Essence is the coalesced manifestation of life energy from the spark(s) of creation itself and will. It is inherent in living things, and grows in that which is imbued with sentience – the heart of what defines a discrete presence in The Pattern. The measure of its strength allows it a measure of control in its passage through The Pattern. The depth of character and will are part of an awareness that allows Bonds to form, and Weaves which allows knowledge, power, and awareness to be shared and connected over distances. The mysticism of Incarna relies on Essence at its root. It is the closest analog to a “soul” in the system. Aptitude then provides a pathway of natural advancement as to what the Essence has affinity with. Sparks are then the primary expression of a type of interaction in The Pattern. Anima (spiritual) energy allows the direction of Sparks to weave the flow of The Pattern. It all works together to form a specific material or mental interaction between a presence and the continuum it is in.

Essence is one of the ways to customize character development. Aptitude represents what strands of The Pattern it naturally follows and what anchor points a presence will be inclined to fixate around within it. Each setting, locale, and/or race may have an Essence maximum they can spend at the time of Character Inception. Some have specific uses of their initial Essence dictated or adjusted. Unless noted, when dealing with most entities, it is the [Essential] Essence being referred to. There are many ways of depleting Essence for gain, and few of adding to it. There are dark arts and strange ways of taking Essence from other beings to restore or strengthen another.

Essence Pool

Essence Pool: Essence has multiple aspects – most creatures have an essential Pool of Essence that binds them firmly to a continuum, while others are more connected to the Aether or even tied to the Void, as in the case of the Body Beyond and/or a Mind Beyond. Some species have a stronger or weaker Essence inherent in their existence, or have limits on how they can use their Essence. Free Essence is the amount of Essence in the characters Essence Pool that is not pledged to other things.

Pledged Essence: This is Essence that has been set aside for empowered bonds and attunements. Technically, it is still part of the Essence Pool, since these are temporarily set aside and unusable in any other way unless the ties are broken. Natural Affinity from aptitude can offset the cost of Pledged Essence for Empowered Items.

Essence Diffusion: When the Pledged Essence of an Essence Pool is greater than half the pool, the entity suffers Essence Diffusion. This makes further pledges slightly more difficult.

D20 Essence Mechanics

Essence Diffusion: Each time an Attunement is made, the character must succeed on a DC 10 Sanity check or must wait until an Actuated Awareness event to check again.

  • Starting Essence Pool: (Sanity) + Proficiency Bonus + [positive] Ability Modifiers for all other starting ability scores. Some higher order species add their [challenge rating] to this.
  • Gaining Essence: Triggers a Actuated Awareness.
    • Permanent Sanity or Charisma increases = 1 per number increased by.
    • Permanent Proficiency Bonus change = [full] Proficiency Bonus.
    • Visited more than 2 Planes of Existence: +1
      (“Pocket” planes of spells do not count)
  • Losing Essence: Permanent Sanity or Charisma decrease = 1 per number decreased by.
    • Attuned Essence: All items requiring Attunement take 1 Essence to bond with, to a maximum or reaching zero Essence. Attunements can be broken, returned the Attuned Essence to the Essence Pool.
    • Cleric: 1 Essence is required at first level for the bond to the deity.
    • Warlock: 1 Essence required for the bond to the patron.

Incarna iCore Essence Mechanics

  • Starting Essence:
  • Gaining Essence:
  • Losing Essence:

(Anima) = artificial will? Spontaneous will? But limited – tied to a particular space-time niche in The Pattern and has no true freedom to move about relative to its source. Its is the result of a touching of essence, a mingling of presences or sometimes it is spontaneously driven by the need for the inanimate to have expression, or those that see power in it to draw that expression forth. Anima is an expression of itself for an explicit purpose, and so is not limited to the expression of Essence. It can take any property (trait) through expression (point buy for traits).

Anima can form Essence?

  • Bonding to Objects: Various
  • Aura

    Mystic Transference can use Essence to transfer spell ability to non-living constructs.