The Case of Minnie Turner
Essence — Building Block of Magic
The Tao of Asian culture. The Baraka of Arab mysticism. The Mana of the witch doctors of the South Pacific. The One Power. Essence is all that and more.
Beyond matter and energy, Essence is the basic building block of reality. It is present in all things, living and unliving. It also flows invisibly in pure form, undetected by most living things except on a primal, emotional level. Magicians learn to manipulate Pure Essence to change the world.
Pure Essence can be found in living beings; this is the energy that makes up the soul, the Ka of ancient Egypt and the Chi (“breath”) of Asian mysticism. Whereas matter and energy are emotionless forces that follow the laws of physics, Essence in its raw form is controlled by emotions and the creative impulse. In some ways, it might even be considered to be a living force, responsive to stimuli.
Essence, unlike common energy, is not an impersonal force. Even in its pure form, it has emotions, attitudes -– it can even be good or evil. In living things, Essence is arranged in a matrix that stores the knowledge, memories and personality of the person or creature. After death, the soul lives on, moving on to other planes of existence, or, in the case of ghosts and other beings, remaining in the physical realm for one reason or another.
Mundanes, people without the powers or knowledge of the Gifted, often manipulate Pure Essence without being aware of it. Strong emotions often trigger a release of Essence; this is one of the causes (besides the typical biological ones) for the “drained” feeling people often experience after strong bouts of anger, fear or grief. The Gifted can control the release of Essence in numerous ways. They can also perceive the flows of this power, allowing them to “see” things and creatures that cannot be detected with lesser, more mundane senses.
Sources of Essence
Essence can be gathered be tapped from the magician’s self, or it can be tapped from other sources with rituals, including ambient Essence, times and places of power, storage devices, and group magic. See the Sources of Essence page for more details.
Each person’s Essence is as unique as his DNA code. Thus, any Metaphysical effect powered by that person’s Essence (i.e., not cast wholly through ambient Essence) bears the person’s “imprint” or “signature.” A Gifted character or supernatural being can try to detect this signature. If they have encountered it before, they can try to recognize who it belongs to.