Lore : Wraith

This Lore represents the outsider or incomplete knowledge regarding Wraiths, such as might be had by a vampire. It is notably less complete than the sort of Lore: Wraith that might appear on an actual Wraith’s character sheet, and is mixed with certain misconceptions and vagaries.

Generally Possessed By: Giovanni, Harbingers of Skulls, Nagaraja, Samedi, mediums, occultists, people with the Flaw Haunted or the Merit Spirit Mentor

Sources Consulted for this List: Pertinent selections from the Wraith: The Oblivion line

Lore: Wraith x1

  • Holy $*#%! Ghosts exist! They are dead people! They can haunt you in all manner of woogity ways!
  • You know that ghosts are the souls of those who have died with « unfinished business, » and that they cannot find peace until they accomplish whatever this business was.
  • You know that ghosts have no physical bodies in the same sense as the living, and that their bodies are made from a substance known as plasm.
  • You know that wraiths are creatures of emotion, and that they seek out feelings that are important to them individually. You know that most wraiths you will encounter have artifacts connected to them known as « fetters » (items which werew personally important to them in life), and that they treasure these things greatly. You know that whomever holds a fetter can carry a great deal of sway over a wraith.
  • You know that there is a barrier called the « Shroud » that separates the land of the dead from the land of the living, and that ghosts often have trouble employing all of their powers fully on people because of this. You know that the Shroud tends to be weaker in places permeated by death (graveyards, murder sites, Elysia) and that interactions with ghosts may be less difficult there (on both sides).
  • You have heard of a variety of ghostly powers that wraiths may employ, including visual manifestation to the living, poltergeist-like activity, and possession.
  • You know that some ghosts are decidedly more malevolent than others, and that these are called spectres.

Lore: Wraith x2

  • You know that only those people who died with a significant personal drive to cling to those things important to them (even beyond death!) can become wraiths, and that such people are not common. You know that not everyone who dies becomes a wraith.
  • You know that wraiths horde and prize raw emotion, referring to it as « Pathos », and that they can derive this either from close proximity to their fetters, or from siphoning it from others (living or dead) who feel the emotion they desire.
  • You know about the existence of the Shadowlands, a mirror version of the material world which the dead inhabit. You know that the Shadowlands is a direct correspondence to the lands of the living, save that structures and objects which have been destroyed still remain there if they persist in human memory. You know that most major cities have analogues in the Shadowlands called Necropoli.
  • You know that wraiths can only frequent the Shadowlands if they still have extant fetters to hold them in close proximity to the land of the living.
  • You know that some wraiths appear such as that they have no sentience, and only re-enact their deaths repeatedly. These are called drones.
  • You know of the existence of relics, items that contained enough emotional resonance, that when they were destroyed, they appeared as physical items in the shadowlands. You know that they are highly treasured in wraith society where materials are scarce.
  • You know that wraiths have a fairly diverse political and hierarchical structure, and you have heard of the Hierarchy – the body that governs over most wraiths you will encounter in European civilization, although you can glean very little about it.
  • You know that ghosts have an innate ability to discern the emotional resonance and the state of decay of things. Wraiths may be able to tell when a person is angry or sorrowful. They may also be able to tell if a person is close to deat or if a building is near collapse.
  • You are familiar with some of the more common Arcanoi which Wraiths use to interact with the « skinlands » as they call them. These include: Embody (The ability to speak with or appear to the living), Outrage (The ability to cause manipulate and/or throw around physical objects), Pandemonium (The ability to cause surreal or strange effects – walls bleeding, time slowing down etc…), and Puppetry (The ability to possess and manipulate mortal hosts).
  • You are aware that all wraiths possess a schism to their personality which causes a darker counterpart to appear. You know that this secondary personality may occasionally attempt to overpower the wraith’s actions against it’s will. You know that if this happens to often the ghost will « go bad » and become a spectre.

