Deaditorial: Why There Should Be a Dark Ages: Wraith


The Renegade Lord

First off, we'd like to say congratulations to White Wolf on the successful launch of its new Dark Ages line. Dark Ages: Vampire, Dark Ages: Mage and Dark Ages: Inquisitor were all bang-up jobs, full of great promise and great ideas. "Amazing" doesn't even come close to describing them. Good on the writers, good on Black Hat Matt's developing and good on the folks who did the original "Dark Ages" stuff, way back when, for giving us something to build upon.

Now, you might want to know what we, the fans, would like to see next. We're looking forward to Dark Ages: Werewolf like you would not believe. But, hey, you give us some of a good thing and you know we'll be wanting more.

So as for as-yet unpromised projects we'd like to see... Dark Ages: Fae would most likely be a great thing and, given the (highly justified) interest in the new Demon: the Fallen game, a Dark Ages: Demon might be pretty cool, too, though you'd have to get them out of you-know-where somehow. But hey, never say never.

Dark Ages: Mummy? Hey, we'd be down for that, too. It might be stretching it a bit, but you know the Resurrection fans would buy it.

(And we promise to shoot anyone who asks for Dark Ages: Camazotz - honest) ; )

But there's something else we'd like to see - something that's missing from the usual lineup. Something that's integral to the World of Darkness and, given the time covered in the Dark Ages, an almost-criminal exclusion if you stop to think about it.

And, since they say a picture says a thousand words, here's what we're talking about:




Now, to his undying credit, the Dark Ages Developer has said that he'd like to see it out, but that it's going to be some time in the future, if at all. We understand that perfectly: you have to go with what works before you take any major risks, and, as much as we love the game, we realize that investing into Dark Ages: Wraith would be a risk. There were reasons why Wraith: the Oblivion went under, and hesitation to throw good money after bad is quite prudent.

But before we get caught up counting beans and coins and doing up growth charts, we should take stock - if you'll excuse the turn of phrase - in what such a product could be, and what it could mean. That's a nice way to say why we should do it, before too many people get a chance to say why we won't see it.

And we should see a Dark Ages: Wraith. Here's why:

#1: It Fits the Time Frame. Perfectly: This is the Dark Ages. Reason is slow to stir, superstition rules the world and faith can make a heaven out of hell, or the reverse. The everpresent gloom lies outside the closing range of candle, flame and fire, and in that darkness lies the unknown - where threats and dangers to life and soul lurk and preen. Monsters are real, the ungodly waits for you and the only thing you can be sure of is a nasty, brutish and short lifespan...

In other words, this time is the clay from which great ghost stories are made. The interplay of faith, supertition, belief has much to offer. And the everyday horror of life, pricked with minute spots of hope and joy, has too much great potential to ignore. When life is cheap and faith is so powerful, what else remains but death?

#2: There Was Too Much Cool Stuff Going On, Then: The Second Great Maelstrom hadn't erupted yet. The Shadowlands and Tempest were not separated, yet, either. The Hierarchy was enjoying what could be called a "golden age" as their equitates patroled the dead roads leading to Stygia, and Legions all bristled with enthusiasm, and possibly even hope.

Yes - hope. The great betrayal of the Fishers had yet to be discovered, though tensions mounted between the Crusaders and Charon. Transcendence was still the watchword of the Hierarchy's purpose; There was no state mandate to deny the promise it brings, which opens up all kinds of interesting avenues for roleplaying.

The hope was marred by nay-sayers, of course. The Renegades had yet to gain strength, but they were still out there, waiting for a chance to attack lone Hierarchs on the way to the Isle. And while the Spectres might have been less numerous, the Labyrinth still had its plots and plans.

Closer to home, not only were the Guilds not outlawed, but they were in the middle of the War between them. How much intrigue and action can come from that, alone?

#3: Better Chance for Interaction: The Code of Charon isn't new, but the Shroud is much lower than it is in modern times (if it's even there at all...?). And the world is replete with "Shallowings," where the lands of the living and the dead overlap, and a person can walk from one to the other by accident. Crossover aplenty for those who insist that Wraith's one, big failing was being too "apart" from the other WOD games...

#4: A Chance for Official Revised Wraith Rules: People have been asking for these since V:tM Rev Ed came out. There's numerous versions of such rules in circulation on the Net. Creating a book with them in there would guarantee sales from the hardcore fans, as well as those who want to get their hands on them for completeness' sake.

#5: We Want It, You Want It, Everyone Wants It: Last but not least, let's just get that out on the table. It sounds selfish and greedy, but hey - this is our hobby, this is our joy and we've only got one life to have it in. There's no shame in wanting something, only in how you go about getting it. And what's the harm done by asking reasonably...?

I know that we mere fans are not the only ones who want to see it, either. Various WWGS folks will always say, if asked about the line, how much they loved Wraith. Well, here's a chance for all of us to get it back, after a fashion. And can you think of a better way to serve it back up?

The "real" game would be ideal, of course, but after considering all of this...?


So - fans of Wraith - what do you say? Sound good to you? Then join us in making a lot of happy, friendly and positive noise, and passing these ideas along to others.

(As for those of you who don't work for White Wolf, but agree with what we said here, you might want to tool by the e-petition for Dark Ages Wraith - which Michael Singer was kind enough to put up - and make your views known.)

Meanwhile, keep watching this space. We may soon be seeing a Dark Ages: Wraith of our own, right here on the Project...