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Sprawlrunners houserules

Sprawlrunners is a cyberpunk-with-magic setting-agnostic ruleset for Savage Worlds.

After a few years of battling the Shadowrun rules, my table eventually threw in the towel and ported our in-progress campaign to Sprawlrunners. So far, we’ve been really happy with this decision.

This section documents our use of the generic Sprawlrunners toolkit to create a Shadowrun-esque game. They contain various setting expansions, clarifications, houserules, and so forth that my table uses in our campaign. The end result is broadly compatible with the Shadowrun setting but contain numerous simplifications compared to the Shadowrun rules - by design.


What this is, and why I did it

Savage Worlds for Shadowrun players

A brief overview of the Savage Worlds RPG system

Goals and notes

Why I wrote these rules


Everything about characters, generation, stats, and abilities


Quick notes on how to generate characters for Sprawlrunners


Houserules for metahuman races

Skills for my campaign


Houserules for spoken languages in the Sprawl


New and improved edges


Gotta get chromed, chummer

Physical adepts

Houserules for using physical adepts in my game

Physical Adept draft rules ideas

First draft of core rules

Downtime, advancement, and wealth

Everything about how characters advance, the things they do between missions, and the use of the Wealth die

Advancement and rewards

Character improvement and other goodies

Using the Wealth Die in Sprawlrunners

Handling money for incidental purchases without having to keep track of a bank balance

Downtime Actions

Things to do between crime sprees


Adding ‘Universal Magic Theory’ to Sprawlrunners

Using Powers

My take on No-Power-Points spell casting in SWADE


Game mechanic for summoning

Summoner types

How different magical traditions approach spirit summoning

Arcane backgrounds

Different types of Awakened characters

Creating spirits

Rules for creating stats for spirits


Houserules and clarifications for specific powers

Astral space, perception, and projection

The astral plane; how to go there and what to do

The Matrix

Types of Matrix devices and their stats

Stats for devices, stuff that matters

Matrix Actions

All kinds of things deckers can do

Sleaze hacking on the wireless Matrix

What to hack and how to hack it

Cybercombat hacking

Disregard stealth; brick devices instead

Combat decking

How the decker can help in combat


How the authorities catch deckers

Additional rules

Extra bits and pieces

Furious Hacking in our Sprawlrunners

Draft proposal for integrating ManuFS’s Furious Hacking rules into our game

Riggers / Jockeys


What it does and how it works

Drone decks

draft! draft! draft!

Vehicle mods

New rules for riggers to customise their ride

Hacking vehicles and drones

Deckers vs riggers

Setting Rules


An alternative to the Running die

Influencing the Story

Houserules for using Bennies during a mission

The Heat Die

Game mechanics for when you’re being hunted


People you know, and what they can do for you


Firearms and the Matrix

How modern firearms interact with the Matrix


Gadgets and gizmos


Some sample weapons drawn from Shadowrun, statted for Sprawlrunners

SINs and licences

A brief overview of fake IDs in the Sixth World

Dice probabilities reference

The chances of beating certain target numbers in Savage Worlds

Sprawlrunners archived rules

Rules I’ve removed from my Savage Worlds campaign

Furious Magic x Sprawlrunners x MagusRogue

Using the rules from Furious Magic in Sprawlrunners

Reckless casting

In a rush? Prepared to take a risk? Here you go!

Trappings & modifiers

Options for combat spells

1 - Introduction

What this is, and why I did it

1.1 - Savage Worlds for Shadowrun players

A brief overview of the Savage Worlds RPG system

You need two books:

  1. Savage Worlds Adventure Edition - the core rulebook for Savage Worlds itself.
  2. Sprawlrunners - add-on rules that build on top of Savage Worlds to create an urban-fantasy-cyberpunk setting.

(For players in my campaign - our Google drive share is here. For players not in my campaign - this link is not public; sorry.)

Philosophical differences between Shadowrun and Sprawlrunners

  • Sprawlrunners is a 2050-era setting that is closely aligned with early editions of Shadowrun: no wireless hacking, no technomancers, distinct rules for mages and shamans, etc.
  • In Savaged Worlds, by default, characters start a bit less powerful than they do in Shadowrun, but progress at a significantly faster rate. You can mitigate this by using the “characters start at Seasoned rank” optional rule, and we will do so in our campaign.

A note about Trappings

Savage Worlds relies in having simple, reusable rules but making them versatile via trappings. You can create a trapping to dress up just about any ability your character has however you please. Suppose a face, a streetsam, and a physical adept all take the Level Headed edge, which gives them an advantage in initiative draws. This game mechanic could represent, respectively, an intrinsic talent for the face, a piece of augmentation for the streetsam, and a mystical ability for the physad. I encourage you to go nuts with this!

1.2 - Goals and notes

Why I wrote these rules

Why not Shadowrun?

The Shadowrun system is a huge, sprawling, bloated beast of a thing. For any given edition, the CRB plus splatbooks contain thousands of pages of rules; it’s just too much. Inconsistencies and unbalanced elements abound. Pages are devoted to irrelevant rules like SCUBA diving. On-the-fly rules clarifications are required of GMs constantly.

Like many GMs, I hacked away at it, trying to cut it down to something manageable (see my efforts on the rest of this site) – but I tired of the fight. I’d much rather be devoting my energies to running my games than rewriting rules.

Furthermore, these issues are getting worse over time, not better. Shadowrun 6e did little to address the issues of 5e, while having significantly worse editing and organisation. I no longer have any trust in SR’s publishers to assemble a high-quality product that I want to play.

Why Savage Worlds?

There’s lots of fan hacks around that aim to use other RPG systems to run Shadowrun games with. But for my table’s style of game, I think Savage Worlds is a good choice. Why?

  • Savage Worlds is a classless system, like Shadowrun. We prefer this to the class-based approach adopted by PbtA and FitD games.
  • Savage Worlds excels at pulpy high-action play styles. Our Shadowrun campaign leans pink mohawk, so that’s a good fit.
  • Savage Worlds is a mainstream system with good support from digital tools, in particular for character generation and for virtual tabletops like Roll20 and Foundry. Both are important to us.
  • Savage Worlds, as a generic RPG engine, has lots of content out there that spans other genres like horror, high sci-fi, and fantasy. Content from these can be pulled in as needed for Shadowrun’s more outré elements such as metaplane adventures or ultraviolet VR hosts.

Why Sprawlrunners?

Simply put, Sprawlrunners is by far the most polished and well-considered of the various hacks that attempt to blend Shadowrun’s setting with Savage World’s ruleset.

It is also probably the adaptation that sticks most closely to the vanilla Savage World rules. For example, the use of (mostly) existing Edges and Racial Trait rules and costs to model cyberware means the game is more easily balanced.

Why change Sprawlrunners?

Sprawlrunners is perfectly playable as-is, so why have I written all these houserules for it? It’s mostly a question of game era. Sprawlrunners has a very classic FASA-era SR feel — the first to third editions. This means:

  • Only two magic traditions (hermetic mages and shamans), with a lot of differences between them. Nature spirits and elementals are very different.
  • Wired-only, VR-only cyberspace.
  • No technomancers.

There’s nothing wrong with those decisions. But they don’t work for our table because we already have a pre-existing campaign and pre-existing characters set in the 2070s using the Shadowrun 5e rules. One character is a chaos mage, and doesn’t fit into the hermetic mage or shaman traditions. One character is a rigger/decker, optimised for in-combat AR hacking.

I do not want to start with fresh characters, I want to convert my ongoing campaign. Hence: I wrote the rules you find on this site. They attempt to extend the Sprawlrunners base to cover wireless hacking and unified magic theory, plus a few extra houserules of my own divising just to suit my own tastes and biases.

2 - Characters

Everything about characters, generation, stats, and abilities

2.1 - Chargen

Quick notes on how to generate characters for Sprawlrunners

There is a character generation tool for Savage Worlds at It’s free, and has support for Sprawlrunners, but there’s a few non-obvious things to getting the best from it. It also has a few minor areas in which it doesn’t quite reflect the Sprawlrunners rules, so you’ll need to manually adjust your character or just ignore it’s validation warnings.

NB: the chargen quick reference in the SWADE CRB, pages 55-63, are very good and are recommended reading. Remember that the Sprawlrunners book adds extra options on top of those, though.

Doing it manually

SWADE chargen is pretty simple, especially compared to Shadowrun, so you might like to do it all by hand. Even if you do use, it helps to understand the steps.

This is covered in detail in SWADE pgs 9-59, but I’ll do a summary here.

Chargen summary

  1. Concept: Start with a general idea of what you want to play. There’s many ways to approach that, but a good strategy is always to pick a specialised role and build towards being good at it. The classic list of Shadowrun archetypes include combat (either cybered or physical/qi adept), decking/hacking, rigger/vehicles/drones, magical abilities, or face (social manipulation of others).
  2. Race: Choose your character’s race and apply the bonuses and special abilities it grants. The five classic Shadowrun races are available; if you want to play a variant metahuman type, ask me, and we will figure something out.
  3. Hindrances: Select up to four points of hindrances (major hindrances are worth 2, minor are worth 1)
    • For 2 hindrance points you can raise an attribute one die type, or choose an edge (see below.)
    • For 1 hindrance point you can gain another skill point.
  4. Attributes: Attributes start at d4. You have 5 points to distribute among them. Each step costs 1 point.
    • Attributes may not be raised beyond d12 unless your hero’s racial bonus states otherwise.
  5. Skills : Athletics, Common Knowledge, Notice, Persuasion, and Stealth are core skills and start at d4 for free. (Trolls do not get Stealth for free.) See skills for a complete list of all skills and skill specialisations in my campaign.
    • You have 15 points to increase your skills. Note that this is raised from 12 in core SWADE, because a modern game setting tends to be a little more skill-heavy than a fantasy setting; for example, almost everyone will want a point or two in driving, shooting, etc.
    • Each die type costs 1 point up to and equal to the linked attribute; then 2 points per step after that. Example: Suppose you have d6 Agility and want to take Shooting to d8. It takes 1 point to take Shooting to d4, 1 point to take it to d6, then 2 points to take it to d8, for a total of 4 points.
    • A d8 is a pretty high skill, think of it as being roughly equivalent to a 12-dice pool in Shadowrun. I would encourage you to target rolling d8 or at most d10s in your character’s speciality, so you have enough points to build a rounded character. I will be basing NPC power levels around this; a ganger would roll d6 to attack, a trained corpsec d8.
      • Also, don’t forget PCs also get a Wild Die in addition to their trait die.
  6. Derived Statistics
    • Standard Pace is 6″, but may be changed by racial abilities, Edges, or Hindrances.
    • Parry is 2 plus half of Fighting. If you don’t have Fighting, it’s just 2.
    • Toughness is 2, plus half of Vigor, plus any armor. Note the amount of armor in parentheses like this—Toughness: 11 (2). This means 2 points of the total 11 Toughness comes from Armor. An Armor Piercing attack could bypass those 2 points but not the other 9.
  7. Edges: Use any leftover Hindrance points to take starting Edges if you like. Each Edge costs 2 Hindrance points. Some Edges have additional rules to be aware of:
    • Mages take one or two special Edges called arcane backgrounds. There are four arcane backgrounds: two flavours of spellcasting, spirit summoning, and physical adept. Once you take the arcane background edge, it unlocks powers. See Arcane Backgrounds for more.
      • Note that all the Power Edges in core SWADE are removed, with the exception of New Powers. They are replaced by a selection in Sprawlrunners pg 16 (although few are available at chargen.)
    • Cybered characters will want to take the Implanted and Chromed edges. Chromed both grants Implant Points to spend on some cyberware systems, and unlocks access to further Edges used for other cyberware. See Edge trappings for details.
  8. Powers, cyberware, and physad powers: If you took Edges that give you powers to choose, cyberware implant points to spend, or physad power points (called “chi points” in Sprawlrunners), spend those now. These are chosen from the Sprawlrunners book.
  9. Advances: All of the above creates a character at the Novice level. We will start new characters at Seasoned instead, so you now get to apply four advances to your character. Each advance can be used in one of a few ways:
    • Gain a new Edge.
      • Note that mages have access to a Power Edge called New Powers that gives you… new powers. You get to pick two new powers each time you take this, and you can take it as many times as you like. This is how you learn new spells.
    • Increase a skill that is equal to or greater than its linked attribute one die type.
    • Increase two skills that are lower than their linked attributes by one die type each (including new skills the character didn’t have before at d4).
    • Increase one attribute by a die type. This option may only be taken once per Rank. Legendary characters may raise an attribute every other Advance, up to the racial maximum.
    • [Not during chargen] Permanently remove a Minor Hindrance, or reduce a Major Hindrance to a Minor (if possible). With the GM’s permission, and if it makes sense, two Advances may be saved up and spent to remove a Major Hindrance.


Getting started

You can only access the Sprawlrunners tools in if you register for the site. So do that. Note that it has a bit of a habit of logging you out unexpectedly - keep an eye on that (if it does log you out, it’ll have a Login prompt at the top right.)

I have a custom setting for our campaign here: It includes, wherever possible, houserules we are using. Click that link and click “use setting” at the top right to start generating your character.

Notes on each step

Once you’ve done the above, you’ll get a series of tabs you step through in order (more or less) to create your character.

Character concept

Most of this is completely optional but selecting your native language is helpful later. All characters speak two languages by default: your mother tongue (English, Japanese, German, etc) and “Sprawlspeak”, a pidgin commonly used on the streets of metroplexes. If you want more, take the Linguist edge.

Don’t worry about adding Sprawlspeak to your character sheet at this point. There’s no way to do it that won’t cost you points. We’ll take care of that during play.

Character level

For now, I think we’ll be starting freshly generated characters at the Seasoned rank. This will not only make you more powerful, it’ll also significantly expand the options open to you.

To do that, go to the Advances tab and enter “4”. You don’t need to use those advances – for extra edges, points etc – just yet. But doing this now will open up options to you through the rest of character generation.

Awakened characters

To play a mage, shaman, or physical adept character, skip ahead to Edges and add “Arcane Background”, then come back. This will unlock other options you want to take.


Remember that you are restricted to no more than 4 points of hindrances, where a Minor hindrance is worth 1 point and a Major hindrance is worth 2 points. You can use these points for various boosts, like increasing skills or more Edges. You can choose how to use each point in the “Perks” box in the left column.

For descriptions of the Hindrances, see the SWADE CRB and the Sprawlrunners book. You also get a one-line summary within when you add them to your character.

Also remember that you can use Hindrances to your advantage – when you roleplay them well, I’ll generally five give you a Bennie.


Keep in mind it costs more points to raise a skill to a die type higher than the linked attribute. For example, if you have Agility at d6, it costs 1 skill point to take Shooting to d6, then 2 more skill points to take it to d8.

Note that some skills you get for free at the basic, d4 level: athletics, stealth, common knowledge, notice, and persuasion. For any other skill you don’t take, you will roll (d4-2).

Some notes about specific skills:

  • Fighting is all melee combat; Shooting is all guns; Athletics is all throwing weapons (including grenades).
  • Occult is used for theoretical knowledge of magic (can be taken by non-magical characters.) It’s similar to Arcane in Shadowrun.
  • Spellcasting is used for all magical actions, including summoning spirits.
  • Driving is all ground vehicles and drones, Piloting is all aircraft, Boating is all aquatic vehicles.
  • Persuasion is your go-to “lie convincingly” skill.
  • Notice is your perception skill.

For more information, see the Skills page.

Guns, vehicles, and other gear

Sprawlrunners uses an innovative system for most gear where you do not purchase it at character generation. Instead, your character has Logistics Points (LPs), representing their cash on hand, contacts, and trustworthiness. You “spend” these points during play to acquire gear you need for the mission, then discard the gear later so you can’t be traced or tracked through it. This gear is off-the-books; your contacts have taken the time to scrub it clean of any identifying or traceable marks, and it comes complete with low-grade fake licences where appropriate.

You can use LPs to buy stuff in chargen if you want, just to get a feel for what it costs, but you’re not committed to those purchases.

If you want more LPs, look at the Rich or Filthy Rich edges. You will also earn more as your character advances.

Special gear: cyberware, foci, signature weapons

Items your character owns permanently, like cyberware or magical foci, works differently. You choose an Edge and get the gear, forever, without spending LPs.

To get cyberware, take the Chromed, Man And Machine, and/or More Machine Than Man edges. Each of these gives you 2 Implant Points to spend on cyberware. Note that (for technical reasons) the cyberware part of lists the “cost” of cyberware as Logistic Points, but this is incorrect, they’re actually Implant Points. You’ll have to double check the calculation manually.

Some common/small cyberware doesn’t cost any Implant Points. To get these, you have to take the Implanted edge. You can take any amount of zero-rated cyberware once you take the Implanted edge once. The Implanted edge is free, but note that will charge you a point for it.

Adept powers & spells

To select your spells or adept powers, you’ll use the Powers tab. This will appear once you select an arcane background.

Adept powers work similarly to Implant Points. You get Chi Points with your Arcane Background edge, and more via other edges as your character progresses. Then you spend those points on powers.

Mages and shamans also use the Powers tab to select their spells. Note that shaman have a much shorter list of allowed powers, but their summoned spirits can cast spells, whereas a mage’s elementals cannot.

2.2 - Races

Houserules for metahuman races


  • Adaptable (4): Humans seem to have an unlimited ability to adapt to their circumstances.
    • They begin with a free Novice Edge of their choice.
    • In addition, they can choose one of their Attributes to start at d6 rather than d4. Note that unlike other racial bonuses to Attributes, however, the maximum remains d12 rather than becoming d12+1.


  • Thermal Vision (1): Dwarves see heat. This halves Illumination penalties when attacking warm targets (including invisible beings).
  • Focused (2): They are single-minded people and start with a d6 to Spirit (with a maximum limit of d12+1).
  • Tough Constitution (2): Their resiliency and natural resistance to toxins and poisons is renowned. Dwarves start with a d6 in Vigor (with a maximum limit of d12+1).
  • Short Legs (-1): Being stout and having short legs means Dwarves don’t cover as much ground as the rest of metahumanity. Their Pace and running die are reduced by one.


  • Low Light Vision (1): Elves ignore penalties for Dim or Dark illumination (but not Pitch Darkness).
  • Agile (2): Graceful and quick, Elves start with a d6 in Agility (with a maximum of d12+1).
  • Attractive (2): Considered to be the ideal image of desirability in metahumanity, elves are idolized by most and add +1 to Performance and Persuasion rolls.
  • Slight (-1): They might be slender and graceful, but they tend to hurt a little easier than other metatypes. Elves subtract one from Toughness.


  • Low Light Vision (1): Orks ignore penalties for Dim or Dark illumination (but not Pitch Darkness).
  • Size +1 (1): Orks are large and tough. Their Strength attribute maximum is increased to d12+1, and they get +1 to Toughness.
  • Strength (2): Orks are strong. They start with a d6 in Strength (with a maximum of d12+1).


