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Literature on the Shadowlands and Wraiths for fleshing out a Hecata (V5)

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  • Literature on the Shadowlands and Wraiths for fleshing out a Hecata (V5)

    Greetings,

    as of last weekend one of my players decided to play a Hecata. While this is great and fun and a welcome situation to put the CotBG PDF to good use, I'd like to flesh out the experience a bit more than CotBG alone permits me to do.

    Therefore I'd like to inquire about where to find more information on the Shadowlands and Wraiths/Ghosts/Spectres etc. in order to make necromancy more interesting and to flesh out short trips to the Shadowlands.
    Of course I know about the Wraith W20 core rulebook, but I didn't know if it's a feasible acquirement if I don't intend to play Wraith and only want to use it as a supplement for V5.

    What do you say? Should I acquire Wraith W20 for this? Or are there other/better books for what I'm looking for?

    Many thanks in advance.


    "Life's barely long enough to get good at one thing. So be careful what you get good at."

  • #2
    It's better off just to get Wr20. Even if you don't ever even intend to do campaigns around certain splats, always just collect them just for collector value alone and for the sake of when you need to read over information for crossover like you intend to do now.

    Anyways on the Shadowlands its like this: It is part of the Low Umbra, a part of this Umbra like many others (whether it be the Middle, High, or Dreaming) that is a reflection of the material world (i.e Skinlands in Wraith nomenclature). It is completely different from the mainstay of the Low Umbra entirely that is the Underworld itself, which is only accessed through two phenomenons called a Byway and Nihil; the former being a stable path/commercial route into the Underworld, while the latter, Nihils, are malignant openings that only open with significant tragedies that took place in the Skinlands which reflects back into the Shadowlands that cause a tear into the Undeworld- which has than less fortunate outcomes since Spectres can freely emerge from these Nihils or depending how big the Nihil is, cause a Maelstorm due to the amount of Tempest that can air into the Shadowlands.

    The Shadowlands is essentially the deathly reflection of the material world. Certain buildings or items that were destroyed in said world are re-reflected back in the Shadowlands- so (and a common example) the White House from 1812 still exists in the Shadowlands and overlaps with the new modern one.

    Wraiths are your run of the mill ghost who haven't become "Shadow-Eaten" yet.

    Spectres (barring Mortrights (a type of caste within Spectre "society") who begin as such) are Wraiths who have lost the perpetual struggle with their Shadow, a dark reflection of their personality, and become entirely aligned with "spreading Oblivion" throughout every facet there can possibly be.


    Jade Kingdom Warrior

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    • #3
      How about letting your creative muscles run free and fleshing out the Shadowlands according to your imagination and the needs of the game? It'd give you a lot more freedom as well as making things quite unpredictable for your players.

      We had a lot of fun with this at some point by dispensing with the vast majority of wraithly organisation and essentially making the Shadowlands a truly hellish plače where ghosts live in perpetual fear of being reaped by mind less, whale-like creatures (our version of Spectres), which were more than happy to reap any necromancer they found too. Sounds kindda wack but honestly, it made the entire experience of Necromancy feel truly dangerous and exotic.

      Anyway, that's just my two cents, it'd allow you to not have to painstakingly read through and follow canon material. That said, if you'd prefer to go by the book but don't want to read through something quite as comprehensive as Wraith, something like the revised Giovanni Handbook might do the trick, those books have a good take on how to do Ghosts while still keeping focus on Vampire.

      Best of luck with your game!

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      • #4
        Revised edition clanbook Giovanni might be worthwhile, cause it gives more info about wraiths from the point of view of the clan.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Shakanaka View Post
          It's better off just to get Wr20. Even if you don't ever even intend to do campaigns around certain splats, always just collect them just for collector value alone and for the sake of when you need to read over information for crossover like you intend to do now.
          Does this already qualify as a crossover? I mean, none of my players will play a wraith after all. I just want to give the Hecata player a chance of doing more than 'I summon a ghost.' ... ST: 'The ghost goes plopp.'

          Either way thanks for the quick introduction to the Shadowlands. Most of it I knew already, but especially the Nihil thing was a bit foggy for me. Thank you.

          Thing is, I'm not the biggest fan of RPG rulebook prose tbh. The only one I really enjoyed was Beckett's Jyhad Diary. How does Wr20 compare in this regard?

          Is the Sixth Great Maelstrom already in the book or does Wr20's timeline end prior to that?

          Originally posted by BodhiofUr View Post
          How about letting your creative muscles run free and fleshing out the Shadowlands according to your imagination and the needs of the game? It'd give you a lot more freedom as well as making things quite unpredictable for your players.
          Thanks for your advice. This is mostly how I ran my chronicles over the last years. I tend to take what is established and go on from there doing my own interpretation insofar as I figure it still fits established lore and doesn't directly contradict it.

          Concerning necromancy I wanted some guidelines (because all those years none of my players wanted to play a necromancer, so this is kind of new territory for me - although I like me some Ars Magica necromancy in my non-Vampire time), in order to better understand what to do with the powers and ceremonies in CotBG. Also I feared that working with all those wraith-(summon/compel))ceremonies could easily make the player character very powerful.
          Last edited by Saturno; 10-20-2020, 11:50 AM.


