Outside the Bounds

On a long and winding grey paved street
Your breath the only friend
Chattering others surrounding you
You're going out again

Roll Call - Peter Murphy

As previously mentioned, Wraiths don't like to be outside the cities, if given a choice. The Necropoli present many dangers - especially the dangers of one's fellow Dead - but also provide advantages that the wilderness cannot compete with. And that wilderness has its own risks, most notably a relative lack of Haunts and an overabundance of spiritual predators.

That said, there are Wraiths who are known to leave the safety of the Necropolis, or else keep to its outskirts. Some of these have their Anchors far from the bright lights of the city, and have to wander far outside its bounds to tend to them, or take full advantage of them. Others prefer to keep to the edges of the cities, just outside the boundaries laid down by the Concords.

And there are also Wraiths who stay away from the Necropoli altogether, scavenging an existence in the areas no one else cares to enter, unless they absolutely have to. Meanwhile, the Believers take to those roads for spiritual purposes, just as the Pardoners are known to occasionally go on an errand of "Mercy."

These Concord members tend to return, though - provided nothing out there keeps them from coming back. For there are many Wraiths who leave and are never seen again, and many who come back with their souls much worse for the journey.

Just Visiting

Wraiths may be aware of the dangers that wait outside, but they'll leave the city to visit an Anchor anyway. That's because they always feel the need to get back to what matters most - their Anchors - and find themselves heartsick for them if they don't make some kind of contact. The Anchorage Numen can alleviate some of the nagging feeling that Anchors cause, but it's no substitute.

So if most of a Wraith's Anchors are in the city, but she has one out in a suburb or - worse - the countryside, she can't neglect it in favor of the ones close-by. Sooner or later she will need to go and see it, for herself, if only to partake of the Essence it provides.

The reverse can always be true as well: some Wraiths have most of their Anchors out in a small town, somewhere between the Necropoli, but have at least one in the city. So they'll have to come in too, sooner or later, at which point they run the risk of being labeled "Solitary" - or worse - by the city Wraiths they encounter.


The Edges

Every city has a "line" around it, even if it's not so visible. The people who live in that city come to recognize that line as the place where the city ends, and something else begins. It might be where the brownstones and brick buildings peter out into newer - or older - houses, or it might be where the sidewalk ends and the prairie begins. This is the edge of the city, where one thing ends and another begins, or there's just nothing there at all.

It's not unknown for a Concord to take territory that goes over that line. Indeed, many groups of Freewraiths prefer to hold Domains that slink out to the far corners of the Necropolis, just to deny The Order - or anyone else - the chance to take it. Often times, there's not much out there to take, but the Freewraiths are ancient masters of making do.

But in many cities, that edge is well-marked by the Dead, and rightly avoided. They place the largest, most imposing Terms of all along those boundaries, and sometimes even post an actual guard to challenge any who would go out, or come in. And even those Concords who don't care to put anyone on the firing line at least keep that end under watch.

It's there, in that null boundary zone, where the Barrier first becomes uniformly easier to breach.

That's where the Damned tend to creep into the Necropolis and lay their nests. That's also the place where the Reapers send in their hunting parties - slipping into the city as quietly as they can before the stark violence of their hunt breaks their cover. And that's where the Dark Walkers begin their trek into town, seeking that special someone to take back with them, or kill outright.

Who stays in such a place? The Freewraiths and Solitaries, mostly.

Freewraiths have superior numbers to call upon, as well as a yen to prove themselves in a fight against something truly nasty. The Solitaries, on the other hand, enjoy the privacy that living in a spiritual minefield can provide. As long as they keep a close eye out, and are ready to hide when trouble comes around, they can probably survive.


The Wilderness

Past the edge of the Necropolis is the Wilderness. Such an area is called that even if there's a well-populated, busy street leading to a thriving suburb that winds away, rather than a downgraded road heading for desolate country. If it lies outside the Necropolis proper, then it might as well be the dark side of the Moon as far as most Wraiths are concerned: one should not venture out into it by oneself, and any Circle who goes there should be prepared to fight or flee back to the Terms at any moment.

In these places, where actual Wraiths are scarce, the Damned lurk like cunning spiders and the Reapers lay their more baroque traps. There are also stranger creatures out there: great beasts not seen outside of nightmares that come through the Barrier, wreak untold havoc and then disappear, sometimes taking unfortunate Ghosts and Wraiths along for the ride.

Any Wraiths who live out here need to be crafty, tough or well-hidden - preferably some combination of the three. What few Haunts there are tend to have several Ghosts and/or Wraiths in residence, huddling together for safety in the face of a singularly hostile environment. And what few strangers make it out that far are viewed with either high suspicion or massive relief.

Tourist Traps

So if you should happen to
Come to our little town
It might be wise
If you didn't hang around

Tiny Town - Dead Milkmen

Small, mostly-isolated towns and burgs are rapidly becoming a thing of the past in "developed" nations, thanks to interstates, highways and other forms of rapid transportation. However, the Dead aren't always able to get out of town, and the Concords aren't always able to visit, much less establish any kind of long-term presence. As a result, small towns in the Wilderness tend to be as "backward" to Wraiths as they can be to mortals.

The common story goes a little like this: once, a long time ago, The Order, while on Pilgrimage with the Believers, set down roots in a developing town. The representatives couldn't stay, obviously, so they left the Wraiths they found with the rudiments of The Order's ways. They then left the town to its own devices, figuring that it could blossom into a full-fledged Necropolis over time, and they - or someone else - could visit them again later and see how they were getting on.

Unfortunately, no one did, and the next time anyone from a Necropolis stopped in - anywhere from 50 to 100 years later - they discovered that things were seriously askew. The Injunction had been perverted to serve selfish ends, or simply not followed at all, and the Gods were not being properly venerated, or were completely ignored. The prohibitions against Shaping were flaunted in plain sight, Domains were not laid down, nor respected, and the strong took advantage of the weak. Anarchy ruled this town, and the only justice to be found was in barbaric revenge.

Of course, the representatives of The Order and the Believers tried to lay down the law, once more. But this got them attacked and run out of town - even by the ones they tried to save from others' savagery. They were lucky to escape in one piece, and no one has ever gone to that town since. Charun only knows what may have happened there in the meantime...

That tale can be applied to any small town far enough outside of a Necropolis that not even Pardoners or Freewraiths will venture there. They also say that the Believers have left marks around certain places to inform their brethren to keep going, and seek no shelter there - not even for a Storm.

And that would most likely be because there are worse cases on actual record. There are small towns almost bereft of Ghosts and Wraiths, where Reapers make regular forays to take ghostflesh back across the Barrier. There are also tales told of places where the Dead are ruled by the Damned: conned into thinking them angels and saviors, they gratefully submit to being harvested, and do their dark bidding without question...