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.
  • At 1st, 3rd, 5th, 9th, 14th & 20th level, a character may bond with an additional item, provided that the character has found or created a suitable item of masterwork quality.

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%. 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.

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.

Primal 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 spell level of effect 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 3 ethereal essences.

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 and then perform a Spellcraft Check beating the applicable DC, if required. Life essences must be extracted from the corpse within 1 round per 2HD (2 rounds minimum) of death of the being. Other types essences have a little more time, but not something a caster could do after memorizing a spell. The caster would need to keep a spell from the Essence Extraction line available.

Corpses – cast appropriate spell and auto success
Consumables – cast appropriate spell and beat a Spellcraft check that is equal to 15 + CL of the creator. 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 may only have one such essence at any given time.
Curios – cast appropriate spell and beat a Spellcraft check that is equal to 15 + CL of the creator. If the item is in the possession of an unwilling being, the DC is 30 + CL of the creator. Certain circumstances may prohibit extraction; such as disintegration, massive damage, etc. Failure may result in damage to an area around the caster.
Unbonded Wonders – cast appropriate spell and beat a Spellcraft check that is equal to 15 + highest HD of mortal creature previously bonded.
Bonded Wonders – cast appropriate ritual to unbind the wonder and complete extraction as unbounded Wonder. Alternatively, cast appropriate spell and beat a Spellcraft check that is equal to 30 + highest HD of mortal creature ever bonded.
Unbonded Relics – cast appropriate ritual to strip the blessing of the spirit and complete extraction as unbounded Wonder or Curio as appropriate.
Mortal Bonded Relics – cast appropriate ritual to strip the blessing of the spirit and complete extraction as bonded Wonder.
Spirit Bonded Relics – cast appropriate ritual to unbind the relic from the spirit and complete extraction as an unbonded Wonder. Alternatively, destroy the spirit and complete extraction as an unbonded Wonder
Mortal Beings – cast appropriate spell.

Essence Extraction Line of Spells

Extract Essence (All Casters 0) – Touch the corpse of a dead mortal being or an unattended Curio or consumable to extract all essences.
Blood Sacrifice (Divine Casters 2) – Create a Blood Ruby used as material components in spells.
Devour Essence (Full Caster 2) – As Extract Essence, except with an extended range.
Niyut’s Endless Hunger (Oracle 2) – As Extract Essence, except with an immediate action from close range.
Disenchant (Oracle 4) – Strip an attended Curio or Wonder or a mortal creature that is imbued with an Arcane, Elemental, or Ethereal Essence of one such essence.
Swallow Soul (Oracle 5) – Extract a mortal creature’s inherent Life Essence killing them instantly at close range.
Greater Disenchant (Oracle 6) – Strip an attended Curio or Wonder or a mortal creature that is imbued with an Arcane, Elemental, or Ethereal Essence of multiple essences.
Niyut’s Maw of the Void (Oracle 7) – Extract several mortal creatures’ inherent Life Essences killing them instantly.
Sunder the Ether (Oracle 8) – Strip a mortal creature of all Arcane, Primal, and Ethereal Essences it possesses whether those Essences are naturally occurring or imbued from medium range.
The Black Word of Niyut (Oracle 9) – Extract a mortal creature’s inherent Life Essence killing them instantly at medium range.

Imbuing Essences

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

Imbue Self (unlimited)

  • Bonus Spells Known/Recalled: 1 ethereal essence per spell level (Spontaneous Caster Only)
  • 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 air, earth, fire or water essence per +5
  • Fast Healing: 1 blood essence per +1
  • Damage Reduction: 1 bone essence per +2, compounding; adamantine overcomes
  • Negative Energy Resistance: 1 death 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 Bond (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 Bond (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 Bond (unlimited)

  • Spells: 1 ethereal essence per level of the spell to be added; the spell must be on the character’s class’s spell list and the character must be high enough level to cast spell; grants 10 spell levels of casting per “day”, i.e. 10 casts of 1st level spell, 5 casts of 2nd level spell, 3 casts of 3rd level spell; 2 casts of 4th/5th level spell; 1 cast of 6th/7th/8th/9th level spell.
  • 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 Sundry Bond (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, may increase 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. Secondary effects for Life Essences will improve as the character imbues more of Life Essences.


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Arcana - Essences

Talanor, the Bright Tower Valjoen Valjoen