Shadowrun: New Sorcery Metamagic

   For our party sorcerers, here we have some new Metamagic to try to get.

   Combining allows the user to ignore the drain and casting target number penalties for casting two spells at the same time. Upgrade include allowing additional spells to be cast at the same time without penalty (at one per upgrade), allowing dice drawn from the user’s magic pool to apply to each spell cast rather than to only one of them, or to treat any spells cast simultaneously as a single spell for sustaining purposes.

   Defiling allows the user to compensate for drain by displacing the damage to other living things in a radius of (Magic Rating) meters. The basic version can only handle stun damage and can only transfer it to unresisting targets (such as plants and fungi), but – like any other method of drain-transference – upgrades it to physical damage. The effectiveness depends on how much plant life there is in the area to destroy. Upgrades allow the user to (1) transfer physical drain to the area, destroying not only lower life forms but the areas ability to support them, (2) to affect resisting targets (such as animals and people if they fail to resist), inflicting physical damage if compensating for stun drain and essence damage if compensating for physical drain, (3) to extend the drain across greater areas, and (4) to increase the effect of his or her spells by channeling extra energy into them. Other options include the ability to delay the effects of the drain for long enough to escape the area, to control it so that the organisms and area affected are only damaged and not destroyed, and the ability to reverse the trick, channeling the user’s own energies into the creatures and land to restore them.

   Faceting allows a spell which affects multiple targets – such as an area-effect enhancement spell – to be broken up into individual subspells affecting each individual target. This causes drain as if casting the initial spell, requires a successful Sorcery check against the force of the spell and, regrettably, costs Karma equal to the force of the spell. Quickened or otherwise sustained spells remain so, which may cause notable penalties for anyone who is actively sustaining them. Upgrades can reduce the karma cost or allow a caster to increase the number of targets affected by a single spell.

   Magery simply increases the user’s magic pool and astral combat pool by one die. It may be taken repeatedly.

   Power Word (X) allows the user to cast a chosen spell as a simple action. Unfortunately, this increases the drain level by one (spells which already have a “D” damage code cannot be used as Power Words) and prevents the user from using his or her magic pool with the casting – or to resist drain. Upgrades include (1) allowing the user to employ up to (Sorcery/2) dice from his or her magic pool in conjunction with such a spell, (2) reducing such a spell to a free action, (3) allowing the spell to be used as a defensive reflex – such as to protect the user from an incoming attack, and (4) allowing the full magic pool to be used with such a spell. Unfortunately, such upgrades also only apply to a single spell; if you want two power words, you’ll need to start the entire sequence all over again.

   Spellcraft allows the user to more readily modify spells. The user may translate spell formulas between traditions or upgrade their force in one-fourth the usual time and may apply an extra two points of limitations when learning spells. Upgrades include the ability to apply up to four points of limitations to particular aspects of a spell, the ability to apply up to eight points of limitations to a spell, and the ability to halve the target number increase in spell research for making spells easier to learn.

   Spellforging allows the user to learn spells more quickly and to upgrade learned spells – or to discard them and regain the karma spent on them – rather than relearning them. Upgrades include the ability to design spells more quickly (since you can build and test portions of them readily), to design spells without reference works, to reduce the karma cost of buying spells in the first place, to create spell formula foci, to “learn” single-shot spells without expending karma, or boost the effective force ratings of a limited set of the users learned spells.

   Timebinding allows the user to spread the drain and effort of spellcasting over lengthy periods (normally one day per box of drain the spell usually inflicts), allowing him or her to give spells forces up into the twenties, regardless of the force at which they can normally be cast. Additional upgrades can provide access to an array of instinctive force-0 spells, allow the user to upgrade the drain level of a spell to cast it directly at a greater-than-normally-available force, or allow a spell to be cast over many days so as to affect a much larger than usual area (an effect also known as “Epic Magic”).