  • Thermal Vision (1): Trolls see heat. This halves Illumination penalties when attacking warm targets (including invisible beings).
  • Size +2 (2): Toughness +2; max Strength is d12+3 (when combined with Strong, below.)
  • Strong (2): Trolls start with a d6 in Strength (with a maximum of d12+3).
  • Brickhouse (2): Trolls can take a beating. They start with a d6 in Vigor (with a maximum of d12+1).
  • Natural armour (1): Bony deposits on their skin grant +2 points of armour (stacks with anything worn).
  • Oversized (-2): It’s not easy living in a world made for smaller beings. Trolls subtract 2 from Trait rolls when using equipment that wasn’t specifically designed for them and cannot wear armor or clothing designed for other metatypes. Their food, clothing, and other lifestyle items are more expensive; they have a penalty of one step applied to their wealth die. They may take situational modifiers when trying to work in cramped conditions that other metahumans would ignore.
  • Ostracised (-1): Trolls have suffered the most from marginalization, and are often looked upon with prejudice and stereotyped as dumb knuckle draggers. They often have little recourse other than resorting to crime or security work to make ends meet. They begin with the Outsider (Minor) Hindrance.
  • Too Big To Hide (-1): Trolls tend to be terrible at moving quietly and hiding. Can you blame them, they’re huge! Stealth is not a Core Skill (starts Untrained instead of at d4).

2.3 - Skills for my campaign

My houserules make some small changes to the available skills in Savage Worlds and Sprawlrunners. Below is a complete reference to all the skills, including the ones in core SWADE. It also has some clarifications of which skill applies to some common actions where it’s perhaps not immediately obvious (eg. is a Matrix search Electronics, Hacking, or Research?)

Specialisations for Common Knowledge

Skill specialisations are available for Common Knowledge, but these are a house rule for this campaign and not handled like normal skill specialisations in Savage Worlds. As for other specialisations, they cost 1 skill point per specialisation you take. Unlike other specialisations, they don’t change the roll you make; but on any Common Knowledge check where the specialisation applies, you will get considerably more information on a Success or a Raise than if you didn’t have the specialisation. The narrower the specialisation, the more information you’ll get on a Success. You can purchase as many of these as you want.

Common skills

All characters get a d4 rank in these skills for free, without having to spend any skill points. You can, of course, spend points to improve them further.

  • Athletics (Agility): Running, climbing, jumping, balancing, throwing (including weapons), catching.
  • Common Knowledge (Smarts): General knowledge of daily life in the Sixth World.
    • See note above for specialisations.
  • Notice (Smarts): Awareness and perception; the ability to spot trouble coming, find non-obvious clues, or read body language to guess at someone’s emotional state.
  • Persuasion (Spirit): The ability to convince others to do what you want; via negotiation, orders, or lies. (But not threats; see Intimidation, below, for that.)
  • Stealth (Agility): The ability to sneak and hide, tail people without being noticed. (But not spot a tail that’s following you - that’s Notice.)

Combat skills

  • Battle (Smarts): Strategy, tactics, and understanding military operations. Particularly important in the Mass Battles game mechanic.
  • Fighting (Agility): Skill in armed and unarmed melee combat.
  • Shooting (Agility): Precision with any type of ranged weapon, including bows (but not thrown weapons).

Vehicle skills

  • Boating (Agility): Ability to sail or pilot a boat, ship, submarine, or any other watercraft.
  • Driving (Agility): The ability to control, steer, and operate ground vehicles - whether with wheels, treads, or legs (eg. walker drones).
  • Piloting (Agility): Skill with maneuvering vehicles that operate in three dimensions, such as airplanes, helicopters, spaceships, etc. Includes ground-effect vehicles like t-birds. Also includes rotordrones and fixed-wing drones.
  • Riding (Agility): A character’s skill in mounting, controlling, and riding a tamed beast. Probably not very useful in an urban cyberpunk game!

Physical active skills

See also “Athletics” and “Stealth” under common skills, above.

  • Gambling (Smarts): Skill and familiarity with games of chance.
  • Healing (Smarts): The ability to treat and heal Wounds and diseases, and decipher forensic evidence. Note that dealing with cyberware systems might also need Electronics and/or Repair, depending on what you’re doing.
  • Survival (Smarts): How to find food, water, or shelter (including in urban environments).
  • Thievery (Agility): Sleight of hand, pickpocketing, lockpicking, setting/disabling traps, and other such ethically dubious feats of legerdemain.

Social skills

See also “Persuasion” under common skills, above.

  • Etiquette (Smarts): A character’s ability to blend in with the background, dress and carry themselves so they don’t stand out, or talk the right lingo to appear to be part of the crowd.
  • Intimidation (Spirit): The ability to threaten others into compliance.
  • Performance (Spirit): Singing, dancing, acting, or other forms of public expression.
  • Taunt (Smarts): Insulting or belittling another. Can be done during combat to distract opponents.

If using a social skill in a language other than the character’s native tongue, if their language dice is lower than their social skill dice, roll the language dice instead. Sprawlspeak (a pidgin made up of English, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, German, and many others) never counts as a native language for this rule, as it’s somewhat clumsy and not suited to rhetoric. If you’re playing a social manipulator role, strongly consider taking the Linguist edge so you can talk to people in their native language.

Magical skills

  • Astral (Smarts): The skill to assense living beings’ auras and engage in combat on the Astral Plane.
  • Magic (Smarts): The spellcasting skill for Arcane Backgrounds that have a Smarts basis.
  • Magic (Spirit): The spellcasting skill for Arcane Backgrounds that have a Spirit basis.

See also “Arcana” under knowledge skills, below.

Technical skills

  • Electronics (Smarts): The use of electronic and computerised devices and systems. Their manipulation, repair, and sabotage. Anything involving computer hardware (as opposed to software, which is Hacking.)
  • Hacking (Smarts): Legal and illegal computer use; coding, programming, and breaking into computer systems. (NB: simple, everyday Matrix actions fall under Common Knowledge and do not require a Hacking roll. Complex Matrix searches fall under Research.)
  • Repair (Smarts): The ability to fix, build, and modify mechanical and electrical gadgets, including weapons, vehicles, etc. Also used for setting and using explosives and demolitions.

When repairing or modifying electronics, use the lowest of the characters’ Repair and Electronics skills.

Knowledge skills

See also Common Knowledge, above.

  • Language (Smarts): Knowledge and fluency in a particular language. Special rules apply for language skills.
  • Arcana (Smarts): Knowledge of magical theory, supernatural events, creatures, history, and ways. (Renamed version of “Occult” in core SWADE.)
  • Corps (Smarts): Knowledge of corporate structures, management theories, economics, accounting, the law. Knowledge of specific corps and their areas of expertise and specialities.
  • Research (Smarts): Finding written information from various sources. Used for Matrix searches.
  • Science (Smarts): Theoretical knowledge of scientific fields such as biology, chemistry, geology, engineering, etc.

For reference: what I’ve changed

  • Added a special skill specialisation rule to Common Knowledge
  • Added Astral to magic skills and renamed Occult to Arcana.
  • Reshuffled the boundaries between Hacking, Electronics, and Repair to make them slightly more intuitive (to me, at least.)
  • Added Etiquette
  • Added Corps knowledge skill.

2.4 - Languages

Houserules for spoken languages in the Sprawl

Game mechanics for language skills

Language skills mostly act to limit your use of social skills. When using any skill where your command of the language you are using is a factor (most notably Persuade and Performance, but others may apply), if the language skill has a lower rating than the skill you are rolling, you use that instead.

Example: Alice has Persuade d10, English d12, and Sprawlspeak d8. When trying to Persuade someone using English, she rolls d10. But when using Sprawlspeak, she can only roll d8.

Occasionally, you may also need to roll the language skill itself, eg. to understand something or make yourself understood when acting under time pressure.

Language skill levels

In core SWADE, a language is treated as a full skill, costing one skill point per die type to raise. This gets very expensive in settings with lots of languages, so I am replacing it with the following houserules:

  • There are only two levels of “knowing” a language; Partial and Fluent.
  • It costs one skill point to take a language to Partial, and a second skill point to take it to Fluent. This is regardless of your Smarts die type.
  • Within the game, Partial languages are regarded as having a die type equal to your Smarts die. So if you have Smarts d8, any language you know at partial level is also considered to be at d8.
    • If you raise your Smarts die, you also automatically (and for free) raise the level of your partial language skills.
  • Fluent-level language skills are treated as having a d12 rating, and they never act to limit your use of social skills.

Free language skills for characters

At chargen, everyone gets:

  1. A native language at Fluent level
  2. Sprawlspeak (see below) at Partial

The Linguist Edge

Per RAW, the Linguist Edge is “character gains a d6 in a number of languages equal to half her Smarts die.”

As in RAW, the Linguist edge will give you knowledge of a number of languages equal to half your Smarts die. Rather than working at a d6 level, however, in these rules this edge grants Partial level knowledge to the bonus language skills.

These languages can be upgraded to Fluent for one further skill point each.

Languages of the Seattle Sprawl

In my campaign, the Seattle sprawl is a melting pot of Pacific Rim and Native American cultures, and, accordingly, of languages. English, Japanese, Spanish, Korean, Cantonese, Salish, Sioux, Russian; all are commonly heard around the city.

Each megacorp and major criminal organisation typically conducts day-to-day activities in their native tongue:

  • Ares, Horizon, NeoNET - English
  • Saeder-Krupp - German
  • Mitsuhama, Renraku, Shiawase, the Yakuza - Japanese
  • Wuxing, the Triad gangs - Cantonese, some Mandarin
  • Evo - Russian
  • Aztechnology - Aztlaner Spanish
  • The Mafia - mostly American English, reverting to Italian can be used as a rank signifier
  • Seoulpas gangs - Korean

Racial languages

Two ancient languages have returned to the world with the Awakening:

  • Sperethiel (elvish) - the official language of the Tir nations, the Ancients gang, and some Native American tribes.
  • Or’zet (orkish) - used in the Ork Underground and ork/troll gangs.
  • Rumours abound that the dragons speak their own, ancient, unknown languages.


With a sharp need for inter-group communications across language barriers, a pidgin language has emerged in Seattle and other similar international metroplexes. Called Sprawlspeak or Streetspeak, it is a mixture of half a dozen common languages in the area. Sprawlspeak is a common language amongst ordinary people in lower-class areas; anywhere people from different language groups have to mix and communicate, sprawlspeak flourishes.

In Seattle, the local dialect of sprawlspeak is about half English, with the other half comprised mostly of Japanese, Salish, Sioux, and Cantonese. Loan words from another dozen languages creep in here and there, though.

Over time, linguistic scholars are watching with interest to see if sprawlspeak continues to develop and become a creole.

Sprawlspeak is still an awkward, halting language, although it is becoming more sophisticated and fluid over time. It can only ever be learned to Partial level. There is no such thing as Fluency in sprawlspeak. Therefore, characters planning a social manipulator role would be well-advised to consider taking multiple language skills, so they can converse with their targets in their native tongue.

2.5 - Edges

New and improved edges

Edges with required augmentation trapping

In my houserules, certain standard SWADE edges are modified to require an “augmentation” trapping. This means they are only available as either specialised cyberware or a physical adept magical ability. These Edges are all listed below and annotated with the icon.

NB: for avoidance of doubt: only characters with the Adept arcane background can use the Adept trapping. Mages who take edges with the Bioware trapping suffer the same -1 penalty to magic rolls as if they’d taken one of the Cyberware edges.

The above doesn’t effect Implant Point based cyberware, which follows standard Sprawlrunners rules; ie. you take Cyberware edges that grant implant points (see below), then spend those implant points on specific cyberware that grant you buffs and abilities (see Cyberware).

TODO: Add physical adept trappings to the below.

Edges from other books

A reminder to my players that any Edge from any of our Savage Worlds supplements is a candidate to include in the game. Just ask.

New and amended Edges

Background Edges


Cyberware trapping: Adrenaline Pump. The owner’s adrenal glands are buffered by an implanted reservoir. In times of high stress, this reservoir pumps out, flooding their nervous system with adrenaline and super-charging their reflexes.

Cyberware Edges

These are edges that give a character implant points, that they can (in turn) spend on getting cyberware.


Per Sprawlrunners RAW, the Implanted edge doesn’t cost an Edge point, and once you take it, you can have any amount of zero-implant-point cyberware. This might seem slightly counter-intuitive, but that’s because it only exists to track the effect of these implants on magic users.

As such it is functionally equivalent to a rule that says “Anybody can take any amount of 0-cost implants they like. However, mages or shamans with any number of 0-point implants take a -1 penalty to all magic rolls, which stacks with any penalties from the Chromed edges.”

If you character is not a mage of any kind, you can skip the Implanted edge entirely, as it has no effect on you. If your character is a mage, and you do want to take some zero-implant-point cyberware, that’s the only time you need to take it.


Requirements: Novice, Spirit d6+, Vigor d6+

Same as Sprawlrunners RAW (pg 15).

Man and Machine

Requirements: Seasoned, Spirit d8+ or Vigor d8+, Chromed

Same as Sprawlrunners RAW (pg 15).


Requirements: Veteran, Man and Machine

The character has gained regular access to a betaware clinic, which can offer a higher grade of cyberware, more closely tailored to the user’s system. They get 2 more implant points.

More Machine than Man

Requirements: Heroic, Betaware

Same as Sprawlrunners RAW (pg 16) but you can only take this Edge once.


Requirements: Legendary, Betaware

The character has gained access to a top secret black lab that offers the most cutting edge cyberware in existence. They get 2 more implant points.

Combat edges

Brawler / Bruiser

Cyberware trapping: Bone Density. A combination of genetic modifications and implanted engineered glands alters the subject’s bone tissue, making it much harder and more dense.

Hard to Kill / Harder to Kill

Cyberware trapping: Overclocked Platelets. Grafted platelet factories are added to the user’s blood system along major blood vessels. This greatly increases the body’s immediate response to trauma of all kinds.

Level Headed / Improved Level Headed

Cyberware trapping: Wired Reflexes. Subdermal conduits augment or outright replace major nerve trunks with faster-acting pathways, boosting reflex response times and speed of movement.

Rock and Roll!

Replaced by Recoil Compensation System for cyberarms.

Nerves of Steel / Improved Nerves of Steel

Cyberware trapping: Pain Editor. Cybernetic co-processors installed along the spinal column mute pain signals. Drug glands implanted along major blood vessels respond to excessive trauma by releasing powerful opioid and NSAID analogs. The body’s pain response is significantly numbed.

Professional Edges

Aggressive Driver

Requirements: Novice, Driving d8+, Vehicle Control Rig

Using their VCR-enhanced link to their ride, the character is particularly skilled at vehicular battering rams. In a Chase scene, the character can perform Force and Ram manoeuvres against vehicles one card away, rather than on the same card. Outside of a Chase scene, the character gets a free re-roll on Driving or Boating rolls when attempting these tasks.

Escape Artist

Requirements: Novice, Athletics d6+, Thievery d8+

+2 to on Thievery rolls to escape handcuffs or other restraints (including straightjackets.) +2 to Athletics to squeeze through small spaces.

Demolition Man

Requirements: Novice, Repair d8+, Science d6+

+2 to Repair rolls to set, disarm, or manufacture explosives. +1 to Notice to spot hidden explosives.

Each Raise on the Repair roll allows the character to select one of the following bonuses:

POTENCY: +d6 damage BREACH: 2 AP AREA: increase by one step, Personal -> SBT -> MBT -> LBT.

Getaway Driver

Requirements: Novice, Driving d8+, Vehicle Control Rig

Using their VCR-enhanced link to their ride, the character is particularly skilled at using the environment to foil pursuit - sharp turns at high speed, manoeuvres through narrow alleys to break line of sight, knowing where to hide the car to lose a tail.

In a Chase scene, the character can attempt a Flee manoeuvre one card earlier than usual. Outside of a Chase scene, the character gets a free re-roll on Driving or Boating rolls when attempting these tasks.

Mod Shop

Requirements: Novice, Repair d6+

Character gains a pool of 3 Mod Points.

Mod Points are used to represent access to tools and parts. They are spent similarly to Logistic Points, and can be used to upgrade vehicles before the mission, or even during it if the opportunity presents itself. See vehicle mods for how to use Mod Points.

Improved Mod Shop

Requirements: Seasoned, Repair d8+, Mod Shop

Character gains a further 4 Mod Points, in addition to the 3 granted for Mod Shop.

Mod God

Requirements: Veteran, Repair d8+, Improved Mod Shop

Character gains a further 5 Mod Points. This Edge can be taken a second time at Legendary rank.

Social Edges

Friends in Low Places

Requirements: Seasoned, Streewise?, Persuasion d8+

The character has a wide range of carefully cultivated assets. Once per session, the character may call in a favour without spending a Bennie. Once the favour is done, the character can choose to turn the acquaintance into a Contact automatically if they choose, again, without spending a Bennie. See Contacts

2.6 - Cyberware

Gotta get chromed, chummer


In general, as long as the storyline allows time for characters to go through the necessary surgery, characters may choose to have old cyberware systems removed or upgraded when acquiring new cyberware.



Clarification that all cybereyes provide, by default, approximately 20/10 vision, or around twice as good as a normal person today.


Artificial muscle replacement / Muscle enhancement

(See Sprawlrunners pg 54) To clarify: These augments boost the entire body. If the user has cyberlimbs, the base stat of the cyberlimb always matches the rest of the body.


Only available as part of a cyberarm; see below.

Hand Razors

Implant points: 1 (reduced from RAW)

These do not count as natural weapons, and therefore their damage does not stack with Edges like Martial Arts / Brawler / etc. They can be fitted to a cyberlimb, but they do not require one.

Implant points: 1
Required: cybereryes

No changes to Sprawlrunners RAW; cancels 2 points of penalties when making a Shooting roll with a smartgun.

Vehicle Control Rig

Implant points: 1

Gain the ability to Jump In to a vehicle or drone, either wired or wirelessly. When doing so, gain +2 bonus to rolls when trying to interrupt opponents.

Improved Vehicle Control Rig

Implant points: 3
Cyberware trapping for the Ace edge (SWADE pg 47)

In addition to the benefits of the VCR, above, the user can now ignore 2 points of penalties to any Boating, Driving, or Piloting roll. The rigger may also spend Bennies to soak damage for any vehicle or drone they are jumped into, using the appropriate Boating/Piloting/Driving skill instead of Vigor. Each success and raise negates a Wound the vehicle would have taken.


To unlock any of the below upgrades and add-ons, you first need to replace the limb:

Cyberarm or cyberleg

Implant points: 0.5 (each)
Required: Novice, Chromed

+1 Toughness per pair of limbs.

Natural-looking disguised cyberlimbs use the same rules as Sprawlrunners RAW (see pg 55.) In addition, they can only fit TBD implant points of mods before they’re just too bulky to look realistic.

Limb replacements are usually fitted to the shoulder or hip joint, replacing the whole limb. Partial limbs can be taken (eg starting mid-bicep or at the elbow) with no change to game rules.

Cyberarms can be fitted singly. Cyberlegs can be fitted singly if you want a straight replacement, but if you want to fit any additional modifications, you need a pair. It’s really difficult to balance a natural leg and a amped-up cyber one for comfortable walking and running.

Cyberskull & cybertorso

Implant points: 2
Required: Seasoned, Chromed

  • +1 Toughness
  • Immune to the damage bonus from called shots.

