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  • Help & advice for a newbie please

    hi,

    After running a long VTM campaign for some Friends - two of the players died. I'm looking to run a short adventure with their crackers as Wraiths - interacting with the survivors. I'm quite new to Wraith & I'm struggling with some of the rules. Can. Anyone help?

    1. A wraith goes in to a night club. The night club exists in the skinlands - can he walk through walls? Can he walk through quicks? If he can't walk through them how do the humans not feel the wraiths?

    2. As they are newly created how do they find out about rules - what decides on their "clan"? I'm trying to avoid cliche and made their introduction quite quick and bleak. There is so much story to get through I don't want to take too much time away form the rest of the party. (They'll milk it if I let them) ;-) Also they love the idea of not knowing anything about the game - so decided to let me choose everything for them. I just need to brush up on rules.

    The players have never played before and don't want to get involved in learning the system enough to create their characters - also archetype/nature/skills/attributes etc - I've just transferred from their original character so most is already done.

    Anything else I need to know?
    Last edited by Puzl; 09-07-2015, 05:03 AM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Puzl View Post
    hi,

    After running a long VTM campaign for some Friends - two of the players died. I'm looking to run a short adventure with their crackers as Wraiths - interacting with the survivors. I'm quite new to Wraith & I'm struggling with some of the rules. Can. Anyone help?

    1. A wraith goes in to a night club. The night club exists in the skinlands - can he walk through walls? Can he walk through quicks? If he can't walk through them how do the humans not feel the wraiths?
    Yes - at the cost of one level of corpus (health). Wraiths are governed by the (informal) "rule of ouch" - if something would be painful to a human (such as having your foot stepped on), they go incorporeal (ghost-like) and can walk through objects that exist only in the Skinlands, such as living people and (purely physical) walls.

    Note - barring magic or other supernatural powers, physical objects and living people can only do one level of damage to a wraith. Nor can living people see wraiths, or really interact with them (again, barring magic).

    2. As they are newly created how do they find out about rules - what decides on their "clan"? I'm trying to avoid cliche and made their introduction quite quick and bleak. There is so much story to get through I don't want to take too much time away form the rest of the party. (They'll milk it if I let them) ;-) Also they love the idea of not knowing anything about the game - so decided to let me choose everything for them. I just need to brush up on rules.
    Wraiths don't have clans - all starting wraiths use the same template. So they have no "preferred" disciplines (known as Arcanoi) or "clan" weaknesses.

    Western (i.e. European and American) wraiths have three broad loyalty groups, though. The Hierarchy is a corrupt quasi-militarized bureaucracy that controls Stygia and a bare majority of Skinlands haunts (wraith equivalent of "nodes" and "caerns"). Its the closest wraiths have to a "normal" society . . . not necessarily a healthy one, but something that the average wraith would be comfortable living in.

    The Renegades and the Heretics are the other two, and represent the dissenters. Both are riven by internal factions . . .but have the resources to push back against the Hierarchy (if need be). Renegades represent the secular opposition, covering everyone from abolitionists (slavery is legal in the afterlife) to criminal gangs to mercenary forces. Heretics, on the other hand, are religious groups: representing both Skinlands faiths and religions found solely in the afterlife.

    Which group you join depends heavily on who "reaps" your soul. Some movement between the three factions is possible . . . but most people tend to stick with their initial group.

    There are also Guilds which specialize in each of the different Arcanoi. However, they're technically illegal, and operate more as secret societies. Thus a brand new wraith is unlikely to be part of one (or even know they exist)..

    The players have never played before and don't want to get involved in learning the system enough to create their characters - also archetype/nature/skills/attributes etc - I've just transferred from their original character so most is already done.

    Anything else I need to know?
    Well, even re-using their old characters, they will still have some work to do. They'd have to pick their Passions (reasons for staying around, which allow them to recharge their powers) and Fetters (things that bind them to the living world). They'd also need to develop their Shadows (the darker aspects of their soul, which gain power in death,too).

