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I'm confused about what level of Prime is required to use Tass in the Mage 20th Anniversary Edition rules.

In the main rulebook the following statements are made:

M20 Rulebook:

  • p 332: "To absorb Quintessence energy from the materialized Quintessence of Tass requires Prime 3."

  • p 520: Prime 1 sphere description says: "A beginning study of Prime allows the mage to perceive and channel Quintessence from Nodes, Tass, ..."

  • p 520: Prime 3 sphere description says: "... the Prime-skilled mage can draw both free and raw Quintessence from Nodes, Junctures (special times) and Tass ..."

How do you DO That Rulebook says:

  • pp. 43-45: "Any mage with an Avatar Background can absorb that Background's worth of Quintessence from a Node or Tass ..."

First off - are there ways to use Tass other than absorbing the Quintessence into your pattern? Can you spend Tass to gain Quintessence effects like lowering the difficulty of a roll without absorbing it into your pattern?

And with regard to what levels of Prime are required to do these things, I can see support for any of these positions:

  1. You don't need any Prime at all to absorb Quintessence from Tass into your pattern, as "Any mage with an Avatar Background" can do it (How do you DO That pp. 43-45)
  2. You need Prime 1, as the description for that sphere says Prime 1 allows you to channel Quintessence from Tass. (M20 p. 520)
  3. You need Prime 3, as that is stated on M20 p. 332 and p. 520 explicitly

I have reviewed other answers at: How does the Prime Sphere affect gaining and storing Quintessence in M20? but it left me more confused than enlightented.

From a gameplay perspective, requiring Prime 3 to use Tass seems to defeat much of the purpose of Tass - as it can't be readily exchanged between mages as portable Quintessence unless they have Prime 3.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi deadcode, welcome to rpg.se! Always nice to see network users joining our site. Take the tour for the usual badge if you haven't already. Happy gaming! \$\endgroup\$ – linksassin May 29 '20 at 6:00
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First off - are there ways to use Tass other than absorbing the Quintessence into your pattern? Can you spend Tass to gain Quintessence effects like lowering the difficulty of a roll without absorbing it into your pattern?

Yes. To use tass — to draw the Quintessence out of it and destroy its physical form for a single use — takes Prime 1. To absorb tass — bringing that Quintessence into your pattern for later use — takes Prime 3. (That's in the sidebar on page 332 of the M20 Core.) The "any mage with an Avatar background" piece in HDYDT refers to the capacity to absorb Quintessence, not the ability to do so. (Someone with Prime could put Quintessence into you, for example, or you could meditate at a Node to collect more.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks! The distinction between capacity and ability helps me understand this quite a bit better. \$\endgroup\$ – deadcode Jun 8 '20 at 3:42

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