Episode 022 – Improving Your Magician or Adept: Advanced Shadowrunner Dossier #1

In which Vox and Mr. Johnson discuss ways in which you can improve your magician or adept character through karma and/or nuyen expenditures. Also: question-and-answer and a new listener story!

35 thoughts on “Episode 022 – Improving Your Magician or Adept: Advanced Shadowrunner Dossier #1”

  1. Kind of an interesting typo in the main book. The skill “Binding” as written is never used in 5th edition Shadowrun. If you look under the binding section it states that you use the skill “Summoning” when binding a spirit. An obvious typo but I thought it was amusing.


    1. Huh – I didn’t notice that. Well, damn. I could have saved myself some skill points at char gen! 😉

      1. Yeah I hadn’t noticed that. Having re-read all the relevant text, not sure what the designers were intending. This should have been caught at proofing, if SR5 had been proofed :o( I would suggest we wait for the next errata – hopefully the pdf will be updated too.

  2. How come I can’t seem to find the play button or have any other way of listening to the podcast? I have a normal PC and have able to in the past.

    1. Hey – It’s all fixed now. Thanks for letting us know there was a problem, chummer. One bonus edge for use in your next game. 😉

  3. Okay seeing as I can’t figure out how to get paragraphs with this, and as I am incapable of not being verbose I’m going to do something weird in the comments section here to divide up my comments.

    1. So my first thought is this: Take it as a compliment. Clearly your players have a lot of respect for you, and you ability to plot, if they feel the need to plan that much

    2. 2:Some people like to plan. For some people the planning stage is what draws them to playing shadowrun more than anything else.
      2b: Sit down with the players and have a talk about expectations. Make sure they know what you are looking for in the game, and make sure you know what they are looking for in a game. Realize you may have to bend a little too.

    1. 3b: Also take note of each characters Memory total (Logic + Willpower). When the PCs hit points where a given clue could be relevant, secretly roll their Memory, you could even preroll. And remind the player whose character had the most hits about the relevant clue.

    2. 3c:keep copious notes of who has learned what, so that you can clue in the correct character if only some characters know certain things

  4. So, I’m going to, try to politely, provide a counterpoint to Mr Johnson on Massive planning. I don’t think there is anything wrong with a detailed background. It helps keep your story internally consistent as the players delve deeper into it. Don’t worry if they never see all or even most of it, most of the time they won’t. The key is to planning is to remember that players will almost invariably go off track. Make sure you don’t railroad them too much. All you can truly plan for is what your “bad guy(s)” have planned.

      1. Yes. 🙂 He wrote us an email and explained that the notes were pertaining to the campaign into which this adventure was intertwined.

        1. I probably should have mentioned this somewhere in my original comments. I enjoyed the episode. You guys are always interesting to listen to.

  5. Cybermancy
    Cybermancy was first introduced in 1st or 2nd Edition. I believe it was a second edition book that provided mechanics for “cyber-zombies” as well as the rules for performing cybermancy. I vaguely remember that there was a 3rd edition sourcebook that retreaded this ground. I don’t remember 4th edition ever touching on cybermancy at least not in a mechanics sense. I will check through my archives to see what I can find if I can find the time.

    1. According to the Shadowrun Wiki: rmancy is a combined magical and cybernetic technique that keeps a metahuman’s spirit caught in a technically dead body. It allows a cybersurgeon to install more cyberware into a metahuman than previously thought possible. All this comes at a tremendous cost to mind, body, and spirit. The subjects who undergo this procedure are known as “cyberzombies”.

  6. In the episode you talk about grounding spells. I thought that was removed as an option in 3rd edition. I know that it no longer worked in 4th edition. Has 5th edition brought it back? I thought it was gone for good. Okay that is all I have for now. Hopefully this made my post easier to read.

    1. You make some good points. 🙂 Thanks for the info re: cybermancy and GM planning! And I’ll confer with Mr. J and provide some clarification to the grounding spells a little later.

  7. I really liked this episode. hoping to see more of these in the future, though I suspect that they would be better served when their respective sourcebooks come out. like the rigger or matrix book. Sidenote, I was thinking maybe you could do an episode of creative uses for spells, or even a little “Street Grimoire” section like storytime or critter of the week, that covers dirty tricks or unusual uses for spells.

    1. Thanks! Glad you liked it. I like the show idea, too. We’ll surely revisit the subject matter when the appropriate sourcebook(s) come out. But I do really like the “Creative Spellcasting” idea.

  8. In the 4th edition of Shadowun, Cybermancy is described in the core supplement Augmentation, fluff on pp 143-148, Rules pp 155-158.

  9. Cybermancy was introduced in 1st Edition, though I can’t remember the book off the top of my head. In 2nd Edition it was included in ShadowTech (advanced cyberware and genetics etc). For 3rd Edition, Man & Machine was the redone ShadowTech (again, advanced cyber, bio and genetics also) and then for 4th Edition and SR4A it was in Augmentation.

    1. I just skimmed through Shadowtech (1st edition book) and didn’t find any mention of Cybermancy. First book I can find that has any reference was 2nd edition book Cybertechnology. Which fits, since the first reference of Cybermancy I am aware of in the novels came about around Dunkelzahn’s death. I may be missing references in book though, but that’s what I can find as to it’s origins

      1. I could be wrong on the 1st Ed reference, I started playing at 2nd but went back and read the 1st Ed stuff, so it’s entirely possible I have those two editions mixed up :o)

  10. Cyber Zombies were anything from Robocop to a street Sammy with essence less than 0 – some you could tell and some you couldn’t…. well you could on the astral and also in the ‘bad’ aura they radiated which even mundanes could detect.

  11. Oh and don’t get confused with Cyborgs, which were new in 4th Edition/SR4A which were a brain in a jar inside a drone body (think Robocop 2). These were brand new back then, and I’m looking forward to how they’ve evolved now riggers and hackers are different again!

  12. With regards to the drawbacks of foci, you can always choose to de-bond a focus. You loose the astral link (so no more ritual casting at you from whoever has your focus), but should you ever recover it you’ll need to pay karma to bond it again. It’s the old gamble – do you recover the focus or do you abandon it.

  13. Vox, how about forearm snap blades instead of a sword? Or just do what I’ve done (wolf shaman with) enchanted hand razors. People never see it coming, and a point of essence is worth the edge it and cyber eyes give :o)

  14. On Cybermancy… There are only hints of cybermancy rules here n’ there. If you really want to run anything based on cybermancy, or the use of dark magic to hold a soul in it’s body even well below 0.0 essence you want to read a trilody of books by Jak Koke that was in print around the 2nd edition days. Oh and by the way, they just happen to be some of the best shadowrun novels ever written. It’s the 3 books of the Dragon Heart Saga: Stranger Souls, Clockwork Asylum and Beyond the Pale. The star of the show is Ryan Mercury and his team, Assets Inc., Dunkelzan’s personnal shadowrun team. The characters are among the best runners in the world, and the plot is absolutely epic. And since the actions in the book lead up to the death of Dunkelzan, reading the books is key to understanding the meta and changes that took place in the shadowrun world at that point in history.

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