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  • Basic questions about Wraiths

    Hi!

    Im running a Mage campaign and ghosts will be part of it (as NPCs). I would like to use some of Wraiths stuff (not gonna go beyond the Shadowlands) and as I am new to Wraith, I have several questions...most of them regarding how the mage characters would probably interact with ghosts.

    SHADOWLANDS
    1. Can wraiths spy on the living from the shadowlands by seeing through the Shroud?
    2. Can wraiths affect the living from the shadowlands of do they have to cross the Shroud somehow?

    FETTERS
    3. Can wraiths know someone just got one of their fetters?
    4. Can they "travel" to where the fetter is without being summoned?
    5. Can they attack someone holding one of their fetters?
    6. What happens if the fetter is destroyed?
    7. This is from a mage point of view, but, how can you identify fetters exactly?
    8. Can wraiths be summoned through one of their fetters (and Spirit magic, let's say)? If thats the case, would they "teleport" themselves from wherever they are in the shadowlands to the analogous place the summoner is (in the skinlands)?

    RELICS
    9. I understood relics are underworld reflections of objects with emotional and spiritual significance. Am I correct?
    10. Let's say a wraith ex-soldier has his rifle as a fetter. Can that fetter have a copy in the underworld in the form of a relic?
    11. Do relics do magic stuff similar to mage's wonders?
    12. Can relics be used to affect the living in the Skinlands?

    I will stop there before turning this post into an endless questionnaire.
    Last edited by Argonot; 01-21-2021, 03:20 PM.

  • #2
    I may help a little, years I don’t play but...

    1. Yes, as far as I recal they do all the time while in the “shadowlands penumbra”. They avoid places with too many people mostly because things going through them cause “damage”.

    2. Yes but it requires Arcanoi. There are many of them with thematics related from inhabiting objects and possessing peoples to haunting places and soul forging. They work like vampire disciplines (sequence of defined powers) and not like spheres (flexible uses) and gifts (static and unrelated powers)

    3. They have a sense about the general state, but I think they don’t know when it’s touched or graves, only if it is being hurt somehow.

    4. They can and they will if they recover from being destroyed (can’t remember the exact word)

    5. No, only if they can track normally.

    6. If they lose their last fetter they can’t get back to the “penumbra” part of the shadow lands, and can only stay deeper. Other than that the missing fetter have no big restrictions to them from a living point of view.

    7. You can’t, except by using magic (Entropy 1 can detect the connection if I am not wrong). Fetters are just objects from the point of view of anyone other than the Wraith.

    8. Yes, but not Spirit, Entropy.

    9. Yes. When the object stop existing in the livivng part, sometimes it becomes a relic in the shadowland due to its significance.

    10. Yes, they do very often, BUT, the rifle has no power without bullets. To fire a relic rifle you need to spend Pathos (mana)

    11. Kind of, not usually, but they may...

    12. If the wraith have the power they can, hardly (if even possible) relics can do it by themselves.


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    • #3
      SHADOWLANDS:
      1. Yes. This is trivial to wraiths and one of their strengths. They watch and remember what the living and undead do!
      2. Yes, some of them have powers that cross the Shroud. This is technically illegal but happens all the time. The Shroud is thinner in spookier places or those with lingering strong emotions.

      FETTERS
      3. Not sure, actually. As far as I know, only wraiths who specialize in the power of Lifeweb can perceive the state and environment of their Fetter. Since that's an attractive ability, you can be assured that many established Wraiths have learned how to at least perceive their Fetters at a distance, but not all can. All Wraiths definitely know when their Fetter has been damaged or destroyed, though. If merely damaged, the Wraith will surely call on their allies to help them secure it. This could happen VERY fast if they or their allies have Lifeweb or Argos.
      4. Yes, if they have Lifeweb. This allows Wraiths to travel from Fetter to Fetter and even to spy through Fetters at whatever's around them, or to speak through or use powers through their Fetters.
      5. Yes, see above.
      6.The Wraith drops into a Harrowing (a hellish nightmare gauntlet where they are surrounded by vicious ghosts in disguise and must battle it out with their own inner demons). They can and often do come out "alive" again.
      7. Lifeweb allows a Wraith to identify whether something is a Fetter, so any power that can trace emotional or spiritual connections might notice that something is a Fetter. Wraiths sometimes Slumber in their Fetters, too, so someone may notice a ghost is in an object or person, but when Slumbering they are not normally easy to notice. Slumbering is a passive nap in which ghosts dream away the hours and knit their bodies back together.
      8. Anyone, even a living person, who has a relationship with the Wraith and knows the Wraith can see/hear them could summon a Wraith, if that Wraith (or his friends) has Lifeweb.