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    • #3
      Thanks for the reply.
      So, does that mean it costs them health to walk through people? What happens if the item does no damage?

      So, let me see if I have this straight...
      A wraith touches a car door that is open. Without using powers had can touch it but not move/close it. If he forces himself to walk through the car he looses one corpus & is incorporeal for a few seconds.

      What happens if someone walks in to a wraith who is just standing there? This doesn't really hurt the wraith so does the wraith just bounce off? I take it that they could poke the person (who would not feel anything) - all powers aside for the minute.


      Do the every day things "bus stops, cars" etc ALL exist in the shadowlands? Or do some and not others?

      I've got the shadow side covered - they've opted to play each other's and I've had them choose fetters and passions thanks.
      Last edited by Puzl; 09-07-2015, 08:49 AM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Puzl View Post
        Thanks for the reply.
        So, does that mean it costs them health to walk through people? What happens if the item does no damage?

        . . .

        What happens if someone walks in to a wraith who is just standing there? This doesn't really hurt the wraith so does the wraith just bounce off? I take it that they could poke the person (who would not feel anything) - all powers aside for the minute.
        That's all covered by the "rule of ouch". Having someone walk into/through you would hurt, even if it didn't cause damage (ever bang your head into someone else's?) Thus it causes the wraith to discorporate (go "ghostly") and lose a health level.

        As for poking a person . . . the Shroud between the Skinlands and the Shadowlands is much more porous than the Gauntlet/Wall. So a living person might feel the poke as a cool breeze, a tingling sensation, or the feeling that "someone just walked over my grave". Nothing that would let a "normal" person put two and two together, and realize that a ghost is trying to get their attention.

        So, let me see if I have this straight...
        A wraith touches a car door that is open. Without using powers had can touch it but not move/close it. If he forces himself to walk through the car he looses one corpus & is incorporeal for a few seconds.
        Yep.


        Do the every day things "bus stops, cars" etc ALL exist in the shadowlands? Or do some and not others?
        They do . ..but from a wraith's perspective, they (and the living) are the ghosts. Its why wraiths can walk through them (by going incorporeal).

        The Shadowlands are also full of "relic" buildings and structures - places that were so important to the living, that they continue to exist in the afterlife. The church that stood for centuries, witnessing countless weddings, baptisms, and sermons, generation after generation. Your first car, that you lovingly cared for, until it literally fell apart on you. The snakepit of a prison, which housed the worst of the worst, and which saw countless abuses by the guards . . . . Such places endure in the Shadowlands, and - to a wraith - are far more "real" (and solid) than objects in the Skinlands.
        Last edited by One Vorlon; 09-07-2015, 07:12 PM.

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        • #5
          When a wraith wants to heal how does it get to its nearest fetter? Let's say it's hundreds of miles away?

          Also in the presence of Fae do they see through their illusionary appearance?
          Last edited by Puzl; 09-10-2015, 12:40 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Puzl View Post
            When a wraith wants to heal how does it get to its nearest fetter? Let's say it's hundreds of miles away?
            Tough luck, unless you have the Argos art that lets you teleport there. You could always bash yourself into a Harrowing -- if you survive, you'll respawn at a fetter every time. That sounds like a good plan.

            You can also just spend pathos to heal, like vamps spend blood.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by bphillips View Post

              Tough luck, unless you have the Argos art that lets you teleport there. You could always bash yourself into a Harrowing -- if you survive, you'll respawn at a fetter every time. That sounds like a good plan. . . .
              Just for the record, I'm pretty sure that bphillips is being sarcastic. A Harrowing is equal parts bad acid trip, emotional blackmail, and supernatural torture - with the very real possibility of taking permanent/un-healable damage. Resorting to one just to get to your fetter is almost always a very, very bad idea.

              On the 'bright" side, most wraiths can't go very far from their Fetters - hence the term "fetter", rather than something like "power object". They are both emotionally and supernaturally chained to them, so if a wraith in New York City wants to visit . . . oh, say, Peru, he's got to find a way to get some of his fetters there, first. There are Arcanoi powers that lift that restriction . . . but again, a beginning wraith is unlikely to have them.

