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W20 Silent Striders: Dealings with Wraiths and Spirits

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  • W20 Silent Striders: Dealings with Wraiths and Spirits

    Hello everyone,

    my friends and I are fairly new to WTA but not the WOD. We shifted over from VTM where I was the storysteller. Now I am player.

    I need some help for my character concept.

    I created a Silent Strider Theurge. I found it fairly interesting that they are haunted by the dead to some degree, although there seems to be no real mechanic for that in W20.

    I imagined him to be some kind of psychopomp, a passenger for the dead. A personal creed that drives him to deal with Wraiths he comes across. I am aware that there is a difference between the spirits the Garou are normally dealing with, like elemental spirits e.g. and the dead, but I figured since the "Underworld" lies within the Dark Umbra, if I am not mistaken, they would also fall into the domain of the Theurge. Ist that correct?

    Furthermore what kind of spirits would a Silent Strider Theurge deal with apart from wraiths? As I understand it there are spirits for almost anything. Are there Spirts of Death for e.g.?

    I am grateful for any kind of advice on the matter

    PS: I hope my use of the terminology was correct, we use the translated version that is available in my country.



  • #2
    A lot of it is going to come down to how your ST runs things. If you're going to just use WtA material, there's a few extra steps, but dealing with ghosts is just like dealing with other spirits. Though there are also spirits associated with death (like Owl!) who are native to the normal Umbra instead of the Dark Umbra. If your ST is going to make larger use of Wraith books, you're going to need to talk to them about how crossover stuff will be addressed.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
      A lot of it is going to come down to how your ST runs things. If you're going to just use WtA material, there's a few extra steps, but dealing with ghosts is just like dealing with other spirits. Though there are also spirits associated with death (like Owl!) who are native to the normal Umbra instead of the Dark Umbra. If your ST is going to make larger use of Wraith books, you're going to need to talk to them about how crossover stuff will be addressed.
      First of all thanks four your input!

      We are using only WTA Material and VTM Sources for the occasional Kindred NPC.

      We have next to no experience with Wraith the Oblivion.

      My ST was very much ok with my Character concept but after thinking about it I think we are in a little bit over our heads. Of course I want to support my ST in every way I can.

      I wondered if there is some kind of baseline for the use of Wraiths/Ghosts. I found a paragraph on Wraiths in the corerulebook but it is, imo, a little bit vague on what they can actually do. There is of course the list of exemplary spells for spirits. Could they be used for Wraiths?

      Additionally I took the Ghost Heritage Background for my character, but since Wraiths/Ghosts exist outside the triade, I assume, they would not be viable for the background? What would be a good substitude? My question for the existence of Ghosts of Death did stem largely from that.

      Comment


      • #4
        VtM sources might not be bad to check out for some extra ghost stuff just because ghosts/wraiths get a bit more details in VtM due to the various Clans and Bloodlines that have access to Necromancy and thus need rules for what ghosts can do.

        Personally, I wouldn't be too worried about "getting in over your head," unless you actually want to go into the Dark Umbra on the regular basis. There are lots of ghosts in the normal part of Earth that cover more classic ghost stories that aren't going to get into Wraith's whole setting. The way the WoD cosmology is designed, is that most ghosts end up in the Underworld/Dark Umbra, and then get pulled into Wraith stuff. Some (and with the number of people on Earth that leaves a lot) get trapped in the ghostly equivalent of the Penumbra (which may just be the Penumbra) because their ties to some unfinished business is too strong (in Wraith most ghosts have strong ties to the physical world but that's a whole other bucket of stuff to get into). So, there's lots of ghosts floating around, trying to resolve something, but too weak to actually do much since unlike ghosts that go to the Dark Umbra they can't train with other ghosts to really develop powers.

        That leaves plenty for your character to have fun stuff to do by mixing in dealing with ghosts - which can range for drones that just repeat the same thing over and over, to really nasty angry ones that have started to become corrupted by the Wyrm - without getting into anything to out of WtA's purview. Most ghosts probably don't need real stats because the important things are the real world stuff they care about: whether you help them peaceful resolve them and pass on to the Underworld, or destroy what binds them so they get dragged off. Particularly powerful or old ghosts, or worse ghosts that have come back from the Underworld with real power under their belts, can easily be modeled with the spirit building rules in W20.