Wraith Lore x3

  • You know about the Tempest – a sprawling roiling sea of magma, nightmares, acid, burning plasm, and horrific beasties that underlies the Shadowlands. You know that it is particularly hazardous to travel, and that occasionally storms (known as Maelstroms) whip the Tempest into a fervor – making it even more unstable.
  • You know of Stygia, the great Necropoli that underlies the Tempest, and the bulwark of the Heirachy. You know that the Hierarchy was allegedly founded by an enigmatic figure known as Charon, and you have a rough idea as to what legions are.
  • You have heard of the Dictum Mortuum (or Code of the Dead), a Hierarchy legal code forbidding interaction between the living and the dead. You realize that by having this lore level, you probably are helping to violate said code.
  • You have heard rumors of something that lies beneath Stygia – and it sounds to be something nightmarish. You know that whatever it is, it is connected with spectres.
  • You know of the two rough political categories that stand in opposition to the Hierarchy. These are the Renegades (Wraiths that claim no allegiance to the Hierarchy, or even actively seek to dismantle it) and Heretics (Those Wraiths that follow various religious or spiritual ideologies in the hopes of transcending from the Underworld).
  • You have heard of the Guilds, organizations which formerly offered instruction in the arts of various Arcanoi in the past.
  • You are familiar with some of the less common Arcanoi which Wraiths use to interact with the Skinlands, and even a few Arcanoi that have little use outside the lands of the dead. These include: Argos (The ability to cross the Tempest safely), Inhabit (The ability to possess and manipulate mechanical and electronic devices), Keening (The ability to invoke emotion through song), and Moliate (the ability to change and mold plasm – somewhat akin to the Discipline Vicissitude if you’ve encountered it).
  • You know that the two halves of the Wraith mind are the Psyche and the Shadow, and that the Shadow forever wishes to corrupt it’s host and render them a spectre. You have heard of the concept of Harrowings, in which a wraith is confronted by it’s Shadow in a traumatic passion play during times of distress or physical suffering.
  • You are familiar with the concept of Oblivion – a nihilistic force which embodies the very essence of entropy. You know that it is this force that wraiths fear most, and that they believe that spectres are in direct service to it.
  • You have heard of the art of soulforging, in which a wraith’s corpus (Plasm) is heated to malleability and they are shaped into an object. You know that aside from relics, this horrific process is one of the only ways to get material goods in the Underworld, and that this is generally a punishment reserved for criminals.
  • You have heard of barghests – wraiths whose corpus has been altered into the shape of a dog-like creature that they might be used as a tracking animal.
  • You know enough about the restless dead to realize that a Cainite, had they the will to do so, could land among their number after final death.

Wraith Lore x4

  • You have heard that Stygia and the Hierarchy are merely the powers that govern the Western lands of the dead (referred to as the Dark Kingdom of Iron) – and have heard rumors that other cultures possess different forms of rulership.
  • You have heard of the Labyrinth – a hive of spectres that lies beneath Stygia, and no doubt heard horrible horrible loathsome bad stories about it. You know that it is in this metaphysical nightmare landscape that Harrowings allegedly take place, and that Oblivion (rather than being a simple abstract concept) is said to lie directly beneath the Labyrinth. You also know that all spectres are connected to some sort of hive-mind and serve Oblivion in startling unity.
  • You know that Charon no longer rules Stygia (having disappeared in the early 20th century), and that the closest thing to a government that the Hierarchy still possesses are the Deathlords who head the various legions. You know a little more about the legions now, and know that each one of them is comprised of wraiths who died deaths by a similar cause (war, disease, suicide etc..).
  • You know of the Ferrymen, an organization separate from the Hierarchy that Charon allegedly founded. You know that they provide some of the safest passage across the Tempest, and that they are said to be very powerful.
  • You know of Far Shores – islands within the Tempest where heretic cults set up shop, and where one can allegedly find all manner of heavens and hells waiting for those who seek them.
  • You know that the Guilds were declared illegal in times past, but that a handful still survive to this day. You have heard of most of the more prominent guilds which still publicaly remain in Stygia, even if their legality is occasionally questioned. These include the Artificers (masters of Inhabit and the art of soulforging), the Chanteurs (masters of the arts of Keening), the Harbingers (masters of the arts of Argos), the Masquers (masters of the art of Moliation), the Oracles (masters of the art of Fatalism), the Pardoners (masters of the art of Castigation), the Sandmen (masters of the art ofPhantasm), and the Usurers (masters of the art Usury). You know that most of the Guilds specializing in Arcanoi that break the Dictum Mortuum (i.e. Arcanoi you are likely to encounter) have either been disbanded permanently or gone deep underground.
  • You know that the primary reason for friction between the Hierarchy and the Heretics is that the Hierarchy has formally disavowed the concept of Transcendence (a state reached when a wraith fulfills whatever it remained behind to do and « passes on »), and as such.
  • You are familiar with most of the legal Arcanoi. In addition to what you knew about before, you now know of the following: Castigate (the ability to confront and tame the dark Shadow personality of another wratih), Fatalism (The ability to foretell the future and find patterns in current events), Lifeweb (The ability to find and manipulate the connections between a wraith and it’s fetters), and Usury (The ability to exchange Pathos or Plasm between wraiths). You have also heard that spectres possess their own dark arts different from normal wraiths and that there are some obscure Arcanoi that are forbidden by Stygian law.
  • You have heard rumors of wraiths so driven to fulfill their goals that they manage to retake a hold of their dead bodies and claw their way back into the land of the living. You know that such things, if they exist, are no doubt rare, and possibly dangerous to cross.

