Character Creation

"By pouring my blue ink into them, I made the ghosts turn visible. To say that the task is simple or without danger would be insane. To dare disturb the angels."
- Jean Cocteau


In order to take a mortal and turn it into a Wraith, jump ahead to Step 5. Otherwise, follow the bouncing skull...

Step One: Concept

This is exactly as presented in The World Of Darkness, pg 34, but be sure to think of the following important questions:

* What did the character live for?
* What were her goals?
* What was the character proud of about herself?
* What did she hate?
* What did she believe about an afterlife?
* How and when did she die?
* How old was she when she died?
* How long was she Asleep? How did she wake up?
* How did she join her Concord, if any?
* What would she give for peace, or does she care?


Step Two: Select Attributes

This is exactly as presented in The World Of Darkness, pg 34, and explained on pp. 42 - 51.


Step Three: Select Skills

This is exactly as presented in The World Of Darkness, pg 34, and explained on pp. 54 - 87.


Step Four: Select Skill Specialties

This is exactly as presented in The World Of Darkness, pg 34, and explained on pp. 54.


Step Five: Add Wraith Template

Once all the preliminary stuff is out of the way, you can start giving the character things that are unique to the dead, and the world they inhabit.

Death: There are seven different ways to die, each giving an Attribute bonus, a Numina affiliation and a drawback.

Pick a death, based on your character concept, and write it down in the upper part of the character sheet under "Death." Then adjust your character's stats accordingly.

Violence: "I was killed."

  • Strength +1
  • Affiliation with Fear or Kinesis Numina
  • May go into Shadowstate involuntarily if they are presented with certain situations

Sickness/Starvation: "My body wasn't strong enough."

  • Stamina +1
  • Affiliation with Bios or Embody Numina
  • A sickly miasma causes them to lose dice from Presence and Manipulation rolls

Old Age: "My body gave up."

  • Resolve +1
  • Affiliation with Bios or Decay Numina
  • May Ossify if they remain inactive for too long.

Happenstance: "I had... an accident."

  • Dexterity +1
  • Affiliation with Fate or Kinesis Numina
  • Can suffer physical flashbacks to their death

Insanity: "My mind failed me."

  • Composure +1
  • Affiliation with Fear or Castigate Numina
  • Must begin play with a mild "Derangement" that can never be fixed

Mystery: "I don't know what happened to me."

  • Wits +1
  • Affiliation with one Common or Uncommon Numina of choice
  • Are compelled to seek out new evidence concerning their deaths

Fate: "I died because I was meant to."

  • Manipulation +1
  • Affiliation with Fate or Embody
  • Run the risk of becoming a puppet of Fate

Concord: a Wraith may join - or be forced to join - a group once she wakes up. Being a part of a Concord gives a perk for being a part of the group, but also has a drawback attached to it. As they say, "Only death is free, here..."

Pick a Concord, based on your character concept, and write it down in the upper part of the character sheet under "Concord." Then adjust your character's stats accordingly, starting with a free dot in Status for that Concord, to reflect at least being a member. Note that "access to" means that your character may take dots in the Numina or Background in question at character creation, but these must be purchased normally.

There is a seventh "Concord" known as Solitaries: those who have no Concord, either because they don't want to join one, or haven't been able to, yet. Truly alone in the world of the dead, they receive no bonuses, but have no drawbacks, either.

Believers: "There is something more than this, my friends."

  • Those who hold that Paradise waits beyond the Barrier, and listen to the words of the Ferrymen for guidence
  • Access to Anchorage Numina
  • Must start game with no more than 7 dots in Anchors

Freewraiths: "I'll do my own thing my own way, thank you."

  • Those who think the Ferrymen are con artists and The Order is bullshit, or just want to live by their own rules
  • Access to the Shaping Numina
  • Have Freewraith "colors" permanently marked upon them

Haunters: "We're not here for the living - they are here for us."