   Timebinding was a major element in the first edition campaign back in 1989, where the it played a role in the instinctive magic of infants – allowing them to slowly create a very high-powered astral bond with their caretakers. It was why infants slept so much – but, as they grew, they gradually lost the unquestioning acceptance of the magic of the world which allowed them to bypass the need for training and initiation in certain fields. It took a great deal of work for older mages to recapture that sense of naive wonder, and to see the world once again unrestrained by space and time – but it was the gateway to the higher mysteries. The easiest way to get a clue as to how it worked was to be skilled enough and attentive enough to observe an infant’s attempts to bond with you – which also neatly set the path you were likely to take. If you choose to accept the bond and the responsibility of caring for the child, that opened one set of paths, rejecting the bond offered another – and twisting it so as to use the child as a magical battery and tool opened a third (and much darker) set of options. The paths were entangled in the reasons for the great cycle of magic, the existence of shapeshifters, the pre-human races, the time wars, and many other elements of the world. Unfortunately, later sourcebooks and editions established things which didn’t fit those paths. I may see if I can rummage out the old notes and adapt the paths for current editions later on.

Advanced Sorcery Metamagic Abilities:

   Absorption can be upgraded to allow the user to drain power from spirits, from foci, or even from ongoing spell effects, to hold power for later use, to allow the user to feed raw power into other existing effects, to let the user simply radiate it, or to let the user turn a normal spell into an aura.

   Disjunction is basically an absolute: within it’s area of effect, magic ceases to exist for a time. Upgrades revolve around working at ever-increasing ranges, increasing the duration, or increasing the level of fine control. While a “personal immunity” upgrade would, of course, be about the ultimate sorcerous power and defense, there are sound theoretical grounds to believe it impossible.

   Duplication allows the user to duplicate the formula of observed spells. Upgrades can allow the user to attempt to duplicate such a spell on the fly or to put formulas to use directly from a record.

   Extension simply gives spells with a duration of “sustained” an unattended duration of 1d6 turns per time Extension is taken after the user stops sustaining them. It may be taken as often as desired.

   Maintaining simply reduces the penalties for sustaining spells and may be taken repeatedly to continue reducing them. Further upgrades can allow the user to maintain spells while (1) sleeping, or even while (2) knocked unconscious, to transfer the effort of maintaining a spell to an allied spirit, or even to make such spells intermittently self-sustaining, so that he or she can do something else and simply give them a few moments of attention every turn or so.

   Matrix allows the user to designate a spell which is unaffected by astral disturbances short of mana voids and can be used without having to become dual-natured. Further upgrades allow the user to swap out which spell is so designated given a few minutes in which to work, to protect additional spells, to reduce the drain of a protected spell, and to upgrade the effective maximum force of a protected spell.

    Psychic Reservoir provides a two-box “stun buffer” that can only be used to absorb damage from drain the first time it’s taken and provides one additional box per additional time it’s taken. Other upgrades can increase the rate at which it recovers above the base of one per hour or allow the user to store enough magic to cast a few spells under low-magic conditions.

   Reflecting allows the user to turn spells back against their caster. Upgrades can allow the user to reflect many awakened or spirit powers, to protect areas, to incorporate reflecting functions into wards, and even the ability to reflect emotional energies – turning hostility, insults, belittlement, and even sarcasm back upon the user.

   Severing allows the user to break astral links, including the ties to genetic samples, links to foci, and similar bonds. Upgrades include the ability to attack the bonds between a conjurer and his or her spirits, the ability to attack the link between a body and an astrally-projecting creature, the ability to (1) attack with a magical weapon without inflicting physical wounds, and (2) to partially, or (3) totally bypass physical armor, or even to (4) attack the target’s essence directly, and the ability to attack specific mental or mystical traits, such as addictions or links with supernatural entities (this is usually temporary).

   Shielding provides bonus dice for spell defense and allows the user to increase the target numbers of magical effects used against anyone he or she is protecting. Upgrades can increase both bonuses, allow the user to protect an area rather than specific targets, increase teh target numbers for unresisted spells, such as enhanced senses, render the user automatically immune to his or her own spells (in case of reflection or when you really need that ground-zero fireball),

   Trigger allows the user to “precast” a limited number of spells. In it’s basic form, this simply means taking the drain in advance – although stored spells lose potency in 28 days. Further upgrades can provide bonus dice (for having been able to take your time) when releasing stored spells, increase the number of spells which can be stored, allow the user to release more than one precast spell at the same time without penalty, extend the length of time which spells can be successfully stored, and (at very high levels of initiation) to allow spells to precast themselves when specific trigger conditions are met, similar to “anchoring”.

