SR5:Character Creation:Step 3

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5th Edition Rules
Basics Combat Magic Matrix Driving Character Creation


The next column of the Pr ior ity Table is Magic or Resonance. This is a column for players who want to be magic users (adepts, aspected magicians, mages, shamans, and mystic adepts) or technomancers. Players who desire none of these character options choose Pr ior ity E for this column. For a quick reference on the var iety of magic users available in Shadowrun, Fif th Edition, refer to the Magic User Types sidebar. Additionally, the Life as a Magic User in 2075 and Life as a Technomancer in 2075 sidebars help players know what they’re getting into if they choose these kinds of characters.

Priority Levels A through C in this column specify the character’s starting attribute rating (either Magic or Resonance) along with a number of skills and spells or complex forms for their character as listed in the appropriate box. These are already paid for and can be added to the character sheet right away; they do not cost any skill points or Karma up front, although they can be increased later. The player should select which skills, spells, and complex forms they want for their character at this time. A list of active skills (including those that are Magic- and Resonance-based) can be found on p. 90. Skills are described in detail in the Skills chapter, p. 128. Adepts should review the adept powers (p. 308) to ensure that the skills they choose will support the adept powers they want, such as the Blades skill for the Critical Strike (skill) adept power. Spells listings start on p. 283, while complex forms can be found on p. 252.

Aspected magicians must choose a specific Magic-based skill group (Sorcer y, Conjur ing, or Enchanting) to be the one area of magic that the character practices. Once an aspected magician take this specific skill group, the character may never take any other skills from the other Magic skill groups, either at character creation or at any future point.

Note that while adepts receive Power Points for free (equal to their Magic rating), mystic adepts do not. Mystic adepts must purchase Power Points using Karma at the cost 5 Karma per full Power Point. The maximum number of Power Points Mystic Adepts may have is equal to their Magic rating. These points would be purchased during Step Seven: Spending Your Left Over Karma (p. 98).Remember, players are not limited to only what they receive in the priority level. Players may spend Karma to buy more spells or complex forms, register sprites, or bind spirits toward the end of character creation


Magic has been back in the world for more than sixty years, but the Awakened—the term for those who channel magic—remain a small minority of the population. As a result, they are both admired and feared. They are the subjects of wild rumors, baseless speculation, and the occasional freefloating prejudice.

Many mundane metahumans fear what the Awakened can do with their abilities. There have been magic-based terror attacks, ranging from the Ghost Dance to the global attacks Winternight launched before and during the second Matrix Crash in 2064, that give credence to these fears. Policlubs like Humanis feed these fears, building them up to spark hate and violence against the Awakened.

As a reflection of this fear and as a measure of caution, many sprawls require magic users to register their gear, spell formulas, and spirits (typically they only care about spirits and gear of at least moderate power—in game terms, those with a rating of 3 or higher). They are required to purchase licenses in order to legitimately carry and use magic. These legal licenses often come with invasive requirements, including being subjected to compliance checks that can be conducted at any time, giving law-enforcement corporations the right to search a magic user’s premises without a warrant, even when the person is not present. Some sprawls require magic users to give law enforcement agencies and/or security corporations blood samples that could serve as material links to track the character magically if necessary. Because of this, many magic users in the shadows have fake IDs and licenses, partly so they won’t get nabbed by the cops, but also so they don’t have to turn any part of their bodies over to them. Rules and cost for magic items and licenses are found in the Street Gear section (p. 416). Since magic is such a rare commodity, it is very much desired by the megacorporations. Legally registered magic users often find themselves the targets of extractions, snatched by rival megacorporations looking to press them into employment.

The Awakened have their own prejudices, often against magic users not of their type (e.g., magicians are sometimes prejudiced against adepts). Since they are limited in what they can do, aspected magicians suffer the most prejudice within the Awakened community. Many see them as not fully Awakened or not full magic users, and they are barred from many magic groups.


Shadowrun has four distinct types of magic users: Adept, Magician, Aspected Magician, and Mystic Adept. Here’s a quick breakdown of the unique characteristics of each group. A player should weigh these different characteristics carefully when deciding which kind of magic user to play. Page references are provided for more detailed information about each type of magic user.


  • Adepts channel mana into their own bodies to enhance their natural abilities, making their talents and skills much more potent.
  • Adepts never astrally project (p. 313).
  • Adepts only perceive astral space by purchasing the Astral Perception power (p. 312).
  • Adepts can learn the Assensing skill only if they have the Astral Perception power.
  • Adepts cannot use skills from any magic-related skill groups (Sorcery, Conjuring, or Enchanting).
  • Adepts can follow mentor spirits (p. 320).
  • Adepts gain Adept Powers that are purchased with Power Points. Adepts receive a number of Power Points equal to their Magic rating.


