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How does Channel Essence Work?

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  • How does Channel Essence Work?

    Channel Essence (Spirit 2) says "this spell allows the mage to draw Essence into her Pattern from a Resonant Condition". Is there a limitation on using this? The condition itself says "this Condition is common", so can a mage just basically walk around sucking up Essence of different Resonances (holding up to his Gnosis derived maximum) ?

    After that, is there anything to stop him from giving the Essence to his Familiar, who can give it back as Mana? I know a couple of points are lost in the transfer, but a little inefficiency doesn't seem to get in the way.

  • #2
    This is a fundamental problem in the Resonance/Essence mechanics. There's nothing that stops a mage from drawing unlimited amounts of Essence from a Resonance Condition, just like there's no limit on how many successes a spirit can get on a gorging roll. Spirits are only limited by being allowed to do it once per day per Condition, but no such limit should exist for a spell.

    Transferring it to a familiar might be a different thing since the familiar requires Essence that is compatible with its nature. But if you do find a fitting Resonant Condition, go nuts.


    Bloodline: The Stygians
    Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
    Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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    • #3
      You learn something new each day! I have played and run tons of Mage and never realised the spell could do that! So in theory a Thyrsus can simply soak up ambient Essence from any place with a strong resonance?

      Would it be more interesting to rule that using the spell in this way strips away the condition for a time? At least then the Shaman has to find a new location for each casting and might risk provoking a reaction from local spirits.

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      • #4
        Is there any spell that would allow a mage to neutralize/change the resonance of a point of Essence?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ForgeEternal View Post
          Is there any spell that would allow a mage to neutralize/change the resonance of a point of Essence?
          Logically that would have to be a patterning spell no?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Tessie View Post
            This is a fundamental problem in the Resonance/Essence mechanics. There's nothing that stops a mage from drawing unlimited amounts of Essence from a Resonance Condition, just like there's no limit on how many successes a spirit can get on a gorging roll. Spirits are only limited by being allowed to do it once per day per Condition, but no such limit should exist for a spell.
            Mages have no real use for Essence on their own, their involvement with the Shadow in general has been stated to be fairly disruptive, and unless you're a Thyrsus the only way the spell isn't costing you Mana to use every go-'round is if you've learned it as a Rote or developed it as a Praxis. Combined with the fact that each transfer is one casting and the very low likelihood that the Resonance of stored Essence goes away, I can't really say there's much of an issue with a character having the capacity to build themselves into a feedback loop.


            Resident Lore-Hound
            Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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            • #7
              I have a feeling that part about giving Essence to your Familiar and cashing it back as Mana was written before Channel Essence was, before it was decided that in this edition a mage's Pattern would be able to hold Essence alongside Mana. I say that only because it seems kind of wrong to me that someone with Spirit 5 could simply fabricate an infinite amount of Mana. Not even Prime 5 can do that.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                Mages have no real use for Essence on their own, their involvement with the Shadow in general has been stated to be fairly disruptive, and unless you're a Thyrsus the only way the spell isn't costing you Mana to use every go-'round is if you've learned it as a Rote or developed it as a Praxis. Combined with the fact that each transfer is one casting and the very low likelihood that the Resonance of stored Essence goes away, I can't really say there's much of an issue with a character having the capacity to build themselves into a feedback loop.
                Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                But if you do find a fitting Resonant Condition, go nuts.
                It's not balance I'm concerned about in this case. What I'm saying is that the Resonant Condition itself is broken, leading to weird behaviour in all games that include spirits (hence why I call it a fundamental problem). I've written more extensively on the subject in a WtF thread.


                Bloodline: The Stygians
                Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
                Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                  It's not balance I'm concerned about in this case. What I'm saying is that the Resonant Condition itself is broken, leading to weird behaviour in all games that include spirits (hence why I call it a fundamental problem). I've written more extensively on the subject in a WtF thread.
                  Can you post a link to that thread, please?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Tessie View Post
                    It's not balance I'm concerned about in this case. What I'm saying is that the Resonant Condition itself is broken, leading to weird behaviour in all games that include spirits (hence why I call it a fundamental problem). I've written more extensively on the subject in a WtF thread.
                    I was in that thread as well, and the supposition that Resonant is broken in the game where spirits are the only things interacting with it as a source of Essence remains an odd one to me.

