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Umbra's Rule Modifications



Gradual Initiation

by Jason J Carter (Carter@UPS.EDU) modified by Shawn Craig (

The purpose of these rules is to reduce the drastic increase in power gained by magicians upon their first initiation and to make continuing initiation more desirable and worthwhile. Under the normal rules the character gains six metamagic powers and access to the metaplanes. This is quite a bit of magic for just 9, 12, 15, or even 18 Karma points. However instead of increasing the cost of initiation to an outrageous level or ignoring it, we will make the gain of powers more gradual. These rules also include extended metamagic powers that make initiation for Conjurer and Sorcerer Adepts just as useful as it is for full magicians and Shamanic and Elemental Adepts.

Initiation & Metamagic

All magicians begin life as non-initiate. This is to say that a non-initiate is any character who is magically active, but does not have access to metamagic powers or the metaplanes of astral space.

The first time that a magician undergoes initiation he becomes a Grade 0 Initiate and gains access to the metaplanes if he can travel astrally. Each subsequent time a magician undergoes an Initiation Ceremony he gains several things. First of all his grade increases by one. He also adds a point to his Magic Attribute Rating. He may also attempt to remove a Geas. Lastly he gets a Metamagic Power.

There are also several abilities that all magicians have, but which are not felt until after initiation. All magicians have a bonus to their Astral Initiative equal to their Grade. They also have an Astral Pool with a number of dice equal to their Grade. This Astral Pool can be used augment either the Astral Combat Pool or Magic Pool when the character is in Astral Space.

Cost of Initiation

The cost of Initiation is equal to (6 + future Grade) x Initiation Multiple. The Initiation multiple has a base of 3, but is reduced by the following modifiers.

Magician is a member of a Magical Group: -1

Magician undergoes an Initiation Ordeal: -0.5

Magician is guided by a magician who has the Metamagic power he is gaining: -0.25

Mages, Shamans, Elemental Adepts, and Shamanic Adepts

Since mages, shamans, elemental adepts and shamanic adepts have access to all the magic skills and astral projection and thereby all the Metamagic Powers, they follow the same rules for gaining new Metapowers.

• Grade 0: Access to Metaplanes

• Grades 1-3: Choice of one Standard Metapowers from the Grimoire

• Grades 3-6: Choice of one Standard Metapowers from the Grimoire

or Choice of one extended Metapower

• Grades 7-9: Choice of one Standard Metapowers from the Grimoire

or Choice of one extended Metapower

• Grades 9+: Choice of one Standard Metapowers from the Grimoire

or Choice of one extended Metapower

or access to non-standard metaplanes (shamanic metaplanes for hermetics and vice-versa)

Conjurer Adepts

Several new Metamagic Powers have been added for use by Conjurer Adepts. The GM needs to consider them closely since they reduce and eventually remove the limitation that Conjurer Adepts may not enter Astral Space.

• Grade 0: Access to Metaplanes if able to travel astrally

• Grade 1-6: Choice of one Conjuror Metapower

• Grade 7+: Choice of one extended metapower

or Choice of one non-Conjuror Metapower

--Conjuror Metapowers:

Astral Perception; Astral Travel; Centering; Masking

Sorcery Adepts

The number of Metamagic powers available to Sorcerer Adepts is increased by the addition of a new Metamagic Power. Sorcerer Adepts also eventually overcome the limitation that they cannot enter Astral Space, although not to the degree that Conjurer Adepts do.

• Grade 0: Access to Metaplanes if able to travel astrally

• Grade 1-6: Choice of one Sorcerer Metapower

• Grade 7+: Choice of one extended metapower

or Choice of one non-Sorcerer Metapower

--Sorcerer Metapowers:

Anchoring; Astral Perception; Astral Travel; Centering; Dispelling; Masking; Quickening; Shielding

Physical Adepts

Upon gaining Grade 1, Physical Adepts with Astral Perception may gain either Centering or Masking. Astral Perception is a requirement for Masking. Some would say that Initiation is not as effective for Physical Adepts, but the ability to buy additional Physical Adept power with the new point of magic makes up for the lack of additional useful Metapowers.

• Grade 0-6: Choice of one Physical Adept Metapower

• Grade 7+: Choice of one extended metapower

or Choice of one non-Physical Adept Metapower

--Physical Adept Metapowers:

Astral Perception; Astral Travel; Centering; Masking;


Astral Perception

Astral Sight can be eventually gained by adepts who normally do not receive the ability.

Astral Travel

Astral Travel can be eventually gained by adepts who normally do not receive the ability. The adept gaining this power must already have Astral Perception.


A magician with the Binding power may attempt to permanently bind a spirit to a service. To do so, the conjuror performs an hour long ceremony immediately after summoning the spirit, and then makes a second conjuring test against twice the force of the spirit. If successful, the spirit is bound to attempt the service until the service is completed or the spirit is destroyed. If the second conjuring test is unsuccessful, the spirit goes free and will likely attack the conjuror. Magicians who use this ability too often may attract the attention of powerful free spirits.