  • Those who delight in scaring, driving off and even slaughtering the living - sometimes for pay, sometimes because they like it.
  • Receive three free dots to put into Allies, Contacts, Mentor or Retainer - all Haunters, of course
  • Must do whatever they're told by their superiors or be severely punished for it

Messengers: "If we would be seen as higher beings, then let us act like them."

  • Guardians of life who act as invisible (or very visible) angels and saviors for mortals.
  • Access to Regis Numina
  • Are mystically bound to protect all human life from unecessary harm

The Order: "We uphold the Injunction for the good of all."

  • Quasi-religious society that hews to - and enforces - the Injunction given unto the dead by the Ferrymen.
  • Receive five free dots in Allies, Artifact, Contacts and Eidolon
  • Are mystically bound to uphold the Injunction, and are expected to give up 1/10 of all they do for The Order

Pardoners: "I'm here to save you, whether you want it or not."

  • Warriors of the soul, ever on the lookout for The Lost and The Damned, and making sure other Wraiths don't turn into them.
  • Access to Castigate and Shaping Numina
  • Begin play with an extra point of Angst and three extra points in Thorns

Anchors: Wraiths 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.

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.

Every Wraith starts out with ten dots to place into Anchors, unless they're in the Believers - then they get only seven. Pick a person, place or tangible object, assign a number of dots between 1 and 5 to it, and write down the primary emotion that the Wraith associates with that Anchor.

"The Knife I Was Killed With {Fear}: 3" would be an example, as would "The Streetcorner Where I Died {Terror}: 2," or "My Girlfriend {Love}: 5."

Numina: Every Wraith starts the game with five points to put into their Numina. Two points must go into the Numina Affiliation that corresponds with the Wraith's death. The rest can be placed in any Common Numina, or an Uncommon Numina the Wraith's chosen Concord allows for.

Notice that Numina of level ** and above have prerequisite requirements in the form of previous levels of the Numen in question. Also note that Wraiths cannot take any Numina above level *** at this time.

The Numina are:

Anchorage (uncommon): The ability to make new Anchors, and to affect and manipulate both your own, and those of others.

Bios (common): Manipulating the bodies of the living, either to heal, harm or change them. This also includes possessing them, either for the long or short term.

Castigate (uncommon): Forcing Shadows to behave and give up their power to you, or letting them loose...

Decay (common): The ability to animate, break or fix inanimate objects by slipping into them and taking over.

Embody (common): Forcing your Corpus back into the land of the living, either to better interact with mortals or scare them silly.

Fate (common): Learning the way things will be, or changing the course of fate, itself.

Fear (common): Seeing the memories and horrors of both living and dead, and turning them - or your own - against others. It also allows Wraiths to enter and change dreams.

Kinesis (common): Telekinetics, power over motion and the ability to turn anger into action.

Regis (uncommon): The ability to make both wraiths and the living obey your desires as though they were their own, or follow your commands, even unto death...

Shaping (uncommon): Reforming your Corpus - or someone else's - to shapeshift it into anything imaginable, as well as manipulating Essence to suit your own needs.

Angst: Every Wraith starts the game with one dot in Angst, which is recorded on the Morality chart by putting an X through the 10th level. The possibility of having a Morality score higher than 9 is lost to Wraiths as a result of this, and every time a Wraith's Shadow increases its power by gaining another dot of Angst, another potential level of Morality is lost: going down from 10 to 9, then 8, then 7, and so on.

Players may, at Storyteller's discretion, elect to take up to two more dots of Angst at character creation in order to purchase Experience Points: five Points per dot of Angst taken. This would reduce the Wraith's maximum Morality to 7 if two dots of Angst were taken, as the 9th and 8th level of Morality would be lost to the Shadow. This option is not open for mortal characters who become wraiths by applying the template - it is meant to represent a character who's been a Wraith for some time, and has lost ground to her Shadow.


Step Six: Select Merits

This is mostly as presented in the The World Of Darkness, pg 34, and explained on pp 108 - 117.

If you're making a Wraith, it would be a good idea to not take Merits that would indicate having a living body: Iron Stamina, Iron Stomach, Natural Immunity, Quick Healer, Strong Lungs and Toxin Resistance are right out.

Also remember that most Social Merits can be directly applied to either dead or living society. In order to have, or keep, Social Merits that deal with the living, the Wraith must be able to keep contact with those she left behind.

Exceptions to that rule are Resources and Status. Resources represents wealth and possessions in the living world that the Wraith still has access to - such as a bank account that hasn't been cleared out yet - or has hidden away, somewhere. Given the nature of dead society, there is no Wraithly equivalent to Resources.

In order to have Status amongst the living, the Wraith must still be "alive" in their eyes. Taking the Secret Death Merit is required for this, and if it's ever completely compromised, the mortal Status goes away. In addition, no Wraith can ever have a Status above ** amongst mortal society: the higher up a person is, the more scrutiny is given to them, and the act becomes too hard to pull off.

If you are applying the Wraith Template to a dead mortal character, you may take dots from Merits that simply do not apply anymore {or that you wish to drop}, and shunt them over into new Merits. Some restrictions and caveats may apply {a living **** Retainer is now worth * in Memoriam, for example, giving three dots to stick somewhere else.}

Wraith-based Merits include Artifact {* - ****}, Eidolon {* - *****}, Memoriam {* - *****} and Secret Death {* - ***}. Status for Wraiths {* - *****} applies to Concord, only.


Step Seven: Determine Advantages

This is mostly as presented in the The World Of Darkness, pg 34, and explained on pp 90 - 105. Defense, Initiative, Size, Speed and Willpower are all determined as listed there, and a Wraith starts the game with a starting Morality of 7. A Wraith also picks both a Virtue and a Vice.

Important changes are:

Shadow Type: The Shadow is a perverse extension of the Wraith's own Morality: a result of the shame, horror and/or self-disgust the Wraith feels when she goes too far in following her inner drives. The Wraith's player should pick a Shadow Type that corresponds to her Virtue or her Vice, and record the free Thorn that comes with it.

Thorns: The Shadow has the power to affect ghostly reality around the Wraith - making her doubt her senses and distrust her friends. These powers are often used to confuse the Wraith, and make her rely on the Shadow for "guidence." However, the Shadow can also offer to let the Wraith use these powers against others - after a fashion - to their mutual benefit.

All Shadows get one free Thorn that goes with the Shadow Type, and receive three dots to spend on other Thorns at this time.

Corpus: Wraiths are not alive, in any real sense of the word, but they tend to have a residual self-image that conforms with their body in life. As such, they determine Corpus - which is a reflection of their spiritual "togetherness" - by adding Stamina and Size.

Essence Pool: All Wraiths have a certain amount of "storage" for Essence. This is a reflection of the strength of their Willpower and the power they share with their Anchors. Wraiths usually cannot have more Essence than they have room in their Pool, but there are exceptions {usually risky and dangerous} to this rule. And as time goes on, a Wraith might become powerful enough to increase her Pool...

To calculate the Wraith's starting Essence Pool, add the number of Dots in Anchors {10 at Character Creation} to the Wraith's Willpower score. Mark that down by the Essence bank on the Character Sheet. Then roll a single die, and add to the result however many dots she has in the Memoriam Merit: this is how much Essence the Wraith has at the start of the game.

Tainted Essence Pool: If Essence is the free-floating power Wraiths gather from their Anchors, or what they can skim or siphon from the Living {and other Wraiths}, then Tainted Essence is its darker opposite. This is the power the Shadow collects for Itself, as the Wraith goes about her business.

Just as Wraiths have a certain amount of "storage" for Essence, Shadows are also limited as to how much power they can carry. This is fixed at ten for all Wraiths, and is recorded in the Tainted Essence bank, right next to Morality.

To determine a Shadow's starting Tainted Essence, roll one die for each dot in Angst the Wraith has at character creation, minus one die for each dot the Wraith has in the Eidolon Merit. Each success gives one dot of Tainted Essence.