        There's nothing wrong with taking Spirit Heritage and having ghosts as your spirit type. It's a bit unusual, but you don't have to be the literal kid of a ghost or something. The examples for Spirit Heritage also aren't just the Triat. An affinity for spider spirits works for spider spirits that are still true to Gaia, or ones that have fallen into service of the Weaver (or even the Wyrm). So that's not a problem. if you're still thinking of changing it, think of creatures with strong ties to death in mythology, and then go with that. It might not directly help with wraiths, but it could help with advice from spirits that know a lot more than your character about ghosts until you can start learning more Gifts and Rites to help ghosts move on.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          VtM sources might not be bad to check out for some extra ghost stuff just because ghosts/wraiths get a bit more details in VtM due to the various Clans and Bloodlines that have access to Necromancy and thus need rules for what ghosts can do.

          Personally, I wouldn't be too worried about "getting in over your head," unless you actually want to go into the Dark Umbra on the regular basis. There are lots of ghosts in the normal part of Earth that cover more classic ghost stories that aren't going to get into Wraith's whole setting. The way the WoD cosmology is designed, is that most ghosts end up in the Underworld/Dark Umbra, and then get pulled into Wraith stuff. Some (and with the number of people on Earth that leaves a lot) get trapped in the ghostly equivalent of the Penumbra (which may just be the Penumbra) because their ties to some unfinished business is too strong (in Wraith most ghosts have strong ties to the physical world but that's a whole other bucket of stuff to get into). So, there's lots of ghosts floating around, trying to resolve something, but too weak to actually do much since unlike ghosts that go to the Dark Umbra they can't train with other ghosts to really develop powers.

          That leaves plenty for your character to have fun stuff to do by mixing in dealing with ghosts - which can range for drones that just repeat the same thing over and over, to really nasty angry ones that have started to become corrupted by the Wyrm - without getting into anything to out of WtA's purview. Most ghosts probably don't need real stats because the important things are the real world stuff they care about: whether you help them peaceful resolve them and pass on to the Underworld, or destroy what binds them so they get dragged off. Particularly powerful or old ghosts, or worse ghosts that have come back from the Underworld with real power under their belts, can easily be modeled with the spirit building rules in W20.

          There's nothing wrong with taking Spirit Heritage and having ghosts as your spirit type. It's a bit unusual, but you don't have to be the literal kid of a ghost or something. The examples for Spirit Heritage also aren't just the Triat. An affinity for spider spirits works for spider spirits that are still true to Gaia, or ones that have fallen into service of the Weaver (or even the Wyrm). So that's not a problem. if you're still thinking of changing it, think of creatures with strong ties to death in mythology, and then go with that. It might not directly help with wraiths, but it could help with advice from spirits that know a lot more than your character about ghosts until you can start learning more Gifts and Rites to help ghosts move on.
          That was very helpful thank you

          Going to pass that on to my ST for concideration!

          Comment


          • #6
            If you really want a deep understanding to Ghosts in the franchise in general, I recommend either reading the 2nd Edition of Wraith or the 20th Edition. If you don't have any of the books or don't have time to get them, I suggest going to wiki to understand them more and the Low Umbra.


            Jade Kingdom Warrior

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Shakanaka View Post
              If you really want a deep understanding to Ghosts in the franchise in general, I recommend either reading the 2nd Edition of Wraith or the 20th Edition. If you don't have any of the books or don't have time to get them, I suggest going to wiki to understand them more and the Low Umbra.
              I am actually quite interested in Wraith, although non of my friends seem to be interested in it. Which is absolutly fair.

              I really hope the publisher for WW stuff in my country will get around some time to translate it.

              I am not big on PDF Versions since I have trouble reading them for prolonged times, which is a shame because cool, older RPG sources are only available for purchase in PDF.

              A broad overview on the WW wiki might be a good start.

              Cheers

              Comment


              • #8
                Wraiths are the dead humans. Shapeshifters and other supernaturals rarely become wraiths. There was a crossover book for Werewolf (Wild West) and Wraith named "Ghost Towns". Usually, imo, Garou rarely interact with wraiths, but there is the Silent Strider relationship to these (and the Silver Fangs Ivory Priesthood). I usually assume "ghost" to also mean wraith, in context of the WoD, and that the author did want to leave it vague, so no cross-over problems arise.

