Oh come with me, eh come with me
Concur and swallow me
Explode secrete your tender
Let's scream out like the sea

The Sweetest Drop - Peter Murphy 


To Wraiths, unlife is a careful balance between hope and horror - a balance maintained by the strength and well-being of their Anchors, and kept aloft with the Essence those Anchors provide.

A Wraith who is filled with Essence feels "alive," in a sense. She is full of energy and boundless potential, and glows as though lit from within. Conversely, a Wraith who is low on it, or has none, feels the full weight of her death, and is sluggish, morose and dull-colored. There may be no actual difference between the two Wraiths, in tems of what they can do - barring a lack of Essence to fuel it - but they feel worlds apart.

Gathering and maintaining Essence, then, is of primary importance to a Wraith. She feels the need to be full of it - or at least mostly full - the same way a mortal feels the needs food and water. And while a Wraith can go without Essence, having too little of it in one's body may lead to Ossification.


Ways and Means:

Wraiths gain Essence from:

* Direct Contact: Wraiths can take Essence that's given by others, or stored, by certain uses of the Shaping Numen. They can also take advantage of fields of ambient Essence, though these are sometimes rare.

* Anchors: Being in the proximity of one's Anchors - or that of another - gives a certain amount of Essence per hour. Access to one's own Anchors can give more options to harvest Essence, some of which are more risky than others. See Anchors for more details.

* Scaring the Living: Any time the dead interact with the living in such a way that the mortals know, without a doubt, that they've been haunted, the strong emotions created feed Essence to the Wraith. See Haunting for more details.

* Taking it from Others: Those who have the Shaping Numen are able to leach Essence - and Corpus - from other Wraiths with a touch. The Numen also provides ways to take it directly from the living, or other spiritual entities encountered in the Deadlands.

Wraiths spend Essence to

* Keep Going: Wraiths - ever-aware of their unnatural condition - must spend one Essence at the stroke of Midnight in order to keep going the next day. This is an automatic expenditure, and those who have no Essence at Midnight lose a point of Corpus, instead - a wound that's treated as though it were Aggravated.

* Fuel Numina and Affinities: Wraiths sometimes must use Essence to fuel their innate and learned powers. Sometimes the use of Numina can lead to Essence being regained {See "Scaring the Living," above} but more often than not it's lost in the use.

* Heal Quickly: Wraiths heal Bashing and Lethal damage in the same time as mortals, but can spend Essence to heal the damage to their Corpus right then and there. Also, Aggravated damage is so serious to them that it can only be healed by spending Essence gleaned from an Anchor.


Going Over:

A Wraith tends to start "life" with ten dots in Anchors, but can go up to 10 plus her Permanent Willpower without danger, courtesy of the Fetterbound Art of Anchorage. This also means that a Wraith can have an Essence pool of 10 plus twice her Permanent Willpower without danger. Once this limit is breached, however, it becomes harder for a Wraith to handle her now-increased Essence pool - Corpus has its limits.

To safely absorb Essence above the danger limit, the Wraith must roll her Stamina + Composure. Each dot of Essence to be absorbed takes one dice away from this roll. Success means all Essence is absorbed, Failure means the Wraith suffers a level of Lethal damage for each dot of Essence she tried to take in. Dramatic Failure gives a level of Aggravated damage for each dot of Essence.

Example: Xavier, a powerful Wraith of The Order, has a Stamina of 4, a Composure of 3, Willpower of 7, and a total of 23 levels in Anchors. This means that his Essence Pool could go up to 30 {23 + 7} but he can only handle 24 {10 + 7 + 7} Essence safely. And if he's at 24 Essence, and stands to gain more, he must roll 7 dice {4 +3} minus one for each dot of Essence he stands to gain. As he stands to get four extra Essence, he must roll 3 dice.