst the neurotypical and the neuro-atypical. A GM can let the player roll a d6 with the highest getting 3 numbers and the other 3 getting 1 number.

Treatment time: 8 weeks.

Essence Cost: .2.

Availabililty: 10

Cost: 50,000 nuyen.

DNA assaying:

Neonet’s technology for magical talent works for around 50% of the human metatype population with a success rate of 95%. For other metatypes it works for about 25% with a success rate of 80%. The remaining half of humans and three quarters of other metatypes can’t be accurately mapped because of certain metagene variants and alleles confusing the issue. What this means is that about half of humans can know with a good sense of security whether they have a latent magical gift that could be awakened. As time goes on it is inevitable that it will become more accurate and rumors say that Neonet is trying to find out how to unmask the riddle of technomancy and if it is genetic or epigenetic as well.

Neonet’s technology for detecting possible Goblinization or Surge related metagenes can detect the likelihood of an human goblinizing or developing SURGE like metatraits works for about 75% of the population with 97% accuracy. So, if you’re an Ork parent wondering if the human baby you have is likely to goblinize in puberty you can find out with reasonable certainty with a DNA test.

It is unknown which Neonet subsidiaries will be carrying the test but rumors of prices suggest under 5000 nuyen for both upon introduction of the product.

New Prime Runner Qualities with Story Hooks


An human sized anthropomorphic rabbit was lounging in a small study tucked into an hidden region of the Jackpoint Matrix Host reading an article from the latest academic journal released by MIT&T on Nanotechnological Integrated Chip Manufacturing while his mentor putzed around with an old simulation program for 2d video games for some ancient console system from the 20th century.

“Uh, Fastjack?”

“Yes, Cereal?”

“Why did you want me to come to your study if you’re just going to play archaic video games while I’m here?”

“Well, hopefully I am teaching you. Pay attention to the game and watch how I interact with the code.”

Fruity stared for awhile at the complex interactions for about ten minutes before he noticed something weird…really weird.

“It’s almost as if your matrix manipulations have become partially invisible; if you weren’t paying attention then you wouldn’t pay attention if that makes sense?”

“You’re quick kid, most of the others can’t see it and of the rest only Slamm-o! picked it up faster.”

Fastjack paused the game and stretched causing his avatar to pop several times.

“Now you play and see if you can mimic me kid. This is super-cereal and if you can learn how you’ll have an huge advantage over the other script kiddies.”

“Hey, Fastjack you know I’m more than that. What will I learn from doing this?”

“Well, Frosted Flakes you’ll be able to with luck get one action off without attracting Overwatch attention and postpone convergence a little bit longer than normal.”

“Serious?”

“As cancer.”

“Who figured this out?”

“As far as I can tell it must have been the Dodger and from there it has spread like wildfire amongst the Elite of the Elite.”

“Are you saying?”

“Yeah, kid you’re graduating when you get this down. Full access to all Stage 3 protocols here at Jackpoint and you’ll be able to edit some threads.”

Cereal jumped up and hugged the old man and both were grinning ear to ear.

Game Mechanics:

Shadowrun tends to have a point were the characters hit a brick wall of growth in power as Karma trickles in and specialists find the costs to increase their key skills skyrocket. So, here are some Qualities that open up new avenues for character development or enable players to feel like their character is growing more powerful rather than standing still while also creating differentiation between powerful characters as there is a tendency for characters to become more similar to each other as they grow in power as the choices become somewhat obvious and characters fill up their weaknesses.

I think in most campaigns that these Qualities might not be available at character creation depending on what kind of campaign is wanted. They would be perfect for a Prime Runner campaign though!

Each character can only have one “Way” Quality. If a character already has a core Quality that is given to a follower of a Way than they can receive a discount on gaining the new Way Quality up to half the cost of the Way.

