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Wraith Chapter Two

TRAITS (2.0)

Wraiths have a maximum of ten Traits in each of the Attribute categories, ten Willpower Traits, and five Traits in any single Ability. All wraiths have a maximum Pathos Trait capacity of 10. Common wraiths begin play with three Willpower Traits, and one permanent Angst Trait.

Older characters may begin with better Traits, but in exchange they suffer penalties that represent their extended un-life spans. Players may select a higher maximum for all of their Attribute categories: eleven, twelve, thirteen, or fourteen. Each point increased costs the wraith a permanent Corpus level or a fetter, and adds a permanent Angst Trait to her total. (A character can never lose or remove her starting permanent Angst Traits.)

For example: Bill creates a wraith with Attribute maximums of thirteen. He starts with four permanent Angst Traits, and chooses to sacrifice one fetter and two permanent Corpus levels.

Wraith characters also increase their Attribute maximums naturally through time in play. A character that has been in play for more than six months has an Attribute category maximum of eleven. This increases to twelve after one year in play, thirteen after eighteen months in play, fourteen after two years in play, sixteen after four years in play, and eighteen after six years in play.

For example: Bill’s wraith already has Attribute maximums of thirteen, so they do not improve until the character has been in play for two years. At that time, its maximums increase to fourteen.

Free Traits (2.01)

Like characters in other venues, wraiths get five Free Traits in addition to those gained from Negative Traits and Flaws. One Free Trait can be gained per additional Thorn Trait the player assigns to her shadow during creation. Free Traits gained from the combination of Derangements, Negative Traits, and additional Thorns cannot exceed five.

Recovering Traits (2.02)

Each session a wraith begins play with the same number of temporary Angst and Pathos Traits as she had the last time she played. This is modified by the use of Memoriam, or by Storyteller-approved activities performed in downtime.


A wraith with this Ability can make a Static Mental Challenge against six Traits to locate a nearby source of strong emotion, coming from a creature within the immediate area (about one city block). The source is not guaranteed to be the type needed to fulfill the character’s Passions.

Wraiths with this Ability know how to survive in the harsh places of the Shadowlands, from the Tempest to the Labyrinth. It allows the wraith to test to find shelter and similar things when out of the safety of the Necropolis, and the Storyteller may allow the character to predict upcoming atmospheric changes in the Shadowlands.


Having (and using) Influence requires Mid Approval for wraith characters. The same is true of Allies, Contacts, Resources, and other similar, real-world Backgrounds. Additional Backgrounds can be found on pages 53 and 77 of Dark Epics.

This Background may be purchased multiple times to represent different Artifacts. Mid Approval is required for any level four Artifact, and High Approval is required for any level five Artifact.

Eidolon can only be used as many times per night as the character has points in the Background, but each use lasts only fifteen minutes. Characters must have five levels in Eidolon to even begin to be considered for Transcendence.

A character can test at the beginning of each game once per level of Memoriam, and gain one Trait of Pathos for each win or tie. Losses do not count, but a wraith tests as many times as they have levels in the Background, regardless of how many losses they make.

Mid Approval is needed to gain or purchase Guild Status, which may only be acquired with Free Traits or earned in game. A wraith must have at least one level in Guild Status to be considered part of the Guild. Membership in a Guild is quite uncommon, and players should be encouraged to avoid it at character creation.


Given here is a list of new Merits and Flaws specific to the Wraith venue.

Addiction [1-2 Trait Psychological Flaw]
The Restless Dead can develop a psychological addiction to a thing or even a person. If denied daily access to the subject of the character's addiction, she will be down one or two Traits (depending on the level of the Flaw) in all challenges until access is acquired.

Botched Moliation [1-3 Trait Physical Flaw]
Something went wrong in a past effort at Moliate. Perhaps the character goofed, or someone else really flubbed it. Take a one Trait penalty to Social Challenges for each level of this Flaw.

Bound [3 Trait Supernatural Flaw]
The wraith is bound, and cannot move more than one hundred feet from a particular spot. She must take the location as a Fetter, and can leave it once the Fetter is resolved (and the Flaw is bought off). This imposes a very severe limitation on the character, and your Storyteller may simply rule that it doesn't fit the chronicle.

Bright [4 Trait Supernatural Merit]
Emotions of the character have a particular quality that makes it easy to cross the Shroud. She gets a one Trait bonus to all challenges involving piercing the Shroud. Unfortunately, mortals seeking wraiths tend to find her first.

