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Rules / Magic


Essence Loss and Burning Out

If a character's Magic or Resonance attribute reaches 0, they are permanently burned out. This means that they have lost their magical or technomancer abilities and cannot raise the Magic or Resonance attribute above 0 again (see p.250, SR5 and errata).

During character creation, apply any special attribute points or karma used to raise either of these attributes before applying reductions from Essence loss.

After character creation (i.e. in play), the Karma cost for raising the Magic attribute is based on the attribute’s current rating, after any reductions from Essence loss have been applied.

Blood / Insect / Toxic / etc. Magic

The above types of magic, as well as any spells, powers, spirits, metamagics, mentor spirits, etc., tied to them ("Dark Magic" chapter, p.78 Street Grimoire) are not allowed for player use on Runnerhub.

Blood Crystal Qualities

These are not available on Runnerhub.

Corpse Cadavers and Zombies

Corpse cadavers (Hard Targets 128) and zombies (Hard Targets 131), as well as the rituals and items used to create them, are not allowed for use by player characters on Runnerhub.

Focused Awakened

A character may choose one, and only one, of the types of Focused Awakened listed on page 42 of Forbidden Arcana.


Apprentices are counted as Aspected Magicians, so they get group skills at Magic B/C as other Aspected Magicians. Apprentices have access to Banishing, Binding, Counterspelling, and Ritual spellcasting; their limitation rests in school of magic and spirit types, not skills.


Reckless Spellcasting

All Drain modifiers are calculated at the same time. Thus, if casting a Force 2 spell that normally has a Drain value of F-4, the drain is modified to be F-1, or 1, and modified up to the minimum drain value of 2.

Stim Patches

Stim patches do not heal Stun damage. They temporarily remove the damage, so can be used to negate any Stun damage from Drain. However, when the patch wears off, the Stun damage returns plus one additional box of Stun damage. This additional box is counted as Drain damage, and cannot be healed magically


Fetishes & Limited Spells

These are limited to one spell per fetish. Fetishes can be replaced if lost, at a cost of 2,000 nuyen. Replacement fetishes must also be attuned to their new owner.

Mental Manipulation Spells

The target(s) resisting a sustained Mental Manipulation spell no longer receive(s) a dice pool penalty equal to the spell’s Force as found on CRB292. Using a Mental Manipulation spell to force or coerce the target(s) into performing a Notorious act (as defined on CRB368), the GM is free to award the magician the associated Notoriety.

Multicasting (Casting Multiple Spells with a Single Action)

Foci, mentor spirits, specializations, etc., only add to the total dice pool once. If the character is multicasting spells that would both get a bonus, divide it between them as with the base dice pool; otherwise, the bonus only applies once.

For example, when casting multiple fireballs with a spellcasting focus for combat magic, a specialization in combat spells, and a mentor spirit which adds dice to combat spells, these bonuses are added to the dice pool before it is split. Or, say a character is casting both Decrease Willpower and Control Thoughts, with a power focus, a specialization in both Manipulation and Health spells, and a mentor spirit who adds dice to Manipulation spells. The power focus adds its bonus dice to the full dice pool before splitting, and the mentor spirit adds its bonus dice to the pool for Control Thoughts. Since the character has a specialization in both spell types, the specialization bonus is only applied once to the dice pool before it is split – the character does not get to apply the specialization bonus twice. If the character had a spellcasting focus for each spell type, they would have to choose which spell’s dice pool received a bonus.

Negative modifiers (such as background count, essence loss for healing spells, etc.) are applied to each dice pool individually. Additionally, the spells in question cannot affect the same (unwilling) target in accordance with the Missions blurb about multiple attack actions. Technically, yes, they are part of the same action, but this is a case of the GM smacking the player upside the head with the rulebook.

Touch Range Combat Spells

Attacks using combat spells with a range of Touch are resolved with a standard (Spellcasting + Magic [Force]) test, opposed either by the target's (Reaction + Intuition) for indirect spells, and Body or Willpower for physical or mana-based direct spells, respectively.

