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Power Overwhelming: The Powering of the Third Age

The Third Age is an age of wonders; automatic lights, underground transit systems, automotive vehicles, radio and television, irrigation and movable type. All of these things have been brought to the world over the past centuries - and all of them need to be powered. Coal and oil are almost nonexistant in Creation; only raids into Autochthon can acquire. Electricity and steam are more common, but still difficult to come by. However, there is a plentiful source of power for anyone who can tap it.


Essence powers the world, bubbling under the surface. It flows out of the Wyld, in nearly limitless amounts. All that is required to tap it is the right machinery.

Essence Shunts

The world is a different place, now. Over the centuries, the Shogunate tracked down Demenses, one by one. Each time they found one, they negotiated with the local spirits, installing specialized shunts that would allow them to divert the Essence flows; instead of placing a Manse, they simply diverting dozens or hundreds of Demenses into single locations using Shunts. In modern times, over half of the world Demenses have been tapped in this way.

An Essence Shunt is a small piece of jade and adamant; no more than a metre across. They are usually buried in the ground or carefully attached to the bottom of a river, lake, or sea. An area with an Essence Shunt is no longer considered to have a Demense for most purposes. Shunts do not create Hearthstones, although they can be attuned to; being attuned to and in physical proximity to a Shunt allows you to regain (Shunt level x2) motes of Essence per hour.

Essence Reactors

Every village, town, and city has at least one Essence reactor; they are the power plants that transform the free Essence of the Shunts into a concentrated form. As a rule, a single reactor can provide power for anywhere from a thousand people up to a quarter of a million, depending on its size. Most major cities have numerous Essence reactors; as many as ten reactors can dot the landscape of larger cities. Reactors are generally safe, but any mishaps can be disasterous; thousands of motes of Essence flow through them every hour, refined into a fairly volatile state. From the Reactors, specially created power lines, usually buried in the ground, carry Essence to houses and other buildings.

Essence Reactors require constant maintenance; at least one hour per day, which is usually done at low energy-drawing times. As a rule, general maintenance crews require only Crafts (Essence Engines) 2, Lore 2, and Occult 2 to work on them, but they must be directed by someone with scores of at least 4. Every day that no maintenance occurs, the reactor has a chance of developing a problem; roll one die the first die, and one more die for each day that follows. A success reduces the efficiency of the reactor by 10%; if five or more successes are rolled, the reactor is likely to explode.

Essence Resevoirs

Most cities produce more Essence than they need. Much of the extra production is simply not used, letting the reactors have more downtime to prevent problems, but some is diverted into reactors, containing concentrated Essence for use in emergencies.

As a rule, cities have about two hours of peak-time power on reserve in their resevoires. Some of it gets used each night when the reactors shut down, but most simply sits. This is not inherently dangerous, but if the resevoirs are breached, the resulting explosion could, in a major city, be comparable to the detonation of a Total Annhilation spell. Because of this, resevoirs are always kept outside of town, away from the civilian population.

Steam and Thunder

Not every city can afford Essence reactors; although they are efficient and inexpensive in the long run, they are a difficult thing to maintain and set up without the funds. These cities make do with small generators, running electrical or steam power. This power is gained in a variety of ways. Hydroelectric power is the most common source by far, allowing a small town to produce at least some power. A secondary source are lightning or fire spirits, who can sometimes be coaxed by the prayers of an entire community to power Essence generators with electricity or by powering steam engines. Failing that, however, these power sources cannot be easily used, and their existance remains rare in the Third Age.


Oil is a rare element. Although the seas of Autocthon remain swimming with it, they are difficult to tap; the only gates into that dead world lie within large Shadowlands, and the world itself is ruled by the Deathlords. This doesn't stop enterprising thieves from slipping in and out with this elixir of power, and oil thievery can be a profitable business. More commonly, the Deathlords themselves will set up trades, controlling the sources of oil that many smaller kingdoms, bereft of Essence shunts, need to survive. Oil burning functions exactly as it does in our world, and prices are usually high; the Deathlords enjoy spreading this deadly fuel, but demand good trade in exchange.


Just wondering if you've seen BrigandRansom/EssenceBattery, an Idea I kicked around with GregLink for a bit. Slightly overpowered, but I never got into any real solid crunch for them ~ BrigandRansom, trying to be helpful

Ooh, a neat concept. I don't think they'll be in general use (and therefore listed here), but I love that concept and will have to find a way to work it in somewhere. :D And thanks for input, it's always appreciated. :) - FrivYeti