What are Wraiths?
Wraiths were once living beings. Once a person dies, there is a possibility that they will become wraiths. If that person has ties to the world and does not pass on because those ties hold them back, they rise as a wraith. Not everyone that dies, therefore, becomes a wraith. There is no knowledge about the existence of those who pass on without becoming wraiths.
When people die, the marks of their death stay with them. These deathmarks remain visible unless purposefully covered in some way. It is not uncommon to see wraiths with marks of disease, burns, or injuries, in an assortment of ways.
The ties a wraith has with the world come in many forms. Fetters are physical objects that connect a wraith with the world. They are items that had deep meaning to the person before they died. Wraiths also have two passions, guiding emotions that develop when they die and are connected with who and what they were when they were alive. Another connection with the world that occasionally happens is formed by the memories of the living. Wraiths that are remembered strongly by the living are sometimes able to gain strength from those memories.
Fetters are objects that the a wraith has a strong attachment to. Often this object is related somehow to the wraith passion or the source of that passion. There are no set types of fetters, but wraiths generally start with 2 items that are meaningful and representative of important things or people from their life before death.
Passions are the strong emotions that keep a wraith from continuing on their path in death. Those emotions influence everything they do. While passions fit under specific categories in our system, they are very individual to the one experiencing them. The passions are: Anger, Depression, Duty, Fear, Greed, Happiness, Hate, Jealousy, Love, and Obsession.
When someone is reborn as a wraith, they come into the shadowlands cauled. A caul is a film of plasm that covers the face of the new wraith. It confuses the mind and dulls the senses. Another wraith can uncaul the new wraith, helping him or her see the shadowlands. That wraith is often the teacher and master of the young. On rare occasions, a wraith is able to uncaul themselves.
Wraiths regain energy in a few ways. Haunts generally have an associated passion type. A wraith with that passion type will gain energy more quickly than one who doesn’t. A citadel is a place of power for wraiths, and it quickly gives energy to all. Wraiths can also gain energy from the living that are feeling the emotion of one of the two passions of that wraith.
Masks are common among wraiths. They both serve to give anonymity to the wraith, and to identify certain hierarchy officials. Many wraiths are known more by their masks than by the individuals wearing them.
For game play in our system, there is a choice for a player to start as a wraith, or to create a wraith from their mortal after that character has died. Please work with character guides if you would like to make this happen.
How are Wraiths Organized?
Wraiths organize themselves in several ways. They have classifications for how they die, what their innate power is, and the position they have gained within wraith society, the hierarchy. While not all wraith choose to be part of the hierarchy, that is the most organized cultural system amongst wraiths.
Legion: A wraith’s legion is determined by how the individual died. Many deaths will fit into multiple categories, so there are often multiple possibilities for their legion. Generally, the one who teaches the wraith is the one who determines their legion in those cases. The legions consist of: The Silent Legion - victims of despair The Legion of Paupers - victims of mystery The Emerald Legion - victims of happenstance The Grim Legion - victims of violence The Iron Legion - victims of old age The Penitent Legion - victims of madness The Skeletal Legion - victims of pestilence The Legion of Fate - those marked by fate
Guild: A wraith’s guild is determined by their innate primary arcanoi, or power tree. There are many guilds that are recognized by the hierarchy, though that has gone out of favor.
- The Great Guilds
- Artificers - Kinesis
- Masquers - Moliate
- Pardoners - Castigate
- Usurers - Usury
- The Working Guilds
- Chanteurs - Keening
- Harbingers - Argos
- Oracles - Fatalism
- Sandmen - Phantasm
- The Criminal Guilds
- Haunters - Pandemonium
- Monitors - Lifeweb
- Proctors - Embody
- Puppeteers - Puppetry
- Spooks - Outrage
- The Forbidden Guilds
- Alchemists - Flux
- Solicitors - Intimation
Stygian Rank: There are military ranks, and there are civil ranks. I am listing them from low to high level.
- Military Ranks
- Civil Ranks
Shadowlands Wraiths dwell in the shadowlands, a separate plane of existence from the realm, but one that comes in close contact with the realm. This is why mortals generally can’t see them, but occasionally are able to interact.
The shadowlands are similar to the umbra, where shifters and gaian spirits reside, but are a different plane. In our game, at our location, a strange occurrence has combined the shadowlands and the umbra.
Stygia Stygia is a place inhabited by wraiths and run by the wraith hierarchy. It is a great city in the underworld, far beyond the shadowlands. Some wraiths reside there, and some visit or travel through.
How do Wraiths Interact with the Physical Realm? As far as this game goes, there are a few things to note about how wraiths interact with the physical realm mechanically:
Wraiths have an inherent power of gauntlet sight. They can see across gauntlet without expending energy. They do not have gauntlet grasp automatically, however. That power needs to be purchased through a power tree.
Since wraith players need to eat, all wraiths have the ability to pick up food and beverages that they are going to eat or drink, even if they don’t have gauntlet grasp. They can also walk through any unlocked door, as a way to represent being incorporeal.
Wraith culture is another matter entirely. Wraiths have a dictum, which is similar in spirit to a vampire’s masquerade or a shifter’s veil. The Dictum Mortuum is in place to keep wraiths from having influence on the living, including interacting with them or giving them information.
Aspects of Wraiths
Psyche and Shadow Normally, a wraith’s psyche is in control. The psyche is the part of the wraith that is swayed by his or her passions and goes about their daily business.
The shadow is the part of the wraith that is trying to pull them into oblivion. Even when the psyche is in control, the shadow is there, whispering in his or her ear like the proverbial devil on your shoulder. The shadow tries to lure the wraith into actions that are far more destructive to the psyche than they seem.
There are times when the shadow takes control. This gives the wraith access to their Dark Arcanoi. Please go to Shadow for more information on shadows.
Angst Certain powers that wraiths use will increase their angst. Angst is a way for the shadows to gain their voice. The higher the angst, the louder the shadow voice is in the wraith’s head.
Destruction of Wraiths
Death of a Wraith and Harrowing When a wraith dies, he or she enters a harrowing and reappears at one of their fetters. If there are no fetters left, the wraith is unable to come back.
A harrowing is an experience where a wraith is caught up in a trap of their own mind, and they have to fight to get out of it. This struggle is often very difficult, making even temporary re-death a thing to avoid.
When a wraith is destroyed completely, they go to Oblivion. When a wraith goes to Oblivion, they are never able to return.
Becoming Oboli Some wraiths have the power to forge other wraiths and specters into oboli. An obolus, or a piece of an obolus, can be exchanged with other wraiths as money, or can be turned into magical items.
Since the main form of money is made up of wraiths, it is common for wraiths to distrust each other, at least upon first meeting. When a wraith finds a specter (one whose shadow has taken over permanently), that wraith will often take down the specter to turn it into money.
Game Play Wraith is a very internal game filled with inner turmoil. The character is dead and not at rest. There is a barrier between a wraith and any others formed my mistrust, the dictum, and the barrier between the shadowlands and the realm.
This is often a very intense and emotional game, even when the wraith is sitting alone. A player in the headspace of the wraith is rarely bored, because there is always something to dwell on.
On the other hand, there are many ways a wraith can become involved in everyone around them. They can ignore the dictum and try to make contact with the living. They can, in the town we are playing in, interact with spirits, shifters, and anyone else who crosses the gauntlet into the shadowlands/umbra.
Wraith is not a cheerful game, but can be intensely fun and satisfying for a player who chooses that path.