SR5:Magic:Traditions

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5th Edition Rules
Basics Combat Magic Matrix Driving Character Creation
Spellcasting Preparations Adepts Spirits Traditions Initiation Dark Magic
Spell List Ritual List Spirit List Adept Powers List Mentor Spirits List Metamagics List Traditions List
NAME COMBAT DETECTION HEALTH ILLUSION MANIPULATION DRAIN SOURCE
The Hermetic Mage Fire Air Man Water Earth Logic + Willpower Core
The Shaman Beasts Water Earth Air Man Charisma + Willpower Core
Aztec Guardian Fire Plant Water Beasts Charisma + Willpower SR5:SG
Black Magic Fire Water Earth Air Man Charisma + Willpower SR5:SG
Buddhism Air Guidance Earth Fire Water Intuition + Willpower SR5:SG
Chaos Magic Fire Air Earth Man Water Intuition + Willpower SR5:SG
Christian Theurgy Fire Water Air Earth Guidance Charisma + Willpower SR5:SG
Druid Beasts Water Plant Air Earth Intuition + Willpower SR5:SG
Hinduism Beasts Water Plant Air Earth Logic + Willpower SR5:SG
Islam Guardian Earth Plant Air Fire Logic + Willpower SR5:SG
Path Of The Wheel Earth Guidance Air Water Fire Charisma + Willpower SR5:SG
Qabbalism Air Earth Fire Water Task Logic + Willpower SR5:SG
Shinto Air Water Plant Beasts Man Charisma + Willpower SR5:SG
Sioux Beasts Plant Fire Air Guardian Intuition + Willpower SR5:SG
Vodou Guardian Water Man Guidance Task Charisma + Willpower SR5:SG
Wicca Fire Water Plant Air Earth Intuition(Goddess Wicca)/Logic(Gardnerian Wicca) + Willpower SR5:SG
Wuxing Fire Earth Plant Water Guidance Logic + Willpower SR5:SG
Zoroastrianism Man Water Fire Air Plant Logic + Willpower SR5:SG
Insect Spirits Soldier Scout Caretaker Nymph Worker Intuition + Willpower SR5:SG

Common magic traditions of the Sixth World are presented below. The outlines of how to use traditions in Shadowrun are presented on p. 279, SR5. Each tradition presented below includes preferred spells and/or adept powers for that tradition. There are no benefits in game mechanics for choosing those spells; they are there so that players can give their characters the flavor of that tradition. The descriptions also include the type of spirits each tradition uses to perform particular functions, as well as the attributes they use for Drain. Mages of that particular tradition may only summon the spirits listed with the tradition, and they are restricted in the tasks they can assign them. Assigning tasks outside the general area of their tradition will not receive a response from the spirit (for example, a Buddhist mage telling an air spirit to heal him will get no response, as air is a Combat spirit in that tradition, while the Health spirit is earth). Descriptions also include notable teachers in each tradition who can be used in games to help characters advance in a particular tradition. Note that when a tradition is described as a “possession tradition,” replace the spirit power of Materialization in any spirits summoned by conjurers of that tradition with Possession (p. 197).

A magical tradition describes how you interact with mana. Sure, you don’t necessarily need things like chants, elegant hand gestures, muttered curses, and a holistic philosophy to sling spells and summon spirits, but it sure helps you connect to the magic, and your tradition gives you exactly that. Often, when looking for ways to focus, people fall back on elements of their culture or background that they associate with magic. If you spend your whole life thinking that magic happens when you wave a small wand, having such a wand in your hand helps you focus your abilities. Or maybe you’ve been told that magic can be contained in a beaded necklace—in that case, holding and fingering such a necklace is precisely what you need. All magicians are members of one of the magical traditions.

There are many different magic traditions in the Sixth World, and we have two of them for you here. The hermetic tradition values a scholarly, logical approach to spellcasting. Shamanic magic is looser, wilder, and can gain strength from the magician’s personality. Followers of the hermetic tradition are called mages, while followers of the shamanic tradition are called shamans.

Different aspects of the world (the elements) are important to traditions in different ways—the description of each tradition describes how each element lines up with the different types of spells, reagents, and spirits in their thinking, indicating which types of spirits and spirit powers they might be likely to call upon in particular situations. Each tradition’s description also includes the Attributes used in the Drain Resistance Test for spellcasters of this tradition.

The Hermetic Mage

Hermetic Tradition
Combat Fire Detection Air
Health Man Illusion Water
Manipulation Earth Drain Logic + Willpower

The hermetic mage relies on logic, practice, and execution of a planned formula rather than intuition and improvisation to effectively cast spells. They have learned to control magic and believe that the universe (both the magical parts and the mundane) follows patterns of energy that can be manipulated through complex symbols, formulae, and arcane knowledge of its components. This tradition was widely practiced (if not effective) even before the Awakening, and this form appealed early on to corporations and governments due to its intellectual, formalized nature. In hermetic thinking, casting magic involves imposing the magician’s will on the universe—so you can imagine some of the egos that emerge when mages get together. Mages are scholars and often have libraries of magical information from which they design spells. Any mage worth his reagents has at least a digital copy of one of the founding texts on hermeticism (rich mages have a fancy hard copy written and bound by hand in a very fancy ceremony). Hermetic trappings also include deluxe, well-crafted equipment in archaic laboratories where mages can create preparations and carry out their research.

Mages create circles of power (they’re really just magical lodges, just with a hermetic twist, but don’t try to tell a mage that). Hermetic reagents include minerals, ores, and other elements—a knowledge of geology, parageology, and chemistry help them find where to gather such reagents. In urban areas, items found in the esoteric, antique, and forgotten corners of the cities can be used by mages. Older buildings, graveyards, and antique shops may have pieces of brick, pottery, glass, wrought iron, and jewelry that have been imbued with magical properties of the elements. Knowledge of architecture and antiques help in the search for these reagents.

Mages, unsurprisingly, take a somewhat arrogant view on conjuring. The mage tends to believe that spirits are intelligent but inferior beings predestined for servitude. With that mindset, mages tend to be more comfortable binding spirits than are spellcasters of other traditions.

