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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.


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 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.

Shadowrun Overhaul: Power Points and Mystic Adepts

Shadowrun Mystic Adepts and Power Points:

With the errata increasing the cost of Power Points for Mystic Adepts from 2 to 5 per point it would make sense to allow a Mystic Adept at character creation to apply their allocated spells, rituals, and preparations towards power points. In other words an ‘A priority’ Mystic Adept receives 10 Spells as part of their package. They could then have 6 spells, a ritual, and 3 Power Points of Adept Powers and if they wanted to they could also spend their karma for more Power Points just like they can for spells.

In gameplay a Mystic Adept may purchase more Power Points just like they would purchase a spell or preparation. They spend 5 Karma per Power Point up to their limit of their Magic Rating. So, a Mystic Adept who only purchased one power point in character generation to represent that the PC had just discovered their Adept abilities but had a Magic Rating of 5 could then purchase 4 more Power Points for 20 Karma during gameplay.

Use the rules on SR5 for learning new spells. Increasing Power Points requires a teacher or experimentation. Each day the Mystic Adept must spend 8 hours practicing or studying or start over.

With Teacher: Arcana + Intuition [Magical Lodge] Test. The time is equal to 12 days divided by the number of hits. Teacher can add extra dice (SR5 p 141.)

Without Teacher using experimentation: Arcana + Logic [Magical Lodge] Test. The time is equal to 28 days divided by the number of hits.