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Custom Legacy - Coldwraiths

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  • Custom Legacy - Coldwraiths

    While checking some rules for my story, this idea came to me, and I thought I could make a good legacy out of it. What follows is a rough draft of the background, and currently working on the attainments, yantras and oblations. Any suggestions are welcome.

    The Coldwraith is a strange Legacy. A mage may not join freely to this Legacy, and they are mostly created spontaneously. Whenever a mage tries to reach lichdom using the Death Arcana, if he has not joined a Legacy yet, he might find himself initiated on this one. This only happens when the ritual or spell designed to reach lichdom fails. This does not happens every time, and not even the most savant of the Mysterium sages knows for sure which are the conditions under a Mage might turn into a Coldwraith. The only requisite that feels consistent between all the Coldwraiths is the desire to reach lichdom, and the usage of the Death Arcanum as a mean to it.

    Coldwraiths have existed for as long as any community of Mages remember, having found even mentions to “cold, pale, immortal willworkers that froze even the fiercest flames with a mere touch” in ancient ruins of Atlantean temples. In the past they were almost mythological figures, monsters that lurked in the shadows looking for somebody they can steal their heat and breath.

    It wasn’t until recent times, in the early 19th century, when the first Coldwraith was captured and studied for the first time by a mage named Hermes. Hermes found, while studying the soul of the wraith that it wasn’t so different from any other lich based legacies. They survived by preying on humans, and, as it was confirmed later, when more coldwraiths were captured, they all shared a few physical attributes: pale skin, cold radiating from its body continuously, pale eyes in the range of gray to pale blue. They did retain all cognitive abilities of a mage, so they weren’t monsters per se, they could be reasoned with. But they needed to kill to survive, and that’s when the conflict arises.

    In modern times, the coldwraiths survive in the fringe of cities, working in places where their frost aura can be justified, like morgues or manipulating deep-frozen food, taking the life of anyone that they might think won’t be missed.

    They don’t have an organization, and they are quite territorial. There are never more than one Shade in a given area, and if more arrive, then it usually ends with one of the Wraiths dead. But there was an incident, right after the Second World War, where the presence of a big group of Wraiths where confirmed near the town of Butugychag, in the Kolyma region of North-Eastern Russia. In local folklore, the area is known as the Death Valley. This name was given to the area by the nomadic tribes that domesticated and raised deer in the area. As they traveled along the Detrin River, they stumbled upon a huge field filled with human skulls and bones. Soon after, their deer became ill with a mysterious disease; the first symptom was loss of fur on their legs, followed by lack of energy and refusal to walk. When the Russian authorities found it out, a cabal of mages went to investigate. Only one of them returned, and advised the authorities to close the encampment due to the high level of radiation in the area. That was the official version. The truth, as the mage later reported to the local Consilia, was that a group of 10 to 15 Wraiths where standing still in the middle of the town, chanting, the temperature in a radius of more than 10 km plummeted below -80º C. When the cabal was spotted, 3 of them actually just died, their bodies frozen to the very core, the only one who survived, teleported himself to the safety of the civilization, panicking. When the town was finally abandoned in 1955, the Wraiths were gone, nowhere to be seen again.

    Parentage: Any Path or Order.
    Requisites: Death 2, Occult 3, any of the following skills at 2 or more: Intimidation, Science, Survival. Must have learn Devouring the Slain as Praxis.
    Ruling Arcana: Death.
    Optional Arcana: Space.
    Restrictions: The Coldwraiths do not apparently age. They have a human lifespan but their bodies do not suffer the ravages of age. In order to extend their lifespan they must kill a human being using Devouring the Slain, used as a Praxis. This adds one month to the lifespan of the Coldwraith. This is improved when the fourth attainment is reached, adding two months, if the attainment is used to kill a human being. If the victim is supernatural in nature, instead of two months the Shade adds one month plus one more per point of Gnosis or equivalent (Blood Potency for vampires, Primal Urge for werewolves and so on). Whenever A Shade kills another using the fourth attainment, the lifespan is extended by six months plus one per point of Gnosis of the killed Coldwraith.
    Shades can’t be healed using Life magic, instead they must heal using the Death arcanum, and they never suffer the effects of the Extreme Cold tilt, and ignore any damage caused by cold or freezing temperatures.
    A Shade that is under the effects of Extreme Heat tilt, halves the time needed to accrue penalties and suffer damage.
    Whenever fire damage is dealt to a Coldwraith, they always suffer bonus damage equal to the highest attainment level he has. Thus if a Shade who has developed the Third attainment suffers damage from fire, it will suffer 3 additional levels of Lethal damage.

