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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.

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
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Shadowrun Overhaul: A Talismonger’s Guide to Hunting and Gathering Reagents


Wrote this up for a campaign with a PC as a talismonger with the rest of the team as her employees. The campaign deals with the chaos in the Talismonger community after the casualties of the Dragon Civil War. Since the system in the books is pretty sparse and basic I came up with something more realistic that would make it clear how much of a difference an hot spot makes in the bottom line of a talismonger.

In my next post I will be further explaining the value of the Grade of the reagent which is glossed over in Street Grimoire and just priced in Shadow Spells. I also came up with a new mechanic called Glitch Prone to handle the poor grades of the reagents. I don’t follow the pricing of Reagents shown in Shadow Spells partly because I use an house rule for how reagents work and partly because demand is up and supplies are down these days.

I have also invented a new type of Reagent called Flawless. It takes 10 Radical Reagents to make 1 Flawless Reagent. Orichalcum is made of 3 Flawless Reagents not 30 Radical. This change was because of my new Artificing rules and because it seemed more elegant to my new rules on what reagents do besides help with focus creation.

There are two types of search when looking for Reagents. The Hunt and the Gather. When Hunting in order to avoid harming the reagents the Hunter needs to use treated and clean weapons of the bow and arrow or melee type as more high tech weapons harm the quality of the reagents.

First of the Talismonger picks an area to Hunt and/or Gather in and the GM decides the state of the area and rolls for how many reagents it would be possible to harvest in that area if harvesting. If Hunting the GM decides what critters are in the area and their possible qualitative and quantitative value for reagent harvesting. If Gathering the key for the talismonger is to find the reagents, notice their quality and harvest them correctly.

Depending on hazards of the location whether urban or wilderness the PC is likely to need to make a Survival Test or three as most talismongers are going to be covering a lot of ground searching for as many reagents as they can find as quickly as they can find. In many cases this could lead to many days in places far from civilization. As some locales are hidden or out of the way or difficult to travel in and out of the smart talismonger doesn’t want to make many different short trips if one long trip can get the job done.

A smart talismonger has bodyguards or security when traveling in dangerous areas as they will be significantly distracted by the process of assensing an area to gather and harvest reagents or hunting a critter. It is far too easy for a hunter to be on the scent of one critter and get blindsided by the critter they didn’t know was also in the area.

It would be wise to have someone skilled in Outdoors Skills like Navigation to get to the region and go from area to area and Survival to…survive. When Hunting a critter someone with a good Hunting Knowledge and Tracking Skill will make the difference between an happy bottom line and a disgraceful snipe hunt.

Game Mechanics:

An Arcana + Logic [3] Test would be appropriate if the Talismonger is searching for a reagent appropriate for their or a client’s needs. Say a client who is a Mountain shaman wants a Power Focus than the Talismonger would spend some time to consider what kind of specimen or source would provide the best results as a part of a telesma. This is part of the process of tailoring the focus to the client. Net hits above the threshold of this test and successful gathering of the specified reagents to be used should provide tangible benefits to the talismonger like a bonus die per extra hit on a test as well as to the client such as lessening the Karma cost by the extra hits that the shaman would need to bond with the focus. A good talismonger should have a strong sense of how mana and reagents work. This also rewards the PC’s for going along with the GM’s adventure plot.

Hunting:

Tracking Skill and Hunting Knowledge Tests are par for the course once the team has made it to the area.

Once found the critter can be slain but depending on the way it was slain the reagents could be harmed.

The GM will have to decide the Potency of the critter and make some rolls to determine the reward for the team.

Talismongers with control over an area or with ethical reservations about killing the critters can use non-lethal incapacitating weapons and try and harvest what they can from a critter. In many cases this is the smarter choice depending on how the reagents express for that species. For example a talismonger in Wales is famous for making Foci out of the superior reagents made of shorn wool from his awakened black sheep.

Trapping and Fishing are other options that a Survival Test can help with. Non-lethal Trapping simply traps the animal in such a way as to do no physical harm to the animal and thus avoid harm to the reagents prior to harvesting.

The Specimen:

The GM decides on the Potency of the Critter by comparing the power level of the critter to a starting PC with some consideration about how “magical” the critter is, how important the critter is to the talismonger’s tradition, and the nature of the specific critter that is being hunted like if it is an Alpha or an Omega.

Potency:

Superhuman Rating: Prime Quality with 5d6 or more raw reagents

Superior Rating: Prime Quality with 1d6 or more raw reagents

Equal Rating: Superior Quality with 1d6 or more raw reagents

Inferior Rating: Baseline Quality with 1d6 or more raw reagents

Spirit’s Potency:

Of Talismonger’s Summoning Tradition: Superior Quality with Force reagents

Of Different Tradition: Baseline Quality with Force reagents.

If Great Form: Raise Quality by 1 and Force x 2 reagents.

