Review – Shadowrun: Shadow Spells10 January, 2016
Shadowrun: Shadow Spells provides additional information about magic in the Shadowrun setting filling in some gaps left by the Street Grimoire. With the niche nature of the new spells and powers and the groups and threats provided, it seems aimed primarily at GMs who should definitely pick this product up if they are running a game that is magically oriented. Players who are focused on the magic side of the game will probably want a copy too.
Shadowrun: Shadow Spells is an additional resource on magic in the Sixth World of Shadowrun building on the material provided in the Street Grimoire providing new traditions, magical societies, threats, and (unsurprisingly given the title) more spells, ritual and adept powers.
Unlike most 5th edition books, this one is devoid of fiction (though not of in setting commentary) which I find as welcome for a focused source like this one. There are four new traditions, each ending with a paragraph description of an example (and semi-famous) practitioner, they are: Aboriginal, (Ancient) Egyptian, Norse and (my favorite) Psionic.
Next are five magical groups running from gangs to political parties, two get short write up on their most prominent member, these are useful for using as patrons or targets in a campaign. Then we have three threats, which will be used as opposition, one gets a creature (with a new power), the next three NPCs and the last, just a single NPC so they can be dropped into a game with only a little work.
The final section is new spells, around forty of them, including some classics (mob mood), a few that only work on specific types of being (ghouls, vampires), some designed for villain use (inflict disease, rot), and lots of interesting narrow purpose spells. While most of these spells are not general use, when you need them, they will be good to have. Three new rituals are included which seem to have clear use as scenario seeds. Lastly, seventeen new Adept powers, covering increased swimming, performance, and various other fun but unlikely to be seen often options. There is also a box listing the costs of reagents at the end, though I am not sure why.
Overall, a good addition to the resources for Shadowrun providing both hooks for a GM to hang adventures off of and new tools for magically active characters.