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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.

  • Matt the Bruins fan
    replied
    I would think that a Mage would have Corpus levels just like a Wraith, as they're theoretically transubstantiating the matter of their bodies into ephemera or ectoplasm when they step sideways. Definitely Euthanatos (and Itarajana?) who leave a body behind while projecting their spirits into the Shadowlands should be treated similarly to Wraiths, though they're apparently more vital and retain their ability to work magick.

    Leave a comment:


  • glamourweaver
    replied
    The thing that always trips me up is that as other game lines treat the Shadowlands the same as the Penumbra, it raises the questions

    Can Mages who step sideways into the Shadowlands open doors, pick things up, etc? If they do, does it affect the Skinlands? If not, do they have Wraith ability to move incorporeally through things by spending... I guess health levels?

    Leave a comment:


  • Matt the Bruins fan
    replied
    Originally posted by tasti man LH View Post
    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.
    I don't think that's universally true. The book talks about expeditions undertaken in the company of Itarajana, and I'd say the Nagaraja and Harbingers of Skulls also have experience in the Shadowlands, though perhaps they reach them from the living world rather than making the journey from Enoch through the Tempest.

    I think the Itarajana probably have more comprehensive knowledge of the deeper levels of the underworld than the Euthanatos do, though not as much experience with the Shadowlands as a group.

    Leave a comment:


  • DeadMan
    replied
    wraiths are factions based, Stygia would not like anyone not dead to be in the Underworld, if i remember my Werewolf the Dark Umbra isn't the same as the Underworld, they both exist in the same layer of the greater Umbra but are separate realms within. as for Mages in the Shadowlands it would depend on what group they ran with, and if they knew he was a mage/Living, as the living tend to shine like beacons in the dark, when in the underworld. As for the other groups that do crossover into the Shadowlands, like the Black Hand, they have Necromantic Paths that offer the powers need to travel and protect ones self.
    i had a group of Garou that got into the Shadowlands, and they had problems with Rage, as they fought a few other restless, they spent Rage and fed the Shadows of the Wraiths, and caused the Shadows to take over, and attracted more Spectres, the longer they fought the more overwhelming the odds got.
    as for Mage, i would say that quintessence would be pathos to a wraith, and any use of life magick would shine bright, and that Entropy and Prime would be the spheres that would affect those of the shadowlands.
    find a group of Renegades and offer to help fight against Stygia and protect there Fetters, and bang your golden.

    Leave a comment:


  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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

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  • 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)

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  • 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.

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  • 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:

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