World of Darkness - Alpha Network
“Never in my house.. Ye abide by m’rules ya see…”
- Ghosts can be Echoes, Mirrors or Memories of Souls.
- A Ghost may be a Wraith or Spirit who somehow escaped the Shadow and now has existed in the Twilight a very long time, rather than having “let go” of it’s last remaining Anchors to this World and sunk into the Shadow that is outside of the boundaries of our Fallen World. They should “sink deeper and deeper” until they come to the Underworld and join up with the many multitudes of other Spirits that exist and roam this region of the Umbra. The cross half breed ghost-spirit like a geist etc.
- Ghosts are intangible entities which exist in Twilight, often the remnants of the Souls of those who have departed the world of the living, dead though great trauma or evil, or with a strong will to remain in this world and hanging on to conclude unfinished business. They may be among the most frequently encountered supernatural entities and can range from barely self-aware Shades and Apparitions to frighteningly lifelike Wights and Spectres.
While they are composed of the same ephemera and share many basic characteristics, ghosts are not spirits (despite the use of that term in the World of Darkness Rulebook). They dwell in Twilight, and are never found in the Shadow, the natural home of Spirits.
Mages believe that ghosts are not proper beings, but rather echoes left by the passage of a burdened soul through Twilight ephemera. They may mimic consciousness, and even seem to possess memories of a mortal existence, but according to Atlantean lore have no true life of their own. Most mages therefore have no qualms about using ghosts for their own ends.
Not all of those who encounter ghosts believe this, however; some consider a ghost to be the actual soul of the deceased which has become lost on its way to the next life, somehow cursed by unresolved desires to a horrifying existence of repetition and insanity until it can be freed.
Either theory may be supported by the fact that only humans (and possibly other beings who possess souls) may leave ghosts behind when they die. Equally, the fact that ghosts may be manipulated by mages using the Death Arcanum in the same way spirits are affected by Spirit does not sway the debate either way, as that Arcanum also has power over true souls. Their ephemeral bodies, however, are severely damaged by blessed artifacts (blessed weapons, holy water and so on), which may lend weight to the mage theory.
All ghosts are bound to one or more anchors: places, objects or even people with whom the ghost has a strong emotional connection. Ghosts are unable to move far from their anchors, and will act to protect them at all costs, for without them they cease to exist. Should a ghost linger because of unfinished business, it will disappear if that business is concluded. It is almost impossible to destroy a ghost except by destroying its Anchors, though they may sometimes be exorcised, and certain rites known as abjurations may keep them at bay for short periods.
Ghosts do not really possess normal skills or attributes (unless they possess a mortal body), though as mentioned above they may mimic such things. Unlike Spirits, Ghosts possess a human sense of morality, along with virtues and vices. While initially as moral as they were in life, ghosts degenerate over time and can never regain the compassion they lose (potentially more evidence that they are not truly souls).
Ghosts may also possess Numina, supernatural powers that allow them to manifest a variety of horrifying effects. Like spirits, they channel essence, the raw spiritual energy of the Shadow and Twilight, to create these effects. They draw essence from their Anchors and from the memories of the living.
Ghosts are naturally able to manifest themselves in the Material Realm, though they find this (and the use of Numina) easier in places associated with strong emotions, like graveyards, churches and old buildings, and when near their anchors. It is harder to manifest in the presence of large numbers of mortals. While they may make themselves visible at will once manifested, they possess no voice or true physical form and must use Numina to make sound or interact with physical objects.
Those ghosts of great age and passion who spend extended amounts of time in the Underworld and lose most of their Anchors have the potential to become powerful ghost-spirit hybrids known as Geists. A few (as revealed in Mummy: The Curse) also develop the Lucid Dead Numen, causing them to regain most of their living personality, a normal attribute spread, and the ability to gain morality again, though it is still difficult for the incredibly old (i.e., over a century) to avoid degeneration.
There is a chance there may be ghosts of a lot of the SPLATs which kind of suggests Twilight may be a very crowded, strange place to be.
Well not so much an option for a vampire ghost as an actual vampire ghost in Immortal Sinners, the inventor of cruac. Using her is optional, of course, and there’s an option that she’s just in torpor using some kind of auspex devotion.
For that matter, mythologies has rules for vampire ghosts leaving their bodies during torpor, the hollow mehket are haunted by their own ghosts essentially, and the sta-au have a devotion to turn into a ghost an hour at a time.
Ghost mages are a thing, of course.
Using the lucid dead rules from mummy, ghosts can have merits, so merit based splats become possible if the ST is willing, of course.
Ghosts of the other major splats are either impossible, so rare it doesn’t normally come up, or identical to regular human ghosts.
In second sight, it offers the option that spirits can die and become ghosts.
I’d say it comes down to if the supernatural creature has a soul or not, as this is basically what makes the ghost up, or at least the fragment with unfinished business does… I’d say Uratha become ancestral spirits as they’re part spirit anyway and linked more to the Shadow. Vampires I think could become ghosts though they have the Beast within… Perhaps a fun thing to do would have the Vampire-Ghost be a Strix?
Prometheans don’t have souls, though perhaps an element of their Azoth could live on… I don’t see them as conventional ghosts but as mentioned elsewhere in the forum they could perhaps manifest their unfinished business as a mission and become a Qashmal (props to who came up with that of course!).
Changelings (most likely) have a ragged soul filled with Wyrd… Interestingly whilst the Hedge takes a person’s soul by reducing Morality, it only drains Changelings of their glamour. Vamps are actively damaged and also they are drained of Vitae (the blood is the soul or so it would seem…), Uratha go into Death-Rage within there and a heck of a load of damage in chasing something only they can see… Maybe this can help figuring out where all three splats are placed when it comes to ghosts.
Sin-Eaters are something different and when they actually die (rather than be worn as a skin-suit and trapped in their own mind by their Geist), I’d probably otherwise class them with mortals and mages.
Demons don’t have souls, though their Cover function as pretend ones and their Primum is likely the specific bit of tech-stuff that acts as something similar. I think when killed though their parts are likely reclaimed by the God-Machine somehow and reforged to make new Angel parts.
There follow 3 types of ghosts -
- Non-self aware lacking consciousness ‘looping’ recording – in parapsui terms, the Apparition, the lost soul who clings to the world.
- A Spirit which has survived through sheer strength of will. The latter two would be identified by parapsychologist as ghosts – despite the popularity of the recording theory post the 1970’s, actual cases studies of cases in the peer reviewed parapsychological literature have led me to the hypothesis that the true ghost, as described in this game, more accurately reflects the experiences of percipients and the cases which have come to parapsychologist’s attention. the apparition is difficult to use in an rpg context – there is nothing actually there, so th only use I have found is to have it as either window dressing – which debases the ghost concept, or to actually have it serve as a clue; it’s actions cause the characters to closely examine the flagstone where it vanishes, or whatever.
- The True Ghost, of either type, is in fact a spectacuclarly living NPC, and has so much potential – it is wisest to tend that way, as well as gratifying pedantic gaming parapsychologists.
Ghosts need 3 pieces of information to be revealed to Characters’ to be exorcised..
- Form – What type of Ghost (Spirit?,) are they..
- Reason – What made them into a ghost what they are..
- Regret – What must they do before they leave why do what they do..