Taken as a package deal, the cybertorso and skull provide extensive and invasive protection for the user’s internal organs and brain. They are not full replacements, like a cyberlimb is, but they provide substantial shells that replace or reinforce bone mass and exterior tissue, as well as providing armoured internal partitions within the torso and abdomen that help keep damage localised.

Cybertorsos can be upgraded with boosted Strength, just like a cyberlimb. This increases the user’s core strength, and can help the boosted strength attribute apply in more circumstances, like lifting things over their head. Cybertorsos also act as stronger anchor points for cyberlimbs than a fleshy torso can, helping to apply the strength bonus in a wider number of circumstances.

Cyberskulls are always (extremely) obvious, as are torsos if you’re not covering them with clothes.

Cyberlimb boosted Strength/Agility

Implant points: 1

Adds 1 die type to the stat for tests when only the limb with the boosted stat is being used. For example, boosted strength applies to calculating melee damage when the limb is being used to attack with, but not to a test to lift something heavy over your head, as that requires whole-body strength.

This boost has no effect on skill dice increase costs. Example: Alice has Agility d8 and Shooting d8, then gets a boosted Agility cyberlimb. It would still cost her 2 skill points to take Shooting to d10.

If the user has artificial muscle replacement or muscle enhancement, this increase applies on top of that. Example: Alice has Strength d6. She takes Artificial Muscle Replacement and then adds Boosted Strength to her cyberarm. Her cyberarm now has d10 Strength.


Implant points: 2 (reduced from RAW)

Str+d6 damage in melee combat. Owner always counts as Armed, so never suffers the Unarmed Defender penalty (which grants melee attackers +2 to Fighting rolls if their target has nothing to parry with.)

This counts as a Natural Weapon, and hence the damage increases with use of Edges like Martial Arts and Brawler.


Implant points: 3?

TBD; probably pick from light pistol w/ autofire, heavy pistol, or flechette pistol.

Recoil compensation system

(Cyberarm only, requires smartlink & smartgun)
Implant points: 1 or 2

A feedback circuit from the user’s smartgun to their cyberlimb or limbs automatically counteracts recoil and barrel climb in real-time as they fire.

Reduces the recoil penalty by 1 (for one Implant Point) or 2 (for two Implant Points.)

For one-handed weapons, this will work with only one cyberarm. For two-handed guns, two cyberarms are required.

Boosted speed

(Cyberlegs only)
Implant points: 1

Increases Pace by +2 and running die by one type.

Hydraulic jacks

(Cyberlegs only)
Implant points: 1

Character can jump twice as far as usual. In addition, they add +4 to damage when leaping as part of a Wild Attack, rather than the usual +2. Can only be used if there’s enough room (vertically and horizontally) for the jump, however.

Grapple hand

Implant points: 0.5
Required: Novice, Chromed

An extendable, fireable grapple system, using a small spool of lightweight polymer rope hidden inside the wrist and the hand itself as the launched projectile. The launching system is pneumatic; recharging the compressed air takes one minute after each shot.

The rope is a maximum of 15 m long, although it can be very difficult to aim at that range. Grip strength is boosted on the hand so it can grab onto things securely. The overall system is strong enough to swiftly pull the user up, although not to carry much extra load. Carrying another human/elf/dwarf is possible, but slows the winch speed down to snail’s pace. Anyone as heavy as an orc or heavier will overload it.

Make an Athletics roll to attempt to fire and attach the grapple successfully.

3 - Physical adepts

Houserules for using physical adepts in my game

These houserules contain quite significant changes from normal Sprawlrunners. The intent is to give physical adepts more room to distinguish themselves from street samurai, as well as leveraging new Savage Worlds rules introduced in official supplements released since Sprawlrunners was produced.

Physical Adept draft rules ideas

First draft of core rules

3.1 - Physical Adept draft rules ideas

First draft of core rules
These rules are draft/for discussion and are not currently canon for my game.

How physical adepts differ from practitioners

Practitioners – hermetic mages, shamans, etc – use their own aura as a bridge that briefly connects the physical and astral planes. The mana immediately jumps through the bridge like a bolt of electricity arcing to ground. The practitioner uses their aura like a funnel, shaping and forming the mana flow. When it emerges into the physical world, the raw power of the mana has become whatever effect the practitioner desired. A “spell”, then, is the astral shape the practitioner must create with their aura to channel the mana in just the right way.

This is as dangerous and difficult as it sounds.

Physical adepts are not practitioners. Their powers do not require the dangerous channelling of mana through your very soul. Instead, they draw on mana in the astral plane and use it to change their aura there. A person’s living body and their aura are link conjoined shadows; when one changes, the other must change with it. These changes take the form of superhuman enhancements to speed, strength, and their skills.

Physical adepts are not just martial artists

After the Awakening, the earliest studied instances of physical adept abilities were martial artists and yoga masters with the correct awakened genotype. There was something in the way they moved and trained that made it easier for them to use their new abilities. From there the term “physical adept” was coined, and stuck. At this time, many people talked of physad abilities in terms rooted in Asian mysticism – qi and prana, for example. The theorists searched for a hard link between these ancient practices and the modern expression of magic.

But as thaumaturgists’ studies continued they quickly discovered that physical adepts abilities could be used just as well by people from many different backgrounds. At first, it was people with advanced physical training in other fields – athletes, dancers, musicians. The theories evolved into the idea that something about repeated physical training and acute awareness of one’s own body was inherently similar to how a physical adept could use their magical powers. People with the discipline and focus to learn these skills found themselves easily able to tap into their magical abilities.

Still later, it became obvious that even that some adept’s powers can apply outside the purely physical realm. Adepts have been found with powers in areas as diverse as social manipulation and con artistry (often called the Glamour), cooking, driving vehicles, logical and problem-solving skills, and more. The term “physical adept” sticks around, however, even though it’s something of a misnomer in these cases.

Core mechanics

Using powers:

  • A physical adept knows one or more techniques (listed below). Each technique has a list of associated Powers that come when the technique is learned, and also unlocks further abilities that can the taken later through Advances.
  • Adepts can mix Powers across their learned techniques freely.
  • Activating a technique Power is a limited free action. Dropping an active Power is a free action. Adepts do not need to roll an arcane skill.
  • Technique Powers have no concept of duration. Most of them last as long as the adept chooses to sustain them.
  • For most powers, activation can be the success level (ie. as if the activation roll was a success) or the raise level. Using Powers at the raise level makes the adept susceptible to drain – see below.
  • An adept can safely keep a number of powers active at the same time set by their rank:
    • Novice - 1 power
    • Seasoned - 2 powers
    • Veteran - 3 powers
    • Heroic - 4 powers
    • Legendary - 5 powers
  • An adept can choose to active more powers than this limit, but then they become susceptible to drain (see below.)

Adept drain: at the end of any scene – combat or otherwise – when the adept has used a Raise power or used more simultaneous powers than their rank allows, they take one box of Fatigue damage from drain. The damage is always capped at one box regardless of how many Powers they used. This damage can be Soaked in the same way as Wounds – spend a Bennie to take a Vigor roll; success negates the fatigue.

Extra mechanics

Bullet activation: Some gunslinger powers require the gunslinger to briefly touch the bullet just before firing. This must be done as part of the limited free action to activate the power.

On a semi-automatic or automatic weapon, the adept can only activate one bullet this way – by sliding the chamber open. For this reason, most adepts prefer revolvers, break-action weapons, or bolt-action rifles that allow easier access to the cartridges.

The effect fades in a few seconds, so the adept must fire the round in the same turn to get the benefit of the effects.

Physad Edges

Arcane Background (Physical Adept)

Requires: Novice; see Techniques below for technique-specific pre-requisites.

Allows character to be a physical adept. The character starts knowing one technique family, chosen from the list in the next section. They get all the Novice powers associated with that technique.

New technique

The physad learns a new technique family. They immediately gain the Novice-level powers from that technique. They can learn other Powers from the technique via the New Powers Edge (see below.)

New Powers (Physical Adept)

The physical adept learns two new Powers from any of the technique families they know. They can mix and take one power from each of two techniques if they want.

Augmentation trapping Edges

In addition to the technique-specific powers below, there are various Edges that are marked as “augmentation trapping only” that only physads or cyberware users can take. See Edges for more information and a list. The Edge’s normal prerequisites remain in place, and these are passive, always-on abilities. They do not need to be activated like Powers are.

Technique families

Unless otherwise noted, all Powers below carry the Self limitation. Adepts cannot use Power modifiers.

Gunslinger (req Shooting d8+, Novice): Boost Trait (Agility, Shooting), Farsight.

Seasoned: Bullet Guidance (see below), Wickensian (see below).

Veteran: Ammo Whammy (see below.)

Melee Monster (req Fighting d8+): Boost Trait (Agility, Strength, Fighting), Killing Hands I.

Seasoned: Protection, Smite, Killing Hands II.

Veteran: Havoc (MBT centered on but excluding self).

The Glamour (req Spirit d8+): Boost Trait (Persuasion, Intimidation, Stealth), Speak Language.

Seasoned: Empathy, Slumber (Touch range).

Major League (req Atlhetics d8+): Boost Trait (Athletics, Agility, Strength), Speed.

Seasoned: Deflection, Wall Walker, Traceless Walk (see below).

Veteran: Too Fast To Hit (see below).

New Powers for Physical Adepts

Gunslinger powers

Bullet Guidance: (bullet activation required) The adept can nudge the path of the bullet in flight, even slightly curving it to avoid obstacles. They can cancel 2 points of penalty to their Shooting roll, regardless of where the penalty came from. There is no Raise version of this Power. (TODO: SHOULD THERE BE?)

Wickensian: A gunslinger adept using a pistol can use the higher of their Shooting and Fighting skills to determine their Parry stat. There is no Raise version of this power.

Fan the Hammer: The adept fires all six chambers in one burst; resolve as a single Shooting roll at RoF 3. There is no Raise version of this power.

Ammo Whammy

When activating the Power as a limited free action, the adept touches any or all of the bullets in their firearm. Each bullet receives any one of the enchantments below, at the adept’s choice. The buff lasts until the bullet is fired or the adepts drops the Ammy Whammy power. Each bullet can only receive one enchantment, but the adept can freely choose to put different enchantment on different bullets.

Changing the enchantment on one or more bullets requires the admin to drop and then re-activate the Ammo Whammy power.

Any use of Ammo Whammy always counts as a Raise activation.

  • BULLET WITH YOUR NAME ON IT: Add +2 to the Shooting roll.
  • EXPLOSIVE: The shot causes it’s normal damage in a Small Blast Template.
  • FLARE: Firing this “flare” shot into the night sky removes Illumination penalties in the immediate area for one minute. If fired indoors, roll a d6: On a 2–6, the bullet ignites flammable materials it strikes.
  • MANA BULLET: The shot is half in this world and half in the Astral Plane, giving it AP 6.
  • KENTUCKY WINDAGE: Doubles the shot’s Range.
  • LOADED FOR DRAGON: The shot is a Heavy Weapon and increases the gun’s base damage one die type. A pistol that does 2d6 does 2d8 with this deadly round.
  • SEATTLE SURPRISE: This shot surges with power of some sort—fire, electricity, cold, etc. It’s especially useful against creatures with an Environmental Weakness!

Melee monster

All of these Edges are only available to physical adepts who know the Melee technique.

Where the rules below say to “add a bonus die type” to melee weapon damage, these all stack with each other. The first bonus makes damage Str+d4, the second Str+d6, and so on.

Killing Hands I (Seasoned) – unarmed melee attacks gain one step of bonus die. This counts as magical damage for the purposes of creature vulnerabilities. NB: Trapping for ‘Claws’ racial ability.

Killing Hands II (Veteran, Killing Hands I) – unarmed melee attacks gain a second step of bonus die (on top of Killing Hands I) and have AP2. NB: Trapping for ‘Claws’ racial ability

Power Shout: A mighty yell focuses the warrior’s power. When a character makes a single Wild Attack it deals +4 damage instead of the usual +2 damage

Major League

Traceless Walk: The adept moves with supernatural grace, capable of running over the most treacherous of surfaces at full speed. They leave no footprints of other sign of their passage, even on sand, snow, etc.

The character’s entire movement may count as Jump distance which ignores any Difficult Ground. Each inch leapt upwards counts as 2" of their Pace.

Too Fast To Hit: When the character uses the Defend manoeuvre (which takes their entire turn, as usual), they take the usual +4 Parry bonus but they may also roll Evasion (Agility at -2) against any attacks that hit them until the end of the round.

4 - Downtime, advancement, and wealth

Everything about how characters advance, the things they do between missions, and the use of the Wealth die

Click here to see all rules in this section on one page (good for printing or saving as a PDF.)

Sprawlrunners uses a fully abstracted resource system, replacing the traditional RPG structure of buying gear and tracking a currency balance with a mechanic called Logistic Points. This works well for some tables, but we found it a little jarring for the characters to have no reason to discuss or negotiate the in-game payments for the jobs they undertake.

The rules in this section consist of several linked systems that work together to nudge the feel of Sprawlrunners a little closer to how Shadowrun works, but still without requiring detailed tracking of the resources each character has to draw on.

  1. Advancement tracking is moved from an “advance after each mission” model to “earn karma after each mission, spend karma to advance.” This is very similar to how older editions of Savage Worlds used XP. This helps our table smooth out the rate of advancement, as we play short sessions – and sometimes long missions that span many sessions.
  2. In addition to their LP pool, each player has a Wealth Die (see SWADE pg 145). LPs are used to buy all illegal or quasi-legal gear, as before. The Wealth Die is used for other expenditures: bribing a bouncer, paying for a nice dinner, purchasing small/legal items, and so on.
  3. When a character completes a mission, they typically receive an in-game payment from whoever hired them. This payment is only used to determine how many Downtime Actions they get to take before their next mission.
  4. In between each mission, the players get to use a number of Downtime Actions. These actions can be used to obtain bonuses (including to the Wealth Die, LP, or bonus karma points), advance the character, heal up, and a variety of other useful things.

4.1 - Advancement and rewards

Character improvement and other goodies

There are two kinds of rewards my characters earn from a mission: karma and nuyen. Nuyen is used to fund downtime actions. Karma is used to Advance the characters.

I typically award karma at a rate of 3-5 per session, depending on how much the PCs get done, and also give out occasional bonus points for cool writeups of downtime actions and stuff like that. (Note: at-the-table cool stuff, like clever strategies, funny jokes, and excellent roleplaying will earn Bennies, not karma.)

Savage Worlds advances

Core SWADE has a simple structure for advancement: every so often, the character earns an advance. Each advance can be spend on a few things, such as improving traits or new Edges. Every three advances, the character also improves their rank, which unlocks new Edges and other abilities. Sprawlrunners doesn’t change this structure.

Advances are quite “large”, as it were. Each one is quite a significant power boost for a character. It’s slightly tricky to work out at what rate to hand them out, as our mission length varies quite a lot and our sessions are quite short.

For my campaign, to smooth over this, I made a small change and re-introduced karma from Shadowrun. Karma will be simply spent on advances at a straight 10:1 ratio (ie. one advance costs 10 karma.) This means I can have a slightly more granular mechanic to reward my PCs than just SWADE advances, but it doesn’t change any game balance.

Alternative houserules for when to advance

These rules are for discussion with my table and are not currently canon for our game.

The above advancement rules will take a charater from the rank of Seasoned (our starting level) to Legendary (SWADE’s maximum “level”) in about 9-12 months of play. There’s no level cap in SWADE; you can continue to advance forever, but your character does become more and more powerful. Eventually this will cause me problems - it’ll get harder and harder to create challenges without stretching the narrative - and we’ll have to talk about retirement.

There’s a few options we could take here:

  1. Ignore it, and either have your characters tear through opponents like tissue paper or lean further into pink mohawk and get bigger and bigger opponents, even if that starts to get silly.
  2. Retire characters at some appropriate point after Legendary rank.
  3. Slow the rate of progression down somehow to delay when we have to do the above.

Some ideas for how to slow stuff down:

  1. Simply award less karma across the board.
  2. Continue to award karma at the same rate but change the amount of karma it takes to advance on a curve as you rank up. So at Novice, it might be 5 karma to advance; at Seasoned, 10; but then it goes up to 15 and 20 points as you progress through Veteran, Heroic and Legendary.
  3. Keep karma and advances the same, but require more advances to go through the ranks. See below for an example. As stuff like Edges and your LP budget (etc etc) are gated behind your rank, this is something of a compromise; you get advances at the same rate, but it takes longer to get access to the really powerful edges.
  4. Some combination of (2) and (3).

Example of (3): normal SWADE uses four advances for each rank. Here, we make it only three advances to get from Novice to Seasoned, then +1 advances per rank after that; so it’s four for Seasoned to Veteran, five for Veteran to Heroic, etc. This doesn’t produce a huge change but is just an example. Obviously we could further change these however we want.

Number of advancesNormal SWADE rankPossible houserule

4.2 - Using the Wealth Die in Sprawlrunners

Handling money for incidental purchases without having to keep track of a bank balance

Your character’s gear is bought with Logistic Points, as per Sprawlrunners core rules. LP represents not just the cost of acquiring any old gear, but the cost of acquiring gear suitable for crime: untraceable, scrubbed of all hidden RFID tags, no inconvenient ballistics records on file, no background checks carried out, etc.

Occasionally, though, your character might need to pay for other things. Incidental lifestyle expenses in the game (eg. if Mr Johnson stiffs you on the restaurant bill); bribes to get past a snooty nightclub bouncer; spreading some cash around to grease the wheels during legwork.

For these, we use the SWADE wealth mechanic (pg 145.) This abstracts the amount of liquid cash your character has available to a SWADE-style die type.

Starting wealth

At the start of each mission, Wealth resets to your lifestyle’s die type. For most characters, that’s a d6. If you have the Poverty hindrance, it’s a d4. The Rich edge makes it a d8; the Filthy Rich edge a d10.

Trolls starting wealth die is one step worse than usual, because of their increased lifestyle costs. A troll with Poverty rolls d4-2.

Downtime actions such as Side Hustle or Stash Nuyen can provide short-term bonuses or reductions to your Wealth Die.

Spending Wealth

When the time comes to spend money, I’ll tell you what to roll, based on how much you’re spending and what your current Wealth die is:

  • If it’s a trivial amount, you succeed automatically. (If you make a lot of trivial purchases in a row, I might eventually call for a Wealth check on one, just to represent the accumulated expenditure.)
  • If it’s too large an amount, you simply cannot afford it. Sorry chummer.
  • If it’s somewhere in the middle, roll a Wealth check. If it succeeds, you can afford the expense, but your Wealth die goes down a step. If you get a Raise, you can afford it and you don’t need to reduce your Wealth die.

Note that this might mean that when (say) splitting a restaurant bill, some of you are rolling to see if you can afford it, and others aren’t. It sucks to be poor.

Example Wealth roll modifiers for Shadowrun currency types

As a rough guide, you can translate Shadowrun monetary amounts into Wealth roll penalties as follows:

<100¥No roll

4.3 - Downtime Actions

Things to do between crime sprees

When your characters complete missions, they will typically be paid for this (usually in nuyen.) These nuyen are only used to fund a number of Downtime Actions you can take before the next mission begins. You do not use nuyen to buy things directly; that is handled by your character’s LP pool and Wealth Die.

