In Shadowrun, a character's Essence is the statistic that essentially determines how the integrity of their spirit. As a general rule, it's fairly stable, and most everyday people and animals will have it at a stable 6. As a hard rule, it will never return to its original value once it goes down- even if the conditions that lowered it in the first place are removed.

The most common ways to affect the attribute are through cybernetic implantations- minor surgery and implantation, such as a datajack or cybernetic eyes, is minimal in effect, but more invasive surgery, such as adding armored plates to your skin, lacing your skeletal system with a ceramic weave, or installation of an expert system that gives you inhuman reflexes, will give a significant hit to your Essence. The spirit can take a good deal of infiltration by the various auras of cybernetics, but push the number to zero or below and *poof*! it kicks out and you're left with a dead hunk of metal and flesh. Best get out a new character sheet...

In the case of mages and shamans, though, Essence is a significant number- not only is it directly linked to their capacity to use magic, it also determines their abilities to stay in the astral plane. As such, very few magicians have cyberware, and even those that do have very minimal implantations.

Paranormal beings sometimes have Essence, but some don't. Stereotypically "pure" beings like unicorns have the stat as high as 8, while harpies often have it at 4. Inhabitants of the astral plane will have an Essence stat equal to their Force, as strong spirits have more presence than their weaker kin.

Es"sence (?), n. [F. essence, L. essentia, formed as if fr. a p. pr. of esse to be. See Is, and cf. Entity.]


The constituent elementary notions which constitute a complex notion, and must be enumerated to define it; sometimes called the nominal essence.


The constituent quality or qualities which belong to any object, or class of objects, or on which they depend for being what they are (distinguished as real essence); the real being, divested of all logical accidents; that quality which constitutes or marks the true nature of anything; distinctive character; hence, virtue or quality of a thing, separated from its grosser parts.

The laws are at present, both in form and essence, the greatest curse that society labors under. Landor.

Gifts and alms are the expressions, not the essence of this virtue [charity]. Addison.

The essence of Addison's humor is irony. Courthope.


Constituent substance.

And uncompounded is their essence pure. Milton.


A being; esp., a purely spiritual being.

As far as gods and heavenly essences Can perish. Milton.

He had been indulging in fanciful speculations on spiritual essences, until . . . he had and ideal world of his own around him. W. Irving.


The predominant qualities or virtues of a plant or drug, extracted and refined from grosser matter; or, more strictly, the solution in spirits of wine of a volatile or essential oil; as, the essence of mint, and the like.

The . . . word essence . . . scarcely underwent a more complete transformation when from being the abstract of the verb "to be," it came to denote something sufficiently concrete to be inclosed in a glass bottle. J. S. Mill.


Perfume; odor; scent; or the volatile matter constituting perfume.

Nor let the essences exhale. Pope.


© Webster 1913.

Es"sence, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Essenced (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Essencing (?).]

To perfume; to scent.

"Essenced fops."



© Webster 1913.

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