      RELICS
      9. Basically. Any object that mattered to someone (so, not a random Bic pen, but a pen someone kept for years and grew attached to), once destroyed, buried, or "lost" forever, can become a Relic. It shows up in the Underworld and can be traded and used to make other things. Some Fetters come into existence as the Wraith is "reborn" into the Underworld. Some Fetters just show up like flotsam on sea waves, belonging to whoever picks them up. Some wraiths specialize in Fetter scavenging. Note that you cannot have a material and relic version of the very same object. If a relic exists, it WAS destroyed in the Skinlands.
      10. Fetters can only exist if the original object mattered and was destroyed, buried, or otherwise irrecoverably lost. So, no, the living-world rifle cannot exist at the same time as a Fetter version of it. They're the same object: it exists as a solid, living, object after its mundane creation, and it stays that way until destroyed. Then, it may cross over as a relic.
      11. Some relics have magical powers. These are called Artifacts. Normally, Artifacts are relics that have been modified by ghost tech and infused with powers, and some Artifacts are made from scratch by ghosts using raw materials. Relics do not normally appear for the first time with powers, but some do!
      12. Relics cannot normally affect the living, since they are spiritual echoes of destroyed objects. They would go right through a living person's body. However, a special or modified relic might affect the living.
      Last edited by Callishka; 01-21-2021, 05:06 PM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Argonot View Post
        SHADOWLANDS
        1. Can wraiths spy on the living from the shadowlands by seeing through the Shroud?
        2. Can wraiths affect the living from the shadowlands of do they have to cross the Shroud somehow?
        1. The Shadowlands has different "tiers" of reality, but one of them is that wraiths not only see, but interact with everything in the Skinlands. It's different than the Penumbra when all you see is some spirit reflection. Wraiths follow the "rule of ouch" because trucks, trains, people, etc can go through them. If it is something that would hurt them as a mortal (like a car running them over), they lose Corpus (health levels). So yes, wraiths can spy quite easily on the living. Think of the movie Ghost and how Patrick Swayze sees everything.

        2. There are certain Arcanoi that affect the living, but they are either heavily regulated or illegal. It also tends to be very hard to use such powers. If you are thinking about how Wraiths can affect the Skinlands, use most ghost stories as your model. Most wraiths either cannot affect the Skinlands at all, or can do so in minor ways. It should be rare to have a wraith to be able to actually physically harm someone, but poltergeist phenomenon can be duplicated in the game.

        Originally posted by Argonot View Post
        FETTERS
        3. Can wraiths know someone just got one of their fetters?
        4. Can they "travel" to where the fetter is without being summoned?
        5. Can they attack someone holding one of their fetters?
        6. What happens if the fetter is destroyed?
        7. This is from a mage point of view, but, how can you identify fetters exactly?
        8. Can wraiths be summoned through one of their fetters (and Spirit magic, let's say)? If thats the case, would they "teleport" themselves from wherever they are in the shadowlands to the analogous place the summoner is (in the skinlands)?
        3. In general, no. However, there is an Arcanos that gives wraith powers to check up on her Fetters and do other things with them. I suspect most experienced wraiths would have sufficient levels to check up on their fetters, but this is a power that must be actively used - it's not an alarm system.

        4. Most wraiths would have to travel there normally. But there is a high level ability in one of the Arcanos that allows instantaneous travel.

        5. Not unless they have an Arcanos that allows them to do so. In general, this is no. Again, use most ghost stories as a guide.

        6. One fetter destroyed does not mean anything. But all fetters being destroyed means the wraith can no longer reside in the Shadowlands, but most dwell deeper in the Underworld (the Tempest, Stygia, the Far Shores). Resolving all of one's fetters allows a wraith to travel freely throughout the Underworld, but I think it's left to the GM to determine how a fetter's destruction might affect that.

