"And I saw the crumbling tombstones -
The forgotten names
I tasted the rain - I tasted my tears
I cursed the angels - I tasted my fears"

"Mer Girl" - Madonna

Destruction of the Body - Harrowings - Wraithly Powers - The Shadow - Combat

Maintenance - Healing - Over-Exertion and Downtime - Missing Pieces - The Fog

Rots have special rules considerations, given their state.

Destruction of the Body:

A Rot's time in the Skinlands depends on having a body. A corpse may be resilient in some respects, as things that would kill or adversely effect a mortal will have little or no effect on them. However, that does not mean that they are invulnerable. If the body is rendered useless, or the Wraith suffers too much spiritual damage, the Wraith will tumble into a Harrowing and her time as a Rot will be done.

A Rot's body is considered useless if:

  • If the body's Health Levels go below Incapacitated, and the Wraith has no Corpus left.
  • The body's brains are destroyed.

A Wraith will also be forced out of the body when:

  • The Wraith loses all Corpus, regardless of the body's Health.
  • The Wraith meets the conditions for a Harrowing


A Rot will go into a Target Harrowing if:

  • The body's Health is reduced past Incapacitated from bashing or lethal damage, and no Corpus remains.
  • The Wraith's Corpus is taken down to zero, regardless of the Health Level of the body.
  • The body's brains are destroyed.
  • The Wraith's about to lose the last dot in a Fetter or Passion
  • The Wraith uses - or loses - her last point of Temporary Willpower

Losing all Health or Corpus from aggravated damage, spending the last point of Willpower in a frivolous way, or being on the edge of losing her last dot in her last remaining Passion will lead to a Destruction Harrowing, as usual.

When the spirit leaves the body for the Harrowing, the corpse will fall down and start to decay once more. After the Harrowing the Wraith will be back in the Shadowlands by a Fetter, or else in the Tempest. Her days as a Rot are over, though she might find some way to come back.

Spectres, of course, do not get a Harrowing: once the body is dropped to zero Health with no Corpus remaining, or no Corpus on its own, or she uses her last point of Current Being, the body falls down and her soul flies straight into the Void.

Wraithly Powers:

Rots have access to Lifesight, Deathsight and their heightened senses, but any Lifesight or Deathsight powers operate at a +1 Difficulty.

Rots cannot see the Shadowlands or Tempest while stuck in these dead bodies, unless they take certain Medium-based Merits. And it should go without saying that they are no longer incorporeal.

They have access to some of their Arcanoi, though others will not work at all. In some cases, certain Arts work while others do not. Please see the Arcanoi Rules for more information.

The Shadow:

The battle between the Psyche and Shadow remains much as it ever did, at least for the most part. The Shadow of the Wraith stays within the shared body, as with a normal Wraith. It can use its Thorns, nurture its Dark Passions and attempt Catharsis whenever it can.

However, a Shadow can take undue advantage of the entropic nature of the Wraith's stolen body. When the Wraith is at rest, the Shadow finds it easier to do certain things. See Over-Exertion and Downtime, below, for more information.

Thorns that are used to produce non-illusory objects or effects, such as Tainted Relic, Shadowed Face or Death's Sigil, will not work while a Rot, and a Shadow Familiar must stay in the Shadowlands. Any Thorns that are used to communicate with Spectres will only work on those who can sense the Skinlands, which rules out any Dark Allies without the Shroudrending Dark Arcanos. Thorns that do damage to the Wraith affect the Corpus, not Health Levels.

The same caveats work for the Psyches of Spectres: for example, Fronds such as Pure Relic or Psyche Sigil won't work while a Rot, but Mirror would.


For Rots, combat can be tricky, as they have both Health Levels and Corpus to look out for.


It is tougher to damage a Rot who's sufficiently decayed. The difficulty for bashing and lethal damage rolls is 6 for Fresh bodies, 7 for Rotting and 8 for Rotten. Aggravated damage rolls are always made at a difficulty of 6, regardless of the body's State of Decay.


Rots can use the body's adjusted Stamina to soak bashing damage and lethal damage at a difficulty of 6. All bashing damage is halved after the soak roll. Bullet, arrow and small projectile damage is considered bashing for Rots, though a shotgun blast at close range is considered lethal.

Aggravated damage cannot be soaked, except with armor.

Health Levels and Corpus:

Physical damage done to the body takes away Health Levels and Corpus in equal measure after the soak roll. Damage done to the spiritual makeup of the Wraith - usually through Castigate or Usury - takes away only Corpus.

Example of Damage

Bob's Rot, Donald, is in a fight with both a mortal junkie wielding an axe and a vengeful Wraith with Usury. Donald's State of Decay is Rotting, which means that any non-aggravated damage done to him is done at a difficulty of 7. He currently has four Health Levels, and eight Corpus.

