As I didn't see anything in the books I have I'm wondering. Is there any magic that is used for birth control in the world of shadowrun?


3 Answers 3


I know mainly the SR4 part but there are several ways:

  • Sterilize. This "kills bacteria and other microorganisms and destroys material such as skin flakes, stray hairs, and spilled blood." (Street Magic p174) Tweaking this spell from LoS to Touch (or Self), this could be used on either the own body or the one of a target... at the cost of also creating a serious case of diarroe, because you also slay the needed bacteria in the intestines. It would be like the "morning after" pill.
  • Magical Abortion via combat magic. If it is too late already, there is a non custom spell that can be defined by target: One Less/Slay/Slaughter X. Fetus is a valid target, and a Gyn might have the Slay Fetus variant, using some tools (MageSight Googles (Core 4.0 p324 / SR4A 332 ; Arsenal 66) and speculum) to see the target with the own eyes. The status monitor of a Fetus is probably tiny even. (Street Magic p165)
  • Intoxication. "This spell causes inebriation." (Street Magic p169), and alcohol is a huge killer for a fetus, applied either to the expecting mother (though that is insecure, as the dose might need to be lethal to the mother) or the fetus directly (again using tools like fiberoptics to get a visual).

Not useful:

  • Clean, as it "clears all impurities out of the volume of a particular element within range" (Street Magic p172) and body is not a valid target, neither is sperm an impurity - Elements are those you could use for indirect combat spells.
  • Shape "to move and shape a volume of a specified element or material" (Street Magic p174) with the same problem.

SR5 can get even more wicked:

  • Slay (target) (Street Grimmoire p104) is back!
  • Sterilize (Street Grimmoire p119) too!
  • Convert Blood to Ichor used on the fetus = pre-natal aneurythm. (Shadow Spells p18) - medical equipment or knife to get sight needed again (see Magical Abortion above)
  • Inflict Disease (Shadow Spells p19) can inflict almost any disease - including those that induce sterility or miscarriage.

And then there are spells you design yourself... base them on stuff that alters the hormonal integrity of people (like SR4 Orgasm/Orgy spells) and you can shift the cycle of female targets, healing spells could induce temporary sterility or fix it... you get the picture - Magic in Shadowrun has a huge Power Perversion Potential*.

* Warning: this is a TVTropes link.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Slay wont work unless you can see the target. Eletronic tools wont allow the spell to work. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Apr 11, 2017 at 10:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Im not downvoting your answer or saying it has anything wrong, i was just making a statement that could improve the information to the OP. That information isn't always clear and iv seen more than one discussion about using magic through eletronics. For a magesight goggle to work, the cable would have to go inside the womb. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Apr 12, 2017 at 17:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Intoxication won't work either. The relationship between alcohol and fetal development is dependent on the trimester (in some it has no adverse effect), and even when it can affect the fetus it requires heavy, long-term intoxication (as in, damaging/potentially fatal to the mother) to approach the possibility of fatal effects. It's also unclear how Sterilize is supposed to work in this case — a fetus is not covered by “bacteria[,] microorganisms[,] skin flakes, stray hairs, and spilled blood”. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 12, 2017 at 17:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sterilize was meant as after intercourse... clarified. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Apr 12, 2017 at 19:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ I want to point out that you can probably see the baby's aura while astrally percieving or projecting. Wether or not it is considered alive and when that happens is up to your GM. But every living creature should project an aura, even if it's inside another's aura (which is how possessions are detected). And thus, should be targetable by mana spells. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Apr 13, 2017 at 11:46

Apologies for squick. We're gonna be professional here, but we are talking about sex.

There are three main magical methods in SR4 that are used in our games, generally as a supplement to non-hormonal mundane birth control items:

  • Sterilize: This is used by applying it to the woman's body after intercourse. "the spell does not affect biomaterial attached to a living being, it does not kill the various helpful and harmful microorganisms living inside a creature", which means it's basically side-effect free and very safe, but also only works if the sperm does not yet count as 'attached'. The spell's default targeting is LOS(A), which can be problematic depending on GM but a Touch version can be reliably extrapolated from the rules on pg. 158, if necessary. Generally the LOS(A) will suffice, however, since you are cleaning your partner and you can see your partner (and manipulation effects often indirectly affect things you can't see). Anyways, ask your GM and be aware that, like all birth control, this isn't 100% effective.