An unarmed attack to touch the target is not necessary. The defender’s roll is treated like a defense against a melee attack. This means that melee specific interrupt actions and similar can be used. Since the spellcasting test represents a touch attack, the attack is still successful when attacker and defender tie on their rolls. However, the attacker does not gain the usual +2 bonus for performing a touch only attack.

Sustaining Spells

Sustaining one or more spells does not make you easier to detect Astrally - whether you are projecting or not.

Specific Spells



Gravity/Gravity Well

Rather than requiring the target to be held motionless for a full combat turn before they can make their resistance test, the target must be held motionless until the beginning of the caster’s next initiative pass.


Stat increases happen every 3 net hits, beginning at 3. As with all Increase [Attribute] spells, the Force of the spell must equal or exceed the (augmented) value of the attribute being affected.

Hose and Tsunami

These are available with the stipulation that electronics are generally water-resistant; the anti-machine properties of it only apply if the GM says so. Also, please note that it does not actually do damage; water 'damage' just knocks people down.

Mind-Link, Mindnet, Mindnet Extended

These spells can only be used on metahumans and metasapients, and can be used to share communication (verbal, text, sensory, emotive, astral).

While it is possible to share sensory information with someone who doesn’t have that sense themselves (e.g. sight with a blind person), they won’t be able to properly comprehend the information. Therefore, it has no mechanical effect.

Multiply Food


Negative Health Spells

Health spells with the Negative keyword, such as Inflict Disease or Nauseate, are not limited to the Command alchemical trigger.


This spell can be cast on both a single target and on multiple targets. Other people who look at the target(s) and fail to resist the illusion see an idealized version of that person.


Manablade is not allowed for use on Runnerhub.


Ritual Formula Cost

Since the official material doesn't list availability and price for Ritual Formulae, treat their Availability as 6R and price as 1500¥ until official values are released. This applies to formulae for all rituals, regardless of their type.

Necro Summoning

This ritual takes a number of hours equal to its Force to complete.



Spirits share a specific link with their summoner and will not accept requests from other people unless specifically ordered by the summoner, which uses up a service.

If so ordered, a spirit will follow the original instructions of the summoner, which does not necessarily mean it will obey specific commands from the person it was ordered to assist. Commanding a spirit, or group of spirits, is a Simple Action.

Long Term Service is not a valid service for bound Spirits.

Unconscious Summoners

When a summoner is rendered unconscious (but not asleep):

  • Unbound spirits perform their currently issued action and then loiter near the summoner in the astral until sunrise/set.
  • Bound spirits perform their currently issued action and then loiter near the summoner in the astral until they awaken or die.
  • A GM may request a Test the Leash from a bound spirit if the summoner is unconscious and it would be appropriate given the summoner's actions and astral reputation.
Aid Actions

A character can only benefit from a single Aid Alchemy, Sorcery, or Study service on a single magical action.

Spirit Categories

Ignore the sentence on SG41 stating that assigning tasks to a spirit which are outside their area of specialization for the summoner's tradition will fail. These categories do not limit the ability of spirits to use their own inherent powers. The restrictions detailed on CRB302 under Aid Alchemy, Sorcery, and Study remain in force.

Elemental Attack and Energy Aura Damage Type

For spirits with the Elemental Attack or Energy Aura powers, the summoner can choose which elemental damage effect these powers have at the time of summoning. If the spirit has both the Elemental Attack and Energy Aura powers, the chosen elemental damage effect must be the same for both powers.

While it is possible to summon a spirit with an Elemental Attack or Energy Aura that's opposed to its own element (e.g. a spirit of water with a fire elemental attack), this can result in a very unhappy spirit. Individual GMs are encouraged to determine if and how this discontent is expressed.

Possession Spirits

GMs may determine, at their discretion, whether or not a character with the Possession tradition remains in the player’s control or not while possessed.

Hermetic Elementals

Hermetic Elementals are loyal to a fault and do not to take their summoner's Astral Reputation into account when being Summoned, Bound, Banished, or engaged in Social Tests.

Ally Spirits

Inhabitation Spirits

For these kinds of spirit, the Essence of the spirit and the vessel are separate. The spirit’s Essence and magical abilities are not diminished by any cyberware the vessel possesses. However, the vessel’s Essence must remain above 0, and the vessel must follow the regular rules for metahuman Essence.

