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Ghosts with Unfinished Business

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  • Ghosts with Unfinished Business

    I notice there isn't anything in CofD about helping ghosts resolve their unfinished business. You can resolve or destroy their anchors, but this ultimately just sends them to the Underworld.

    Why is this? Is it just an oversight in the rules? Or do you think they are going for something a little different with their ghosts?

    If it's just an oversight (or assumption), what system would you use for helping a ghost pass on?

  • #2
    Originally posted by The Sword Emperor View Post
    I notice there isn't anything in CofD about helping ghosts resolve their unfinished business. You can resolve or destroy their anchors, but this ultimately just sends them to the Underworld.

    Why is this? Is it just an oversight in the rules? Or do you think they are going for something a little different with their ghosts?

    If it's just an oversight (or assumption), what system would you use for helping a ghost pass on?
    An important thing to know about CofD metaphysics is that a ghost is not the person who died, although it may think it is. Npbody is totally sure what happens to the soul after death, but it most definitely does not become a ghost. At first glance, ghosts appear to be echoes that people sometimes leave behind when they die. However, their relationship with the underworld hints that they may be something very different. When their Anchors are destroyed or resolved, they go to the Underworld. The Underworld is the only place they can increase in Rank, and at high enough Rank they can become straight-up gods of death.


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    • #3
      Huh, I totally hadn't noticed that.

      Don't think the concept is my cup of tea though. Interactions with ghosts feel less meaningful if they'll go the Underworld no matter what, and helping them pass on is a staple of the genre.

      Originally posted by The Sword Emperor View Post
      If it's just an oversight (or assumption), what system would you use for helping a ghost pass on?
      Simply resolving all of their anchors allows them to make peace with their deaths/let go of their attachment to the material world. Destroying their anchors sends them to the Underworld. If some of a ghost's anchors get destroyed, they might be able to, but the process should then call for rolls of some kind.


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      • #4
        Geist's first edition had a sort of 'passing on' rite.

        It's likely we won't hear anything about second edition's version until Geist comes out, because none of the books planned seem to focus on ghosts.

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        • #5
          It's an interesting cosmology, but yeah, it is one which intuitively rubs me the wrong way. I'm used to thinking of ghosts as people who you can help. It's a little awkward thinking that the best I can do is... well, I'm not sure what the best I can do is.

          Not that it's a bad direction, necessarily. It's got its own merits. Just... very much "our ghosts are different".

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          • #6
            Originally posted by The Sword Emperor View Post
            It's an interesting cosmology, but yeah, it is one which intuitively rubs me the wrong way. I'm used to thinking of ghosts as people who you can help. It's a little awkward thinking that the best I can do is... well, I'm not sure what the best I can do is.
            Well, ghosts are people, and you can help them. That's a big part of Geist, and can be a big part of Moros-heavy Mage games. It's just that they're not the same people as the humans who died and created them.

            Also, don't quote me on the "they go to the Underworld if you help them work through their Anchors" bit. Geist 2e could very well prove me wrong on that.

            Originally posted by The Sword Emperor View Post
            Not that it's a bad direction, necessarily. It's got its own merits. Just... very much "our ghosts are different".
            I mean, CofD's everything is different. Their spirits are a completely different thing than their ghosts, their werewolves are part spirit and guard the border between the material world and the animistic world that spirits come from, their angels are sentient programs of an impossibly large and complex occult machine, their demons the defectors of the same machine-god, their Frankenstein's monsters are pilgrims on a journey to become human and fueled by a mysterious collective conscious that has its own angel-like beings and may or may not have any connection to the afformentioned machine-god, their fairies are embodiments of pure narrative... Unique spins on archetypal horror creatures is the name of the game.


            Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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            • #7
              Ha, someone finally seen that! Yes, I think that Unfinished Business thing with ghosts was a bit bummer in 2E rules part.