Every 10k¥ you earn from a run buys you enough time off afterward to complete one of the below Downtime Actions. (If this seems like a high figure to you, remember that this is the “gross” pay your character receives. A substantial amount is lost in money laundering, or spent on maintaining your contacts, paying your rent, buying food and other essentials, etc etc.)

A note for my players: you can roll Savage Worlds style dice in Slack with the syntax /roll 1d6x + 1d8x. Obviously, change the d8 for whatever your skill is. The x will make the dice exploding. This can be used for any downtime dice-rolling, as a more convenient option to Foundry.


Spend 10 points of karma to advance, as per usual SWADE rules. If you have multiple advances to take, you can take them all as one action; you don’t need to spend one action for each advance.

You can use karma earned via Hang Out or Train in the same downtime phase to advance. For example, suppose you earn 19 points of karma on a run, and have three downtime actions. You can use the first action to Train to get to 20 points of karma, and the second to Advance twice. Then you still have the third downtime action to use as you please.

Advancing mid-mission

If a character accumulates enough karma to advance during a mission, and gets some suitable amount of downtime (like a good night’s rest), the GM may allow them to perform the Advance outside of the Downtime Action. This helps to spread out the rate of advancement when doing longer missions that span multiple sessions.

Attune spirits

An attuned summoner mage with the Initiate edge can journey to the metaplanes, explore a new metaplane, and learn its True Name. From then on, they can summon spirits from that metaplane whenever they please. You can do this action multiple times in a single downtime phase if you want.

See summoning traditions.


Your character decides to blow off some steam and celebrate still being alive. They spend an extended period of time indulging whatever hedonistic vices most appeal to them.

Take a one-step penalty to your wealth die type die for the next session.

There is no mechanical game benefit to carousing. This is deliberate ;)

Hang out

You spend some quality time with your nearest and dearest. Write a scene telling us what you do together, and take a free point of karma for your trouble! (If you don’t want to write a scene, see Train below.)

Lie low

If you attracted an unusually breathtaking amount of attention on the last run and so have a Heat Die, you will need to skip town for a while until the heat dies down. This takes one of your actions and clears the Heat Die. In extraordinary circumstances (a Heat Die of d10 or more), it might even take multiple actions. Be less obvious next time!

Long-term project

Maybe your character is engaged in some sort of longer-term thing: researching something, making something, trying to create a spell… anything we’ve agreed upon.

We’ll handle this a bit like a Dramatic Task in SWADE or a Clock in Blades in the Dark. You’ll have some fixed number of segments to complete - you might or might not know how many, depending on what you are up to. For a single downtime action, you can make a Trait Test using any appropriate skill to work on the project.

Test success will tick a segment on the progress clock. Each Raise will tick a further segment. On a critical failure, you lose one segment. You cannot spend Bennies on this roll.


You spend time working your contacts, buttering them up, making sure the next time you come calling they’ll have the good stuff set aside for you.

Roll a standard Networking test (Persuasion or Intimidate vs target number 4). If you succeed, take bonus LP on the next mission according to the table below. For each raise, take a further bonus LP (again, as per below). You cannot spend Bennies on this roll.

No penalty for failures, but you can’t try again; people have had enough of you for now. You can only do Network once in a given downtime.

Character rankLP bonus on SuccessLP bonus on Raise

Rest & recuperation

Each Healing roll takes one downtime action. (See SWADE pg 96 for full details.) Roll Vigor; success clears a Wound, each raise clears another Wound.

Other characters can Support this roll if they also spend a downtime action. This will usually involve them rolling their Healing skill, for obvious reasons.

Characters with the Fast Healer Edge can make two Healing rolls for a single downtime action.

Stash nuyen

Your character is saving up for a rainy day. Retirement? Paying off their dear old ma’s mortgage? Up to you. They spend their downtime living thriftily so they can divert as much money as possible to their savings. If you want to work to a specific goal, let me know what it is, and we’ll set up a clock to track progress towards it.

Take a one-step penalty to your wealth die type for the next session. You can only Stash Nuyen once per downtime.

Side hustle

Shadowrunner’s skill sets can be used for more mundane activities than the epic, daring heists we play out at the table. Riggers can do courier work; streetsams can work as bodyguards; mages can provide protection services; deckers can skim low-security systems for paydata.

If your character spends their downtime on a side hustle, they can earn a little extra cash in their pocket. Take a one-off bonus to their wealth die type for the next mission.

You can only do Side Hustle once in a given downtime.


You spend time honing your skills. Take a free point of karma.

5 - Magic

Adding ‘Universal Magic Theory’ to Sprawlrunners

These houserules contain quite significant changes from normal Sprawlrunners. The intent is to give players the flexibility to freely create their own magical traditions, beyond the existing archetypes of shaman and hermetic mage.

Note that this entire section assumes a reasonable familiarity with existing Shadowrun rules and canon for magic abilities; I won’t do a full recap of them here.

5.1 - Using Powers

My take on No-Power-Points spell casting in SWADE

This is a draft for discussion and consideration only; it is not currently canon for my campaign. It may or may not be playable as-is. It probaby hasn't been playtested.

Core concepts


The act of using magic involves drawing power from somewhere and channeling it through the practitioner’s body. This is tiring and can be very dangerous. Drain is what happens when the practitioner pushes themselves too far.

Drain is usually Fatigue damage, but it can be a Wound in very bad cases.

Drain is resisted just like Soak, costing one Bennie per resistance attempt. Instead of Vigor, the character uses the attribute associated with their arcane or Magic skill - Spirit or Smarts.

Drain cannot be healed by magical or mundane means; only the passage of time and Natural Healing rolls. However, powers or abilities that allow a character to ignore wound or fatigue penalties do function normally against Drain damage.

Two new derived stats

New concept: Power Limit

  • Starts at: (½ arcane skill die type) - 2
  • Goes up when you increase your arcane skill
    • As with Parry and Toughness, also goes up +1 every other increase past d12. So an arcane skill of d12+2 gives 7, d12+4 (should you somehow get it that high!) gives 8, and so on.
  • Goes up by 1 at each rank
  • Goes up with Edge

New concept: Mod Limit

  • Starts at 1
  • Goes up with Edges

Two different diceroll types for power usage

When using a Power, the arcane skill roll is defined as Controlled Magic or Wild Magic.

  • Controlled Magic is what happens when:
    • the total PP of the power + all modifiers is equal to or less than the power limit, and
    • the total number of modifiers is equal to or less than mod limit
  • Otherwise, the Power usage is Wild Magic.

Controlled magic works like this:

  • Standard roll of standard arcane skill, no modifiers
  • Crit fail[^1] results in mild backlash - sustained spells dropped, practitioner is Shaken, the Power might also go wild in some way (GM fiat)
  • During any Power usage where the practitioner’s arcane skill die aces, after the effect of the Power is resolved, they must take (or resist) one point of Fatigue Drain.
    • If they use a Bennie to reroll the Power usage, and the die does not ace on the roll they choose to keep, they do not take Drain.

Wild Magic works like this:

  • Roll of arcane skill with a -2 modifier 1
  • Backlash happens a roll of a 1 on arcane skill die. Bad backlash:
    • All sustained spells dropped
    • Practitioner is Stunned
  • During any Wild Magic Power usage where the practitioner’s arcane skill die aces, after the effect of the Power is resolved, they must take (or resist) one point of Woumd Drain.
    • If they use a Bennie to reroll the Power usage, and the die does not ace on the roll they choose to keep, they do not take Drain.
  • (Probably) the maximum power you can use in wild magic is 2x your Power Limit; any more than that will just kill you dead on the spot.

Other notes and mechanics

Healing Fatigue / Wounds from Drain

Fatigue and Wounds taken from use of powers is magical damage dealt to your entire body at the subcellular level; it cannot be treated with the Healing skill or the healing or relief powers. THe character can only recover with time. As normal, Fatigue recovers after an hour of rest, and Wounds heal with natural healing rolls.

Sustaining Powers

Powers with durations measured in rounds can be cast in two ways, chosen when you use the power: either normal, or sustained.

  • If normal, the roll is normal, but the power terminates at the end of the normal duration. Practitioner needs to re-cast to do it again.
  • If sustained, the power keeps going as long as they like, but they are at a cumulative -1 on all future arcane rolls per sustained power.

Careful Casting (maybe)

A variation on controlled casting for when time is not a factor; designed to allow practitioners free-er use of powers during non-combat scenes without risking knocking themselves out. (This replaces the concept of “Power Preparation” from the core SWADE NoPP rules.)

  • Takes ~minutes
  • Allows a free Soak roll against the drain 2
  • Cannot be used for wild magic casting

Possible Edges

  • Initiate: can take once at each of Seasoned, Veteran, Heroic. Adds +1 Power Limit 3 and +1 Mod Limit. Requirements on arcane skill and stat.
    • Maybe: can continue to take at every other Advance at Legendary, similar to More Power Points.
  • Sustaining focus: allow “free” sustaining of a power, choose to use at time of casting, can only be used for one power at once
  • Wild Magic Masochist: allow soak attempts on the Wound for using limit break casting, but this still needs Bennies in the usual way. 4
  • Wild Magic Mastery: can attempt to use powers at 2x to 3x their Power Limit; take a -4 penalty on the arcane skill roll and take backlash on a roll of a 1 or a 2.
  • Flexible Caster: use a Power modifier to change any Power’s trapping on the fly (Maybe Veteran rank)
  • Arcane Mastery: (Only if using Epic Power Modifiers, see eg. Savage Pathfinder): Adds +1 to the Mod Limit, and allows the use of Epic Power Modifiers for those powers that have them. (Veteran or Heroic rank)
  • Maybe an edge to unlock Careful Casting


  • Blood Magic: each Wound inflicted on someone with a melee weapon gives some number of PP (5?) that can be added to the power limit for one Power usage. Blood mages often have a ritual weapon that can “store” these PP.
  • Toxic Shaman: shaman gets a boost to their power limit when in their toxic domain. Could apply to “home ground” for other kinds of practitioners too.
  • Astral Shallows: reduce everyone’s Power Limit.
  • Astral Surges: increase everyone’s Power Limit.


  1. This may need tweaking, but -2 feels about right. ↩︎

  2. Maybe at a +1 or +2 modifier, too? ↩︎

  3. This should maybe be +2 power limit per Initiate Edge. ↩︎

  4. This is underpowered and needs revising. ↩︎

5.2 - Arcane backgrounds

Different types of Awakened characters

For my game, I am using two Arcane Backgrounds for PCs:

  • AB(physad) - the classic Shadowrun physical adept. Doesn’t have an arcane power skill. Rules are the same as Sprawlrunners RAW.
  • AB(mage) - shamans, hermetic mages, chaos mages, etc etc. All types of “normal” mages. The arcane power skill is Magic, which comes in two variants; one linked to Smarts, one linked to Spirit. More on that below.

Mages start play with three free Powers, and get more via the New Powers Edge, as usual.

The Magic skill

There are two variants of this skill, linked to different attributes, reflecting that different magic users have different ways to interact with mana:

  • magic users like shamans, houngans, or chaos mages – whose approach to magic works on an artistic, instinctive, or naturalistic level – use Magic (Spirit).
  • magic users like hermetic mages or Catholic thaumaturgists – whose approach to magic is more scientific, rigorous, or based on theoretical study – use Magic (Smarts).

For avoidance of doubt: the only difference between Magic (Spirit) and (Smarts) is the role-playing aspect and the choice of linked attribute for the skill. Everything else is the same – available power list, drain rules, etc.

Astral space

Any character with AB(mage) gets a free Astral Projection power. Adept characters can purchase Astral Perception for 1 Chi Point. Activities on the Astral plane, including assensing and astral combat while projecting, are governed by the new Astral (Smarts) skill.

See Astral Space for more details.

Mystic adepts

I have not yet fleshed out rules for mystic adepts - characters who combine physad abilities with limited magic abilities. I think this is best modelled by giving physads some ability to learn Powers, similar to the Power racial trait (see SWADE pg 19.) Let me know if you want to play such a character in my campaign and we’ll figure it out.

NPC-only arcane backgrounds

I have some ideas for how to handle magical traditions that are used for various types of NPCs, although these are not yet fully fleshed out:

  • AB(critter) - used for any paracritters that have Powers. Comes with a Magic skill that is rolled as normal to determine power effect. Critters do not take drain, as their magical abilities are inherent to them.
  • AB(toxic) and AB(blood) - toxic mages and blood mages are able to draw on reserves of power outside their own body. In addition to the normal NoPP spellcasting rules, they also have a pool of Power Points, and can use those to cast spells in accordance with normal SWADE rules. These spells do not have the usual negative roll modifier for the No Power Points rule. However, these dark magics come with a price; they still take Drain on a natural 1, and Drain causes Wounds rather than Fatigue.

5.3 - Powers

Houserules and clarifications for specific powers

Disallowed powers

All powers in SWADE (pgs 154–171) are allowed as part of the Mage arcane background, except the following:

  • Drain Power Points - meaningless in a game that doesn’t use power points.
  • Object Reading - folded into assensing and the Astral skill.
  • Burrow, Divination, Intangibility, Resurrection, Teleport, Zombie - contradict core Shadowrun canon.

Notes/clarifications about specific powers

Arcane Protection

Note that this overlaps somewhat with the Shielding edge (see Sprawlrunners, pg 17). I won’t stop you taking Arcane Protection, but the edge is arguably more powerful and useful.


Rank: Seasoned (changed from Veteran in RAW)
Power Points: See below
Range: LoS
Duration: Instant

(NB: slightly changed from RAW.)

Forces other summoned spirits back to the metaplanes. Opposed roll of caster’s Conjuration skill versus the target spirit’s Spirit. Success leaves the spirit Shaken; each raise inflicts a Wound. If the spirit is incapacitated, it is dismissed from service and returned to the metaplanes.

If the spirit is a companion (see Sprawlrunners pg 17), then it gets to roll the summoner’s Spirit in addition to its own (choosing the highest dice, as usual.) Additionally, if incapacitated, it will not be permanently banished, but will return to the summoner’s side after 1d4 days.

The power point cost, and hence roll penalty, is determined by the target spirit’s rank, similarly to when it is summoned. Hence:

  • Servant/Watcher: no modifier to roll
  • Seasoned rank (lesser spirit): -2 to roll (4PP)
  • Veteran rank (common spirit): -3 to roll (6PP)
  • Heroic rank (greater spirit): -4 to roll (8PP)


Healing cannot be used to heal Wounds caused by drain.


By default, Illusions are mana-based; they only appear within the minds of living creatures. Purely technological systems like cameras or drone sensors see nothing. (Living characters with cybernetic senses like cybereyes still see the illusion, however.)

The Strong modifier (+2PP) instead produces a physical illusion, which does affect technological systems.


Relief cannot be used to heal Fatigue caused by drain.

Summon Ally (Specific Greatform)

Rank: Novice
Power Points: See below
Range: Smarts
Duration: Instant

Summons a spirit from the metaplanes to do the summoner’s bidding. See Summoning for rules. The power point cost, and hence roll penalty, is determined by the target spirit’s rank:

  • Servant/Watcher: no modifier to roll
  • Seasoned rank (lesser spirit): -2 to roll (4PP)
  • Veteran rank (common spirit): -3 to roll (6PP)
  • Heroic rank (greater spirit): -4 to roll (8PP)

5.4 - Summoning & Spirits

Rules for summoning spirits

5.4.1 - Summoning

Game mechanic for summoning

The summoner rolls their Magic skill, taking a penalty according to the level of the spirit:

  • Servant/Watcher: no modifier to roll
  • Seasoned rank (Lesser spirit): -2 to roll (4PP)
  • Veteran rank (Common spirit): -3 to roll (6PP)
  • Heroic rank (Greater spirit): -4 to roll (8PP)

Don’t forget that - per the Power Preparation rule (SWADE pg 140) - if a summoner concentrates for an entire round (taking no action, not moving, not being Shaken or Stunned), they can cancel up to 2 points of penalty to any power roll. This applies to practically all summoning done outside of combat and helps offset the penalties listed above.

Take a Drain resistance test on a natural 1 on the Magic die, as usual.

Summoned spirits last for (Spirit die type) hours and can do unlimited things for the summoner in that time. There is no concept of favours as used in spirit summoning in Shadowrun. Remote services - anything that takes the spirit more than (Spirit die type)×10 metres away from its summoner - use this time period up at 10× faster rate.

A summoner can dismiss a summoned spirit as a free action.

On a raise on the summoning roll, the spirit gains the Resilient power, and so it will be able to withstand an extra Wound before being disrupted. If the spirit already has the Resilient power, it is promoted to Very Resilient (two wounds) on a raise.

The spirit enters the world already materialised on the physical plane and can act immediately. In combat, they act on the same initiative card as their summoner. Mages can send mental commands to their summoned spirits as a free action and they can do that immediately after summoning.

By default, summoners can only have one lesser/common/greater spirit summoned at a time. This does not count as maintaining a power, so there is no ongoing penalty to the mage’s rolls. They can also keep one servant/watcher summoned.

5.4.2 - Summoner types

How different magical traditions approach spirit summoning

Although different magical traditions have the same abilities to learn powers and cast spells, they use draw upon different types of spirits when they use the Summon Ally power.

Spirit levels

As in Sprawlrunners and Summoner’s Circle, spirits have defined power levels. I’ve additionally given them explicit names, to make it clearer:

  • Novice rank - watchers/servants
  • Seasoned rank - Lesser spirits
  • Veteran rank - Common spirits
  • Heroic rank - Greater spirits
  • (Rumours persist of even more powerful spirits that can be commanded by advanced mages…)

A mage can only summon spirits of their own rank or less.

A mage doesn’t need to do anything to “learn” new ranks of spirits as they increase their own rank. On their 8th advance, when they move from Seasoned to Veteran, common spirits become available to them automatically.


All mages can summon watchers - little more than a blob of magical energy squished into form by the mage’s will. Although the true nature of spirits is hugely debated, most mages agree that watchers are not “summoned” as such but rather created on the spot.

Hermetic mages

Hermetic mages can summon elementals of the four classic elements: fire, earth, air, water. Each spirit exists at lesser, common, and greater levels.

Compared with other spirits, elementals are somewhat… dreary. They lack intellectual curiosity and are easily confused by unexpected situations. They also seem to have no capacity for boredom, and will carry out the most rote of repeated tasks without seeming complaint or irritation. Hermetic mages treat them as mere servants, and elementals seem content in that role.

Elementals have stats and abilities as per Sprawlrunners.


Shaman spirits take the form of nature spirits. Shamans treat them with great reverence and respect. Nature spirits are more independent than elementals but can be capricious, and sometimes have their own ideas and agendas.

Nature spirits have stats and abilities as per Sprawlrunners. Note that nature spirits can ignore 2 points of casting penalties when in their home environment.

Note also that Sprawlrunners RAW uses “Focus” as the spellcasting skill for spirits. For technical reasons related to FoundryVTT, it’s easier to rename this to “Magic”, so it’s the same name as everyone else uses.

