Catalyst Previews Magic in Shadowrun 6th Edition

Shadowrun is a sci-fi setting unlike many others. It's not all hacking and lasers and cybernetic parts. It's also elves and dragons and magic. With a new edition of the game coming up, people are wondering how that magic system will work. Well, you're in luck, as that's just what Catalyst is showing off in this preview.

From the preview:

Gen Con, as people insist on reminding me, is four weeks away, and that’s where the Shadowrun, Sixth World core rulebook will first be released into the wild. To build up to that, we’re going to spend the next few weeks talking about different aspects of the that book, including combat, Matrix, and the ever-present challenge of presenting the deep, enthralling world of Shadowrun to new users and experts alike. First up, let’s talk about magic!

Revising the magic system presents one significant obstacle from the get-go: I really like Shadowrun’s magic system (speaking specifically about spellcasting right now). I think it does what it is supposed to do admirably, in that it gives spellcasters the chance to do big things, do small things, and think about what it’s going to cost them. Want to throw a big fireball into a corp boardroom? You can do that, but be ready to have some cart away your unconscious body afterward.

So if the system works, what needs to change? This was one of the first things I thought about when the very first gears of SR6 were turning. I pondered one recurring request for magic that came up fairly regularly, and that was for spells that players and gamemasters can generate on their own. That can be difficult to do in you want to keep balance right (though there is no such thing as perfect balance in RPG rules—but that’s a topic for another time), but it helps if the system is designed from the get-go to allow that.

So that’s what SR6 spellcasting is–it’s designed from the ground up to (eventually) allow spellcasters to make their own spells. It treats spells in a modular way, so that each spell is a combination of modules, at that combination tells you how much its basic drain will be. For example, the modules that go into Fireball are Combat + Affect living things + Fire + Area effect + Ranged.


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