Meta- That which comes after and above, sometimes referring to 'following,' 'deriving from,' or 'greater than.'
-Webster's International, Fifth Edition, 2048

A note: Outset boxes are direct quotes, and use the Shadowrun Reference Standard.


The Grimoire introduced the first five metamagic techniques. From the beginning, metamagics were abilities solely for initiates, or as the text puts is "This is magic that controls magic itself, or metamagic." The Grimoire II expanded and clarified the five existing metamagic techniques and added a sixth, anchoring.

The Grimoire II also introduced metamagics adapted specifically for adepts, and incorporated information on Cornish Bards, the first non-initiate metamagic practitioners, from the London Sourcebook. Awakenings expanded the boundaries for metamagic, adding new abilities to existing techniques that would later go on to become techniques in their own rights, expanded on the metamagic options available to adepts, and introduced the first true metamagic enchantment. The Underworld Sourcebook introduced Tattoo Magic, a variant of Quickening, while the Aztlan sourcebook presented information on the blood magic metamagic. Both techniques would be expanded later in 3rd Edition.

Shadowrun Third Edition revolutionized metamagic with Magic in the Shadows, significantly expanding and updating previous material and reevaluating it for balance. Unlike in previous editions, magicians did not automatically gain access to every metamagic after their first initiation, but could rather learn one at each grade of initiation. This learning process was also a novel approach, emphasizing the importance of magical groups and free spirits. All told, Magic in the Shadows included twelve metamagic techniques and three metamagic enchanments. The Target: Awakened Lands, Threats 2, State of the Art 2063 and State of the Art 2064 sourcebooks more than doubled the number of metamagics and metamagic enchantments in Shadowrun, as well as defining various non-initiate metamagic practitioners, a practice that continued in Loose Alliances and Shadows of Asia. Traces of Geomancy can be seen as far back as the London Sourcebook, but became increasingly defined in sourcebooks such as Year of the Comet and State of the Art 2063.

Shadowrun Fourth Edition marks the first time Initiation and metamagic rules have been included in the main rule book; five techniques are included, four of which have been seen in some form in previous editions and one entirely new. Street Magic included several novel new metamagics, while recodifying and refining old metamagics and concepts to the new edition. As an example of the development, Street Magic identifies those techniques with other techniques as prerequisites as Advanced Metamagics


Based on the concept that the best offensive is a good defensive (or is it the opposite?) Absorption allows the initiate to steal the power of an incoming spell to fuel the initiate's own sorceries. The technique gained prominence in sorcerous duels during the 2060s. This metamagic technique was first presented in State of the Art 2063. Absorption was updated to Fourth Edition in Street Magic, where it became an enhanced form of Shielding (and thus requires the Shielding metamagic as a prerequisite).

Adept Centering

Allowing adepts to use Centering first appeared in the Grimoire II, a concept that was expanded with the Enhanced Centering adept power. Adept Centering was made distinct in Street Magic. Unlike traditional Centering, Adept Centering is used to reduce penalties to Physical and Combat skills rather than Magical skills or to mitigate drain. As the name implies, only Adepts and Mystic Adepts may learn this technique.

Ally Conjuration

First introduced in The Grimoire, and carried through and expanded in The Grimoire II and Magic in the Shadows, conjuring an ally spirit - either as a familiar or for other reasons - was one of the perks of initiation. Street Magic changed this by requiring the initiate to possess the Ally Conjuration metamagic before they could summon an ally spirit.


The sixth metamagic, introduced in the Grimoire II, expanded on the Enchanting and Sorcery skills. Anchoring allows an initiate to "anchor" a spell to a place or object, where it would wait until a trigger condition is met to be cast. The Grimoire II allowed Enchanting to be used on the item to facilitate anchoring a spell to it. Magic in the Shadows revised and expanded Anchoring metamagic: the technique allowed a magician to design, construct, and utilize an anchoring focus, an enchantment that holds a "live" spell until the triggering conditions (set at casting) are met. Street Magic continued the evolution of Anchoring, introducing it as an advanced metamagic that requires Quickening as a prerequisite. The initiate shapes an astral construct known as an anchor around the spell, which prevents it from being discharged before a given condition. Anchoring foci expand the usefulness and adaptability of anchored spells. Anchoring may also be used in the creation of trap wards.