                Usually, Gifts usually do not extend into the Shadowlands (which would be the Penumbra equivalent of the Dark Umbra), unless specifically stated (like the Gifts presented in Ghost Towns). Garou can't step sideways into the Shadowlands, unless a specific Rite is used.

                That said, Wraith can become partly visible and audible to garou (or any being in the material world) for a short period of time by spending ... iirc, Willpower. As WtO characters wraith posses Fetters and Passions. Fetters keep them tied to the material world, if they are destroyed, their existence would be limited to parts of the Dark Umbra further away from earth. Passions are the things that drive them. In theory one way to "win" a wraith game would be to resolve the Passions - if they aren't per definition open ended. Asking a Silent Strider for help could be a good idea, for even with all the Arcanoi (Powers of wraiths) a wraith's influence on the material world is limited.

                Most folk lore, however, would suggest to get rid of a ghost by destroying the Fetter(s). Garou, even Silent Strider, might try this. Such a course of action however, would more likely lead to damning the wraith than actually resolving what keeps him around.

                At least that is my understanding.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The Dark Umbra is the Garou term for the Underworld. It is not normally accessible to them, but there are special groups that have special knowledge to do so.

                  Certain Gifts that deal with spirits can work on Wraiths, but not all do. I recommend mostly limiting them to:
                  • Spirit Speech (assuming you somehow meet one)
                  • Sense Magic (to determine if a ghost is causing things in the physical realm right now)
                  • Sense Wyrm (if the ghost is a Spectre, or strongly Shadow Eatern)
                  • Scent of True Form (if the ghost somehow embodies in the physical realm, or is a Risen)
                  • Name the Spirit (to determine how powerful the ghost is)
                  • Sense the Unnatural (to detect ghostly affects in the real world)
                  • Spirit Ward (to protect against ghosts)
                  • Exorcism (to drive ghosts away)
                  • Attunement (to learn presence of the greatest Haunts)
                  • Rite of Cleansing to remove Wraiths from an area temporarily (not a permanent ward)
                  The Silent Striders originally had a connection to Wraiths because all the game lines had a crossover element to each of the other game lines. In later editions, this was deemphasized. The Striders, being depicted as black jackals in high Pure Breed and associated with Egypt, were therefore likened to Anubis and so were given ties to Wraith.

                  The original tribebooks gave optional rules for tribal weaknesses. The one for Silent Striders is that if they botched while stepping sideways, they gained a Wraithly haunter while they were "caught". The exact nature of this contact or haunting was never adequately explained so an ST has to figure it out themselves. If a Wraith is interacting with a Garou, it's likely because the Garou can somehow help that Wraith - most likely by helping them resolve some issue they left behind in the Skinlands (the real world). That is either going to be the reason they are a ghost; protecting a material item or person that connects them to the Skinland; or possibly getting revenge on an enemy. In terms of your role as a PC, think of Whoopi Goldberg's character in the movie Ghost to your PC (as Patrick Swayze).

                  Usually people who wanted a more permanent connection to a wraith took the Haunted flaw, but I don't think it's in W20. Some variant of Cursed could be a good substitute.

                  If I were your ST, my recommendation is to spend less time trying to learn about Wraith's mechanics and setting, and more about emulating traditional ghost stories and how your character could interact with that kind of ghost.

                  While the Dark Umbra is specifically about the human afterlife/netherworld, the Gaian Middle Umbra and themes of Werewolf can still deal with death in general, especially in its part in the cycle of life. The Silent Strider totem, Owl, is associated with night, and hence darkness, and therefore death. The old sourcebook Axis Mundi had several really great spirits in Owl's spirit brood which expands this connection. If your ST or you can get a copy of that book, I recommend it. There is a lot you can do with Owl and the idea of the mysteries of death and its proper role in Gaia, and you really don't need anything Wraith related to explore that. It might be easier for your ST and your chronicle to focus on that part rather than trying to master an entirely different game. Wraith is a great setting, but I don't think it is best used by going through an internet forum getting synopsis from other posters and asking lots of follow up questions. That allows you to deal with Death, but keep things in a Werewolf context. Any actual Wraith elements can be special stories that won't hijack the chronicle.