The Shaman

Shamanic Tradition
Combat Beasts Detection Water
Health Earth Illusion Air
Manipulation Man Drain Charisma + Willpower

The shaman uses mana to balance the world of nature and their own will. They believe in harmony and guidance, observing the world and using emotion to weave magic. They respect the gift of magic that connects them to the flow of the spirit of life. To the shaman, the earth is a living being, and her children are spirits who guide and aid those that support her; spirits of the sky, mountain, birds, rats, even metahumanity. Shamanism has been practiced far longer than hermetic magic and can be found in all parts of the world, although it wasn’t taken seriously by modern metahumanity until the Great Ghost Dance. To the shaman, casting a spell is asking a greater universal entity, such as a mentor spirit, to grant her power.

Shamans call their magical lodges “medicine lodges.” A medicine lodge (also known as a sweat lodge, inipi, kiva, temazcal, or a number of other names) can take a variety of forms, including a small domed hut with an animal skin roof or a hole dug into the ground and carefully covered with a ceiling of woven branches, or in an urban area a small room filled with skins, painting, and artistically decorative urban junk.

The wilderness is an excellent place for shamans to gather reagents, finding plant and animal parts, naturally shaped stones, and vials of water in such pristine locations. Knowledge of zoology, parazoology, botany, and parabotany help them find and harvest these materials. In urban areas, shamans find that the spirit of life also inhabits in the cities. So-called “street shamans” find reagents in urban animals, naturally worn stones in parks or waterways, and handcrafted jewelry made with natural materials. Knowledge of architecture and crafts helps find this sort of reagent.

The shamanic perspective on conjuring is based on a belief that spirits are intelligent and ancient, and they should be treated with the respect one would show an elder. Due to their belief that spirits are everywhere, shamans frequently summon spirits from the area when the need arises, rather than binding spirits for long periods. Shamans often develop personal connections to spirits, following them as they learn magic.

Aztec

Source
SR5:SG
Aztec Tradition
Combat Guardian Detection Fire
Health Plant Illusion Water
Manipulation Beasts Drain Charisma + Willpower
Preferred Spells
Calm Pack Compel Truth Eyes of the Pack Powerball
Resist Pain
Preferred Adept Powers
Animal Empathy Enhanced Perception Natural Immunity Temperature Tolerance

Read the title again. It says “Aztec.” Not “Blood.” Blood Magic and Aztechnology are so closely intertwined in the minds of many in the shadows that they are viewed as one in the same (and both use the same term, nahualli, for their priests). But the magic as practiced by Aztechnology is not deeply tied to Aztec traditions—it’s mainly connected to the way Aztechnology likes to function. But enough about what the Aztec tradition is not. What it is, at the core, is the idea that every living being, even the gods, share a portion of their soul with an animal twin. Every nahualli must have a mentor spirit that represents their animal twin, and their relationship to that mentor is complex. They do not so much try to emulate the traits of their mentor as incorporate those traits in their magic, using the skills of their mentor to compliment their own abilities.

There are traditionalists following Aztec ways who insist that elaborate headdresses and flowery plumage are the only proper garb for one performing Aztec magic, but they are offset by others who believe the mana you wield does not much care how you look. To them, their relationship with their mentor and the spirits they can channel through them are what matters. If a weighty headdress helps you focus on your work, that’s fine. But if you can do what you need with a baseball cap on while sparing yourself a headache, so much the better. In former times, ritual spellcasters were largely attracted to the Aztec tradition, but recent years have seen a number of individual spellcasters following this path as well. This is due, at least in part, to people separating Aztec from Aztechnology and deciding that following the one did not mean tying yourself in with the other. These spellcasters can often be found in more rural areas as they seek to better commune with their mentor in the wild. The rough life they sometimes lead has ended up being attractive to some adepts as well, who often enjoy a physical challenge.

Tlalli Ichtaca was on her way to becoming a nahualli in Tenochtitlan when she stumbled across a Matrix site explaining the differences between what she was learning and older Aztec traditions, and she decided the older ways were much more appealing. Aztechnology does not like to give up on its people easily, though, so she quickly understood that she’d be best serve leaving Aztlan. She managed to escape to the Pueblo section of Denver, where she figured she would be safe from Aztechnology’s prying eyes. She set up shop teaching people her newfound ways, and became known for her patience and good humor. The recent return of Aztechnology to Denver has made her situation more precarious, though at least she now has a cadre of students to watch her back.

Black Magic

Source
SR5:SG
Black Magic Tradition
Combat Fire Detection Water
Health Earth Illusion Air
Manipulation Man Drain Charisma + Willpower
Preferred Spells
Chaotic World Control Actions Control Thoughts Death Touch
Opium Den
Preferred Adept Powers
Commanding Voice Cool Resolve Killing Hands Voice Control

Interested in learning Black Magic? Start by taking your books by Crowley and LaVey, along with your fake Necronomicon, and throwing them out the window. Black Magic isn’t messing around. It isn’t dressing up “be yourself” platitudes in trappings of darkness. It’s not there to say “boo” and then go away so you can tuck yourself in at night and sleep soundly. It is mean, brutal, and focused. It has a bad reputation because it deserves it.

The key of Black Magic is to combine hedonism with sustainability. Any idiot can score some novacoke or drop a few nuyen on a prostitute, but that’s bush-league stuff. Black Magic is not just about fulfilling a desire; it’s about the satisfaction of having people line up to give you what you want, of bending them to your will so that they forsake everything they thought was important to them in order please you. If you cannot conceive of the satisfaction that can come from that, you have no place in Black Magic. Black Magic understands that evil is not about random, uncontrolled destruction—it is about the systematic breaking down of others to facilitate your own pleasure and enjoyment.

Perhaps the most dangerous thing about Black Magic is how appealing it can be. Sometimes practitioners will invoke the symbols from other religions or traditions— demonic horns, pentagrams, swastikas, the Masonic eye—mainly to get a rise out of people, or to convey the perception that they are doing something illicit, but don’t be fooled. Black Magicians put little stock in the magical power of these symbols. They are primarily interested in how they can use those symbols to manipulate others—which is their real area of interest. Black Magic can occasionally be in your face, but more often it relies on subtle insinuation, manipulation, and subversion so the practitioner can gently lead their targets where they want them to go. And then lower the spiked fist on them.

