Chapter Three - Walking the Road

When walking the road that is life as a Harbinger, it can get to the point that you need every bit of help you can get. This chapter has Harbinger-specific Merits and Flaws, and new uses for Argos for a traveler to use.

Merits and Flaws


Silver Tongue (1 point Merit)

You're a liar, a cheat and a rogue, but people can't help but believe you. You always know just what to say to drive up your prices or to convince someone that the Thrall you're trying to sell really did fall off the back of a Byway. Unfortunately, those that know about you are wary of taking anything you say seriously. All Social rolls in situations where you are attempting to obfuscate the truth to someone that might believe you are made at -2 Difficulty.


Direction Sense (2 or 4 point Merit)

A Wraith with this Merit always knows which way is which, even if he doesn't know fully where to go. In the Shadowlands, he always knows which way North is or which direction relative to his facing something is traveling. The four point version of this Merit also applies in the insane geography of the Tempest. He might not have the luxury of a North to guide him, but he will know that forwards is just round to the side of down, and that right is curled around backwards like a corkscrew. Subtract 2 from the difficulty of all navigation rolls in the Shadowlands (2 point) or Shadowlands and Tempest (4 point).


Byway Runner (3 point Merit)

This Merit allows the Harbinger to make exceptional time along a Byway, using the geography of the Tempest with him, knowing where to take shortcuts or where a potential hidden Byway might be. Unfortunately, this tends to make the Tempest take more notice of the Wraith. Halve all travel times when the Wraith is on a Byway, but the chances of being distracted by a Zone should be much higher.


Tempest Anchor (6 point Merit)

You've spent so long in the Tempest that a certain island of stability has become a second home. If ever you're stranded in the Tempest, a simple Orienteering roll will allow you to angle yourself correctly in the currents to get there. Of course, it won't be fast but in the end you will be back at the stable area. Quite a few Explorers possess this Merit.


Eyes of the Void (2 point Flaw)

Other Harbingers just get black eyes. Compared to you, they have it real easy. Choose a way in which your eyes are even worse than most. Perhaps they radiate two-inch tears that look suspiciously like Nihils, or maybe they look out on a star field (or the Tempest) and occasionally shine with bright light. Whatever you choose, hiding your Arcanos marking is practically impossible.


Weirdness Magnet (4 point Flaw)

It doesn't matter where you are or what you do, you can be sure you'll have a tale to tell when you get back. If you get back. Once every session, the Storyteller should drop something totally unexpected right in your path. Not something that's an obvious threat or something that's of benefit to the character (this is a Flaw, after all), but something that should make the player and character say 'Why the hell did that happen?' in confusion.


Perpetually Lost (7 point Flaw)

For a Harbinger, being lost is more than an annoyance, it's a potentially lethal situation. Even so, you seem to manage it with depressing regularity. A character with this Flaw will attempt to impose Euclidean geometry in the Tempest, wanders round a city block without ever thinking he's going in circles, and generally couldn't find his ass with an atlas, torch and compass. Any time you attempt to travel to an unfamiliar location, or are in the Tempest, the Storyteller can happily inform you that you are lost with no idea of where to go (The ST doesn't have to, of course). It is entirely at his discretion where you end up.

Argos Alternate Arts

Argos has always been the art of travel, through both the Shadowlands and Tempest. One of the better secrets of the Harbingers is that with the correct knowledge, it can affect the slightly malleable space-time on all layers of the Underworld. Anyone spreading that little tidbit to the masses will be hauled off and Forged - or sent straight to Oblivion. Nobody said the wandering rogues were nice.


* Spatial Sense

With this power, the Harbinger learns to feel the subtle shifting of the Underworld around him. With time and effort, that can be built up into a three-dimensional picture of space, which can reveal such things hollow walls and even hidden weapons with sufficient concentration.

System: The Wraith rolls Perception + Argos against a difficulty of the local Shroud - 2 in the Shadowlands or 6 in the Tempest. One success gives a spherical 3-D image of the surrounding space out to Perception x 5 meters, including people or Wraiths inside rooms or behind walls. Three successes are needed for false-bottomed briefcases, and five for weapons hidden on a person.


* Gleam

The signature Art of the Merchants, the Wraith using Gleam attunes herself to the nearby Tempest, causing light to fall upon objects which might have value. In effect, this is very much like a Wraithly fishing rod. For every useful Relic and working Artifact that it finds, hundreds of Relic boots and odd socks turn up, fetching little more than an Obolus for the whole hoard from Artificers studying such things.

System: Roll Perception+Argos against a difficulty of 8. Success indicates that an item has been found. The number of successes denotes the usefulness of the item, but what it actually is is at the Storyteller's whim. Failure indicates nothing, and a Botch may lead to a Spectral Artifact... or to
a pack of Spectres.


** Shadow Double

Sometimes, people forget that it's bad luck to attack a Harbinger, seeing them as fair game. By gathering the shadows ambient in the Underworld around him in a similar manner to Enshroud, the Wraith using this art distracts and misdirects his opponent, leaving him swinging at nothingness while the Harbinger escapes

System: Spend 1 Pathos and roll Manipulation + Argos. The power creates an animated double out of shadows for a number of turns equal to the number of successes. The double is entirely insubstantial, and can deal no damage. The resultant confusion is often enough to allow the Wraith to slip away.


