Initiation And Ordeals


Initiation is when an Awakened character takes a step past their fellows and looks into the mysteries and further wonders of magic. It grants great powers, but also great responsibility.

There are certain requirements on Denver Shadowrun MU* in order to initiate which can be found here.

The Base Cost to initiate is (5 + Desired Grade), modified by the chart below.

Type Cost
Self-Initiation Base x 3
Self-Initiation with Ordeal Base x 2.5
Group Initiation Base x 2
Group Initiation with Ordeal Base x 1.5

Advantages of Initiation

Initiation is measured in grades, beginning at Grade 1 and increasing from there. This numerical purpose is for Game Reasons only, and isn't always referred to directly in play. Many shaman do not put much stock in the number system, for example.

Upon completing their 1st grade of initiation, full mages receive access to the Metaplanes.

In addition, an initiate can choose one of the following three advantages during each initiation. The first option is to raise the initiate’s Magic Attribute and learn a metamagical technique. The second option is to raise the initiate’s Magic Attribute and alter the initiate’s astral signature. The third option is to shed a geas. Only one of these options may be chosen when a character initiates.

Magic Increase

The initiate gains +1 to the Magic Rating. This may increase the initiate's Magic Rating above six. In addition, each Magic Point gained this way allows an Adept another Power Point.

Astral Abilities

Initiates gain a bonus to the Astral Reaction equal to their Grade. In addition, Initiates gain an Astral Pool equal to their Grade. This pool can be used to augment any test made while on the Astral Plane or Metaplanes, except Magical Skill Tests. They can be used to augment Astral Combat Tests (even when sorcery is used) and Astral Perception Tests. Dice in the Astral Pool refresh the same way as other dice pools

Shedding Geasa

Each time a character undergoes Initiation they may shed a geasa. However, if they do so they do not gain a Magic Point for this initiation, but instead removes the geas from one of their existing magic points. A character may only shed one geas per grade.

Alter Astral Signature

Each time a character undergoes initiation, he can also attempt to alter his astral signature (p. 172, SR3). If the character decides to alter his signature, he cannot remove a geas and cannot learn a new metamagical technique for that grade, but he does gain a point of Magic.

To alter his astral signature, a character must unlearn his style of using magic and then relearn a new one. Make a Magic Test against Target Number 6 plus the new grade. No dice other than Karma can be added to this test. A minimum of 2 successes means the character has altered his signature. People who recognized the character’s old signature can no longer identify the character by his signature.

If an attempt to alter his astral signature fails, the character continues to use his existing signature, but may make the Magic Test described above at each new initiation until he succeeds. For each unsuccessful attempt to change the astral signature, increase the target number for future attempts by +1. Failure to change a character’s signature only reinforces his old magical ways.


The following are Ordeals on Denver Shadowrun MU*.

Astral Quest

To perform the astral quest ordeal, the character must project onto the metaplanes (see Metaplanes, p. 91). Shamans journey to the metaplane of their totem, mages must fulfill a quest on each of the four elemental metaplanes, wujen (see p. 17) must quest to the metaplanes of all five stems, and so on. Characters unable to astrally project cannot undertake an astral quest unless they gain access to the Astral Gateway power of a free spirit (p. 116). If so, normal astral quest rules apply.

The rating of the astral quest is twice the desired grade of initiation. If a character fails the quest, he must strengthen himself through ritual and meditation before trying again. Make a Willpower Test against a target number equal to the desired grade. Divide the base time of 10 days by the successes to determine the amount of time your character must spend preparing to re-attempt the quest. There is no penalty for interrupting this process, but preparing for an astral quest is very demanding work and leaves no time for any activities other than the most ordinary tasks.
A mage who fails on one elemental metaplane need only repeat the quest on that plane.


An asceticism ordeal involves physically challenging activities such as rigorous fasting, strenuous exercises, ritual combat, or even self-inflicted torture.

The character undergoing this ordeal must permanently give up 1 point from a physical Attribute. This is a reduction to the Attribute’s unaugmented rating; augmented ratings (from cyber-ware, spells, or adept powers) can never be sacrificed as part of this ordeal. In addition, the character’s Racial Modified Limit (see p. 244, SR3) for the Attribute also decreases by 1 point, reducing the potential maximum value of the Attribute. The character cannot sacrifice a point from an Attribute that has a Rating of 1.

If this ordeal is taken multiple times, the character must reduce a different physical Attribute before he can reduce a previously reduced Attribute again.


