Imagine that the Garou or Fera were reduced to one Gnosis or Rage (pick one!) per week. If you want extra actions, or to fuel Gifts, or basically anything, you'd better space it out. Or don't spend them at all, if you have any intention of being a craftsman, because you need to spend some (a lot) for it.
Imagine your vampire characters had enough blood to keep them out of torpor, plus one point per week. You can have a ghoul, perhaps 2 if you're extra-stingy, but if you want to spend blood to pump stats or heal injuries, you can do that once a week (less if you have ghouls)--and if you have thaumaturgy or Disciplines that require blood, then sucks to be you.
Long story short; that's where we are. Under the current rules, Mage characters get one point of Quintessence per week, and a Node can provide one more--that's total, not per person, and our node is currently being shared among eight people (hell, no wonder people aren't motivated to defend it--I just gotta wonder, who would bother fighting to take it?)
If you haven't done the math, don't try--it just don't add up for us. That's not enough to feed a familiar, or to to really do much of anything--healing, certamen, countermagic... no. Crafting? LOL.
We can kick up a fuss about it, but I'm not terribly interested in giving Poobah more ways to nerf the Mage game (thus a private, if prepared, message and not a forum post), or we can just deal with it.
To begin with, "dealing with it" means the node is freakin' useless. We'll use it to gather up tass against hard times. Otherwise it's like an elephant to an African villager--quite precious, majestic, and beautiful in the abstract perhaps... but a useless, dangerous pain in the ass when you have to actually deal with the thing.
That, in turn, means you have to come up with the stuff on your own.
First, you gotta have Prime. That's the one that lets you manipulate quint in the first place. Once you've got your Prime....
*Heart's Blood: you can pull Quintessence out of your own body. This is ~not~ painless, and in fact it causes one level of damage per point (which can't be healed by magic), so most don't go beyond Bruised. Even so, one painful Quint a day is a whole sight better than one a week.
*Bond of Blood lets you transfer Quintessence between patterns, including from somone else's and into yours. This includes the power in a vampire's blood, a Shifter's Rage or Gnosis, a spirit's Essence, or another mage's Quintessence (except up to your Avatar rating--that much is yours for good and can't be taken. You can also break down some object--pour out an offering of wine, burn incense, or the like--and draw one point of Quint from that process, but that point has to go into an effect at the same time. A few caveats:
--Quintessence has Resonance, and that Resonance may not be pleasant. Use the Quintessence you stole from a vampire to heal someone, or the Quintessence that was once a Garou's Rage to calm someone down, and you'll find your difficulty going up a point for every point it goes down.
--Those others sorta like their reserves of energy, and they don't like some schmuck stealing it from them. If you steal a Shifter's spirit energy and they catch you--and, most likely, they will--we'll give you a proper funeral and most decidedly not avenge you.
--Some mages tend to use spirits like living batteries, catching them, siphoning off some Essence, and releasing them. Spirits tend to really, really not like this, and if they can't make their displeasure felt, they can often find someone to help. More than one mage has found out the hard way that the rat gaffling he drained because he was too lazy to do it a different way has about six hundred friends, or that the minor wave spirit just happens to be the child of a major ocean-lord.
*Lambs to the Slaughter: In short, sacrifice. You can do this as noted earlier by breaking, burning, pouring out, etc., an object of value (you still get one Quint that has to be used immediately). You can also do it with living things--a small animal will get you five, a large animal or human will get you ten, powerful animals like tigers or elephants will get you 15-25, and so on.
--Like anything else, this Quint will likely have some resonance of its own. There's a reason that sacrifices, from the Druidic to the Jewish, are done carefully and with ceremony; cruelty can taint the resonance.
--You can indeed sacrifice humans, and some humans will sacrifice themselves. However, if a human sacrifice is not willing, every point of Quintessence has Resonance absolutely opposed to you and everything you stand for--everything you use it on will backfire in some way. There are ways around that, but they're complex, not very ethical, and a good way to slide into Jhor.... Also, anybody who find out will probably kill you and rightly so.
--Yes, this means a chicken per month will provide more energy than our all-important, we'll-die-to-protect-it node.
--It also means that having some chickens around is quite useful, aside from the meat. And guess who has five toes and just bought a buttload of chickens? Barred Rock, Leghorn, Rhode Island Red.... Nothin' like fresh-fried, free-range chicken.
*Fire! Fire! Heh-heh-m-heh! According to the M20 book, p. 436, fire's metaphysical properties mean that Prime 3 can channel Quintessence from a large fire (2 points per suxx). You ~might~ be able to do the same from electricity or the like, but part of the power is fire's metaphysical property of turning material Patterns into Quintessential Chaos, so changing other forms of energy are likely to be more difficult. At a guess, for example, I'd presume lightning is easier to turn to Quintessence than electricity straight out of the wall.
--Funny thing--there's also going to be a large firepit at the chantry, future home to (hopefully) several grateful fire elementals and lots of metaphysical energy. Tha'ss right, we got us a bonfire, and there ~will~ be a pig on it every now and then.
--Quintessence pulled directly from a fire, of course, will have "Fiery" Resonance. If you want to use it for something that Resonance would oppose, better try something else.
*Life 3 and Prime 3 will let you pull Quintessence directly from a human's body--this is painful, damaging, definitely vulgar, and a little fucked up.
*Flames of Purification is basically the same as the earlier Bond of Blood, except that you also destroy it in a really spectacular manner, with mystical flames that destroy it without spreading or giving off heat.
*Wellspring lets you find a place of strong Resonance and "open up" to it. It's less energy (1 point per three suxx), but the energy comes from the emotions of the people in the area, so it comes back as people go there.
--keep in mind that since this is a ~place~ of Resonance, the Quintessence definitely has a strong Resonance. A dog-fighting ring, for example, is likely to have plenty of juice, but it'll be flavored--or perhaps tainted--with bloodlust and excitement and cruelty. A book-signing for The Vampyre Rebecca would leave a bit of energy, but what the hell you'd use it for I dunno.
*Fount of Paradise: Basically, you tap into the world anywhere, and suck up the prime. Each success is a point of Quintessence. There go your lack-of-Quintessence troubles!
*Master's Enchantment: You could make another node... but seriously, why? It generally takes anentire circle of Masters, it's likely to backfire, and you can do better than the most powerful node by cutting up a chicken every week.