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  • Blackwater
    started a topic Mages in the Shadowlands

    Mages in the Shadowlands

    Hey all,

    Traditionally a M20/DTF player here. I'm currently playing a Dreamspeaker with the Deathwalker merit, a death oriented shaman of Native American origin. Basically a euthanatos-esque Shaman. I have some general questions about the Shadowlands and how Wraiths interact with Magi trespassers. I've currently got Wraith 2e and Sea of Shadows for intel, but it's pretty lax on my specific subject. The community/group I play with tends to only follow 20th anniversary; m20 has VERY little info about the shadowlands/lower umbra at all, and Wraith obviously focuses on the living dead perspective of things.

    I'm vaguely familiar with the shadowlands and it's areas after reading through the two books I mentioned above. My character has just painstakingly boarded the Midnight Express in LA and is bound for Stygia- from where she aims to get to The Land of Flint. My general questions are...

    - How do Wraiths tend to respond to magi in their presence? The deathwalker merit does help largely protect me from notice, at least so far, but I need to be more equipped to properly roleplay the scenario. I've read over Charon's dicaerum and it seems pretty straightforward. Do wraiths make exceptions for magi, specifically dreamspeakers (like other umbral spirits tend to do?) or is just a simple, all-encompassing loathe of the living? Being a traditional M20 player and Dreamspeaker at that, I have become quite bias and accustomed to a certain level of respect when it comes to spirits. This is my first time entertaining the idea of the Shadowlands, wraiths and other spiritual denizens. I know that each wraith is different- but in general terms and geographical terms; for instance I think Stygia is much less tolerant of the Quick being in their lands than maybe the Renegades or Flint; but I'd like real input from real Wraith players instead of my magi-headcanon.

    - Can other spirits exist in the Shadowlands, besides the named Wraiths, Neverborn, Plasmics, Spectres, etc? Particularly incarnae, celestial or totem-level spirits. I would imagine that given the multitude of death and underworld related spirits in various lore give some credence to this, and the entire "question mark" nature of spirits as a whole. The idea is that the spirit she is seeking dwells in Flint and has reasonable influence/power there; would the spirit be free in and of itself; or would it need to masquerade as a Wraith or Plasmic or other indigenous being?

    - Where can I find more information as to the Land of Flint and the Fifth Sun specifically? The 2e and Sea of Shadows books seems to focus primarily on Stygia (makes sense, the culture is dominant after all) and only mentions Flint, Ivory, and other Dark Kingdoms briefly in passing. Like I said- my character is a native american, and is going to Flint to meet with and mingle with spirits of her culture.

    - Harrowings. I've heard from another entropy-based mage player that Magi can also undergo the infamous wraith Harrowing (though obviously we don't benefit in the same way). Is this the case? I think if so it would be a neat addition to the story arc in some fashion; after all, the shadowlands are pretty grim and macabre.

    - Any other pertinent info that you can offer to help make this roleplaying experience more authentic and fun would be greatly appreciated.

  • Eldagusto
    replied
    As the Dark Kingdom of Jade shows Wraiths with the backing of mages can make an Empire which can conquer the underworld. Mages, as well as Mummies, and some Demons, can create all sorts of Objects in the Underworld. Most wraiths rely on luck of Relics popping up on an individual level, but on a societal level they need to forge souls for eternity into Soulsteel, or a similar substance like through Moliate or the ghosts of Swar turning them into food. So much of the economy is tied to acquiring even basic resources, and most ghosts are forged into one object, as they found its possible to say hammer a ghost into a chair and then a sword, their Corpus wants to be whole and it creates complications that make it nonviable.

    So if a mage comes in and ritually burns down a car, boom you have a relic car. Sacrifices a few dozen pallets of Paper in a Dundermifflen Warehouse, boom now you have someone who can supply you with paper, which very few Wraiths have access too and which they horde because paper relics is rare and infrequent and moliating someone into a leatherbound scroll is expensive to do for every little thing.

    My games I really like the idea of the Fae Unleashing onto Wraiths to do things like make them permanently blaze with flames of the mortal world, or shapeshift them into a Dragon or Tiger or somesuch.

