The Shaping Numen is much more than just a way to look frightening, or ease the gathering of Essence: it is the very cornerstone of the Deadlands economy. All workaday objects that the dead can make themselves are fashioned from Corpus, and captured Essence both powers their limited industry and acts as coinage. Without Shaping, Wraiths would have little, and would be reduced to bartering what few goods they had, or relying on favors alone.

The fact that this cornerstone lies mostly in the hands of the Freewraiths and the Pardoners is ironic, given their antipathy and disdain for The Order. Fortunately, enough members of The Order know the rudiments of this Numen to ensure that their Concord can prosper in a Shaper's market.



Shaping has three recognized Paths:

The Path of Flesh allows Wraiths to mold their Corpus, and that of others, into new appearances and unusual, or unnatural, shapes. The Shapers who master this Path are also the craftsmen of the Deadlands - taking Corpus from themselves, or others, and making permanent objects from them.

The Path of Power deals with the gathering, giving and changing of Essence. The Usurers are aptly named, for they mint the common coin of the Deadlands with their actions. And none dare cross these Wraiths, given their powers over the energies of both the living and the dead.

The Path of Transmutation is viewed with suspicion: the Alchemists who practice it can change Essence to Corpus - and vice versa - with such fluid ease that it's wondered if they're cheating the market. But as that ability is the least impressive of the miracles they can perform with this Path, their services have no shortage of patrons.


Those Who Know

The two biggest users of Shaping are the Freewraiths and the Pardoners. They are adept with all three of the known Paths, and use their expertise in them almost every day: the Freewraiths for both commerce and warfare, and the Pardoners for warfare, only.

Of the two Concords, the Freewraiths are the most fanatical about making certain their "property" stays in their hands. Anyone who isn't a Freewraith {or a Pardoner} who has it had better keep it to themselves, or else agree to use it only in the Freewraith's Marketplace, under their terms. And those who don't acquiesce to the martial Concord's demands had better not get caught by them.

The Pardoners, on the other hand, aren't so miserly. They have taught the Path of Shaping and Path of Power to The Order, and that knowledge has trickled down from there. Sadly, it appears that this gesture has led to the Haunters getting their hands on the Path of Shaping as well, to judge by their grotesque appearances, and how they make their Terms.


Almost everyone has a "have you heard?" tale when it comes to Shaping, given the miracles that its use can create. Most of the time, these wind up being stories of how amazing a particular Shaper truly is, but strange and unconfirmed rumors make their way around, too.

They say that the true, hidden Masters of its Arts can turn an ordinary Wraith into a giant, or crunch her down into the size of a humble coin. They even say that the coins can be reactivated with a touch, so that entire armies can be carried in a bag of "coins."

They say that objects can be created in such a way so as to have the ability to think, and react - possibly to have their own personality. And while that sounds fantastic, there are a number of Wraiths who believe it as gospel: after all, it's no secret that Wraiths can have their minds "molded" into a coma by one of the Crossover Arts, so why shouldn't the reverse be possible?

And they also say that there are those Shapers whose sudden appearance from nowhere is courtesy of their having reduced themselves to free-floating clouds of Essence. But then, no one's buying that one...

Judging from their terrifying appearance, it is believed - perhaps "hoped" is the better word - that the Damned have access to Shaping. But as their simple teeth and talons are much more dangerous than anything a Shaper could produce, it's wondered if they haven't a few dark tricks up their sleeves.

Basic Art

* Give and Take

The first understanding on any of the Numen's Paths is the ability to give or take Corpus and Essence from another Wraith. Freewraiths often use this Art to "bulk up" before a fight, giving them a lot of Corpus to play around with. Meanwhile, the Pardoners are known to have many jars of Essence on their person while out on Patrol, so they can harm and heal in equal measure.

System: The Wraith using this art must touch the Wraith she wants to use it upon, but does not have to spend Essence. She need only roll her Strength + Manipulation + Castigate, and each success allows for the taking or giving of one dot of Corpus or Essence.

A Wraith can "pull her punch" and not take or give as many dots as the roll allows for, and any unused Essence or Corpus stays right where it is. But she can only give or take either Corpus or Essence, and can also only give or take. If she wants to give Corpus to another, and repay herself in that Wraith's Essence, she must make two rolls.

When taking, the Wraith can decide whether to absorb the Corpus or Essence directly into herself, or hold it in stasis. This stasis requires concentration to maintain, or else the Corpus rots into uselessness and the Essence turns ambient, and floats off.

The Wraith can also spend three Essence per dot of either substance to create stability. These small, glowing pieces of ghostflesh or energy have only one dot in them, and can only be accessed by the Wraith who took them, or the Wraith they were taken from. They must have one Essence put into them per week, or else the stasis ends, and their contents either rot or float off.

It goes without saying that one can take either substance from another Wraith without their permission. However, this gross act of theft gives 1 dot of Tainted Essence for such a violation, even if done in self-defense. Those who've achieved mastery over this Numen often advise their students to make weapons, instead: you don't have to get as close to the enemy, and there's no hard feelings - except, maybe, on their part.

Path of Flesh

Path of Power

Path of Transmutation

Crossover Arts