Attuned summoners

Many other magical traditions are what magical researchers refer to as attuned summoners. These are characterised by having a much smaller roster of spirits to draw on than other summoners, but these spirits are much more closely bound to the summoner and typically demonstrate greater loyalty than other spirit types.

Game mechanics for attuned summoners

When they first take the Summon Ally power, attuned summoners automatically gain access to two spirits of lesser rank. As they increase their own rank to Veteran and then to Heroic, they gain two common spirits and then two greater spirits.

These spirits can be created freely by the player.

Once a character achieves Initiate status (by taking the Edge), they can take a downtime action to journey to the metaplanes and bond with a new spirit type, of any rank they choose. At that time, the player can create a new statblock for the new spirit type. Afterwards, they can summon that spirit as they please. See downtime actions.

They can repeat this process until they have a total of four spirit types at each of lesser, common, and greater rank. At that time, if they undertake an Attune action again, they must remove one other spirit from their roster to make room for the new one.

Other traditions

In addition to the above, there are other types of spirit that are strongly associated with various magical traditions. There are no game mechanics for these currently.

  • Druids invoke Nature Spirits
  • Wujen invoke Spirits of the Elements and Ancestor Spirits
  • Tír na nÓg followers of the wheel are rumored to invoke the Wild Hunt at a high rank.
  • Houngans, Mambos and Voodoonistas may summon the Loa

There are also traditions associated with dark magic:

  • Initiated Blood Mages are able to invoke Blood Spirits
  • Toxic Shamans invoke Toxic Spirits
  • Insect Shamans invoke specific Insect Spirits (cf, Chicago, and Bug City)

5.4.3 - Creating spirits

Rules for creating stats for spirits

Players who’s characters follow magical traditions other than hermetic mage or shaman will have to create their own spirit stats as their character learns to summon new spirits. For the main, these will follow the rules in the Savage Worlds Summoner’s Circle supplement. You can freely define everything about the spirit.

Common abilities

All spirits always have the following powers and abilities. Numbers in brackets are the points value from Summoner’s Circle.

  • -4 damage to mundane ranged attacks (2): difficult to harm with physical objects alone.
  • Dual-natured (1): native to the astral plane; is always astrally perceiving at all times.
  • Elemental (5): doesn’t need to eat or breathe; immune to poison/disease; immune to called shots; ignores 1 level of Wound penalties (although this only applies if the spirit is also Resilient or Very Resilient, as otherwise, 1 Wound is sufficient to disrupt the spirit.)
  • Extraplanar (-2): can be targeted by the Banish power.
  • Fearless (2): immune to fear effects.

Net total: 8 points.

Spirits & Powers

Spirits can have the ability to use Powers (spells), with some notes and caveats:

  • It takes 2 ally build points to take the first power, then 1 further point for each additional power they have access to.
  • Any spirit that is to use Powers will need to take the Magic skill, which is paid for as normal (1 ally point per die type).
  • Spirits use Powers using the No-Power-Point rules, the same as mages do.
  • Spirits still suffer from a form of Drain when they roll a natural 1 on their Magic die, although this represents the spirit’s link to the material plane being weakened rather than drain in the traditional sense.
  • Spirits can take any Power players can, except for Summon Ally (!) and Banish. There are some additional powers below.

New Powers for spirits


Rank: Seasoned
Power points: 2
Range: Smarts×2
Duration: Sustained

Causes the target to experience mishaps, slips, and other instances of bad luck at an accelerated rate. Whenever the target rolls a natural 1 on their skill die (regardless of the value of the wild die), they experience a crit-fail or similar effect.

Must be sustained as usual (ie. the spirit takes a -1 penalty on further Magic rolls while sustaining the power.) This -1 also applies to rolls to use magical spirit abilities that roll skills like Shooting or Athletics.

Modifier: +2PP: can effect all targets inside a Medium Blast Template.

5.5 - Astral space, perception, and projection

The astral plane; how to go there and what to do

Sprawlrunners RAW does not use astral projection and significantly limits astral perception compared to Shadowrun.

Our campaign will allow astral projection as a houserule. Astral perception will work like Shadowrun (long distance) and not Sprawlrunners (where it has a very short range).

Characters with the Physical Adept arcane background can choose to purchase Astral Perception as a power. They cannot astrally project. Full mages can both perceive and project, without having to buy any powers.

Seeing the astral world

  • Auras of living things appear like melanges of bright colours in the approximate shape of the person. Sentient beings have a dizzyingly complicated aura of swirling colours; non-sentient ones have simpler patterns but still glow brightly. Plantlife is more muted but still unmistakable.
  • Physical objects appear as flat, opaque, grey shadows. All technological detail is obscured; it’s extremely difficult to tell a gun from a commlink. Glass is not transparent on the astral plane. You cannot read text on a screen or a page.
    • Objects that have spent a long time in proximity to someone who associates them with emotional heft - eg. a wedding ring - carry an echo of that emotional resonance. This slowly fades over time if the object is removed from the person, though.

Astral projection

A mage can safely astrally project for (Spirit Die/2) hours.

Beyond that, the mage must roll a Spirit test every ten minutes, at a cumulative -1 penalty each time (so -1 after 10 minutes; -2 after 20 minutes, etc.) When the caster fails a roll, they get 10 more minutes, then if they do not return to their body they will fade away and die.


Movement in the Astral has two speeds: ‘slow’ is Pace 100, ‘fast’ is 5 km per initiative turn. At the ‘fast’ rate, everything whizzes past in an incomprehensible blur, so it’s really only useful for long distance travel where the mage knows where they are going. (Mages who do a lot of long-range astral travel get really good at memorising maps!)

Astral beings can fly freely up to the limits of the manasphere (about 80 km). They can pass through any solid objects, but cannot pass through the living earth as that has its own aura.

Astral beings cannot pass through each other. They can pass through the auras of living beings on the physical plane, but the process isn’t very pleasant, and the person being passed through can roll Notice to be aware of it (it’s like an amped-up version of the “someone just walked over my grave” creepy feeling.)


Astrally projecting mages can “manifest” to show themselves to mundanes in the physical world. They appear as a hazy, ghostly version of themselves. They can be seen by people, and talk to them.

This is actually a sort of localised psychic link. They don’t have a real form, and cannot interact with any physical objects. They cannot be recorded by technological devices like cameras. They cannot choose to only be visible or audible to one person in a group.

Manifesting is difficult, and can only be kept up for ((Spirit Die type) * 5) minutes at a time.

Losing your body

If someone moves a mage’s body while they are away from it, they’ll need to make a Dramatic Task to re-locate it before their time on the astral plane runs out!

Assensing / aura reading

Roll Astral skill versus TN4. If the target has the Masking Edge and are choosing to use it, they can oppose this test with Spirit. If the target has Masking and the assenser does not, the Spirit roll is made at +2.

Depending on the outcome, you might learn the following:

  • Failure - The assenser doesn’t notice anything special. Without masking, the target appears to be healthy, mundane, and be experiencing no strong emotions. If the target is using masking, they can choose to appear however they want.
  • Success - the assenser can tell:
    • The target’s metahuman subspecies
    • The general physical condition of the target - healthy, injured, or sick
    • If the target is mundane or Awakened of some kind
    • If the target has any cyberware
    • If the target’s aura was masked
  • Raise - the assenser gets more information:
    • The Wound and Fatigue levels of the target. If the assenser is familiar with diseases, they can often take an educated guess at any serious illness.
    • The power level of an Awakened target, relative to their own (in terms of their arcane skill)
    • The general amounts of and types of cyberware (headware, bodyware, limbs, nervous system mods, etc.)

Astral combat

This is handled very much like melee combat:

  • Attacker rolls their Astral skill
  • Defender’s Astral Parry is (2 + (1/2 their Astral skill die))
  • Base damage is attacker’s Spirit die
    • Weapon Foci add their die type to this, and can be used while astrally perceiving or projecting
    • Physical adepts who are astrally perceiving and have the Killing Hands power add their approriate die type
  • Astral toughness is (2 + (1/2 Spirit die))
  • Apply Shaken and Wounds as normal. Wounds dealt in Astral combat manifest themselves upon the mage’s comatose body.

Note that - given how fast astral travel is - the back-and-forth of astral combat can easily cover an area hundreds of meters across.

Powers in astral space

A spell, by definition, is the channelling of mana from the astral plane to the physical one; therefore spells cannot be used when caster, target, or both are on the astral plane. Astral beings who wish to get rid of others must use astral combat as above.

6 - The Matrix

By default, Sprawlrunners presents a classic ’80s cyberpunk take on cyberspace: wired decks and VR hacking. Since 4e, Shadowrun has moved away from this, blending in modern technologies like cellphones and wifi. People have different opinions about how good an idea this is, but I quite like it, so below are some houserules aimed at putting wireless devices and hacking into Sprawlrunners - while hopefully keeping it Fast! Furious! And Fun!

NB I will use Shadowrun-speak in this section ie “decker” not “operator”, “host” not “system.”

If you’re reading these rules for the first time, you might like to start with this overview, which sets out the key concepts and how they fit together. The rest of this section is dedicated to the rules mechanics for applying these houserules to Sprawlrunners. The Matrix section in the Settings part of the site provides an in-world explanation of the Matrix and how it functions.


Types of Matrix devices and their stats

Stats for devices, stuff that matters

Matrix Actions

All kinds of things deckers can do

Sleaze hacking on the wireless Matrix

What to hack and how to hack it

Cybercombat hacking

Disregard stealth; brick devices instead

Combat decking

How the decker can help in combat


How the authorities catch deckers

Additional rules

Extra bits and pieces

Furious Hacking in our Sprawlrunners

Draft proposal for integrating ManuFS’s Furious Hacking rules into our game

6.1 - Types of Matrix devices and their stats

Stats for devices, stuff that matters

Device types

Every device active on the Matrix falls into one of a small number of types:

  • Commlink
  • Cyberdeck / dronedeck
  • Host
  • Standalone device - any device that has a Matrix connection and isn’t one of the above.

Standalone devices connected directly to the Matrix are considered unattended. Unattended devices are very vulnerable to deckers. To protect them, they are often connected to a network that is controlled by a commlink, a cyberdeck, or a host. Networked devices cannot be directly hacked; the decker has to hack the network controller first, then the device second.

Matrix stats

All matrix devices are defined by a small number of stats:

  • System Rating: a single die (d4–d12) representing how powerful the system is. Used to oppose some attempted manipulations and by ICE hosted on the system when attacking deckers.
  • Hardening (also called System Toughness in Sprawlrunners): how resistant the system is to outside manipulations. Used as the target number for sleaze hacking rolls, and as the toughness target in damage rolls.
  • Firewall (called Cyberspace Parry in Sprawlrunners): the device’s capability to block incoming hostile datastreams. Used as the target number for cybercombat hacking rolls.

For all devices except cyberdecks, Hardening is derived from System Rating in a similar manner to Toughness in normal SWADE; half the die type, plus a bonus. The bonus is 0/+1/+2 depending on the device type. Firewall is 2 if the device lacks any active intrusion scanning. If it has such protection, then it is equal to Hardening.


Statlines below are listed as ([System Rating]) [Hardening] / [Firewall].

GradeStandalone deviceCommlinkDrone/VehicleHostCyberdeck
Cheap(d4) 2 / 2(d4) 3 / 2(d4) 4 / 44 / varies (“student”)
Civilian(d6) 3 / 2(d6) 4 / 2 1(d6)2 4 / 2 3(d6) 5 / 55 / varies (“cheap”)
Security(d8) 4 / 2(d8) 5 / 2 1(d8) 5 / 2 3(d8) 6 / 66 / varies (“streetware” & “corp”)
Military(d10) 5 / 2 4(d10) 6 / 2 3(d10) 7 / 77 / varies (“security” & “military”)
Elite(d12) 8 / 88 / varies (“fully custom”)

  1. Can run an active defence package that boosts its Firewall stat to the same as its Hardening one. ↩︎ ↩︎

  2. Drone/vehicle system rating is just the autopilot’s Smarts die. ↩︎

  3. Vehicles or drones in use will almost always be part of a network, and protected by it. ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎

  4. Very unusual for these devices to be running unattended. ↩︎

6.2 - Matrix Actions

All kinds of things deckers can do

Offensive & defensive actions

Cybercombat Hack

Requires: Fighting utility
Rolls: Hacking vs target Firewall
Use on: network controllers, unattended devices, ICE

See Cybercombat.

Sleaze Hack

Requires: Persuasion utility
Rolls: Hacking vs target Hardening
Use on: networks, unattended devices, , hosts, ICE

Gain access to something, hopefully without anyone noticing. See Hacking.

DoS Hack

Requires: Fighting utility
Rolls: Hacking vs target’s Smarts attribute
Use on: people with cyberware and wireless gear

Flood a target’s Matrix devices with bad traffic to impede their functionality. See DoS attacks.

Hide (on local mesh)

Requires: Stealth utility
Rolls: Hacking, maybe vs Notice
Use on: your own network

Can be used on the local mesh to disguise and hide your cybderdeck’s network from observers; see Matrix Stealth for more. If nobody is actively looking, the target number for this test is 4. If you are being actively hunted (eg by a persona running the Notice utility) it is opposed by the hunter’s Hacking skill.

Can be used within a host to hide your persona from ICE and security spiders, see “Deceive ICE” on Sprawlrunners pg 39 for more.

Hide (in host)

Requires: Stealth utility
Rolls: Hacking, maybe vs Notice
Use on: your persona

Used within a host to hide your persona from ICE and security spiders, see “Deceive ICE” on Sprawlrunners pg 39 for more.

Configuration commands

Improvise utility

Rolls: Hacking

See Sprawlrunners pg 43.

Change utility loadout

See Sprawlrunners pg 39. Takes a couple of seconds to do outside of combat.

Jack out

See Sprawlrunners pg 38. Can be a Free action, but then comes with risk of dumpshock.

File and device actions

Manipulate files

Rolls: N/A or as required
Use on: any file(s)

Can be used to copy, edit, erase, or search for files or other data in any kind of store - a host, a node, a commlink, a data chip, etc. Obviously the decker has to have access to the store first, either legitimately or via a hacking action.

The actual file manipulations do not usually require a test. However, if the purpose of the edits requires skill - eg. they are intended to forge credentials, hide suspicious entries in an access log - then a test may be required to see how that goes. The skill required to do that will vary depending on what the content is; eg, to forge some personnel reports, the Corp skill would be used.

Copying or erasing a very large number of files under time pressure might be a dramatic task.

Decrypt file

Requires: Decryption utility
Rolls: Hacking vs file encryption rating die type
Use on: any encrypted file

Decrypting a number of files under time pressure is usually a dramatic task.

Manipulate device

Rolls: Hacking or varies, usually vs target’s Hardening
Use on: any device

Can be used to give commands to a device, or manipulate it in other ways. Maglocks can be told to lock or unlock, cameras can be shut down or told to loop a fragment of footage. Commlink calls in progress can be snooped on. The other end of a commlink call can be traced to a physical location.

If the device is part of a network, the network must be hacked first.

Rigger & drone actions

Jump in

Used by a rigger to assume jumped-in control of a drone or vehicle.

  • If the rigger does not own the vehicle or drone, they’ll need to make a Sleaze Hacking roll to Jump In to it.
  • Jump In can be done wirelessly or over a wired connection, but to do it wirelessly, the rigger must be using a dronedeck.
  • This is a free action if the rigger is already connected to the target via a cable or their dronedeck. Otherwise, it’s a normal action.

Command Autopilot

Free action. Give a one-sentence command to a drone or vehicle autopilot. This can be combined with a Sleaze Hack to target drones or vehicles the actor does not own or control.

If a rigger is using a dronedeck that has multiple drones/vehicles in its network, they can issue the same command to any number of the drones/vehicles for a single free action.


Enter host/node

Rolls: None or as Sleaze Hacking, above
Use on: host/node

Enter a host (from the local mesh) or a node (within a host that has multiple nodes.) When entering a node from the local mesh, this also switches the decker’s interface from AR to VR.

Some hosts/nodes have security checks for access; if so, they must be successfully hacked with a Sleaze Hacking roll to enter.

To exit a host/node again, see Jack Out, above.


Requires: Notice utility
Rolls: Hacking
Use on: any target

Get more information about a persona, ICE, icon, or device.

6.3 - Sleaze hacking on the wireless Matrix

What to hack and how to hack it

Types of hacking target

Sprawlrunners’ RAW defines one type of hack target - nodes. In my houserules, these are expanded to include unattended devices and networks of devices controlled by a commlink, cyberdeck, or host. See Hacking the Wireless Matrix for definitions of these terms.

Local mesh hacking

All hacking against unattended devices or networks is done over the local mesh. This means the hacker must be able to reach the target via the local mesh, which has a typical range of around 50-100 metres (but can vary with local network conditions, Faraday cages, signal-blocking smartpaint, etc.)

To carry out the hack, the decker rolls Hacking skill vs the device’s Hardening stat (also called System Toughness in some places in Sprawlrunners; same thing). If hacking a network consisting of lots of devices, it’s the network controller’s rating that is used here.

All local mesh sleaze hacking rolls contribute to the local mesh alarm state as follows:

  • successful hack with a raise - 0 points
  • successful hack - 1 point
  • failed hack - 2 points (and if the hack target was a network, the network owner is alerted)
  • critical failure - 3 points (everyone on the local mesh is alerted)

All local mesh hacking is carried out in augmented reality.

Hacking unattended devices

The decker does not need to gain any sort of access before issuing hacking commands; common tasks such as opening a maglock or looping a camera feed is a single action and a single (Hacking) roll vs the device’s Hardening stat.

Hacking networks

To manipulate devices attached to a network, first the decker must hack into the device that is running it. Once there, the decker can manipulate devices on the network (eg snoop on phone calls, read files stored on the commlink, or trace the device’s precise physical location). Each of those is an action and a further Hacking roll against the network controller’s Hardening (note: not the device’s Hardening), same as Sprawlrunners RAW.

Any failed sleaze hacking roll against a network immediately makes the owner aware of the intrusion attempt; they will typically react by rebooting or shutting down their devices, unless they are distracted or have some reason to think they are not under attack.

If the network controller device is a cyberdeck or a dronedeck, the decker/rigger also gets a chance to notice successful sleaze hacks. They roll Notice versus the results of the Hacking roll. On a success, they realise what is going on.

Hacking networks controlled by hosts

A network controlled by a host can only be hacked by entering the host or node that controls it, in VR, and avoiding or defeating the ICE within. See Sprawlrunners for rules. Once a decker has gained access to the host or node that is running the network, they can issue commands to the devices connected to it.

When hacking tough hosts, it can be particularly useful to compromise a device in its network and use it as a back door

6.4 - Cybercombat hacking

Disregard stealth; brick devices instead

The rules in hacking cover stealthy intrusion techniques so a decker can discreetly manipulate devices for their own ends. But if you want to take something offline right fraggin’ now, and you don’t care who knows about it – what you need is cybercombat.

Basics of cybercombat

  • Attacker must have the Fighting utility loaded (or roll to improvise a replacement, as usual.)
  • Roll Hacking skill against the defender’s Firewall value.
  • Do base damage of 1d4 + Hacking skill. +1d6 if the attack roll had a Raise.
  • Compare attack damage to target Hardening.

Calculate Shaken and Wounds as usual.

