I believe Mage: the Ascension has artifacts that can be used as weapons. Each level of health destroyed by these knives is converted into a point of Quintessence.

If a group of mages were to use some kind of awakened magic - possibly a ritual - to enact a similar attack, the attack might benefit from the use of some level of Correspondence. Correspondence would allow a ritual group to target some potential victim far away.

The spheres of Life and Prime would be necessary to destroy at least one level of the target's life and to convert it into Tass or Quintessence. Depending on interpretations of rules, the life-force might form into lumps of Tass that would stay in the victim's body, or perhaps the Quintessence could be leeched back to the casters.

Many years ago, in 1st edition Mage: the Ascension, I knew a Storyteller who ruled that this type of spell was easy. That storyteller claimed that this type of work would just require Life 3 Prime 3, and that each success would cause a level of the victim's health to be transferred to the caster's Quintessence pool.

However, as time went on, various critics decried the original spell as overpowered. Some critics claimed that the spell should require Entropy. Other critics claimed that Prime could not tear the Quintessence out of any living pattern and return it in a usable form. Some of these criticisms may have been based on printed rules that were released long after 1993.

Explicit question: Does 1st edition Mage: the Ascension allow Prime 3 and Life 3 to convert a target's life into Quintessence?

Side note: Even if this type of spell is legal according to rules-as-written, many World-of-Darkness fans would probably hate it because it allows mages to upstage vampires. If a mage can use a life-draining attack, like a vampire, the players who invested time in vampire characters are likely to object.


closed as unclear what you're asking by gatherer818, V2Blast, Maiko Chikyu, Mołot, Sdjz Apr 1 at 7:49

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This question depends too much what tradition you belong to. A Verbana could need spirit as to drain their life energy while a son of ether may use life and a virtual adept could use correspondence to create a channel for the energy to flow to their quintessence pool. As such I'm voting to close this question as too broad. \$\endgroup\$ – Maiko Chikyu Apr 1 at 5:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ I disagree with the following: A Verbana could need spirit as to drain their life energy while a son of ether may use life and a virtual adept could use correspondence to create a channel for the energy to flow to their quintessence pool. I don't believe spirit would be appropriate for a Verbena - possibly it might make sense for a Dreamspeaker. Also, any tradition could use Correspondence. One would not need to be a Virtual Adept to use Correspondence with this effect. \$\endgroup\$ – Long Apr 1 at 6:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ I meant that every tradition uses different spheres while doing something due to paradigm difference. \$\endgroup\$ – Maiko Chikyu Apr 4 at 8:23

Channeling Quintessence from a living being requires (only) Prime 5

MtA1E is less explicit than this than other versions - 2nd edition explicity lists this as a Prime 5 effect - but there's a Prime 4 effect called "Flames of Purification" that channels Quintessence directly from an object. This doesn't work on people, but the general description of 5 explains why - living being require Prime 5 to so be affected. Thus, Prime 5 is needed to get quintessence directly from living patterns (but no other spheres are needed, as you're directly absorbing the quintessence).

There are likely other ways to indirectly gain a similar effect. For example, as you only need Prime 4 to channel the quintessence from an object you could use Matter/Life to first make the creature into an object, then use Prime 4 to channel quintessence away from it.

Prime 3 explicitly does not allow you to channel "raw" quintessence - it only allows you to channel "free" quintessence (the stuff you channel from nodes), not "raw" quintessence (the stuff that makes up patterns). This is in the description of Prime 3. Life 3 doesn't change this - in fact, in MtA1E, Life 4 is needed to inflict direct damage with Life.

  • \$\begingroup\$ If the Thirsty Blade of Kali is at most an Arete 4 Wonder, it should not be able to do a Prime 5 effect. Likewise, its Prime effect is listed as 3, not 5. If channelling Quintessence out of a living thing is always Prime 5, was that rule invented after the Thirsty Blade of Kali was published? \$\endgroup\$ – Long Apr 2 at 7:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ The Thirsty Blade of Kali was (at least from your source) from a Revised sourcebook, so after the first edition OP asked about. I don't have Revised to check, but getting quintessence from a person requires prime 5 in both second edition and M20 as well. My guess is that it's the Blade of Kali that's simply too powerful for its listed arete (either because the spirits used as in-betweens do the soul-sucking work, or because the writers were simply wrong). \$\endgroup\$ – Danny Cuppen Apr 3 at 5:23

Various rotes published in the official rules indicate that only Prime 3 is required. One example follows:


Thirsty Blade of Kali (Arete 4, 11-point Fetish/Talisman) Each Thirsty Blade steals Vitality from its victim; the Quintessence released from the injury is passed on to the wielder. A *** Prime and **** Spirit effect delivers Strength + 1 aggravated damage and channels sacrificial Quintessence to a spirit at the rate of two points per success on the Arete roll... The spirit absorbs the Quintessence and passes part of it on to the mage...

Source - Tradition book: Euthanatos (Revised) p.63

Given Arete 4, one could drain health and convert it into Quintessence with all kinds of bells and whistles, including purifying most of its resonance. Given Arete 3, one could drain the unfiltered Quintessence, but the Storyteller would probably rule that the resonance of the victim would cause various types of "bad karma." The Euthanatos book explicitly deals with the details of Jhor.

  • \$\begingroup\$ It's a fetich/talisman, therefore the effect comes partially from the powering spirit inside the blade, thus the effect is not done eintirely by using the spheres, unless you count creating the Thirsty Blade part of the effect. While the effect would be doable with just summoning an appropriate spirit using Spirit 4 (or maybe any spirit, the purpose of the Prime 3 part is unclear AFAIK) and forcing it to do that, that would make quite a bit of enemies in the spirit world (either Astral or Spirit Wilds, depending on where you got it from). \$\endgroup\$ – sisima70 Jul 23 at 17:18

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