Cold [2 Trait Supernatural Merit]
The Corpus of wraiths with this Merit is very cold. Mortals who pass near feel a distinct chill. This is one of the classic para-psychological manifestations of haunting, and makes it easy for the character to get mortals' attention… whether she wants to or not.

Concentration [1 Trait Mental Merit]
The character can focus her mind and shut out distractions and annoyances. She cannot take more than two Traits in penalties based on distractions and disorientation for a challenge.

Damned [1 Trait Supernatural Flaw]
The wraith believes that she missed her chance at salvation. Every minute she spends in a site dedicated to her old religion drains a Trait of Willpower. If she touches a religious artifact of her old religion, she immediately loses a level of Corpus from the burning agony.

Disembodied Shadow [3 Trait Supernatural Flaw]
The character's Shadow manifests in a form only she can see, generally that of a small animal. She can talk with it, but she must speak out loud to do so. The Shadow has one Physical Trait with which it can move small objects.

Distinctive Appearance [1 Trait Physical Flaw]
Something about the wraith stands out and stays in others' minds, like a strange hairstyle, a prominent tattoo, or differently colored eyes. This can be concealed with Moliate, but it always comes back each evening.

Echoes [2-5 Trait Supernatural Flaw]
The character is vulnerable to old wives' tales about handling ghosts. Salt keeps her from crossing a threshold, animals detect her presence, she cannot cross running water, skeptical disbelief repels her, and so on. Wherever the character goes, she leaves an ectoplasmic residue, and her sounds can be taped with mundane recording devices. Review ghost stories and para-psychological accounts for details of the effects of this Flaw. The cost depends on how severe the limitations are. For the purposes of challenges, take a one Trait penalty to affected tests per level of this Flaw.

Echoes of the Past [1 Trait Psychological Flaw]
The wraith manifests in the Skinlands in ways she can't consciously control. Often her Haunt offers some clue as to her presence, which alert mortals may notice. For level, the Haunt retains a faint but distinctive scent, sound, or image of something that was important to the character: her favorite lilac perfume, gentle sobbing, or images of Fetters in the corner of an observer's eye. Those in the Haunt may make a Static Mental Challenge (difficulty equal to the local Shroud rating) to notice the effect. This Flaw manifests only when the wraith is present, though she is not embodied or otherwise present in the Skinlands, and cannot gain Memoriam from the emotions of observers.

Fragile Corpus [3 Trait Corporeal Flaw]

The character just doesn't hang together very well. She loses two Corpus rather than the usual one when dis-corporating. If she loses more than four Corpus levels in any single blow, she must make a Static Willpower Challenge, difficulty five, to avoid being dragged into a Harrowing.

Full of Life [2 Trait Corporeal Merit]
These wraiths were vibrant, energetic, and full of life when alive, and this continues to serve them in death. The character has one extra Corpus level, but when her Corpus is above ten, she looks more real and alive to other Wraiths; taking a one Trait penalty to all efforts at concealment and disguise.

Heretic Boon [1-3 Trait Social Ties Merit]
The members of a Heretic cult owe the character a favor for aid rendered. The higher the level, the more significant and lasting the favor. For one Trait of this Merit, she can enter a meeting of the group, while for three Traits she could get access to some of the group's resources. Arrange the details with your Storyteller, and make sure you agree on the limits of the boon.

Hierarchy Boon [1-4 Trait Social Ties Merit]
The members of one of the Legions or Hierarchy administration owe the character a favor for aid rendered. The higher the level, the more significant and lasting the favor. For one Trait of this Merit, she can enter a meeting of the group, while for three Traits she could get access to some of the group's resources. Arrange the details with your Storyteller, and make sure you agree on the limits of the boon.

Improperly Buried [1 Trait Supernatural Flaw]
Whatever the wraith's beliefs say shouldn't be done for the dead, she got. Perhaps she was turned facedown in her coffin, or buried on unconsecrated ground, or died without last rites. In any case, you must choose the character's corpse as a Fetter, but she cannot regain Pathos or get other bonuses from it. All actions involving the corpse incur a one Trait penalty. What's wrong can be fixed over time, but it's the Storyteller's discretion how difficult this should be.

Malleable [2 Trait Corporeal Merit]
The Corpus of such wraiths bends and flows easier than normal. They have a two Trait bonus on all efforts to use Moliate on themselves. Unfortunately, the same bonus applies to others' attempts to use Rend/Moliate on the character.

