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Wraith Inspiration

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Gailbraithe View Post
    Monkeybones is also about an "animated underworld" but deals with ideas like possession, travel between different levels of reality, and may inspire something. Chris Kattan also gives a hilarious performance as a corpse being ridden by a "wraith" that can easily be borrowed (literally nobody but me has apparently ever seen this movie).
    I've seen it, but pretty much all I remember about it is that there was a stop motion monkey and Rose McGowan played an anthropomorphic cat in it just before someone took pity (or revenge) on her and cast her in Charmed.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Dogstar View Post
      I've been struggling with Wraith a lot and have difficulty getting my head around it. To me it often feels too 'militarized' with the Necropoli and the Legions dominating everything and making setting a game in the Shadowlands really difficult. I'm not a fan of military fiction and regimented settings don't seem to offer much opportunity for personal adventure.
      I recommend of thinking of it less like "The Legions" and more like "The Hierarchy." What's important is that your soul is already "claimed" by some more important, powerful wraith above you. The Hierarchy does have both military and civil components, but they're important only so far as its a government that can affect you, or if you have ambitions to climb up that ladder yourself. Insofar there are "legions" of souls, it's more like how the various devils of hell had "legions" they too could command. It's meant to provide a sort of infernal hierarchy of the dead. (I think a key way into thinking about Wraith is that you're actually in Hell, but don't realize it, but you need to escape it. The game is about escaping it.)

      I don't consider it a highly militarized setting at all. Most wraiths are "freewraiths" and aren't members of the military or civilian bureaucracy. Their membership is more like as free people who could be mobilized as unorganized militia in case of emergency (natural disasters like Maelstroms, civil insurrection by Shadow Eaten wraiths, or invasion by Spectres).

      Originally posted by Dogstar View Post
      Slightly off topic but what are the goals of the 'average' wraith? It seems they have no need of anything other than protecting their fetters? In the films mentioned above why would the protagonists do things? I could really do with some help in finding their motivation and translating inspiration to adventure.
      I think Wraith works best as a game of personal horror and introspection. I would say a game is more about resolving Fetters than protecting them. It's about the dialogue between the Psyche and Shadow. It's about the spiritual journey of the character and learning to let go so you can move on. For inspiration, I would look more to a movie like What Dreams May Come, or how the ghosts act towards Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. The Hierarchy, Legions, and so on just become background elements instead of the focus.

      Chronicles still need antagonists, but I think a good ST will find elements that act as symbols for the challenges the PCs need to personally overcome. Or are good soap opera elements like someone discovering their own murder was manipulated behind the scenes due to a plot by a group of Heretics, or that their father/family's business rival took revenge on you after they died. Or that everyone's deaths/becoming ghosts were the inadvertent results of machinations by a Spectre cult.

      One can theoretically imagine a chronicle of Vampire, Wraith, or Mage to go on indefinitely. But I think Wraith works best as a focused chronicle with a clear ending in mind by the ST. Wraith lends itself to "roleplay as vicarious living through your PC" the least of all the games.

      Originally posted by Dogstar View Post
      For example the Monsters Inc idea above with Wraiths carrying out a 'mining' operation. I love the visual imagery of a 'Dark Satanic Mill' filled with Wraiths collecting Pathos from terrorized dreamers but why would a player group of wraiths be interested in going there?
      Wraith is about the meaning of life, spiritual growth, and philosophical questions on existence. Ideally, when PCs go on "quests" and the like they do so for reasons that tie back into their own personal needs. They learn there is something in that place that will cause them to remember something about their past they forgot, or explain why it is their Shadow is pushing them to go there, or similar.

      It could be just the ST pushing you towards it for "adventure" - and the game has plenty of explanations why PCs could be made to do so (their Legion orders them to do so; a plasmic creature from there threatens their Haunt or Circle; a group of Renegades uses it as a base and routinely threatens them, etc.) But those are relatively weak motivations, and should be used sparingly. There are much better games out there suited for such explorations. The game works best when an ST uses the setting to explore character's psychological states and their personal quest.

      While in Vampire, vampires who seek Golconda are probably the exception, especially among PCs, I think Wraiths seeking Transcendence - even if it is only subconsciously - should be the norm. a wraith that just accepts purgatory and seeks to accumulate power and protection in the Underworld is stagnating badly (even though this is what most souls actually do). It requires a lot more work by players to be self-motivated.

