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Each character has a spark that represents the essence of their life force. A character without a spark can't benefit from any healing effects including but not limited to alchemy, scrolls, potions or spells. This means that a fatally wounded character without a spark cannot be revived.
When a spark is stolen the character who has lost their spark is said to have been "reaped". A character can only hold one reaped spark at a time unless they have a special ability allowing them to carry more. If a character holding a reaped spark dies, it will release the spark back to the person originally holding it. After 60 minutes a reaped spark automatically returns to its owner.
Only mediums are able to see that a character has a stolen life-spark. To check for stolen sparks, the medium must be close enough to whisper out-of-character, “I am a medium, are you holding any sparks?”. The person being addressed must then out-of-character give the truthful answer.
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