The Way of the Nerd (Quality):  15 points at character creation and in game play can be learned from another Nerd with the Quality for 30 karma. The Nerd knows all and replaces what in previous ages would have been known as the sage and today are often fixers or assistants to established fixers. The Nerd must have at least six Logic based Knowledges or Skills at or above a Rating of 4. She gains a +2 for Matrix searches for information, for all Academic, Computer, Sixth World, and Hobby Knowledge tests the Threshold is lowered by 1, +1 to Mental Limit, the First Impression Quality with fellow nerds, and the “You know a Guy” choice in the Home Ground Quality but instead of being people in your neighborhood it involves fellow nerds regardless of location.

Nerd Story Hooks: The team’s regular fixer seems to have gotten an assistant and is now in charge of setting up runs for the team. The team is hired to rescue a Nerd who is supposed to head an important panel at Comic-con but is missing and presumed extracted by a corporate rival. One of the runners has a Nerd contact that needs help with a project and is willing to hire the runners.

The Way of the Assassin (Quality):  15 points at character creation and in game play can be learned from another Assassin with the Quality for 30 karma. Assassins must take a Code of Honor though not necessarily the Assassin’s Creed though that would be the most common and the Assassin must have a Stealth skill at 6 or higher. Assassins receive half penalty for called shots, +1 to all Stealth group skill tests, the Natural Immunity Quality to a Poison of choice (4), and +2 to all Surprise related tests from detecting ambushes to making them.

Assassin Story Hooks: Large amounts of a deadly poison have been used to kill an important person and should’ve killed any assassin present. One of the players climbs up the ranks in the Triads and gets handpicked to learn from the dying master of assassins who needs a replacement. An extraction goes wrong when someone Elite manages to kill the target during the extraction at the worst possible time without being seen or detected. An Assassin is given a job he can’t refuse without ramifications that involves contradicting his Code of Honor if he succeeds.

The Way of the Decker (Quality): 15 points at character creation and in game play can be learned from another Decker with this Quality for 30 karma. The Decker must have a Cracking Skill at 6 or higher. Convergence doesn’t happen until it hits 50 and the decker doesn’t start adding to the Overwatch on their first Matrix action if they succeed with 3 or more net hits on the test. The second Matrix action that would trigger Overwatch does happen as normal.

Decker Story Hooks: A demigod somehow learns about the new Decker Quality and has a team of G-men on hand to find a Decker that is elite enough to know this Quality so he can learn how to undo the ability. Maybe it might take some torture or maybe even some vivisection to get recalcitrant hackers to turn on their own.

The Way of the Face (Quality): 15 points at character creation and in game play can be learned from another Adept with the Quality for 30 karma or awakened through an initiation and taken in place of a Metamagic with a discounted price of 15 Karma. A Face must have a Charisma of at least 5 and at least four Charisma based Skills at four or better. An Adept with this quality can now choose Powers that amplify the Charisma Attribute as well as enhance social tasks and abilities, and have their Social Limit increased by their Initiate Grade. A single Social Power purchased with this Quality comes at half cost in Power Points. If a non-Adept takes this way they gain First Impression, Exceptional Charisma, their contacts have +1 Loyalty for free, and +1 to their Social Limit.

Face Story Hooks: After a negotiation with a particularly interesting opponent of suitable gender and type the Face realizes that he has somehow been duped and outwitted by her. Did she use some sort of new Social Power or was it Pheromones? Who will win the rematch?

The Way of the Master (Quality): 15 points at character creation and in game play can be learned from another Master with the Quality for 30 karma. The Master must have the desired skill at 6 or higher. The Master delves so deeply into a skill that they are able to achieve the near impossible especially when attempting extremely complex and difficult extended tasks. The Master receives an automatic hit on every ‘roll’ involving the Skill and has no Limit involving that Skill.

Master Story Hooks: MCT needs the best robotics expert in the world to fix a key problem on their latest SOTA drone. A prideful specialist PC faces off against a rival or enemy who has suddenly become much more dangerous.

