9
\$\begingroup\$

I'll be starting a Shadowrun campaign with a few friends soon. I'm fairly new to Shadowrun, but I have read the German-language Shadowrun novel series by Markus Heitz.

Characters called „Nega-Magier“ appear in these books, which roughly translates to English as “Nega-Mage.” Nega-Mages have an automatic anti-magic field around them. In the novels, they can't be seen from astral space and no spell can hit them.

Is it possible to play as a Nega-Mage? Are there any rules for it in Shadowrun? Or is this something unique to the novels, something so special it's not available as a choice for player characters? (As a player character they might be too strong, so I suppose they should only be able to withstand a certain power of a spell.)

Failing rules specifically for Nega-Mages, is there anything similar to Nega-Magic (as described) or anti-magic in general in the rules, which we could use to get a similar effect for a PC?

I'm not sure which edition we will be playing, but I think it will be 5.

\$\endgroup\$
4
\$\begingroup\$

There are no official rules for Nega-Magicians in any edition of Shadowrun.

Furthermore, since Street Grimoire (the primary magic supplement for SR5) has already been released, it is likely that no such rules are coming any time soon for the most recent edition. Catalyst has moved on to supplements for other character types (the latest release was Data Trails for hackers). You can view Catalyst's list of upcoming releases here, but it is woefully out of date since most of the crunch books (those with useful rules information) listed on that page have already been released.

There are however third-party rules for 2nd and 4th edition which you may find useful.

The closest approximation to official rules is a Nega-Magician supplement published in GDW's Challenge Magazine #67 by designer David Perry (purchase links here, here, and here) for the 2nd edition rules. This supplement was later fan-converted to 4th edition rules.

Based on my own examination of the 4th edition fan conversion, it would be relatively easy to further update the rules to 5th edition, though I cannot guarantee that they will be balanced. Nega-Magicians are likely to cause lots of headaches for the GM since some of the greatest threats in the Shadowrun universe (Dragons, Toxic/Blood mages, and Insect/Shadow spirits) will be pretty useless against such powerful and rare characters.

Here are my recommended changes.

  1. I would change the following passage:

    In game terms, for every piece of bio/cyberware implanted, the GM should roll 1D6. If the roll is less than or equal to the total amount of Body Index and Essence Loss, then the nega-magician has lost his powers forever. A roll of 1 automatically means the roll has failed.

    … to read as follows:

    In game terms, for every piece of bio/cyberware implanted, the GM should roll 1D6. If the roll is less than the character's Body attribute or total Essence Loss (whichever is lower), then the nega-magician has lost his powers forever. A roll of 1 automatically means the roll has failed.

    (The formatting just to show the changes made.)

  2. In the core rules for 5th edition, bio/cyber 'ware do not interact with force points. Therefore, I would completely disregard the following passage:

    Force points serve a different purpose when creating a nega-magician. The number of force points, divided by ten, is the maximum amount allowed for starting bio/cyber-augmentation. Beginning enhancements do not require a nega-magic loss roll. (Optionally, the GM may ignore this maximum, but then require a roll for each piece of bio/cyberware.)

  3. The BP system was updated to SR5 with the supplement Run Faster and renamed Point Buy. The value of a full magician was changed from 20 BP to 30 karma. Therefore I would change the following passage:

    If using the Build Point system for character creation, all of the above applies with a Negamage costing the same 20 build points of a full magician.

    … to read as follows:

    If using the Point Buy system for character creation, all of the above applies with a Negamage costing the same 30 karma points of a full magician.

    (The formatting just to show the changes made.)

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Update for you. SR5 Forbidden Arcana has added a 'Null Mage' focused discipline. It's not an AOE antimagic build...but they get Spell Resistance and Spell Reflection for free, and can't cast or astrally project. That's a good step in the right direction.... \$\endgroup\$ – guildsbounty Oct 13 '17 at 17:40
7
\$\begingroup\$

Can you play something called a 'Nega-Mage'?

While there does seem to be some third-party material in the world about a Nega-Mage, there is no RAW specific type to this. So, it's something you'd have to get. Based on RAW though, no. You can't.

What would be the closest concept to anti-magic fields?

What you're talking about isn't so much a 'class' of mages as it is a mage that has a ton of background count. Since I've never read the books you have, all I can do is quote to you what the game offers.

There's a concept in Shadowrun called a Background Count. When an awakened character walks into an area that has an affinity for anything other then his type of magic, he is subjected to this background count. Usually, you'll find background count hanging around affronts to life or magic. For example, if there's a sight of a car bombing that claims the life of a school bus full of orphans, that right there's going to have a background count. How high depends on your storyteller, of course.

This background count acts as interference for their ability to manipulate or otherwise use mana. This is because the mana is so twisted in that realm that they can't get as full of a grasp on it. In fourth edition, this resulted in their magic stat being lowered by one point for each point of background count. In fifth edition, it's a bit more lenient in that it only subjects the character to a dice pool penalty equal to the background count.

Sometimes, it's not just background count. Sometimes, you just walk into an area that happens to be another magic user's affinity or realm. At this point, they actually get bonuses to cast spells while you're getting negatives, since the area is attuned to them. You'll see this a lot with toxic mages or toxic shamans. They like to hang out in the fallout of nuclear blasts or places where toxic runoff happens.

What you're talking about is a mage (or character) that has a mobile background count. This is rare, but not unheard of. The best example I can give for that is a cyber zombie. These things are a horror-story of magic and technology where the soul of someone is forced into a cybernetic shell that doesn't hold enough essence for anything to exist there anymore. Because of how horrible the transformation usually is, it results in the cyber zombie walking around with a background count that interferes with magic.

Thanks to the way Shadowrun is kind of loose with it's ruling in some of these things, you can try and find a way to work that type of background count into a person and allow them to be a magical null: something where the mana streams are not able to work very well. But, that would have to work both ways, meaning that while the person can't be hit as easily with spells, they can't cast spells very well and other people's beneficial spells just slide right off of them. Plus, you should have other penalties, such as other living beings having this...bad feeling...about the character.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I disagree, his assessment of Background Count and "Antimagic fields" seems to be on point and very relevant. The subtext of the question states that if a character is unable to play a Nega-Mage that the answer present something similar. \$\endgroup\$ – Sandwich Jun 23 '15 at 21:05
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah it wasn't exactly what I was looking for, since Nega-Mages have nothing to do with Cyber Zombies. Normally they can't even implant stuff or they could loose their anti-magic field. Similar to Mages. \$\endgroup\$ – Thanathan Jun 24 '15 at 7:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd actually posit that this is exactly what you were looking for. Can you play as a Nega-Mage? By RAW, no you can not. What are the alternatives? There is the listing to the alternative. What the other answer gained you was a more detailed way to take the third-party build and use it as justification for what you want to play. I explained the actual logic behind the story, system, and mechanics for you to try and build something around. \$\endgroup\$ – CrystalBlue Jul 8 '15 at 13:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.