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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.

Summoning & Spirits

Rules for summoning spirits


Game mechanic for summoning

Summoner types

How different magical traditions approach spirit summoning

Creating spirits

Rules for creating stats for spirits

Furious Magic x Sprawlrunners x MagusRogue

Using the rules from Furious Magic in Sprawlrunners

Arcane backgrounds

Different types of Awakened characters

Reckless casting

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


Houserules and clarifications for specific powers

Trappings & modifiers

Options for combat spells

Astral space, perception, and projection

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

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 in 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”.
    • 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.

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.

3 - 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…

4 - 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 - 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.

6 - Summoning & Spirits

Rules for summoning spirits

6.1 - 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.

6.2 - 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)

6.3 - 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.

7 - 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.

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!


Roll Astral 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 race
    • 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 Astral
  • Defender’s Astral Parry is (2 + (1/2 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

Spells can be used between targets on the Astral plane as usual, but an astrally projecting mage cannot cast spells at auras that exist on the physical plane. However, dual-natured beings (like some magical critters or an astrally perceiving Awakened) can be targeted for spells.