              That's why, when I created with Mr Gone the Ephemeral Beings char sheets I explicite said to him to put Aspirations on it if he can squeeze them, even if Ephemera's do not use them normally. Yes, I made it so we can have Unfinished Business for ghosts NPCs. ( And to have maniacal spirits with centuries long plans. )

              Hack is fairy simple - Each ghost, on it's creation ( just after death of the body ) got's Aspirations dedicated to it's Unfinished Business. If they are all resolved, ghost can move on to Afterlife. It's really that simple. ( That's where PCs come and can help ghost to resolve those things - if they research or talk with ghost. )

              If you want to make it more difficult, you may say ghosts need to resolve both his Aspirations AND Anchors to move on, but I would not be so cruel on most instances. Especially as beside magic, there are not any possible things to release Anchors than destroying them. Putting ghost into need to kill his loved one only to free him because you are not Moros or Sin-Eater can be too much, in my POV.
              Last edited by wyrdhamster; 01-13-2017, 01:47 AM.


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              • #8
                Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post
                Interactions with ghosts feel less meaningful if they'll go the Underworld no matter what, and helping them pass on is a staple of the genre.
                The Underworld is generally considered to be at least along the way to the afterlife by folks who believe ghosts have anything to do with that. Anchors keep the unquiet dead from passing on physically by their presence and mentally by their lack of resolution, but a ghost passes on through the Underworld to wherever it goes next — the fulfillment of its needs is what allows its Corpus to unwind.

                A ghost is a consequence of and possibly a connection to someone who is no longer alive. Helping their restless shade pass on is part of setting their affairs in order whether the patch of entropy that has their memories vanishes immediately or finds a quiet place to sleep in the shadow of the world after a month of freedom from earthly attachment.


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                • #9
                  In 1e fulfilment caused ghosts to properly move on, not just going to the underworld but going somewhere unknown.


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                  • #10
                    Surely unfinished business is a form anchors can take? (Or rather, the anchor is the thing with which the ghost has unfinished business, and the condition is resolved when the business is.)

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
                      That's why, when I created with Mr Gone the Ephemeral Beings char sheets I explicite said to him to put Aspirations on it if he can squeeze them, even if Ephemera's do not use them normally. Yes, I made it so we can have Unfinished Business for ghosts NPCs. ( And to have maniacal spirits with centuries long plans. )
                      Knew that'd come in handy sometime.


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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Elfive View Post
                        Surely unfinished business is a form anchors can take? (Or rather, the anchor is the thing with which the ghost has unfinished business, and the condition is resolved when the business is.)
                        Remember that Death mages can just make 'puff, no Anchors' - and then, by rules, ghosts goes straight to Underworld, not to proper Afterlife. Until we do not see any official ruling, I would stick with solving Aspirations hack for ghosts moving on - it such simple and intuitive I was really weird when not see those rules in the first place in GMCU and CoD Rulebook. I will think they show up in Geist 2E, as 'extensive ghosts rules'. ( Still, it's only my hunch. )

                        There is also one lead that points ghosts should have Aspirations - by CoD Rulebook, they all have same Fate:

                        Originally posted by CoD Rulebook, p, 127
                        All ghosts have the same Fate, “Forgotten,” which comes into play when a ghost risks losing an anchor and sliding closer to imprisonment in the Underworld. Even powerful ghosts that are summoned back to the material world retain this Fate, as the conditions of their summoning are all that’s keeping them from the Great Below.
                        And Fates are...

                        Originally posted by CoD Rulebook, p, 127
                        (...) The God-Machine Chronicle includes an option called Fate, a special type of Aspiration. Fate denotes an extra part of the character’s concept: what is the end of their story? The Fate doesn’t have to come to pass within play, but characters that come out the other side of a God-Machine adventure without
                        having met their Fate haven’t escaped it, only postponed it.

                        (...)

                        Fulfilling a Fate is often a good time to start a new character – consider it the equivalent of writing a character out of a television series after her arc climaxes. That’s not mandatory, however. If a Fate is met before the chronicle ends, or a new chronicle is planned using the same characters after one has already met their doom, the player selects a new Fate.