>>>>>[Sounds like a triggered physical shield to me, probably structureed on that new "anchoring" metamagic theory making the rounds these days.]<<<<<
-Wizard Walt (12:10:54/3-19-54)

>>>>>[Sure does, but remember that this happened in
2047. The anchoring theorums weren't published until 2053. Interesting stuff. I would be more interested in knowing how Darkheart got his info on the attempt. Personal experience?]<<<<<
-Allard (07:17:30/3-20-54)


The Attunement metamagic is detailed in State of the Art 2064 and Street Magic. This technique allows an initiate to spend karma to bond themselves to an animal, similar to the way a magician bonds a focus. The adept performs a bonding ritual with the animal in question, after which the bond is forged (the animal now serves as a material ritual link to the adept, in addition to its other attributes.) The initiate with this technique is limited in the number of animals (and objects, if they also have the Attunement(item) metamagic) that may be attuned to them. The bond is severed at any time the adept wishes, or if the animal dies. Only adept initiates may learn this technique.


The Attunement metamagic is detailed in State of the Art 2064 and Street Magic. This technique allows an initiate to spend karma to bond themselves to an item, similar to the way a magician bonds a focus. The adept performs a bonding ritual with the object in question, after which the bond is forged (the item now serves as a material ritual link to the adept, in addition to its other attributes.) The initiate with this technique is limited in the number of objects (and animals, if they also have the Attunement(animal) metamagic) that may be attuned to them. The bond is severed at any time the adept wishes, or if the item is destroyed. Only adept initiates may learn this technique.


This special variant of Sacrificing may only be used by adepts. Instead of reducing drain, the physical damage inflicted by the blood adept is accompanied by a physical consumption of the flesh and blood, granting a temporary boost to the adept's physical abilities. For more on blood magic, see here.

:::::[JUNGLE CAT] I will admit there is intolerance, but we do not carve the hearts out of our brothers to power our arts.

:::::[THE LAUGHING MAN] Much...


The Grimoire introduced Centering as a technique where a complimentary skill, known as the Centering Skill, was used to help an Initiate reduce Drain or negate penalties to magical tests. The Grimoire II expanded on Centering, allowing Physical Adepts to use it to negate penalties regarding physical skills; an Enhanced Centering adept power was also introduced to expand this ability to other types of skills. Magic in the Shadows seperated the Centering Skill from the Performance Skill for the purpose of using this technique, and likewise updated and expanded on Adept uses of Centering by incorporating the ability to center on other types of skills (previously encapsulated in the Enhanced Cenering adept power) directly into the technique by allowing the adept to choose to learn to apply Centering to a new skill when they advance a grade in initiation in place of gaining a new metamagic technique. Shadowrun Fourth Edition simplified and refined the Centering rules by doing away with the Centering and Performance skills entirely.

For centuries, magicians of many countries and traditions have studied such skills as singing, dancing, playing musical instruments, speaking ancient languages, and so on. Since the Awakening, Initiaties in various traditions have discovered the reason behind this practice. The mental and physical discipline involved in the skill help to focus the will of the magician, enhancing his ability to handle magic without suffering harm. They center him; put him in harmony with the center of his being, the well from which all magic springs. (gm1.22)(gm2.42)(mits.72)


An inversion of possession, Channeling, was first presented in Target: Awakened Lands. This technique allows the initiate more control when a spirit possesses their body. It was updated to Fourth Edition in Street Magic, where the use of the spirit's powers still require the expenditure of a service as normal (in previous editions, the use of the spirit's powers while channeling was unlimited, but all services were expended at the end of the duration).


Cleansing was first introduced as a variant of the Dispelling in Awakenings, and later became a full technique in Magic in the Shadows. It was upgraded to Fourth Edition in Street Magic. This technique allows the initiate to clear away temporary background count and remove astral (or spell) signatures. In some cases, Cleansing can reduce a permanent background count, but this effect is only temporary unless the source of the background count is removed. Cleansing is ineffective against powerful and established background counts at sites such as Stonehenge and Hiroshima.

Similar to dispelling, cleansing is a metamagical technique that allows an initiate to clear astral "clutter" from the etheric plane.(awk.100)


Cognition expands on traditional adept Centering abilities, allowing the mental and physical discipline of Centering to focus their perceptions and intellect. Furthermore, initiates with this technique have greater ability with knowledge and lanaguage skills, and can learn knowledge skills for a reduced cost to reflect their mastery of assimilating new information. Cognition is detailed in State of the Art 2064 and Street Magic.

