Path of Fright

He knew he was being bad when he looked at his father's special books. He only wanted to look at naked people, but he didn't realize they were medical books about skin diseases. He was only nine years old, then, and he's been terrified ever since.

Yes, terrified of skin disease. He's constantly worried about skin cancer and leprosy. When he cuts himself he scrubs the wound raw with alcohol, so it won't become infected.

And every night, before he goes to bed, he stands naked before his bathroom mirror, and searches desperately for signs of flesh-eating bacteria. It could eat him up overnight, as he slept. He'd be dead before morning.

So what will he do when he wakes up... goes into the bathroom... turns on the light... and sees this?

The Horrorists are aptly named: virtuosos of terror and horror, they use the Arts of the Path of Fright to scare their victims out of their wits. They can turn the hardest person into a quivering, immobile lump, unable to do more than whimper, and make the most steadfast explorer of haunted places soil herself and run away.

In order to use these Arts, a Wraith must first use * Hand of Fear, either to find a fear or phobia of the target, or to bring up one of the Wraith's stored fears. The fear to be used may give extra dice to the rolls for the following Arts if it's powerful enough, as per the previous chart. And, once used, the stored fear must be placed back inside the Wraith's mind, or else it evaporates and is lost.

The Wraith must also be touching the target to use these Arts. However, should the roll for the Art be so successful that the target runs away, the Wraith doesn't have to maintain contact for the generated horror to take its proper course. She will simply have to catch up to the target and touch her again if she wants to use other Arts on her.

Successes on the rolls indicate how long the effect lasts for, in Turns. An Exceptional Success puts a negative modifier on a mortal's roll to avoid running away {as detailed in Haunting}. However, these Arts all give Tainted Essence to the Wraith that uses them, due to their harnessing of negative emotions.

Hands Off, Creep

In order for Fear Arts to work, the Wraith must touch the target. This is fine with Ghosts and Mortals, as they most likely won't be aware of the Wraith's presence. But one might wonder if a Wraith would be affected by these Arts, as she'd know the Horrorist was touching her, and could presume that the terrible things she was seeing were just Fear-spawned illusions.

The answer is yes - they are still affected. Such is the power of Fear that, no matter how strong and rational the Wraithly target's mind is, she will still be overcome by terror at what she sees {or doesn't see, as the case may be}. In fact, even beings with supernatural senses - such as Vampires - will be convinced that they are seeing these things.

** Apprehension

The gateway Art of this path makes the target feel the looming presence of the source of the fear. Someone who was terrified of spiders might be given pause while poking around a Wraith's Anchor, worried that big, ugly and poisonous spiders might be lurking in or around it. Meanwhile, someone who was afraid of her lover's murderous ex-spouse might worry about that person coming up the stairs while they're in bed, together. And if the target wasn't afraid of spiders or psychotic ex-lovers, the Wraith could still use a stored fear to produce those reactions in her.


*** Reflection

This Art goes beyond mere foreboding, and shows the target the fear, itself. The person terrified of spiders will actually think she sees one scuttling around, while someone terrified of the ex-spouse will see the cuckold's cold, hateful eyes looking in at the window. As with * Apprehension, this fear can be from the Wraith's own stores, and used for the purpose of this Art. This Art can also have the strength of what's seen boosted with extra Essence, so that people besides the Target might actually see


**** Composition

This Art makes the fear come all too real, much like a 2-essence Manifestation. The person terrified of spiders is suddenly covered with them, while the person afraid of the ex-lover is accosted by that person on the street. Essence can be spent to allow others to see what the target is seeing, otherwise the sensations are experienced by her alone.

The fears conjured up by the Wraith might do some damage to the target, but it's only likely to be Bashing, and won't have secondary effects. A "poisonous" spider may bite, but it has no venom, and while the ex-lover might have a gun in hand with which to threaten and pistol-whip the target, it will not be fired.


***** Damnation:

The next step up from **** Composition makes the fear horribly and terribly real - at least, in the mind of the target. She goes into a fugue state, not unlike that of a Ghost, and undergoes a nightmarish confrontation with the fear. Unlike the other Arts in this path, Essence cannot be spent to include others in what the target sees and experiences: this damnation is private, and the target will not be aware of anything outside of it, including others' attempts to help.

While in the fugue, the target will believe that she is being seriously hurt by the fear, and things will be so bad that she will think rescue and flight are impossible. Everything she does is countered, and nothing lets her fight back. Unlike the other Arts, she can try to resist using her own mind, but the odds are against this.

If the target survives the ordeal - or the Wraith lets her survive it - she will most likely be mentally damaged by the trauma she's experienced. And if she is killed in the fugue, she will die of fright.

This Art has another use: it can be employed to instantly end the fugue state of a Ghost, which has the effect of Awakening her. If used in this fashion, the Wraith does not gain any Tainted Essence.