   Will Force enhances spontaneous sorcery, such as magical children and untrained potential mages are wont to use when under stress. The basic rules for spontaneous sorcery are actually relatively simple: the would-be magus states what spell he or she is attempting to use (whether or not such a spell actually exists), pays a karma point (which will recover normally; kids sometimes get away without using the karma point, but no one really knows why), makes a willpower (6) check to see what force the spell will go off at (no successes means a failure, the user need not use all his or her successes), allocates up to (Intelligence) dice from his or her spell pool to cast it with, and then resists drain at +1 power and +1 level (spells with a base drain level above serious cannot be cast spontaneously). Characters with Will Force can drastically reduce these modifiers. Level (1) reduces the willpower target number to 5, and eliminates the +1 power modifier. (2) allows the use of one-half the user’s sorcery skill and normal usage of the spell pool instead of drawing dice directly from the spell pool and allows one attempt at improvisation per day without using a karma point, (3) reduces the target number for the willpower test to 4 and allows up to three improvisational spells per day without spending karma, and (4) allows the full use of the Sorcery skill. Unfortunately, no known upgrade eliminates the need for a willpower check or the +1 drain power level modifiers. Other upgrades can provide a +1d6 modifier on the relevant rolls with respect to a narrow field of magic (yes, “recently observed spells” or “available formulas that I haven’t learned yet” are viable categories and this may be taken several times for a single field) or grant additional karma-free daily attempts at improvised magic.

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4 Responses

  1. Does absorbption let you suck the karma out of enchanted items?

  2. No, just mana or whatever you want to call magical energy. If you want to drain karma from things, you want the Enchantment listings.

    • could i have the stats of all the metamagics?
      Extension seems intersting…

      • There are some basic notes on the first group of metamagics in the players packet. It can be downloaded over on the Shadowrun tab. As for specific notes…

        The basic effects for Combining, Defiling, Faceting, Magery, and Power Words are all found here already. Upgrades are suggestions; upgraded abilities are normally unique to each mage. Since there are 20 basic metamagical options and a hundred or so suggested upgrades for each basic magical skill, that’s probably how it will have to remain.

        Spellforging didn’t note how much more quickly the user could learn spells (half the time), but otherwise includes the mechanics for the base version.

        Spellcraft refers back to the section on designing spells. Limitations can be found there.

        Timebinding may be confusing to read, but is straightforward: if you have timbinding and want to take – say – six days to cast a spell that causes serious drain, you may increase it’s effective force into the 20’s and take one box of drain per day. For our game Force 23 is the limit set by the current energy level of astral space. In most games, you can simply settle for 24.

        The basic level of Absorption is defined in the rulebooks.

        Disjunction normally has a the standard area of effect, although it always includes the user.

        Duplication lets you get the formula of any spell you observe being cast.

        Extension is as stated: you take extension. Your spells with a “sustained” duration will remain in effect for 1d6 turns after you stop sustaining them. If you take extension more than once, your spells will maintain themselves for (times taken)d6 rounds.

        Maintaining reduces the penalties for maintaining a spell by 2 each time it’s taken.

        The basic form of Matrix is fully explained.

        The basic form of Reflecting is covered in the rulebooks.

        Severing is automatic in the case of ritual links and tissue links, but does require a roll of (Magic + Initiate Level) versus (Force) if trying to break someone’s link with a focus.

        The basic form of Shielding is covered in the rulebooks.

        Trigger can normally be applied to (Initiate Level) spells – although some characters take variants based on particular attributes or affecting a fixed number of spells.

        Will Force is fully defined here.

        Hopefully that’s what you needed. If not, just post any additional questions you may have.

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