Black Magic takes all kinds of practitioners, as long as they are willing to dedicate themselves entirely to this way of doing business. Spellcasters can use magic to dominate the minds of others, conjurers can call forth spirits to do their bidding (predictably, Black Magic practitioners tend to be haughty toward their spirits), and adepts can use their social skills to talk people into giving what they want. And mystic adepts can do a little of everything.

While some Black Magicians work together when they find their interests overlap, they are not by and large a group that sees much virtue and benefit in collective action. They are more likely to work their way into the ranks of some other organization, make their way to the top, and then turn that whole organization into a Black Magic organization—or at least an organization that serves the needs and desires of a particular Black Magician.

The fact that a Manhattan mage named Juliette Burma put out a notice on the Matrix saying she was looking for “willing students of the dark arts” is reason enough for most people to steer clear of her. Black Magicians generally don’t like teaching anyone anything, and if they are advertising it’s because either they’re lying about their abilities, they have some secret plan to take advantage of you, or both. But a few street mages who used to be good for nothing more than card tricks have popped up in The Pit demonstrating some startling new abilities and crediting their growth to Burma. So either she’s legit, or she’s working a very special, longterm operation.

Buddhism

Source
SR5:SG
Buddhist Tradition
Combat Air Detection Guidance
Health Earth Illusion Fire
Manipulation Water Drain Intuition + Willpower
Preferred Spells
Hibernate Mask Silence Spatial Sense
Resist Pain
Preferred Adept Powers
Cool Resolve Improved Physical Attribute Improved Sense Living Focus
Maintain Warmth

The religion of Buddhism has spread across the Sixth World and is commonly practiced throughout Asia, with significant enclaves in North America as immigrants migrated to the continent, either forcibly by their own volition. The religion has developed into three major schools of thought, with only the Vajrayana, or Tantric, school accepting magic as a pathway to nirvana. The other schools largely believe the Awakening is another part of reality to be overcome along the road to enlightenment. While many practitioners of magic claim Buddhism as their religion, the majority of these casters practice a different tradition, normally Wuxing or Shinto. It is believed the majority of this tradition’s followers are located in Tibet, although there are significant numbers in Imperial Japan and continental Asia.

The Vajrayana method of instruction is largely based on the relationship between the master and the pupil. Spells are taught, not studied from a formulae, and are usually part of a larger lesson for the pupil to understand. It is highly unusual for any member of this tradition to attempt to learn a spell from any source other than a teacher, although some practitioners claim Matrix instruction works in the same way.

Buddhist magical techniques include mantras for ritual techniques, with yoga as a method for meditation and physical exercise. Practitioners explain the metaplanes through the use of mandalas to serve as maps. Some Buddhist adepts have a mentor spirit which normally takes the form of yidam, an enlightened being that the yogi meditates on in an attempt to gain enlightenment. The majority of known followers of this tradition are mystic adepts, but that majority is a slim one with mages and physical adepts also well represented in their ranks.

Jeremy Blue Sky, a practitioner of this tradition, resides near Bellingham, Salish-Shidhe. It is considered unusual for a tribe member to practice what locals consider a foreign religion, but Jeremy was raised with Buddhism as the son of an MCT employee assigned to Tsimshian and a local resident. Shortly after reaching majority, Jeremy received Salish citizenship and established a shrine in Sedro-Woolley. He regularly teaches three pupils at the shrine, although only one is normally Awakened. He is also known to take on temporary students from the shadows, although he forbids outside distractions while teaching one of these individuals.

Chaos Magic

Source
SR5:SG
Chaos Tradition
Combat Fire Detection Air
Health Earth Illusion Man
Manipulation Water Drain Intuition + Willpower
Preferred Spells
Chaotic World (natch) Flamethrower Mana Static Mass Animate
Shape [Material]
Preferred Adept Powers
Adrenaline Boost Improved Reflexes Rapid Healing Spell Resistance

Degrees in Thaumaturgy. Lectures on how mana responds to different strains of plant life. Longitudinal studies on the effects of living adjacent to ley lines. All these things make Chaos Magicians cringe. They tend to view the academic view of magic as narrow and stultifying, spending so much time studying the individual notes that they completely miss the music. Magic, in their eyes, is not supposed to be confined and measured. It is to be experienced, felt, and enjoyed.

For some Chaos Magicians, performing magic is the path to fulfillment. For others, it’s about power. Some Chaos Magicians believe they are more powerful when they do not limit themselves to the trappings of any one tradition. As they listen to and learn from others, and as they pay attention to their own experiences, they see what works and what doesn’t. If it works, no matter what tradition it originates from, they use it. And if it doesn’t, they throw it away. Their broad-mindedness makes them quite comfortable with technology. If tech—from electronic spellbooks to nanite-fabricated lodges—can make it easier for them to do their work, they’ll embrace it.

In many ways Chaos Magic is a catch-all term rather than a dedicated school of magic. Two Chaos Magicians who encounter each other may spend months together and still not know they belong to the same tradition, because their ways of going about their business are so different. If you look hard enough, though, certain strains of similarity can be found. Chaos Magicians don’t like large institutions, don’t like structure, and don’t like rigidity. If planning goes on too long they tend to get impatient, as they are more than willing to just go out and improvise something rather than think it to death. When situations heat up, they like taking actions that are wild and uncontrolled. Others may find themselves overwhelmed and confused in such situations, but that’s where the Chaos Magician feels most at home.

Given its nature, Chaos Magic attracts all strains of Awakened. Mystic adepts, adepts, spellcasters, conjurers, enchanters, whatever—if you like magic and don’t like order, if you think magic should be more felt than studied, then join the Chaos Magic tradition, get out there, and make it happen.

Reuben Patel came to Chicago as soon as he heard that Governor Presbitero wanted to resettle the Containment Zone. He figured things would be getting suitably weird there in short order and he’d find a lot of work to do. Unfortunately on his first run in, a lucky shot from a ganger ripped his kneecap off. He’s going through an arduous healing process, and he decided to make money on the side by sharing some of the ideas of Chaos Magic with anyone who has a few nuyen and time. He’s not easy to listen to—his train of thought takes the longest possible route to the station—but if you can somehow get on his wavelength, you might be in for some astonishing revelations about how magic could work.