The Way of the Wizard (Quality):  15 points at character creation and in game play can be learned from another Wizard with the Quality for 30 karma or awakened through an initiation and taken in place of a Metamagic with a discounted price of 15 Karma. The Wizard must have the desired Magic Skill at 6 or higher and a Magic Attribute at 6 or higher. The spellcaster chooses an area of focus on a specific Magic Skill and the acting Force of any use of the Skill is increased by the Grade of the Initiate. So a Summoner with a Grade of 3 would when summoning a Force 4 spirit would attempt all tests as if it was a Force 4 spirit but the actual spirit would be Force 7.

Wizard Story Hooks: The Black Lodge attempts to recruit a PC offering access to new and amazing Power! A riddle in one book leads the PC to a question in another esoteric book which leads to an author which leads to an hidden Master who might be willing to train an apprentice…after a lot of drudgework is done!

The Way of the Dilettante (Quality): 15 points at character creation and in game play can be learned from another Dabbler with the Quality or can be self taught for 30 karma. The Dabbler or Dilettante is exceptional in that they tend to know a shallow amount about any test that the character could possibly have a chance of knowing. The Dilettante  acts as if they have a 2 in a Skill or Knowledge that they could possibly have been exposed to including Languages. A Dilettante from the UCAS could’ve learned German in high school but wouldn’t have learned an extinct ancient version of German only available to specialist linguists and anthropology.

Dilettante Story Hooks: The Dilettante tried out for a trivia show for kicks and gets a call back that they are filming nest week.

The Way of the Totem (Quality):  15 points at character creation and in game play can be learned from another Adept with the Quality for 30 karma or awakened through an initiation and taken in place of a Metamagic with a discounted price of 15 Karma. The Adept must have the Quality: Mentor Spirit to purchase a Totem Power Pool equal to up to his Grade +1. This pool is versatile and with a complex action the character can change the Powers in the Pool as long as those powers match the theme of the Mentor Spirit and the situation at hand. The player and GM are encouraged to invent new Powers for the situation that are fair and balanced such as allowing a Bat Adept to shift his Totem Pool to Blindfighting and Light Body to mimic a bat’s ability to “see” in the dark and glide as Light Body helps with falls and in another situation use Animal Empathy to “talk” with bats but not any other animals.

Totem Story Hooks: A mentor spirit appears to a character in a dream warning about possible dangers to one of his “children” and asking for the PC to find and protect him. The current run violates the ‘spirit’ of a PC’s Mentor Spirit…does the PC continue with the run or abandon his team?

The Way of the Mentat (Quality): 15 points at character creation and in game play can be learned from another Adept with the Quality for 30 karma or awakened through an initiation and taken in place of a Metamagic with a discounted price of 15 Karma. The Mentat must have a Logic of 6. The Mentat has heightened cognitive ability and can now increase Logic along with Skills and Knowledges based on Logic by purchasing Adept Powers. The Initiate with this Quality has their Mental Limit increased by their Grade and gains the Analytical Mind Quality. A single Mentat Power purchased with this Quality is at half cost in Power Points. If a non-Adept takes this Way they gain the Exceptional Logic Quality, the Analytical Mind Quality, Photographic Memory, and +1 to their Mental Limit.

Mentat Story Hooks: An AI interested in humans and their form of intelligence finally discovers that Mentats exist and absolutely must have one. Is one of the PC’s going to be extracted or will the runners extract a mentat from his accounting job at Saeder Krupp?

The Way of the Warrior (Quality):  15 points at character creation and in game play can be learned from another Adept with the Quality for 30 karma or awakened through an initiation and taken in place of a Metamagic with a discounted price of 15 Karma. The Warrior must have a ‘Code of Honor’ not necessarily the Warrior’s Code as presented in SR5 though that would be the most common and a Combat Skill of 6 or higher. The Adept with this Quality has heightened combat ability by having their Physical Limit increase by 1 and the Enhanced Accuracy Power in one combat skill equal to their Grade. The other major benefit is that the Power Point cost for Combat Sense, Mystic Armor, and Improved Ability (combat) is discounted by half.

