World of Darkness (New & Old) - General Discussion Thread:

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Here's my review, continued.

Wraith: The Arising, Lexicon

The first item in the table of contents is the lexicon, thank god. Long-time Wraith fans will find that some terms are recycled from Oblivion, but with their meanings completely changed. There are also a dozen or so easter eggs.

Wraith: The Arising, Chapter One: Dead to the World

Chapter One starts off with a creepy painting by Taz Jurz, which definitely shows influence by Beksinski.

Following is the opening fiction, a few paragraphs in length. It's a description of the urban legends surrounding a haunted house, and ends with twist.

Then comes a philosophical-sounding discussion of death and what lies beyond, setting the tone for the rest of the book. It's compact, and doesn't waste words.

In the grand tradition of White Wolf, each section opens with a song quote. I'll kindly ignore it. In this section on ghosts, we have an explanation of, in order: where do ghosts come from? What is a ghost? How does their means of death set ghosts apart?

Where do ghosts come from? The explanation boils down to: no one knows, but there are certain trends, like violent deaths and unfinished business, or destiny. Yes, some people are destined to become ghosts when they die.

What is a ghost? Ghosts, or "sleepers" (those ghosts described in the WoD rulebook), are in a fugue state (called "the Fugue") and not very self-aware. They respond to threats, but not much else. It's possible to wake them up, but they might not like this. Ghosts are kept in the Fugue by a membrane known as a Shroud ("caul" to Oblivion players).

Compared to Oblivion, sleepers take the role of both drones and enfants. Like drones, they mindlessly haunt their anchors and can be dangerous, but like enfants, they can wake up and become Wraiths.

How does death set ghosts apart? In Oblivion, a ghost's death was obvious from their appearance through "deathmarks," and determined what Legion they were sorted into, but otherwise played little mechanical role. Here, however, Death has become a splat of its own, like a vampire's Clan or a werewolf's Auspice.

Each Death gives a free dot to a specific attribute, a cost break on certain Numina (Wraith powers, structured into five-dot paths), and a weakness that varies by Death and can be exploited by the Shadow.

There's Violence, whice gives +1 Strength, costbreak on Fear and Kinesis Numina, and when confronted with a reminder of their death they may slip into Shadowstate. Sickness/Starvation grants +1 Stamina, costbreak on Bios and Embody Numina, and they're surrounded by a miasma of sickness. Old Age grants +1 Resolve, costbreak on Bios or Decay, and it's easier for them to Ossify (turn into a comatose statue due to losing the will to go on). Happenstance (accidents) grants +1 Dexterity, costbreak on Kinesis and Fate, and they suffer from flashbacks to their death on the anniversary and whenever confronted with similar circumstances (flashbacks which they will physically act out, dear god!).

Next we have... Insanity? I didn't even know it was possible to die from Insanity, but whatever. Insanity grants +1 Composure, costbreak on Castigate and Fear, and they suffer from a permanent derangement. This last one is important, as Wraiths don't suffer from derangements if their Morality falls (the Shadow is more than enough of a derangement, methinks).

Mystery is exactly what it sounds like: the Wraith doesn't know how she died. They don't have deathmarks, +1 Wits, and a costbreak on any one numen of their choice, but are compelled to search for clues on how they died (bam! instant plot hook!). Fate are people who died because destiny said so; while they have deathmarks according to how they died, they also have a special mark only other wraiths of Fate can see, which means other Wraiths distrust them (Wraith society makes a big deal about honesty due to the constant danger of the Shadow). Fate grants +1 Manipulation, a costbreak for Fate and Embody, and their weakness is that sometimes destiny itself (aka The Storyteller) will take over their minds and make them do... stuff. I can see this last part causing more than a bit of friction.

And that ends the first part of chapter one.

edited 7th Apr '12 8:57:21 AM by Zenoseiya

Wraith: The Arising, Chapter One, continued

The next section is called “Inner Structures,” and opens with a quote the basically says, “if I was dead, would I know it?”

