The dead are well-known for their ability to possess and control the living, but there are fewer tales of them being able to do the same to inanimate objects. There's no good reason for this, though: slipping into places or things, and taking them over, is much easier for the dead to accomplish, given the utter lack of resistance.

It's also seen as more "ethical," since the dead don't have to interfere with a living being to do it. However, it's perfectly possible to use the Decay Numen to animate, break or change objects before the eyes of the living, thus sending them running for the door.

What's In A Name?

Given the wide range of effects the Numen can produce, some might wonder why it's called "Decay" - especially when one of its Paths allows Wraiths to strengthen weak objects, and fix broken ones.

The answer is that objects that have had a Wraith Claim them have an unfortunate tendency to fall apart: they cease functioning, break or rot much faster than they would if a Wraith hadn't taken them on. Sometimes the difference is almost imperceptible, and sometimes it's almost terrifying how quickly something crumbles.

Some Wraiths wonder why Mortals don't suffer the same effect. The most obvious answer is that they're living creatures, and their bodies can heal whatever damage takes place {usually}. Places and things can't just heal themselves, though.



Decay has three recognized Paths:

The Path of Animation {sometimes called Bedlam} is what's most often associated with this Numen: Claiming objects in order to move them about. Shellriders do this for many reasons, though protecting one's Anchors - or those of others - are often the main reason. But there's nothing like walking, talking child's doll to scare a mortal, or "running" refrigerator to do more than just scare them...

The Path of Restoration {also known as Corruption} focuses on turning back time for a place or thing, or speeding it up. Its users are known as Custodians or Gremlins, depending on whether they use the Path to strengthen and repair things, or weaken and break them. But while the Path can be used to destroy things, its users enjoy a generally good reputation.

The Path of Variation, {or Deviation} on the other hand, is seen as going much too far by those on the outside of the Numen. The Artificers who use it to change the form and function of the objects they Claim say they're just improving things. But it's hard not to notice how baroque, sinister and just flat-out hazardous a lot of those "improvements" are.


Those Who Know

As Decay is one of the Common Numen, its use is fairly widespread, though only one of the Paths is truly well-known. The Order sees it as an "acceptable" way to frighten mortals away from Anchors, so long as their Wraiths don't do anything too crazy with it {Or create too high of a body count}. Slamming doors, creaking floors and shuffling things around just out of the sight of the living is considered to be tolerable terror.

Those who died from old age often have a knack for this particular Numen. Some of them suspect this is caused by their own, personal experience with advancing in years and falling apart, thus attuning them to the spiritual wavelength of this Numen. Others wonder if there isn't something more to it than that, but appreciate that they're the ones other Wraiths go to first if they need a Shellrider, as no other means of demise enjoys a general Affiliation with Decay.


Decay is something of a stand-up Numen: if you can think of something to do with it, there's a good chance that, given enough time and Essence, it could be done with one known Arts. That and most Shellriders are truthful enough to give an honest assessment if something could be done or not. And if they can't do it, they'll send potential customers onto someone who can - it's not as if they're lacking for business, after all.

But rumors yet remain. For one thing, there are those who say that, once a Wraith gets to a certain point with the Numen, they can control any object they've Claimed before without even having to touch it, much less see it.

They also say that true masters of the Path of Restoration can put anything back together, even if it's been nothing but dust under the ground for thousands of years. They say that Artificers can draw the "soul" out of an object, and let it speak for itself, and possibly even take control of its body. And they say that a particularly cunning Shellrider could put herself into hundreds - even thousands - of objects at once, and control them in series, or independently...

The Damned are known to make use of this Numen as well. And if the stories are true, the objects they Claim do not decay faster. They do, however, become extremely unlucky for the mortals who handle them. and may even be invested with certain, evil powers that make the bad luck worth risking...

But these remain stories, for now.

Basic Art

* Claim

Claim lets the Wraith perform the necessary task of bonding with the object or place she's passed into. Much like the Bios Basic Art of Possession, it's no more difficult than climbing inside something, rather than just passing through it. But by bonding with the object or place, one can not only see the world through its eyes, but begin to exercise some control over it.

System: The Wraith must be in physical contact with the object or place she wants to enter. She then rolls Dexterity + Presence + Decay, and spends a varying amount of Essence {unless it's her Anchor} and she's in.

Smaller than the Wraith

Zero Essence
As Large as the Wraith

1 Essence
Average Car

2 Essence
Large Room

3 Essence
Small House / Large Office

4 Essence
Huge Mansion / Average Factory

5 Essence

Each success on the roll takes away a die from another's roll to try and enter it, thus kicking her out. {She may, of course, elect to let the other Wraith in, which is common practice amongst Shellriders acting in concert.} And if the Wraith is entering someone else's Anchor, each dot in Rating the Anchor has removes two dice from her Claim pool {unless, of course, the owner's there to let her in}.

While possessing an object, the Wraith feels as though she is the object. Without using other Arts, she can't do more than observe what happens around it, but her eyesight, hearing and other senses extend all the way around whatever she's in. As with Possession, all Affinities, save Ghostsense, do not work, but there are times when they're not missed at all...

This state of being also has the danger of damage. The Wraith loses Corpus every time the object does - kind for kind, level for level. The Wraith can still heal herself, though, and may slip out of the object at any time to avoid further damage.

Every time the Wraith Claims something that is not an Anchor - either hers or another Wraith's - she must roll her Stamina + Presence + Decay. One die is subtracted from this roll for each time she's Claimed it past the first.

Failure on this roll means that the object's natural rate of decay is doubled, and subsequent failures double it again. A Dramatic Failure means the object breaks, cracks, ceases functioning or possibly even crumbles to dust right then and there. This disaster gives one Tainted Essence to the Wraith for each time she's Claimed it, up to and including the one she received a Dramatic Failure on.

Wraiths can instead elect to spend a point of Willpower when Claiming the object. This forgoes any need for the roll, as it staves off the damage she and other Wraiths may cause by being inside the object.

Path of Animation

Path of Restoration

Path of Variation

Crossover Arts