    Last edited by Eleizel; 03-04-2019, 08:04 AM.

  • #2
    Have you considered using the myth of the wendigo for inspiration? It would be a kind of poetic justice, those that tried to harness souls to defeat death on their own terms are now enslaved by a desperate hunger that threatens to devour them completely.

    So as to not make them too similar to the Devourers of the Flesh, they could use Death as their Ruling Arcanum and Space as optional. Some random Attainment ideas:

    - A custom Environmental Tilt that creates a Blizzard that is uncannily able to separate people to be devoured (Death for the cold, Space to enforce separation)

    - Being able to afflict people's souls with your hunger, making them feed for you. This enforces the myth of wendigos infecting others. Its also why they seemed amicable, the interviewers were talking to the trunk, the roots were still gathering nutrients.

    - A variation of Devouring The Slain to sate the hunger, making them also able to eat ghosts and with some unique bonuses. Paired with an optional ability to temporarily increase in Size after feeding, playing on the idea wendigos increased in size after eating each victim and because of that were never full.

    - Ghost Gate to make it look like they and their servants could appear out of nowhere and vanish just as fast.
    Last edited by KaiserAfini; 02-14-2019, 10:21 PM.

    New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.

    The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists
    The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate


    • #3
      You don’t need to have soul stealing to gain immortality. I’d go a different route, like they steal warmth and breath and leave frozen corpses behind to sate their hungers and fuel their existence, something like that.


      • #4
        Is the pale skin due to a lack of body heat, or does their skin turn white after the botched ritual even if the Mage was black?
        Last edited by Master Aquatosic; 02-20-2019, 10:45 AM.

        A god is just a monster you kneel to. - ArcaneArts, Quoting "Fall of Gods"


        • #5
          Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
          like they steal warmth and breath and leave frozen corpses behind to sate their hungers and fuel their existence
          I kind of like this idea, but it make them quite like the Strix of VtR, which in turn might lead to interesting conclusions.

          Originally posted by Master Aquatosic View Post
          Is the pale skin due to a lack of body heat, or does their skin turn white after the botched ritual even if the Mage was black?
          Actually it is kind of the mark of the legacy, so the skin turns pale, within the color pattern of the mage, I mean, an afroamerican mage won't turn snow white, just pale, like if the mage was sick or something like that. Almost always they show signs of hypothermia, like purplish lips.

          ​I'm still working on the attainments, but KaiserAfini gave me a few options to start with. I'll update this soon, thanks for all the comments!!
          Last edited by Eleizel; 03-04-2019, 08:36 AM.


          • #6
            Here is the first draft for the attainments!! Any suggestions are welcome!! Just remember that this legacy is meant to be used by the storyteller more than by the players!


            First: Coldwraith’s Presence
            Prerequisites: Initiation.
            The immediate area around the Wraith seem to be dark, cold and lifeless. Upon Initiation, the Coldwraith emits an aura of cold and shadows, which grows in power as the mage progress through the attainments. At this level, its effects are mostly narrative in nature, in the presence of the Wraith everything seems darker and colder, and people around feel shivers. Also, the Wraith can replicate the spell Deepen Shadows, with Reach applied to Instant Casting.

            Optional: Space 1. Another creepy power the Wraiths are known for. The Shadow is able to make his victim isolated from the world, up to the point that is taxing for him to interact with other people. This attainment replicates the Space spell Isolation, with Reach spent on Instant Casting.

            Conjunctional: Forces 1. If the Mage also knows Forces 1, when using Deepen Shadows with the first attainment he can also add the effects of the Forces Spell Influence Heat, but only to repel the heat from his immediate vicinity.

