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Shadowrun: Street Grimoire $39.99 $24.99
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.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Street Grimoire
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