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              • #8
                It's worth pointing out that when the character goes incorporeal, they take no more damage from physical things in the Skinlands until they go corporeal again. So if a wraith is stuck in a crowd, he will lose one level of corpus damage, then go incorporeal, and hopefully have enough time to run to safety before he goes corporeal again and starts losing any more corpus levels. He won't lose one corpus level for every single human who passes through him.

                Really, you'll have to read the book. It's a great read anyway, but there are lots of specific rules that you should be aware of if you want to do it right. Otherwise, just use the rules for wraiths from the back of V20 or VRev (Disciplines instead of Arcanoi, etc), and fudge it. In a Vampire game, that's an understandable tactic, and it's what I did before I bought WTO.

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                • #9
                  I dont recall (as in I dont remember) what the rule on switching from incorporeal to corporeal again is. Isn't it simply voluntary, or WP driven?

                  Edit: turns equal to Stamina. I always fudged this as incorporeal for the scene, as having wraiths look for doors is not fun, imho.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Herbert_West View Post
                    I dont recall (as in I dont remember) what the rule on switching from incorporeal to corporeal again is. Isn't it simply voluntary, or WP driven?

                    Edit: turns equal to Stamina. I always fudged this as incorporeal for the scene, as having wraiths look for doors is not fun, imho.
                    Yes, meaning the toughest wraith only has 15 seconds to get out of harm's way. It's possible, therefore, for a wraith in a particularly big crowd to get sent into a Harrowing. Which is why wraiths shun daytime and humans, for the most part.

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                    • #11
                      Regarding your query about "Clans" there are a number of subtypes of Wraiths.

                      The standard template is a normal guy who died, of course. But there are Spectres, utterly evil and foul ghosts who are the result of someone either falling to their Shadow (Think the Beast) or the result of someone dying in such a horrifyingly unpleasant fashion (Like intense torture) that when they die they immediately become Spectres (A subtype of Spectre known as a Mortwight). Further confusing things is that there are non Wraiths in the shadowlands, sometimes they're just plasmics (Ranging from dead animals to weird things out of the Tempest and Labyrinth called Whistimmu)

                      But sometimes you get things like Giovanni out for a stroll in the Shadowlands, to Nagaraja "living" there long term, to if you happen to be in the fertile crescent, the city of Enoch's spiritual reflection (It may or may not actually be Enoch, the way Wraith works is that the beliefs of the living and the dead make things in the Shadowlands. When you have thousands of vampires around the world at any given time raised on Noddist lore after their embrace, it may very well of made Enoch pop up whole cloth out of the beliefs of the Cainites.)

                      If you want to add even more gamelines, Silent Strider Werewolves sometimes end up down there, Mummies wind up there all the time, and Sluagh Changelings can see and speak with the dead, though its rare they ever end up in the Shadowlands proper. One final thing to consider is that Wraiths have a trait called "Deathsight" which lets them see the entropy and death in things, which can give them a heads up about how stable a building is, or if someone in the Skinlands is about to die...or if the fellow they're looking at is a walking corpse running on stolen blood.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Autochthon View Post
                        Regarding your query about "Clans" there are a number of subtypes of Wraiths.

                        The standard template is a normal guy who died, of course. But there are Spectres, utterly evil and foul ghosts who are the result of someone either falling to their Shadow (Think the Beast) or the result of someone dying in such a horrifyingly unpleasant fashion (Like intense torture) that when they die they immediately become Spectres (A subtype of Spectre known as a Mortwight). Further confusing things is that there are non Wraiths in the shadowlands, sometimes they're just plasmics (Ranging from dead animals to weird things out of the Tempest and Labyrinth called Whistimmu)

                        But sometimes you get things like Giovanni out for a stroll in the Shadowlands, to Nagaraja "living" there long term, to if you happen to be in the fertile crescent, the city of Enoch's spiritual reflection (It may or may not actually be Enoch, the way Wraith works is that the beliefs of the living and the dead make things in the Shadowlands. When you have thousands of vampires around the world at any given time raised on Noddist lore after their embrace, it may very well of made Enoch pop up whole cloth out of the beliefs of the Cainites.)