Mortal Companion [2 Trait Social Ties Merit]
The wraith maintains close ties with a particular mortal, either one of her Fetters or just a chance friendship. The mortal must have some way of interacting with the character; perhaps he's a medium, or a parapsychologist. In most cases the wraith will want to be attuned to him, though this must be done in play. Enemies who find out about this companion can use him against the character, of course.

Notoriety [3 Trait Social Ties Flaw]
The character has a bad reputation among her peers, whichever faction that is. She takes a two Trait penalty to all Social Challenges involving those wraiths that have heard of her.

Renegade Boon [1-3 Trait Social Ties Merit]
The members of a Renegade faction owe the character a favor for aid rendered. The higher the level, the more significant and lasting the favor. For one Trait in this Merit, she can enter a meeting of the group, while for three Traits she could get access to some of the group's resources. Arrange the details with your Storyteller, and make sure you agree on the limits of the boon.

Reputation [2 Trait Social Ties Merit]
Some wraiths enjoy a good reputation among the Hierarchy, Heretics, or Renegades. This might come from the character's own actions or as a result of a mentor. She is able to interact with wraiths of the appropriate group as though she had an additional Status Trait with that group. This doesn't actually give an additional Status Trait to bid or spend. This Merit may not be taken multiple times unless each Reputation applies to a different group (Hierarchy, Heretics, or Renegades).

Rotting [2 Trait Physical Flaw]
In life, the character thought of the dead as rotting, festering things from horrible nightmares. That image now marks her own Corpus. Muscle and tissue show through ragged holes in her flesh, giving a three Trait penalty to Social Challenges where appearance might play a part. If Embodied, the character actually gets some benefit from it; mortals who see her are affected by the Fog as if they had two fewer Willpower than they actually do.

Time Cycle [1-5 Trait Supernatural Flaw]
At certain times it's much harder for the wraith to act across the Shroud. The time might be some hours of the day, some days of the week, or some phases of the moon; work out the details with your Storyteller, along with a reason for the obstruction to exist. The character takes a one Trait penalty during the affected times per level of this Flaw. Add one Trait to the value of the Flaw if the obstruction applies to days of the week. Add two if it applies to hours of the day.

Tomb [1-2 Trait Social Ties Merit]
The character was buried with a relic or memorabilia. For one Trait, she has a variety of small personal items as relics; for two Traits she has a substantial array of furnishings and goods.

Twisted Apprenticeship [1 Trait Social Ties Flaw]
The character's Reaper taught her all the wrong things about wraith society. Her misconceptions will often get her into trouble.

Unknown Fetter [2 Trait Supernatural Merit]
The wraith has an additional Fetter, but doesn't know where or what it is. The Storyteller decides the nature of this Fetter, based on the wraith's history. The character must identify the nature of the connection before she can locate the specific person, place, or thing. Lifeweb can locate it, but Fatalism will not reveal the connection.

Weak Shadow [4 Trait Supernatural Merit]
The Psyche gets a two Trait bonus to efforts at resisting her Shadow.

THORNS (2.5)

When a character earns a certain number of Experience Traits, the Storyteller must assign it an additional Thorn. Only Experience Traits earned in game count toward gaining Thorns; Experience Traits from Member Class do not. Thorns taken at character creation have no effect on this process.

A Thorn is assigned when twenty Experience Traits have been earned. A new Thorn need not be assigned until another twenty Experience Traits have been earned, and so on. If a two Trait Thorn is assigned, the character doesn’t get another until fifty more Experience Traits have been gained. A three Trait Thorn means the character doesn’t get another until ninety more Experience Traits have been earned. A four Trait Thorn prevents another Thorn from being gained until one hundred and forty additional Experience Traits are earned, and a five Trait Thorn staves off the next until two hundred more Experience Traits have been earned.

The following expands the list of Thorns to give players more options when fleshing out their characters. Every wraith's Shadow starts off with two Traits of Thorns. Additional Thorns may be taken in lieu of Negative Traits, but the character is still limited in the number of Negative Traits it can take (these extra Thorns do count against that maximum).

Dark Allies [1 Trait/level]
The character's Shadow communicates regularly with specific specters, and can call on them for assistance.