Testing the Leash

On the first action per service, a spirit may Test the Leash. It can continue to attempt to gain its freedom as long as it meets the criteria to Test the Leash and wins the opposed check against the summoner. If either criterion is not met, the spirit will not Test the Leash for the remainder of the service.

Ally Spirits do not Test the Leash.

Wild/Spirit Index/Reputation

Wild Index/Reputation, as well as Spirit Index/Astral Reputation (Street Grimoire), is in effect. Please ensure this is tracked on applicable character sheets.

Dedicated Conjuror/Chainbreaker

The new spirit types earned from Chainbreaker/Dedicated Conjurer are limited to summoning only those spirits that are available to traditions that players are allowed to take.

Spirit & Critter Powers


Endowment can only grant powers of the spirit's base form, but not any great form powers.


This power works exactly as Hardened Armor against the specified type of damage. Therefore, add the emphasized parts to the below excerpt from the description of the Immunity power:

This means that if the modified Damage Value of the attack does not exceed the Immunity’s rating (modified by AP), then the attack automatically does no damage. If the modified DV exceeds the Immunity rating (modified by AP), perform a Damage Resistance test as normal, adding the Immunity rating (modified by AP) to the dice pool for this test. Additionally, half (rounded up) of the Immunity rating (modified by AP) counts as automatic hits on this test.

Adept Powers

Adept Accident

This power can only be used on living things with an astral presence. This power is treated as a critter power, so Counterspelling is not effective as a defense against the power. The power itself cannot be noticed since it is not spellcasting, though the adept touching the intended target may very well be noticeable.

Body Sculpt

Each change takes ten minutes to complete.

Cool Resolve

The maximum ranks of Cool Resolve a character can take is (2 + Initiate Grade). This means that only 2 ranks of Cool Resolve are allowed at character creation.

Elemental Focus/Master

For these powers, Air corresponds to the Electricity damage type, Water to Cold, Earth to Acid, and Fire to ... Fire.

Elemental Strike

Elemental Strike adds the chosen elemental effect (cold, electricity, fire, etc.) to the character’s Unarmed Attack. It does not increase the Damage Value of the attack.

Elemental Weapon

Elemental Weapon adds the chosen elemental effect (cold, electricity, fire, etc.) to attacks with the character’s weapon focus. It does not increase the Damage Value of the attack.

Improved Sense

This adept power cannot be used with variable rating sensory enhancements.

Heightened Concentration

This power fully negates a single modifier, all or nothing, and works on any modifier that is not part of the setting. The selected modifier is negated for the next applicable action – for example, if negating a wound penalty to perform a melee attack, the penalty is negated on the next Action Phase. As per the text of the aiming rules, this power interrupts aiming. This power also applies to wound modifiers as presented on CRB176. This power applies to one task per activation, immediately preceding that task – an extended test or a single shot is one task, a firefight would be several. GMs may, at their discretion, rule that a modifier cannot be ignored through concentration.


Activating this power requires a Simple Action and does not affect the adept using it. This power is treated as a critter power, so counterspelling is not effective as a defense against the power.

Using Kiai is obvious, and very likely to be noticed.


Kinesics grants +1 dice per level to a character's own opposed rolls when they are the target of a Social or Judge Intentions roll, but not Assensing rolls. See the Social Skill Test table, CRB145, for the opposed rolls to each Social test. The GM may decide that Kinesics affects other attempts to judge the character's truthfulness (e.g. using the Analyze Truth spell), and how it affects them.

Magic Sense

To use this power the adept must first make a (Perception + Magic [Mental]) test. The threshold for this test is half the Force of whatever the adept is trying to detect, rounded up.

The adept can use this power to detect the presence of foci (active and inactive), spells, wards, magical lodges, alchemical preparations, active rituals and spirits within range, but not awakened characters, critters, astral signatures, previously expired or triggered alchemical preparations, or the effects of permanent spells once they have become permanent.


The adept must spend 1 second in physical contact with the target, with each second increasing the quality of the copy.