Warrior Story Hooks: A particular brutal murderer is out killing the Warrior’s protected group and it is being splayed all over the news day in and day out. The Warrior must stop this monster. Will the rest of the team help with a pro bono run to catch a killer?

The Way of the Athlete (Quality): 15 points at character creation and in game play can be learned from another Adept with the Quality for 30 karma or awakened through an initiation and taken in place of a Metamagic with a discounted price of 15 Karma. The Athlete must have an Athletics Skill of 6 or higher. When purchasing the Attribute Boost power the Athlete doesn’t have to pick a specific Attribute as it applies to all physical Attributes and the Adept can choose at will which Attribute to boost. The Athlete also gains the “Natural Athlete Quality” but instead of just +2 bonus the Initiate gets to add their Grade to the +2.

Athlete Story Hooks: A physical adept from an urban brawl team has just recently went from obscurity to star status and Mr Johnson wants to know why and how it can be duplicated.

The Way of the Ronin (Quality): 15 points at character creation and in game play can be learned from another Street Samurai with the Quality for 30 karma. May have one piece of normal cyberware that is so integrated into his body/mind system that it acts as if it was deltaware for all purposes from Essence Cost to difficulty in Assensing it. The Ronin must have a Combat Skill of 6 or higher and a Physical Limit of 8 or higher. The Ronin also has a +1 to their Physical Limit and a +1 to their Accuracy/Physical Limit when using any of their cyberweapons as long as their Street Cred is higher than their Notoriety.

Ronin Story Hooks: The Ronin must make a decision between their Honor as a Street Samurai and their family when during a run they find out that something terrible has happened to a dependent.

The Way of the Merc (Quality): 15 points at character creation and in game play can be learned from another Mercenary with the Quality for 30 karma. The Merc must have experience as a Mercenary and at least two Knowledges relating to Military or Combat subjects at 3 or better and a Physical Limit of 6. Availability of Milspec Gear acts as if it was 2 lower, +2 on Negotiation involving Milspec gear “exchanges”, +2 on Knowledge tests involving Armed Forces and combat related subjects from weapons lore to military history to who is in command of Fort Briggs, +1 to Physical Limit, and +1 to all Defensive Totals in combat.

Merc Story Hooks: Fixer calls up the Merc needing his expertise to look over some rare, expensive or dangerous military gear that just fell off the back of a truck that the fixer doesn’t know what it is or does…Old Desert Wars teammate leaves a cryptic message about one of their tours and is later found dead in an highly suspicious manner.

The Way of the Bodyguard (Quality): 15 points at character creation and in game play can be learned from another Bodyguard with the Quality for 30 karma. The bodyguard must have at least a Perception of 4, a combat skill of 4 and a Physical Limit of 6. The bodyguard gains +2 to Perception totals, can ready a weapon as a free action, +1 to Reaction (treat as augmented), and gains a +2 bonus to resist being taken by surprise.

Bodyguard Story Hooks: The team’s extraction is foiled by the same Bodyguard again. An old contact of a runner is getting old and needs some help and will pay in pointers and nuyen.

The Way of the Gunslinger (Quality):  15 points at character creation and in game play can be learned from another Gunslinger with the Quality for 30 karma. The gunslinger must have a firearm skill at 6 or higher and a Reaction of 6 or higher. The gunslinger gains a +1 to DV for any firearm, automatically succeeds on quick draws, and gains a +1d6 bonus to Initiative that is compatible with other forms of Initiative increases as long as the first action taken involves shooting a firearm.

Gunslinger Story Hooks: The gunslinger is challenged to a duel in the middle of a run at a really bad time. Does the gunslinger fight it out or turn yellow and back away to help his team?

The Way of the Sharpshooter (Quality):  15 points at character creation and in game play can be learned from another Sharpshooter with the Quality for 30 karma. The Sharpshooter must have a ranged weapon skill of 6 or higher. The Sharpshooter may “Take Aim” as a free action as well as a simple action and can have as many cumulative actions as their Willpower. They also receive a +1 to DV with any firearm or Bow.