** Parachute

Summoning wings of plasm similar to those employed by the power Phantom Wings, the Wraith is able to glide for longer periods of time, carried aloft on the winds of the Underworld. It doesn't allow the control over motion that Phantom Wings allows, but it can slow a lethal fall or carry a Wraith from Spectres on the winds of the Tempest.

System: A roll of Stamina + Argos, difficulty 6, along with the expenditure of 1 point of Pathos allows the wraith to glide along in the air as if wearing a parachute. The wraith's control over this motion is nearly non-existent, however it does mitigate any falling damage that would have incurred. The ability lasts until the wraith next touches the ground.

In a Maelstrom of Force One, the wraith may still attempt to use this power, but with a Difficulty of 8, and even if successful the wraith is knocked about out of control by the winds. Use of this power in Force 2 or above Maelstroms should be a painful experience.


*** Distortion

Imposing his will upon the fickle Underworld reality, the Wraith employing this use of Argos alters the nature of space in his immediate vicinity. Punches and sword-swings may stretch over a greater distance to find his foes while their own strikes fall just short or are just to one side of where they need to be.

System: A point of Willpower and a roll of Wits + Argos, difficulty 8 activate this power. Each success adds one dice to the user's Brawl or Melee pool, or deducts one from his opponent's like pool. Outside of combat, this power can have other advantages, such as just making that grab for the edge of the Nihil or having just enough room to squeeze past a Legionnaire.


*** Hermes' Fleetness

Argos is all about motion, and a Harbinger with the art of Hermes' Fleetness is faster than anything in the Underworld when it comes to straight motion. Runners employing this ability can even outpace Maelstroms... if the Spectres don't feel like an early snack.

System: 1 Pathos and 1 Willpower combined with a roll of Strength + Argos vs. a difficulty 7 powers this ability. Each success lets the Harbinger double his traveling speed, exponentially (1 success x 2, 2 successes x 4, 3 successes x 8) for one scene. The Wraith may not take any actions that would disrupt his running (combat is out, though shouting a warning is fine), and when the power runs out, he gains 1 point of temporary Angst from the exhaustion.


**** City Walk

Guardians of a city often find themselves having to get somewhere in a real hurry. If they have a lot of Fetters around the area, Jump can be useful. However, for those of a more practical nature, the Art known as City Walk came into being. The user can apport to any point in his home city or equivalent area, covering a large distance in very little time.

System: The wraith must first off set a home area in a city, no more than ten kilometers across. He must know the roads and buildings of the area very well indeed, and once he does may attune himself to the area with a roll of Charisma + Argos (difficulty of 10 - the number of months the wraith has spent in the area), and expending two points of Willpower.

Botching this roll means that the Wraith feels the area holds nothing for him, accruing one point of Angst for each month. Once successfully attuned, a Harbinger can move to a street within a kilometer in just one turn by spending a point of Pathos and rolling Dexterity+Argos (difficulty 7).


**** Repair Byway

Pilots and Explorers both often find themselves traveling Byways that have been broken by Maelstroms or just the natural power of the Tempest. Harbingers with a conscience take the time to fix those Byways with this Art as a service to those who follow them. After all, they are repaid every time another uses this Art. Harbingers being chased occasionally lash out with a variant on this power, breaking the Byway behind them to gain vital distance from their pursuers.

System: Both uses of this power require 2 Pathos, 1 Willpower and a roll of Strength + Argos if destroying or Intelligence + Argos if repairing (difficulty 7). A Byway broken by the Tempest usually requires 5 successes on an extended roll. Destroying a byway requires at least 3 successes, and garners a point of Angst whether successful or not. The number of successes needed to repair the Byway are equal to the destroyer's successes - 2. A botch on either use of the power gives the user a point of temporary Angst.


***** Seal the Rift

Master Harbingers hold one of the greatest secrets of the Tempest: The means to seal up the Nihils that allow passage into the Shadowlands. This power cannot seal up all permanent Nihils, some are simply too large or too powerful for a Harbinger to seal.

System: The Wraith expends 2 points of Willpower, a point of Pathos and gains 1 temporary Angst, then rolls Stamina + Argos. The difficulty of the roll is left to the Storyteller, and should reflect the size and permanence of the Nihil. Botching the roll costs a point of Corpus as the Nihil
drinks in the essence of the Wraith and adds 2 points of Angst.


***** Forge Path

Byways are the trade routes of the Harbingers, whether they are pathways all the way to Stygia or simply paths to other cities. A Harbinger will do anything to have a single Byway to travel to her destination, but sometimes that isn't the case. This Art allows the Harbinger to make that connection.

System: Using this Art takes 4 points of Pathos, and a roll of Manipulation + Argos vs. difficulty 9. The number of successes gained indicates the length of the final Byway. One success will create a path to the other side of a Necropolis, or to a nearby island in the Tempest. Three successes will allow pathways to extend between cities, and five successes creates a road straight to Stygia. The byway is as permanent and stable as any other.

Botching the roll when working so closely with the stuff of the Tempest is a dangerous thing, giving the user 4 points of temporary Angst.

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