                  There's also Death spirits who take the form of Epiphlings. Epiphlings are probably spirits from the Astral Plane that occasionally cross over to the Middle Umbra. So they're rare, but they do show up in the right places. If you spend enough time in a cemetery in the Penumbra at night (and at the right times and dates), you can probably meet one. Whether you should want to do so is a separate question. Legends of people meeting Death don't tend to end well for them.

                  You should also look at the Seasonal Rites like the Rite of Reawakening (for the spring equinox) as they deal heavily in the birth/life/death/rebirth cycle of nature.

                  Another possible hook is the Bear totem, as Bear knows the secret of bringing the dead back to life, and this had an important role in the relations between the Garou and Gurahl that lead to the War of Rage.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Spacedigger View Post
                    Furthermore what kind of spirits would a Silent Strider Theurge deal with apart from wraiths? As I understand it there are spirits for almost anything. Are there Spirts of Death for e.g.?
                    In general, a lot of the same Elemental, Lunar, and animals spirits most Garou deal with.

                    Also Owl's brood of spirits from the old Axis Mundi sourcebook (Darklings, Deaths-Breaths, and the Twice-Born). Owl gafflings. Star spirits (Rage Across the Heavens). Desert Wind spirits (Werewolf: The Wild West). Possibly jinn (mostly a Mage and Changeling thing).


                    What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                    Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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                    • #11
                      Regarding "Spirit Speech": I vaguely remember that crossover rules stated it can be used to communicate with wraiths, but then again, wraiths probably speak all the languages they learned before and after death, so most garou could just use a normal (human) language to talk to them.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by heinrich View Post
                        Regarding "Spirit Speech": I vaguely remember that crossover rules stated it can be used to communicate with wraiths, but then again, wraiths probably speak all the languages they learned before and after death, so most garou could just use a normal (human) language to talk to them.
                        It's the rare Wraith that is able to project their voice to the Skinlands. It only needs a low level of Embody, but that Arcanos is either forbidden or heavily regulated. A lot of details of crossover rules would need to be determined by the ST, but Spirit Speech should be much more effective at allowing a Garou to communicate with the wraith than relying on the wraith to be able to do so. I would have it work that in this case Spirit Speech pierces the Shroud to allow audible communication while also translating if needed. And I'd likely allow this to happen in both the Skinlands (which wraiths can see from the Shadowlands) and the Penumbra (which wraiths don't see, but since the Penumbra and Shadowlands both overlap the same area of the Skinlands, both wraiths and Garou could theoretically be "next" to each other).

                        Plus depending on the wraith, it may not know the local language. The recently deceased likely do (though not always, what if it is a new immigrant or traveler?), but older wraiths might not. They may speak an archaic form of the language, or speak an entirely different one.

                        Although I don't think it was ever stated in canon, I always ruled that wraiths speak a "language of the dead" that allows them to communicate to each other, regardless of what languages they spoke when alive. When interacting with the living, their old language knowledge when they were alive switches on. But I doubt most wraiths try to keep up and learn new languages of the Skinlands unless they have a weird Passion to do so. I allow mediums with the appropriate Merits to instinctively "tune" into that language of the dead. And depending on how I feel I may also allow skilled necromancers with sufficient power and occult knowledge, to get past that as well (there may be certain rites or Disciplines where such "translation" is an assumed part of it). But personally I try to make interaction between the living and the dead to be hard and mysterious. Ordinary people that are untrained or not special should have limited recourse. But every ST will have their own sweet spot.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I thought Wraith's could always appear in the skinlands by spending Willpower or Pathos (not sure which), but Embody would be more efficient. And I thought it would include being heard was whispers. Which, depending on the circumstances, might make lupus form or/and Heigthen Senses useful.

                          There is a "listening through the Veil" Gift, in Wild West's Ghost Town, iirc.

                          But, you are right, the wraith might not speak the same languages as the garou - and for conveniences sake "Spirit Speech" should help.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            That is not my understanding, but I admit I may have just missed that rule. I thought the only way to "enter" the Skinlands was through Embody. However, I do know there are mentions of special days and times when "cracks" appear in the Shroud (like dawn of October 31 to dawn on November 1) and Wraiths could cross over briefly to the Skinlands. But I don't think that's what you mean.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                              The Dark Umbra is the Garou term for the Underworld. It is not normally accessible to them, but there are special groups that have special knowledge to do so.