The junkie hits him, and gets to do five dice worth of damage. The ST rolls 2,4,5,6,8 - one success. If Donald had been Fresh, it would have been two. Bob rolls his Stamina to soak at difficulty 6, but fails. So he marks off one Health Level, leaving him at three Health, and one Corpus, leaving him at seven.

Meanwhile, the spirit lays his hands on Donald and uses Early Withdrawal. He gets two successes, and since he can't drain Health Levels, he takes two Corpus instead. Bob groans and marks off two more Corpus, leaving Donald at five. This isn't looking good...


Once the body goes below Incapacitated, no more Health Levels can be lost. However, any spillover made by lethal or aggravated damage, or further damage of any kind to the body, will result in loss of Corpus above and beyond what the body can take. This is what's known as Overkill Damage.


Example of Overkill

Back to Bob's Rot, Donald. The Usurer seems to have wandered off, which leaves him only the junkie to worry about. Unfortunately, the junkie just scored another hit, and got four successes on the roll to damage.

Donald fails to soak. His Health Level was at three; four successes take him to below Incapacitated, and the extra point of damage to the body is lost. However, as Donald had five Corpus levels before this, four can be done to the Corpus. Donald marks the damage down; He has one Corpus left.

If the junkie decides to leave the corpse be, then Donald is down but not out. If, on the other hand, the junkie decides to keep whacking away at the dead body with the axe, and Donald fails to soak, he'll lose that one Corpus and tumble into a Harrowing.


Rots do not suffer wound penalties unless they take aggravated damage, or reach Incapacitated.

Each level of aggravated damage done to the Rot removes one die from their die pool. Unlike Risen, there is no minimum die pool: a Rot can lose all her dice due to aggravated damage.

When a Rot is taken to or below Incapacitated, she cannot move. If this happens due to bashing damage, then the attacker has struck a lucky blow or put a bullet in the right spot, and knocked the Rot down; If it happens due to lethal or aggravated damage, then the Rot has been cut into gobbets or blown to pieces.

Besides being immobilized, a Rot taken down to or past Incapacitated is also knocked out for a number of turns equal to her unmodified Stamina. Once she wakes up, she can try and heal her Health Levels back up to Ok, so she can move again. With bashing damage, this is a matter of spending Pathos. For lethal or aggravated damage, this gets more complicated. See Healing Health Levels, below.

Note that just because the Rot is immobilized does not mean she cannot spend Pathos or employ Arcanoi. Also note that this counts as Downtime, as far as the Shadow's concerned: see Over-Exertion and Downtime, below.

Losing Parts:

A Rot can take bashing damage left and right, and not suffer any problems until she is Incapacitated, or goes below it. However, each level of Health lost to lethal damage past the first either pulps, mangles or severs a limb of the Storyteller's choosing. This will increase the difficulty of various rolls, as the Storyteller sees fit. However, just because the limb's off doesn't mean the Rot has no control over it: see Missing Pieces, below.

Spraying Grey:

The one sure way to destroy a Rot's hold over her body is to destroy its brains. Hitting the head requires targeting, which is at least a +2 difficulty on the attack roll, unless the Rot's immobilized. If a successful hit to the head does more than or equal to three-quarters of the Rot's remaining Health Levels after the soak roll, then consider that the brains have been destroyed. This is regardless of how much Corpus the Wraith has left.


Rots have to pay Willpower in order to stave off decay.

  • Fresh bodies require one Temporary Willpower a month.
  • Rotting bodies require one Temporary Willpower every two weeks.
  • Rotten bodies require one Temporary Willpower every week.

Spectres pay in Current Being, and their costs are doubled.

A Rot can hold off on paying the cost for a number of days equal to her adjusted Stamina.

Failure to pay this cost takes the body down to its next State of Decay, which means losing a Permanent Health Level, as well as a loss of Attributes.

Going past Rotten makes the body immobile and worthless, as though the Rot were Incapacitated. However, unlike with Incapacitated Rots, no amount of healing will bring them back to motion. They will suffer the Shadow's full attentions, as described in Over-Exertion and Downtime, below.

Should they become a Spectre because of it, they will rise once more - as a Shambler.


Healing Health Levels:

The Rots can heal their bodies, of course. But healing lethal or aggravated damage requires that any parts lost be reattached, or replaced with parts that are of a like state of decay: a Fresh body could steal an arm from a Fresh body in a Morgue, but a Rotting body would have to go the graveyard to get a new one.

The more decayed a body is, the less energy is needed to re-attach its parts, or graft on replacements.