    Leave a comment:


  • Black Fox
    replied
    Originally posted by Blackwater View Post
    Then Wraith comes and contradicts that and essentially says all Quick are disdained... and then later on it mentions some ''Skinboys'' are well received and even play major roles in the underworld society. Everything seems to contradictory. It seems to me that there isn't really a real answer; that it's more akin to racism in a way, that there are just varying degrees of acceptance or tolerance?
    The Dead envy the Living, and the presence of any living person projecting into the Underworld only reminds the Dead what they have lost. But that is different than hating them. It could be bitter jealousy, longing envy, deep grief, or any other understandable reaction.

    I think the presence of anyone living in the Underworld itself would be unsettling and "spooky" as it is both unnatural and indicates some kind of real power by that living person to do so. But otherwise, I think wraiths would treat them individually based on how they are acting and their agenda.

    That does not apply to the Giovanni or any other vampire though. I think wraiths understand what the undead truly are. They may be jealous of their ability to interact with the living, but they have their own means to do so as well, and without the huge cost to do so. And of course since the Giovanni will attempt to control or dominate the Dead, they mark themselves as enemies.

    Leave a comment:


  • Blackwater
    replied
    Originally posted by tasti man LH View Post


    That's…not the impression I got.

    From what I've read, and discussing with a VtM ST off-site, the Giovanni tend to be dicks to any wraith they encounter. That they have no issue blackmailing, extorting, and discorporating any wraith they find/summon up. With the only exceptions being wraiths they created from the extended Giovanni family.


    I mean more in regards to Wraiths opinion of them. The Giovanni have no issue misusing them this is true, but they have the power/authority to do so in a way, so my understanding is that even though the Wraiths don't necessary favor or like them, they don't really bother them either as to avoid their own terrible fates. Versus Dreamspeakers, who regard all spiritual entities as peers/equals to themselves and would (rarely) treat a Wraith in such a way.

    Originally posted by tasti man LH View Post

    Although re: Wraith vs the other Supernaturals...well, from the bits that I have read, when it comes to the Underworld/Lower Umbra the other supernaturals don't really know anything. That most of their in-depth knowledge extends to the Shadowlands...and not much else. Which seems to mostly be due to the extreme difficulty in getting anywhere in the Underworld. In Mage, getting into the Underworld/Lower Umbra is the hardest out of all the Otherworlds (also in M20, I'm not even sure what it would takefor a mage to go further beyond the Shadowlands and into the Tempest, the Dark Kingdoms, the Labyrinth, etc)
    I agree, except for perhaps the Far Horizons/Past the Dreamshell (which takes at least Spirit 5- traveling to the Shadowlands takes only Spirit 3/Entropy) but that's another topic. I think the biggest issue that magi face when in the Shadowlands/Underworld is more of a lack of cultural awareness and preparedness. Mechanically and system wise, once a mage becomes able to perform the effect they're basically as ready as they're going to get for the thrill ride; but knowing how not to get yourself killed in the strange undead society is another thing I've learned. My character nearly died three times in her first visit to LA Necropoli; not from being weak or a bad mage, but simply from not understanding the culture. She even tried to forge an oboli (and failed, at least this time). I think that once a mage discerns enough intel (for instance, how to access the Midnight Express or to locate a Ferryman) then the Underworlds become much more open to them. Despite Charon's dictorum, I've read in Wr20 (finally got the copy) that may wraiths do infact enjoy having Skinboys around; they can help predict maelstroms and spectre movement through happenings in the Skinlands and other things beyond all of that. So yeah I definitely agree with you, but I think it's moreso the culture shock than the actual magick necessary that makes traveling in such areas so difficult/dangerous.

    Thoughts?


    Last edited by Blackwater; 05-30-2019, 10:20 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • tasti man LH
    replied
    Originally posted by Blackwater View Post
    My biggest issue is really the discrepancy across all of the books.
    ~Welcome to the core issue of World of Darkness in general!!!~

    ...which I usually wave off as the "Three Blind Men and the Elephant" effect: all of the splats only have a piece of the wider cosmology. Which even then, their piece is heavily skewed by their personal perceptions and supernatural culture, that it's unrecognizable when seen by the other splats.

