Path of Separation

Some say I am your best friend. Some say I am your worst enemy. What do you think, friend?

Tell me truly - lies are costly, here...

Rightfully loved and feared, the Separation Path allows a Wraith to decrease the effectiveness of another's Anchor, cut its links to another Wraith, or sever it completely. Used "responsibly," it is an invaluable tool for Transcendence. But there are those who use this Path for less noble ends, and while the Scissormen make for good allies, they are terrible enemies.

All the Arts on this Path can be used on another Wraith's Anchors, or used to create an Anchor for another Wraith. Much like the Path of Creation, the Wraith who owns the Anchors does not have to be willing to have most of these Arts used on her, or her Anchors {***** Resolution is an important exception}.


** Twang

Something of an "answer" to Ping, the Wraith also uses this Art to see another Wraith's Anchors, and functions just like Ping in that regard. Those who practice the Path of Separation for ignoble purposes often use this Art to evaluate another's Anchors, sizing them up for possible blackmail. The Art can also be used to raise the other Wraith's hackles, making her think that something is wrong with one of her observed Anchors.

System: To use this Art, the Wraith has to be within conversational distance of the other Wraith, and spend a Turn in concentration, looking at her. After that, she spends one Essence and rolls Intelligence + Manipulation + Anchorage: Path of Separation, with each success giving a detail about a single Anchor the other Wraith has. Unless the other Wraith specified which Anchor, or the Wraith doing the Twanging has an idea of one, the Anchors are seen from largest to smallest, and most important detail to least, respectively.

The Wraith can also use this Art to make the Twanged Wraith feel distinctly uneasy concerning her Anchors. This is done by spending an additional Essence after using Twang on the Anchor. The feeling is gone almost as soon as it's noticed, but it's acute enough to make some hair-trigger Wraiths teleport back to their Anchors, only to discover that nothing was wrong.


*** Clutch of the Beyond

This Art temporarily diminishes the effectiveness of an Anchor - dropping it down level by level. Some Believers use this Art as an emergency measure if they have to travel, while others use it to aid a Wraith in getting used to the idea of living without a particular Anchor. However, it can also be used to deliver an unsubtle threat to a Wraith: letting her know that she's been "tagged."

System: The Wraith must be in physical contact with the Anchor to use this Art, unless it's her own Anchor. She must spend two Essence, and roll Dexterity + Presence + Anchorage: Path of Separation. Each success on the roll, past the first, makes it seem as though the Anchor's level was one less, and this can take the effective level of an Anchor down to zero. One success just makes the Wraith whose Anchor is being affected feel violated.

The effect of the Art lasts for an entire day. During that period, the Wraith's ability to heal and gain Essence from that Anchor, and use it for Numina, or Manifestation, is lessened. An Anchor that has been dropped to zero still has a "hold" over the Wraith, but cannot impede her free movement.

Using the Art on one's own Anchors garners no penalties. However, if the Art is used on another for selfish or destructive purposes, a dot of Tainted Essence is gained for the violation of another's Anchors.


**** Broken Link

The reverse of Renewed Link, a Wraith can use this Art to cause spiritual damage to an Anchor, reducing its level. Believers often use this Art a little bit at a time - either on their own Anchors, or another's - in order to lessen the connection to their former lives. But it can also be used as a weapon against others, which is one reason why the Believers are often left alone.

System: The Wraith has to be in physical contact with the Anchor to be thusly affected. She spends three Essence and rolls Strength + Manipulation + Anchorage: Path of Separation. Each success past the first takes the Anchor's level down a dot: one success just makes the Wraith whose Anchor is being affected feel violated.

The Wraith can elect to "pull her punches," and reduce the level only by so much, regardless of the successes. However, each success that goes over the amount the Wraith wants to do causes automatic Lethal Damage.

Example: Saul is reducing Lisa's Anchor. He wants to reduce it by only one level, but he rolls four successes, which would take it down three levels. He stops this further damage from taking place, but suffers two Lethal Damage to his Corpus.

As with Clutch of the Beyond, the Art should be done for therapeutic and/or kindly spiritual purposes. If not, then the Wraith who does it receives one Tainted Essence for every level she drops the Anchor by. That only happens if it's done to another Wraith's Anchor, though - there is no such penalty for reducing your own.

That said, this Art is not recommended to be used to completely remove a Wraith's Anchor, whether for offensive or altruistic purposes. Doing so gains two points of Tainted Essence above and beyond whatever else may have been gained, no matter what the Wraith's motivation. And this also happens if a Wraith uses the Art to sever her own Anchor, as the act bolsters the Shadow.


***** Resolution

All Wraiths can, given time, Resolve their Anchors. However, some Wraiths don't wish to wait for what may be several decades to gain the spiritual wherewithal to accomplish this. For them - and others - a Resolution can be forced, but not without great risk. And while the Resolution Art is not as harmful in practice as Broken Link, the cost of failure is dire, indeed.

System: If done for another, the Wraith must either be in contact with the Wraith who wishes this done - and it can only be voluntary - or the Anchor. She must make a Contested roll of her Presence + Wits + Anchorage: Path of Separation against the Resolve + Stamina + Anchor Rating of the other Wraith. {The Anchor Rating is of the Anchor to be Resolved.} Each success scored by the Wraith using the Art in the Contested roll, past the first, "Resolves" one level of the Anchor.

The other Wraith may improve the chances of the roll by spending three Willpower, and making a Willpower roll. Each success reduces her pool for the Contested roll by one, down to a minimum of one.

Example: Lisa is helping Richard to Resolve a painful, and powerful, Anchor. Her dice pool { 3 Presence + 2 Wits + 5 Anchorage: Path of Separation} stands at 10 dice, while Richard's is 13 {5 Resolve + 3 Stamina + 5 Ex-Lover From Hell}. The odds aren't good, but Richard is steadfast in his desire to lessen the person's grip on him. He spends three willpower, and rolls Willpower to commit himself to this. He gains four successes, which reduce his pool to 9 dice. Lisa and he then square off in the Contested roll, and she gets four successes to his two. This reduces the Anchor by one level - a small improvement, but it's a start...

If done for the self, the Wraith need not be in contact with the Anchor. However, she still must make a Contested roll of her Presence + Wits + Anchorage: Path of Separation against her own Resolve + Stamina + Anchor Rating. She may spend three Willpower, and make the Willpower roll, to commit herself to the action, as illustrated above.

The Art is often used to completely sever the connection between a previously-weakened Anchor, so as to avoid the harsh effects of Broken Link. It is also used to give a final "push" to Wraiths seeking Transcendence, though it's considered best if the Wraith learns the Art, and then uses it on herself.

Use of this Art normally causes no Tainted Essence to be gained, given its therapeutic nature. However, if the roll fails, then the attempt to spiritually divorce the Anchor causes a horrible, dark feedback upon the soul. Not only is nothing lost from the Anchor, but five dots of Tainted Essence are gained, both to the Wraith using the Art and the Wraith being "helped" by it.