Arcana - Essences

The Essence of the Ether

Magic Items of all types may be found, looted, worn, repurposed, destroyed. Certain magic items, often called ‘Legendary Items’ may be imbued with magical essences to customize them, thereby bonding with the character.


Bonding Rules


Types of Legendary Items

Masterwork – an item of masterwork quality
Curio – a Masterwork item that has been infused with magic through a ritual or other ancient process.
Wonder – a Masterwork or Curio that has bonded with a mortal having been infused with an essence.
Relic – a Wonder or Curio that has been blessed by or bonded to a Greater or Lesser Spirit (known as the “patron spirit”).

Categories of Bonded Items

Arcane Bonds – amulets, rings, wands, rods, staves or the similar.
Divine Bonds – holy symbols, amulets, rings or the similar that are dedicated to a deity.
Armor Bonds – armor, shields, bracers or robes
Weapon Bonds – weapons
Sundry Bonds – any worn or held item, such as rings, amulets, boots, gloves, robes, cloaks, belts, goggles, crowns, headbands, bracers, etc.

Bonding with a Legendary Item

  • Bonding with the item occurs when the mortal infuses an essence into the item and beats the DC with a Will save. If the Will save fails, the essence also fails to imbue the item and is discharged. To bond with any item, it must be held or worn in the appropriate manner.
  • Bonding can only be attempted once per character level.
  • Bonding with a Curio is a DC10.
  • Bonding with a Wonder is a DC15.
  • Bonding with a Relic is a DC25.
  • If a Wonder or Relic is currently bonded to another mortal, the DC increases by the other mortal’s Will Save Bonus.
  • If the patron spirit opposes the bonding to a Relic, the DC is increased by 15.
  • If the patron spirit blesses the bonding to a Relic, the DC is decreased by 10.

Breaking a Bond with a Legendary Item

  • Breaking a bond can only be attempted once per character level.
  • Breaking a bond with a Wonder or Relic is a DC25 Will Save plus 5 per essence imbued to the Wonder.

Miscellaneous Rules

  • Without bonding, a mortal could still use a Legendary Item and get the benefits of imbued essences, unless otherwise noted with “(Bonded Only)”.
  • Without boding, a mortal cannot imbue any essences to a Legendary Item.
  • Regardless of bonding, a mortal using a Relic without the blessing of patron spirit will be harm by the Relic.
  • Destroying a Wonder or Relic will harm a mortal or immortal that has bonded with the item.
  • A character can have 1 bonded item plus and additional bonded item per 4 levels for a maximum of 6 bonded items.

Magical Essence Rules


Types of Essences

Essences come in different forms and can be extracted from defeated enemies or magical items. The forms are life, elemental, ethereal and arcane and ethereal.

Life essences can originate from any living creature. A creature with a mortal soul increases the chance. A more powerful creature also increases the chance. So, a 15th level NPC is much more likely to have one than a goblin. The chance for a life essence is 5% per HD. Anything under 1 HD is 0%.

Elemental essences can come from Outsiders or some Constructs , as well as, from magical items that have previously been imbued with such an essence. The chance for an elemental essence is 25% plus 5% per HD. Anything under 1 HD is 0%.

Ethereal essences can come from Dragons, Fey, Magical Beasts, and certain Humanoids & Monstrous Humanoids imbued with magic; such as an Orc Sorcerer. Additionally, magical items will have ethereal essences, hence the reason the item is magical. So, if no one wants the magical boots, a character can always attempt to extract it and use it for another purpose. The chance for an ethereal essence from a creature is 80% plus 1% per HD. Anything under 1 HD is 0%. There can be 1 ethereal essence for every 2 HD of the creature, minimum 1 essence possible. The chance for an ethereal essence from a magic item is 80% plus 1% per CL of that item. There can be 1 ethereal essence for every CL of that item. So, a Fey with 6 HD could give up to a possible 3 ethereal essences, and boots of speed could give up to a possible 5 ethereal essences.

Arcane essences can come from any casting NPC or from a magical item. These essences are attuned to a particular school of magic; i.e. Alteration, Divination, Evocation, etc. The chance for an arcane essence from a caster is 25% plus 5% per HD. Anything under 1 HD is 0%. The chance for an arcane essence from a magical item is 25% plus 5% per CL for that item. Any arcane essence obtained from an item decreases the number of ethereal essences for that item by 1.

Identifying Essences

To determine if an essence exists, a character must succeed at a Spellcraft check. There is a base DC that is increased based on the level of the being, the level of spell used to imbue it, the level of the wielder… depending on what applies to the target of your extract spell. I’ll provide the DC before you roll. The DC is 10 + HD.