* It costs Fresh bodies one Pathos per health level to deal bashing damage, two pathos per health level for lethal, and 8 hours of slumber and at least three pathos per Health Level to heal aggravated.

* Rotting bodies heal one level of bashing damage per turn automatically. To heal lethal, they must press any lost parts to the wound and spend one pathos per Health Level. They need the parts, 8 hours of Slumber and two pathos per Health Level for aggravated.

* Rotten bodies heal bashing as though they were Rotting, and need only press the lost part to the wound to heal lethal damage, though only one Health level of Lethal damage may be healed per turn. They still must Slumber for 8 hours to heal aggravated, but need only spend a single point of Pathos during that time.

A Rot cannot use Usury to steal Health Levels from a living mortal, or fellow Rot, to give to herself. Likewise, a Rot cannot use Usury to heal another Rot's Health Levels.

Healing Corpus:

Rots can spend Pathos to heal Corpus on a one-for-one basis, just like they used to. They can also use Usury to steal Corpus from Rots, or give it back to them.


The Rots can Slumber, but not in the way they were used to.

A Rot must be in physical contact with one of her Fetters for the full 8 hours of Slumber. Healing via Slumber is more difficult as a result: the new difficulty for such a thing is 9.

A Rot can either use this time to Health Levels or Corpus - not both.

Over-Exertion and Downtime:

Rots tread a very dangerous line between doing too much and doing nothing at all. If they rest for too long, their Shadow doubles its assaults. But if they are too active, they run the risk of over-exerting the body, and suffering damage as a result.


Whenever a Rot performs an action that requires Strength or Stamina as part of the die pool - such as trying to force down a door, or keep running during a long chase - the Storyteller should make a note of it. If that Rot performs another action like that during the rest of the Scene, the Rot runs the risk of over-exertion.

To determine if this happens, the Rot's player needs to make an additional roll using her modified Stamina. The difficulty is equal to the difficulty of the preceding roll, minus 1. For example, if Donald's Rot, Bob, was trying to break down a metal fire door (diff. 5), the difficulty for the Stamina roll would be 4.

Success means that the Rot is fine. Failure means that the Rot takes one Health Level of bashing damage per success scored on the preceding roll. This damage can be soaked, and any damage taken after the soak is halved. A botch causes the Rot to take lethal damage, instead, and each Health Level lost above the first indicates that a limb has been severed, pulped, mangled or has fallen off.


The flip side of over-exertion is the assault the Shadow perpetrates on the Rot when he's hardly moving at all. During any Scene in which the Rot is not engaged in moderate physical activity, the Shadow can use the time to wreak havoc on the Psyche.

At such times:

  • The difficulties to gain Angst from Dark Passion rolls are at -1 difficulty.
  • Any Thorns cost one less Angst to use (minimum Angst spent is one)
  • The Shadow's difficulty on the Catharsis roll is at -1.

Examples of times when no moderate physical activity occurs are: research, taking a 'breather,' reading, standing watch, chit-chatting with other Rots, waiting, etc. Smart Shadows often try to distort a Rot's sense of time, so that they don't realize how long they've been inactive.

The major exception to the rule on physical activity is Slumber. While a Shadow with certain Thorns that affect the Wraith at this time can still use them, there are no bonuses to the Shadows' actions.

On the other hand, being stuck at or below Incapacitated, with no way to heal oneself, is a perfect example of "downtime," as far as the Shadow's concerned...

Missing Pieces:

One of the more bizarre abilities that Rots have is to be able to control severed limbs. Many times, an attacker has "defeated" a Rot by reducing her to pieces, only to have the parts swarm over him. Either that or, once the attacker leaves, the Rots' parts clamber back onto their stumps so she can heal.

To control her severed limbs like this, the Rot must not be below Incapacitated - though she can be at Incapacitated - the limbs must be within the Rot's line of sight, and they must be more or less in one piece. The Rot spends a point of Pathos per limb to be animated, and has the limbs do what she will. Control lasts for a Scene.

If the limb's actions are all the Rot is going to do that turn, then it can act with the Rot's full dice pool. If not, then the Rot will have to split her dice pool.

All difficulties to move a separated limb are +2, unless the limb happens to be the head. Of course, heads usually can't do more than bounce down stairs and bite folks on the ankle...

The Fog:

As they are walking dead, Rots can cause The Fog if:

  • A mortal sees a Rot take damage that should kill a mortal, and yet keep moving, and there is no way the mortal can rationally explain what she's seen.
  • A mortal sees the extent of decay in a Rotting or Rotten body.
  • The Rot has certain Flaws.
  • A mortal sees a moving limb, or a whole swarm of them.