The section opens with an explanation of the change from Sleeper to Wraith, which is so dramatic that many Wraiths are convinced Sleepers are a completely different order of being.

Next comes an extended explanation of Anchors. Anchors combine the function that Passions and Fetters had in Oblivion. Ghosts and Wraiths require their anchors to exist, as a ghost ceases to exist without them, and a Wraith falls across the Barrier (explained in the lexicon as the barrier between the living world and the true afterlife, analogous to the Stormwall in Orpheus).

Wraiths have a greater range of movement than Sleepers, but are inconvenienced by moving away from their Anchors. Sleepers and Wraiths may teleport back to their Anchors at will (in Oblivion, being separated from one’s Fetters required either physically traveling back to them, or entering a Harrowing). Wraiths tend to have more anchors than Sleepers do, gaining them during the Awakening.

As explained the World of Darkness rulebook, Ghosts are made of “corpus,” which is pliable and reflects their self-image. A Wraith appears as how they viewed themselves in life, not as they actually appeared. The Shaping numen exists to twist Corpus into whatever a wraith desires, such as disguises and objects; most objects in the game are created from Corpus.

Next comes a sidebar which explains what Deathmarks look like. Violence: a permanent, bleeding wound. Sickness: exaggerated symptoms of the disease that caused death. Starvation: the ghost looks extremely anorexic. Happenstance: similar to Violence, but the wounds do not bleed. Insanity: lifeless eyes. Mystery: no deathmarks (obviously). Old Age: white hair, grey skin, and cobwebs (yes, COBWEBS). Fate: like any of the other deathmarks, except they have a special sigil only other Fated can see.

Ghosts are invisible and incorporeal. They can pass through solid objects with ease, except for the ground, oddly enough. In Oblivion and Orpheus, passing through objects cost Corpus or Vitality points, but here it is free. Ghosts need to Manifest or use Numina to be seen, to be touched, or to be harmed by the living.

Ghosts possess superpowers called Numina. Whereas ghosts use simple Numina, Wraith Numina are structured into paths like Vampire disciplines. In the lexicon, it is mentioned that an archaic term for Numina is Arcanoi.

Ghosts harvest and store Essence, a spiritual energy used to power Numina and heal Corpus. Essence is harvested from Anchors, or when the ghost is remembered by the living. Wraiths can usually store more Essence than sleepers can, based on the strength of their Anchors. Essence is the same as Pathos in Oblivion, save that the name is different because Essence is no longer harvested from human emotions.

Wraiths have innate powers known as Affinities, which are supernatural senses that let them see weaknesses in objects, people, and souls. Let me repeat that: they can see the weaknesses in SOULS. Oh, and they have a limited form of precognition, like Spidey Senses. In Oblivion, Wraiths saw the word as being dead and decayed, but in Arising Wraiths simply see the living world as really blurry, which cuts down on the Angstometer. Sleepers cannot use Affinities.

All ghosts may Manifest to the living, but Wraiths have more fine control over this.

Sleepers and Wraiths also differ in one very important aspect: Wraiths have the Shadow. The Shadow is an evil split personality that spends its time trying to force the Wraith back Asleep, willingly or not.

What the Shadow wants most is for the Wraith to be at peace, while itself being monstrous and horrible. The Shadow hates existing after death, and wants to destroy the Wraith’s Anchors. It hates other Wraiths for helping her. It hates the idea of an afterlife beyond. It hates the world for allowing the injustice of life after death to exist. The Shadow is the personification of destruction, prone to deceit. It uses its special powers, Thorns, to trick and mislead the Wraith. It will do anything it can to convince the Wraith to give up or to destroy her Anchors. With enough time, the Shadow can trap the Wraith in a delusional fantasy (known as being Lost; a good example is Season 2, Episode 10 of the US adaption of Being Human), or accumulate power to slowly destroy the Wraith one piece at a time. It has all the time in the world.

A help against the Shadow are the Pardoners, but these are not pleasant. Ferrymen(1) can also help, but they’re difficult to convince.

