Risen Redux


Stewart Wilson


(Illustration by J. Edward Tremlett)

So, your players want to dig out their old bodies to follow one burning Passion, taking your game out of the grave and onto the streets of the Real World(tm). They give you this idea and you think it's fantastic, just the turn your chronicle needs. There's just one problem: You don't have a copy of The Risen. So what do you do? Turn them down? "Sorry, lads. No coming back from the grave until your ST has seventy bucks spare and gets lucky on e-bay." (Or buys the e-book - ed.)

There is another way, of course. You could just make it up. But what if you don't have the time? That's what we here at The Wraith Project are here for. Sit back, relax, and read. Take what you like, leave what you don't.


What does it take to Rise?

Each Wraith that climbs back into it's body needs a few prerequisites first. The most obvious is a driving passion, the burning need to get the hell back into the Skinlands and change things. In game terms, any Passion rated three or above falls into this category, as long as a) it is the Wraith's highest Passion, and b) the Passion would be easier to fulfill in the Skinlands.

Rising takes effort, concentration and determination. Not just any J. Random Restless has the metaphorical balls required to Rise, and that should be no different for your PC's. Permanent Willpower needs to be at least 6.

Without assistance from the Puppeteers, the finer arts of Rising are not something your average Wraith has any idea about. Many go to the Guild for training in how to Rise. Other Arcanoi are also needed to take control of the body and to keep the Restless in the Skinlands. In addition to Puppetry 5, a prospective Risen must possess Inhabit, Lifeweb or Behest at 3.

Any Wraith looking to Rise needs a body, that much should go without saying. To house the Wraith, their old body requires the brain and spinal column to be intact. Limbs would also be useful. Mechanics for the body are presented in the next section, but a wraith whose remains were cremated is SOL.

The Conduit is perhaps the most dangerous part of going back into the Skinlands. A Wraith requires a Fetter in which to place his Shadow. Not only that, but the Shadow must agree to be housed in this Fetter for the duration of the Risen's activity.


Out of the Grave

So how does one Rise? The character heads to the site of the grave, forces his essence over the Shroud and into the body. This calls for a point of Pathos and Willpower to be spent, and a Stamina + Puppetry roll versus a Difficulty of the local Shroud.

Assuming that the crunchy part succeeds, the fun part starts. The Shadow can try to stop the Wraith Rising. In doing so, the Shadowguide, ST and player get together to act out a miniature psychodrama akin to a Harrowing. Depending on the Archetype of the Shadow this could be anything from a psychological evaluation to a bout of gladiatorial combat. Leave the dice alone, and judge this by how the players are roleplaying. Whoever has the upper hand at the end should end up in the body, the other half ends up in the Conduit.

Be fair with this. If you want a faster but less roleplay-oriented system, have a contested roll of Permanent Willpower vs Permanent Angst, winner taking the body and a botch for either one being a Bad Thing.

With that out of the way, a Risen can now exhume herself. The first thing any new Risen will want to do is find their Conduit. Once they have that, they are free to continue their agenda. Why would a Risen want to keep her Shadow (or Psyche) close to herself in the Conduit? Simple. Without the Conduit on her person, the dominant persona cannot regain Pathos (or Angst) or Willpower. Nobody said this was going to be fun...

When Risen, a character must make some modifications to his Attributes. Strength, Dexterity, Stamina and Appearance are all dropped back to the level they were when the character crossed the Shroud for the first time (character creation). One point is deducted from one physical Attribute of the player's choice, and Appearance is reduced by a further two points.

The Risen still uses Corpus to track wounds, and only suffers wound penalties from Aggravated wounds. Pathos may be spent to heal as usual. Regaining Pathos from the Driving Passion is done at -2 difficulty. On the bad side, any Angst gained from Arcanos use is doubled. When the Shadow is in control, the Psyche can do nothing, being trapped in the Conduit. If the Psyche runs out of Pathos, the Shadow automatically becomes dominant, and is able to use Angst to heal.


Other stuff

Arcanos use is modified by the Wraith being in the Skinlands. Rather than rip off his work, I shall simply point you to J. Edward Tremlett's Risen Revised for an idea of what Arcanoi can be used. In addition, a Risen can learn a variation of the Vampiric Disciplines of Obfuscate, Potence, Fortitude and Celerity. These cannot be learned from vampires, however, and should be treat as Arcanoi that mimic the effects of those Disciplines.

If the Risen is reduced to zero Corpus or zero Willpower, the Psyche and Shadow are flung forcibly back into the Underworld, and undergoes a Harrowing. A Wraith may only try to Rise again if the Harrowing was due to a loss of Willpower, if the body took 10 Corpus of damage it is best deemed "chunky salsa".