At which point does growing plants require quintessence

In Mage the Ascension 20th Anniversary edition you need quintessence to create things from nothing. With the life sphere 3 dots (+ prime 2 dots) you can create simple life (including plants) with a point of quintessence (page 516-517 in Mage the Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition core rulebook).

With 2 dots the page 516 states:
Although he can’t yet transmute them into other states of being, he can cause flowers to bloom or wither, help trees bear fruit, and so on.
"Help a tree bear fruit" seems to imply that some limited growth also works without spending quintessence.

In the case of simple lifeforms like moss or funghi them blooming would just mean that there is more of it there afterwards since those plants mostly only grow larger.

My question is, at which point of growth would you have to use quintessence to make the plant grow larger if you use a Life 2 dot spell to bloom a patch of moss for example.

Is there precedent for this in a rulebook or is it just based on storyteller discretion?

If someone is under the effect of microcosm, does putting the physical body in quintessence affect their dream world?

Does putting someone’s physical body in quintessence, thus removing them from the time stream, also remove them from the dream demiplane their mind was sent to by Microcosm?

The point of this is to see if we can separate the mind and body and use Dream Travel to go to the dream created by Microcosm, with the body of the dreamer safely stored in Quintessence.

All of this assumes that Microcosm does create a dream demiplane, which by RAW may be dubious. But if it does, cheap pocket plane with better time traits we could otherwise get. Downside: dealing with monsters of the dream world might suck. Upside, pretty hard to get there if you’re not a creature related to dreams.

Spending Quintessence per Turn

I got the Dark Ages: Mage rulebook and it seems to have a confusing rule regarding the spending of Quintessence. In page 99 it says:

Assuming a caster can spend up to three points of Quintessence per turn, he may do so on a single casting to lower the difficulty of a given spell by one per point expended, to a minimum difficulty of 4. (Spending more than two Quintessence points per turn requires the Fount Background; see pp. 86-87)

What does this mean?

  1. There is a mistake in the text and you can use 2 pts/turn (or whatever Fount gives you)?
  2. You can spend 2 pts/turn (or more if you have Fount) but is limited to a maximum of 3 pts/turn, even if Fount gives you 4 pts/turn?

In the second case, the Fount Background does not make sense in level 3 or higher, because you cannot spend more than 3 pts/turn. So, what I’m missing here?

What spheres are required to turn a living person’s health into a point of usable Tass or Quintessence?

I believe Mage: the Ascension has artifacts that can be used as weapons. Each level of health destroyed by these knives is converted into a point of Quintessence.

If a group of mages were to use some kind of awakened magic – possibly a ritual – to enact a similar attack, the attack might benefit from the use of some level of Correspondence. Correspondence would allow a ritual group to target some potential victim far away.

The spheres of Life and Prime would be necessary to destroy at least one level of the target’s life and to convert it into Tass or Quintessence. Depending on interpretations of rules, the life-force might form into lumps of Tass that would stay in the victim’s body, or perhaps the Quintessence could be leeched back to the casters.

Many years ago, in 1st edition Mage: the Ascension, I knew a Storyteller who ruled that this type of spell was easy. That storyteller claimed that this type of work would just require Life 3 Prime 3, and that each success would cause a level of the victim’s health to be transferred to the caster’s Quintessence pool.

However, as time went on, various critics decried the original spell as overpowered. Some critics claimed that the spell should require Entropy. Other critics claimed that Prime could not tear the Quintessence out of any living pattern and return it in a usable form. Some of these criticisms may have been based on printed rules that were released long after 1993.

Even if this type of spell is legal according to rules-as-written, many World-of-Darkness fans would probably hate it because it allows mages to upstage vampires. If a mage can use a life-draining attack, like a vampire, the players who invested time in vampire characters are likely to object.