    Although re: Wraith vs the other Supernaturals...well, from the bits that I have read, when it comes to the Underworld/Lower Umbra the other supernaturals don't really know anything. That most of their in-depth knowledge extends to the Shadowlands...and not much else. Which seems to mostly be due to the extreme difficulty in getting anywhere in the Underworld. In Mage, getting into the Underworld/Lower Umbra is the hardest out of all the Otherworlds (also in M20, I'm not even sure what it would takefor a mage to go further beyond the Shadowlands and into the Tempest, the Dark Kingdoms, the Labyrinth, etc)

    Even VtM's Tal'Ma'He'Ra, despite having their own hideout in the Tempest…can't really leave it since they'd be torn apart by the wraiths and/or Spectres outside of it.

    For example, according to V20, Giovanni necromancers are often well regarded in the Shadowlands

    That's…not the impression I got.

    From what I've read, and discussing with a VtM ST off-site, the Giovanni tend to be dicks to any wraith they encounter. That they have no issue blackmailing, extorting, and discorporating any wraith they find/summon up. With the only exceptions being wraiths they created from the extended Giovanni family.

    Leave a comment:


  • Blackwater
    replied
    Haha, touche, that may be a better way to put it. "Tolerated".

    Leave a comment:


  • No One of Consequence
    replied
    Hmm. I always pictured Giovanni as more 'respectfully feared' than liked. 🤔

    Leave a comment:


  • Blackwater
    replied
    You guys have been alot of help, thank you!

    Unfortunately I don't have the 20th Corebook or Book of Oblivion, so I'll have to rely on what you guy's have told me for now.

    My biggest issue is really the discrepancy across all of the books. I play in a crossover of M20/DTF/WTO/V20/W20; so all the books and lores are taken into account. For example, according to V20, Giovanni necromancers are often well regarded in the Shadowlands; according to m20, Euthanatos are too. Then Wraith comes and contradicts that and essentially says all Quick are disdained... and then later on it mentions some ''Skinboys'' are well received and even play major roles in the underworld society. Everything seems to contradictory. It seems to me that there isn't really a real answer; that it's more akin to racism in a way, that there are just varying degrees of acceptance or tolerance? Would that be correct? If so, the name of the game would be for the Mage/Skinboy to make themself as valuable as possible as to avoid issues, correct? Like predicting maelstroms due to events in the Skinlands? What steps can a mage or other "skinboy" take to make sure the Hierarchy doesn't collar/enslave them or otherwise kill/harm them?

    You guys have been a big help though, I appreciate it alot.

    Leave a comment:


  • tasti man LH
    replied
    Originally posted by tasti man LH View Post
    I still haven't read the Fifth Sun chapter,
    ...and now I have!

    Wr20 corebook has a good chunk of pages devoted to Obsidian. It focuses mainly on the history of the region and briefly goes over everything else. Their write-up in Book of Oblivion goes into more detail on the individual Four Houses, who the main important wraiths are, their agendas, and even on which of the Mesoamerican cultures tend to map towards which Houses.

    (although as a note, the Inka peoples aren't a part of Obsidian...because they belong to the Lands of Gold)

    Leave a comment:


  • marin
    replied
    Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
    You may possibly come across various death gods or psychopomps (Anubis, Mictecacihual, Ta'xet, Baron Samedi, Hermes, Azrael), but these could just as easily be powerful older ghosts playing the part rather than the real thing. One should always be warry.
    Also, there are strange entities in the Underworld that aren't known to fit established wraithly categories; wraiths may not know what they are, but they know they exist and can interact with them, such as Les Mysteres, the patrons of the Caribbean wraiths.

    Leave a comment:


  • No One of Consequence
    replied
    Originally posted by Blackwater View Post

    - Can other spirits exist in the Shadowlands, besides the named Wraiths, Neverborn, Plasmics, Spectres, etc? Particularly incarnae, celestial or totem-level spirits. I would imagine that given the multitude of death and underworld related spirits in various lore give some credence to this, and the entire "question mark" nature of spirits as a whole. The idea is that the spirit she is seeking dwells in Flint and has reasonable influence/power there; would the spirit be free in and of itself; or would it need to masquerade as a Wraith or Plasmic or other indigenous being?
    You may possibly come across various death gods or psychopomps (Anubis, Mictecacihual, Ta'xet, Baron Samedi, Hermes, Azrael), but these could just as easily be powerful older ghosts playing the part rather than the real thing. One should always be warry.