Their focus iss honing their minds: developing deductive, perceptive and intellectual abilities beyond the human norm. From aesthetic zen masters to intuitive sherlocks, their common knack is overcoming mental challenges. (sa64.59)


First introduced in The Grimoire, and carried through The Grimoire II and Magic in the Shadows, toxic magicians are a staple magical threat. One of their scariest attributes is the ability to summon toxic spirits - and, perhaps more menacingly, to transform spirits they successfully gain control of into toxic spirits. In Street Magic, this ability was codified as the Corruption metamagic.


Before the introduction of Dispelling in The Grimoire, the only way to break a spell was via Astral Combat. This ability was also included in the Grimoire II, but in Shadowrun Third Edition Dispelling was dropped as a metamagic and became standard to all magicians; in Shadowrun Fourth Edition it is a function of Counterspelling.

Traditionally, voudoun initiatates only used centering and dispelling, but in the Awakened sprawls of 2057 they call upon all forms of metamagic as needed.(awk.126)


One of the new metamagics introduced in Magic in the Shadows, Divining allows initiates to predict the future to a limited extant. Like Centering, the initiate would need to develop both a Divining Skill and a Prediction Skill to use this technique. In Loose Alliances, the Seer's Guild is shown to have members taking this metamagic multiple times to increase the veracity and frequency of their divinations. In Street Magic, Divining was updated to Fourth Edition; unlike its previous incarnation, Divining requires a connection to the target (such as assensing their aura or a material link), and no performance skill is necessary, as the diviner instead interprets the omens using Arcana.

Some see the future as an inescapable force. What they see is the future and will happen despite any attempts to prevent it, and so they do not even try to interfere. (la.99)

Empower Animal

Appearing in State of the Art 2064 as Empower Animal Companion and later revised in Street Magic, Empower Animal is an advanced metamagic that requires the Attunement(animal) metamagic as a prerequisite. Empower Animal allows the inititate to increase the bond between himself and his attuned animal to the point he can lend the critter some od his adept powers.

Extended Masking

The extant to which Masking extended from the initiate became an issue in The Grimoire II, Awakenings, and Magic in the Shadows as the question arose as to whether Masking covered active foci, quickened or anchored spells, and the like. Street magic addressed this in Fourth Edition with the Extended Masking metamagic, an advanced metamagic requiring Masking as a prerequisite that allows the initiate's Masking to cover her foci, and anchored, quickened, and/or sustained spells.


Presented in State of the Art 2063, Filtering metamagic allows the adept to operate in tainted astral space by creating a magical matrix (an astral contruct known as a weave) that takes pure mana from the polluted energies in the surrounding Astral. Street Magic updated this in Fourth Edition as an advanced metamagic requiring Cleansing as a prerequisite.

Flexible Signature

The concept of a spell signature was first introduced in Awakenings; which was clarified and termed astral signature in Shadowrun Third Edition and Magic in the Shadows. In the latter, an initiate who obtained a new grade was a given a choice between attempting to learn a new metamagic, or attempting to change their astral signature (this was a refinement of a similiar procedure in Awakenings). In Shadowrun Fourth Edition, the Flexible Signature metamagic was defined, a superior technique that allows the initiate alter her astral signature at will.

To alter his spell signature, a character must unlearn how he uses and interacts with magic and then relearn those processes.(awk.98)


Possessing common roots with the Severing metamagic, Flux was introduced as an advanced metamagic requiring Masking as a prerequisite in Street Magic. The initiate with this technique has learned to constantly shift their aura for a period of time, temporairily disrupting magical links (such as sympathetic and symbolic links for astral tracking and ritual magic). Prolonged use of this metamagic can permanently severe magical links (including bound foci, spirits, and sustained spells) and damage the magician's aura.

Focus Blocking

A variation of Dispelling presented in Awakenings, the Focus Blocking technique allowed an initiate to deactivate another magician's active focus. This technique was dropped from later editions.


Information on what may constitute geomancy has appeared in many Shadowrun sourcebooks, but a concise and definate entry on it appears in State of the Art 2063, and it wad finally given as a player option in Street Magic. This technique is a complex and secretive one, mainly practiced by Wu Jen and Druids. Geomancy allows the magician to alter manalines and powersites, aspecting them toward one group or tradtion. It has also been rumored to have rituals to increase the potency of a site, extend the length of a manaline, or allow a magician to detect naturally-ocurring orichalcum. Toxic and corrupt magicians with this technique may imprint an area by systematically polluting it. The Dowsing and Astrology skills, as well as the Cleansing, Divining, and Sensing metamagics, were once given as prerequisites for this technique, but Street Magic lists no such requirements.

