There are few who would argue that any single event in the known history
of Earth is more significant than the return of magic. One morning
the world woke up and the rules were different. The boundaries of existence
changed and life had to be relearned. The world had Awakened.
Some people have the ability to tap into the powers of the Awakened
world and use them to do magic (see The Awakened World, p. 176).
In Shadowrun, Awakened characters must purchase the Adept
quality (p. 90), Magician quality (p. 91) or Mystic Adept quality
(p. 92) during character creation in order to have magical ability. Those
with no magical ability are known as mundanes. Awakened characters
who use magical skills are called magicians. Awakened characters who
focus their power inward to enhance their bodies are known as adepts.
Mystic adepts are a hybrid between adepts and magicians.
Magicians frequently use Sorcery to manipulate mana and form
spells (see Spellcasting, p. 177) and Conjuring to summon spirits (see
Summoning, p. 177). Both spellcasting and conjuring, as well as other
magical activities, cause a type of fatigue to magicians called Drain
Each type of spell or spirit has a Force rating that begins at 1 and
increases as its power increases, chosen by the magician and limited by
her abilities, time, and money.
In Shadowrun, each magician follows a particular magic tradition.
Traditions are the different ways in which magicians conceptualize
and understand their magic—they are their paradigms, or personal
outlooks. Whatever path the player chooses for her character, it is for
life. There is no going back.
The path of magic the character follows affects how she learns
spells and what kinds of spirits she can summon. It may also impose requirements
on how the character acts. The choice colors the character’s
outlook, relationships, and motives in studying magic.
Two traditions are presented in these core rules, but characters can
also invent their own.
A character who chooses the shamanic tradition is a shaman
(p. 181). Shamanic magic is fueled through a link with the outer world
of nature and the inner world of emotion, will, and faith.
A character who chooses the hermetic tradition is a mage
(p. 180). Mages see the universe as patterns of force and energy they
can control with complex symbols and formulae of power. Hermetic
magic is more intellectual, relying on observation, theory, practice, and
precise execution, rather than intuition and improvisation. Mages are
scholars and often have elaborate libraries and equipment to assist
Adepts have their own unique path, known as the somatic tradition.
Adepts are concerned with the harmony and perfection of body
and mind, focusing magical power toward that end. Adepts follow
paths of self-improvement and personal improvement that focus on an
idealized self image of themselves as warriors, athletes, speakers, pilots,
and other vocations.
A magician’s link to magic may be personified by a spirit-figure
or totem, called a mentor spirit, which exemplifies her beliefs. Mentor
spirits provide certain advantages and disadvantages (see Mentor
Spirits, p. 200).
Section: Shadowrunning By the Numbers
Chapter: GAME CONCEPTS