    Leave a comment:


  • PhillyCuriosity
    replied
    Originally posted by Blackwater View Post
    Hey all,
    - How do Wraiths tend to respond to magi in their presence? The deathwalker merit does help largely protect me from notice, at least so far, but I need to be more equipped to properly roleplay the scenario. I've read over Charon's dicaerum and it seems pretty straightforward. Do wraiths make exceptions for magi, specifically dreamspeakers (like other umbral spirits tend to do?) or is just a simple, all-encompassing loathe of the living? Being a traditional M20 player and Dreamspeaker at that, I have become quite bias and accustomed to a certain level of respect when it comes to spirits. This is my first time entertaining the idea of the Shadowlands, wraiths and other spiritual denizens. I know that each wraith is different- but in general terms and geographical terms; for instance I think Stygia is much less tolerant of the Quick being in their lands than maybe the Renegades or Flint; but I'd like real input from real Wraith players instead of my magi-headcanon.
    The Hierarchy is not keep to have the living being around, but enemies of the Hierarchy and wraiths themselves are probably glad to see the living.
    There's not a huge amount of canon material about this and what there is can be contradictory, for instance, the Agama Sojourn rote is what Euthanatoi use to go to the Shadowlands during their initiation, in some places, it's indicated that this is to keep them alive and hovering near death but the wording is something like "conceal the spark of life" which suggests to me that a mage can use life or mind to keep a low profile. Otherwise, the living in the land of the dead tend to be magnets for wraiths and specters as mages are an exceptional source of pathos, the fuel that Wraiths use.

    Harrowings - A mage that fails a harrowing loses a point of arete.

    From W20 Umbra the Velvet Shadow (figure this would likely apply to mages as well) - Ghosts living in the Dark Umbra do not accept trespassers into their domains. Even the smallest and most pathetic looking ghosts attack those who linger too long within the realm, attracted to their shining life force. Some ghosts actively seek out travelers to give them quests or tasks to complete in the material world. They grant their charges with special tokens of favor, showing other ghosts that they are spoken for. Some ghosts respect the tokens and leave the travelers alone, while others see those who hold them as dangerous interlopers who must be destroyed. Some more insidious ghosts view the token as a sign of gullibility and attempt to trick the holder into performing their own tasks.


    Originally posted by tasti man LH View Post
    A'ight, first order of business.

    Over with Mage: the Podcast, they had a whole episode devoted to Mage/Wraith crossover. Can't recall all the details off the top of my head, but it is a place to start.
    Wooooooo, podcast shout out!

    Leave a comment:


  • tasti man LH
    replied
    A'ight, first order of business.

    Over with Mage: the Podcast, they had a whole episode devoted to Mage/Wraith crossover. Can't recall all the details off the top of my head, but it is a place to start.

    I'll need to come back later to other questions as I'm about to head out. One I can answer...

    Originally posted by Blackwater View Post
    - Where can I find more information as to the Land of Flint and the Fifth Sun specifically?
    The Wr20 corebook goes into more detail on the Fifth Sun/Dark Kingdom of Obsidian (although I don't know if it's just rehashing what was written about in previous editions or not). There's the other Wr20 supplement Book of Oblivion goes into more detail about the Islands of Flint and the Fifth Sun...although that book is currently still only available to backers of the Wr20 KS.

    I still haven't read the Fifth Sun chapter, but I have read the Islands of Flint chapter. The main population of Native American wraiths are organized as the Five Nations: the Haudenosaunee Nation (Iroquois), the Anishinaabe/People of Peace (Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi), Abenaki/Council of Tribes (Wabanaki Confederacy), the Cherokee Nation, and the Inuktitut (Inuit). The chapter also makes mention of minor nations like the Mississippi based tribes, Southwest, West, and Pacific Northwest. The latter of which is mentioned to have successfully negotiated for peace with the Hierarchy.

    Leave a comment:

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