Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Shadow Spells

Product– Shadow Spells

Producer– Catalyst Game Lab

Price– ~$7 here http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/137717/Shadowrun-Shadow-Spells

System- Shadowrun 5e

TL; DR– Good, but more for your GM.  92%

 

Basics– Always geek the mage first!  Shadow Spells is the first pdf book to be released post Gen Con for Shadowrun.  This book builds on larger magic book Street Grimoire by introducing new traditions, new threats and allies in the shadows, and ending with new spells and abilities for mages of all sorts.

 

Mechanics or Crunch– This book does have some cool stuff in it, but most of the presented crunch is focused on making the GM’s life easier.  The book introduces several new threats and allies for the PCs to tangle with, and they are all well done with fun new magical powers.  On the PC’s side, the new traditions all look great and look fun to play with.  The best thing introduced by far in this book is the Norse tradition.  So if you want a mage who has a crow familiar and worships Loki for power all the while screwing with everyone with illusions, then this is the book for you.  The powers and spells are ok.  Nothing is bad here, but most of the spells have extremely limited use.  There are some winner spells that are pretty useful on most runs.  However, most of these might be spells you buy later, as most of what’s here is not the kind of spells you would pick up at character generation when you only can choose 10 spells.  4/5

 

Theme or Fluff–   I love the way Catalyst presents information in their books.  Instead of “here is X information”, everything is always presented as an internet post with people commenting on what just was presented either to provide new information or to provide some snark.  It might not be laughing out loud comedy, but it’s funny and entertaining enough to keep you reading and interested in what is basically a textbook on obscure magical persons and traditions in the sixth world.  5/5

 

Execution– Much like the rest of the short Shadowrun PDFs, this one is well done.  I’d like a few more pictures and some more white space to break up some text, but overall, I enjoyed reading this.  It never felt like a slog through dense, boring text.  There are some cool pictures as well as some nice text boxes to break up the text and give the reader a chance to breath.  These all help to keep me interested and entertained rather than bored.  Some things I would have liked to see are some pictures of the named characters in this book as we see some pictures of the named people of interest, but not all.  But overall, it’s a well done book.  4.75/5

 

Summary– I love magic in Shadowrun.  It’s always fun to take down a fully armored troll street samurai with a timid elf pinned down in an alley.  This book adds some more story to the Shadowrun world.  Overall, it’s pretty well done, but if you don’t play a mage, then this book is completely useless to you.  If you don’t want to play an obscure tradition, then this book doesn’t help you either.  As a GM, this book is very useful as it provides a new set of enemies and powers that you might want to throw on an enemy.  For the average player, you really have to consider what you want.  This book provides some great character options, but it might not be useful to most players.  92%

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