Death's Sigil [1-3 Traits]
The character carries a prominent sign of Oblivion's touch: wings of choking smoke, footprints of sea water, the smell of a charnel house, and so on. Each Trait of Death's Sigil reduces the wraith's effective total Social Traits by one for the purpose of ties and overbids. The character can spend a Willpower Trait to stifle (negate) the effects for a scene.

Infamy [1 Trait/level]
Similar to Memoriam, this represents the measure of fear and loathing the character inspires in the living. Each time the character falls into slumber, the player must make one Simple Test per Trait of this Thorn. Each test that she does not win or tie gives the character a temporary Angst Trait.

Deafened Ear [1 Trait]
The Shadow may spend a temporary Angst Trait to inflict total deafness on the wraith for fifteen minutes. This can be done once per session, and does not grant the wraith immunity to Keening and other sound-based powers.

Mirror, Mirror [1 Trait]
Whenever the wraith sees itself in a reflective surface, the Shadow can activate this Thorn. Everyone who sees the reflection sees it as horribly distorted, in whatever manner the Shadow desires. This costs nothing to activate, but repeated usage mutes the surprise and shock value it can have.

Nightmares [1 Trait]
The Shadow can inflict wracking nightmare on the Psyche. The Shadow spends a temporary Angst Trait and engages in a Static Challenge of the wraith's permanent Angst against its Willpower (no Traits bid). Success means the Shadow causes the Psyche to immediately wake from slumber without the usual benefits.

Shadow Face [1 Trait]
The wraith can take on a completely different appearance when the Shadow takes over (should it desire to do so).

Shadow Call [2 Traits]
The Shadow can use this only when the wraith is in the Tempest or near the mouth of a Nihil. For each Trait of permanent Angst the wraith possesses, the Shadow can spend a Trait of temporary Angst and perform a Simple Test. Each win (not loss or tie) summons a specter, the exact nature of which is decided by the Storyteller.

Wrack [2 Traits/level]
The Shadow can inflict the Psyche with shooting pain during a Physical Challenge. The Shadow simply spends a temporary Angst Trait, and forces the wraith to bid an additional Trait per level of this Thorn. A Willpower Trait can be spent to negate the use of this Thorn for a scene.

Silenced Tongue [3 Traits]
The Shadow can (once per session) spend a Trait of temporary Angst to render the wraith unable to make any sound for thirty minutes. The wraith cannot use any sound-based powers, though it can communicate by writing, gesturing, and the like. Remember that writing implements are rare in the Shadowlands.

Honeyed Tongue [3 Traits]
The Shadow can spend a temporary Angst Trait and engage its target in a Social Challenge. If successful, the next sentence the Shadow speaks will be believed by the target (until irrefutable evidence is shown to the contrary). The Psyche can spend a Willpower Trait to negate this effect.

Shadow Mentor [3 Traits]
The Shadow can tap into the Hive-Mind to produce knowledge (Lores) for the Psyche. The player informs the Narrator that he wishes to gain some knowledge, and that he is making a pact with his Shadow. The narrator then determines the level of Lore required for the information, and that number is then added to the wraith's temporary Angst Traits. As a side effect of these frequent pacts, each time the Psyche gains any Lores on its own, the player must make as Simple Test for each level learned, with a loss giving the wraith one temporary Angst Trait.

Shadowplay [4 Traits]
The Shadow can offer an additional action to the Psyche after the wraith uses up all of its normally available actions for a turn. This offer is at the discretion of the Shadow, the Psyche can't ask. If the Psyche agrees, it losses one, two or three Pathos Traits (win, tie or loss on a Simple Test). It gains one, two, or three temporary Angst Traits (win, tie or loss on another Simple Test). This affect can be offered only once per scene. The Psyche must spend a Willpower Trait in order to resist when the Shadow offers this.

Tainted Touch [4 Traits]
The wraith becomes a psychic Typhoid Mary. When the character brushes against another's corpus (or vice versa), he must engage that individual in a Physical, Social, or Mental Challenge (whichever is his strongest category). If successful, the other character gains a temporary Angst Trait. Willpower cannot be used to negate the effects of this Thorn, nor does this Thorn work when the character is in combat.

Whispers [4 Traits]
The Shadow can speak directly to other Shadows, without the Psyche's knowledge.

Manifestation [5 Traits]
The Shadow can take on independent corporeal existence, with the same Traits as the Psyche. The Shadow must spend three Traits of temporary Angst for every ten minutes that it wishes to maintain its manifestation.