        7. Don't know. I assume you need dots in Spirit or Entropy and a relevant Rote.

        8. I assume so. It would be a forcible can of teleport, and the wraith is likely to angry for disturbing her.

        Originally posted by Argonot View Post
        RELICS
        9. I understood relics are underworld reflections of objects with emotional and spiritual significance. Am I correct?
        10. Let's say a wraith ex-soldier has his rifle as a fetter. Can that fetter have a copy in the underworld in the form of a relic?
        11. Do relics do magic stuff similar to mage's wonders?
        12. Can relics be used to affect the living in the Skinlands?
        9. Relics are the reflections of objects DESTROYED in the Skinlands that have great personal significance to their owners. How long they last in the Underworld depends on the strength of that significance. It is possible to artificially create relics through one of the Arcanoi.

        10. No, because relics can only exist if the physical object is destroyed. And fetters by definition is something that ties them to the Skinlands. A destroyed fetter might become a relic.

        11. No. But there are special items called Artifacts that do have wondrous powers.

        12. No.

        This is off the top of my head, so it's possible I got some details wrong.

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        • #5
          This has been incredibly useful, as expected. I had gotten some stuff wrong, so thanks for the clarifications.

          What is slumber, btw? Do wraiths sleep? If that's the case, how does it look like?

          And another one off the top of my head: how do wraiths look like? I have been using the most classical image I could think of: just the way they looked like the exact moment they died. In addition, to add more drama and distinguish them from the living, I have been telling my players ghosts show themselves in "black and white" (I will keep that).

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          • #6
            Wraiths slumber in their Fetters when they want to heal damage to their corpus. They fade into one of their fetters and slumber for eight hours and roll their dice afterwards. I think it call refuel Pathos as well, but am not as sure about it. I read that online, but cannot recall it from the books themselves.

            However, slumber is also called the sleep cycle of wraiths (in first edition), so that implies they go to sleep normally. But maybe it's only for special occasions like when they need to heal? Second edition defines slumber as "healing sleep). I don't think the game clarifies. I think it can go either way - whatever makes sense for you. I suspect more STs and PCs ignore slumber unless it's for healing.

            A wraith's body - made of plasma - is very malleable. The "natural" state of a wraith's body is their normal human appearance at time of death. That could include signs of how they died - so a murder victim's body might bear horrible wounds (or maybe not). It also includes various marks called Death Signs which are enigmatic marks/brands, some of which are known (which allows Legions to claim certain souls "belonging" to them) and some unknown. Wraiths can also be marked with brands afterwards. Their bodies are also capable of being changed to appear as something else by the Arcanos Moliate. A lot of wraiths are heavily moliated and can appear like anything. And as a wraith becomes more Shadow-Eaten (falling more towards Oblivion), their corpus deteriorates appropriately. So when you combine all of these, you can have a wide variety of appearances. So you can depict almost any kind of ghost you find in media.

            The Shadowlands themselves are very muted and drab colors. So a gray like theme isn't wrong, but there are references to color all throughout Wraith so wraiths and the Shadowlands have colors other than black, white, and gray.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Argonot View Post
              This has been incredibly useful, as expected. I had gotten some stuff wrong, so thanks for the clarifications.

              What is slumber, btw? Do wraiths sleep? If that's the case, how does it look like?
              Slumber is a state of deep rest which can only occur inside a Fetter, for those who have one. The wraith melds into the object or person and more or less vanishes except to trained senses. Slumber is not required, but does refresh them. They can heal faster and better while Slumbering than while awake, and can regain WP faster (Wraith20 rules). Many wraiths enjoy Slumber induced by other ghosts, specialists known as Sandmen. In such induced Slumber, entertaining dreams may be enjoyed. Some wraiths say they have prophetic dreams in their natural Slumber.

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              • #8
                Can wraiths enslave each other somehow?

                In my chronicle there's the ghost of the centuries-old owner of a mine who has enslaved the ghosts of some miners who have died there over the years (colonial-like theme).

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Argonot View Post
                  Can wraiths enslave each other somehow?

                  In my chronicle there's the ghost of the centuries-old owner of a mine who has enslaved the ghosts of some miners who have died there over the years (colonial-like theme).
                  Yes, it may be view as wrong or illegal according to the place they are, but slaving is pretty common. Also most of the equipment is made of wraiths (soul forging is turning wraiths into objects, basically) and even some creatures are wraiths distorted to extreme conditions (shape of horrendous hounds for example).

                  usually the slaves don’t turn into slaves for being slaves in life, but...


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                  • #10
                    Slavery is common in Wraith society for several reasons. They are usually called Thralls and are kept in special artifact of manacles/chains. Chains are a very common motif in Wraith.

