List of Thorns

Some people say I lie to you
If I do, it is like the Storyteller lies
As he hides reality in order to reveal it
So do I lie to show you the

The Book of Truth and Joy
- Anon.

The following are general dark powers that Shadows have access to. They can begin the game with any of the ones here {at least, any that the player can afford to buy} and can purchase them later, with Shadow Experience.

Note that this is just a sampling of the more common ones that Wraiths have observed, over time. There may be dozens, or even hundreds more. Not even the Pardoners have been able to catalog all the different ways that Shadows can trick or harm their owners.


At the very least, the entries for Thorns will include the name of the Thorn, the cost to buy it at Character Creation, what it does - both against, and "for," the Wraith - and the Symptom it produces.

Unless stated otherwise, all Thorns require one Tainted Essence to use against the Wraith, and give the Shadow one Tainted Essence when used for the Wraith, in Shadowstate.

Note that the Heart's Thorns, and their rules, are presented with the Shadow Types, here. These powers come for free with each Shadow, and cannot be purchased by other Wraiths' Shadows.

Also note that, unless specifically mentioned, Wraiths cannot use Shared Powers on the Damned, or Dark Walkers. Something about these creatures' own, special powers negates the Shadow's abilities.

Where's All the !@#$'n Mechanics?

Please be aware that we're not going to list complete powers for each and every one that we present. We will instead present some suggestions for some general rolls, which should be enough to get W:tA Storytellers going.

This has been done with deference to White Wolf's fair use rules, along with the fact that (1) most STs can come up with their own, and (2) players won't have all the answers just because they read the netbook.

Speak Evil (3)
This Thorn forces the Wraith to say something against her will. As a general rule, it can be no longer than what it would take a single, moderate breath to say. These things are usually hateful and spiteful, but often have a faint ring of unintended truth.

Shared Power: The Wraith's Shadow floods her mouth with negative energy, and they can focus that power into a deadly scream. Roll Presence + Angst, and all Wraiths within ten feet of her front and sides take a level of lethal damage per success to hear the soul-shattering scream. {Decrease damage by one die for every foot past ten}

Symptom: The Wraith's mouth becomes hideously ugly, to the point where no one likes to watch her speak. Possibilities include distended and/or discolored lips, missing lips, jagged and discolored teeth, rotten gums dripping blood, ichor or pus, etc. All friendly Social Rolls are at -2 dice due to this handicap.

See Evil (3) *Can be Taken Twice*
Shadows are able to selectively edit a Wraith's senses, and this Thorn is often the first one taken towards that goal. This Thorn can also be purchased twice, with the second level giving the Shadow a new twist on the power.

For each application of the first level's power, the Wraith cannot see one thing. It could be as simple as an incriminating piece of evidence, the identity of someone, or even a person, or other Wraith {though that person's actions will show up, causing confusion}. There is no size limit to the thing not seen, and Shadows can disappear entire buildings or landscapes. However, the item to be masked must be a singularity: Shadows cannot mask over an army, a gang of Freewraiths or a pack of the Damned.

At the second level of the Thorn, the Shadow can elect to edit the thing seen, rather than make it disappear altogether. A sick junkie on death's door will appear to be in the prime of health, a cat will look like a dog, a person will seem to be slightly angry to see the Wraith, rather than very pleased, etc. This application "keeps time" with the object so altered, so that the illusion is complete, but the aspects cannot be changed again without spending more Tainted Essence. However, the Shadow cannot create things out of thin air - only alter them.

Note that both levels of this Thorn will work on Anchors, which makes it very dangerous. In this case, it can be used in tandem with the Anchorsense Affinity, showing things to be "fine" or "bad" for an Anchor, even from far away.

Shared Power: At the first level of this Thorn, the Wraith can edit her own appearance in the sight of others, making a small and weak Wraith look immensely powerful, making her hands appear to have grown huge guns via Shaping, or making her appear to be a Dark Walker. The effect is very realistic, and each success on a Manipulation + Angst roll gives the Wraith a die to put towards a subsequent Social roll {such as Intimidation}.

