Magic Use

The Awakened World

In 2011, the Awakening transformed the world by making magic a reality. The Awakened world is permeated by mana, the energy of magic. Mana is invisible and intangible. It cannot be detected, measured, or influenced by machines, only by living beings.

Some people in Shadowrun have the rare gift to use the power of magic. They are the Awakened: magicians. By using their gift to manipulate mana, magicians cast spells (the art of Sorcery).

An Awakened character has a Magic attribute of 1 or greater. Magicians follow many different traditions. A tradition is a set of beliefs and techniques for using magic. It colors the
magician’s outlook and affects how the magician learns and uses magic.

The most common traditions are hermetic and shamanic; the only pre-generated character in these quickstart rules with the ability to use magic follows a hermetic tradition (see Combat Mage, at the center of the booklet).

Awakened Attributes

Awakened beings and magical effects have their magical potency measured by either the Magic or Force attributes.


Magic is a Special attribute that measures the character’s magical power. Like other attributes, Magic has a starting value of 1. The Magic attribute may be increased in the same way as other attributes, to a maximum of 6.


Spells and magic items (foci) have an attribute known as Force. This measures the magical power of the object, or spell.

Force is measured on the same scale as metahuman attributes (natural 1 to 6).


The use of magic revolves around Sorcery and its associated skills.


Sorcery is the term used for manipulating spells. In these quick-start rules, magicians will be using the Spellcasting and Counterspelling skills.


When a magician casts a spell, the player first determines the Force of the spell (equal to her character’s magic rating) and then rolls her Magic + Spellcasting dice pool. The success
of a spell is measured by the number of hits attained on the test, though some spells may have a threshold greater than one.

All spells fall into two categories: Physical (P) and Mana (M); the Combat Mage’s
spells note their type directly on his Character Record Sheet (in the middle of the
booklet). A target resists a Physical spell using the Body attribute and a Mana spell using
the Willpower attribute (see Opposed Tests, p. 5).

Using Spellcasting requires a complex action.


Counterspelling is used to interrupt other spells, either as they are being cast or while
they are sustained. For spell defense, Counterspelling dice are added to each protected
defender’s dice pool. When dispelling, a Counterspelling + Magic Opposed Test is made
against the target spell’s Force + caster’s Magic, with net hits reducing the hits scored to
cast the spell (see Counterspelling, p. 12).

Using counterspelling is a free action.


The Spellcasting skill is what allows a magician to cast a spell, channeling mana
through her own force of will to affect the target of her choice.

Step 1: Choose A Spell

The character chooses the spell she wants to cast. She can cast any spell she knows. If
the magician has any other spells currently active, called sustained spells, she must choose
whether to drop them or keep them active while she casts the new spell. The Combat
Mage’s spells and descriptions are listed directly on the Character Record Sheet (in the
middle of the booklet).

Step 2: determine the Force

The Force for a spell equals the spellcaster’s Magic rating.

Step 3: Choose the Target(s)

A spellcaster can target anyone or anything she can see directly with her natural vision.
This is known as Line of Sight, or LOS. Some spells can only be cast on targets the caster
touches—these targets do not need to be seen, but the caster must succeed in an unarmed
attack (see Melee Combat, p. 8) to touch an unwilling target of such a spell.
Note that ranged combat visibility modifiers (see Ranged Combat Modifiers Table,
p. 19) also reduce the magician’s Magic + Spellcasting dice pool when casting spells.

Area Spells

Some spells target areas or points in space; in this case the caster must be able to see the
center of the area affected. The base radius for all area spells is the Force in meters.
Area spells affect all valid targets within the radius of effect, friend and foe alike
(including the caster); this applies whether the caster saw all valid targets or not.

Step 4: Make Spellcasting Test

The Spellcaster rolls Spellcasting + Magic +/– any modifiers. Remember that casting
a spell requires a Complex Action.

Step 5: Determine Effect

Some spells simply require a Success Test, with hits determining the level of success
(as noted in the spell description). The Magic + Spellcasting test must generate at least
one net hit to succeed and may need more if the effect has a threshold for success.

Opposed Tests

Spells cast on living or magic targets are often resisted, and an Opposed Test is required.
For area spells, the magician rolls only once, and each target resists the spell separately.

As previously noted, the target resists physical spells with the Body attribute and mana spells with the Willpower attribute. If the target is also protected by Counterspelling, she may add Counterspelling dice to this Resistance Test. A spell cast on a non-living, non-magic
target is not resisted, as the object has no life force and thus no connection to mana with
which to oppose the casting of the spell.


A spellcasting glitch can have all manner of interesting effects, depending on the spell
and restricted only by the gamemaster’s imagination. Most glitches will result in unintended
side effects—a fireball that produces a ghastly amount of vision-obscuring smoke, a levitation
spell that only allows circular movement, or an illusion spell that adds an unexpected
sensory element. A critical glitch may strike the wrong target, affect the caster herself, or
have similar disastrous consequences.


Counterspelling is used to interrupt other spells, either as they are being cast (spell
defense) or while they are sustained (dispelling).

Spell Defense

A magician can use Counterspelling to defend herself and others against a spell being
cast. To do this, the magician must spend a Free Action and declare who she is protecting.
If Counterspelling was not declared in advance, it may not be used to defend others.

A protected character must also stay within the magician’s line of sight in order for
Counterspelling to be used. Note that a magician can always use Counterspelling to
defend herself.

When a protected character is targeted with a spell, the magician rolls Counterspelling
dice in addition to the appropriate attribute (Body or Willpower) for the resistance test.

Hits generated on this test reduce the net hits of the spell’s caster. If multiple protected
characters are targeted by the same spell, the Counterspelling dice are rolled only once and
each target is protected equally.

Note that Counterspelling is not “used up” after it defends against a spell—it continues to
protect the designated characters against other spells until the magician decides to end it.

Dispelling Sustained Spells

Counterspelling also allows a magician to dispel a sustained spell, canceling its
effect. The character must be able to perceive the spell she is targeting, and must use
a Complex Action.

The dispelling magician makes a Counterspelling + Magic Opposed Test against the
spell’s Force + caster’s Magic. Each net hit scored on this test reduces the hits from the
original test to cast the spell. If a spell’s hits are reduced, any effects the spell applies are also reduced accordingly. If the spell’s hits are reduced to 0, the spell immediately ends.

Magic Use

Now that you mention it... judgehopkins