Numina in General

(illus. by Taz Jurz)

From the panes a green mist swirls
Is it a shadow of reflection?
This apparition, in moonbeams bathed,
A voice like wind though trees beckons

Haunted - Type O Negative



In stark contrast to the stunted powers of Ghosts, the Numina of fully-awake Wraiths are multifaceted, complex things.

All Numen start from a relatively simple Art, which is known as the Basic Art. Once this power is understood, a Wraith can then branch out into one of many Paths: different "understandings" based on the central concept of the Numen. How far along a Wraith is on a particular Path, including the Basic Art, is her Path Rating.

Example: Charlie has a total of five dots invested in Anchorage. He has the Anchorage Path of Protection at **** and the Path of Creation at **. Since the first dot is the Basic Art, he didn't have to pay to re-learn it to start learning Arts on the Path of Creation - he just put a dot towards Creation, giving him a total Path Rating of ** on the Path of Creation.

Numina can also double back on themselves in the form of Crossover Arts. These advanced techniques require a Wraith to have gone so far along two or more Paths, so that they can learn an Art that requires the concepts of those Paths to work.

Example: Lisa has the Bios Paths of Control and Change at *** each. This allows her the understanding needed to learn the Swarm Crossover Art, as the prerequisite Arts are Path of Control *** Sleepwalk and Path of Change *** Pull.

Crossover Arts are purchased at a special rate, as explained in Experience.


Ghostly Workings

The general idea behind Numina rolls is Attribute + Attribute + Numen Path Level. For example, the roll for Anchorage's Early Warning Art is Intelligence + Wits + Anchorage: Path of Protection.

It is an Attribute roll because the use of Numen is partially-instructed, but mostly-instinctive. It goes well beyond the vale of Abilities, and into the realm of what is felt or seen, rather than what is known. A Wraith doesn't have to understand physics to push herself into the Liveworld via Embody, and doesn't need to have much medical knowledge to sense that she's harming her ride via Bios, either.

It also means that Wraiths who become more knowledgeable in a particular Numen also become more adept at using it, at least within a particular Path.

Most uses of a Numen require at least a token amount of Essence to fuel them. Some do not require Essence, but these tend to be Basic Arts. Very powerful Arts will require more Essence, possibly up to five or more dots. And some Arts require Willpower - especially if they require the Wraith to put something of "herself" into someone, or something, or to make an effect permanent.

No @!#$'n Mechanics Again?

As with other things, not all the mechanics are to be given out. Only the Anchorage Numen has been spelled out in full, both to give an example, and because of the importance of Anchors in the game. In all other Numina, only the Basic Art will be completely explained.

This decision has been made in deference to White Wolf's Fair Use rules. Storytellers are free to extrapolate the rules from what's been given, as best fits their style of play.

Roll the Bones

When rolling the Basic Art of a Numen, use the level of the highest Path attained in that Numen.

Whenever using an Art in a particular Path, the highest level attained in that Path is the level rolled to activate the Numen, rather than that of the highest Path gained in the Numen altogether. This reflects the fact that there are different techniques, ideas and concepts embodied in each Path.

Example: To use Charlie again - he has the Anchorage Path of Protection at **** and the Path of Creation at **. When using the Ping Art {Creation **}, he will add two dice to his Intelligence and Manipulation for the roll, rather than four. When using any of the Arts in the Protection Path, however, he will add four dice. And when he rolls the Basic Art for Anchorage - Distant Presence - he will add four dice to his Intelligence and Presence, since he has the highest amount of dice in the Path of Protection.

When rolling a Crossover Art, use the average of the Paths needed to have the Crossover Art, rounding up.

Example: John wants to use Pilgrimage, an Anchorage Crossover Art that requires Path of Protection ** Early Warning, and Path of Creation ** Ping. He has up to **** in the Path of Protection and ** in Path of Creation, which means that he will roll his Strength + Manipulation + 3 dice - the average of 4 and 2.


Group Casting

If a Wraith needs help performing a certain Art, she can enlist the aid of others who know it. This makes it a little easier to do it, but it costs - and may penalize - all involved in the working.

To do a group casting of an Art, everyone involved must be in physical contact with one another. Everyone helping the Wraith who is using the Art must spend one Essence to link their will with hers, whether the Art requires Essence or not. If the Art also requires Willpower, they must contribute a dot of that as well. And if the Art gives Tainted Essence, they all receive however many dots the user gets for performing it, as they are all complicit in the act.

Each extra Wraith linked up in the effort contributes one die to the effort. However, there is a limit to how many others can help: the mind and will of the Wraith who is actually using the Art is only able to channel so much energy at once. There cannot be more Wraiths directly involved in the group casting than the user has dots in Permanent Willpower - including the user, herself.

Example: Brother Stubborn and a group of Pardoners are out in a Storm, and want to group cast **** Ward of the Damned, so as to have a better chance of surviving the event. Stubborn's Willpower is 6, and there are 7 Pardoners with him. He can have 5 of the Pardoners join him, all of whom must contribute one Essence and one Willpower, as the Ward requires both to fuel it. This action gives 5 extra dice to the roll.


Tainted Essence

Some uses of Numina cause Tainted Essence to be gained, and some contain the possibility - but not the guarantee - of its accrual.

These gains tend to be caused by Arts that force another to do something, or else take something away from another - lessening their hold on the world, and control over themselves. And some Arts require a Wraith to manipulate or befriend her Shadow, or use powers from beyond the Barrier, ensuring that some of the negative energy rubs off on them.

In those Arts that have the potential, there seems to be a "moral" choice made by the user, which either causes or does not cause Tainted Essence to be gained. There is always a lot of debate as to whether morality fits into the grand scheme, or if it's just a matter of aiding in another's impediment - or destruction - that causes negative energy to form.



Wraiths have the capacity for an "Affiliation" with certain Numina, depending on their Means of Demise. Whatever happened to them scarred their souls in such a way as to make certain powers of the dead easier to learn, and slightly easier to use {if their luck holds out}.

Wraiths who have an Affiliation for a Numen pay less Experience to learn Arts in it. They also may reroll two dice, rather than only one, for each die on the roll that comes up 10. This means that it's easier for them to get Exceptional Successes.


Anchor Limits

A Wraith's proximity to her Anchors limits her use of Numina on the Living. She can use Numina on the Living without additional effort while near her Anchors: ten yards per dot in Anchor rating.

If a Wraith wants to use her powers on the Living while beyond that barrier, she can, but this costs a point of Willpower per Art activated. This cost is above and beyond any other Willpower requirements a specific Art may require.

Whispers and Rumors

The listings that follow are but a sample of possible Paths and Crossover Arts. There could be other Paths, and countless Crossover Arts to be learned.

There may also be powers well beyond the range of normal Wraiths {*****} though no one but the oldest of Wraiths can say for sure if these "Hidden Arts" are real, or just rumors.

And the Damned may have their own, twisted variations on Numina as well, though not even the Pardoners are certain of the shape of these "Dark Numina."