July 8, 2014
First Look At A New Book: Street Grimoire
Quickly following their street release of Run & Gun, Catalyst Game Labs released their next supplement for Shadowrun Fifth Edition for pre-order and digital download; Street Grimoire. Street Grimoire details the magic and supernatural powers of the Sixth World, opening a world of options for players and gamemasters alike.
Magic is a useful commodity in the shadows, and those teams who find themselves minus a magus are certainly at a disadvantage when it comes to dealing with magical security. After all, just because you do not have it, that does not mean your targets won’t either. After an opening piece of fiction, the book goes into how magic is viewed in the Sixth World and how it influences people’s everyday lives. It follows this by talking about various organizations that have to do with the various practitioners of magic, how corporations deal with them, and more about what life is like for someone born with magical talents in the world of Shadowrun. Following this, we get into the actual crunch of the game.
To start with, the book gives us a plethora of new traditions — read: brought back from previous editions. Traditions are the various ways in which spellcasters work their craft. It’s their belief in how magic works and it influences how they deal with the magical backlash (drain) that spellcasting can cause, as well as which spirits are most relevant to their archetype. We also have the entries in the darker paths of magic, those not truly appropriate for player characters in Shadowrun. These include the iconic Insect Spirits and their shamans, which brought ruin to Chicago in the 2050’s, the Toxic Shamans, and the much-feared practice of blood magic. All three of these are iconic enemies in Shadowrun and their detail here will help make Gamemasters giggle with evil glee for some time to come.
The book also gives us an expanded grimoire, giving spellcasters and alchemists a much greater list of potential spells and preparations to draw on. There is also a very expanded section on ritual spellcasting, which includes rituals that can be used by adepts without any previously existing knowledge or ability to cast spells, new rules for spirits and how they interact with the world, and a whole section dedicated to adepts, giving them not only new adept powers to learn, but also bringing back the Ways from previous editions, but with a great deal more to them. Similar to the traditions of spellcasters, the various ways for an adept illustrate how an adept focuses their power and how this influences them and their own ideals on where their power comes from.
Ok, so what is good about the book? A lot. The return of the various dark paths, the expanded spell and power sections, the Ways, Spirit Allies, and more. This is a nigh invaluable supplement for any player or gamemaster who hopes to focus on the magical side of Shadowrun
The bad? This book could use a few more times through the proofreading stage of development, as errors are aplenty. Most of these are simple grammatical issues that could be easily solved and, for me, they do not detract that much from the book as a whole. In addition, I know that there was a lot of rage amongst the fans that the popular Norse tradition did not make a return, which was an odd thing to leave out, but considering how easy traditions are to convert from fourth to fifth edition, I really do not see what the issue is here.
Overall, a great book that I would recommend to all Shadowrun fans out there.
As always, thanks for reading and I wish you all good gaming.
Image Credit: Catalyst Game Labs