(1) mentioned in the Lexicon, Ferrymen are a reference to the faction of the same name in Oblivion. However, the new Ferryman are not ghosts in the same way as Wraiths, they were never human. They’re really mysterious and stuff. There was going to be more on them in the proposed Allies & Antagonists section, before the project went on hiatus.

While reading articles related to V20, I noticed that it was mentioned that the Spanish Witches, sorry, Brujah might use social networking to organize riots. This is really funny... because it worked for Iran, didn't it?
Well, the Werewolf Translation Guide came out. The author put up a blog post about converting the Fera. What I think is odd is that there are no First Tongue names for the new Auspices or for the Changing Breeds.

edited 1st Jul '12 3:48:04 PM by Zenoseiya

105 Ryusui5th May 2012 01:58:07 AM from In The Middle Of A Field
It's The Greatest Day.
I'm sorely tempted to buy one of the sourcebooks for Geist, Promethean, or Changeling. Any recommendations? I've read the quick-starts for each and I still can't decide. >_>
In the event of a firestorm, the salad bar will remain open.
106 CountDorku5th May 2012 01:05:37 PM from the Fire Nation colonies , Relationship Status: I made a point to burn all of the photographs
You're sort of everything I ever wanted
I don't know anything about Geist or Changeling, so I can't comment.

I do like Promethean, though.
107 Doryna7th May 2012 11:53:04 PM from North Carolina , Relationship Status: YOU'RE TEARING ME APART LISA
Perpetually confused...
[up][up]Depends on what you're looking for. If you want horror with a touch of sadness and hope, Promethean.

If you want horror with a touch of paranoia and isolation, Changeling.

If you want horror with a touch of "well, it's not THAT bad", Geist.

My personal preference is Promethean because I think it's the best thought-out of the three in terms of systems and atmosphere. But honestly, they're all very well done and I would call none of them a waste of funds.

edited 7th May '12 11:53:27 PM by Doryna

If you're going to play Promethean, I can suggest two houserules that can make things slightly easier: moving the Wasteland effect to Pandorans (de-villifying Prommies somewhat) and allowing a given individual to attune to a single Promethean (making mortal groups with a single Promethean possible).
109 CountDorku20th May 2012 12:32:06 PM from the Fire Nation colonies , Relationship Status: I made a point to burn all of the photographs
You're sort of everything I ever wanted
[up] I can't help but think that in a game about isolation and rejection, some of it self-imposed for the good of others, using houserules to reduce isolation and rejection kind of runs up against the themes, and is wielding a pickaxe in each hand. If it works for your game, cool, but I'd be a bit wary about it.

Also, I'm not sure you can say the Wasteland effect vilifies Prometheans, given that most of them don't want to leave them and move around a lot to minimise their impact. It's like saying Resonance vilifies renegade Abyssals in Exalted.
110 CountDorku29th May 2012 07:54:03 PM from the Fire Nation colonies , Relationship Status: I made a point to burn all of the photographs
You're sort of everything I ever wanted

Who here is psyched for Mummy: the Curse?
[up] Sounds interesting.

edited 9th Oct '12 12:52:41 PM by Zenoseiya

112 32_Footsteps18th Jun 2012 01:04:43 PM from Just north of Arkham , Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
Think of the mooks!
Personally, given how intractible my group can be about such things, I'd actually say that I'd recommend, in order, Changeling, Promethean, and Geist, based on the fact that my group is in almost total rebellion about the first, wary on the second, and intrigued by the third.

Actually, I do recommend them in that order, but that's just because I think I identify with them in that order. I'd actually base it on what your group is up for. If they're ready for something really bleak, Changeling. If they're up for rather bleak but with the best chance of success, Promethean. If they want "we're going to enjoy the bleak, come what may," Geist.
Reminder: Offscreen Villainy does not count towards Complete Monster.
113 Doryna19th Jun 2012 02:42:43 PM from North Carolina , Relationship Status: YOU'RE TEARING ME APART LISA
Perpetually confused...
[up] Bleak? In White Wolf? Whatever do you mean, sir? evil grin
[up][up] When you look at things in perspective, Changeling: The Lost is substantially less darker than Changeling: The Dreaming. In Lost, the whole point is that the character has survived his ordeal in Arcadia and escaped with his sanity intact and now has the chance to make a fresh start, which is more than can be said for many other people taken to Arcadia.