Matrix damage

Cyberdecks & dronedecks

As per Sprawlrunners core. Shaken applies to the decker using the ‘deck. Cyberdecks have three Wounds; if the device takes all three, it is crashed, and the decker must resist dumpshock.

Networks controlled by decks stay up and running (regardless of the deck’s Shaken and Wound state) until the deck is completely crashed.

A commlink or other device that is Shaken is put into a crashed state. Starting on the next turn, it can attempt to restart itself (on the owner’s turn, but not costing the owner an action) by making an unshake roll using the device’s rating die type. Until it does so, it is offline, cannot function, and cannot be targeted for further Matrix attacks. The owner/controller of a Shaken device can choose to immediately restart it as an action without needing to pass any test.

If the device takes a Wound (via a raise on the attack roll) then they are bricked. They do not function again until repaired.

Networks run from commlinks are much less robust than those run by cyberdecks. If the commlink becomes Shaken, every device on the network is Shaken (and hence unusable) with it, until the commlink comes back. If it is crashed, every device on the network is Shaken. They can roll to unshake as usual (just roll once for all of them), but will come back as unattended devices, without the protection of the network.

Consequences of crashing things

Smartweapons and similar gear that are Shaken can still be fired, as they have manual fallback controls, but they lose any bonuses they normally get from their electronics eg. smartgun bonuses. Note that it might be more effective for offensive deckers to use a DoS attack instead.

All cyberware is controlled via direct neural shunts to the user’s wetware, so crashing the cyberware’s Matrix component only inhibits minor parts of its functionality; it doesn’t brick it entirely. You cannot render someone’s cyberlimb or wired reflexes completely inert via a cybercombat attack, although you can impede their use with a DoS attack. A few pieces of cyberware do inherently rely on Matrix connectivity to work - like implanted commlinks - and they can be crashed via cybercombat, however.

6.5 - Combat decking

How the decker can help in combat

The rise of wireless hacking has made the decker much more useful and powerful on the modern battlefield. Deckers are now key parts of combat squads, performing counter-hacking, defening against attacking deckers, hiding their team from sight on the Matrix, and running denial-of-service attacks against opposing forces.

Denial-of-service attacks

A decker facing an opponent using wirelessly connected devices can distract them by interfering with the systems using a special form of the Test action (see SWADE pg 108), called a DoS attack. The decker makes a Hacking roll opposed by the target’s Smarts trait. The following modifiers apply:

  • If the target has a few items of cyberware and/or wireless gear: no modifier.
    • If they have lots of gear, extensive cyberware, or both: +1 to the decker’s roll
    • If the target is a drone or vehicle working on autopilot: +2 to the decker’s roll
  • If the target’s gear is protected by a network that the decker hasn’t hacked: -2 to the decker’s roll

On a success, the decker can inflict either Distracted or Vulnerable on the target, as they prefer. On a Raise, they can also inflict Shaken.

Matrix stealth

As a general rule, you cannot hide on the matrix. Any smart devices - and this includes many items of gear and most items of cyberware - inherently rely on the matrix to work at all, and so anyone glancing in your direction will see the corresponding icons.

There is an exception, however. A decker or rigger running an network from their cyberdeck or dronedeck can ‘hide’ it by minimising traffic and disguising the devices within it as innocuous ones.

The ‘deck must be running the Stealth utility. Hiding a network is also an active, ongoing action that requires quite a bit of attention from the decker or rigger at all times. Out of combat, this takes about half their time. In combat, it takes one action per turn (so they will incur a multi-action penalty if they also wish to act.)

To attempt a successful sneak, roll Hacking against a target number of 4 (if no-one is actively looking for the network) or opposed by Smarts (if people are hunting for it.) This test will need to be repeated every so often as the situation changes.

While a network is in hidden mode, all traffic between devices is cut to the bone. It can only be used for voice and text comms; streaming video is capped to low-resolution, riggers cannot Jump In, and most electronic items are only semi-functional (eg. no smartlink or tacnet bonuses.)

If combat starts and the network is still in stealth mode, the decker or rigger can drop the stealth and restore full functionality as a free action.


A tacnet is a realtime augmented reality overlay used by all members of a team to co-ordinate their actions and share tactical data. Tacnets were created for us by elite corp special-ops teams, but have been co-opted by shadowrunners and other criminals (at least, those who can afford them.)

Tacnets can only be run by a decker using a cyberdeck. They require a network controlled by a cyberdeck, and they require the cyberdeck to be running the Tacnet utility.

Game effects of tacnets

Tacnets extent the Command Range for all Leadership edges to include everyone using it (see SWADE pg 44).

At the start of combat, the character on the tacnet with the highest Battle score can take a test. This test is at +2 if the character’s have thoroughly prepared for battle and know the terrain, or -2 if the characters were ambushed. On a success, the tacnet earns an anti-Bennie. An anti-Bennie can be used to force one die reroll from the opposition, and the lower of the two results used.The anti-Bennie can be used by anyone on the tacnet, to force a re-roll of any action taken against them. This benefit expires at the end of the combat scene.

All of these benefits are lost if the network is crashed. This makes tacnets a priority target for Matrix attack during combat - and the deckers priority targets for physical attack.

Maintaining access to a hacked node from AR

Suppose a decker has hacked into a building facility’s security node in VR and now wish to move with the team while maintaining that access.

They can do so via a new utility called KeepAlive. This allows the decker to switch to AR while keeping their matrix persona active in the node. They can carry out actions against whichever node they are in as if they were still in VR, although they cannot move to other nodes without logging back in.

The decker has to keep KeepAlive in their deck’s memory to maintain the access. In addition, while running KeepAlive, the decker cannot act promptly to defend themselves; all ICE take +2 on all rolls against the decker’s persona.

6.6 - Alarms

How the authorities catch deckers

Alarms are a game mechanic that simulate how aware the authorities are that there is an intruder, and how close they are to finding them.

Within a host, alarms capture the alert level of both the host’s autonomous defenses (ie. ICE) as well as any metahuman sysops. On the local mesh, they measure the alert level of the mesh itself, and local GOD agents guarding the nearest uplink node.

The alarm clock

There are separate alarm clocks for each host and for different parts of the local mesh. These clocks are typically 12-segment.

Incrementing alarms

Alarms typically increment by 1 point for each successful sleaze hack (0 with a raise) and 2 points for each failed hack.

If a Raise on the sleaze hacking roll can be used to make the hack more effective, then the decker can choose to use the Raise to avoid the alarm increment or improve the hack effectiveness, but not both.

Alarm consequences

Each time the alarm score is incremented, roll a d12. If the result is lower than or equal to the current alarm score, consult the table below to see what happens.

Local mesh

  • 1-3 - no effect
  • 4-8 - autonomous tracing persona start to patrol, running on the nearest uplink node. Treat these as Trace ICE.
  • 9-11 - Killer ICE is deployed.
  • 12 - a GOD counter-hacker with at least a d8 in Hacking and a mid-to-high-end ‘deck comes to kick ass and take names.


Reducing the local mesh alarm score

Deckers can use a new utility called Spoof to dodge the effects of a high local mesh alarm score. Spoof works by routing all the decker’s traffic through a nearby device, setting it up to look like the culprit when the authorities notice.

The decker has to have had Spoof loaded before the first hack begun, and kept it loaded throughout. When Spoof is unloaded, the local mesh alarm value immediately halves (rounded down).

Spoof doesn’t help with host hacking.

6.7 - Additional rules

Extra bits and pieces

Occasionally, particularly cautious people might spend some extra cash on defences for their commlink. These all require a commlink of d6 rating or higher; lesser devices don’t have the processing power required. Only one of the following options can be used.

  • Active integrity checking: the commlink devotes a significant portion of its processing power to conducting internal scans, and a significant portion of its storage to storing known-good states that it can roll back to in an emergency. This provides a measure of defence against cybercombat. The device can use its Hardening stat in place of its Firewall stat.
  • Encrypted storage: all files in the commlink’s storage are encrypted, with a rating equal to the commlink’s dice rating.
  • Parabellum: the commlink runs a limited form of the Killer ICE. Each time a decker fails a Sleaze Hack or attempts a Cybercombat or DoS Hack against the commlink, the ICE will automatically respond with a counterattack, rolling the commlink’s Rating vs the cyberdeck’s Firewall. If it hits, it deals Rating+d4 matrix damage (+d6 on a raise).

Back doors

If a decker can get physical access to debug ports on a device, they can get easier access to hack into it. They take +2 on the Sleaze Hacking roll.

This can be used when hacking unattended devices or commlink networks but it becomes particularly potent when hacking networks controlled by hosts. The bonus applies if the decker can access any device in the host’s network, as well as any ports that are part of the host infrastructure itself.

To hack a host through a network device, the decker usually requires a toolkit and a roll of the lower of their Electronics and Repair to open up the device and hook up the necessary connections. If the decker succeeds, they take +2 on all actions in the connected host node.

Host sysadmins are aware of this weakness, and do not usually put external devices like cameras or maglocks onto networks for that reason. Security networks tend to be reserved for more serious defences that are harder to get near, like turrets or security guard’s weapons.

6.8 - Furious Hacking in our Sprawlrunners

Draft proposal for integrating ManuFS’s Furious Hacking rules into our game

This is a draft for discussion and consideration only; it is not currently canon for my campaign. It may or may not be playable as-is. It probaby hasn't been playtested.


Furious Hacking (FH) presents a new set of streamlined rules for host hacks in a cyberpunk game setting. It is faster to resolve than Sprawlrunner’s “Slow Burn” hacking rules, but offers a more dynamic and exciting difficulty ramping mechanic than the “Fast Lane” hacking option.

As written, FH covers a ‘classic’ no-wireless cyberpunk scenario of an operator hacking into a computer host. It doesn’t cover a few scenarios that we use at our table that derive from 5e/6e Shadowrun: wireless hacking, tactical use of hacking in combat, and so forth. This document presents some ideas for expanding FH to cover those.

Proposed modifications

Hacking into hosts/systems

All aspects of hacking into hosts can be run as per FH. As in my existing rules, hacking into hosts is always undertaken in VR, and the operator’s body is consequently in ragdoll mode.

A hacker does not need to be physically connected to a system in order to hack it; they only need to be within local mesh range (see below).

Note that wireless Matrix signals use high-frequency ultrawideband radio, and so very easy to block via physical means. Many secure corporate facilities will therefore use embedded Faraday caging in their construction to limit the size of the local mesh to their walls, making them very difficult to hack from outside the perimeter. This is expensive, however, as it means they will then need to run all building facilities via an on-premises system as well as running their own private uplink system.

Host/system active defences

Particularly valuable hosts might have, as a last line of defence, either metahuman counter-hackers or nearline-sapient Black ICE. These are always played as Wild Cards and will attack the intruding operator in cybercombat.


Once a hacker has logged in to a system, they can disconnect from VR, switch to AR, but maintain their persona’s presence in the host. From there, they can continue to issue “control a device” commands to the system. These use slice rolls and then opposed rolls as usual.

While running under keepalive, the operator cannot benefit from the Exotic Utilites Edge, as they are limited by their meatspace reflexes. Nor can they use more complex Matrix actions like finding or manipulating information, or manipulating an entire subsystem.

Keepalive allows a hacker to move with the team through a facility, dealing with security measures as they go, without having to constantly dip into and out of VR.


A hacker can work more effectively inside a system if they can get physical access to a trusted device. If they can crack the device open and improvise a connection to its debug ports, they can exploit its trusted status.

To do this, they’ll need an electronics kit, a suitable device (a commlink, camera, almost anything that is connected to the system they are trying to hack), some time, and a successful roll of Electronics. If the device is armoured against physical attack, a roll of Repair may also be necessary to get into the guts of it without damaging the delicate components within. Alternatively, the GM can call for a single roll of the lesser of the operator’s Repair and Electronics skills.

If the operator succeeds in this, they gain a bonus +2 slice rolls, the same as if they had pre-existing security grade credentials on the system.

Device hacking on the local mesh

The wireless Matrix is divided into cells. Within each cell, devices use peer-to-peer connections to pass traffic around; this is called the local mesh. At the centre of each cell is an uplink host that is actively guarded by GOD counter-hackers. All traffic between devices in different cells passes through the uplink host. Uplink hosts are connected to each other via fibre cables, satellite links, and other hardline communication infrastructure.

Hackers are free to attempt hacks against any devices within their local mesh, but hacks against or through the uplink host are widely regarded as suicide. This means hackers must always be within local mesh range of their targets.

Treat each cell as its own system, per the FH rules. This represents a combination of anti-malware scanning by the devices within the mesh as well as traffic inspection from the uplink host.

For the purposes of determining slice rolls, treat the local mesh as a system of d4 to d8 value (ie. blue, green, or orange). Blue would apply in poor neighbourhoods, where the devices are cheap and GOD are not watching; orange would be downtown where people are carrying fancy commlinks and GOD are ever-vigilant. In the slums, also apply the “lax security” modifier (+2 slice rolls); in corporate facilities, the “extra tight” modifier will probably apply (-2 slice rolls.)

When determining the actual opposing dice type for any roll, however, consider the device being hacked. A fancy commlink does not become easier to hack because the owner has travelled into the slums; it still opposes with d8 rather than d4. But slice rolls work against it as usual, as they are a function of the local mesh network working as a whole noticing the hacker’s nefarious actions.

Apart from that, all normal FH rules apply, including slice rolls, opposed rolls, and card draws to determine consequences of failure.

As in my existing rules, all local mesh hacking is carried out in AR.

The Exotic Utilities Edge (reduces the multi-action penalty) does not apply to any hacks done in AR. You’re still limited by your meatspace reflexes.


Networks are ways for operators to use their ‘deck to construct secure areas on the local mesh. Each device inside the network severs its connection to the local mesh, communicating only with the cyberdeck. The cyberdeck inspects and filters all traffic to and from the device, sheltering it from hacking attacks.

Devices inside a network cannot be hacked (but they are vulnerable to DoS attacks; see below.) A hostile decker’s only option is to take the network down first, either by engaging the decker in cybercombat and crashing their deck, or by meatspace means - a bullet in the cyberdeck is a popular choice…

Maintaining a local network uses a portion of the cyberdeck’s power and the operator’s attention. The network will disconnect if the operator enters VR. This also means networks are limited in size, typically to only a dozen or so devices. It is not practical for even very secure corp facilities to have all their security cameras hooked into a network.

Networks only apply on the local mesh and for AR hacking.

Hiding a network

The operator running a network can choose to minimise and disguise all traffic within it, effectively making the constituent devices disappear from the Matrix.

This requires active monitoring from the operator, and in combat, one action each round must be spent maintaining the stealth. This means combining it with any other actions will result in a multi-action penalty, as usual.

Hiding a network involves a roll of the operator’s Hacking skill. An observer can only have a chance of noticing a network if they have some sort of running AR system. If the observer is a counter-operator using a cyberdeck, they can oppose the Hacking roll with their Notice skill. If they are just normal schlubs with commlinks, the Hacking roll is unopposed.

Hiding is not available when working inside a system in VR. It only applies in AR/meatspace.


Cybercombat is any operator-vs-operator or operator-vs-Black ICE combat. Cybercombat can take place in VR or AR.

Treat cybercombat as similarly to melee combat in SWADE.

Give each deck a die type rating, depending on the decker’s Edge rank; Deck Builder = d6, Deck Optimiser = d8, Deck Customizer = d10.

  • Attack actions roll Hacking skill.
  • Firewall (‘cyberspace parry’) is 1/2 the operator’s Hacking skill, +2
  • Integrity (‘cyberspace toughness’) is 1/2 the deck’s die type, +2
  • Damage is equal to the deck’s die type plus the operator’s Smarts. +1d6 if the attack was a Raise, as usual.
  • Some meatspace actions also apply in cybercombat, such as:
    • Defend (+4 to Integrity, cannot take any actions)
    • Ganging Up
    • Wild Attacks (+2 to Hacking, but becomes Vulnerable)
    • …more…
  • If an operator attempts a graceful logoff, their opponent gets an immediate Free Attack, similarly to withdrawing from combat in meatspace. Alternatively, they can yank the cable from their deck, avoid the Free Attack, but will take Fatigue as usual from dumpshock.

Resolve damage to determine Shaken and Wounds as usual.

When operators fight each other, each Wound is only applied to their respective cyberdecks. When operators fight Black ICE, the Wounds are applied to the deck and the operator.

Denial of service (DoS)

Almost all electronic devices and cybernetic systems maintain a connection to the Matrix for secondary functions, diagnostic reporting, and similar. Hackers cannot disrupt the primary interface or functionality of a device; they cannot turn off someone’s cybereyes, prevent a smartgun from firing, remotely detonate a grenade on someone’s belt, or force a vehicle to crash by overriding someone who is manually driving it.

What they can do is a Denial of Service attack. DoS attacks involve a hacker flooding someone’s electronic and cybernetic systems with bad traffic, jamming up their responses and making them glitchy and unreliable.

DoS is resolved as a Test action, pitting the operator’s Hacking skill versus the Smarts of the target. The operator takes -2 to +2, depending on the number of electronic devices the target has. Targets with no electronic gear at all are immune to DoS attacks. Resolve Distracted/Vulnerable/Shaken outcomes as usual for Test.


7 - Riggers / Jockeys

7.1 - Gridguide

What it does and how it works

Gridguide is a centralised, automated traffic control system. When within its jurisdictional area, vehicles are guided and advised by its management systems. This covers both traffic routing around the city, managing flow for minimal congestion, and second-to-second control for accident avoidance and junctions.

Gridguide’s area is expansive but not total. It covers all major roads throughout the city, and all minor roads in downtown areas. It fades out in side-streets in the suburbs and is completely absent in the Barrens.

Game mechanics

In game terms, GridGuide acts as a special sort of WAN that all vehicles are connected to. This does not provide the usual anti-hacking protection that WANs do, but it does provide the following game benefits:

  • All Piloting and Notice rolls the vehicle makes get a d6 Wild die.
  • While the vehicle is in motion, it gets the benefit of the Active Integrity Checking program, and so rolls Hardening instead of Firewall to resist attempts to crash it. (Parked vehicles are not a hazard if their computers get crashed, so the system doesn’t cover them.)
  • Vehicles have numerous tracking tags hidden in various places on their body shell. Gridguide tracks their location in realtime through these tags. Finding and disabling them all is a difficult and lengthy process.
  • If any decker hacks control of a vehicle with a GridGuide connection, it will continue to attempt to re-assert control; it rolls d8 vs the decker’s Hacking skill. (todo: how often?)
    • This applies during remote control or normal control via augmented reality surfaces in the vehicle. But some vehicles (not all) are fitted with either manual override controls or rigger adapters. Using either of those completely locks Gridguide out, stopping the attempts to re-establish control.

Hacking Gridguide

As a very well-defended cloud host, hacking Gridguide directly is extremely difficult. However, Gridguide uses a distributed architecture with delegated controls to short-range local hosts, responsible for vehicle control across a small area as well as associated infrastructure like traffic lights. These are vulnerable to hacking in the usual way. They count as standalone devices with a d8 rating. Once a decker gains access, they can issue commands to all nearby connected devices, including vehicles - one hacking roll per command. Note that this will often quickly attract attention from GOD, however it can still be used to facilitate a speedy escape.