Extracting Essences

To extract an essence, a spell caster must cast a spell from the Essence line listed below or a ritual. Life essences must be extracted within 1 round per 2HD (2 rounds minimum) of death of the being. Other essences have a little more time, but not something you could do after memorizing the spell. You would need to keep this spell available. Essences from items can be extracted any time. For example, if you find a +1 shortbow and no one wants to use it, you could at any time, cast extract essence to pull out its magic.

[LIST SPELLS]

You can extract any essences from a living being by beating a Spellcraft check that is equal to 30 + HD. You extract essences from consumable items by beating a Spellcraft check that is equal to 15 + CL. An ethereal essence from a consumable imbued by a caster grants the caster an extra spell slot for that day. The spell must be the same as the spell from that scroll/potion. Failure destroys the consumable. That is, you can’t get an arcane divination essence from a scroll of identify. You can extract any essences from a magical item (non-consumable) by beating a Spellcraft check that is equal to 15 + CL. If the item is in the possession of an unwilling being, the DC is the same as extracting it from that being.

Imbuing Essences

Essences may be imbued into an artifact or into a person. To imbue an essence, a character must hold the essence and the artifact, then roleplay the imbuing process. This is all fluff and fun.

Life essences

Life essences must be imbued in a fairly short amount of time. Say, an hour. There is no major rush, but it can’t sit there for days on end. Other essences can be stored for future use.

Imbue Self (unlimited)

  • Bonus Spells Known/Recalled: 1 ethereal essence per spell level
  • Bonus Feat: 1 life essence per feat
  • Competence Bonus (skills): 1 ethereal essence per +5, compounding
  • DC Bonus (school): 1 arcane essence per +1
  • Energy Resistance: 1 elemental essence per +5
  • Untyped Bonus (Ability Score): 1 life essence per +1
  • Natural Armor Bonus (AC): ethereal essence per +1, compounding
  • Resistance Bonus (saves): ethereal essence per +1, compounding
  • Spell Resistance: 2 ethereal essence (any) for 5+Lvl SR, 4 additional ethereal essences for 10+Lvl SR, auto-pass for beneficial spells.

Imbue Armor (20-25 essence limit)

  • Enhancement Bonus (AC):
    ….1 ethereal essence for +1
    ….2 additional ethereal essences for +2 (total of 3 EE’s)
    ….3 additional ethereal essences for +3 (total of 6 EE’s)
    ….4 additional ethereal essences for +4 (total of 10 EE’s)
    ….5 additional ethereal essences for +5 (total of 15 EE’s)
  • Armor Special Ability: 1 ethereal essence per +1 value
    ….Levels 1-5: 5 essences towards abilities
    ….Levels 6-10: 6 essences towards abilities
    ….Levels 11-15: 8 essences towards abilities
    ….Levels 16-20: 10 essences towards abilities

Imbue Weapon (20-25 essence limit)

  • Enhancement Bonus (Atk&Dam):
    ….1 ethereal essence for +1
    ….2 additional ethereal essences for +2 (total of 3 EE’s)
    ….3 additional ethereal essences for +3 (total of 6 EE’s)
    ….4 additional ethereal essences for +4 (total of 10 EE’s)
    ….5 additional ethereal essences for +5 (total of 15 EE’s)
  • Weapon Special Ability: 1 ethereal essence per +1 value
    ….Levels 1-5: 4 essences towards abilities
    ….Levels 6-10: 6 essences towards abilities
    ….Levels 11-15: 8 essences towards abilities
    ….Levels 16-20: 10 essences towards abilities

Imbue Arcane/Divine Item (unlimited)

  • Spells: 1 essence per 10 spell levels of casting per “day”, must be high enough level to cast spell; (The Bright Tower Campaign)
  • Lesser Metamagic Rod Effect: 1 ethereal essence per spell level increase of the effect
  • Metamagic Rod Effect: 2 ethereal essence per spell level increase of the effect
  • Greater Metamagic Rod Effect: 3 ethereal essence per spell level increase of the effect

Imbue Wondrous Item (unlimited)

  • Deflection Bonus (AC): 1 ethereal essence per +1, compounding
  • Insight Bonus (any): 1 ethereal essence per +1, compounding
  • Luck Bonus (any): 1 ethereal essence per +1, compounding
  • Morale Bonus (any, except Str, Dex or Con): 1 ethereal essence per +1, compounding
  • Spell/Feat/Etc. Effect:
    ….1 ethereal essence: up to 2,000 gp
    ….2 ethereal essence: 2,001 to 8,000 gp
    ….3 ethereal essence: 8,001 to 16,000 gp
    ….4 ethereal essence: 16,000 to 32,000 gp
    ….+1 ethereal essence: per 16,000 gp over 32,000 gp

Secondary Effects

The GM, in his discretion, increases the items powers and abilities when an essence is imbued to an item. The GM considers the character’s level, character flavor, and the player’s wishes; then decides on something that thematically makes sense and is (hopefully) balanced.


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Arcana - Essences

Talanor, the Bright Tower Valjoen Valjoen