                    "An average Jaggling can harvest a double-handful of Essence per day from the Resonant Condition" exists alongside facts like "Manifestations and higher-level Influences are more expensive to use" and "Spirits can't do anything for someone else without compensation, preferably in the form of Essence" and "Higher-level spirits are more complicated and intelligent entities that have reason to be choosier about what the Essence they consume means." It's not weird for entities that have grown past representing singular concepts to be less inclined to just chow down on whatever's available.

                    Essence isn't scarce. Suitable Essence is often jealously guarded because of theft and distinctions too fine to model with a broad system of keywords, but the fact that the Gauntlet doesn't significantly penalize the gorging efforts of a mid-Ranking spirit doesn't mean the system is broken just because harvesting conceptual resonance doesn't make the subject less Resonant.

                    It takes a locus hundreds of points of Essence or weeks of uninterrupted expansion to form and all of that Essence needs to be cleared out to be permanently undone, and the Resonant Condition still needs to be negated for it to stick. The Condition has always been durable at its base, but underscored as dependent upon its sources, which are often fleeting; self-sustaining instances serve the roles they do in spirit ecology, but spirit ecology is built around being reflective of (and, at a variable degree of remove, influential toward) material events.

                    Being able to keep pulling spiritual energy from the place spiritual energy comes from provided you're a mage that's internalized truths relating to drawing spiritual energy from the world is the setting working as intended.
                    Last edited by Satchel; 06-24-2019, 08:16 PM. Reason: Was missing half a sentence about locus development.


                    Resident Lore-Hound
                    Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                      Being able to keep pulling spiritual energy from the place spiritual energy comes from provided you're a mage that's internalized truths relating to drawing spiritual energy from the world is the setting working as intended.
                      Do you think it would lead to a barren at some point?

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                      • #12
                        Anyone wanting to use the following homerule?
                        Loci produce 3x their dot rating in essence. Simply homerule that essence to mana conversions aren't 1 to 1 but 1 to 3. Also OR alternatively, use a once a day dictate on resonance locations as we already do for loci and hallows.

                        Even then, a Spirit-mage is a occult energy mogul. That's their thing, like, their specialty is breaking into the spirit ecology and kinda just asserting themselves. Thyrsus being powerful at this shouldn't be surprising given the apocalyptic power mages have at 4 dots of ummm... anything.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by nofather View Post
                          Do you think it would lead to a barren at some point?
                          Maybe if Paradox strikes or there's a truly massive amount of channeling going on concentrated in one area, but I feel like to be in the same category as "devastation, the rampage of an idigam, or the presence of an Ilusah" requires a harvesting operation on the level of a local-scale plot device to qualify — that list of examples from Werewolf has some overlap with the list provided for "these sorts of things might awaken every sleeping spirit nearby," with the notable additions of battle between werewolves and spirit courts as well as the deaths of lesser Incarna.


                          Resident Lore-Hound
                          Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Andrew Kaninchen View Post
                            I say that only because it seems kind of wrong to me that someone with Spirit 5 could simply fabricate an infinite amount of Mana. Not even Prime 5 can do that.
                            There's no reason a Mage with Prime 5 cannot create mana at will via Making. It's in the purview. Hallows are more valuable as they're sustainable and have knock on effects, hence why creating those got the example spell.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
                              There's no reason a Mage with Prime 5 cannot create mana at will via Making. It's in the purview.
                              Raw semantics has never been a particularly compelling line of argument — you can't Make a Supernal Realm or a soul, after all — but in this particular case it's also fighting against the edition's increased emphasis on Mana costs as a ludonarrative device, the fact that Forge Purpose (which creates Mana-generating Obsessions) is also a Making spell, and the general cavalcade of differences between Essence and Mana within the setting.

                              A Master of Prime manages to never worry about Mana by their ability to reliably establish a stockpile, not the ability to freely and immediately instantiate raw Truth from nothing in stark defiance of the metaphysics' limitations and the points of game design they exist in service to.


                              Resident Lore-Hound
                              Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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