Christian Theurgy

Source
SR5:SG
Christian Theurgy
Combat Fire Detection Water
Health Air Illusion Earth
Manipulation Guidance Drain Charisma + Willpower
Preferred Spells
Detect Life Heal Increase Inherent Limits Influence
Lightning Bolt
Preferred Adept Powers
Astral Perception Danger Sense Empathic Healing Mystic Armor

Christianity made its transition to the Sixth World in fits and starts. For some people, it was easy. The supernatural had always played a role in their stories and beliefs, so they simply accepted magic as part of the belief framework they’d always held. Others, however, identified magic with the witchcraft and satanism they’d been warned about for years, so they put up walls (the Catholic Church in particular erecting some strong barriers). The Imago Dei encyclical helped break down those walls, but it also transitioned people away from the belief that magic was a manifestation of godly power. Christian Theurgists in general see magic as a tool they can use to perform God’s work, rather than a direct channel to the divine. Spirits often make Christian Theurgists uncomfortable—they’re not sure if they should treat them like the souls of the dead, angels, devils, or something else, so they’re often more comfortable just leaving them alone.

Christian Theurgists are as organized as their particular branch of Christianity is. Members of the clergy, such as mages in the Order of St. Sylvester, have stricter controls on their behavior, while members of the laity of any denomination who happen to be Awakened may have some guidelines or principles to help them in their use of magic, but the degree to which the follow those guidelines is up to them.

In its ideal form, Christianity is about helping others and relieving their pain where possible, and there are Christian Theurgists who attempt to live up to this ideal. Throughout history, however, there have been all sorts of acts done in the name of Christianity, and that remains the case today. Depending on what part of Christian teachings they emphasize or how they choose to interpret them, Christian Theurgists may be involved in a wide variety of activities ranging from the charitable to the reprehensible. But whatever they do, it will have that certain tinge of a holy crusade.

Christian Theurgists of all stripes can be found throughout the Western Hemisphere, though they become less common in the Eastern (where they tend to be spellcasters). Their conjuring skills are often subpar, and their experience giving instructions to spirits is limited. If you want someone who can clearly word a task without leaving loopholes for the spirit, look elsewhere. They can be potent spellcasters and adepts, particularly when they feel they are advancing the cause of righteousness.

Nathaniel de Leon was led a small group of Sylvestrine monks during the Aztlan-Amazonia War, but his responsibilities essentially ended when all of his underlings were killed during the final purge of Amazonian elements from Bogotá. He is still considered a member of the Order, but his exact assignment is unclear. He has taken it upon himself to find new recruits to serve under him, and that means he is quite willing to pass on Christian Theurgist teachings and ideas to those willing to learn.

Druid

Source
SR5:SG
Druidic Tradition
Combat Beasts Detection Water
Health Plant Illusion Air
Manipulation Earth Drain Intuition + Willpower
Preferred Spells
Camouflage Control Pack Invisibility Resist Pain
Stunball Preferred Adept Powers
Animal Empathy Enhanced Perception Plague Cloud Traceless Walk

The umbrella term “druid” encompasses a variety of beliefs, from the nature-centered perspective of Celtic druids to the heavily shamanic viewpoint of wild druids to the esoteric mumblings of English druids. The commonality between the beliefs is the invocation of spirits tied to particular locations and the desire of the druid to work with those spirits to gain a measure of control over what happens in that spot. The Celtic druid may believe in a spirit that predates the existence of humanity, while English druids believe the spirits were shaped by the places and by the humans living there, but in operative terms that is a minor distinction—both believe the spirit is important, and both want the spirit on their side.

There is a strong arcane side to druids as they attempt find the true spirit of the land. Anyone can summon a spirit (well, not anyone, but you know what we mean), but invoking the true spirit of a place is more difficult. Especially since spirits can be tricky beings and may claim to be the spirit of a place without being the real thing. So druids often delve into the history of a spot, looking for clues that may help them uncover the true spirit at the base of that location.

While druids have a great respect for the land, that attitude often is limited to their piece of land. They can be very territorial, working hard to protect their chosen lands while unleashing fury on spots they believe may be a threat to them. They are highly conscious background counts, mana ebbs, ley lines, and other astral phenomena, since they know how those elements can affect the defense of their territory. Many of them are quite proactive in aspecting the mana of their favored area toward their tradition, giving them a very useful advantage.

Conjurers are common among druids, as are practitioners of ritual magic. Druid rituals can be long, formal, and involved, but the results of this are often spells of sweeping, transformative power. Druid adepts are more rare, but they can still be found, ready to fiercely defend the area they have chosen—or that they believe has chosen them. Druids often avoid head-on fights, instead preferring to use their knowledge of the land and nature to hide them and give them the chance to strike out when they can do the most damage.

Ryanne Winter met a spirit she refers to as the guardian of the Bitterroot Forest of the Sioux Nation in 2064. She has communed with this spirit for over a decade, growing more eccentric as she resists the attempts of the Sioux government to drive her out. They are unhappy with her because she regularly defends the Forest agains neighboring territories, mainly by sniping at any hostile-looking creature that gets in her range, including Sioux law enforcement. Obtaining a private sit-down with her won’t be easy, and she might not be entirely intelligible, but she’d certainly have a lot to say about building a relationship with the spirit of a particular place.

Hinduism

Source
SR5:SG
Hindu Tradition
Combat Beasts Detection Water
Health Plant Illusion Air
Manipulation Earth Drain Logic + Willpower
Preferred Spells
Alter Temperature Analyze Magic Fast [Sense] Removal
Preferred Adept Powers
Attribute Boost Flexibility Improved Physical Attribute Pain Resistance

The Hindu tradition is based on the Hindu religious system, and it is designed to provide a path for the enlightened to reach transcendence. The path is one of ritual devotion, asceticism, and karmic purity. While the exact strictures followed by each school vary, most accept the precepts from the Vedas, texts originally written in Ancient India. Those followers who are Awakened believe following the precepts of their faith assist them along the path.

The Hindu believes the soul is in a constant cycle of death and rebirth, governed by a relationship with karma. Those who follow their particular school of thought (dasarnas) and caste’s rules are reincarnated into a higher caste, eventually reaching moksha, or transcendence. Those who refuse to follow their destined path are reincarnated as a lesser being.

