by A Concerned Tyro

Essence Harvesting

Cost: 1000
Gain proficiency in Essence Harvesting. Typically individual skills (Arcana, Nature, Survival…) cover different domains in which essence occurs, but this skill represents specialized pragmatic knowledge in regards to essence.

I have learned the script most commonly used by people of this land to pen this work that I hope will assist my fellow members of greater humanity. From my native lands of the Rhine I have had great experience in the collection and trade of magical power, though known there by a different name. This I share with you in the firm belief that if all peoples from all different worlds shared their unique knowledge, that together we could achieve prosperity together.

In simple terms. Solid essence is a most valuable commodity. Potent spells and enchanted goods require essence. Most solid essence seems to come in one of six natures, although I suspect a seventh and eight given that the universe has a sense of balance.

These are the four elements: fire, water, earth, and wind. As well as essence associated with life and the natural world. Most potent is essence of Order, associated with what people here call Law. Given these last two I suspect, though have not personally seen, essence inclined towards decay and chaos. Perhaps there are more, but if so they must be exceedingly rare as neither myself nor those who have spoken with me have mentioned them.

Finding essence is a dangerous task, but there are simple techniques to gain great wealth. Keep these in mind:

  • the bodies of strange beasts
  • remnants of rare or occult events
  • spontaneous generation at places of power and along ley lines

In regards to magical creatures, many of them have solid essence that can be extracted. I would not suggest hunting the most dangerous of creatures, but offering your aid to traveling caravans or proud adventurers you can find yourself in the presence of more slain monsters than one might expect. Each creature presents a unique challenge, but lacking specific beastlore I have found success with the following.

Extract the heart, claws, eyes, and anything notable which makes a create stand out from mundane examples of its type.

Some claim that not all creatures may be used for essence, but I suspects that this reflects our ignorance in regards to the methods of harvesting those kinds. A fellow scavenger was convinced that manticores contained no essence, after having acquired many of their spines, only to discover that some seem to have power stored in the river.

In regards to magical events, I have unfortunately little to say. Just as every event is unique so too do the methods of profiting from them seem to be. I have had occasional success searching for the locations of lightning strikes or collecting driftwood and amber washed up by great storms. But for every tale of success there are tenfold tendays of wasted time spent tracking down nothing.

The final options for gathering essence is by far the most valuable, but also presents the most difficulties. Some places of power gather essence over time, much as a field yields a crop. It is from this phenomenon that we take the term “harvesting.” The most potent of these sources are obvious for all to see: volcanos spewing out the blood of mountains, eternal storms atop distant peaks, the deepest regions of the underworld. Many of these are perilous by their very nature, and often under the control of powerful forces who covet easy and reliable access to essence. Even small communities eagerly protect local legends of such places, for fear they would be taken by outsiders.

But there are much smaller places of power, oft overlooked, but a diligent traveler can gain a great fortune one penny at a time. Be on the lookout for any aspect of the terrain that stands out, even in the most minor degree. The first fruit from a strange orchard may yield a pittance of essence, or the flecks of gold along a small stream.