                              Certain Gifts that deal with spirits can work on Wraiths, but not all do. I recommend mostly limiting them to:
                              • Spirit Speech (assuming you somehow meet one)
                              • Sense Magic (to determine if a ghost is causing things in the physical realm right now)
                              • Sense Wyrm (if the ghost is a Spectre, or strongly Shadow Eatern)
                              • Scent of True Form (if the ghost somehow embodies in the physical realm, or is a Risen)
                              • Name the Spirit (to determine how powerful the ghost is)
                              • Sense the Unnatural (to detect ghostly affects in the real world)
                              • Spirit Ward (to protect against ghosts)
                              • Exorcism (to drive ghosts away)
                              • Attunement (to learn presence of the greatest Haunts)
                              • Rite of Cleansing to remove Wraiths from an area temporarily (not a permanent ward)
                              The Silent Striders originally had a connection to Wraiths because all the game lines had a crossover element to each of the other game lines. In later editions, this was deemphasized. The Striders, being depicted as black jackals in high Pure Breed and associated with Egypt, were therefore likened to Anubis and so were given ties to Wraith.

                              The original tribebooks gave optional rules for tribal weaknesses. The one for Silent Striders is that if they botched while stepping sideways, they gained a Wraithly haunter while they were "caught". The exact nature of this contact or haunting was never adequately explained so an ST has to figure it out themselves. If a Wraith is interacting with a Garou, it's likely because the Garou can somehow help that Wraith - most likely by helping them resolve some issue they left behind in the Skinlands (the real world). That is either going to be the reason they are a ghost; protecting a material item or person that connects them to the Skinland; or possibly getting revenge on an enemy. In terms of your role as a PC, think of Whoopi Goldberg's character in the movie Ghost to your PC (as Patrick Swayze).

                              Usually people who wanted a more permanent connection to a wraith took the Haunted flaw, but I don't think it's in W20. Some variant of Cursed could be a good substitute.

                              If I were your ST, my recommendation is to spend less time trying to learn about Wraith's mechanics and setting, and more about emulating traditional ghost stories and how your character could interact with that kind of ghost.

                              While the Dark Umbra is specifically about the human afterlife/netherworld, the Gaian Middle Umbra and themes of Werewolf can still deal with death in general, especially in its part in the cycle of life. The Silent Strider totem, Owl, is associated with night, and hence darkness, and therefore death. The old sourcebook Axis Mundi had several really great spirits in Owl's spirit brood which expands this connection. If your ST or you can get a copy of that book, I recommend it. There is a lot you can do with Owl and the idea of the mysteries of death and its proper role in Gaia, and you really don't need anything Wraith related to explore that. It might be easier for your ST and your chronicle to focus on that part rather than trying to master an entirely different game. Wraith is a great setting, but I don't think it is best used by going through an internet forum getting synopsis from other posters and asking lots of follow up questions. That allows you to deal with Death, but keep things in a Werewolf context. Any actual Wraith elements can be special stories that won't hijack the chronicle.

                              There's also Death spirits who take the form of Epiphlings. Epiphlings are probably spirits from the Astral Plane that occasionally cross over to the Middle Umbra. So they're rare, but they do show up in the right places. If you spend enough time in a cemetery in the Penumbra at night (and at the right times and dates), you can probably meet one. Whether you should want to do so is a separate question. Legends of people meeting Death don't tend to end well for them.

                              You should also look at the Seasonal Rites like the Rite of Reawakening (for the spring equinox) as they deal heavily in the birth/life/death/rebirth cycle of nature.

                              Another possible hook is the Bear totem, as Bear knows the secret of bringing the dead back to life, and this had an important role in the relations between the Garou and Gurahl that lead to the War of Rage.
                              Wow that was extraordinarily thorough!

                              Very much appreciated! Thank you!

                              And thank you very much to "Heinrich" and "No one of Consequence as well" (love the Robet E. Howard pic btw^^)

                              Did not think I would get that much awesome food for thought for me an my ST.

                              We had some awesome sessions until now. Concerning ghosts my ST did handle a little bit loose but we took to heart the advice concerning more classic Ghost Stories.

                              My character was able to summon a recently deceased Packleader through the Rite of Summoning to help us combat the Black Spiral Dancer that slew him. That was very much fun. Looking forward to more.

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