The Awakened members of the Hindu faith who follow this tradition generally fall into two general categories. The Brahmin, members of the high caste, uses magic in a priestly manner and are usually magicians or aspected magicians. The saddhu practices the path of the ascetic, using yogic practices to reach their ultimate goal, primarily supported by adepts and mystic adepts. The summoning of spirits largely takes the form of calling on devas, roughly benevolent entities, while others call on the asuras, entities with less obvious motivations.

The practitioners of this tradition frequently use bhajans (devotional songs), mantras, and yoga in their spell casting or power usage. Magic and dance are normally major components of rituals, helping the caster focus their concentration and mana. Sanskrit is also frequently used, with the Vedic form largely used by the brahmin, while the saddhu prefer the later, classic form of the language.

Adi Varma is a yoga instructor currently employed at Proteus’ Fiji arkoblock. His primary role there is to assist physically regressing executives or their family members in returning to a healthy lifestyle, but Proteus is aware of his Awakened status and allows him to perform private instruction when his duties allow (provided the clients can pass their background checks and pay for their room and board at the arkoblock). On a professional note, nearly everyone who has reviewed his classes has commented on his apparent non-judgmental approach and his concern about their well-being.

Islam

Source
SR5:SG
Islamic Tradition
Combat Guardian Detection Earth
Health Plant Illusion Air
Manipulation Fire Drain Logic + Willpower
Preferred Spells
Detect Enemies Fireball Foreboding Mass Agony
Spirit Zapper
Preferred Adept Powers
Combat Sense Adrenaline Boost Improved Reflexes Killing Hands Riposte

Islam has a difficult relationship with magic. On the one hand, mainstream Islam is generally not fond of magic; on the other hand, Awakened individuals have been very useful in advancing the cause of Islam in some instances, so they cannot dismiss it entirely. More conservative factions forbid women from practicing magic (some extremists have been known to assense female babies and exile or kill them if they are Awakened), while progressive Muslims welcome female practitioners and use them to teach the next generation of Islamic spellcasters.

One common thread binding all Muslim Awakened together is the analysis they dedicate to their tradition. They are thorough and detailed, bringing a mathematical rigor to their study of magic. This results in some very advanced but elegant formulae and practitioners who are among the leading magic academics of our time.

Given the uncertainty over the nature of spirits, Muslim Awakened generally consider it better to steer clear of the whole area on the off chance that the immaterial beings are demonic. They don’t take mentor spirits and often don’t summon spirits at all. Some elite mages conjure djinn and ifrit, hoping they can control the fire and terror these beings tend to bring with them and harness their fierce abilities.

Islamic magic is disciplined. Practitioners believe there is a place for experimentation, and that place is most certainly not in the field. They do not like making things up on the fly. They generally do not need to, though, because they tend to be well-trained and well-prepared. They move forward knowing the spells and techniques they intend to put into play have been thoroughly tested, and they have a confidence that comes from reliability.

Muslim spellcasters and spell designers abound. Spell formulae from leading Muslim mages are usually sold for premium prices, since the confidence in their ability to work as expected is high. There are also a large amount of Muslim adepts, especially among the more conservative groups, as they channel their powers into acting as mujahedin (holy warriors) for their cause.

Ibrahim Addaya was a well-respected scholar at the Prince Sultan University until recently, when his unethical use of certain persuasive spells on his more attractive students was uncovered and he lost his job. He is currently unemployable, living off his savings and trying to develop an income by selling his own line of spells. Without the backing of the university, the market for his materials has dropped, but that has made him more willing to sell his services—and his services are now more affordable. The shadows of Riyadh have taken note of the opportunity to obtain top-notch formulae.

Path Of The Wheel

Source
SR5:SG
Path Of The Wheel
Combat Earth Detection Guidance
Health Air Illusion Water
Manipulation Fire Drain Charisma + Willpower
Preferred Spells
Ball Lightning Detect Enemies Disrupt [Focus] Improved Invisibility
Influence
Preferred Adept Powers
Combat Sense Critical Strike Mystic Armor Penetrating Strike

Perhaps the most rigid of the major magical traditions of the Sixth World, the Path of the Wheel is rooted in the elven nation of Tír na nÓg. The tradition takes its name from the Draesis ti Heron, the Wheel of Life that describes five different paths souls take in their journey toward enlightenment and total understanding. These paths are: the Path of the Warrior, the Path of the Steward, the Path of the Bard, the Path of the Druid, and the Path of the Rígh. Travelers on the paths follow mentor spirits particular to their path, and the paths are also reflected in Tír na nÓg’s social order. In fact, more than one observer has claimed that the Path of the Wheel is at least as much about social control as it is about advancing magic.

The use of magic in the paths is very formalized; several tomes outlining these practices exist. Or at least that’s the claim, as very few people not part of the Paths have ever seen these volumes. The volumes describing the Path of the Rígh, which is reserved for the highest levels of Tír society, are said to contain rituals handed down from the Fourth World or earlier, which outstrip anything we think we know about magic.

The ostensible purpose for the Paths is to help individual souls develop, but most who are familiar with it know the true purpose: to protect Tír na nÓg and advance its interests. Those following the Path of the Warrior make for fierce defenders, as anyone who has attempted anything illicit in the Tír can tell you. The rituals and general formalism exist to keep practices in line and to make sure the Awakened of Tír na nÓg color within the lines when they practice magic.

As might be expected of anything within the magic- soaked Tír, the Path of the Wheel encompasses all sorts of Awakened. Residents of the Tír are particularly comfortable with spirits, as they seem to spend most of their time with one foot in the spirit realm. They generally are neither commanding nor deferential to spirits; they simply treat them as just another member of the team on which they function. In general, Tír Awakened are extremely skilled with whatever talent they might have, though their rigidity can be used against them.

Practitioners of the Path of the Wheel are strictly forbidden from sharing their knowledge with outsiders. There have occasionally been members who have gone rogue, but they can generally measure their life expectancy in weeks once they do so. If you are skilled at disguise and infiltration, though, you might be able to visit Brigid Mullen, who lives south of Dublin. She is an expert on the Path of the Bard, and students demonstrating excellent potential are often sent to her for polishing. Her sight is failing her, but she has extremely sharp hearing— and perfect pitch. Getting in to see her would be an accomplishment. Getting her to sing for you would be a thrill.

