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Please help me understand how essence works.  I know that when you start you have x amount of essence.  Then you use it to make creations and to strengthen them.  As I understand the game text, the only way to get more essence is to absorb all your creations.  This doesn't make sense to me.  As the shaper's skills and knowledge increase, surely there's a way for the total available essence to also increase?  I never played any of the other geneforge games, and I admit I still don't really get the overall concept, but I'm giving it a go with this newest game.  

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Essence is (kind of) like the seating capacity in your car.  At any particular point in time it's a fixed size/maximum that you can have.  You get more maximum essence whenever you level up & you can increase that by buying, with skill points, essence mastery.  So leveling up a few levels is like going from a sedan to a minivan, instead of four passengers you now can carry six.

 

Your creations each take 'x' amount of essence to create/keep alive (depending on the different abilities you give them).  Having creations is having them take up passenger space in your vehicle.  So, in a sedan, instead of having four spots available, if you have a couple of creations, you only have enough essence/room for up to two more creations/passengers.  If, because it's spring, you need to haul home a few bags of mulch for your flowerbeds, if there's room in the back seat for the mulch, great.  If there isn't then you may need/want to kick out/absorb a creation to create enough maximum essence/room for the mulch.  Once the mulch is home/the need of the extra essence available is passed, you can always go pick up/remake the creation that you left at the garden center.  Otherwise, you do some quests, kill a few monsters, etc & level up/go buy the minivan which gives you room for both your creations & the mulch.

 

Not an exact comparison (as there are nuances in both creation making & vehicle shopping...), but hopefully it helped a bit.

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