Coming Back

Needful Things

In order to change one's Lament to Risen, characters have to meet a few prerequisite conditions.

The first requirement for becoming a Risen is being dead, obviously. Both Spirits and Hues are capable becoming Risen, as are Spectres {but we'll get to them another time}.

The second is still having a body to speak of. The process of Rising will heal a lot of damage done due to rot, decay or the trauma that killed the ghost in the first place, but the body must be more or less intact, and still have most of its meat on it. There will be no resurrection for a sun-bleached skeleton, a pile of cremated ashes, a bomb-scattered field of gory debris or small flecks of undigested matter in a cannibal's cesspit.

The third is having up to the third tier in Skinrider Horrors {Puppetry, Juggernaut and Contaminate, respectively}. This represents the depth of knowledge needed to plug oneself back into one's corpse and turn it on, again. As Wisps are prohibited from learning Skinrider Horrors, this means there will simply be no Rising for them.

The fourth is knowing that Rising is an option, and learning how to do it. Hues have it a little easier in that they can intuitively guess how to make the process work, without instruction, with a successful Intelligence + Occult roll {Difficulty 8}.

Spirits, however, have to be taught how to do it by someone either knows how, or has already Risen. Finding such knowledgable ghosts could be difficult, depending on how many ghosts survived the cataclysm from a few years ago. But they could always ask a Hue...

And then there's the fifth requirement, which applies only to Spirits. While Hues can go ahead and try to rise after figuring out how to, Spirits need to join with their doppleganger in order to re-inhabit their own body. What's more, the doppleganger needs to be a willing partner in this transaction, or else it just won't work.

A Spirit won't have to hunt her ghastly double down to talk the matter over; It invariably knows if the ghost's planning on Rising, and will come to parley over the matter. How the confrontation goes is up to the Storyteller, as best fits her Chronicle. However, she might want to use this as an opportunity to see how far the character will go to get back to "life."

 An Optional Rule: Forcing The Doppleganger

If the Spirit isn't in the mood to parley, or doesn't want to give into the Doppleganger's no-doubt sickening demands, the Storyteller can allow her to try to force it to agree.

This is very dangerous, however. The ghost has to spend a Willpower and a Vitality, and pit her Willpower against that of the Doppleganger, which is her equal, in a contested roll {Difficulty 6}. This roll cannot be botched, only won or lost; Nothing happens on a tie.

If the Spirit wins, then the beaten Doppleganger joins with her, against its will, and they can try to Rise. If the Doppleganger wins, however, then it the ghost gets a dot in her Spite Pool for every success that the Doppleganger got over her, plus one. And the Spirit's double will then either leave, or make an additional demand for its trouble...

If the Storyteller cares to use this rule, it's recommended that this be the only circumstance in which a Spirit can try and force her Doppleganger to do something. The exact explanation for why she could make it "behave" for such a thing, and not "behave" for something else ­ like not slaughtering her own mother ­ is a question best left to STs to come up with on their own.



The process of Rising, itself, has two steps. First, the ghost must use Puppetry to re-enter her corpse and take control of it, spending either five Vitality {Spirits} or Tapping five Spite {Hues} in the process. This high expenditure is required to resume control, make a potentially-permanent connection and reverse the process of decay ­ no mean feat.

The Difficulty for the Puppetry roll is the standard 7, but may require more than one success depending on how far gone and how badly damaged the body is. It might require only one success to slip into reasonably fresh corpse, or one that was embalmed and buried in a mild climate less than a year ago. On the other hand, a body that's been in the grave for more than a few years, or that was in very poor shape, might take four or even five. The Storyteller should decide how many successes are needed, depending on the circumstances.

If the roll fails, then the resurrection doesn't happen, and the ghost will have to try again when she gets more power {unless she cares to Tap Spite and try again}. If the roll is a botch, then something horrible happens: most likely the body's rate of decay is sped up to the point where it becomes useless within minutes, but a nearby Spectre might slip in, instead...

If the roll succeeds, however, then the ghost is now back within her body. The corpse's decay reverses itself within seconds, and any damage it suffered ­ pre- or post-mortem ­ is healed up. That healing is so powerful that severed limbs will re-attach, and missing limbs will sprout from the stumps. However, nasty, ugly webs of scar tissue cover the areas where the skin has re-knit itself together, and the death wound {if any} is especially grotesque.

An Optional Rule: Tapping Spite Ratings

When Tapping Spite to power Manifestations or fuel Horrors, players are at the mercy of their Spite Pool for the number of dice they can use. While a Pool of three Spite might be enough to fully Manifest, and a Pool of five might be enough to try for a full onslaught of the chosen power, having only one or two dots of Spite in the Pool might not be enough for the chosen result. And this is doubly problematic if, as with Rising, the character doesn't have a choice between using Spite or Vitality, because only Spite can be used.

An option Storytellers might want to consider is allowing players to Tap their characters' Spite Ratings for Manifestations and Horrors, much in the same way they can in order to regain Vitality.

To do this, the player Taps a dot of Spite Rating, and rolls one dice. If the roll succeeds {Diff. 7}, then the Manifestation or Horror is activated as though the maximum amount of Vitality was spent on it. Players may scale back the effect if they'd care to, though: just because Tapping the Spite Rating gives the possibility for full power doesn't mean the character has to take it.