Qabbalism

Source
SR5:SG
Qabbalistic Tradition
Combat Air Detection Earth
Health Fire Illusion Water
Manipulation Task Drain Logic + Willpower
Note Qabbalism is a possession tradition
Preferred Spells
Borrow Sense Double Image Nutrition Slay

Perhaps the most ancient mystic tradition, Qabbalism is based on the teachings of the Torah and other works, including the Zohar, the SeferYetzirah and the Bahar. These works form the basis of the Hebrew mysticism and also a portion of hermetic lore. The tradition use a combination of esoteric philosophy and frequently refers to the mystical power of the Hebrew alphabet and true names to influence the universe.

Casters who follow Qabbalism tend to cast spells using ancient Hebrew, and their research features complex formulae and diagrams, with numerology and astrology forming a significant part of their theories regarding the flow of mana. This method of explaining the Awakened universe is also part of the hermetic paradigm, although the hermetics use other sources of information as well.

Qabbalist spirits are normally referred to as elohim. They do not manifest in the physical realm, but temporarily possess a living or inanimate vessel to influence the world directly. The classic example is a clay golem, which still has its proponents today amongst certain practitioners. Mentor spirits are typically related to the ten sephirot, the emanations through which the Ein Sof reveals itself.

There are two main schools of thought within the Qabbalstic tradition: those who have an almost secular method of belief, and ultra-orthodox Hebrews sects who follow what they believe to be undiluted texts from ages past. The former group is common and its members are often treated like a sub-branch of hermeticism, and there are many members in academic, entertainment, and business circles. The latter reside within Orthodox strongholds and Israel, with peaceful interactions with outsiders being rare.

Fredrick Rosen is a fairly new member of the University of Denver’s faculty, with a known penchant for picking up strays. He appears frequently in public, with his near-unique accent and good looks making him a bit of a celebrity among the uninhibited wives of the CAS sector. He currently teaches a number of introductory magical theories classes and also holds an Awakening for Business class as part of the evening program. He has been known to sell spell formulae, and may barter for services instead of taking cash. He also advertises as a private tutor for promising students, most of whom are attractive females. While these traits may provide an enterprising runner with an opportunity, angering a mage and leaving them alive is rarely a good practice. Especially one with known connections to Mossad.

Shinto

Source
SR5:SG
Shinto Tradition
Combat Air Detection Water
Health Plant Illusion Beasts
Manipulation Man Drain Charisma + Willpower
Preferred Spells
Astral Window Control Emotions Stunbolt Thought Recognition

The official religion of Japan, Shinto has spread with the power of Imperial Japan and the corporations that originated there. Shinto features a number of public shrines devoted to the kami, or gods. Its tenets are largely based around harmony with kami spirits, with Awakened activities being considered a natural extension of this concept, and it lacks dogmatic approach to its worship. The religion currently has 115,000 shrines and over 25,000 priests in Japan, with more around the world. The Emperor has increased the influence of the religion in national politics by including practitioners part of the national rebuilding effort.

Shinto is one of the few shamanic traditions accepted into the ranks of the corporations, largely as many executives are immersed in aspects of the religious beliefs from a young age and do not find its practitioners too rebellious. Unlike Amerindian traditions, most kannushi do not have a single mentor but attempt to live harmoniously with all the kami. Key portions of this harmony are respect for nature and ensuring physical and spiritual cleanliness though proper ritual. Honoring the kami is important to the Awakened, as they regularly ask favors of the spirits, especially looking for assistance in the use of magic.

Shinto magic techniques are closely tied to the religion whose name they share. Protective charms, normally called ofuda are used to anchor wards within a building, normally placed within the home’s kamidana, or household altar. Personal protection amulets, called omamori, are frequently used to ward off bad luck or to encourage success in different endeavors; for the Awakened they are commonly made into foci for Counterpelling or Banishing. Other protective charms are also used by believers to bring good fortune, fight against bad luck, or induce and bless child birth.

Shigetoshi Suzuki is a priest at the Atsuta shrine who frequently works as a tutor to promising young students. A former employee of Fuchi, he left as the corporation disintegrated and entered the private sector. His teaching methods are reportedly guided self-discovery, with the kami being the central focus of the lessons and sometimes guest instructors.

Sioux

Source
SR5:SG
Sioux Tradition
Combat Beasts Detection Plant
Health Fire Illusion Air
Manipulation Guardian Drain Intuition + Willpower
Preferred Spells
Clout Control Thoughts Forced Defense Invisibility
Silence
Preferred Adept Powers
Critical Strike Freefall Adrenaline Boost Improved Reflexes Missile Mastery

Perhaps the most important thing to understand about beliefs in the Sioux tradition is the term Wakan Tanka. By most interpretations it means “Great Spirit,” meaning the power of life that animates everything in this world, from the sun to the earth to the plants and animals that live on it. Wakan Tanka has been described as a sheltering tree covering all the children of the one mother and one father.

But there is also an interpretation of Wakan Tanka that takes it to mean “Great Mystery.” This serves as a reminder that the power that animates the world is not something mere humans understand, and that we should accept it in its mystery rather than trying to impose human understanding on it. Living with this incomprehensibility is part of life, and the sooner one can accommodate oneself to it, the sooner you can be more in harmony with the world and nature instead of living in conflict.

Don’t let this goal of peace fool you into thinking that everything about the Sioux tradition is sweetness and light. Sioux mythology is full of a vast range of characters. Iktomi the spider and Coyote are always around to cause trouble, Unktehi the serpent makes trouble for the Thunderbird, and Double Face preys on humanity. The Great Spirit may be incomprehensible, but the trouble these other beings can cause is only too plain, and practitioners of the Sioux tradition are well aware of what they need to look out for. Or, if they are of a more mischievous frame of mind, who to emulate.