Wraith Lore x5

  • You have heard of the Dark Kingdom of Jade (the lands that govern the souls of the Asian dead), the Dark Kingdom of Ivory (the Lands that govern the African dead), the Dark Kingdom of Clay (the lands that govern the Australian dead), the Dark Kingdom of Obsidian (which formerly governed the lands of the Americas until Stygian invasion) and Swar (the City of the Indian dead). You may have heard rumors of other kingdoms or realms, depending on your focus and geographical region. You may also know that some of the wraiths of other lands possess strange and different powers from Western Arcanoi. (See an ST for details)
  • You have heard of the Great Maelstroms which have swept the underworld historically, you know that they wreak vast destruction and that they often occur in conjunction with great and traumatic upheavals in the Skinlands (ex: The Black Plague, the World Wars, etc…).
  • You are familiar with all eight legions. These include: The Iron Legion (the victims of Age), the Skeletal Legion (the victims of disease), the Grim Legion (the victims of violence), the Penitent Legion (the victims of Madness), the Emerald Legion (the victims of happenstance), the Silent Legion (the victims of Despair), the Legion of Paupers (the victims of mystery), and the Legion of Fate (victims marked by fortune for this legion). You have a rough idea of the civil and military ranks within each legion.
  • You know of the three forbidden Arcanoi of Stygia. These include Flux (the ability to engender decay in the lands of the living), Mnemosynis (the ability to read and trace memories), and Intimation (the ability to implant suggestions or commands).
  • You know of all fifteen of the Guilds, including those which are illegal or forbidden. These include the Alchemists (masters of Flux, the Haunters (masters of Pandemonium), the Mnemoi (masters of Mnemosynis), Monitors (masters of Lifeweb), Proctors (masters of Embody), Puppeteers (masters of Puppetry), Solicitors (masters of Intimation, and Spooks (masters of Outrage).
  • You have heard of the Malfeans, who are either old spectres of immense power and malevolence, or great and terrible beings of nothingness spawned by Oblivion itself. You know that these beings head the hierarchy of the Labyrinth, and that they occasionally build cults of mortal followers in the lands of the living.
  • You have a scant idea of Spectral social structure and know of some of the varying types of spectres, including Dopplegangers (recently shadow-eaten spectres who can attempt to pass themselves off as normal ghosts), Shades (spectres whose Psyche was destroyed in a Maelstrom or Harrowing), Nephwracks (more powerful spectres who might become Malfeans with time), and Mortwrights (ghosts who died in such violent and traumatic ways that they entered the Shadowlands as spectres).
  • You know of a few of the Dark Arcanoi (See an ST for details).
  • You have heard of the Risen, the ghosts that claw their way back into their bodies and walk among the living. You know that they lack the signs of life and can (and do) often pass themselves off a neonate Caitiff in vampiric society. You know they are extraordinarily hard to kill, but that they often have either some form of trinket or animal companion, whose destruction can disrupt them considerably.