  • Clean [Flesh]: This (and similar spells like Clean[Genetillia] and Clean[Bodies]) are pretty much the nuclear option. Clean [Flesh] in particular is very useful but will give you nasty side effects like loss of internal fauna/flora and other tiny important bits based off of what your GM considers your flesh v.s. an impurity in it. That said, this generally is 100% effective before sperm and egg meet. Again, this by default has LOS(A) but since it explicitly affects the things you can't see inside a target, you're pretty much good. Apply by casting targeting the relevant portion of the female partner's body.

  • Shape [Sperm(, Bodily Fluids, etc)]: This lets you remove the sperm from a partner after intercourse. It's extra easy because the fluids are certainly "Loose material [and so] can be moved and re-shaped easily", as well as having a very low Object Resistance Threshold. Low/No risk with excellent success rate, but the spell has very few other uses. Again, LOS(A), but this one's sustained so you can just cast it wherever while the female partner's not in the area and then have the female partner enter the area (Sustained Area spells can affect things out of sight after you cast them, which is weird. It's a thing though. See this question).

In our games, usually, mages interested in magical birth control take Sterilize for that purpose and at most one of the other two spells if they are really concerned about it. Over-the-counter mundane contraceptives abound so there isn't too much need, though sex and cleanliness are important to people and important to people in conjunction with one another so Sterilize is pretty common. Clean [Flesh] is often something magical healers have anyways, though.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ the Clean and shape spells are tagged [Element] in the grimmoire. Elements in Shadowrun are specifically those you could use for elemental damage. Fire, Water, Air, Sonic etc. Flesh is not an element. Maybe your GM allows Sperm to fall under the "water" category, but I wouldn't. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Apr 13, 2017 at 7:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Trish Nah, that's just Clean. Shape is tagged [material], with examples like "lava, plasteel, concrete, tar". Pretty sure plasteel isn't an element. We've always let Clean be taken for materials, instead of elements, but that is a houserule. Technically if you're going with the RAW Clean spell you just need a tradition where one of the elements encompasses the female body but not sperm. Clean [Light] would work in a 1:1 reversal of Yin and Yang. We changed the tag because tradition based effects are kinda too much and seem wrong. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 13, 2017 at 18:39

You can target the baby with mana spells

Every living being in shadowrun have an aura. When the fetus is considered a living being is up to your GM (honestly, check this for ideas).

Now, even plants and the planet have a distinguished aura, which can be targeted with the proper spells, labelled as Mana spells:

Mana spells: When using mana spells, the magician can only affect living things with auras or astrally active entities (such as spirits or foci) even in the physical world. Mana spells can affect targets on either the physical or astral planes, but only if you’re on the same plane as your target(s).

Spells like Death Touch or Mana Bolt (which are mana spells) can be cast on anything you can see the aura, you simply cannot used them on the astral against physical creatures unless they are dual natured. So, to target a fetus or baby you must be on the physical plane using your Astral Perception ability (read up on the Assensing skill) and be able to either physically touch the baby (through opening the mother, which you dont want to), or you must be able to see her physically, through magesight goggles for example.

Or, you can force the mother to astrally project. Yes, this is possible using the Shade drug (Chrome Flesh, page 187). Now that they are on the astral, any mana spell can be cast directly at either of them. Though you might need to make Assenssing and Perception checks to clearly see the fetus's aura, as the mother's aura is more vibrant and full of emotions and could overlap on top of it, effectively hiding his aura.

Lore on killing babies

There is a mention of a baby being killed by a Manannanggal while inside the mother's womb (Street Grimoire, page 81):

I’ve got a good one. I took a job in Malaysia a few months back where I saw the strangest thing in the Awakened world, I swear to ghost. I was working for a fairly wealthy and prominent person in the country (I won’t say who, of course), doing an investigation and counter-hit job. It seems this prominent (married) man had a mistress (no surprise) who was also pregnant (oops). Shortly before I took the job, something very strange happened to this mistress. She was out in the jungle at some out-of-theway resort (perfect place to stash a mistress you don’t want found), and one morning woke up to find that her unborn baby was dead.

What was most unusual was the way the baby died. It looked like something sucked the little bugger’s heart right out of the womb. Right out of the body. There was a small puncture mark on her belly (she was sleeping at the time) unlike anything I had ever seen. Of course this was considered suspicious, but my employer couldn’t go to any legit authorities, otherwise he’d have to explain who this woman was and how that baby got there in the first place. So I get called to look into the matter and find out if it was a hit by a rival, blackmailer, or what. > Pistons

Now, looking at the paracritter sheet (page 100), the only thing that could remotely look like useful to attack an unborn baby is the Essence Drain critter power, which also has a Touch range, and no special mention of being able to target babies (of course).

This means that the creature used a very thin claw, pierced the mother's womb without damaging her and touched the baby in order to use this ability.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .