Shadowlands Survival
by
Rich Gentile



SO..

You died.

My condolences, but, for whatever reason, be it old age, violence, illness, suicide, or something else completely, you were shuffled loose from the mortal coil.

However, you were unable to move on to your ultimate reward (Or punishment, depending on what your beliefs are!!): Your ties to the world were too strong.

And you found yourself here, in the middle of what we call the Shadowlands.

And there are a number of things an Enfant (That's a fancy term for a "newborn" Wraith, by the way!!) like you needs to know in order to survive for any length of time in the Underworld. Take this with a grain of salt if you prefer, but any or all of this information may save your life somewhere down the line!

 

Rule #1:
DO fear the Reapers!

So, let's start with the obvious questions, shall we?

First, what IS a Reaper? In layman's terms, a Reaper is someone who attempts to remove your Caul (The piece of Plasm that covers a Wraiths face when they first enter the Shadowlands, prohibiting a Wraith from seeing the full "glory" of the Shadowlands. Now, there are rumors that it is possible for a Wraith to remove their own Caul, but I have never seen it happen!!), and thus gain power over you.

 

Caul Removal and the Enfant


So, it is possible for Enfant Wraiths to remove their Caul themselves, and thus become Lemures.

As a general rule of thumb, ANY Wraith can feel free to expend a permanent Willpower Point to automatically remove their Caul.

Alternatively, any Wraith with a Willpower of 5 or above may attempt to remove the Caul. 5 successes on a Willpower Roll (Difficulty:8) will enable the Enfant to free themselves.

Of course, the ST should feel free to apply "The Golden Rule" and make it as easy (Or as difficult!!) on the characters as they desire.

 

Second, why reap? Well, there are as many answers to that as there are grains of sand on a beach.

To be a little stereotypical, most Wraiths reap to gain power and prestige. Never forget that a soul is a valuable commodity in the Underworld: a Wraiths corpus can be used for many things, including "Soul-Forging" (And let's hope you NEVER come across that: Who wants to spend eternity as a semi-sentient lawn-chair, after all??) into various useful items, including an "Obolus", which is the typical unit of money in the Shadowlands Thus, the more "thralls" you have under your control the greater the chance of making a profit off them!!

That works as a generalization, but there are, of course, other factions at work in the Realms of the Dead. SOME reapers work to recruit thralls for their organizations. Let's see.. There's the Hierarchy, the Heretics, the Renegades, and let us not forget the Guildsmen!! And there are still other "independent" Wraiths who will reap and send their victim on his way to fend for themselves..

So, in short, Reapers are, and likely always will be, a fact of life in the Underworld, and they can be either your best friend or your worst enemy (Or a combination of the two!)

 

Rule #2:
Choose your Alliances carefully

What? You never watched "Survivor"?

Seriously, though, in many respects, the Shadowlands mirror the lands of the Living. Thus, as you travel through your unlife you are bound to make (And perhaps break!) alliances.

So, before you commit to a life of soldiering for the Anacreon of one of the local Necropoli, or being a terrorist for one of the many Renegade gangs, consider first what YOU stand for, and then see how that organizations ideals coincide with your own.

Have you always longed to protect liberty, even if it means some innocents may get hurt in the process? Stand on the front line fighting a battle that you know you can't win? Then perhaps you may wish to consider being a Legionnaire in the Hierarchy!!

Were you a counterculture revolutionary? Did you rail blindly against the status quo? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that your visions of a utopian society come to pass? Then perhaps you may want to hook with a gang of Renegades and fight the good fight!

Or were you a pacifist? Did you believe in the existence or someone (Or something!) that shaped and guided your movements? A "Higher Power" as it were? Then maybe you may want to join one of the many disparate Heretic Cults that flower through the Underworld.

Or, has pursuing a single interest above and beyond all else always appealed to you? Have you always longed for forbidden knowledge known to only a handful? If that is your course of thinking, than you may want to see if you can find a Guildwraith and convince them to induct you into their clique.

 

Rule #3:
Preserve your Passions/ Protect your Fetters

Fetters and Passions are what tie you to the lands of the quick. They are the reason that you ended up HERE instead of somewhere else.

Fetters are the physical, tangible things that you, for whatever reason, can't seem to get past. These can be, quite literally, anything! A favorite book, a reviled belt used for disciplinary purposes, a beloved friend, a hated foe.. The list goes on and on!!

Passions are your purpose. They are feelings that are stronger than death: The desire to wreak revenge on the aforementioned foe, to express your love to your friend, to protect a favorite place: All these are a few examples of Passions that may drive you and protect you from Oblivion. But just remember, Passions come in all forms, both noble and ignoble, just like humanity.

Now, this rule should seem fairly basic, but you'd be amazed at how many Enfants simply disregard their ties to the lands of the quick! And that, my friend, is the quickest way to succumb to a harrowing, and possibly even Oblivion!

As a matter of fact, there are quite a few in the Underworld who realize that a wraiths biggest weakness is their Fetters! There are even some rumors of Renegade gangs who target wraiths for Oblivion by systematically annihilating all their Fetters, not to mention those who possess high levels of Arcanoi. (such as the Spooks, who can, with a thought, send one of your Fetters to Oblivion!!)


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