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Shadowrun: Street Grimoire $39.99 $24.99
Average Rating:3.8 / 5
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Shadowrun: Street Grimoire
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Shadowrun: Street Grimoire
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Martin F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/01/2016 01:17:32

with the updates to the content of this book, I now change my rating up as it is back to a standard of quailty.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Street Grimoire
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/18/2015 10:08:30

Magic in the Sixth World is a diverse and fascinating topic. Practitioners range from the studious academic magician who'd as soon write a paper about a spell as cast it to the street mage who doesn't care about theory as long as it works. This book is designed to open the lid on the practise of magic with everything from underpinning theory and beliefs to organisations mages can join and (of course) plenty of new spells. Then there's material about spirits, alchemy and the role of the talismonger as well.

Of course, after the introduction explains what's in the book, the first thing we get is some fiction. It's intriguing, a story about a girl returning home to see her sick mother, with the magic she wields being almost incidental: a nice touch, it is about a person not her magic!

Story told, along comes Surviving Magic, a discussion about what it means to be a full-blown magic capable part of the Awakened world. For some it is a joy, for some something fearful - and for most, a mixture of the two. Much of this is conversational in style, with contributions from others chipping in. It's a wide-ranging discussion beginning with finding out that you are magically-endowed - and how that makes you a target for everyone who wants to use or abuse you - and looking at popular conceptions about mages and so much more. This is useful reading even for those who are not playing mages, because it helps set the scene in which both mage and mundane operate. Many people are scared of magic, whether they can wield it or not. Others seek to exploit it... and in some parts of the world it's illegal. Most schools test for magical aptitude like they test for other potentials and capabilities, and track those who show signs of it, whilst most universities run courses in magic - which interestingly are not just for those who can cast spells, there are programmes for those interested in the underlying theory, the social ramifications - well, you know academics, they'll study a topic from every possible angle! Of course, shamans stand somewhat outside of this, as they rely on a spirit guide rather than book-learning. Corporations and even religions also take an interest, recruiting magic-users and making use of their skills. And then there's the shadow world...

Next, Magic in the World gets down to the nuts and bolts of how magic actually works. Or at least, as much as is popularly understood. It's not just the laws of magic that are talked about here, it's also the law as it relates to magic: licences to practice or even to purchase magic items can trip up the unwary. You can also find out all about mana and background counts and rifts and other strange manifestations of natural magical power.

Then comes Magical Traditions with a round-up of the myriad beliefs and theories underpinning magic. There are a lot of them, and it depends on your background and upbringing which you'll decide to apply. Most faiths have quite strong ideas on the matter, but if you are not religious there are plenty other paths to follow. Each tradition has its own core style and preferred spells.

This is followed by a section called Magical Societies. People like to band together and it's as true of mages and shamans as it is of anybody else. Some operate openly, others are hidden - and probably find you rather than the other way around. There's everything from religious orders and learned societies to street gangs here. They could provide allies or opponents for the characters, even if they choose not to join up.

The next section is rather ominously titled Dark Magic. Now, those not magically-endowed may see all magic-wielders as being involved in the dark arts but the more enlightened know that magic isn't anything like that, it's a tool like any other and can be used for good or ill... but... well, there really is some nasty stuff out there in the magical world. You may not want to dabble yourself, you may never even encounter it, but it is best to be prepared! Some comes from within, drawing on the worst ideas and emotions that people can have, and some comes from without, from alien entities. Whatever the source, those who choose to make use of it risk their very metahumanity - and quite possibly, yours. The reasons why someone might want to go there are explored, as well as the different paths into darkness that might be followed. All manners of nastiness, most suited more to be used against your party of shadowrunners than used by them (indeed some of the anecdotes and comments suggest scenario ideas as you read them!), and there's plenty of detail such as spirit statistics to enable their use.

Then on to the Expanded Grimoire, which provides a wealth of new spells with which to experiment. They are grouped by nature, so you have combat spells, detection spells and so on. Each comes with a detailed description of its effects and uses as well as the necessary detail to cast it during a game. There's a lot here... but if that is not sufficient, the next section is Shadow Rituals. This is a more detailed look at formal ritual magic than you find in the core rulebook, with plenty of ideas and examples for those who have the patience, discipline and desire to perform castings of this type.

Next comes Secrets of the Initiates. Here, those who wish to expand their powers can find out about different routes they can follow to gain even more arcane knowledge through enlightenment. Not for the faint-hearted, but for those willing to make the attempt the rewards can be potent indeed. Various ordeals may be required, but whole areas of knowledge may be opened up: geomancy, necromancy, psychometry and more. There's even a note about a fascinating career path, that of the forensic thaumaturgist. This role revolves around the use of magic to solve crimes rather than the solving of crimes in which magic was employed (although a good one can probably do that as well). The concept suggests a whole campaign based around a fusion of police procedural, magic and general CSI/forensics... but before I get sidetracked, there's loads more in here, which will be of interest to the more thoughtful mages, those interested in the theory and philosophy of their art as well as the practical applications thereof.