Sharpshooter Story Hooks: A fixer approaches the Sharpshooter with a fantastic offer of a new prototype sniper rifle from Ares for gratis but the Sharpshooter must record at least five instances of its use against live targets on a run. Does the Sharpshooter tell the team that part of the run is going to be recorded? A sharpshooter PC is given a job of shooting a politician from a grassy knoll. Is there more to this then a simple assassination?

The Way of the Rogue (Quality):  15 points at character creation and in game play can be learned from another Rogue with the Quality for 30 karma. A Rogue must have at least three Skills in Stealth, Influence or Acting of at least 4 and at least three Knowledges at 4 that would be helpful to a Rogue. The Rogue has many faces from the cat burglar to the pick pocket to the fencer of stolen goods. The Rogue has a +2 to Negotiations involving stolen goods either buying or selling, the Lucky Quality, +2 to Knowledge tests involving stolen goods and appraisals, and +1 to Stealth skill group tests.

Rogue Story Hooks: Someone just stole the very expensive, rare, or cool ‘thing’ that one of the PC’s loves and they want it back and whomever stole it. That Rogueish fixer always seems to luck out when it comes to finding the best runs and has another one for the team. Track down where a missing art item for a local museum that a cat burglar recently burglarized. No one else will look out

The Way of the City (Quality): 15 points at character creation and in game play can be learned from another city dweller with the Quality for 30 karma. The character flows through and into a city or metro environment and has no requirement other than an urban background. Pick three categories in the “Home Ground” Quality and enjoy those bonuses for your home metroplex and also receive half the bonus they provide in any metroplex/urban environment. Contact maintenance is at half cost for any contacts related to the Quality. All critical glitches dealing with this Quality are downgraded to just glitches and regular glitches are ignored as you know the city like the back of your hand and aren’t going to make too big of a mistake.

City Story Hooks: Some new player in town is executing a small group of NPC’s who all have immense knowledge about what is going on in the city and that are influential almost like they want to keep something in the dark…

The Way of the Rigger (Quality): 15 points at character creation and in game play can be learned from another Rigger with the Quality for 30 karma or developed on the character’s own after years of messing around with technology. The Rigger needs at least five Electronics, Engineering, Pilot, or Cracking Skills at 4 or better. The character gets the Gearhead and Juryrigger Qualities but when the Rigger tries to coax more using both Qualities the device doesn’t become a paperweight and if the Juryrigging succeeds by three or more past the threshold it becomes semi-permanent (lasts until a glitch is rolled then begins to unravel with a critical glitch causing instant destruction) rather than just a temporary fix.

Rigger Story Hooks: A fixer approaches the Rigger with an offer of a job to juryrig a prototype that someone somehow damaged so that it will work during a presentation for corporate big whigs.

The Way of the Tank (Quality): 15 points at character creation and in game play can be learned from another Tank with the Quality for 30 karma or discovered on the character’s own after developing an insane exercise regimen for years. The Tank needs a Body of 6 or higher. The Tank receives the Qualities Toughness, Quick Healer, 3 levels of Will to live, and his Armor acts as if its Rating was 2 points higher when calculating for armor penetration.

Tank Story Hook: The team’s tank was taken down hard on the last run. After a long recovery he vows to never be beaten down again and begins a search for the toughest guys in history and how they got there…maybe he’ll even have to ask the team’s aggravating decker for help!

The Way of the Bard (Quality):  15 points at character creation and in game play can be learned from another Bard with the Quality for 30 karma or awakened through an initiation and taken in place of a Metamagic with a discounted price of 15 Karma. The Bard needs a Performance or Artisan skill at 6 or higher. The Bard gains the “critter” power of Influence and if not previously awakened becomes so with a Magic Rating of 1 after accounting for cyberware and other Essence penalties but if their Essence is below 3 they cannot take this Quality. The Bard can use their Performance skill or Artisan skill to add to their Influence total if the art or music evokes a feeling similar in vein to the goal of the Influence attempt or explicitly tells the listener to perform the action. Performing an happy go lucky drinking song makes it easy to use Influence to encourage people to drink for example or in between verses say “Hey, everyone I want you on the dance floor!” thus those susceptible would head to the dance floor though the less explicit the instructions the more difficult it is to Influence people. Those following the Way of the Bard often learn the Bardic Metamagic to enhance their abilities.