A deed ordeal requires a character to perform some task with a goal appropriate to his Path, his magical group (if he belongs to one), his totem (if he’s a shaman), or his moral code (if his character has one). Successfully accomplishing the goal makes it a deed.

The gamemaster and the player should agree on a deed ordeal in advance. Alternatively, the gamemaster can decide that a run just completed fits the bill. As a general guideline, a run can qualify as a deed if the Karma award is comparable to the Karma cost of the grade the character seeks. The deed must be personally relevant and appropriate to the character—it is not acceptable to declare a run a deed ordeal simply because it has a high Karma award.

If the gamemaster approves the run as a deed, the player simply turns down the Karma award for the run and the ordeal is accomplished. A character can carry out a deed before he is ready to initiate to another grade, essentially “saving” a deed and using it as an ordeal for his next initiation. A deed must be used for the character’s next initiation, however, and cannot be saved beyond that grade.

Some runs that may qualify as deeds include:

  • Overcoming some kind of magical threat
  • Overcoming or dealing with a free spirit
  • Experiencing powerful magic, being in the presence of great spirits, going on an astral quest for some greater end (other than as an ordeal) or some other experience that widens the character’s knowledge of magic.
  • Living up to a magical or ethical code under difficult circumstances.


This ordeal requires the character to summon an ally spirit (see Ally Spirits, p. 107). It is only available to magicians able to summon ally spirits. The ally spirit must cost a minimum amount of Karma equal to the Karma cost of the initiation with an ordeal. The ally conjured for this ordeal does not cost a Magic Point. If, however, the ally is banished, goes free, or is destroyed at any time in the future, the character must make an immediate check for Magic loss (p. 160, SR3).


To fulfill this ordeal, the character takes a geas of his choice and accepts a limitation on the Magic Point he gains from the new grade. Choose from the standard geasa (p. 31) or create a new one with the gamemaster’s approval. Adepts may take this ordeal by applying a geas to the Power Point gained from the initiation. This geas does not reduce the cost of any powers purchased with that Power Point, but otherwise it works normally. A geas taken as an ordeal cannot be removed.


This Ordeal can only be undertaken by an Adept who has the Virtuoso metamagic, or who will be acquiring it as a part of this ordeal. The creation of this work must be completely original - every time the Adept wishes to undertake this ordeal, the Virtuoso work to be performed must have different theme that firmly distinguishes it from earlier ones. The Masterpiece ordeal requires complete attention and cannot be interrupted for any sort of other activity such as work, study, shadowrunning, or socializing.


The character must spend time in daily meditation, trying to bring his physical being under the control of his astral self. The character must pass three Attribute Tests:

  • A Charisma Test against a target number equal to Strength.
  • An Intelligence Test against a target number equal to Quickness.
  • A Willpower Test against a target number equal to Body.

Each test has a base time of (desired grade x 4) in days. Divide the base time for each test by the number of successes. Unless all three tests are successful, the character must begin the meditative cycle over again. The meditation ordeal is very demanding and leaves no time for any activities other than the most ordinary tasks, and environmental distractions must be kept to a minimum. Apply +2 to the target numbers of all the meditative tests if the character’s lifestyle is Squatter or Street. Do not apply this penalty if the character is living in the wilderness during this ordeal and possesses a Wilderness Survival Skill of rating 4 or greater.


The oath ordeal, in which the character swears an oath to obey a magical group’s rules and strictures, is available only to members of such groups. Even if a character swears several oaths in his career, only the first qualifies as an ordeal.


This ordeal requires a character to create a formula containing all his magical knowledge. Hermetic theses are usually written texts. Shamanic theses are usually works of art, expressing the spiritual insights of the shaman. Adepts can produce either type of thesis, depending on the adept’s way. A thesis must exist as a physical item (in hard-copy form, in the case of a text).

A thesis is created in the same way as a spell formula (see Spell Formulas, p. 47) with a Rating of 6, using the character’s highest Active Magical Skill and a base time of 30 days. The author must guard the thesis carefully because anyone who obtains a copy can use it as a material link to target the author with ritual sorcery (p. 34). For this reason, initiates are reluctant to make more than one copy of their thesis. If all copies of the thesis are destroyed, however, the author immediately loses a Magic Point, so most initiates risk making more than one copy.

Some magical groups require this ordeal. The thesis is usually the second ordeal for the group because most groups require the oath ordeal for the first initiation. Members must file a copy of their thesis with the group because it acts as a link for ritual sorcery—for good and ill.

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