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Wraiths and pain

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  • Wraiths and pain

    So a bit more of an unusual question:


    Given that wraiths don't suffer from wound penalties, unlike the other WoD splats...do wraiths actually experience pain at all whenever they take damage? Or that if they do experience any, it's all psychosomatic and in their head?



  • #2
    While some flavor text throughout the years has suggested that (some) wraiths don't feel pain--and that may play well in your game if you're going for a Beetlejuice effect of body comedy/horror--I'm more swayed by the multiple examples, in fluff and rules, of wraiths experiencing pain. After all, "pain is eternal".

    These quotes are all from Wr20:

    "The living like to reassure themselves that the dead are beyond pain, but unfortunately if there’s one thing wraiths understand better than the Quick, it’s that pain is most definitely eternal. " (291)

    "As suits such terrible injuries, aggravated Corpus levels of damage are painful and time-consuming to heal." (295)

    "Though they are less commonly encountered than barrowflame, soulfire crystals present similar dangers. Made from crystalized Pathos, they burn with a painful intensity, and can only be handled by wraiths wearing special gloves or Moliated for their own protection." (296)

    Everything works together to create a dynamic narrative. It’s dramatic to declare “I lunge from the shadows, bringing my cavalry saber down in a vicious slash!”then roll a successful hit which the Storyteller describes as “Your blade cleaves into his shoulder! The Spectre screams in pain and clutches at his sundered Corpus!” It’s dull to say simply “I attack,” followed by “Uh, he takes 4 levels of lethal damage.” (315)


    Last edited by Callishka; 12-16-2019, 02:29 PM. Reason: typo

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    • #3
      Not fully sure, but I went back and starting reading the books over again and in Carnival of Shadows, page 124 "Well, when you're dead you can. You can stroll right into Fort Knox, the White House, or anyplace else. You can walk through fire or across the bottom of the ocean, or let a car run into you, and it doesn't hurt."

      I think it doesn't hurt though you still loos corpus like normal. This of course is also from one of the first novels so it may be off for the purpose of story. Then again its your story so you should be able to tell it the way you want to as well.

      Though it seems that there are many references in the rulebook that support the opposite as was pointed out above, so it seems that this character was just comforting a little boy who was going to loose his grandmother.
      Last edited by Redwulfe; 12-16-2019, 02:34 PM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Redwulfe View Post
        Not fully sure, but I went back and starting reading the books over again and in Carnival of Shadows, page 124 "Well, when you're dead you can. You can stroll right into Fort Knox, the White House, or anyplace else. You can walk through fire or across the bottom of the ocean, or let a car run into you, and it doesn't hurt."
        I believe the book is talking about how ghosts can walk through Skinlands objects without feeling pain. I'm not sure that's what the OP was asking about.

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        • #5
          My interpretation is that they feel acute pain in the moment, but that this doesn't impede them in the way human injuries do. Everything is felt but through a gauze (or 'shroud'). Hence the lack of wound penalties.

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          • #6
            My assumption has always been that wraiths can feel pain, but not enough to inconvenience them. Getting stabbed might feel like someone poking you, which would be mildly annoying and you wouldn't enjoy it, but it wouldn't be enough to give penalties or anything.

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            • #7
              I always viewed the movie The Frighteners as a good guide. The sensation of being hit by or passing through physical objects is more weird and uncomfortable rather than painful, but ghostly attacks/weapons with spiritual energies behind them can hurt and have a debilitating effect, even if the Wraith can continue functioning in a state that would be totally incapacitating to any physical being.

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              • #8
                Pure table rulings here -

                Being impacts by Skinland objects and losing corpus passing through them - no that’s painless beyond the sensation of “thinning”

                Underworld inflicted damage generally can cause the echo/memory of pain, at least while it’s being inflicted. To go beyond that and inflict pain beyond what a wraith can remember from life, requires existence threatening or altering damage like soulforging.


                Check out my expansion to the Realm of Brass and Shadow

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