At the second level, the Wraith can make herself - or something she has on her person - disappear from the sight of others. Each success on a Manipulation + Angst roll takes a die away from onlookers attempts to find the Wraith, or whatever she's hidden from sight.

Symptom: Wraiths with this Thorn have very ugly and creepy eyes: bulging, beetling, sunken, discolored, goo-dripping, "blind" or perhaps entirely "absent," leaving only worm-ridden, sore pits. The Wraith is at -1 on Social Rolls for the first level of the Thorn, and at -2 for the second.

Hear Evil(3) * Can be Taken Twice*

A worthy companion to See Evil, this Thorn allows a Shadow to selectively edit a Wraith's hearing. It can also be purchased twice, with the second level giving the Shadow a new twist on the power.

For each application of the first level's power, the Wraith cannot hear one thing. It could be a cry to duck, or for help. It could also be a tiny detail of an important order, or a lover's last goodbye. An entire conversation could be mooted using this Thorn, however the voice - or noise - must come from one source. The Shadow cannot mask out the shouted approval of an entire group of people, merely one individual amongst the crowd.

At the second level of the Thorn, the Shadow can edit what is heard, rather than make it fall on a deaf ear. A speech of praise is turned into an angry denunciation, and vice versa, and one word can be substituted for another in an entire conversation. This application of the power "keeps time" with the source of the sound, so that there are no gaps in the illusion. However, the aspects cannot be changed again without spending more Tainted Essence, and as with See Evil the Shadow cannot create noises out of nowhere.

Both levels of this Thorn will work on Anchors, and can be used in tandem with the Anchorsense Affinity.

Shared Power: At the first level of this Thorn, the Wraith can edit what others hear. A cry to attack will sound like "Retreat!" instead, and cries of "leave him alone!" become "kill him!" Each success on a Manipulation + Angst roll takes away a die from the affected's ability to detect the ruse.

At the second level, the Wraith can make herself - or something she has on her person - completely silent. Each success on a Manipulation + Angst roll takes a die away from onlookers attempts to hear her sneaking up on them, or going past them.

Symptom: Wraiths with this Thorn have grotesque ears: twisted, long, animalist,ic, uneven, or just not there at all. The Wraith is at -1 on Social Rolls for the first level of the Thorn, and at -2 for the second.


Alternate Reality (5)
This Thorn only comes into its own when a Shadow succeeds in Catharsis, but it is a very powerful tool for the Shadow. Normally, when this happens, the Wraith falls into a coma, and is aware only of being disconnected from her senses. With this Thorn, however, the Wraith is entirely unaware that Catharsis has happened, and is instead presented with a realtime simulation of what's "happening."

This Thorn costs three Tainted Essence to start, and lasts as long as the Catharsis does. While it's active, the Wraith is fed a distorted picture of reality, but one that looks and feels so real that she can't doubt what she's experiencing {unless the Shadow goes too far, or forgets something}.
Shared Power: When used in conjunction with a Wraith in Shadowstate, they are able to take control over another Wraith's senses. A successful Manipulation + Angst roll fools a single Wraith into seeing, hearing and sensing what the Wraith wants her to.

Wraiths aren't often as adept at micro-managing another's senses, though. If the Storyteller feels that the deception has stretched the point of credibility, the other Wraith can roll her Intelligence + Eidolon in a contested roll against the successes of the activation roll. If the victim meets or exceeds the number of successes rolled to start the Shared Power off, the effect crumbles, and she not only sees reality as it is, but understands what went on while she was "under."

A single application of this power gives the Shadow two Tainted Essence, and lasts for a Scene, unless interrupted.

Symptom: Some people just look insincere, as though their inability to tell the truth - or see the world as it really is - was warping their appearance. The Wraith who manifests the Symptoms for this Thorn has the seedy, distrustful look of a cosmic used car salesman, and has severe problems being taken seriously. The Wraith is -3 on all Social Rolls to convince others of the truth of her statements, or get them to go along on a plan.

Worse, even those who know the Wraith is telling the truth have a hard time making the "facts" match with what the Wraith says. All attempts for them to remember what happened as the afflicted Wraith retells it are at -2, because the field of disbelief and confusion is so strong. Their own versions of "what happened" may even vary greatly between themselves...