  • Magicians can astrally perceive.
  • Magicians can astrally project.
  • Magicians can choose freely from the magical skills or skill groups (Sorcery, Conjuring, Enchanting).
  • Magicians can cast spells, conjure spirits, or enchant magical items.
  • At character creation, magicians who cast spells, perform rituals, or create alchemical preparations may know a maximum number of formulae from each group equal to their Magic Rating x 2 (i.e., Magic Rating of 4 allows 8 spells, 8 rituals, 8 alchemical preparations).


  • Aspected magicians are a limited form of magician.
  • Aspected magicians do not astrally project.
  • Aspected magicians can astrally perceive.
  • Aspected magicians must choose one, and only one, of the following three Skills/Skill Groups.
  • Sorcery (Spellcasting and related skills)
  • Conjuring (Summoning and related skills)
  • Enchanting (Alchemy and related skills)
  • Aspected magicians cannot perform any of the magical skills associated with the two groups they did not select.
  • Aspected magicians can only learn Counterspelling if they take the skills to be a spellcaster.
  • Aspected magicians can follow mentor spirits.
  • At character creation, aspected magicians who cast spells, perform rituals, or create alchemical preparations may know a maximum number of formulae from each group equal to their Magic Rating x 2 (i.e., Magic Rating of 4 allows 8 spells, 8 rituals, 8 alchemical preparations).


  • Mystic adepts are a combination of magicians and adepts.
  • Mystic adepts never astrally project.
  • Mystic adepts can astrally perceive if they purchase the Astral Perception adept power.
  • Mystic adepts purchase their spells/rituals/preparations in the same way as magicians.
  • Mystic adepts must purchase their Power Points with Karma (5 Karma each at character creation for a full Power Point, with a maximum number of points equal to their Magic attribute rating).
  • Mystic adepts can have any skills from the Enchanting, Sorcery, or Conjuring skill groups.


Much about what technomancers are and how they operate is shrouded in mystery. Though there is no firm estimate of their exact number (since many of them choose to remain underground and not reveal their gift), it is believed that there are fewer technomancers than magic users.

Because so little is known about technomancers, many in the world fear what they might be and what they might be capable of. In pop culture their abilities are exaggerated to extreme proportions (they might be shown, for example, shutting down every piece of electronics for blocks), and some groups have put bounties on their heads. Many corporations would like to study technomancers, conducting experiments to map their talents and discover ways to better understand and perhaps duplicate their abilities. Others groups just want them dead. The legal rights of technomancers are hazy and ambiguous—many times deliberately so. The world in 2075 is generally hostile and occasionally very dangerous for technomancers, Many technomancers pass themselves off as ordinary deckers, carrying dummy cyberdecks to blend in. They will often do whatever it takes to keep their secret from being discovered.




James has already assigned Priority Levels D to his Metatype and C to Attributes for his technomancer character, so these Priority Levels are no longer available to him, leaving A, B, and E. Row E has no Resonance options, so James rules that one out and chooses Priority Level B. This gives him a Resonance Attribute Rating of 4 (which is added to the 2 Special Attribute Points he dedicated to Resonance in Step Two), as well as two Resonance-based skills at rating 4. He selects Compiling and Registering as the skills. For his 2 complex forms, he chooses Cleaner and Editor.

At this point during character creation, James’ character looks like this:


Rob’s street samurai does not use Magic or Resonance. He chooses Priority E, giving him no points in this step, so he simply moves on to the next step in the character creation process.


Kyra’s character is a mystic adept. Reviewing the Priority Levels that she has left, Kyra chooses Priority A. This gives her a Magic attribute rating of 6, two rating 5 Magical Skills, and 10 spells. She picks up Spellcasting and Counterspelling as her skills, and after looking over the selection of spells starting on p. 283, she chooses 10 that suit her (see the list below).

Kyra won’t get any free Power Points for adept powers, so she decides to spend some of her Karma now just to keep things organized. Kyra decides to spend 10 Karma from her Karma fund to purchase 2 Power Points. She divides up those Power Points among the listed adept powers (p. 308). She’ll choose the skills that some of the powers enhance once she has selected her specific skills.

This is what Kyra’s character looks like after including her Magic Rating and the new skills, adept powers, and spells: