Anchors in General:

Wraiths and Sleepers are held back from whatever lies beyond the Barrier by their Anchors: people, places and things that were massively important to them in life, or else formed an integral part of their death. Someone with a waggish sense of humor once called them "deathlines," and the nickname has stuck.

Anchors give special powers to Wraiths, but also demand care and attention. A Wraith with a few, weak Anchors is nowhere near as powerful as a Wraith with many strong ones. And without any Anchors at all the Wraith cannot stay in the world; She will fall through the Barrier into whatever lies beyond, never to be seen again.

As pointed out in The World Of Darkness, Ghosts are limited in their range of action by their Anchors. Sleepers can't venture away from an Anchor more than 10 yards per dot in Power. For them, the length and breadth of their Anchors is the whole of their world. They can teleport from Anchor to Anchor by spending Willpower, but they are unable to walk the distance between.

This only truly applies to Sleepers, though. Wraiths, being fully "awake," are able to act outside the box their Anchors would place them in. They can perceive the world around them clearly, and may choose to go out into it for their own purposes. And not only can they teleport to their Anchors, but they are able to use the Anchorsense Affinity to check up on them from afar.

However, they are still highly impeded by the pull of their Anchors. And there are extra costs and risks involved with venturing far from them - most obviously the threat of their destruction.


Advantages of Anchors:

For Wraiths, Anchors represent stability, mobility and power. Wraiths use their Anchors to regain Essence, and to heal wounds, but there is much more than can be done with them.

For one thing, a Wraith's Essence Pool is directly tied to how strong their Anchors are. A Wraith with many strong Anchors has room for a lot of power, while a Wraith with a few weak ones is a sorry sight indeed.

Wraiths can also use their Anchors to travel great distances in the blink of an eye, and take others along with them. This trick is also good for ducking a fight, or fleeing from a particularly nasty opponent, and has saved many a Wraith from certain destruction.

And a Wraith's proximity to her Anchors allow her an easier time using her Numina on the Living, and appearing to them. Wraiths aren't prohibited from doing either thing, of course, but it's much more strenuous while away from one's Anchors.


Dangers of Attachment:

On the other hand, being so intimately tied to Anchors brings its own share of problems. The most obvious one is needing to protect them at all times, but there are others as well.

Unlike a Sleeper, a fully-awake Wraith can travel some distance from her Anchors. However, the further away she goes, the less able she is to function, due to the strong emotional pull the Anchors exert over her. This inability to think - and act - straight can be overcome by force of will, but only temporarily.

Yet another danger is the fact that Anchors are indelibly marked as being part of the realm of spirit - a malady Wraiths refer to as "Echoes." While the signs of being claimed by a Wraith aren't totally obvious, they're enough to bring human ghost-hunters and do-gooders sniffing around. And a Wraith has enough worries of her own without having her own Anchors betray themselves.

And, of course, there is a final danger: if a Wraith ever loses her last Anchor, she disappears, doomed to fall through the Barrier. No Wraith has ever been there and come back, and except for what those Ferrymen who come across have to say, no one can be certain of the truth. All that is known is that The Damned always come from there on their obscene expeditions back into the world, so whatever lies beyond the Barrier can't be all sweetness and light.


Letting go:

It is possible, with time and effort, to gradually loosen the hold on one's Anchors. The process requires coming to terms with one's loss, and slowly, painfully letting go of one's former life. This must be a conscious decision on the part of the Wraith: Shadows cannot make a Wraith let go, though they can always arrange events so a particular Anchor is destroyed.

There are those who believe that something greater than the land of the dead lies on the other side of the Barrier, and they - along with the Ferrymen - often exhort their fellows to loosen their hold on their Anchors. Most Wraiths consider this the equivalent of a second suicide, and ignore them as cranks or madmen. But Wraiths who've been around for a while can't help but feel that they, too, feel a gentle pull away from the things that held them back after death.

However, since their Shadows seem quite keen on sending them in that direction, too, they tend to ignore it.