Rather than study formulae or ancient tomes, practitioners of the Sioux tradition try to take clues and hints from how to best do magic from the world around them. The world is full of information to those who take the time to observe it, and Sioux Awakened are usually willing to take that time. They observe carefully, letting the auras and beings around them speak, doing their best to hear the stories they are telling rather than impose their own meaning upon them. Once they have that information, though, they are swift and sure—and devastating, if they need to be.

There is a healthy tradition of Sioux adepts, practitioners who are well versed in the language of the land and use that knowledge to travel swiftly and silently and enter places thought to be secure. They often carry a bit of the spirit of Inktomi or Coyote with them, adding a twist of humor or mischievousness to their actions. There is also a strong population of Sioux enchanters and spellcasters, channeling their knowledge of the life given by Wakan Tanka into strong protections for creation— or into devastating strikes against the flaws they perceive.

Snana Cansasa meditates in her lodge and spends a part of each day contemplating her place in her surroundings, but don’t go looking for her on a mountainside or on the plains. She is an analyst with Eagle Security in Cheyenne, and her understanding of designing defenses against Awakened threats is perhaps unparalleled. She will not, of course, willingly pass any of her knowledge with shadowrunners, but a team that can generate the right cover story may be able to get an appointment to see her in her lofty office.

Vodou

Source
SR5:SG
Vodou Tradition
Combat Guardian Detection Water
Health Man Illusion Guidance
Manipulation Task Drain Charisma + Willpower
Preferred Spells
Clairvoyance Entertainment Mind Probe Mob Mind
Stunbolt
Preferred Adept Powers
Astral Perception Commanding Voice Improved Sense Rapid Healing

Perhaps no tradition besides Blood Magic has been as maligned as Vodou, though in Blood Magic’s case the defamation is usually warranted. Vodou has years of baggage connecting it to frenetic, out-of-control practitioners and dolls crafted with an intent to do harm at a remote distance. While these images perhaps touch on some aspects of Vodou, they miss the larger picture.

The centerpiece of Vodou is the concept of les invisibles, the unseen beings that populate the spirit world. The spirits are referred to as loa, and they are what the Vodou Awakened serve. There are degrees of loa, both major and minor. The general goal in Vodou is to gain the favor of a major loa, either by interacting directly with that spirit or by gaining influence within that spirit’s court. One good way to get on a loa’s good side is to give them some time to play around on the material plane, which in the Vodou tradition is accomplished by allowing them to possess the body of the summoner or of one of their servants (or perhaps the body of some lunkhead the Vodou conjurer brought along for just that purpose). The loa like to live it up during their possession time, which partially explains some of the wilder and more exuberant aspects of Vodou rituals.

Vodou practitioners are not just respectful to the spirits they summon—they are deferential. In their view, their magical abilities hinge on keeping the loa happy, so they will do everything in their power to please these beings, including engaging in flattery or obsequiousness. A Vodou conjurer would never refer to a spirit owing her “services.” Instead, she would say that the spirit has granted her gifts, or some other phrasing that makes her subservient relationship to the spirit clear.

Conjurers are by far the most common type of Vodou practitioner, though their focus on material objects to use in their rituals means that enchanters have a place in their ranks as well. Spellcasters play an important role in the rituals of the tradition, though this role is often filled by strong conjurers who have also built up a bit of spellcasting prowess. Adepts are rare in Vodou; they work so hard to get the utmost control over their bodies that they often don’t like the idea of turning that control over to les invisibles.

Benoit Delatour of Port-au-Prince is not going to be the one to quash any stereotypes about Vodou theatrics. Fond of brightly colored, beaded robes and often accompanied by snakes, Delatour is only too happy to court the attention of onlookers. He practically carries an “Ask me about Vodou” sign; if you do so, he will regale you with lectures about the evils of greed, the importance of unity, and the right loa to beseech for any favor you may need. As it turns out, his knowledge of loa is more than encyclopedic, and anyone wanting to increase their knowledge of the denizens of other planes would do well to talk to him.

Wicca

Source
SR5:SG
Wiccan Tradition
Combat Fire Detection Water
Health Plant Illusion Air
Manipulation Earth Drain Intuition(Goddess Wicca)/Logic(Gardnerian Wicca) + Willpower
Preferred Spells
Analyze Magic Confusion Control Emotions Prophylaxis

The Wiccan tradition is the Awakened manifestation of one of the Sixth World’s largest recognizable neo-pagan movements. Wicca is collection of beliefs, tenets gathered from nineteenth century sources and New Age reasoning merged with earlier, pre-Christian concepts. The central tenets of the religion are harmony with nature and the Wiccan Rede or a similar code.

Wiccans generally venerate two deity-like figures, the Horned God and the Great Mother, although some believe they are aspects of a single being. Mentor spirits for the tradition are generally the Wise Warrior for adherents of the Horned God or the Peacemaker for the Great Mother. All Wiccan magicians who summon a spirit show deference and normally make a small payment of some kind, as the Law of Threefold Return is a constant theme in the tradition’s teachings.

Wiccan followers are not part of a monolithic entity but are composed of several different sects or lineages, frequently called traditions. The largest tradition, known as Gardnerian or British Traditional Wicca, follows a hierarchal model of leadership within their covens, with witches and wizards attaining higher levels of initiation within the religion through mandated rituals, whether or not they are Awakened. This tradition is nearly hermetic in their approach and largely follows The Book of Shadow. The other traditions are frequently referred to as the Eclectic or Goddess Wicca and are a collection of less-structured organizations.

Katherine Stubbard maintains a talismonger shop in Ontario with a large inventory of ceremonial bowls and candles for sale. The middle-aged dwarf rarely shows her talent, although she has stopped three different burglary attempts since she opened her shop. A member of the local Gardnerian coven, she frequently helps young Awakened find places to help their understanding of the changes affecting them. While the other members of her coven are unknown, it is unlikely Katherine is alone in the city. They also seem to have no problem accepting any strays she decides to keep on rather than pass off to other magicians, although they are rarely seen in the area after initiation. One of her first jobs is to remind newcomers that initiation into a coven is not standard magic initiation—you do not gain any powers as a result of the action. You do, she’ll continue, get started on the right path.