A magician may have no more than one spirit bound to a service per point of magic.

Centering (modification)

Magicians may use Centering to Gain Additional Services from conjured spirits. The target number is the Force of the Spirit. For every 2 successes on the Centering Test, the Conjurer gains one Service, assuming he gets at least one on the Conjuring test.

Lego Magus (Gathering Magic)

A mage with the Lego Magus power may enhance his spellcasting abilities by "Gathering Magic". Once he has decided to cast a spell, and specified a Force Level, he may attempt to "Gather Magic" in order to make it more potent. To do this he must meditate, connecting his mind to Astral Space. For every Complex Action he spends in such meditation (up to a maximum equal to his Magic Attribute) he may try to "Gather Magic". Every action he may roll a number of dice equal to his Magic Attribute - this represents him using his "sensitivity" to the threads and currents of Astral Energy- to Gather Magical Force. Target Number is the Declared Force of the spell. For every 2 success he gathers one point of magical force. At the end, he MUST cast the spell at the declared force or loose the spell and the Gathered Magic.

For every point the mage gathers his Drain Target number goes down 1, thus possibly reducing a spell that would have caused physical damage to stun damage.


Say the mage has an Magic Attribute of 7. He decides to cast a Force 9 fireball. Its combat time, and his crew is badly outnumbered. He declares all this stuff and goes into astral space to Gather Magic. He spends only 2 complex actions doing this (he's in a hurry) and gets 4 successes. Now he must cast the spell, which he does, his Drain Target number is now 7. In addition, he resists the spell as if he had cast it at Force 7 (Drain is stun, not physical).



Bioware and Magically Active Characters

Bioware with the same DNA as the character is 'recognized' by his system and does not, necessarily, cause the loss of a magic point. Magically active characters who add cultured bioware to thier body roll as if they had recieved a deadly wound during the implant surgery. If successful, the character does not lose any magic. If the roll is unsuccessful he does. Uncultured bioware and cyberware affect magically active characters mormally.




Bracing a gun on some stationary object (car hood, table top, etc.) will provide 1 point of recoil compensation and requires a simple action.

A Bi-pod gives 2 points of recoil compensation to rifles and requires a complex action to set in place.

A Tri-pod cuts the base recoil penalty in half. A Tri-pod takes two complex actions to set-up. An armored shield can also be added to the front of the tri-pod for additional protection. It takes one complex action to add the shield.

All of the above methods of fire reduce weapon recoil, but also disallow use of combat pool for dodging.




The gunner fires on full auto and selects the fire zone of his/her choosing. No success test is needed. Divide the number of rounds fired by the number of meters covered (Fire zone’s end line, not total meters covered in fire zone). A three meter area is the minimum area that can be covered by suppression fire.

Anyone inside or crossing the fire zone must make a Quickness success test vs. the number of bullets per meter multiplied by the number of fire zone meters crossed. If one or no successes occur said person (idiot) is hit by the number of bullets risked minus their quickness (less ones rolled), up to the total number risked, and not less than one. The victim of such a hit may not make any additional attempts to dodge the gunfire, base damage is weapon power plus one per bullet that hit.




Only roll for surprise when any character encounters something unexpected.

Surprise should be rolled only by the encountering party although both parties may be ‘encountering’.

Potentially surprised characters have a modifier of as much as four to all target numbers for the initiative round that they are surprised in. Surprise is rolled by rolling reaction at a base target number of four, modified by cover, visibility, and situation as the GM decides. Every two successes on the reaction roll subtract one from the character’s surprise modifier. See Stealth for cover and visibility modifiers.




Target Number:

Base number.............………4


No cover.............…………+4

Light cover........……….....+2

Moderate cover.......……….—

Heavy cover........………....-2

Difficult terrain.....………..+1

Very difficult terrain……...+3

Fast motions.......…………+3



Walking...............………. .+1

Half Speed Walk.…....…….-1



Visibility modifiers: (Only apply if moving at a walk or faster)

Vision Type Used

Normal ----- Low light ----- Thermographic

Full darkness.....……...+2……........+2…………..........+1

Minimal light...…….....+1......……....0..…………..........0

Partial light.....………..+1....……......0…………............0



Thermal smoke.......…..+1..…..……+1.…………........+2


Every success adds one to a perception target number for spotting whoever is attempting stealth.

No cover includes...clearings, city streets, empty rooms, deserts, and hallways.

Light cover streets with parked cars, furnished rooms, scrub, tall grass, sparse shrubbery, and farm land.

Moderate cover includes...most office areas, forest trails, and side of streets when parked and abandoned cars are around.

Heavy cover includes...full parking lots, jungle, forest, and cubicle type office areas.

Difficult terrain includes...any area where you might trip over something other than your own feet. May also provide light cover.

Very difficult terrain includes...any terrain requiring the use of hands to traverse safely. May also provide moderate or light cover.

Fast motions include...combat, such as strangling a guard.



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