                        In play, Fate works like other Aspirations, except that it provides a full Experience when fulfilled. (If the Fate removes the character from play, her player can spend this Experience on her next character.) Also, when a character’s action would lead her towards her Fate, her player gains only two dice from spending Willpower, but gets the Willpower point back if the action fails.
                        If Fates are like Aspirations, and ghosts have those, it's not a stretch for them to have proper Aspirations.
                        Last edited by wyrdhamster; 01-13-2017, 09:00 AM.


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                        • #13
                          Personally I like this Aspirations idea, it lends itself to ghosts being stories and not just monsters to be overcome.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Charlaquin
                            CofD's everything is different. Their spirits are a completely different thing than their ghosts, their werewolves are part spirit and guard the border between the material world and the animistic world that spirits come from, their angels are sentient programs of an impossibly large and complex occult machine, their demons the defectors of the same machine-god, their Frankenstein's monsters are pilgrims on a journey to become human and fueled by a mysterious collective conscious that has its own angel-like beings and may or may not have any connection to the afformentioned machine-god, their fairies are embodiments of pure narrative... Unique spins on archetypal horror creatures is the name of the game.
                            This feels like a perfect tagline for the CofD.

                            Originally posted by False Epiphany
                            Simply resolving all of their anchors allows them to make peace with their deaths/let go of their attachment to the material world. Destroying their anchors sends them to the Underworld. If some of a ghost's anchors get destroyed, they might be able to, but the process should then call for rolls of some kind.
                            Originally posted by wyrdhamster
                            Hack is fairy simple - Each ghost, on it's creation ( just after death of the body ) got's Aspirations dedicated to it's Unfinished Business. If they are all resolved, ghost can move on to Afterlife. It's really that simple. ( That's where PCs come and can help ghost to resolve those things - if they research or talk with ghost. )
                            Originally posted by Elfive
                            Surely unfinished business is a form anchors can take? (Or rather, the anchor is the thing with which the ghost has unfinished business, and the condition is resolved when the business is.)
                            According to the Book of the Dead, a ghost trapped in the Underworld may still have unfinished business. To quote page 12, "If a character fulfills the unfinished business of a ghost trapped in the Underworld, the ghost is free to leave the Underworld, and actually does so immediately. ... At this point, the ghost is gone. Without potent and blasphemous magic, the soul may not return to the living world or the Underworld. It has moved onto some unknown reward (which may be Heaven, Hell, or even a serene oblivion)."

                            Since ghosts in the Underworld don't have anchors, this suggests that Unfinished Business is something which may be - but is not necessarily - represented by anchors. Aspirations seems like a fine way to represent it, though you could leave it more abstract. Does raise the question of how this might go. For example, suppose a monster hunter uses a baseball bat as his favored weapon, and died while chasing down a particular monster who had become his nemesis. Defeating that monster might be his unfinished business, and the baseball bat might be an anchor, but I would have (apparently incorrectly) assumed that the monster must also be an anchor.


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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by The Sword Emperor View Post
                              Since ghosts in the Underworld don't have anchors, this suggests that Unfinished Business is something which may be - but is not necessarily - represented by anchors.
                              Rather clearly pointing that Unfinished Business (UB for short from now on ) are not Anchors, per se - only that UB are related to Anchors, somehow. If Anchors are list of most important people, things, places to living character, UB then would be actions to those things that ghosts must do.

                              Like in examples, UB would be 'Protect Emily till child birth', 'Scary neighbors from my home' or 'Finding Baseball bat' - in that 'Emily', 'My home' and 'Baseball bat's' are proper Anchors.

                              In that way, seeing UB as special Aspirations for ghosts is just logical thing in CoD rules framework.

                              Originally posted by The Sword Emperor View Post
                              For example, suppose a monster hunter uses a baseball bat as his favored weapon, and died while chasing down a particular monster who had become his nemesis. Defeating that monster might be his unfinished business, and the baseball bat might be an anchor, but I would have (apparently incorrectly) assumed that the monster must also be an anchor.
                              For monster hunters ghosts Anchors would be baseball bat and monster ( things 'hinging' it in material world ) and UB would be 'Defeating monster'. Once more, Anchors are things and people, UB are actions you need to do to those things or people.


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