Hunting Techniques:

Best Practices: No Modifier

Non-lethal Trapping techniques, treated traditional fishing equipment, careful harvesting of living animals especially domesticated animals, capture using weapons like bolas or some manipulation magic, or when a critter is killed by melee and archery weapons that are specially treated and cleansed.

Poor Practices: Quality -1

Using melee or archery weapons which have ‘dirty’ mana. The same residue that a Psychometrist can read from an object can harm the integrity of the mana in the critter and thus the reagents. Indirect Combat Spells and some Manipulation spells as well. Methods that cause the critter to endure long term negative emotions or pain prior to harvesting can spoil the reagents as well.

Bad Practices: Quality -1 per box of damage from a bad source

Direct Combat Spells that do physical damage scramble and mutilate a target’s mana on a massive scale as do firearms and demolitions. Direct Combat Spells that do Stun damage may only disrupt its mana temporarily and can be used to capture and then after a sunrise or sunset allow harvesting without penalty.

Harvesting Modifiers:

The Goose who laid the Golden Eggs: Lessen the amount of reagents harvested by at least half but the talismonger is able to harvest reagents without harming the critter. The GM should decide how long of a period is necessary for reagents to renew depending on the form of the reagent. Taking a tail feather from an awakened bird means you have to wait until the tail feather grows back. This also works for domesticated animals.

Fresh: No Modifier.This is when a talismonger harvests the corpse of a critter or any once living matter before the corpse had experienced its first sunset or sunrise which will disrupt the mana in the critter just like dawns and dusks wipe out temporary magical lodges.

Didn’t use an Alchemy Kit to Harvest: Lowers Quality by 1 and makes transportation difficult as a kit enables the talismonger to coax the mana into a few small areas. Instead of reagents weighing less than a dozen grams a piece now have a weight of at least a kilogram per dram.

Mana Level: If the critter had spent most of the latter part of its life in an high or low Background Count or Domain than the GM can add a d6 or subtract a d6.

Not Fresh: Lowers Quality by 1. This could be shed fur or a scale that fell or rubbed off found at the critter’s home or when a critter is slain and brought to a talismonger after a sunset or sunrise has past.

Ancient or High Status Critter: Raises Quality by 1

Final Potency and Quality of the Specimen:

Tally up all the modifiers above until you have a Quality modifer and roll to see how many drams are there. A Quality raised by 1 that was of Baseline starting Potency and Abundancy increased by 1d6  would yield 2d6 Superior raw reagents.

Harvesting the Reagents:

First an Assensing + Intuition [Astral] (# of reagents, minute) Extended Test to locate and understand the mana and its concentration within the specimen. The character can only harvest the reagents that she can find in this process. Thus, if she stops getting six hits than that is how many reagents she can harvest as a maximum.

Then make an Alchemy + Intuition [Astral] (2x # of reagents, hour) Extended Test to concentrate and focus the mana in the specimen and harvest the reagents. Every hit on the Test can be split between concentrating the reagent and harvesting the reagent. A talismonger in a hurry can choose to skip the concentrating part and instead of reagents weighing under 12 grams a piece each reagent weighs at least a kilogram apiece. Once Harvested a reagent can’t be further concentrated without disrupting the mana making bulky reagents less valuable and useful for many endeavors. Superior 5th Generation Alchemy Kits also lower the time interval required in half and provide other benefits.

If attempting to harvest from a critter in a renewable way than an additional hit on the above test can be spent to carefully harvest without harming the critter or its ability to recover its reagents in the future. The GM should decide how much can be harvested safely but no more than half of its total reagents should be available without harm.

An Animal Handling Test may be necessary should the critter be awake and mobile. More reagents can be harvested in a renewable way from a calm, alert, and trusting critter. In many cases this isn’t possible and the critter should be harvested while immobile or unconscious. When a critter is in that sort of state its mana is in flux making it more difficult to concentrate the mana into reagents safe to harvest without harming the critter.

Gathering:

Parabotany, Parageology, Magical Theory, and other knowledge tests can help out with finding good spots to gather reagents.

These are the factors that will determine how many and what quality the reagents might be in the area. It is possible that more than one source of reagents might be in an area and if that is true the grade of the raw reagents may differ between the various sources in the area. The Status of an Area might be excellent but if it is well known it is probably being harvested regularly and thus not as objectively good an area as another. All the pieces connect.

Source:

The Source of the reagents could be a gold vein, a stalactite, a critter nest, ancient bones, moss on a gravestone, feathers discarded by an awakened eagle, petrified shit from a blackberry cat who ate the wrong magical compound, a chess set used in a grandmaster match, the discarded wood shavings leftover from making icons of Cthulu by a lunatic carpenter obsessed with HP Lovecraft, old amusement park coins discovered in a junked automated fortune teller, the smaller piece of a wishbone broken and discarded in tears by a child, and more.

