<> mage the ascension : quintessence <>
Quintessence forms the Patterns of reality. Prime Force can be channeled into magic, directed in defense, used to fuel potent attacks and turned into new Patterns of creation.
Prime energy is tracked on the 20-box Quintessence/Paradox wheel. As the mage gains Quintessence, it fills up the boxes clockwise from the starting dot. As the mage spends Quintessence, these points are erased from the wheel. A mage starts with Quintessence points equal to his Avatar rating. Further Quintessence is gained from Nodes, Tass or even from the universal pool, if the mage is powerful and knowledgeable enough.
Quintessence has many quirks, but tends to obey certain rules:
- A mage can never channel more Quintessence in a turn than his Avatar rating. Thus, a mage with an Avatar of 3 dots can channel only three Quintessence in a turn, from any source. This limit applies to refueling his Pattern, casting Effects, creating new Patterns, working countermagic or striking with a Primal attack.
- Quintessence does make working magic easier. As the mage reinforces his spell with the power of reality, it bends the cosmos more smoothly. Each Tradition has its own views on what, exactly, Quintessence is and why it serves as a power source like this. The upshot is that each point of Quintessence channeled into an Effect lowers the Effect’s difficulty by one point, to a maximum net difficulty modifier of three – so you can cancel some penalties and perhaps lower the difficulty by as much as three points.
- Quintessence can be stored in a mage’s Pattern or spent directly into an Effect. Drawing Quintessence out of a Node requires a rudimentary knowledge of Prime (one dot); using Tass requires a high degree of proficiency in Prime (three dots); Masters of Prime (five dots) can draw Quintessence from the universal pool itself, with a vulgar Effect. Any drawing of Quintessence tends to be noticeable, however. Winds surge, lights flicker and the mage glows with a palpable aura as the raw power of creation flows through the area.
- Although Quintessence is invisible to those without Prime 1, its effects often manifest in some form, simply because of its raw power. Channeled Quintessence makes things seem more “real” and “solid,” and it almost always enhances Resonance to a noticeable level. Beings with the Awareness Talent can usually sense the channeling of Quintessence (difficulty 6 to 10, depending on the nature of the channeling), but they may not realize immediately what it is.
- Any magic that pulls large amounts of Quintessence – five or more points in a turn, or 10 or more points overall – is automatically vulgar and noticeable. The monumental energies released thus cause pyrotechnic displays, ripples in space-time and auroras of power.
- Quintessence can be stored directly in a mage’s Pattern, held by her Avatar. Such “personal Quintessence” cannot be pulled away from the mage or used against her will. This amount equals the mage’s Avatar rating. This personal Quintessence can also be refreshed simply through meditation at a Node. The power of the mage’s Avatar draws the Node’s energy into itself, even if the mage is unfamiliar with Prime magic. A simple Perception + Meditation roll (difficulty 7) refreshes the mage’s Quintessence after an hour of meditation at a Node, one point per success, up to the limit of the mage’s Avatar rating or the Node’s power supply. Any power beyond the mage’s personal power (Avatar rating) must come by drawing from another source, using Prime magic.
- Under the right circumstances, Quintessence can counter Paradox (see Prime 5) or fight against other mage’s magic (see “Countermagic” on pg 154, Mage 3rd Ed).
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