There's another fiction segment, Butcher's Bill, then on to a section called Physical Magic. More goodies for the physical adepts amongst us. Like each section, this begins with a short (page or so) fictional excerpt to set the scene, before launching into detailed material which starts off by explaining what physical adepts are and how they fit into Sixth World society. To give more scope to adepts, several paths or ways for them to follow are presented, each allowing the adept to specialise and focus on a specific area based on their underlying philosophy. There are some juicy new adept powers as well.

The final two sections, The Immaterial Touch and Turning Lead Into Nuyen, deal with spirits and alchemy. The section on spirits delves deep, looking at where they come from, the whys and hows behind the stat blocks we are used to, and should help you make them more of an integral part of your world. Different types of spirit and a collection of new spirit powers round off this section, along with things as diverse as how to create an ally spirit, avatars and more. Finally, the section on alchemy looks at the practice of that ancient craft, providing scope for those who'd like to try it out or for making more rounded NPCs whom the characters might consult. There's a lot about magic items and their manufacture too; and then the discussion moves on to talismongers - what they do and how, and the things they have to offer.

This book reaches down into the core essence of Shadowrun, showing how magic is integral - this is not just a cyberpunk world where magic works, but a true natural revolution, a world changed by the resurgence of magic. Most of us have got that idea already, but the depth and breadth presented here really brings it home and makes it all come to life. If you want the full picture, add this and Run and Gun to your library along with the core rulebook.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Street Grimoire
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/20/2014 16:45:41

Shadowrun: Street Grimoire is all about magic in the Sixth World, from both from a roleplaying and mechanic side. It is a useful book, almost required if you intend to highlight the magical side of a Shadowrun campaign, but it could be more tightly organized and better edited, a few parts being confusing to read. That being said, it does have a lot of useful material allowing for magic to be used in much more interesting ways and it should spark a host of ideas for any Shadowrun GM even though it lacks any explicit GM direction in the book.

Shadowrun: Street Grimoire, is the second major sourcebook for the 5th edition of Shadowrun providing more information for GMs and the players on the role and dangers of magic in the Shadowrun world.

The book begins with one of the ubiquitous fiction sections, then an (in game world) discussion on what it is like being one of the rare group of people who can manipulate magic in the Shadowrun future. It is a very general overview and touches on how magic colors education, tradition and (of course) dealing with the corporations and in the shadows. While just an overview, still a useful introduction to how magic fits into society in the 2070s.

Next it moves into magic in the world, which discusses a bit of how magic works on a theoretical level but mostly in about the strange magical phenomenon that are out there, ley lines, mana storms and other such strange things that can just ruin a magically active character’s day. Then magical traditions are expanded upon giving more cultural options from all around the world, and the appropriate rules for playing them, but sadly the psionic tradition (one of my favorites from earlier editions) was not included.

Magical societies are explored from with sample societies from corporate to religious, local to secret societies, this gives a good look at the wide range of such groups in the Sixth World and most include a paragraph about how they interact with the shadows. Dark Magic follows with the best of the worst: blood magic, toxic magic, alien and insect spirits. The dark paths get their own magical themes and powers, which are suitably disturbing, but there is not much of a framework for how to use them beyond some very basic discussion of the sorts that are attracted to such magic. But what do insect shaman look for in a lair? How would they recruit? Is toxic magic infectious? Some more advice on how to use these dark tradition to build interesting scenarios and antagonists would have been very helpful.

Players and GMs alike will enough the options presented by the Expanded Grimoire with more than one hundred new spells, including the fifth edition version of such favorites as Fashion and Turn to Goo, new elemental effect of water and (for toxic magic) pollution and radiation are presented as well. But, no rules or even guidelines are presented for creating new spells, which is a bit of a shame. Shadow Rituals gives new ways to use ritual magic including lots of new wards, ways to interact with ley lines and more including some neat tricks allowing links to animals and forensic magic. Secrets of the Initiates expands the skills that can be learned and used by initiates and provides and expands the roles and profession that magic can be used for including forensic magic, exorcism, advanced alchemy while adepts get focused ways to apply their paths.

Physical Magic is all about the adepts, including mystical adepts, and includes a wide variety of new adept powers as well as the ability to focus in particular types of adept powers by use of the Ways (way of the artist, the invisible way and so on). The Immaterial Touch delves into the spirit world in more detail, covering ally and free spirits, new spirit types and even new mentor spirits (though only four of those). Lastly, rules for one’s reputation in the spirit world are provided, providing penalties to those who routinely abuse spirits.