Great Ritual

Presented in Street Magic, the Great Ritual metamagic technique allows a magician to expand the limits of ritual sorcery, increasing the maximum size of the ritual group and the Force of the spell.


Another of the metamagics from State of the Art 2064, Infusion was updated to Fourth Edition in Street Magic as an advanced metamagic requiring Adept Centering as a prerequisite. Infusion allows an adept to effectively overclock her abilities for a short time, gaining temporary power points.


Before Magic in the Shadows, summoning a great form spirit required an Astral Quest. The Invoking technique precluded that necessity, allowing initiates to summon great form spirits without astral travelling. Street Magic updated Invoking for Fourth Edition, and allows magicians to enhance their bound spirits, transforming them into great form spirits.

Invoking Blood Spirits

Blood spirits were first introduced in the Aztlan sourcebook, where they were conjured from the sacrifice of a living creature (preferabely sentient and Awakened), and generally confined to teocalli. Blood spirits and great form blood spirits were further expanded upon in Magic in the Shadows, and the specific technique to summon them is detailed in Street Magic, where it is an advanced metamagic requiring both Sacrificing and Invoking as prerequisites. For more on blood magic, see here.

:::::[LADY OF THE COURT] No, this can't be! Such techniques are forbidden!

:::::[THE BIG 'D'] Forbidden to whom?

:::::[WORDSMYTH] Forbidden to anyone with any sense. This is dangerous.



Introduced in Street Magic, this advanced metamagic requires Geomancy as a prerequisite. It allows the toxic magician to reduce drain by drawing on the ambient mana and life forces surrounding him, killing plants, insects, and small animals.

Limited Astral Projection

Another metamagic described in State of the Art 2064 is Limited Astral Projection. Restricted to adepts with the Astral Perception adept power, Limited Astral Projection allows the initiate to astrally project for several minutes at a time.

Adepts who follow the spirit Way get seriously involved in their own magical natures and spend as much time puzzling out the mysteries of astral space as any mage or shaman.(awk.53)


The fifth and final metamagic introduced in The Grimoire, Masking allowed an Initiate to disguise their aura so as to appear mundane or as a non-initiated magician to assensing. The Grimoire II clarified and expanded this ability somewhat; whereas masking is normally unconscious and constant, the initiate could attempt to delibrately mask their aura to increase the difficulty of discovery, and covered masking foci the initiate carried. Magic in the Shadows updated and clarifed Masking, detailing that Masking can hide the initiate's emotions and any sustained or quickened spells he may have on him at the time. A simplified version of Masking was included in the new and updated metamagics presented in Shadowrun Fourth Edition. Masking is also used in the creation of masked wards.


Akin to both the Ally Conjuration and Invoking metamagics, Metamorphosis is an exclusive technique taught to insect magicians by their mentor spirits. Metamorphosis allows an insect magician to transform a nymph spirit into a Queen or Mother spirit, in a process that parallels both the creation of an Ally and invoking a great form spirit. It is presented in Street Magic.


In Tír na nÓg, Horsh shamans were granted the Movement critter power three times per day. In Magic in the Shadows, this was changed so that Horse shamans could attempt to learn the Movement critter power (usuable thrice a day) as a metamagic technique.


One of the new metamagics presented in Magic in the Shadows, possessing allows an initiate's astral form to take control of another being's body.

The astral form of the host is not "pushed out" when the body is possessed; it is completely enveloped by the astral form of the possessing initiate.(mits.77)

Power Bleed

Introduced in Street Magic as an advanced metamagic requiring Cannibalize as a prerequisite, Power Bleed allows a blood adept to "borrow" an adept or critter power from the victim they feed upon for a short time. For more on blood magic, see here.

This is dangerous. It implies an understanding of blood rites deeper than I'd suspected.(azt)


Psychometry metamagic was first presented in State of the Art 2063, and updated to Fourth Edition in Street Magic. The technique allows the initiate to experience sensory data relating to the past of an object, person, or place.


First introduced in The Grimoire, and later in the Grimoire II, Magic in the Shadows, and Shadowrun Fourth Edition, Quickening is the technique of making sustained spells you cast permanent.

The spell is given a permanent "circuit" into Astral Space that keeps it running until it is broken...(gm1.24)(gm2.44)


Originally introduced in Awakenings as a Shielding variant known as Reflective Shielding and later presented as an independent technique in Magic in the Shadows, Reflecting was made into an advanced metamagic requiring Shielding as a prerequisite in Street Magic. This passive-aggressive metamagic allows the initiate to rebuff hostile spells back against their casters.