7.2 - Drone decks

draft! draft! draft!

This is a draft for discussion and consideration only; it is not currently canon for my campaign. It may or may not be playable as-is. It probaby hasn't been playtested.

Basic idea: similar to cyberdecks, but cheaper. Several tiers with different LP costs. Each tier can load a different number of modules. Required in order to Jump In to anything wirelessly. Provides good bonuses to drones.

Drone decks can:

  • form s-PANs
  • hide s-PANs on the Matrix
  • defend from cybercombat

Drone decks cannot:

  • hack things that do not have Autopilots

Module ideas:

  • Extended s-PAN range for drones only: 1km -> 10km
  • Stealth: can hide s-PAN
  • (maybe) Drone hacking: as Persuasion utility, but only works against drones (maybe: roll d8 with no wild die?)
  • Firewall: adds Firewall stat as per Fighting utility (2 + 1/2 Hacking), but does not allow other uses of Fighting ie hacking things.
  • Pilot: adds a wild die to drone autopilot piloting/driving/boating rolls
  • Gunnery: adds a wild die to drone Shooting rolls

7.3 - Vehicle mods

New rules for riggers to customise their ride

Per Sprawlrunners RAW, anyone can purchase an untraceable vehicle with LP; riggers get no special abilities to tune their vehicles. This aims to address that by giving riggers access to a workshop (via new edges ) that can be used to boost vehicle stats or outfit them with add-ons.

Spending Mod Points

All the below cost 1 point each. They can be applied multiples times, but each subsequent application costs +1 mod points. For example, to add +3 to a vehicle’s handling would cost (1+2+3)=6 points.

  • Increase handling - add 1 to the vehicles handling stat.
  • Increase speed - add 20% to vehicle top speed.
  • Add armour - add 1 point of armour.

You can also add vehicle accessories. Some of these don’t fit on all vehicles eg. you can’t put a medium turret on a motorbike or a medium drone rack on a single-seat commuter car.

  • 1 point - insulative armour - provides immunity to electrical attacks, eg from magic.
  • 1 point - gas sealing - ability to hermetically seal the vehicle. Has a small reserve air supply, typically good for 10-15 minutes.
  • 1 point - small drone rack - sufficient to launch/land a surveillance or recon drone.
  • 2 points - medium drone rack - sufficient to launch/land a hunter drone.
  • 1 point - smuggling compartment - hidden from sight and shielded from scanning. In most vehicles, big enough to hold a couple of rifles.
  • 1 point - off-grid modifications - extra fuel tanks / batteries, dual-fuel systems, off-road tyres, and other mods to enable use for extended periods in the wilderness.
  • 2 points - Valkyrie system - a full smart medbay built into a folding gurney mounted in the vehicle’s trunk, with facilities to provide first aid and stabilise badly wounded people. Needs to be the size of a large car or larger.
  • 2 points - small retractable turret - up to SMG sized weapon (does not come with the weapon).
  • 3 points - medium retractable turret - up to assault rifle sized weapon (does not come with the weapon).

Other mods available by negotiation ;)

7.4 - Hacking vehicles and drones

Deckers vs riggers

Hacking autopilots

Any vehicle or drone that has an autopilot can be attacked from the Matrix.

Sleaze hacking autopilots

A successful sleaze hack against an autopilot is sufficient to issue it one command of about one or two sentences length or to Jump In to it. If you issue a command, that command can be superseded by the vehicle’s or drone’s owners or occupants when they notice, of course. If you Jump In, the drone or vehicle is yours to command unless/until you are overridden (see “control hierarchy” below) or somebody crashes your connection.

As usual, if the drone or vehicle is networked in a PAN, WAN, or s-PAN, that has to be dealt with (sleaze or cybercombat hacked) first.

Cybercombat hacking autopilots

If a vehicle or drone’s autopilot is crashed in cybercombat, then the autopilot and navigation is disrupted, but the occupants can still use manual controls to take over. Even if they don’t, then a backup failsafe system will attempt to bring it to a safe halt. (It might fail though, they’re quite basic.)

DoS attacking drones

Drones are not smart and are easily confused by messing with their Matrix traffic. Deckers attempting DoS attacks against them take +2 on their rolls.

Stealing cars

A single successful sleaze hack roll is enough to get a parked vehicle to unlock itself, disable the autopilot, and then activate manual controls. It can then be stolen. However, this comes with some severe caveats that kick in as soon as the theft is noticed:

  • Multiple broadcast tags hidden around the body of the car will begin to broadcast prominent AR holos proclaiming the car as stolen, as well as uploading the car’s location to the owner and the authorities. Finding and deactivating all the tags is extremely time-consuming (this has already been done to hot cars bought with Logistic Points.)
    • About the only thing the thieves can do once the tags have been set off is use a Matrix jammer to block the signals and drive like Hell.
  • Gridguide will constantly issue commands to the autopilot to disable the vehicle and park up safely. The thieves have to disable it entirely and drive manually, or keep fighting for control (by re-rolling periodic Hacking tests).
    • Gridguide will also use other vehicles it controls to form rolling blockades, traffic jams, etc to impede the thieves. This complicates the “drive like Hell” strategy mentioned above.

Throwback vehicles

Some vehicles are throwbacks and lack any sort of autopilot. They cannot be hacked. They can be stolen and hotwired with the Thievery skill.

A small number of prestige throwback vehicles have been retrofitted with rigger interfaces, however. They still cannot be hacked, and a direct cable connection is required in order to Jump In to thm.

Control hierarchy

If multiple entites are competing to control a given vehicle or drone at the same time, there’s a hierarchy which determines who wins:

  1. Jumped In control via a direct cable connection
  2. Manual controls inside a vehicle (whether physical or via an AR interface surface)
  3. Jumped In control via a wireless connection
  4. Autopilot

Hence, hacking an autopilot and issuing it commands can be overridden by anyone inside the vehicle who can access the physical controls. A rigger can jump into the vehicle remotely, but a competing rigger inside the vehicle can usurp them with a direct cable connection.

8 - Setting Rules

8.1 - Running

An alternative to the Running die
We find the way core SWADE treats the running die is rather anaemic and makes it difficult for melee characters to close up on ranged ones in a modern setting. (YMMV on if you want that to be possible, but our streetsams carry katanas, and we like the Rule of Cool.) These house rules aim to address that.

Normal movement

Non-running movement is unchanged:

  • The character can move up to the Pace stat in inches without taking an action.
  • They can intersperse movement with taking their actions freely - for example, moving to take a shot before returning to cover.
  • Movement over Difficult Ground is at half-rate.
  • Moving while Prone (ie. crawling) is also at half-rate.


Running becomes an action that increases the character’s movement distance by their Pace stat. It can be done multiple times via Multi-Actions as usual, and stacks with further increases to Pace.

Same as with non-running movement, other actions can be freely interspersed. For example, a character can use one action to Run and one to shoot; move 1/3rd of their overall distance; shoot; then move the remaining 2/3rds.

If one or two Running actions are combined with a melee attack that ends the characters turn, they can take a special +2 Charging In bonus to their damage roll. They cannot use this bonus if they continue moving after the attack; this represents the character fully committing to using their momentum to help land a decisive blow.

A character can run over Difficult Ground at their full Pace, but they must pass an Athletics check at -2 plus any Multi-Action Penalty that applies. Failure results in the character losing their footing; they fall prone and are Shaken.

Modified Edges

Fleet Foot loses the effect it has on the Running Die, but its +2 to Pace apples to each Running action.

Free Runner allows normal movement on Difficult Ground at full Pace without having to use a Running action. It also provides a +2 bonus to any Athletics checks required for running on Difficult Ground.

8.2 - Influencing the Story

Houserules for using Bennies during a mission

This is a draft for discussion and consideration only; it is not currently canon for my campaign. It may or may not be playable as-is. It probaby hasn't been playtested.

The purpose of these rules is bring the flavour of fast-paced heist movies to the table, empower the GM to move the plot along quickly, empower players to feel like they are not at a disadvantage when we jump into the action quickly, and reflect the fact that the characters are skilled professionals who are able to prepare for situations the players might not think of.

Legwork montage (optional rule)

When time is short or we just want to get into the action faster, we can replace a fully played out legwork phase with this compressed option.

  1. Each player describes how they are approaching doing legwork for this mission and rolls an appropriate skill. You can use any skill you can justify, but the classic choices include Persuasion, Intimidation, Hacking, Research, Common Knowledge, Astral, or specialist knowledge skills like Arcana or Science.
  2. If it seems fun to do so, we may play out the short scene.
  3. Across the group, the highest single roll is kept.
  4. Each success and raise on that highest roll earns a “Legwork Bennie.” These can be spent in place of normal Bennies, but only to Influence The Story (see the next section.) They are shared amongst all players.

Note that legwork takes a significant amount of in-game time, so the players may choose to skip this step and go in blind if time is of the essence.

Influencing the Story

These rules provide more structure on how Bennies may be spent to influence the story in the player’s favour (see SWADE pg 90.)

During play (either normal play or during a dramatic task (see below), a player may choose to spend a Bennie to Influence the Story in the following ways. (Note that this is how Legwork Bennies may be spent.)

  1. Unused LPs can be spent to retroactively purchase gear that can be useful in the current situation. Note that this must be gear that makes sense in the story, eg. if the players have already sneaked in then the gear must be concealable.
  2. Declare a flashback scene to bypass some obstacle via preparation that was done beforehand. Describe the flashback, and then instead of rolling to overcome the obstacle directly, substitute in a different skill used inside the flashback, and roll that instead. If the substituted skill roll succeeds, the obstacle is bypassed.
Flashback example: faced with a tough security door and no Thievery skill to attempt a lockpick, Muscles the Muscle spends a Bennie to invoked a Flashback. In the flashback, Muscles’ player describes how the night before the break-in, Muscles tracked down someone with a keycard, and threatened them into giving up the goods. The player rolls Intimidation, scoring a raise. Grunting, Muscles reaches into an inside pocket, pulls out the keycard, swipes it, and proceeds through the door.

Heists as Dramatic Tasks

When the plot demands it, we can resolve an entire heist quickly using a lightly modified version of the Dramatic Task framework from SWADE (see pg 122).

  1. Each step of the task will require a different skill, as per the usual Multiple Skills rule. These will all be declared upfront by the GM and will be determined by the overall approach the player’s want to take (stealthy, disguised infiltration, force, etc.) There will usually be the same number of rolls as there are PCs.
  2. The skill may be substituted for another by using a Bennie, as described above. But note that any given character can only roll any given skill once during the whole heist.
  3. Depending on how tight the security is, these rolls will all be made at somewhere between -1 (a small business, lightly guarded facility) and -4 (a corp high-security R&D facility with elite guards.)
  4. Each step of the task will have a different character making the roll. Players can choose who freely. One other character may choose to Support the roll, as usual – but see the next point.
  5. Each character can only roll any given skill once during the Heist. This means they cannot Support using a skill that they are going to roll in a later step. Skills substituted in via a Flashback (see above) do not count towards this rule
  6. Each success and raise contributes a Task Token. The required total of tokens across the rolls will be set by the GM, and will vary with the difficulty of the heist. The usual target will be a total of six tokens across four rolls. A Critical Failure on any roll subtracts one Task Token.

Failure to complete the task may result in a partial success, a complication, the players being discovered and having to fight their way out, or any other outcome as fits the narrative being played out.


The above rules are adapted from those contained in Wiseguys by Eric Lamoureux / Just Insert Imagination.

8.3 - The Heat Die

Game mechanics for when you’re being hunted

This is a draft for discussion and consideration only; it is not currently canon for my campaign. It may or may not be playable as-is. It probaby hasn't been playtested.

The authorities in the Sixth World are bloated, corrupt, lazy, and largely ineffective. Rarely are they focussed on going further than “peacekeeping” (ie. violently intervening in violent crimes). Crime prevention and detective services get very short shrift in the annual budgets. The city may be covered in cameras and all manner of surveillance gizmos, but most of the time, ain’t nobody got the time to look at them on the off-chance they catch a glimpse of a perp.

Occasionally, though. the PCs may nevertheless do such spectacular things that they end up being actively hunted by forces much more powerful than themselves who are suddenly told “screw the budgets, we want these guys. NOW.”

These rules provide a simple framework for running these incidents.

The Heat Die

Heat represents how close the authorities are to the PC’s trail and how complete a view they have of the PC’s ongoing activities. It is represented by a die type, ranging from d4 to d12.

Some authorities might not have the resources to take the die type all the way to d12 and so it might be capped at some lower value.

The Heat Roll

Every time the PCs take an action that puts them at any risk of exposure, we make a Heat Roll to see what happens. Actions that might result in a Heat Roll depend a lot on the resources of whomever is tracking the PCs, but might include:

  • Being in public around active security cameras hooked up to facial recognition, gait recognition, etc. Disguises can help somewhat but not totally.
  • Digital forensics, eg anything linked to a SIN that the authorities can discover, eg bank accounts held in a fake SIN.
  • Physical forensics, eg blood or other viable DNA left at a crime scene.
  • Astral forensics, eg using magic and not taking several minutes to wipe the scene of all traces of the caster’s astral signature afterwards.
  • Having an active material link in possession of the authorities, like a preserved tissue sample. (This is a disaster.)

A Heat Roll is a roll of the current Heat Die. If the search is being led or co-ordinated by a Wild Card NPC, an additional Wild Die is rolled.

If the result of the Heat Roll is a Success, the authorities investigate the outcome of the action after the PCs are done and successfully link it to the PCs. Raise the Heat Die by one step.

If the result is a Raise, the authorities realise what is happening in sufficient time to intervene - vastly complicating the PC’s lives.

Taking precautions

Most of the time, the PCs can take precautions to obviate the Heat Roll. For example, they can wear disguises, hack or avoid cameras, destroy physical evidence, wipe astral signatures, etc.

Such precautions always come at an extra cost, either in consumable gear they need to use or in terms of extra time they need to take (or both.)

When taking active precautions, one PC can attempt a suitable Skill roll to oppose the Heat Roll. This cannot be Supported.

Shaking the tail

If the PCs can come up with a suitable set of actions to try and lose their persuers temporarily, they may attempt to do so.

This will usually take the form of a three-step Dramatic Task. If they can collect three task tokens, the Heat Die drops by one step; five task tokens and it drops by two steps. The Heat Die never below a d4, however,

Losing heat

For permanently getting rid of heat, see lying low in Downtime Actions.

8.4 - Contacts

People you know, and what they can do for you

Summary of how you can use NPCs to help you

See below for definitions of all these terms.

  • Connections edge - can get help from one or more people who belong to a specific group or faction. Each PC who has the Connections edge can do this once per session. These NPCs are extras and will usually roll a d8.
  • I know a guy - any PC can declare a new acquaintance who owes you a favour and can help with one task. Costs a Bennie. Can only be done once per session for the whole group (not once each). Optionally, any PC can spend a second Bennie to convert the acquaintance into a contact. These NPCs are extras and will usually roll a d8.
  • Contacts - once per session, each PC can call on any of their contacts for aid. Does not cost a Bennie. Contacts are Wild Cards and will usually roll a d8 plus a Wild Die. Contacts will ask you to return the favour from time to time.

Clarification of Contacts vs the Connections Edge

The Connections edge (see SWADE pg 50) provides your character with a connection to a specific group or organisation of people.

You can only use the Connections edge once per session, and only when the narrative allows (eg. you have to be able to contact the group, and they have to be able to reach you.)

NPCs you know through the Connections edge are Extras (not Wild Cards) and so do not roll a wild die. Should they have to roll any traits, they will usually roll a d8.

“I know a guy…”

At any point during gameplay, you may spend a Bennie to make up an acquaintance who owes you a small favour. You may do this to get information, a small amount of specialist gear, access to a restricted area, or anything else that you can convince me makes sense.

Note that “I know a guy…” is restricted to being used once per session across the whole group (not once each.)

The acquaintance starts with Friendly disposition, as they owe you a favour.


Contact stats

Contacts are characterised by two stats: their contact die type and their disposition.

The contact die is the die type the contact will roll when making any test on your behalf in their area of expertise. Most contacts have a d8 die type, although this may vary when the story suggests it.

All contacts are Wild Cards, and so also roll a Wild Die on all trait rolls.

Contact disposition uses the Reactions table (see SWADE pg 33). To summarise, each contact’s current relationship to the PC can take one of these values:

HostileOpenly hostile; might attack, betray, or otherwise hinder. Will not help without a really good reason.
UnfriendlyIsn’t interested in helping unless offered substantial reward.
UncooperativeWill only help with coercion or reward.
NeutralNo preconceptions. Expects fair payment for services.
CooperativeSympathetic; may volunteer small pieces of information.
FriendlyWill go out of their way; will do simple tasks for free, and willing to consider dangerous or very complex tasks for reasonable payment.
HelpfulAnxious to help, at any reasonable cost to themselves.

Using contacts to assist you

You can call on your contacts at any time for help, without needing to spend a Bennie. But you can only do this once per session; your contacts have their own lives and they are not all sitting around at your beck and call.

Creating a contact from an acquaintance

Normally, after you spend a Bennie to do I know a guy (see above) or after you use the Connections edge, that NPC fades out into the background of the story. However if you wish you can spend a second Bennie to recruit them as a permanent Contact.

Note that it can be anyone in the group who spends the Bennie and hence “adopts” the acquaintance; it doesn’t need be the same person who spent the first Bennie.

Contacts recruited this way return to a Neutral disposition, as they have repaid the favour implied by I know a guy.

Contact events

At the start of downtime, each PC who has any contacts must draw a card. If it’s a face card, one of their contacts will need their help with some thing (see below.) The PC can choose which contact this event affects.

At the GM’s option, this might have to resolved during downtime (taking one or more of the PC’s downtime actions) or after downtime, during the next mission. It might be resolved in a single Wealth check, need the PC to pass a Dramatic Task, or become an entire background story.

If the PC ignores the contact, their disposition will drop one or more levels. If they successfully help, their disposition will improve by one level.

ClubsThe contact is in trouble with the authorities (Knight Errant or a megacorp) and needs to lie low.The contact shows up at your door, wounded and bleeding.The contact has been arrested; they need to be bailed (or broken) out; or the PC needs to find a patsy for their crime; or they need to prove their innocence.
DiamondsThe contact has a problem or difficulty in their profession and needs help.The contact shows up at your door with a fat credstick and offers you half if you can deal with the people who want it back.The contact is in deep to a loan shark or other shady source of credit, and their patience has run out.
HeartsThe contact’s livelihood is threatened and they need help to save it.A personal tragedy has happened and they need your shoulder to cry on (a breakup, bereavement, illness, etc.)The contact has been attracting too much attention and someone is hunting them… and the people they know.
SpadesThe contact needs your help to get information on someone or something, and it has to be done discreetly.They’re starting to worry about you and need reassuring that you’re loyal to them.The contact is out for revenge on someone and needs your help getting it.


Any contact at the Helpful disposition level will give you some extra service, assistance or item for free, above and beyond what they usually can do. The details will depend on the contact’s background and skillset and we will work together to create this.


The above rules are adapted from those contained in Wiseguys by Eric Lamoureux / Just Insert Imagination.