No ill effects are suffered for having tapped one's Rating, apart from the normal downsides of tapping Spite for such things {see Shadow Games, pp. 105 - 114}. However, if the roll fails, the character gets another dot added to her Spite Rating, and if the roll botches, then the character gets two dots added to the Rating, and possibly some other, nasty consequence as well.



The end result of Rising is a being that looks a lot like someone who just died, and they don't look all that pretty. Even the best-looking ones just aren't right in the eye of the beholder; It's as if the words "cold, clammy thing" were writ large across their foreheads.

A Risen moves as fast as she ever did in life, and can draw breath to speak, or pretend to be alive, to a degree. Her pale skin may be translucent in some places, her hair has lost its shine and her eyes are dry, glassy things that never seem to blink.

Those who were skinny have become skinnier still, with the skin clinging taut to the bone in some places. And those who were pudgy seem even more so, as the connective tissue that held the fat in place has "let go" a little, creating uneven rolls and bulges.

Given all that, a Risen's Appearance score must be modified while in the body. No Risen can have an Appearance higher than three, and their Appearance must have two subtracted from the "real" number, to a minimum of zero. Anyone with an Appearance of zero is going to have some real problems interacting with people outside the Crucible, and may need to wrap up {See Orpheus, pg. 167}.


Other Changes:

Storytellers might wish to take away points, or add them, in other areas depending on what sort of radical changes the switch of Lament has caused to the character, if any. On the other hand, Storytellers may say that they're frozen "as is," since they'll still be relevant if and when the Risen stops being a Risen, and goes back to the lands of the dead as a Spirit or Hue.

One way to push points around is to allow the character to take Risen-specific Merits or Flaws. Merits can be given to make up for losses that just can't be made up for at the time of Rising. Flaws, on the other hand, can be used to add to losses and buy more expensive things.

The old Merits and Flaws for Risen can be found on pp. 38 - 40 of The Risen. The Storyteller has final say on which ones are appropriate {especially when it comes to such notions as "Vampire Friend"}, but "Innate Vampiric Ability" is useless for Orpheus-based Risen.

We also have a few, new Merits for Orpheus-based Risen. Some of these also work to replicate previous rules for Risen that are either obsolete, or don't transfer over to Orpheus all that well. {You could also translate your old Risen to a new one using these, with a little fudging.}

Damn Tough: {1 - 3 pt Merit} The Risen's corpse is either tougher than it looks, or has a lot of padding from muscle and/or flab. Either way, this condition gives extra protection to the Risen, making her harder to hurt. Each level taken in this Merit gives a die that can be used to soak Bashing and Lethal damage. {Risen Hues might find this Merit especially helpful.}

Leave a Beautiful Corpse: {5 Pt. Merit} While most Risen look flat-out terrible, your corpse seems to have retained just a hint of its former looks. Maybe it isn't enough to make people find you comely, but it'll keep them from retching, running or screaming in sheer horror.

While most Risen have to subtract two dots from their Appearance, to a minimum of zero, your Risen only needs to subtract one. If this puts them over the Risen's normal limit of three dots in Appearance, that's fine. And if subtracting one from Appearance would still leave the Risen at zero, then the last dot is retained, as though the character had two dots in Appearance at death instead of only one.

Strange Luck: {5 pt Merit} For some odd reason, events just sit up, beg and roll over on the Risen's behalf. If she wants to meet someone from her former life, that someone will turn up within the current Story. If she's looking for some payback, the people who did her wrong will also turn up at some point in the Story. Storytellers shouldn't let this Merit take the place of investigation, effort or the use of certain Backgrounds during the Story, though. It's advisable to ask the player to write down some of the Risen's burning desires and fondest wishes, prior to coming back, and then find a way to slip them into the Chronicle, somehow.

Unseen: {5 pt Merit} Many folks have a tendency to ignore people who are damaged, deformed or just plain ugly. Your character might not be as ugly as some of the other Risen, but she has an odd talent of not being "seen" by these folks, based on the same principle. In fact ­ thanks to a supernatural quirk ­ so long as she doesn't draw any attention to herself {by speaking, talking, taking an offensive or defensive action, etc.} your Risen can remain unseen. She's not invisible, and anyone looking specifically for her {or for strangers or intruders in general} can spot her, but most folks will just block her out of sight, out of mind and out of memory. This knack can be turned on and off at will.

The Conduit: {7 pt Merit} When the Spirit and Doppleganger merge into their former body, once more, the Doppleganger becomes a rather loud backseat driver that can cajole, bully and possibly even eject the Spirit. Risen with this Merit don't have to worry about all that, as the Doppleganger is instead forced into a small object that the Spirit considered important in life and death. This object, known as a Conduit, contains the dark half, and keeps it from playing any tricks on the Spirit.

However, the price for such a convenience is a major inconvenience: the Risen must keep the Conduit on her person at all times, or suffer certain consequences. She won't be able to make any bargains for Vitality for the Doppleganger, either. And she must also be very careful with the bauble, because if it's damaged, the Risen cannot regain Vitality back above a certain level. {See pg. 34 and 50 of The Risen for all details on this matter, substituting 'Vitality' for Pathos and Corpus, and 'Spite' for Angst, accordingly.}

Hues cannot take this Merit, as it's meaningless for them.