                    Their status is more like that of the ancient Classical empires than chattel slavery of New World plantations. The Code of Charon regulates the rights and treatment of thralls which isn't always obeyed but also not ignored either. Some Thralls could very well become Freewraiths. One reason is that captured "enemy" Wraiths are enslaved. These would be Renegades who defy the Hierarchy, and it is similar to Rome enslaving barbarians they are at war with. Another are wraiths who committed crimes, and are sentenced to thralldom as a punishment. Then there are wraiths who sell themselves into slavery into pay for their debts. Lastly are wraiths who are enslaved in order to keep watch over them, since they are prone to their Shadows taking control of them. The proportions of each of these depends on the ST, and likely varies a lot from place to place.

                    Outside of the Hierarchy, certain groups of both Renegades and Heretics may also enslave wraiths.

                    Another related issue is that Reapers, those Wraiths who free new Enfants from their cauls (the newly dead "materialize" in the underworld covered by a translucent amniotic sac called a caul), demand payment from these Enfants for the benefice of freeing them from their caul. If they can't pay - and few can nowadays because many people no longer have a tradition of putting coins over the eyes of the dead to provide them Relic coins - then they enter a form of indentured servitude similar to being Thralls.

                    In other words, if it is the Hierarchy that is involved, there are very specific rules in place that govern and regulate Thralls and how one can become one. If it doesn't fit those categories, the wraith is illegally enslaved. Obviously there can be abuses, but these are probably areas where the Hierarchy's influence is weak or corrupt. Slavery that is outright illegal in Hierarchy terms, is likely done by one of the more criminally aligned Renegade (or Heretic) groups who either don't care or have their own justifications. Not all Renegade or Heretic groups would do that - one of the objections of some of these groups is the practice of slavery at all.

                    In your scenario of a mine owner with the enslaved souls of the former mines who worked for him, this likely sounds like an abuse of the system the Hierarchy uses. So it's likely a situation where the local Hierarchy is weak, and local wraiths do whatever they want regardless if they are nominally loyal to the Hierarchy, or one of the other groups - most likely Renegades - are involved. You should give some thought as to how the mine owner managed to gain enough power in the underworld, that he had access to resources and power that allowed him to force these others into slavery to him. You can easily go down the rabbit hole too far and get more and more lore about Wraiths, but it's probably just best if you wing it since you're running Mage and not Wraith.

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                    • #11
                      I'm late but I can specifically hone in some stuff about number 5 for you:

                      Wraiths can use some Arcanoi to deal with mortals in the "Skinlands" side of things who maybe trying to mess with their Fetters. Like Umbra and the Spirits that inhabit it, the Underworld (Dark Umbra) is separated by a "Shroud" as you already know. When a Wraith is near their individual Fetter (and correct me if I'm wrong) the Shroud level lowers the Shroud strength level all the way down to a possible max-minimum of 3. The lower the Gauntlet level, the easier it is to use their Arcanoi.

                      So a physical attack is certainly possible if the Wraith has Embody to manifest into the Skinlands directly (like how Spirits can manifest from the Middle and/or High Umbra) or use deadly stuff like Outrage to use a powered strike against them or Usury to drain their Health levels directly to convert into Pathos (essentially soul-stealing). They can also use non-violent means such as Keening for subtle convincing for the mortal to stop messing with their Fetter, Intimidation (the name of the Arcanoi, not the Ability) to directly command them to leave, or Puppetry to inhabit their body.


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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Shakanaka View Post
                        Intimidation (the name of the Arcanoi, not the Ability) to directly command them to leave,
                        That's Intimation; similar word, so it's easy to mix them up.


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by marin View Post

                          That's Intimation; similar word, so it's easy to mix them up.

                          I know, that's why I made the distinction in the parenthesis if you saw them... There is an Arcanoi in with called "Intimidation" characterized by a Wraith with a glowing yellow iris in either their right or left eye. They can directly control the minds of others or subtly control it with only just a look. Due to that they are a heavily persecuted and hated portion of the Underworld.


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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Shakanaka View Post

                            There is an Arcanoi in with called "Intimidation" characterized by a Wraith with a glowing yellow iris in either their right or left eye.
                            It's called Intimation, though... xD

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                            • #15
                              And... sorry for the pile on, but Intimation's Arcanos mark is a glowing green left eye.


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