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.