In the latest Shadowrun, Six World update from Catalyst Game Labs they talk about the magic system and spellcasting in particular.
The game is due to be released at Gen Con, and the spotlight is on the company, but line developer Jason Hardy seems content enough to share teasers and previews of the game.
The first thing we’re told is that Hardy likes the old magic system. If you wanted to fireball a corporations boardroom, then you could, but it would be costly.
So, why is he changing things?
A common request was to let GMs and players design their own spells. Game balance is an issue there, but Hardy shares his opinion that a spellcasting system designed, from the outset, to do that could work.
Shadowrun 6e will let players and GMs use a modular system to do design their own spells. Not yet, though. This isn’t in the core rules. There wasn’t enough space.
Catalyst Game Labs have already announced six supplements for Shadowrun but these are campaign books, 5e bridge products and 6e accessories.
It’s unlikely the expanded magic system will be in any of those. We’ll just have to wait. It’s certainly not unheard of for new supplements and accessories to be announced during Gen Con season so we may know more in just a few weeks.
Shadowrun 6th edition modular magic
Let’s go back to the fireball in the corporation’s boardroom. Hardy explains the modules involved in that spell would be;
Combat + Affect living things + Fire + Area effect + Ranged
It’s not clear whether this is a concept or whether he’s quoting a final but unpublished design. Why would you need Combat as well as Affect living things? Is there non-damaging combat? Or does combat relate to the speed and the circumstances the spell is cast in?
We don’t know yet but the decision to have a modular spell system is reflected in the Shadowrun 6e core rule that will be available at Gen Con. Jason calls out three areas in which you’ll see them.
Force is not declared before casting – as those things you would previously have used Force for are now modules.
Elemental effects can be used more often – need a Cooling Heal or a Warming Heal? You’ve those options.
Drain should feel consistent – it won’t be the case that some spells are disproportionately more draining than others because the drain will be based on the module, not the effect of the magic.
Are you looking forward to Shadowrun 6th edition and what do you make of these incoming changes to spellcasting? Let us know in the comments below.