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  • Getting players interested in Wraith

    "What do you do?"

    "This sounds like an interesting setting and all, but what would we do?"

    "So you're saying there's violence and horror and underworld politics but also you're trying to manage the life you've lost. I don't understand how those things could lead to us doing things. Do we just float around going woooo who wants to do that"

    "So we're playing ghosts, but like rolling dice and stuff? My head hurts."

    ​"I literally have no idea what we would do if we played Wraith. Would we balance dice on our heads or something?"

    "What are things? What are words? <uninteligible mumbling, drooling>"


    I'm probably being unfair to all the players I've tried to entice into playing Wraith. But the appeal of Wraith seems obvious to me, and I haven't been successful conveying it. Any suggestions?

  • #2
    "Do you want to play an art game that uses the experiences of ghosts as a metaphor for mental illness, primarily depression and anxiety?"

    Be honest from the start and understand that 99% don't want to play the only oWoD game that comes close to actually being personal horror. The average group is not going to enjoy Wraith, and that's okay.


    Just call me Lex.

    Female pronouns for me, please.

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    • #3
      Ripping off the plot of a ghost movie, and using it for a one-shot, is probably the best tactic. Defending a haunt (and your physical fetters) from a would-be interior designer (think Beetlejuice) or getting your murderer away from a loved one (as in Ghost), or convincing the local Scrooge of the value of Christmas . . . Things like that serve as an excellent introduction to the game: the powers, the constraints, the tactics. And if they need some more action, you can always through in a brawl with some of the local Hierarchs or Renegades

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      • #4
        @atamajakki: While Wraith does involve elements like you mention, I think there is more to it than that. Wraith is more about hope and struggle than mental illness itself. Also murdering Spectres and/or fighting The Man.

        @One Vorlon: Are you suggesting just leaving it at the one-shot, or using that as an introduction to get people interested in playing a longer game? Because I could see that working possibly.
        Last edited by Faradn; 04-09-2016, 10:15 AM.

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        • #5
          I've managed to get two wraith games up and going (and completed and closed down as well) after years and years of pining to play but "knowing" that I never would. (Add in one slot of Wraith at GenCon playing in the Dark Kingdom of Wire... which was okay for certain values of okay - some players were totally into getting to play Wraith, others didn't get it for one reason or another and the ST was so-so - more enthusiasm than skill).

          I have had a long running group that has played many different games that has lasted over a decade and is verging over into two. It just became a matter of keeping it on the list of options and being a booster each time we changed games. I think they did it to humor me. (We also did Changeling chronicles - Dreaming and then, later, Lost, because it was the Heart's Desire of a player.) I managed to shoehorn one of the Wraith games as a "mini-chronicle" that ran alongside one our most successful and long-term Mage games, exploring parts of the plot that were more Wraith-relevant than Mage and also setting up some Easter Eggs - the Mage game later went to the past and met some of the important wraiths when they were still alive). Though it was a "mini-chronicle" it was a complete story and everyone enjoyed it. (We've also done a similarly situated Vampire mini-chronicles and the Werewolf and Changeling ones are still on the table)

          I have had some of the newer players say "Never" to playing Wraith when we tire of the current M20 game and (if) the Wr20 rules are out. But the biggest opponent has been investing heavily in Spirit with a specialization in the Low Umbra and using artifacts to spend time walking around in the Shadowlands and mess with the Hierarchy and Heretics in the city where the characters are currently doing Mage-y things (the usual instigation of complete chaos and massive property damage, no matter their intent). So I'm not so sure she will remain so opposed.

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          • #6
            I agree a one shot or short term campaign is the best option. A long term Wraith campaign seems hard to explain. Most players want to experience power vicariously, and being dead undermines that. However, even to those kind of players, a short term campaign can sound fun and interesting.

            You may also want to try another approach. I believe Wraith is the game that best approximates movies and books like The Exorcist and Hellraiser. You can probably think of other such pop culture. If your players like those kinds of movies and books, then it would be a good hook. "Hey, you said you always liked Clive Barker's books - I can run that kind of story in Wraith. Would you be interested in that?"

            Those prospective players are telling you they don't know what they'd do. Instead of giving them vague suggestions of what they might do, it would be better to give them story seeds of the plots you'd intend to run. "You'd be ghosts in a run down abandon part of town. The forces of hell (spectres from the Labyrinth) are entering it. Threatening not only your characters, but the living you care for who still reside there. You'd battling demons to free possessed children and eventually need to defeat one of the high priests of Oblivion, a cenobite. You'd need to find allies among the living like priests and mediums."

            So give them examples of the cool things you'd imagine them doing in your actual plots. It might make them interested,

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            • #7
              If nothing else works, put on a clip from Beetlejuice, and tell your players, "you get to do that"

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              • #8
                Also, forget the Skinlands. You can do a bug hunt in the Labyrinth and pitch it as Aliens meets Hellraiser 2.

                I think a one-shot is a good idea to start. You could even simplify character creation by having the ST create and run the Shadows in a minimalist way. If you want a quick-and-dirty game, generate the characters for them too, based on a brief concept they have.

                Passions and Fetters tend to be tricky for some first timers. You could reduce Passions to the core emotion and Fetters to one location (probably place of death or own home), one object and one person. Then they can flesh things out later on.

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                • #9
                  I was one of those people that needed convincing. One of VtM friends *loved!!* the premise of WtO but I was extremely skeptical. As someone who needed convincing, here’s my tale of interest-peeking-circumstances. It might help. It might not. As a spoiler to prevent the WoT.

                  Back in the day (way, waaaay back in the day) I was really skeptical of Wraith. When it was still marketed as Ghost, I use to make fun of the premise. “Ghost: the Booing” and “Ghost: the Bedsheeting” were two of many names I gave it. Even after the rebranding (which I remember liking much more than “Ghost”), I was still dead-set on absolutely hating the premise and no amount of cajoling or bribery was going to change my mind. Two unrelated things, however, did change my mind.

                  In the back of World of Darkness: Combat there’s a small illustration; a chained purple lady kicking the crap out of two green guys holding some badass-looking swords. At first I thought it was supposed to be something from CtD, but I my friend was certain those were wraiths with soulsteel swords. It didn’t have to get much more metal to appeal to an angsty 90’s teenager.

                  Oddly, the final thing that sold me was a discussion about a comic book, specifically Spawn #8. In that issue, the ghost (for lack of a better term) of a serial killer awakens in a bizarre and hellish afterlife (complete with Cauls!) and journeys through the different layers of the underworld. I was talking about this issue and I pitched [to my friends] a necromantic cross between Dante’s Inferno and Spelljammer; damned souls exploring a vast and treacherous underworld. The same wraith-friend replied with, “You basically just described Harbingers.”

                  Sold.


                  Originally posted by adambeyoncelowe View Post
                  Also, forget the Skinlands. You can do a bug hunt in the Labyrinth and pitch it as Aliens meets Hellraiser 2.

                  I think a one-shot is a good idea to start. You could even simplify character creation by having the ST create and run the Shadows in a minimalist way. If you want a quick-and-dirty game, generate the characters for them too, based on a brief concept they have.

                  Passions and Fetters tend to be tricky for some first timers. You could reduce Passions to the core emotion and Fetters to one location (probably place of death or own home), one object and one person. Then they can flesh things out later on.


                  This is all solid advice for introducing the concept of the game to your group.



                  This is what happens when an Abyssal Exalted ends up in H.o.L.
                  (Also known as "Derpwraith" and "PretentiousFontsGuy
                  ").

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