Joshua Kubli on Google+ wrote, “I keep thinking I want to run Shadowrun, and then my enthusiasm tapers during planning. [The art below] is basically what I want from Shadowrun. Less near-future spy stuff, more punk and urban shamanism/modern magic stuff.”
I hear you! So here’s a simple system for that:
If attempting something risky, like jimmying open the locked door to a pharmacy, roll 2d6. If you roll 7 or less, something bad happens. No matter what, you succeed. Don’t even try something physically impossible.
If you get into a conflict, everything switches into turns and rounds. Go in order based on whichever character was most active. Each character gets 9 Action Points (APs) per round. Swinging a pipe, firing a shotgun, or sprinting 5 yards each takes 3 APs.
When casting a spell, roll 2d6. That’s the number of Action Points that the spell consumes. Each AP can be spent to affect a 2-yard cube, to last 1 minute, or to deal 1 point of damage (and can be used multiple times and combined in each spell). Spells each follow a Magic Focus, which can be water (including ice), fire (including light), earth, air, force, or the mind (including illusions). Work out specifics with the other players. Your character starts the game with the ability to use only one Magic Focus.
If your spell goes beyond your 9 AP limit, then for each AP beyond your limit you take 1 point of Stress. At 9 Stress, you enter the Glorious Burn: you can act for 1 minute with a hard 15 AP limit (spells rolled beyond this simply fail), then you fall unconscious and wake up with 1d6 damage and all Stress cleared.
On the turn after one of your spells ends, you can spend 1d6 APs and take 1 Stress to keep the spell going.
Fists deal 1d2 damage, clubs and vibro-knives 1d4, and chainsaws and guns 1d6.
Most NPCs can take 6 damage; kid punk shamans can take 10, and urban trolls can take 12. When you hit your max damage, you fall unconscious.
Every time you sleep for at least 8 hours, you heal 1d6 damage.
You have one Major Passion: a thing you like to do in the world (destroy corporate art; protect the innocent; kill the motherf—ers at Dynacorp). If you finish an adventure in which you feed your Major Passion publicly and in a major way, you get another AP each round.
So, each PC has two aspects: Major Passion and Magic Focus. Define those, and hit the streets.