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What objects get umbral reflections in the Penumbra?

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  • What objects get umbral reflections in the Penumbra?


    I've always imagined the penumbra filled with spirit nature, umbral reflections of buildings and spirits, but not movable objects (chairs, cars, guns, whatever is out there you can move).

    Is that the case? Or do objects also get umbral reflections?

  • #2
    To my mind, if you think about things that sensitive people treat with inherent respect, you'll be thinking of the objects that might have a representation of some kind. So a very old rocking chair moved into a bomb shelter during WWII might only have the faint glimmerings of essence, appearing as an intangible shadow that only the very perceptive or very clever could get the impression of a chair from.

    But a rocking chair of similar age that has been finished and refinished, stained and cleaned, that has been "grandma's chair" for more than six generations and that remains grandma's chair even when the arm and back had to be replaced might even have it's own little gaffling, or at least a much stronger echo on the other side of the gauntlet.

    An old colt 1911 might have such a faint shadow as to barely register as a piece of metal. A similar pistol with a long history of violence or execution or murder could have a gravity and stain that is plainly visible on the other side, though the impression of a pistol might be lost, the observant traveller being able to tell that on the material side must be some kind of 'weapon' maybe even losing the impression of 'machine' or 'metal' in the pungent perfume of violence and death.

    A painting that was produced on a large canvas in the vogue style so that the artist could cash in on the next round of gallary showings might only be an intangible cloud of cloth-fibers and acrylic-pigment. A painting that an artist poured their life and blood into, Leanan sĂ­dhe style, might have such a strong echo on the other side as to be opaque or even tangible.

    In general I'd agree that buildings are more likely to express their essence as being tangible and opaque, even with less significance on the object themselves, because that is their nature, so of course it would be the first thing they'd "want" to do with their essence. It's one of the first things that's meaningful about them.


    • #3
      Objects gets actual reflections in the Umbra (not just vague frames built by Pattern spirits) if they are objects of high emotional and spiritual significance to people. Especially if they last a long time.

      We know older trees become reflections if they live long enough. So age is a factor. I'm not sure what the caught off may be, but it could be around a century. That would explain why we don't see older humans in the Umbra, but we would see trees. (Although now I am thinking it might be neat to have centenarians appear as penumbral reflections as a result of this "rule").

      That would include most places of religious worship or significance.

      It should also include more secular objects that nonetheless have an important symbolic significance for people. The Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty, and the Alamo for example should appear in the Penumbra in my opinion. So might the Empire State Building. In Great Britain, some examples could be Big Ben, Stonehenge, and the Tower of London. But it's the object itself that needs to be iconic, not the thing it represents. Is it immediately recognizable? Does it represent something that people hold dear, in awe, in fear, with pride, or some other strong emotion?

      That would also work for natural non-living formations. Some places might "naturally" be considered to have spiritual significance. Often the game represents this as it being part of a caern, but that doesn't need to be the case. A place like Sedona, Arizona is often said to have psychic power by New Agers. If an ST wants that to be true, then the appearance of the "red rocks" might be a perfect penumbral reflection. Then you have places that might not be "naturally" spiritual, but gain a prominence anyway like the White Cliffs of Dover. This works at a much smaller level too. an out of place boulder left behind as the glaciers melted often have strange local legends about it.

      On a much smaller level, a particularly beloved teddy bear by one child might appear, as would any either specific objects that might have immense emotional significance to one person. Or a family. In that case, even something like a car might have a reflection, but it should have a good story behind it. Like a person painstakingly reconstructed a car by hand, spent an enormous amount of his own personal time, that he washed and waxed it on a regular basis perhaps obsessively so, gave it a pet name, and often referred to it as if it was a real person. Likewise a house that is centuries old that is kept in one family's control as it passes from generation to generation could appear as a reflection, representing the life and care it meant for the many people raised under that home.


      • #4
        The resonance of people and objects with interesting backstories and activities as Black Fox has described them can be amazing story hooks leading the PC's into new and intriguing situations, and can create cool events and sidestories during travels through the Penumbra. The actions, history and connection of the humans to the things in the real world changing the Penumbra is one of my favourite elements of Werewolf.

        What doesn't kill you, makes you... stranger.


        • #5
          I always approach the penumbra as the soul of the physical location it represents. So, if a places essence was altered rapidly, like turning a wood into a parking lot, the change might not be in the penumbra already. But for a motorway, moving cars are essential to their nature, so there are ephemeral non-descriptive cars moving fast on the motorways penumbral correspondence and you get hit by them, if you take a walk there.