                        If you want to add even more gamelines, Silent Strider Werewolves sometimes end up down there, Mummies wind up there all the time, and Sluagh Changelings can see and speak with the dead, though its rare they ever end up in the Shadowlands proper. One final thing to consider is that Wraiths have a trait called "Deathsight" which lets them see the entropy and death in things, which can give them a heads up about how stable a building is, or if someone in the Skinlands is about to die...or if the fellow they're looking at is a walking corpse running on stolen blood.
                        Personally I'd avoid crossovers with newbie Storytellers and Players. Same with Spectres as playing them is like playing Black Spiral Dancers or Sabbat. An experienced group can do it but for newbies its something that should be avoided.

                        As for 'Clans', it isn't as clear cut as other splats. In the Western Lands of the Dead there are three major groups of Wraiths, the Hierarchy, the Renegades and the Heretics. The Hierarchy rules over their portion of the Underworld and most western wraiths belong to them. The Hierarchy is ruled by its Emperor Charon who has been missing since the end of WWII, leaving power with the Deathlords, his lieutenants and the heads of the eight Legions that make up the Hierarchy. And in the Hierarchy everyone is sorted into a Legion based on how they died.

                        First are the three largest and most powerful Legions:

                        The Iron Legion-victims of old age

                        The Skeletal Legion-victims of disease or starvation

                        The Grim Legion-victims of violence

                        Then there are the other five Legions that aren't as large because their means of death aren't as common:

                        The Penitent Legion-victims of madness, those that died mad or were killed by the mad

                        The Emerald Legion-victims of accidents

                        The Silent Legion-victims of suicide

                        The Legion of Paupers-victims that don't know how they died or who's deaths don't readily match up with any of the other Legions

                        The Legion of Fate-those that have been marked by Fate, it doesn't matter how they died, they have been marked and belong to the Legion of Fate

                        There was also once the Guilds, who held the monopoly on Arcanoi but centuries ago they were 'disbanded'. However they all still exist, most of them just keep quiet about it.

                        Renegades reject the Hierarchy and stifling ways, often embracing newer concepts like democracy. Basically their Wraith Anarchs. However they aren't exactly a unified force, with all kinds of different groups scattered around the Underworld.

                        Likewise the Heretics reject the Hierarchy but for religious reasons. Heretics still cling to whatever faith they had in life which the Hierarchy has come to reject.

                        Hierarchy wraiths have the most coverage in the books, with books like Book of Legions and The Hierarchy as well as the Guild Books. And they're the ideal ones to start off with. While the Renegades do have a book of their own, the Heretics never got that chance before the line ended.


                        Homo sapiens. What an inventive, invincible species. It's only a few million years since they crawled up out of the mud and learned to walk. Puny, defenceless bipeds. They've survived flood, famine and plague. They've survived cosmic wars and holocausts. And now, here they are, out among the stars, waiting to begin a new life. Ready to outsit eternity. They're indomitable. Indomitable.

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                        • #13
                          Thanks some really interesting stuff there

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                          • #14
                            I have a question too, maybe I'm a bit dull but there's still something i don't understand clearly: "shadowlands" and "skinlands" are two separate dimensions or they overlap?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Ipergigio View Post
                              I have a question too, maybe I'm a bit dull but there's still something i don't understand clearly: "shadowlands" and "skinlands" are two separate dimensions or they overlap?
                              A bit of both. Geographically, the Shadowlands and the Skinlands are the same - a human standing in NYC's Time Square (in the Skinlands) is in the exact same place as a wraith standing there in the Shadowlands. However, there's a barrier known as the Shroud separating the human and the wraith - sort of their version of the Gauntlet/Wall. "Shadowlands" and "Skinlands" primarily refer to what side of that barrier you're on - you can't (easily) affect something on the other side of the barrier.

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