The Kithain, on the other hand, are a dying race awaiting the eternal winter they prophecised eons ago. In the present, they spend their time trying to relive their childhoods a la Michael Jackson.

The Bound are basically in denial of the fact that their so-called immortality isn't all it's cracked up to be. Sure, Shadows may have motivations that typically oppose or dangerously magnify those of their Wraith*, but Geists have motivations that are at complete right angles to those of their Bound.

edited 20th Jun '12 4:26:54 PM by Zenoseiya

Okay, it's been a while since I worked on my review of Wraith: The Arising. So, I'm just going to cut the chaff and move into things like Anchors, Affinities, and Numina (aka Kewl Powerz).

Anchors are refined from the concepts of Passions and Fetters in Oblivion. An Anchor consists of an person, place, or thing that is important to the Wraith, plus an accompanying emotion that flavors the Essence gained from that Anchor. Wraiths no longer gain Essence (Pathos) directly from the emotions of the living, unless they're actively haunting that person and gambling dice on Numina. However, if a person feels an Anchor's specified emotion in the presence of said Anchor, the Wraith can gain extra Essence. Essence also comes in flavors, and a Wraith can only use Essence attuned to his Anchor's emotions, unless he harvested the Essence by haunting a victim or using the Fear Numen. How does a Wraith gain Essence he isn't attuned to and how does he make it usable? The Shaping Numen, generally.

Affinities are basic powers possessed by all Wraiths, and form the basis for the Numen powers. Anchorsense lets them keep track of their anchors remotely. Deathsense lets them determine the condition of inanimate objects (unlike Oblivion, the Liveworld does not appear decayed and decrepit, just grey-tinged and slightly blurred). Foreboding is basically a "spidey-sense" power. Ghostsight allows them to see ghosts hiding inside objects or people using the Decay or Bios Numina. Lifesense is the same as Deathsense, but for living creatures. Manifestation allows the Wraith to make their presence felt in the Liveworld for a brief period (usually a few turns) as either a feeling, a spectral image, or even physically real. Passionsense allows a wraith to (I think) the anchors of other wraiths, and maybe ley lines or whatever. Soulsight is the standard "aura-reading" power.

Numina are essentially renamed and revised Arcanoi, ten in all. Each Numen is divided into three paths, except Embody, which has no paths. Anchorage is an expanded adaption of Lifeweb, and covers protecting, creating, and separating anchors. Bios, an expanded adaption of Puppetry, is divided into controlling the living, healing the living, and reshaping the forms of the living. Castigate is an expanded adaption of the Arcanos of the same named, divided into fighting the Shadow, controlling your own Shadow, and manipulating Storms. Decay, an expanded adaption of Inhabit and Flux, is divided into entering and controlling objects, repairing objects, and altering objects. Embody is an expanded adaption of the Arcanos of the same name, which also includes the effects of Pandemonium, making it much more useful; this is what you use if you want to pretend to be alive again, create fake food that turns into maggots, make blood run down the walls, etc. Fate is an expanded adaption of Fatalism, which is divided into seeing the future, manipulating the future, and being really lucky. Fear is similar to Phantasm and Mnemosynis, divided into causing fear, entering dreams, and collecting sad memories. Kinesis is an expanded adaption of Outrage, divided into moving objects, hitting people, and moving really fast. Regis, the flipside of Fear, is similar to Intimation, Keening, and Mnemosynis, divided into commanding people to do what you want them to do, manipulate thoughts and memories, and manipulate another person's desires. Shaping is an expanded adaption of Moliate and Usury, divided into reshaping corpus, collecting and trading Essence, and transmuting between corpus and essence.