The copies of the prints last for Adept's MAG hours.

Nerve Strike

This power may only be used with an Unarmed Combat attack. It does not function with a melee weapon of any sort, including those that use the Unarmed Combat skill.


The adept must spend 1 second in physical contact with the target, with each second increasing the quality of the copy.

The replication lasts for Adept's MAG hours before the adept's body reverts back to its natural patterns.

Rapid Draw

Rapid Draw may only be used to make attacks during the character's action phase.

State of Purity

Magician's Way does not reduce the cost of this power.



A test for Foci Addiction, using the Drug and Addictive Substances rules, occurs whenever a focus is activated which causes the summed Force of active foci to exceed a character's Magic, even if this summed Force already exceeds the Magic rating.

Focus Addition is always Psychological in nature.

Crafting Foci

In the process of making a focus, the final force of the focus can not exceed the formula used to craft it, regardless of limit modifications.

Power Foci

Power Foci add their Rating as a dice pool bonus to all tests that include the Magic attribute. They do not increase the Magic rating for other purposes, such as maximum spell Force, determining Drain type (Stun or Physical), etc.

Tattoo Foci

Any focus may be bought as a tattoo, using the normal focus costs. However, these foci are permanent magical markings on the character’s body that cannot be hidden. They may be turned off, but still appear in the Astral plane as magical foci. As a result, they can make the owner very conspicuous, since the foci cannot just be left at home or locked up when the owner needs to be inconspicuous.

Upgrading Foci

Foci can be upgraded to a higher Force. Doing so requires success on a regular Availability roll for the focus at the new Force, then a payment of the price difference between the old and new Force, and a payment of the difference in Karma between the costs of bonding the focus at the old and new Force.

The delivery time for the new focus is the same as if buying a new focus at the same Force, and the time to re-bind the upgraded focus is equal to the new Force of the focus in hours.

Weapon Foci

Weapon Implants cannot be a Focus, since they are integrated into a character’s Essence.

Background Counts

Runnerhub uses the rules for Background Counts as described in the official material. Consider the following a clarification of when the penalties from a Background Count apply.

Background Counts impose a negative penalty, once per test, equal to their rating for all skill tests linked in any way to magic. For clarity, this negative penalty is applied to:

  • Any spellcasting tests.
  • Any skill tests whose dice pool that includes an attribute or skill which is modified via magical means
  • Any skill tests that utilize or are for the usage of a magical power, ability, effect, or item.
    • EG: Assenssing, Astral Perception, and Astral Combat skill tests (SG32), as well as other magically related things (spirits, spellcasting, etc.)

Mentor Spirits


This mentor spirit is not allowed for use by player characters on Runnerhub.

Holy Text



Horse's metamagic can be selected for an initiation reward, like any other metamagic.


Plague Cloud is not an option for Adepts.


The -2 penalty applies to tests involving Magic (much like a background count). Atonement for Dolphin requires a donation of time (karma) or money (nuyen) of around 5 GMP (GMs may increase or decrease this according to the severity of the transgression).

Planar Entity


Tohu Wa-Bohu

This mentor spirit is not allowed for use by player characters on Runnerhub.


Atonement for Whale requires a donation of time (karma) or money (nuyen) of around 5 GMP (GMs may increase or decrease this according to the severity of the transgression). Characters which need to make atonement to Whale cannot raise their Magic until they atone.


Adepts only get 1 rank of Spirit Claw.


The Karma cost to initiate is (10 + (New Grade x 3)). This cost cannot be reduced by ordeals, solo initiation runs or similar.

The test to initiate is an extended (Arcana+Intuition [Astral]) (New Initiate Grade, 30 days) test. The new Initiate grade is gained once the total time for the test has passed. This time can be interrupted (e.g. by runs), and during this time the character may concurrently advance contacts, await delivery of an item, or perform similar advancements that require time.

Alternatively, the character can bypass this test by going on a solo Initiation run. In this case, the character gains the new Initiate Grade upon successful completion of the run. The character then must wait 30 days to Initiate again. Mechanics aside, solo Initiation runs are also a great way to do some character development.

