Essence Shaping

    The world of Narosia is steeped in a magical energy known as essence. Although essence is intricately intertwined with the physical world it is not of this world. Rather, it is a product of the realm of the spirit. Essence permeates all things, living and unliving alike, and can alter the very fabric of physical reality. Its effects are wide ranging, from the logic defying flight of dragons to the fantastic spells shaped by wizards.
    Those who learn to consciously harness the power of essence to create supernatural effects are called spellshapers. There are many types of spellshapers in Narosia, as all creatures are capable of manipulating essence. Adepts are those shapers trained to manipulate and shape it according to rote patterns. Mages are skilled Adepts possessed of Essence Touch, and thus able to feel the essence flows and command greater control of them.
    Potential and skill however are very different things. Learning to shape spells requires specialized training and a singular determination. While in theory any narosian with dedication and means may learn to shape spells, only a relative few are truly able.

Essence: The Source of Magic 

    Essence is the energy that allows magic to exist. There are two primary sources of essence on Narosia; ambient essence and personal essence.
    Ambient Essence is essence that flows freely in the ether of the universe. The concentration of its power varies from place to place and since the Age of Darkness its quality varies as well. In locations where acts of great evil took place, or a particularly Dark creature dwelt, the ambient essence may have been corrupted and transformed into Dark Essence.
    Inherent Essence is found in the spirit of every living thing, from simple plants to the sentient races. The spirits of these beings act as essence vessels, each one containing a limited amount of concentrated essence. By drawing out personal essence and then shaping it with specialized formulas, one can create supernatural effects in the physical world. This technique of drawing and shaping essence is called spellshaping.

Spellshaping Methodology

    The Aetaltan Empire developed the method of spellshaping commonly used in the Sea of Tears basin. Often referred to as Aetaltan Magery or simply Spellshaping, it is scientific and formulaic, utilizing well-documented techniques to create specific, repeatable results. Each spell is carefully researched and perfected until it allows for the most efficient creation of the appropriate effect with the least amount of danger to the shaper.
    Other methods of manipulating essence have been used in the Sea of Tears basin in the past. A few of these, like runeforming, are even in practice to this day. In general, however, the aetaltan spellshaping technique is the magical standard, and few adepts or mages work outside of its well-developed techniques.

The Basics

    To simply shape spells one need only exert one’s will, attempting to shape the ambient essence and create the desired effect. Not unlike swinging a sword or shooting a bow, anyone can do this. Likewise, it is not possible to shape spells in a safe, reliable, and efficient manner without some training and talent. While uncommon, many adventurers learn a spell or two to complement their skills, relying on a little extra time and focus to produce minor, yet useful effects.
    To be a true spellshaper you need to learn the Essence Shaping skill, create a personal focus, and then learn spells via the Spell Familiarity skill.
    The personal focus, while not required, serves as a tool to increase the amount of essence the shaper can shape. It is a requirement for learning the Essence Shaping skill, as the increased reliabilty in the use of the skill is essential to its practice. Personal foci range from staves to rods and swords to jewelry. Each is unique to the shaper and all have subtle advantages.  
    The act of spellshaping is an exercise in efficiency. The Essence Shaping skill determines whether or not the spell may draw on Ambient Essence to power the effect, or require the shaper to spend personal energy, drawing on Inherent Essence temporarily or possibly draining it for longer term, an effect known as Essence Drain.