By Moe Lane


Well, perhaps it would be better if we started with what was the intended function for this device. It was a fairly simple notion: Essence is the ultimate holdout weapon, so finding some way to drain it from people would be useful, right? Especially when one has to keep the holder alive and (futilely) kicking for a while. Will-Shackles and Impudites each have their points, but the first is expensive and the second are untrustworthy. - besides, the idea is to have something that couldn't be resisted, period.

That was the intent - and, indeed, Spigots more or less accomplish the above. However, there are several problems.

Surprisingly, the fact that the original design was Vaputech is not one of them. Spigots don't randomly explode, implode, turn the user bright plaid, eat through everything except tapioca pudding, violate the space-time continuum (well, maybe a little, but not so you'd notice) or do anything similarly obnoxious. The design is, in fact, elegant: one simply acquires a helpless or unconscious target, attach the relic to his or her forehead, affix the attached tube into their own navel and turn the spigot. Out comes the Essence (1 per round), no fuss, no muss, no spoilage. True, it looks a little tacky (or at least looks like a really odd fetish), but that's not the relic's fault.

No, the first problem is that it doesn't work on anything that lacks Symphonic Awareness. This makes it impossible to use on regular humans: in fact, using it on a regular human (or on any entity that is currently out of Essence) will result in the user losing all of his or her Essence to his or her "victim". Excess Essence is turned into Disturbance (at the rate of 5 points per note of Essence wasted). This is not the fault of the relic: the documentation clearly warns about this.

Second, while the device can be used on an unconscious entity, they'll still feel subconsciously violated - and that flavors the Essence. For every note drained, the user will acquire an appropriate Discord (Fear and Angry, usually - though Lustful happens more often than anyone likes to think about)/1. This will last for at a day (or until the note is used). Again, the documentation convincingly proves that this is an unavoidable side effect of the process.

Third, well, one cannot expect that any Essence drawn this way is going to reconstitute itself as neatly, correct? Of course not: indeed, the fact that 2 notes of Essence drawn through a spigot take up the metaphorical space of 3 'regular' notes is a triumph of Vapulan engineering. The documentation points out that the prototype had a 1:4 ratio, and that a 1:1 ratio is expected with the next generation of Spigots. There's even a free upgrade offer: just fill out the enclosed card.

Finally, most Impudites hate this relic: they've usually got a decent deal going by being mobile Essence batteries for their colleagues, and anything that might break this up is going to be viewed with deep suspicion. As a result, open possession of a Spigot is worth a -5 reaction from any Impudite (including Princes, incidentally). Admittedly, this is not openly stated in the documentation, but any intelligent observer would be able to work it out by the lack of Taker testimonial quotes, or by the fact that it's never been advertised on NTV.

All in all, there's no reason to kick and scream because the relic isn't perfect: one works with what one has, and Spigots are useful when properly operated. Besides, anyone who operates a celestial artifact without thoroughly going through the documentation first deserves everything that happens to them.

What do you mean, 'What documentation?'


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