Wuxing

Source
SR5:SG
Wuxing Tradition
Combat Fire Detection Earth
Health Plant Illusion Water
Manipulation Guidance Drain Logic + Willpower
Preferred Spells
Control Actions Mana Barrier [Sense] Removal Silence
Preferred Adept Powers
Astral Perception Attribute Boost Cool Resolve Kinesics

The central concept of the Wuxing tradition is the idea of qi, the force that connects and binds all life. Qi manifests itself in many ways and is often connected to the five basic elements of the tradition: fire, water, earth, wood, and metal. It also acts in connection with the two poles known as yin and yang, which are sometimes compared to order and chaos, or peace and tumult.

Much of the efforts of a wujen (which is what practitioners of Wuxing are called) are focused on getting various elements of qi to line up properly. As such, wujen often focus on ritual magic, particularly when those rituals can help them adjust background counts or ley lines to their liking.

The Wuxing tradition tends to be orderly, and it has found a home in many corporations (such as Wuxing, of all things). Wujen often thrive in orderly corporate environments and are skilled at working their way through hierarchies. This translates to their view of spirits, as they tend to have a hierarchical, almost bureaucratic view of the spirit world. This means that they are generally respectful to spirits, if a little stiff.

Wuxing is not tied to any larger religion, so there are no connections between wujen and any larger organizations (besides the corporations that often hire them). Within a corporation or similar organization, wujen tend to be friendly and collaborative with each other, especially when it comes to feng shui-related rituals seeking to make mana in an area flow as they would like. They do not, however, tend to cross organizational boundaries well, and often wujen from one corporation or equivalent organization will view others with a degree of suspicion, as if they were not truly pure in their practice of the tradition.

The orderly nature of Wuxing thought translates into the ways wujen often use magic. They like to be in control of any situation; if an encounter seems to be going off the rails, their first actions are generally aimed at getting everything calmed back down so they can deal with things the way they would like. Often this involves conjuring spirits to restrain those that need to be calmed down and impose order on an unruly spot. Wujen tend to have significant conjuring power, though pure spellcasters can also be found in the tradition. Adepts are somewhat less common, as their particular fly-in-theointment- style exploits do not always lend themselves well to Wuxing thought.

If you want the best teachers of Wuxing, go to Hong Kong. But not everyone can get there, and the teachers over there charge an arm and a leg for their services. For a better bargain, visit Charlie Sun in Vancouver. Recently retired from a Evo subsidiary, Sun has been finding fulfillment in his downtime by sharing his work experiences with whoever might be willing to listen. He can be rambling, but he is getting a growing body of friends because they say that as long as you pay attention, you’ll find out the old man had a depth of knowledge that far surpassed the middle management position he obtained.

Zoroastrianism

Source
SR5:SG
Zoroastrian Tradition
Combat Man Detection Water
Health Fire Illusion Air
Manipulation Plant Drain Logic + Willpower
Preferred Spells
Analyze Truth Armor Detect Enemies Heal
Stunball
Preferred Adept Powers
Commanding Voice Danger Sense Metabolic Control Pain Resistance

The forerunner of most modern monotheistic religions, Zoroastrianism is not a tradition for those who just want to sit an contemplate things. It is an active faith, one that sets a stark difference between good and evil, order and chaos, and tells the devout in no uncertain terms that they need to be working on behalf of good.

The central deity of Zoroastrianism is Ahura Mazda, the creator, who works in opposition to Angra Mainyu, the destructive force of chaos. Followers are implored to actively work on the side of goodness and creation, as that is the only way to defeat chaos. Adherents often use rituals involving the life-giving forces of water and especially fire to purify themselves if necessary. Frequent prayer, meditation, or mental focusing is important to the tradition.

Zoroastrianism often focuses on dualities: good and evil, order and chaos, mind and body. The dualities are not perfectly aligned—for example, neither mind nor body is judged to be good or evil—but practitioners are aware of the separation and desire to have mind and body working in harmony with each other. All types of Awakened individuals can be found in the Zoroastrian tradition, but mystic adepts often find it particularly appealing as they feel the focus if the tradition allows them to put the two sides of their magical talent into greater alignment.

There are no governing bodies of the Zoroastrian religion beyond the leaders of particular communities. These religious communities are often not welcoming to outsiders, but the magical communities are more open. They often see themselves as warriors involved in a great fight, and they are willing to have others join them in the fight, as they are well aware the struggle will not be easy.

Zoroastrian mages tend to be blunt and direct. They certainly understand the value of stealth in a fight, but they also tend to like to let their enemies know just who they’re up against. They like to hit fast, hit hard, but leave their enemies intact. They also want to be sure they can heal up damage as necessary when the dust settles, and are generally willing to provide care to their opponents to keep them alive. They often have a poise and bearing to them that others find unsettling.

Hester Khorasani had a career for a time as a special effects wizard for Horizon’s Pathfinder Multimedia, but as her talents developed she decided she needed to do bigger things. Rather than drop out of the Hollywood scene, though, she used the connections she had built to open her own small studio that focused on trids with messages subtly supportive of Zoroastrian beliefs (though to a casual observer, they often seem like flicks about powerful mages kicking ass and taking names). Profits from her studio are funneled into a teaching center that is open to all who want to know more about her philosophy, whether they are Awakened or not. By most accounts, the lessons presented to people who drop by are simple and cursory, but rumors persist that Khorasani keeps her eye out for particularly powerful visitors, and then invites them to attend special advanced classes she leads herself.

Forbidden Traditions

Insect Spirits

Source
SR5:SG
Insect Spirit Tradition
Combat Soldier Detection Scout
Health Caretaker Illusion Nymph
Manipulation Worker Drain Intuition + Willpower

The following rules can be used as the tradition followed by the insect shaman. Although this rules framework is provided for consistency, in game terms the methodology followed by insect shamans is wholly alien to any other magic practitioners in the Sixth World. Insect shamans always adopt a mentor spirit of one of the insect orders listed below, though the mentor spirit provides no specific bonuses or penalties. Insect shaman spellcasting and summoning appear to be a series of bizarre gestures and incomprehensible clicking and clacking. Insect shamans often manifest a (rather frightening) shamanic mask.

Insect shamans have a lodge that is often the “breeding ground” where they perform the bulk of their summoning, in the hive or nest of the insect spirits. They may even use fetishes, foci, or reagants, which take the form of bones or scraps of insect organic material or detritus.