The 5th Element on the Classical Elemental Charts.

Also Known As: Ether, Void, and Soul
Quintessence is the scalar field introduced by cosmologists in an attempt to solve the biggest problem in cosmology today: Chemical elements and dark matter do not account for even half of the content of the observed universe. Different types of energy have been dominant during different epochs in the history of the universe. Matter causes the growth of the universe to decrease. The cosmological constant causes it to accelerate, while Quintessence is in between: it causes the expansion to accelerate but less rapidly than that of the cosmological constant. Currently the bulk of the universe is thought to be "dark energy" with the strange property of negative gravity; it repels rather than attracting bodies together. Einstein's equations of General Relativity means that the strength of a gravitational force is not just dependant on mass, but also on other sources of energy and on pressure. So how does Quintessence fit into this? Quintessence is one way that physicists believe they can produce a negative pressure. The true origins of this are not fully understood, however, one of the simplest models proposes a quantum field whose energy is varying so slowly that it looks like a constant vacuum energy. The major difference between quintessence and the vacuum energy, which is also a possible solution to the problem, is that the pressure produced by quintessence is considerably less negative than that of the vacuum energy. This means it does not accelerate the universe as strongly as vacuum energy does. At present the field theories and predictions of quintessence fit more accurately with the observational data than those of vacuum energy. However, it will ultimately be observational data that decides between the two.

Quintessence is a quantity and thing in the White Wolf storyteller game Mage: The Ascension, representing the basic building block of the universe.

A given mage may have a Quintessence score anywhere between 0 and 20. This is tracked on the same scale that paradox is, save going the other way. If your quintessence score should approach your paradox score, the paradox wins out. Essentially, you can never have more quintessence than 20-paradox.

A mage can hold as much quintessence as his avatar rating. He may also have on his person tass*, or solid quintessence. If the mage posesses the sphere Prime 1 or greater, he may hold more than his avatar rating in quintessence.

To regain quintessence, the mage can refuel his avatar by resting at a Node** (unrelated to E2 nodes). A Node is a natural wellspring of quintessence in the tapestry, caused either by a mage with Prime 5, strange geography, or apt timings (better known in this case as a Junction). With Prime 5, though, the mage can draw quintessence out of the natural wellspring of the tapestry.

A mage can use quintessence to strengthen his own magical effects, giving him a difficulty break on his effects. A mage may only spend an amount of quintessence equal to his avatar rating per turn, reducing the difficulty to a maximum of -3 from the original. Each point spent reduces the difficulty by one.

Quintessence can also be used to strengthen reality around the mage, acting as a counterspell of sorts, increasing the difficulty of another mage's effects. Unfortunately, most players don't use this fact, much to the chagrin of storytellers.

All in all, Quintessence is a nice addition to Mage: the Ascension, allowing for some creativity and a chance to break limits of a very troublesome system for most people to play in.

* - Tass is quintessence pooled into an object, often as result of being exposed to a node.
** - A Node is a natural physical wellspring of quintessence.

Quin*tes"sence (?), n. [F., fr. L. quinta essentia fifth essence. See Quint, and Essence.]


The fifth or last and highest essence or power in a natural body. See Ferment oils, under Ferment.


⇒ The ancient Greeks recognized four elements, fire, air, water, and earth. The Pythagoreans added a fifth and called it nether, the fifth essence, which they said flew upward at creation and out of it the stars were made. The alchemists sometimes considered alcohol, or the ferment oils, as the fifth essence.


Hence: An extract from anything, containing its rarest virtue, or most subtle and essential constituent in a small quantity; pure or concentrated essence.

Let there be light, said God; and forthwith light Ethereal, first of things, quintessence pure, Sprung from the deep. Milton.


© Webster 1913.

Quin*tes"sence, v. t.

To distil or extract as a quintessence; to reduce to a quintessence.

[R.] Stirling. "Truth quintessenced and raised to the highest power."

J. A. Symonds.


© Webster 1913.

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