Schools of Magic

Magicians and mystic adepts can Initiate into a school of magic, allowing them to obtain its special rituals, metamagics and enchantments. Initiating into a school, unsurprisingly, requires the magician to dedicate an Initiation to the chosen school. For most schools, this means picking the prerequisite metamagic for that school as the metamagic for that initiation. Characters can then gain further metamagics within that school on subsequent initiations.

Arts such as Geomancy, Necromancy, and Invocation don't have any metamagics. In these cases, the character Initiates into the school by picking any of the rituals or enchantments listed for that school, instead of picking a metamagic for their Initiation as they usually would. This ritual or enchantment is paid for with the regular Initiation cost. Subsequent rituals or enchantments from that school are purchased at the regular cost.

Arts such as Advanced Alchemy, Advanced Ritual Spellcasting and Advanced Spellcasting list several metamagics with no prerequisite metamagic. In these cases, the character initiates into the school by choosing any of the metamagics within that school for their initiation.

A character that Initiates into the Divination school may take the Danger Sense metamagic, provided they pay the additional 5 Karma to pick up the Augury and Sortilege Rituals.

Adept Ways

Characters must follow an Adept way to purchase metamagics, rituals and enhancements from that way. However, adepts can always choose metamagics, rituals and enhancements from the Undecided Way, even if they are already following another way.

Adept Ways cost 20 karma postgen. This is retroactive - anyone who purchased an Adept Way for 40 Karma before 28 June 2017 is entitled to a refund of 20 karma.

The Beast's Way

Adepts following The Beast's Way gain the benefits and drawbacks of following an animal totem. This effectively means they receive the Mentor Spirit quality for free (i.e. at no additional Karma cost) when purchasing the Beast's Way quality. As such, followers of The Beast's Way can't take a separate Mentor Spirit outside of the one provided by the quality itself. Mystic adepts must pick either the listed Magician or Adept advantage as usual.

The chosen Mentor Spirit must be an animal totem (e.g. Bear, Cat, Rat, etc.) and will have to be approved by either CCD (during character creation) or TD (after character creation).

If a character is purchasing The Beast's Way and already has a fitting mentor spirit, the Karma cost of the way is discounted by the cost of the Mentor Spirit quality (i.e. down to 15 Karma).

If a character wants to purchase The Beast's Way and already has a non-animal Mentor Spirit, they first need to remove the old mentor spirit as if it were a Negative quality, as outlined in the description of the Mentor Spirit quality.

The Spiritual Way

Adepts following The Spiritual Way gain the benefits and drawbacks of following a spiritual mentor spirit. This effectively means they receive the Mentor Spirit quality for free (i.e. at no additional Karma cost) when purchasing the Spiritual Way quality. As such, followers of The Spiritual Way can't take a separate mentor spirit outside of the one provided by the quality itself. Mystic adepts must pick either the listed Magician or Adept advantage as usual.

The chosen Mentor Spirit must be of spiritual nature (e.g. Dragonslayer, Fire-Bringer, Mountain, etc.) and will have to be approved by either CCD (during character creation) or TD (after character creation).

If a character is purchasing The Spiritual Way and already has a fitting Mentor Spirit, the Karma cost of the way is discounted by the cost of the Mentor Spirit quality (i.e. down to 15 Karma)

If a character wants to purchase The Spiritual Way and already has a non-spiritual Mentor Spirit, they first need to remove the old Mentor Spirit as if it were a Negative quality, as outlined in the description of the Mentor Spirit quality.


Astral Bluff

Astral Bluff is treated as a metamagic, and as such can be acquired through Initiation.

Harmonious Defense/Reflection


Noble Sacrifice



Quickening a spell requires rolling for the effects. If this is done during downtime, Edge may not be spent.

Spirit Expansion - Shedim


Astral Projection

As per the rules on astral projection, anything done to an astrally projecting mage's body also applies to the spirit. This includes health spells, damage/death, drugs, augmentations, etc.

Astral Combat

Against wholly astral entities (e.g. non-materialized spirits or projecting magicians), characters attack with the Astral Combat skill and their Mental Attributes as per the "Astral Combat" rules on CRB315, regardless of if they are unarmed or using a weapon focus.