9 - Gear

9.1 - Firearms and the Matrix

How modern firearms interact with the Matrix

Unless otherwise stipulated, all normal firearms in the game are assumed to be “modern”, for a 207x version of the word “modern.” This means they have:

  • caseless ammo
  • electronic firing mechanism
  • electronic trigger
  • wireless mental controls for fire mode selection
  • a backup (fully mechanical) trigger & firing mechanism
  • internal sensor package that enables the gun to track its state and display it to the user via an AR holo display (eg. ammo count, current fire mode, barrel temperature, warnings about maintenance schedule)
  • optional extra (for more ¥) - friend-or-foe ID system [^1]
  • optional extra (for more ¥) - biometric-based safeties
  • optional extra (for more ¥) - active gas-vent recoil reduction systems, that use the gun’s onboard processing to compute the best way to use weapon exhaust gases to compensate for barrel climb in realtime
  • “squealer” tags that broadcast the presence of the gun on the Matrix, and track the gun’s legal owner (more on these below); also, the same applies to ammo

[^1] Notoriously finicky, and infamous amongst security personnel for occasional false-positives that stop them shooting people they really, really need to shoot. Widely hated. Corp execs keep insisting on them, though, because they’re micromanaging arseholes.

Illegal guns

Any gun the PCs purchase with Logistic Points has been supplied to them through criminal contacts that have already wiped the gun. Squealer tags are disabled (but can be re-enabled if it is helpful for disguise reasons), all other RFID tracking features are disabled, any present biometric safeties or friend-or-foe ID system are removed.

Squealer tags

If you have a normal open-carry firearms licence, then you are required to have a broadcasting tag on your gun at all times. This tells everyone who cares to know that you are armed.

If you have a concealed carry licence, you are legally permitted to disable this broadcast. Criminals routinely do this on their guns, too, for obvious reasons.

If a cop or a guard spots a gun poking out of your clothes and you don’t have a squealer tag running, they are going to be intensely curious about you. For this reason, even criminals sometimes turn gun broadcasts on - it can, paradoxically, help you blend in better.

Hacking modern firearms

Although modern firearms use various Matrix features, they are all secondary to the functionality of the gun, or have purely non-Matrix backup failsafes. Hence, a gun cannot be completely disabled by hacking it.

A decker who wishes to disrupt guns wielded by their enemies can, however, carry out a Denial of Service attack. This follows the normal SWADE rules for a Test action.


Smartguns represent the pinnacle of firearms electronic control. The gun’s sensor package is extended to include LIDAR mapping and time-of-flight sensing; on-board secondary processing includes a ballistics model calibrated to the specific gun1. This links to a primary processor implanted into the user’s nervous system which can compute likely ballistic trajectories and overlay them onto the user’s cybereyes display, providing for firing accuracy unrivalled by any other mechanism – even from the hip.

Houseruled game mechanics: A smartgun can cancel up to 2 points of Shooting penalties from the same sources as an Aim action: range, cover, speed, scale and called shots. If there aren’t 2 points of penalties to cancel, it grants +1 to the roll instead.

A smartgun is required to use cyberarms with recoil compensation systems.


Weapons that are not modern (per the above definition) are called throwbacks. They have entirely mechanical firing mechanisms, use cased ammo, and have iron or optical sights only.

Game mechanics: Throwback guns are entirely invisible on the Matrix and cannot be hacked via Denial of Service attacks.

Throwback guns in good condition that aren’t linked to existing crimes via ballistics traces are difficult to find on the street, as is cased ammo for them. All throwback guns incur a +1 LP penalty, as does each purchase of ammo for them. Throwback ammo is only available in normal variety - no APDS or Ex-Ex.

Throwback guns cannot take certain accessories and modifications:

  • Smartgun adapters
  • Gas-vent recoil reduction system - relies on on-weapon processing to make realtime adjustments to accurately compensate for recoil

  1. This requires “sighting in” after fitting to a new weapon, similar to dialling in optical sights. ↩︎

9.2 - Electronics

Gadgets and gizmos

Wideband wireless Matrix jammer

Weight: 3
Cost: 3 LP
This replaces the “jammer” from Sprawlrunners pg 63.

About the size and weight of a hand grenade, this device emits a storm of wideband noise across a radius of 30 m. It has an integral battery pack that can keep this going for up to an hour, if necessary.

Within the affected area, all wireless Matrix traffic is restricted to line-of-sight and 1d6 metres only. Devices cut off from their WAN/PAN/s-PAN controller from this will drop back to standalone matrix connections automatically, although they will only be able to connect to other devices within a very short range. Drones will revert to autopilot and lose all benefits from any dronedeck they were connected to.

Wireless jammers are quite illegal and deploying one is about as subtle as a thunderclap in a library. Physical security will attempt to find and neutralise it as a matter of priority. GOD agents will deploy from the closest uplink node, and they will alert local police or security.

9.3 - Weapons

Some sample weapons drawn from Shadowrun, statted for Sprawlrunners


These are intrinsic to the weapon when it is purchased. Below are some houseruled additions to the standard ones list in Sprawlrunners (pg 56):

  • Revolver: reduced shots (already reflected in statline). If it is a smartgun, character can load different ammo types in different cylinders, and choose which cylinders to fire for each attack via a mental command as a free action. Plus swinging the gate open to dump spent brass is extremely cool.
  • Heavy calibre: applies +1 AP, requires 1 more die type in Str. Costs +1LP.
  • Extended mag: +33% shots, +1LP, +2 to Notice due to the weapon’s awkward, bulky shape.


  • Smartgun (houserule version): subtracts 2 points of penalties from a Shooting role or adds 1 to the roll. (+1LP to weapon cost)

Cosmetic trappings

  • Imposing - oversized; bulky; threatening.
  • Blinged - made of mirror-polished chrome; colour-changing smartpaint; public AR broadcast of a killcount holo.
  • Sleek - matte black; no protrusions; militaristic and efficient.
  • Tacticool - thinks it is sleek but is actually covered in superfluous grips, accessory ports, flashlights, and other junk only valued by poseurs.
  • Sci-fi - weird shapes; modern smart materials; sculpted to look bio-organic; covered in neon lights.
  • Double-barrelled - has two barrels (shock).

Sample weapons

Holdout pistols

Ares Lightfire 70Sleek
Streetline Specialshots: 7, -4 Notice2 LPCompact Frame
Walther Palm Pistolshots: 2, -4 Notice2 LPDouble-barrelled, Compact Frame. Can fire both barrels for +1 damage.

Light pistols

Colt America L36
Beretta 201TRoF:23 LPMachine pistol
Ares Lightfire 754 LPSilencer, internal smartlink, sleek
Fichetti Security 600shots:20, +2 Notice4 LPExtended mag, laser sight

Heavy Pistols

Ares Predator4LPIntegrated smartlink, imposing
Browning Ultra-Power4LPLaser sight, sleek
Ruger Super Warhawkshots:6, AP2, minStr:d64LPRevolver, heavy calibre, extremely imposing
Colt Government 2066

Flechette Pistols

Fichette Tiffani Needlershots:44LPCompact Frame
Remington Roomsweeper
Remington Roomsweeper (slug)damage:2d84LPReinforced Frame

9.4 - SINs and licences

A brief overview of fake IDs in the Sixth World

See SINs & licences setting info for defintions of the terms below.

Normal fake SINs cost 1 LP for the SIN and 0.25 LP per licence. Each licence can cover one category:

  • civilian and security firearms
  • magic
  • cyberdecks
  • security-spec vehicles or other semi-legal gear

Milspec gear like APDS or Ex-Ex ammo, heavy weapons, very heavy armour cannot be licensed this way.

High-grade fake SINs cost 4 LP plus 1 LP per associated licence.

10 - Dice probabilities reference

The chances of beating certain target numbers in Savage Worlds

The core dice mechanic in Savage Worlds is simple to explain, but not always easy to reason about: roll your attribute or skill dice (a d4, d6, d8, d10, or d12), plus your Wild Dice. Each dice explodes, ie. if you roll the maximum, you re-roll, and add on; repeat as needed. Once you’ve finished exploding each dice, take the highest of the two numbers.

Below are tables of the chances of hitting at least a given target number, for each type of attribute or skill dice.

For brevity, I have omitted “unskilled” (d4-2) and dice beyond d12, as well as any rolled total above 20.

NB you can generate the above tables using and the following script:

output [highest of [explode 1d4] and [explode 1d6]] named "d4"
output [highest of [explode 1d6] and [explode 1d6]] named "d6"
output [highest of [explode 1d8] and [explode 1d6]] named "d8"
output [highest of [explode 1d10] and [explode 1d6]] named "d10"
output [highest of [explode 1d12] and [explode 1d6]] named "d12"

11 - Sprawlrunners archived rules

Rules I’ve removed from my Savage Worlds campaign

11.1 - Furious Magic x Sprawlrunners x MagusRogue

Using the rules from Furious Magic in Sprawlrunners

These are some ideas on how to combine ManuFS’s Furious Magic supplement with Sprawlrunners and MagusRogue’s Guide to the Sprawl. It draws on all three of these books to hopefully present a coherent whole.

Note that this is not currently canon for our campaign. These are just some ideas for now and need further fleshing out before they will be ready to play.

Power Edges


The following Sprawlrunners Power Edges are left unchanged: all the Chi/Physical Adept ones, Weapon Focus, Flexible Signature, Lord of the Spirits, Masking, Shielding, Spirit Companion. See below for notes on the other Focus Edges.

All the Edges in Furious Magic are left unchanged, although several do not apply to Sprawlrunners as there are no Weird Scientists.


The Shadowrun concept of Initiation is translated to Furious Magic by using the Higher Spheres Edge. For plot reasons, if the GM is requiring a metaplanar initiation quest, I suggest skipping the Seasoned variant of Higher Spheres; just do it at Higher Spheres II (which is equivalent to “Initiate”) and III (“Greater Initiate”).

Focus Edges

Sprawlrunners’s Focus Edges, in particular, need special handling.

Force/Power Focus

Sustaining Focus

When obtaining and binding the focus, the caster picks one Power that it is associated with. Whenever using that Power with an Extended Duration, the caster does not take the usual point of Fatigue when the Power ends and the caster does not suffer the usual -1 penalty to further arcane skill rolls while the Power is being sustained.

Note that this contrasts with Focus Effort, which works with any Power the caster chooses but prevents them from maintaining a second Power at the same time.

Spell Focus

When obtaining and binding the focus, the caster picks one Power that it is associated with. If the spellcaster gets a Backlash on that spell, the focus absorbs the damage instead, and the caster does not suffer the effects of the Backlash.

The focus’s astral link to the caster is disrupted by this and it must be re-bound before it can be used again (takes hours; GM discretion; likely cannot be used again until after the next Downtime phase.)

On a Critical Backlash, the caster avoids Backlash but still has to roll on the Uncontrolled Magic table.


  • Spend 2 LP on reagents for any Power, add on +1 LP per modifier being applied.
  • Resultant preparation can be used by anyone, as per Artificer in the SWADE base rules.
  • The creator rolls Magic to activate the Power as normal at time of creation to determine the preparation’s effectiveness & drain etc.
  • Preparation lasts 1d4+1 hours before it fades.

(this mostly based on MagusRogue’s work)

Mystic Adepts

Modelled as a new Arcane Background. Requires Spirit d6+, Fighting or Shooting d6+, Focus d6+.

  • Uses Focus (Spirit) as their arcane skill
  • Can only take Higher Spheres once
    • Novice powers: arcane protection, boost Trait, detect/conceal arcana, environmental protection, protection, relief, smite, wall walker.
    • Seasoned powers: damage field, deflection, disguise, healing, speed, warrior’s gift.
  • All Powers always have the Self limitation
  • Chi Points can be used to purchase Powers interchangeably at a 1:1 ratio

Spirit summoning

The Summon Ally power continues to be used to summon Shadowrun style spirits, but with the following limitations:

  • Duration rules for the summoning follow the rules given in Furious Magic: a base duration of (Arcane Skill die type) minutes, or an Extended Duration of (Arcane Skill die type) hours. In Shadowrun terminology, an Extended Duration summoning is called “binding”.
    • Binding does not count as a sustained power, so the caster does not take a -1 penalty on all arcane skill rolls during an Extended Duration summoning.
  • A normal summoner can only have one spirit summoned at once. This limit can be increased by the Lord of the Spirits and Spirit Companion Edges in Sprawlrunners.

11.2 - Reckless casting

In a rush? Prepared to take a risk? Here you go!

Normal magic involves carefully constructing a structure in astral space to draw the magic through. This helps prevent damage to the mage from wielding the mana, and when Drain does occur, its effects on the body are limited.

If the chips are down, any mage may choose to spend a Bennie to instead use wild magic, drawing mana directly into and through their own aura. The extra power surge allows them to cancel up to 2 points of penalty to the roll (which stacks with any other similar penalty-cancellation effect.) However, if they take Drain, then it will be a Wound rather than Fatigue.

If you roll a Critical Failure on a reckless casting, you should expect significant problems to occur…

11.3 - Trappings & modifiers

Options for combat spells
This is a draft for discussion and fun only; it is not currently canon for my campaign.

Power trappings

Under these houserules, the three combat Powers - bolt, blast, and burst - are always cast with one of the following trappings. These trappings only apply to those combat spells. Rules for trappings and power modifiers for other spells work as per normal SWADE.

Mages learn spells in the usual way. They learn bolt as a single power, and can cast any of the trappings below – ice bolt, fire bolt, manabolt, etc – freely.

Except where mentioned below, no additional power modifiers can be used on these spells; for example, you cannot put Heavy Weapon onto an acid bolt (consider using earth bolt instead.) However, the specific modifiers that are part of each spell are still allowed - +2PP for +1d6 damage, and (for blast only) +0/+1PP to change the blast template to Small or Large


Required modifiers:

  • Invisible (0) - cannot be seen to the naked eye; more subtle than the other spell types.
  • Nonlethal (0) - deals nonlethal damage.
  • Range (+1) - all ranges are doubled.

Total: +1PP

Optional modifiers:

  • Range (+1/): for a further +1PP, extend range by another Smarts×2 inches.


  • Corrosion (?) - +4 damage vs barriers and gear. If damaged, gear is rendered useless and armour loses 1 point of effectiveness.
  • Lingering burn (+2) - on the target’s next turn, they suffer another damage roll, of one die type less.
  • Evasion - acid attacks work by projecting a stream of liquid acid, which is unusually slow-moving. They can be evaded as per SWADE pg. 102; on a successful Agility roll at -2, the would-be target can jump out of the way and are unaffected.

Total: +3PP

Ice / Cold

  • Biting cold (+2) - inflicts a point of Fatigue if the target is affected by the Power; this cannot cause Incapacitation. This lasts until the end of the next turn.
  • Freeze in their tracks (+1) - anybody affected by the Power reduces their Pace by 2 points until the end of the next turn.
  • Ice Shards (+1) - 2 AP.

“Affected” above means the target actually suffered damage. If the damage roll does not exceed their Toughness then the extra effects do not happen.

Total: +4PP

Electricity / Lightning

  • Bypass metal (+1) - ignore all metal armour. NB: body armour is almost entirely smart materials, ceramic plates, and ballistic weave; it is largely unaffected. However this can often bypass vehicle or drone armour if they have not been constructed with specific electical dampening protections.
  • Conduction (+2) - if target is soaking wet or submerged in water, take an extra d6 damage. Also applies when used against vehicles, drones, and most gear.
  • Unpredictable arcs (0) - if the caster rolls a 1 or 2 on the Spellcasting die, a random bystander is hit instead of the target - friend or foe! Resolve as per the Innocent Bystander rules (see SWADE pg 104). This still happens even if the overall spell casting attempt fails.
  • Short range (0) - Range is reduced by half.

Total: +3 PP


  • Knockback (1) - targets damaged by offensive water spells must make a Strength check at -2 or be knocked 1d4" away from the caster. Targets knocked into a wall or other hard surface take 2d4 nonlethal damage.
  • Nonlethal (0) - water based attacks inflict nonlethal damage.
  • Soaked (0) - targets are left soaking wet; they gain resistance to fire attacks (-2 damage) but are vulnerable to electricity (+2 damage.)

Total: +1PP


  • Armour Piercing (1) - 2AP
  • Heavy Weapon (2) - can damage targets protected by Heavy Armour.

Total: +3 PP


  • Armour piercing (1) - 2AP
  • Burning (1?) - on a roll of 6 on a d6, any flammable character damaged by fire magic catches fire, taking 2d6 fire damage per subsequent round. See Fire, SWADE pg 127.
  • Unsubtle (0) - fire attacks shed a lot of light, which can be good (if you need light to see) or bad (if you’re not trying to draw attention.)

Total: +2? PP


Powerbolt, powerball, and powerburst are magically generated fields of sheer kinetic force. They use the standard power description as written.

Total: no change to PP

Optional modifiers:

  • Range (+1/+2): double the power’s listed range for 1 PP, or triple it for 2 PP.
  • Selective: (+1): the caster can freely choose which targets within a blast or burst are affected.


Manabolt, manaball, and manaburst are special in that they connect directly to the target’s aura, so the magical energy flows into the target directly from Astral space.

  • Range is line of sight - including optical-only vision modifiers like binoculars or fibre-optic cables. The mage needs LoS to every target in a burst or blast. Targets within the area but out of sight are unaffected. Cover modifiers apply as usual for targets that are partially obscured from the mage’s vantage point.
  • Armour is ignored (+2) - but note that very heavy enclosed armour is bulky enough to envelop and hide the wearer’s aura, totally shielding the target.
  • Can only target living beings.
  • The only type of combat spell that can be cast on the Astral plane by a projecting or perceiving mage (but only at an Astral or dual-natured target.)
  • Damage is reduced by one die type, eg. base 2d4 for bolt.
  • Rather than Toughness, damage is rolled against a similar stat, but equal to (2+(Spirit/2)) instead of Vigor.
    • Normal Toughness benefits do not apply here. However, the target gets +1 to this “mental toughness” for each cyberlimb they possess. It is difficult to target the auras of heavily cyberwared individuals.

Total: +2 PP

Optional modifiers:

  • Selective: (+1): the caster can freely choose which targets within a blast or burst are affected.

Notes on interactions with combat spells, cover, and vehicles

Most of the trappings above – wind, ice, water, fire, acid, power and lightning – take the form of physical energies that the caster manifests at their body and then travel to the target. Cover affects this as usual. If the target is behind transparent cover, such as armoured glass, the power hits the glass; it may or may not penetrate, as per the rules for Cover and Obstructions (see SWADE pg 101.)


Lightning spells can penetrate metal conductive barriers if the target is touching them. The target gets no benefit from cover.

If the target is inside a vehicle and the vehicle has insulative armour (see vehicle mods), the energy flows safely around the outside of the vehicle, and the occupants are unharmed. This applies even if the spell was area of effect, ie. burst or blast.


Acid spells that strike any form of barrier or cover will always damage it, even if they also penetrate and damage a target behind them.


Mana spells never penetrate barriers, as they travel to the target in Astral space. Cover penalties still apply to the Spellcasting roll, but only because they obscure the target and hide some of its aura.