          "Life's barely long enough to get good at one thing. So be careful what you get good at."

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Saturno
            Is the sixth great Maelstrom already in the book or does Wr20's timeline end prior to that?
            Since V5 is past 1999 (I'm only talking into account Ends of the Empire here, not stuff from Orpheus) in the timeline (Wr20 in general didn't give any clarification of new social and political developments post-6GM) all you need to know is that Stygia as a Dark Kingdom was completely destroyed by Coldheart's army, but it was still a pyrrhic draw with the aid of the PC(s). The 6GM has already passed, but there is no longer any central authority in control of the Western Underworld- everything has collapsed into various warring polities (just like the real aftermath collapse of the Rome which Stygia was most inspired from). That means any ghosts your player conscripts to service can do more things with the Dictum Mortuum enforced by the Hierarchy out the way.

            The only power in the Underworld that survived the 6GM was Jade Kingdom.


            Jade Kingdom Warrior

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            • #7
              Speaking as a fan of Wraith... don't worry about buying any Wraith material. Everything you need, if you are running a vampire game, you can find out on the White wolf wiki.

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              • #8
                The Wiki only really gives bare-bones information though. It doesn't compare to the actual books.


                Jade Kingdom Warrior

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Shakanaka View Post
                  The only power in the Underworld that survived the 6GM was Jade Kingdom.
                  That is debatable. If the 6GM happened, then it destroyed the entire underworld and is still going on, meaning nothing can be rebuilt.

                  In any case, the OP is not running a wraith game or even a game of entirely Hecata vampires. So the game doesn't need too many wraith and underworld details, just enough to work for the one PC. The wiki should be fine for that.

                  Saturno in the 1990s the original Wraith line ended with a vast storm in the underworld, which supposedly destroyed everyone and everything. However, in Wraith 20 the storm has not happened and may not happen. If the storm happened, the any established background is moot because it would mean the underworld had been destroyed by 2020. If the storm has not happened, then there is a lot of material, but little of it important to your game. Don't worry about getting the books.

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                  • #10
                    I think the Sixth Great Maelstrom did happen in Wr20, but it was no worse than any other Great Maelstrom. The Underworld was damaged but not utterly destroyed.

                    What do you guys think?


                    “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her.

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                    • #11
                      I was under the impression that Beckett's Jyhad Diary and CotBG started that the 6GM did happen, but the underworld still existed and that the 6GM was one of the most influential metaphysical events ever.

                      Until now I indeed just used the wiki, but I wanted something more to build upon. I will check the Clanbook Giovanni out. Does anyone know, how much the Clanbook Cappadocians add to the mix?


                      "Life's barely long enough to get good at one thing. So be careful what you get good at."

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Penelope View Post
                        I think the Sixth Great Maelstrom did happen in Wr20, but it was no worse than any other Great Maelstrom. The Underworld was damaged but not utterly destroyed.
                        I don't think that has been officially established. But it doesn't have to, each game is the game of its participants and not the game of the writers.

                        An interview with Matt McElroy and Matthew Dawkins on Ghost Hunters suggests Wraith 20 will be taken as official, which means it is probably applicable for where Wraith can crossover with Vampire.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post

                          I don't think that has been officially established. But it doesn't have to, each game is the game of its participants and not the game of the writers.

                          http://booknest.eu/reviews/blog/2064-interviewwithmattmcelroyandmatthewdawkins"]An interview with Matt McElroy and Matthew Dawkins on Ghost Hunters suggests Wraith 20 will be taken as official[/URL], which means it is probably applicable for where Wraith can crossover with Vampire.
                          I’m reading Ghost Hunters rn.


                          “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post

                            That is debatable. If the 6GM happened, then it destroyed the entire underworld and is still going on, meaning nothing can be rebuilt.
                            Nope, its still around.

                            Originally posted by Ends of Empire, Pg 151, Epilogues and Final Fates

                            YU HUANG AND THE YELLOW SPRINGS

                            Yu Huang's goal is eventually dominion over the entire Underworld, and he sees Stygia as the largest obstacle to that goal. (His earlier defeat in the Sea That Knows No Sun he has written off as a fluke.) Hence, the alliance with the Smiling Lord and the invasion. Unfortunately, the Maelstorm shatters everyone's plans, and the invasion founders. While the Empire maintains some foot-holds in Stygian territory, the storm belches forth new rivals for Yu Huang, and he must turn his attention to them. While he does so, new revolts break out in the Conquered Territories and on the border with the Indian Deadlands, necessitating that most of the troops return home.
                            It's still very active, definitely more so than Stygia (which has bit the dust with the 6GM EDIT: and MAJOR Spectre invasion if I may add). However it is in a status quo of power as it was pre-Invasion of Stygia due to how damaging the Storm was to Yu Huang's forward army in the Western Deadlands.
                            Last edited by Shakanaka; 10-20-2020, 06:24 PM.


                            Jade Kingdom Warrior

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