Sprawlrunners RAW does not use astral projection and significantly limits astral perception.
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).
Adepts - people with only one Arcane Background - can choose to purchase Astral Perception as a power. They cannot astrally project. Full mages - with two Arcane Backgrounds - can both perceive and project, without having to buy any powers.
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.
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, however, 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.
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:
This is handled very much like melee combat:
Note that - given how fast astral travel is - the back-and-forth of astral combat can easily cover an area hundreds of meters across.
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.