            Second: Death Takes Over
            Prerequisites: Death 2, Intimidation 3.
            The Wraith evolves further, and is affected by the Death spell Supress Life permanently. This can’t be turned on and off and, and to any mundane senses, the Shade appears to be dead as if it died due to extreme cold exposure, and any attempts to pierce this attainment cause an immediate Clash of Wills.

            Optional: Space 2.
            When this attainment is learned, the Coldwraith can isolate his target even further. The Isolation effect of the Coldwraith’s Presence gains a free reach spent on Advanced Duration.

            Third: Cold Burst
            Prerequisites: Death 3, Science 3.
            The cold aura of the Wraith intensifies. Whenever the Mage unleash his nimbus, an area around him equal to 2x Gnosis meters is affected by the Ice Tilt. This lasts for an scene. The Shade is immune to the effects of the Ice tilt created by this attainment.

            Optional: Space 3.
            The isolating capabilities of the Coldwraith grow. This attainment replicates the Ban spell, but with a few limitations. It always lets the air through, and can’t kill the target either directly or indirectly. Reach are spent on Instant Casting.

            Conjunctional: Forces 3.
            If the Mage also knows Forces 3, he may add the effects of Control Heat to the Ban effect. This effect can only decrease heat inside the banned area.

            Fourth: Breath Drinker
            Prerequisites: Death 4, Survival 3.
            The cold aura of the Wraith are even more drastic in nature. The area affected by the Ice tilt on the Third attainment is doubled. Additionally, an area equal to Gnosis meters around the Coldwraith is considered to be under the effects of the Extreme Cold tilt whenever the mage unleash his nimbus. This effect last for an scene. Also, this attainment eases the needs for sustenance of the Wraiths. The Shade can target any subject that is affected by the Extreme Cold tilt. This works as the spell Devouring the Slain, but can only drain Willpower, or Health if all the Willpower has been taken. Reaches are spent on Instant Casting and Sensory Range. Killing a human being with this attainment always leaves behind a frozen corpse, and adds lifespan to the Shade as explained in the restrictions section above.

            Optional: Space 4. The Ban effect of the Third attainment gains a free reach spent on Advanced Duration.

            Fifth: Cry of the Wraith
            Prerequisites: Death 5, Occult 4, any two of Intimidation, Science or Survival at 4 or more.
            The most feared power of the Wraiths, also grows in power the more Shades use it at the same time in the same area. After singing the names of 100 shades of Death, which will take one hour, the Wraith lets out a wailing scream which absorbs all life within the area of effect, applying the Breath Drinker attainment to every living being within reach. This attainment requires the Concentration yantra, and while maintaining concentration deals its damage every Ritual Interval, according to the Gnosis chart. This works as the Breath Drinker attainment but with an additional Reach spent on Advanced Scale. The Scale factor advances one step per every other Coldwraith present at the moment of casting. All lesser life forms automatically wither and die, appearing as frozen carcasses. Human-like beings suffer the drain of their Willpower or damage as per the Fourth attainment.

            Optional: Space 5. With Space 5, no one can escape the Cry of the Wraith, they just can wait to be drained to the death by the dread powers of the Shade. While singing the names of 100 shades of Death, the area is affected by an Alter Direction spell, so anything trying to cross the limit, goes back inside. Reach are spent on Instant Casting and Advanced Scale. The advanced scale advances with the same rules as the Death part of the attainment.

            Conjunctional: Forces 5. If the Wraith also knows Forces 5, all the area is affected by the Extreme Cold and Blizzard environmental tilts, as cold surges in waves from the Coldwraith.
            Last edited by Eleizel; 03-05-2019, 05:18 AM.


            • #7
              So, my thoughts are that with the Restrictions you can probably chuck on a free Reach, maybe two but that's pushing it, on every attainment. I'd also consider dropping the Space section entirely and just make it Death/Forces since "all" Space does is work to isolate a victim which isn't necessarily in the theme of Cold and Death that the legacy looks like it's supposed to propagate and at least two of the attainments for Space are "wasted" on expanding Reach options.