The last two sections of the book are for the alchemists and talismongers: Turning Lead into Nuyen provides new ways to use alchemy and advanced alchemical preparations. While The Life of a Talismonger provides a primer for the business aspects of being a talismonger including enhanced rules on harvesting reagents and focus design.

Then the book ends, no index, no collection of tables. Which is a drag, though it does have a decent table of contents in the front, a gathered list of where to find the new qualities scattered through the book (at a minimum) would have been helpful.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Street Grimoire
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Joanna N. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/13/2014 16:35:33

I feel like I might be too easy on this book, because on the one hand it's brimming with potential. The fluff is good and the package, on a superficial level, looks good. Certain sections read just fine, such as the write-up on traditions. But once you get into the technical sections, the layout quickly becomes difficult to follow with way too many haphazardly placed side boxes that don't read well in pdf format. And that isn't the only problem.

This still a major supplement for any magic user. THE magic supplement of 5th edition, this edition's Street Magic in scope. There are a number of adept powers that are extremely desireable, including the new Elemental Body power. Understanding alchemy with the core book alone makes it difficult to imagine the possibilities, but here, you have a much fuller picture of what you can do with the enchanting skill group. The spirit write-up fleshes out the rules for summoning that are barely touched upon otherwise. There's a lot of roleplay inspiration for Initiation that I find handy for visualization purposes. Plus, on the GM side of things, you get more toxic magic and rituals to build your team of ultimate magic baddies to challenge your runners with.

But for all the good that this book does for character options, world building and RP, it suffers in the technical department and some sections are virtually useless. Drain codes for magician spells are all over the place, hardly worth the time to obtain in many cases. There's no rhyme or reason to it, especially compared to the core book. A lot of spells are very questionable in their usefulness, are drain-heavy and are full of mistakes regarding their designation as a mana or physical spell. The adept powers, metamagics and ways are full of missing prerequisites and are a victim of some of the worst layout in this book with no easy way to reference the different sections that apply to them. There are literally at least three sections where Ways appear with no page references between them. Nearly everything is also overcosted, much like the rest of this book. And some powers are just terrible in their cost-to-effectiveness ratio, like Blind Fighting. Some even badly contradict the powers that were present in Stolen Souls, with completely different effects and costs.

For an instance of poor rule clarity, Elemental Strike/Weapon vs Elemental Body. While Elemental Body is a new power and thus is fairly explicit about how it works, Elemental Strike does't really tell you anything about what it does beyond adding an elemental effect for a certain duration. To what degree? Does it boost AP and DV in any way because of the power stacking restrictions? There is so much guesswork that needs to be applied here to figure out just how to work this power into a game.

Honestly, I like having this pdf on hand because I came into the game in 5th edition and therefore the fluff gives me a huge amount of inspiration and insight for using magic in the 6th World. I don't have the kind of knowledge base that 4th edition players might already have from Street Magic. I think this book is more informative than some people give it credit for. But the errors are absolutely glaring and the release probably should have been withheld for at least another month. However, I did see the apology from Hardy about the state of this book and that errata will be forthcoming. Some of the errata has been incorporated just in time for GenCon, though most of it is in regards to the core book and Run&Gun due to them being legal books for GenCon usage. If this book has the spells and adept section revised, this could be a really great product. I don't even care about the spelling and grammar issues really. I just want the Ways and the powers to be useful and comparatively costed to the core.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Street Grimoire
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Howard J. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/27/2014 12:00:30

This product felt like a rough draft. There aren't as many spelling and grammar mistakes as you might think reading the other reviews, but they are still there. Many of the rules are unclear and could really have used some clarifying examples. There's also a distinct lack of an index or combined tables, which is a particular annoyance in the "Secrets of the Initiates" chapter. Here they give a number of magical arts where the first time a metamagic ability is mentioned it is described, but later arts that share the same metamagic ability don't have a page reference back to the original description. Even in the PDF where you have the ability to do a text search this is pointless annoyance, and probably a great deal worse if you have a print copy. Especially bad are the rules for adepts. Most of the text seems to have been composed using the adept power list from the fourth edition Street Magic supplement, meaning that there are frequent mentions of powers from that source book that didn't make it into this book or the SR5 core rules. Not so bad when it's basically just flavor text (Buddhist Adepts like to use the missing Living Focus power) but not as forgivable when you have a metamagic ability that has a missing power as a prerequisite. Then there what would be minor gripes individually but add up to a just bad experience put together: occasional subheadings listed at the same size and color as their parent headings, alphabetized lists with just one or two items out of order, multiple fonts that are hard to read at zoom levels where other PDFs are usually fine, listing powers for discount in the adept qualities that are too cheap to actually qualify for a discount and so on. And even if you find a new character option that seems to be free of glaring mistakes a lot of the time they just don't seem to be worth the listed time and karma cost.