The Abundancy of the Source:

Potent: 3d6 base reagents.

Baseline: 1d6 base reagents.

Poor: no base reagents.

The Purity of the Source:

Pristine: Raise Quality by 1.

Typical: No Modifier.

Poor: Lower Quality by 1.

The Status and Potency of the Area:
Prime: Rare pristine places free of physical and astral pollution and very little interaction with metahumanity. Or places of relatively pure purpose, emotion, and intent. Cathedrals, a memorial, a family graveyard tended lovingly for a dozen generations, an old half forgotten out of the way research library at one of the first universities like Salerno or Oxford, the original historical set of buildings at West Point, or a sept’s castle. Prime base Quality
Superior: Clean or Esoteric locales like a bucolic village or well maintained park with little but good natured traffic. A centuries old graveyard open to the public but off the beaten path, an old bookstore district, a community church where famous abolitionists gathered, a research lab at a quality university. Superior base Quality
Baseline: Mundane like most areas on earth: Baseline base Quality
Subpar: The nicer part of the Barrens. Subpar base Quality
Inferior: The bad part of the Barrens. Inferior base Quality
Tainted: Whole swathes of Tsimshian. Tainted base Quality

Resting State of the Area:
Untouched: Hasn’t ever been harvested. Quality raised by 2 and number of drams is raised by 3d6.
Unspoiled: Hasn’t been harvested in years. Quality raised by 1 and number of drams is raised by 2d6.
Fallow: Hasn’t been harvested in months. Number of drams is raised by 1d6.
Cultivated: Has been harvested this month. No Modifier.
Recently Harvested: Has been harvested this week and most of the reagents were found. Lower Quality by 1 and drams by 1d6.

These two factors can also define the Resting State of the Area and can both impact the above States.
Over Harvested: Area has been Harvested more than once a month for a year. Lowers Quality by 1 and drams by 1d6.
Tapped Out: Talismongers regularly harvest every single reagent in the Area for a year. Lowers Quality by 1 and drams by 3d6.

Harvesting the Reagents:

First an Assensing + Intuition [Astral] (# of reagents, minute) Extended Test to locate and understand the mana and its concentration within the specimen. The character can only harvest the reagents that she can find in this process. Thus, if she stops getting six hits than that is how many reagents she can harvest as a maximum.

Then make an Alchemy + Intuition [Astral] (2x # of reagents, hour) Extended Test to concentrate and focus the mana in the specimen and harvest the reagents. Every hit on the Test can be split between concentrating the reagent and harvesting the reagent. A talismonger in a hurry can choose to skip the concentrating part and instead of reagents weighing under 12 grams a piece each reagent weighs at least a kilogram apiece. Once Harvested a reagent can’t be further concentrated without disrupting the mana making bulky reagents less valuable and useful for many endeavors. Superior 5th Generation Alchemy Kits also lower the time interval required in half and provide other benefits.

Final Potency and Quality of the Source:

Tally up all the modifiers above until you have a Quality modifer and roll to see how many drams are there. A Quality raised by 1 that was of baseline starting Potency and baseline starting Abundancy increased by 1d6  would yield 2d6 Superior raw reagents.

Glitch Prone:

This quality of a reagent is a way for the GM to show the dangers of cheap reagents and gives a mechanic to the story fluff in Street Grimoire that talked about foci made from inferior reagents. It would be easy to apply this mechanic to making new negative qualities for characters, guns, computers et cetera so feel free to do so.

Minor Glitch Prone: Whatever magical test the reagent is used for is modified so any 2’s rolled are counted as a 1 for declaring a glitch or critical glitch.

Major Glitch Prone: Whatever magical test the reagent is used for is modified so any 2 or 3 rolled are counted as a 1 for declaring a glitch or critical glitch.

Critically Glitch Prone: Whatever magical test the reagent is used for is modified so any non hit is counted as a 1 for declaring a glitch or critical glitch.

Quality of Reagents:

The Quality of a refined reagent is determined by the lowest grade of a component. So 9 Prime raw reagents and 1 subpar raw reagent yields 1 subpar refined grade reagent making accurate discovery of the grade of all reagents important during the refining process especially with Orichalcum as the purity of the Orichalcum becomes a big deal at that level of cost. The benefits of Prime and Superior Quality reagents will be described in my next post.

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

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

Baseline: No modifer to base cost or refining time.

Subpar: 25% lower base cost and 25% slower to refine than baseline reagents. Minor Glitch Prone.

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

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

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

Equipment:

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.

Alchemy Kit Enhancements: Adding extra features like the Ghostbusters Enhancement that lets Talismongers salvage reagents from 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 help.

Prices:                                                                                                       

Increase the cost of any Magical Compounds in the books by 25% to 50% and increase Availability by 1 to represent supply and demand.

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