The only exceptions are characters that have the Natural Weapon (Melee) Critter Power and are dual-natured, or adepts with the Killing Hands Adept Power. In both of those cases, the character uses the Unarmed Combat skill and their Physical Attributes for their attack rolls and damage calculations.

Be aware that in astral combat, characters soak damage with Willpower instead of Body. The only forms of armor that apply in astral combat are the Mystic Armor Adept Power and the Astral Armor spell.

Astral combat follows the procedures for Combat Resolution on p. 172-173, SR5, with the noted substitutions (e.g. [Logic + Intuition] instead of [Reaction + Intuition] to dodge). This does not mean that literally every rule relating to combat in Shadowrun applies to Astral Combat.

Dodge uses Gymnastics, blocking uses Astral Combat, Full Defense uses Willpower, qualities that substitute other things for Willpower work as normal with the exception of Agile Defender which substitutes Logic because it is a character’s Agility in the Astral plane. Reach is not part of this section, so it does not apply.

Adept powers are generally physical in nature and do not apply to astral combat unless otherwise specified (e.g. Killing Hands, Mystic Armor, Cloak). When using Killing Hands against astral entities, the adept uses Unarmed Combat instead of Astral Combat, Physical limit instead of Astral limit, and Strength instead of Charisma for their Astral Combat DV.

Martial arts do not apply in Astral Combat per the sidebar on p.140 on Run & Gun. In fact, they may not even apply to spirits that have manifested, depending on how they manifest! No single martial art style deals directly with fighting spirits, except Neijia, which is always effective.

Spirits soak damage in astral combat, and from Neijia, with Willpower x 1 (which in all cases is Force), not Force x 2.

For physical combat, the Materialization power gives spirits immunity to normal weapons, which means they have Hardened Armor equal to (Force x 2) against attacks that are not somehow magical or composed of their 'allergy' (such as a fire spirit's allergy to water), which means they ignore attacks where [(Base DV + net hits) < Force x 2 – AP], and they get (Force) automatic hits on the soak roll even if it does exceed their hardened armor rating – but only against physical attacks while materialized.


Black Magic (Alt)


Buddhist (Alt)


Christian Theurgy (Vigilia Evangelica)


Christian Theurgy (Westphalian Theurgists)




Elder God


Islamic (Licit Qur’anic Mage)



The Grade 3 Initiation is not required.


Due to their complexity, major mechanical differences from other magical traditions, and thematic oddities, characters who take the Necromantic Magic tradition are counted as Special Characters.

For more on Special Characters, please see the section regarding them in the Chargen Rules.


If you choose the Norse Godi / Runemaster optional rule (FA 68), you receive the Durable Preparations quality for free. This does not stack with any other source of Durable Preparations.

Path of Pariah

The Drain stat for this tradition is [Logic + Willpower]. At Initiate Grade 2, the Reflection must be taken.





Misc. Magic Rules

Mystic Adepts do not get Astral Perception for free as noted in the Forbidden Arcana rulebook. This is an official CGL typo.

Mystic Adepts may choose which magical skill group (Conjuring, Enchanting, or Sorcery) to lose at gen, and must mark which one in their post to /r/hubchargen.

Numinous Perception’s range is ultimately GM fiat. The only information anyone passing it gets is "magic of some sort happened nearby". This can include, but not be limited to: Spirits doing things, a spell being cast, Adept with Mentor’s Mask using an active power, or a ritual being performed.

Optional Rules

Hybrid Traditions


Mentor's Mask

If taken by a Mystic Adept, the character receives the benefit according to the choice made when they took the Mentor Spirit quality, and the corresponding downside, per Errata.

As per Errata, the use of Adept powers only triggers the mask for active powers, not passive powers. Additionally, anyone that could detect the Adept still needs to pass the Numinous Perception test, and the Adept’s sneak test, if they are sneaking. These conditions also apply to Mages using magic.

Remember that this is a one-way door. A character can choose to accept the mask but cannot take it off once it is put on.

Page last modified on August 20, 2019, at 09:35 AM