      Outside of that, Wraith is really a survival horror type game except with Oblivion and its servants like Spectres (or Shadows, or various Plasmic creatures, or other wraiths) instead of zombies or post-apocalyptic gangs looking for gasoline. What is going to try to destroy you, and how you overcome it? This is probably the best chronicle hook for an ST to take on the surface, but the real story is the individual soul journey of each PC. In a well done game, it would be easy for you to forget that Doomslaying, or destroying the Heretic cult, or fighting that Renegade gang, or reforming the local Necropolis, etc. isn't actually the goal of your character. (And those stories SHOULD be fun as all hell to play through - you want to be entertained after all). If you get wrapped into that, your wraith PC is actually becoming lost. That kind of stuff should be fun to do, but the meat of the game is resolving things so one day your wraith just disappears... because he's Transcended.

      If I had to sell a group of players into playing a chronicle, I'd likely use a hook like "Do you want to roleplay through something like Clive Barker's stories about Cenobites?" There's lots of cool worlds evocative of Wraith, and if your players like stories like that and their settings, Wraith is an effective medium for them.
      Last edited by Black Fox; 02-05-2021, 12:19 AM.

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      • #18
        Wraith has always been a little different from the other World of Darkness games in that they are all about a supernatural subculture existing in the shadows of the overall human culture, while Wraith is about wraiths existing openly within their own society and culture. So they can conceivably be any "Joe/Jane on the Street", doing whatever it is they can make a living in the underworld. Security guards, officer clerks, bartenders, engineers, private investigators, explorers, black smiths, teamsters, cosmetologists, musicians, fortune tellers/advisors, councilors, artists, etc. Or smugglers, rabble rousers, hired muscle, grifters, professional haunters, thieves, cult leaders, etc. Or politicos, priests, salon hosts, military officers, spy masters, secret police, diplomats, financiers, talking heads, fixers, etc. Depending on what sort of societal strata peaks your interest.

        Ultimately, Wraiths are primarily motivated by their Passions and by the regrets of their living days. This could be anything from protecting ones family (both living and dead) or amassing political power to finding true love or getting revenge on the person who killed you.


        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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        • #19
          Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
          Wraith has always been a little different from the other World of Darkness games in that they are all about a supernatural subculture existing in the shadows of the overall human culture, while Wraith is about wraiths existing openly within their own society and culture. So they can conceivably be any "Joe/Jane on the Street", doing whatever it is they can make a living in the underworld. Security guards, officer clerks, bartenders, engineers, private investigators, explorers, black smiths, teamsters, cosmetologists, musicians, fortune tellers/advisors, councilors, artists, etc. Or smugglers, rabble rousers, hired muscle, grifters, professional haunters, thieves, cult leaders, etc. Or politicos, priests, salon hosts, military officers, spy masters, secret police, diplomats, financiers, talking heads, fixers, etc. Depending on what sort of societal strata peaks your interest.

          Ultimately, Wraiths are primarily motivated by their Passions and by the regrets of their living days. This could be anything from protecting ones family (both living and dead) or amassing political power to finding true love or getting revenge on the person who killed you.
          Saving this for how to explain character options to newbies. Well said.

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          • #20
            I think if I were to try and sum Wraith character creation up in 4 questions, it would be:
            1. How did you live?
            2. How did you die?
            3. What do you regret about the first two?
            4. What do you care most about from the first three?


            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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            • #21
              Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
              I think if I were to try and sum Wraith character creation up in 4 questions, it would be:
              1. How did you live?
              2. How did you die?
              3. What do you regret about the first two?
              4. What do you care most about from the first three?

              And for figuring out your shadow add:
              5. What do you wish you weren't?
              6. What do you despise more than yourself?
              7. What would you rather forget?


              Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

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              • #22
                Chuck Palahniuk's Damned, which he describes as "The Breakfast Club set in Hell", and its sequel Doomed, in which the main character is wandering Earth in a sort of personal purgatory.


                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)

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
                  Chuck Palahniuk's Damned, which he describes as "The Breakfast Club set in Hell", and its sequel Doomed, in which the main character is wandering Earth in a sort of personal purgatory.

                  Thanks for the recommendation, I've been reading Fight Club so I tried switching to Damned but Chuck Palahniuk's writing doesn't work for me. He seems to repeat the same phrases over and again and wanders around aimlessly which is irritating me. On the other hand I'm quite a fussy reader so other people will probably enjoy it.

                  For inspiration I recommend this video, I love the imagery and the set is exactly what I think the shadowlands should look like (outside of a Necropolis that is): My Chemical Romance - Welcome To The Black Parade [Official Music Video] - YouTube

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                  • #24
                    Currently I'm watching the second season of "Beau Séjour". It's like a Nordic Noir, but set in Flanders. What makes it good Wraith inspiration is that it's about a victim solving their own murder. Different metaphysics than WtO though, the style of this show is more magical realism.

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