              • #8
                Uhmmm I kind of like the isolation theme for the Coldwraiths, for me it lines up pretty well with the concept of dying due to extreme cold out in the wilderness. I'd prefer to delve deeper into the isolation theme rather than ditching it out entirely. So, how could I integrate the theme better within the legacy? Isolation, Ban and Alter Direction seem fine, but I think you arre correct when you said that spending a whole attainment to spent another reach seems inappropriate. Any insights on this? I might remove the attainments where I give reach to the lower Space attainment, and directly give additional reachs, taking into account the Restrictions of the Legacy, so It would leave me with 2 attainments to model.... Any thoughts?

                Thanks in advance!!
                Last edited by Eleizel; 03-06-2019, 12:06 PM.


                • #9
                  Part of the challenge is that cold based effects require higher levels of Death to use on a bigger scale. The last Attainments sounds cool, but it seems to contradict the lore. You mentioned one becomes a Coldwraith due to botching a ritual to attain lichdom, which suggests rarity. The last Attainment focuses on cooperation, but given the implied small numbers and that, unlike Banishers, they have no way to track each other, I feel they need more of a lore incentive to be drawn together.

                  Here is an alternate approach to the Attainments, I tried to also incorporate more of the isolation theme:

                  Death 1
                  Cold is the death of heat, cold is the death of courage, cold bites deep and pulls all towards Stygia. Coldwraiths are especially attuned to these signs and their Active Mage Sight becomes able to show them the Cold Trail, a path of cold aura that people leave when afflicted by fear, cold or cold related maladies. Their Peripheral Mage Sight now pings in response to the Cold Trail.

                  Space 1
                  The mage can impring his Signature Nimbus at no mana cost on any object that is cold, chilled, frozen or otherwise uses cold imagery. For living beings, those emitting the Cold Trail can be affected.

                  Death 2
                  The Coldwraith is in a permanent state of Suppress Life and registers as a dead being for supernatural detection.

                  Space 2
                  Lying Maps with Reach assigned to advanced duration. If the target is emitting the Cold Trail, it can be used instantly.

                  Death 3
                  Ghost Gate with instant use. If used in a cold area or one resonant with the Cold Trail, it can be used without the need of a portal. Coldwraiths use this to track targets from a vantage point, choosing the perfect moment to strike.

                  Space 3
                  Sometimes the wraith's victims become desperate and resort to all sorts of tactics. Weapons, vehicles, traps, blockades are all common. Other times, a swift scare is the best way for a hungry wraith to create a chance to feed. This replicates Co-Location with instant use, able to link up to [Space] locations in sensory range.

                  Death 4
                  Same as the previous one, but they can feed on anyone emitting the Cold Trail, even if they haven't taken lethal or aggravated damage.

                  Space 4
                  Spend a scene chanting and a point of mana to transform an entire area and every inanimate object within it into Cold Trail ectoplasm, Reach is assigned to advanced duration and mana is spent to activate Everywhere. The river can be controlled by Shape Ectoplasm or frozen by imprinting their Signature Nimbus upon it (but won't unfreeze until the Nimbus is wiped away). The frozen echoes of the Coldwraith's victims can be seen within it, writing and wailing "below the surface". Anyone submerged within it receives the Extreme Cold tilt until it leaves its vicinity. When the Attainment ends, the transformed space reforms, and the items it contained are scattered along the area which the river occupied.

                  Death 5
                  Spend one mana to activate Cold Snap with Reach assigned to instant use, advanced duration, inflicting the Extreme Cold tilt and mana spent to activate Everywhere. In the vicinity of the river from the previous Attainment, it creates the Blizzard environmental tilt instead. Each point of damage inflicted by the Attainment generated cold now give the same effects as Breath Drinker.

                  Space 5
                  The Coldwraith can now put the area affected by the main Attainment under the effects of Quarantine. (Hopefully the Legacy's restrictions justify the extra Reach).
                  Last edited by KaiserAfini; 03-07-2019, 08:35 AM.

                  New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.

                  The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists
                  The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate