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.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Do not answer in comments. Answer in answers. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Mar 18, 2016 at 23:00

3 Answers 3


There are only 3 ways to regain Essence in the rules (AFAIK, I don't own e.g. Hard Targets yet):

  • Revitalisation (Chrome Flesh), which only works if there are implants/essence holes form implants and it does not allow you to regain your magical abilities.
  • Essence Drain: This would require the to become a vampire or or being a mystic blood magic adept with magic left using Power Bleed, which would allow doubling the current essence (temporarily) and drain more Essence than necessary to regain access to the magic... (Run Faster, p. 151, Magic and Essence)
  • Renfield (Sail Away, Sweet Sister): A drug that can restore the essence up to the same maximum as Essence Drain, is created by vampires for their pawns and also gives you Essence Loss. Also it doesn't provide any rules for regaining magic.

None of these alternatives seem to be reasonable...

"Fixing" the Plot?

You've already created a new astral phenomenon that is different from other astral phenomenons. (All that is mentioned in the Street Grimoire that is Essence related is how mundane characters handle astral rifts, but this doesn't involve Essence loss; The most likely outcome would be "ongoing stun damage" and eventually death when the unconcious mage can't return to his body). Therefore it's up to you to determine the exact effects. Just figure out some explanation why this seemed to be Essence loss due to the analysis of the awakened PCs / the street doc, ect. and use the whole situation as a plot hook.

  • A highly experienced NPC mage could know a ritual, but he needs some special item to do perform it / must be persuaded / blackmailed / ...
  • The street doc could finally realizes the talismonger's body is brain-dead, but the talismonger's spirit has somehow survived as free spirit. Now the runners have to hunt down the confused spirit of their friend, persuade him to return to his body and find someone who can teach him how to use his old body as a vessel.
  • The spirit has been trapped in the meta planes and a astral quest is required to free him. Some effect of the mana storm increased the time the spirit can remain outside of his body...
  • If everything else fails, use CFD-like solution to write the mind of the talismonger back to his body. There have been allusions to this possibility in the 5th edition (Data Trails(Body Hunt), Chrome Flesh(E-Loading) and Boston Lockdown). A MegaCorp could use the opportunity to test some E-Loading prototype and also use the opportunity to demand a price for this (run(s), becoming an informer, ...) and the outcome may a version of their friend with mental issues (including actually becoming CFD infected).

While this answer might be a bit late...

Ruling that the event counted as an initiation ordeal, and that he aquired the Astralnaut metamagic would have meant the party had (Magicx2 + Initiation Grade) days to find where ever his Astralform ended up, and let it know where his body was being kept alive.


A blood spirit with endowment could give someone the energy drain essence power to regain essence.

The uses of vessel trading is up in the air to. Get a spirit to trade a mystic blood adept with power bleed into the body and he could use a vampires essences drain.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you give some references: what book and pages you found those information in SR5? \$\endgroup\$
    – Sava
    Dec 30, 2018 at 19:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Given the effects of the Drug Renfield (Sail Away Sweet Sister p 32), a GM could easily rule that temporarily acquiring Drain (Essence) that way would still net the runner the Essence Loss weakness. Nothing is free in the sixth world, chummer. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 1, 2022 at 2:51

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