Blood magic and human sacrifice for magical purposes have been a part of Shadowrun since the Secrets of Power Trilogy and the London Sourcebook. Actual game information for using blood magic was presented fully in the Aztlan sourcebook; that information was later revised, updated, and rechristened the Sacrificing metamagic in Magic in the Shadows. Street Magic updated and expanded Sacrificing for Fourth Edition. Sacrificing allows the initiate to lessen drain by inflicting a physical wound on themself or another sentient being. In previous editions, Sacrificing allowed an initiate to also summon blood spirits, but this aspect has become the seperate metamagic of Invoking Blood Spirits (see above). For more on blood magic, see here.

Unlike other forms of metamagic such as anchoring, centering, and so on, blood magic is not common knowledge even among initiatory groups.(azt.175)


Sensing is an enhanced perception of the flow of mana around the initiate, extending up to several kilometers. This technique was first introduced in Target: Awakened Lands, in State of the Art 2064 it was revealed Druids have a particular gift for this metamagic, and in Street Magic Sensing was updated to Fourth Edition.


Presented in State of the Art 2063, Severing metamagic allows an initiate to cut his astral links.

Shared Potency

A metamagic detailed in Threats 2, Shared Potency allows multiple initiates to enter into a pact with a given Shadow free spirit.


Described by The Grimoire, the Grimoire II, and Magic in the Shadows as "the initiated version of spell defense," Shielding enhances the Initiate's resistance to spells. In Shadowrun Fourth Edition, Shielding was changed to function with the Counterspelling mechanics.

Somatic Control

Somatic Control, described in State of the Art 2064 and Street Magic, is a technique adepts (and only adepts or mystic adepts) may learn to apply the physical and mental discipline of Centering toward further understanding and control of their own body.

Symbolic Linking

The first metamagic detailed in State of the Art 2063, Symbolic Linking allows the initiate to use symbolic, rather than material, links in ritual sorcery. In Fourth Edition, this metamagic was replaced by Sympathetic Linking (see below).

Sympathetic Linking

The use of sympathetic links, also known as material links, was first presented in The Grimoire, and remains a central component of the Shadowrun magic system, appearing in The Grimoire II, Awakenings, Magic in the Shadows, and Street Magic. Based on the concept that a piece of something retained a connection to the greater whole (such as a lock of hair to the metahuman is came from, or a brick to the building it was a part of), sympathetic links constituted an important part of ritual magic (when an astral spotter was unavailable) and astral tracking. The pinnings of sympathetic magic were explored in State of the Art: 2063, where symbolic links were introduced (the image of the target having a connection to the target). In Fourth Edition, the creation and use of both sympathetic and symbolic links requires the Sympathetic Linking metamagic.


Introduced as the counterpart to Cleansing in Street Magic, Taint allows a toxic magician to increase the magical "pollution" in a toxic-aspected domain, though the effects remain temporary.

Tattoo Magic

First addressed in the Underworld Sourcebook as a variant Quickening technique, Tattoo Magic was first given its own entry as a discrete technique in Magic in the Shadows. Tattoo Magic allows the initiate to quicken a spell to a tattoo or ritual scar, making it more difficult to dispel. In Fourth Edition, Tattoo Magic is effectively addressed as using Quickening materials to Quicken a spell, rather than as a seperate techniuqe.


The final metamagic detailed in State of the Art 2064, Virtuoso allows initiated artist adepts to create masterworks known as 'virtuoso pieces.'

That's because magic doesn't improve innate artistic vision. What ic can do is enhance a person's ability to express themselves better through their creations by refining their acquired skills. (sa64.59)

Non-Initiate Metamagic Practitioners

Metamagic Enchantments

Some initiates craft foci that can be used to aid (or are required to utilize) their metamagic technies.

Rare Metamagic Techniques

The following is a collection of the most obscure and apochryphal techniques, the ones that exist mainly as rumours, conjecture, and hearsay among the magical circles of the world. Those in possession of them know better, but they aren't talking. Each of these techniques is very advanced and powerful, although they follow the traditional divisions of the metamagic techniques described above. It is likely that these techniques build on multiple of the metamagics described above, and many are geared toward the highly specialized interests and goals of the organizations that propogate them. Some may be on the bleeding edge of metamagical theory, while others might be hoary remnants of ancient knowledge long forgotten.

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