On the plus side, the art is good and the fiction was fine if that's your thing for a source book. On the other hand it wasn't so good that I wouldn't have sacrificed a few or even all of those pages for an index, more examples and some combined tables.

Definitely not worth the current $24.99 PDF price.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Street Grimoire
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Matthew B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/15/2014 23:56:29

SO many bad, obvious errors. I'm a huge fan, very much into mages and was really looking forward to this. There are some good ideas, and many of the fluff sections are great, but the editing is just awful. This is not a professional, ready for sale product. Worse, they announced it was off to the printers the same day it was released.

Lots of references to powers that don't exist yet, often as prerequisites. Drain codes that are completely off. Spells that HAVE to be Physical spells listed as "Mana". Adept powers are massively over-costed and "the ways" make no sense. Even the layout is fairly nonsensical.

It's not like there were no good ideas here. With maybe another month of editing and error checking it could have been good. As it stands, it makes me worry about the company that they released it in this shape.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Street Grimoire
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Thomas C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/14/2014 15:51:40

Lot's of errors in this one. We've got references to rules that don't exist, contradictory rules (on the same page no less), a drekload of spelling and grammatical errors, the writers forgetting that Aspected Magicians exist (and are an option under the core rules), a layout that could be used as an example of what NOT to do (we interrupt this list of things to detail the rules for something else for several pages, with no warning or transition, followed by an abrupt switch back to the list we were in the middle of), rules that were blatantly copy-pasted from 4E (you can tell, because they refer to mechanics that no longer exist in 5E), abilities that list as prerequisites abilities that don't exist (but word is they'll print them in a future supplement) and what is, overall a pretty terrible job.

I want to like SR5, but Catalyst really needs to step up their editing and review process. By which I mean they actually need to edit and review things before they publish. Word is they've already sent it to the printers too, so that means the print version is gonna be stuck with all of this.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Street Grimoire
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Stanley B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/12/2014 10:46:49

You know, I gave this book 4 stars are first, because I liked the fluff, I'm a big fan, and it had some neat stuff. I realize that was a mistake, now. Further reading and use of this book (and other Shadowrun books) is actively aggravating me now, partly due to the abysmal editing process. In Street Grimoire alone, they mention at least four different powers that aren't included in the book; two or three of them are perquisites for current in-book powers, ones you can't even pick up by the rules because what you need doesn't exist yet. Typos are somewhat rare (the big one is the typo on the BACK OF THE BOOK THAT EVERYONE READS), but there are dozens of editing/grammar errors from leaving in text that should have been deleted or things along those lines. The book actively contradicts other books on pre-existing powers in regards to cost and effect, while other powers are not balanced in regards to price or power. Not to mention the reintroduction of refined and radical reagents; that do nothing mechanically except cost 10-100 times as much as a normal reagent, due to refining processes that mean nothing except the risk of losing the materials, even though the fluff says that the materials make a difference.
From what I've read and heard, the problems with these books isn't that nobody notices the errors; it's that somebody higher up is ignoring them, or thinks the work to fix everything isn't necessary. I am a huge fan of Shadowrun; the setting is hands-down my favorite, and I like the system. I'm starting up a 5th Edition game right now, even. But the quality of the books has honestly made me start to second-guess my choice. I'm not giving this book 1 star because that would be pushing my current frustration onto a product that still has some good points. I can't leave my original 4 star up because of the copious errors and concerns; I don't want to mislead people into buying this book without knowing the problems, at least. If I were to ignore the problems in the book, I could give this a four. At the current state, I can't.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Street Grimoire
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by robert l. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/04/2014 10:53:13

Finally catalyst games seems to be getting with the program. An other good an actually useful book that has information both players and gm's alike that can be used without unnecessary fluff filler material. The spells are solid and the game mechanics are useable for gm's to use in their campaign..and what gm does not have house rules..ain't met a gm yet that was worth anything that did not have house rules. However 2 points of interest that stops this one from getting a 5 rating and first is a big one. 1 proof reading in this book is terrible..if i am paying 25 dollars for this non dead tree version..I expect proof reading of the material for correct spelling and word useage..come on ppl its a free function of your word processor...USE IT! 2. a lil less fluff filler material and perhaps a few same characters from season 5 campaign contacts upgraded with new material from the street grimoire relavant to the character/contact would be nice but definitely not a deal breaker at this point. Overall a good book worth the purchase despite its lack of proof reading and after that debacle with the book "shattered soul", just say no to c.d.f.s., it's nice to see things back on track and YouTube has a posted videos on how to use a spelling checker and how to proof read, look them up.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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