Bardic Metamagic:  Magicians who learn this Metamagic are able to merge their magic and their passion for Art into a seamless whole. New Metamagical Spells, Rituals and Preparations become open to the character. The Bardic Performance Artist gains the powerful ability to have their bandmates aid in teamwork tests for Ritual Sorcery even if they are not Awakened using their Performance in place of Ritual Sorcery as long as the band performs the full length of the Ritual and the art is judged appropriate for the type of Ritual. Death Metal works well for a Prodigal Spell Ritual while gentle folk music would be okay for an Healing Circle. The Bardic Artisan Artist  gains the ability to use a new Trigger “Discerning Attention” in which the Preparation releases its magic upon discerning observation or study of the Art object as long as it would make logical sense. A painting designed to make people recycle more with an Influence Spell or Power Preparation works while it would fail as an anchor for a Fireball. The Bard makes an Artisan + Intuition roll after creating the art/alchemy piece with the net hits limiting the Force of the Preparation.

Objet D’art Metamagic: The advanced Bard can go beyond the rules and weave their Art and Magic into an almost inseparable structure that is very difficult for most magicians to detect requiring a threshold of 6 for Assensing Tests. This Metamagic allows the Bard to invest his Art with magic and Influence even when he is not performing or in the presence of the art piece. The bard makes an Performance/Artisan + Charisma/Intuition + Magic [Social] (24, Y) Extended Test with the Objet d’art’s Force of the Influence Spell or Power being equal to the Bard’s Initiate Grade with a duration of the Influence Power being equal to Grade times Y in time units (If (24, day) with a Grade of 3 the duration of the Artistic Preparation is 3 days after which it begins to decay following the rules of Alchemical Preparations with Y times). Karma equal to the Initiate’s Grade can be spent to extend the duration by one step on the “Extended Test Intervals” with the step after “Mammoth” being a year so with the example above karma expenditure would extend the duration to 3 weeks.  The created item is threaded with almost indetectable magic that can evoke an emotion or influence an action amongst those who view or listen to the Art even if it is a recording or simulacrum though depending on the quality of the duplication suffers penalties to the rolls. Even after the Artistic Preparation has faded an echo remains that the sensitive soul can feel.

Bard Story Hook: Rumors of a new marketing graphic artist wiz at Horizon hits the shadows and it seems that everyone has taken a big interest in her and are looking for an extraction including Novatech, Aztechnology, and no less than three dragons. Who will the Runners work for and how many other Shadowrunning teams will be looking to do the same? Someone in the Matrix is going around deleting a really awesome song called ‘Pride and Power’ that a trog rock band made celebrating strength and pride in who you are and what you might become that seems to have started a movement and is a rallying point for the Ork Underground in Seattle now that they are a city district. That someone erased the song off of the team Decker’s cyberdeck!

The Way of the Righ (Quality):  15 points at character creation and in game play must be awakened through an initiation and taken in place of a Metamagic with a price of 15 Karma. There are several requirements to following this Way which include the character must be an elf, have a Magic and Charisma of 6 or higher, a Sorcery Skill of 6 or higher, cannot take geasa, and cannot have cyberware or bioware as the body must be pure. The Righ gains +2 to all social tests with other Elves, has the Exceptional Magic and Charisma Qualities, and a +1 to Sorcery Skill Group tests.

Righ Story Hook: The Righ by his nature will draw the attention of other elves and eventually ‘Elves’ who will likely seek to use him or her as a pawn in their games. If a PC the Righ may get preferential treatment from a Mr. Johnson or another Runner team may be hired to “extract” him. If an NPC the players may be hired to kill, extract, or influence the Righ or maybe the Righ is one of the characters new love interest or even a relative in need of help and over their head.