As far as nWoD design goes, it's pretty unique to divide powers into branches as opposed to introducing new power paths in every book.

EDIT: I forgot to mention, but it's possible for any ghost to teleport between his Anchors, as explained the World of Darkness rulebook. If the Anchors are destroyed, the ghost has for all intents and purposes suffered Final Death.

edited 23rd Jul '12 1:21:10 PM by Zenoseiya

116 HouraiRabbit2nd Aug 2012 04:10:31 AM from Fort Sandbox, El Paso , Relationship Status: Hooked on a feeling
Isn't it amazing, now I have princess wings!
Hey guys. I was thinking of running a little Hunter action for the fine Tropers of the interwebz and I was curious as to your experiences with the system. I like the idea that instead of being superpowered, you're just ordinary joes who stumbled onto something nasty but is that how it turns out in practice? What kind of campaigns does the system lend itself to best?

I was thinking doing something TV Series style with episodic sessions plus an overarching story that comes into play later in the campaign.

Also, if we're still playing favorites, Malleus Maleficarum. Burn, baby, burn. Also, Task Force VALKYRIE. One or the other.

edited 2nd Aug '12 4:11:43 AM by HouraiRabbit

Wise Papa Smurf, corrupted by his own power. CAN NO LEADER GO UNTAINTED?!

Who here is psyched for Mummy: the Curse?
White Wolf is running out of ideas. Next thing you know we'll have Frankenstein: the Surgery. tongue

edited 2nd Aug '12 11:19:13 AM by nervmeister

Cheeky son of a....
You mean Genius:The Transgression?
119 CountDorku2nd Aug 2012 07:05:53 PM from the Fire Nation colonies , Relationship Status: I made a point to burn all of the photographs
You're sort of everything I ever wanted
[up] Oh please Sol don't bring Genius up again.

(Note: not actually serious)
120 Neep4th Aug 2012 05:58:02 PM from Booooooooomblastandruin
Revolution of Ruin
[up][up][up][up] I'd be interested in joining an over-the-interwebs campaign, depending on timing.

The thing that bothered me about the Hunter corebook was that Hunter is essentially a crossover-focused game, but the antagonists in the book are watered-down and misrepresented versions of other supernaturals. I mean, I understand that White Wolf didn't want to say "If you want to play Hunter you also need to buy Mage and Werewolf and Vampire &c." but ... eh.
You've lost. You're the Bomb Squad after the bomb's gone off. I'm the blast ongoing.
[up] That's what I don't like about the new Hunter. Sure, I can see what they are doing, but not even leaving a note saying "Yes, we know this contradicts all the other books, but it is deliberate" is kind of jarring. Particularly when the Vampire books try hard to mash with Werewolf (The section about Spirits in the Ancient Bloodlines (from memory) is literally copied and pasted from the Werewolf corebook).
122 HouraiRabbit6th Aug 2012 03:27:13 AM from Fort Sandbox, El Paso , Relationship Status: Hooked on a feeling
Isn't it amazing, now I have princess wings!
So does that mean you should be building your encounters using the core books from the other systems?
Wise Papa Smurf, corrupted by his own power. CAN NO LEADER GO UNTAINTED?!
I don't think there is a "should be" in nWoD in the first place. Even in Werewolf and Mage there are quite a lot of things left ambiguous and up to the ST's discretion, and the books strongly encourages the ST to come up with their own ideas.
124 BetaRay14th Aug 2012 07:49:23 AM , Relationship Status: Can't buy me love
Web Slinger/Hope Bringer
So, has anyone ever run or heard of a game that featured P Cs from multiple splats? I mean I know the Mage would probably outclass everybody else and you'd have to bs some reason so the Promethean could travel with the party but I'd be interested to see how it could be done.
You are not alone, and you are not strange. You are you, and everyone has damage. Be the better person.
Somebody in the 'Funniest tabletop RPGS stories" mentioned a nWoD crossover.

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