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.