Wraithly Guide to Other Supernaturals



Mike Spera

Elizabeth {Doppelganger, master infiltrator of the Proctors Guild} slunk into the derelict Shadowlands watering hole called "Harry's Bar." She had been doing business in this area for quite some time, and the local wraiths had no idea of what she really was.

Recently she had been selected by Oblivion to begin exploring the other side of the Shroud, but her experiences outside of the Tempest and Shadowlands were few and far between, which is why she was here... to talk to a far more experienced Proctor.

Harry's Bar was just about the most lonely place in the universe at the moment. No bartender behind the bar. Stools were empty. Hell, there were only three wraiths in the place: the first was the piano player, banging out some somber tune that only he was listening to; the second was a woman crying in the corner; and the third was a man sitting at a corner table smoking a cigar through a jester's mask. Elizabeth moved over to the corner table and pulled a chair out.

"I'm Elizabeth," she said quietly while sitting down. There was no reason for the hushed voice - who was going to hear them? - but she felt the need regardless.

"I've been told you have stories and information that would be useful to me. I suppose the Guild has already compensated you for this?"

"They have," the man said, puffing at the cigar. The black and white joker's mask frowned at Elizabeth malevolently. "So, my young friend, what do you need to know? I take it that if you're talking to me you must be interested in more than just the Quick."

"I might be dealing with a few different groups of non-humans, yes."

The jester sighed, a useless gesture for the dead, before beginning. "Okay, let's start first with the undead. Bloodsuckers. Leeches. Vampires. A good deal of them have a power of heightened senses that allows them to see us, but this this ability doesn't let them do anything directly to us, so it's not to be worried about most of the time.

"However, a few batches of vampires have spent their unlives practicing Necromancy, and that's very bad news for us. There's a group of Italian mobster/businessmen types that go by the family and clan name of Giovanni: these are the chief necromancers of the undead.

"However, they're not the only ones. If you hear the word 'Nagaraja' uttered anywhere, leave immediately. I have to chuckle over a certain group of vampires that came out from right here in the Shadowlands some time back. Call themselves the Harbingers of Skulls or some such. They're dangerous, but they're rare and they've got a grudge against the Giovanni Necromancers, so either stay out of their way entirely or lead them to some Giovanni leech to gain their trust."

Elizabeth let all of this sink in before her tutor puffed out the last of his cigar and ground it into the table, immediately withdrawing another one from the pack on the table before continuing.

"I suppose I should mention the magic-users next. I'd keep these guys at arms' length until you find out what their speciality is. Some of them may pity us, some of them might see us as raw material.

"I notice two distinct groups within the magic users. First are the traditional magi who are into all sorts of mumbo-jumbo for Mother Nature to Zen artists to Angels of God to stage magicians. Then there are the techno-mages, who I guess could be called anti-mages because they believe in science and not the supernatural, and they'll bind you and pick apart your corpus given have a chance. You should not exist in the techno-mages' eyes, and they'll hate you for it."

The unlit cigar finally made its way from the jester's hand to his mouth. He was about to strike a match when he remembered something and stopped. "One last warning about one group of magic users. This is important, so pay attention. Fear the word 'Nephandi.' You ever read H.P.Lovecraft, girl? Well, imagine a group of magi that found out the Neverborn exist and started worshiping them.

"They pray to the Neverborn or even Oblivion itself. They see spectres as some kind of twisted saint sent to help them bring the world into a state of enlightenment through sheer misery. Maybe they want others to know their pain. Or maybe they just want to kill themselves and take the rest of the world with it. But either way, they should be pointed out and cut down at all costs. The last thing we need is the Quick with magic powers working with Spectres."

He finally lit the match, bringing it to his mouth, puffing on the cigar till it was entirely lit. Elizabeth made special note of the Nephandi.

"Anything else?" she inquired.

"Plenty. Did I mention the shapeshifters? Mostly what you're going to encouter are werewolves, but I've heard of at least two other shapeshifters out there: werecats and werecoyotes. Hopefully, that's all that mother nature needs to protect herself.

"Werecreatures have the ability to enter the spirit worlds, and this makes them special among the other supernaturals. They can reach the Shadowlands, but they have a hard time. Most of them that do make it here don't even like it. It blows them away how dead and lifeless everything is. Makes them depressed.

"There is one tribe that can come here with ease and tolerate us, though. Egyptian-born tribe called the Silent Striders. Most of the time, werecreatures will leave us alone. They hate spectres with a passion, though. Call them 'bane spirits' or something. I guess the other spirit worlds have Spectres all their own.

"If you come across any werewolves, either in the Shadowlands or the Skinlands, show it the utmost respect. They're made for combat, and they can eat corpus to replenish their own spiritual essence."

Elizabeth digested all this while the jester man blew cigar smoke out of its grimacing mouth. "You know the tales they tell of angelic and demonic entities seen floating around in the Tempest?" the question came suddenly.

"Yes," Elizabeth said, and the word sounded more like a question than an affirmative answer.

"Turns out they're not your average Tempest hallucinations. They're the real deal. From the one that I've talked to - and yes, I have talked to one - they were imprisoned eons ago in the Abyss, which I guess is one step away from the Tempest.

"A few of them could get into the Tempest from the Abyss, but they couldn't escape for long.... until the 6th Great Maelstrom, that is. Now they're out and back in the Skinlands - Angelic and Demonic alike. Most of them don't pay us much heed, but the Angels of Death can see us, speak with us, step into the Shadowlands, and even enslave us, so watch it."

Elizabeth nodded silently. She'd seen Demonics in the Tempest, but it didn't comfort her to know that they were now unleashed from their prison... and that apparently, there were far more to them than anyone had thought.

"One last thing to send you on your way, lassie."


"There are regular people out there that have woken up. Kind of like mages, but not exactly the same. I wouldn't call them supernatural, but I wouldn't call them harmless either. They can see us and they can see the other creatures to, and they've decided to do something about the world they live in.

"Now these guys are all individuals with their own views and ethics and camps and little online groups with e-mails lists and all, but they fit into three main categories. The merciful, the vengeful, and the curious. The merciful are annoying in that they want to save us from ourselves, although a few of them will help us wrap up our Skinlands business if they think we'll go away afterwards. The curious want to know all about us... some will ask questions, some will just try to experiment. Be wary of the curious.

"Be even more vary of the vengeful, who think that we should rest in peace whether we want to or not. The distinctions between these three categories isn't always clean cut, so don't jump to conclusions about what any of these guys want from you. A lot of the vengeful will play sympathetic to get to know you first, learn your weaknesses, then burn your fetters out from under you. Assume nothing. If one of them takes an interest in you, they rarely give up until they see it through to the end, for better or worse. Shake them before they get to know your habits."

"Is that all?" Elizabeth asked, soaking it all in.

"That's all I got to offer you."

"Aren't there others, too? Fae-blooded? The Undying?"

The jester shrugged and puffed on his smoke. "I know of them, but I never met one. Don't know much about them. You might want to talk to someone else about it. You just go about your business. Just promise me you won't do anything stupid."

"I won't," Elizabeth said, getting up from her seat.

"Because if you piss of something and mention me, and this... thing... happens to come looking for me, I'll be sure to look for your spectral ass when I hit the Tempest."

Elizabeth stopped, turned.

"Yeah, I know what you are. You're lucky that I've kept my mouth shut for this long. Now git."

Elizabeth took that as her sign to leave.