We have an NPC Shamanic Talismonger in our game that is a Mana Storm chaser. He disappears into the desert for weeks at a time, but always comes back with plenty of reagents which the PCs love.
Last week his risky lifestyle finally caught up to him (two very bad rolls to see where he was and how he was doing). At the confluence of a Mana Storm and a Fovea his spirit was torn from his body which was reduced to nearly 0 Essence and stripped of magical ability [thanks for the note: T.J.L.]; the rest of his team was dead.
The PCs found him barely alive (sunburnt, encrusted in sand) and got him home (live-in street doc) and housed in long term care. Now they are scouring the Astral (and even have allied free spirits scouring metaplanes) to see if his spirit survived.
I'm scrambling to find info for the next session about whether or not it's possible to restore his Essence, and what the PCs can do to help him find his way back to his body. Will they need to use a ritual similar to the one used to make a cyber-zombie? If they could restore his Essence before they do that would his shamanic ability be restored as well?
I want to know what the books say (SR5 preferably), if anything. The information I have read is quite scattered and I can't tell if I'm remembering rules from previous editions.
My SR game set in 2078 in PCC (Phoenix area). I've spent a lot of time building up the fact that Magic is getting stronger by the year. If there are any "untested theories" that I've missed in the books my group might try to make one or two of them reality next week.