Part 2: The Juicy Bits

Spectral Spotlight: Striplings

Innocence is rare in the World of Darkness. The innocence of a child is the rare type of thing that's meant to be preserved. So when that innocence gets corrupted and twisted, it sickens on a level that few are ready for.

Enter the Striplings: those who, for some reason or another, entered the Deadlands and were consumed by Oblivion without ever standing much of a chance. Whether they were consumed instantly by a savage murder, caught up in spectral winds, wound up lost in the Tempest, or were seduced by their Shadows without having an adult's knowledge to resist base temptations, Oblivion takes these children under its cold arm and guides them on a new path.

Typical Attributes: Physical Attributes are rare among Striplings. Depending on the age of the child, their Strength, Dexterity, and Stamina reach a maximum rating of two and no higher.

Social Attributes are usually the highest: Charisma and Manipulation lull any bystanders into a false sense of security - how evil and scheming could a child possibly be, after all? Appearance helps put out the image of a babe in the woods, which is all the better to hide their true Oblivion-rotted core.

Mental Attributes are higher than Physical, but often not by much. Perception is something that's often underestimated: people tend to assume that children don't notice things. Intelligence and Wits may be low when the child first enters the Deadlands, but they can grow and mature over time, mentally if not physically.


Typical Plague: Striplings warriors are unheard of in the Labyrinth. Dark child Diplomats and Priests are rare, but possible. Striplings are most likely afflicted with the Plagues of Spies and Artisans.


Caste-Specific Arcanos: Corruption


Caste markings: Striplings don't have any particular mark or feature on their bodies that identify them, but their young age makes them stick out like a sore thumb and clearly marks them better than any other distinguishing feature could.


The Stripling Mentality: Children can be the most cruel, heartless, and selfish of individuals at times. They haven't lived long enough to be taught social norms or conventional definitions of right and wrong. Wanton destruction, tantrums, mindlessly taking things that aren't theirs, and even animal torture are things that most children do at some point or another, and not because they want to hurt somebody, but because they honestly don't know any better. And that's just the beginning years. An angry young adult between the ages of 13 to 17 isn't much better - especially after already being killed and consumed by the black light of Oblivion.

Striplings are often overlooked and underestimated by other spectral castes, and that only allows Stripling packs to continue their activities unmonitored, which is rarely a good thing for anyone who isn't Oblivion-tainted as well. Children ghosts form groups and cliques mostly based on age, but maybe divided further, especially among the Striplings in their early teens. Whereas five-, six-, seven-, or eight-year olds will divide themselves in packs based exclusively on age and gender alone {girls and boys don't play too well together at that age, even after death}, the young teens will surely find other ways to divide themselves as well: cause of death, physical appearance, Arcanos abilities, or even something as stupidly mundane as "jocks, geeks, freaks, and preps" or "skaters, punks, metalheads, and goths."

Specific demographics being whatever they may be, packs of like-minded spectres roam the Labyrinth, the Tempest, or even the Shadowlands doing whatever it is that staves off the boredom of all of eternity. One pack of Striplings may frequently raid candy and toy shops, then rampage down the street attacking bystanders in mock Cops and Robbers games while another pack of school-age jocks would travel around on relic bicycles with baseball bats beating mailboxes, shop windows, small animals, unsuspecting wraiths, or even rival Stripling packs.

The thing to keep in mind when bringing Striplings into play, whether as a player or a Storyteller, is the utter lack of morals and humanity that these Oblivion-tainted children will carry with them at all times. They're angry at the fact that the world doesn't take them seriously because of their age. They want to be noticed, and they will make themselves noticed, if only by making a lot of noise in order to get attention. While other castes may be made for straight-up fighting and warfare, the Striplings excel at impish destruction for reasons probably no better than their own amusement.