Anorexia / Bulimia (3)
Makes wraith think she's too fat or too thin. 

Shared Power: Adds dice to defense {fat armor or thin speed}.

Symptom: Looks stick-insect thin or morbidly obese, losing dice from Social Rolls.


Bad Penny (3)
Pulls an object out of a bad memory of the Wraith and taunts her with it, breaking her concentration at key moments.

Shared Power: Lets the wraith do it to others, subtracting dice from their rolls.

Symptom: The object floats around the wraith, and can be heard to say telltale hints about the bad memory, causing unfavorable attention and/or embarrassment.


Bully (3)
Shadow can force the Wraith to take one single action she doesn't want to do.

Shared Power: Adds to all social rolls in which the wraith's trying to scare or bully people.

Symptom: Takes dice away from friendly social rolls because the wraith looks so darn mean.


Dark Manacles (3)
Takes away a Wraith's action.

Shared Power: Allows the Wraith to get an extra action.

Symptom: Wraith seems to be wrapped in black, inky chains that restrict her movements, lowering her Dexterity pool.


Fumblefingers (3)
Takes 3 dice from Dexterity rolls to manipulate things, aim, etc.

Shared Power: Either adds dice to melee attacks, or adds to Defense, due to whipping around in combat.

Symptom: Long, rubbery arms that reduce Social Rolls due to how silly the Wraith looks.

Ill-Starred (3)
Negates one success per Tainted Essence spent, prior to the roll.

Shared Power: Lets the wraith face off against others in a Contested Roll, removing successes from their rolls prior to the roll.

Symptom: Things go subtly wrong around the wraith, removing one success from all rolls made, whether to help her or not. Rolls made to harm her are unaffected.

Bile (4)
Gets wraith too angry for her own good, and makes her vocalize it for an entire Scene.

Shared Power: Can deliver "poison" by a bite attack.

Symptom: Fangs, and the Wraith looks as though black, poisoned blood runs under her skin through raised, grotesque veins.


Brute (4)
Crashes into people and things, if running, as though larger that she is -3 dice.

Shared Power: Adds dice to defense armor and/or Strength rolls

Symptom: Look really big and hulking, scaring others away


Face Dancing (4)
Makes the wraith look hideous to others, or appear to be someone entirely different than who she says she is.

Shared Power: Lets the wraith change appearance so convincingly that even Shaping and Soulsight cannot detect duplication.

Symptom: Wraith's face warps out of shape constantly, both revealing her true feelings for others and making her look hideous.

Plagued (4)
Gives Tainted Essence to any Wraith she touches.

Shared Power: Forces other Shadows to use their Thorns in the Wraith's favor.

Symptom: Hands drip with clear, gooey slime, making Dexterity rolls more difficult.


Soul Armor (4)

Makes it harder for the wraith to gain Essence from others' emotions.
Shared Power: Gives the wraith two more defense.

Symptom: Makes the wraith's skin look knotted and lumpy. 


Voice of the Damned (4)
Can call the Damned out to play against the Wraith.

Shared Power: Can summon up the Damned to attack, though control is not always assured.

Symptom: Talk comes from the wraith in black, miasmal breath, dropping dice from social rolls.


Bad Reputation (5)
Shadow can gain Tainted Essence every time someone remembers the Wraith unfavorably.

Shared Power: Sucks Tainted Essence away from other Wraiths' Shadows and turns it into Essence for the Wraith to use

Symptom: Makes all Wraiths who see the Wraith "remember" all the bad things the Wraith ever did, even if they aren't real, or didn't happen quite that way.


Castigator's Shield (5)
The Shadow can use this to partially shield itself from the gaze of Soulsight or Castigation, making it harder to see the Shadow for what it is.

Shared Power: The Wraith can hide from the Damned in plain sight {but not Dark Walkers}

Symptom: The Wraith's attractiveness is in constant flux, making her more attractive at some times, and less so at others. Worse, it often has a way of attracting the "wrong" people, and turning away the "right" ones - often at the same time.