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Wr20 Handbook for the Recently Deceased $1.99
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Wr20 Handbook for the Recently Deceased
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Wr20 Handbook for the Recently Deceased
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Shannon H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/31/2018 11:54:42

Wraith: the Oblivion 20th Anniversary Edition is one of the best core books for the World of Darkness bar none. To say that it brought Wraith into the 21st Century in style would be a gross understatement, and for Onyx Path Publishing, the book is a triumph of literary accomplishment as well as updating the game and streamlining it while keeping the parts of it that absolutely needed to be held close.

Handbook for the Recently Deceased, however, affords both the player and the storyteller a succinct, capsulized glimpse at Wraith: the Oblivion that keeps the would-be storyteller who is anxiously awaiting the opportunity to throw his or her players across the Shroud from cutting deep into their printer’s ink reserves and spitting out chapters to serve as the building blocks for what they can expect from the game.

Part One: Playing the Recently Deceased covers the basic concepts-at-work for wraiths who may not have a clue on how the game works, or how to get started with character generation. The idea that you’re not only dead, but that you most probably died horrifically is something that has always been a cornerstone in Wraith: the Oblivion, regardless of Edition, and the 20th Anniversary Edition is, of course, no exception. You must come up with that story. You must figure out why you came across the Shroud from the Skinlands, and you must find a way to rationalize it so that you don’t immediately become a spectre, or an obolus in another wraith’s coin purse. Fetters are discussed. Passions are discussed. Where you are in the Underworld and definitions explaining what the basic lines of demarcation in the Underworld are, are discussed. You’ll understand the basic concepts behind the Hierarchy, Renegades, Heretic Cults and, to a degree, the Guilds.

This is a concept guide... not a how-to guide. If you’re looking for a how-to guide, you’ll need to purchase a copy of the core rules, which will provide you with instructions on how to generate a ghost character from scratch.

This book, however, is going to serve as a “taste-test,” so that you can decide if this is something that you want to invest your free time and imagination in.

Part Two: The New Shadow touches on a new concept to Wraith: the Oblivion; Shadowguiding. In past editions of the game, a character created two separate characters: their wraith PC and then the dark reflection of that PC, the Shadow. Now, with Shadowguiding and depending on how the storyteller wants to approach and handle it, once this process is complete, another player serves as the Shadowguide... which means you all trade off Shadows to each other. When the time comes for the Shadow to take action, speak, or plot against a wraith PC, the Shadowguide does the dirty work.

It is an EXCEPTIONALLY COOL idea that adds multiple new dimensions to a Wraith: the Oblivion Chronicle.

The basic concepts of what a Shadow is, Thorns – which are, effectively, Shadow-based powers above and beyond those already possessed by a wraith, Dark Passions, how and why the Shadow will talk to a wraith, when it will talk to a wraith, and what happens during a Harrowing are all explained. Again, systems for these things are in the core rulebook. Advice on how players can and should interact with one another while using each others’ Shadows against each other are discussed – and this is necessary, as too much can be given away, and there should be some secrets among players and their characters and their characters’ motivations.

Part Three: Storytelling for the Recently Deceased is for... well... storytellers looking to take up the scythe and lantern and get moving with a few games or, if you’d rather, a full-fledged Chronicle in Wraith: the Oblivion.

How to get the story started is explained, how you might move a group of ghosts together into a Circle is explained (although the ghosts becoming a functional family unit is completely up to them), ideas on how to handle PCs that want to experiment with Rising are covered, and how you may want to proceed with your first couple of Harrowings and Passion/Fetter Conflicts were, for me, the highlight here... if for no other reason than I’d never thought about Fetter or Passion conflicts among my players.

There are blurbs that give really rudimentary storyteller ideas – seeds, if you will – to help jumpstart something much, much larger for the Hierarchy, the Renegades, the Heretic Cults, advice on NPC creation, Antagonist creation, and advice on how to handle one-on-one player-to-storyteller interaction are all provided... and they’re provided by Rich “The Dead Guy” Dansky, who in a lot of ways – at least to many of us who have been with Wraith: the Oblivion since the beginning – is the consummate authority on any and all things dealing with the Shadowlands of the World of Darkness.

That’s not to say he’s always right or that his ideas are better than any you will ever come up with for the game ever, but suffice to say that if you follow his outlines and heed his suggestions and use the Handbook for the Recently Deceased as your primer for a Wraith game, you’re going to have one hell of a Chronicle cooking when it’s all said and done.

If you’ve bought Wraith: the Oblivion 20th Anniversary Edition and you have not purchased this primer for yourself if you’re new to the Wraith system, or for your players, then you’re doing yourself a disservice.

While Handbook for the Recently Deceased is not absolutely necessary to play Wraith: the Oblivion 20th Anniversary Edition, I personally cannot recommend it highly enough.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Wr20 Handbook for the Recently Deceased
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/22/2018 13:57:48

Released in advance of the core rulebook for Wraith: The Oblivion 20th Anniversary Edition, this work is made up of three sections, one aimed at players, one explaining the concept of Shadows, and one for Storytellers. The whole idea is to explain what the game is all about, give prospective players and Storytellers a handle on what is going on, and expand knowledge of the Underworld for those who've prior experience of Wraith.

There's a particular emphasis on the newly dead, a likely point to start a new campaign especially with inexperienced players. It explains a lot of the novel terminology used in the game, as well as its distinctive mechanics. These are chiefly Passions and Fetters, which affect all characters, and the operation of Shadows. The Storyteller section is aimed at both new Wraith Storytellers and those who are running their game for newly-deceased characters (whether or not their players are new to the game).

The Player section opens by explaining how important it is to realise that your character is as dead as a doornail. That's fine, though, because your character has somehow managed to hang on somewhere in the fringes of life instead of moving on like most dead people do to whatever lies beyond. You have a second chance to maybe influence mortal affairs. Maybe there's something you need to set right, or something left unfinished that you really, really wanted to complete. In effect, you've shaken a fist in the face of Oblivion (or whatever afterlife you think you are going to) and insisted on hanging around a bit longer.

However, hardly anyone knows what to expect when they die. Leaving aside religious belief, most of which have various promises (and threats) for what comes next, nobody really knows. So a lot of the game is about finding out about this new place you have suddenly arrived in, lots of exploration and discovery because the afterlife as presented in Wraith doesn't match up to any existing theories or beliefs about what happens after death. Time to ask lots of questions. Some your Storyteller might answer for you, but most you will have to find out for yourself. The process of arrival is explained - Storytellers might want to not release this information until it's played out, for shock effect - and the landscape that surrounds new arrivals is explained.

We also find out about Fetters, which are those things that have held you from proceeding onwards to whatever awaits most of the dead. That unfinished business or whatever it is you are here to attend to. You may choose to get on with dealing with them, but there are others things you can get up to here as well. If your character is lucky, someone whose been here a bit longer might be good enough to explain things to you. Or you might be unlucky... We also hear about Passions, the things that drive your character so powerfully and which are centred on powerful emotions.

There's a massive amount going on, and a lot to explore. There are cross-references to the core rulebook as appropriate: this work is more about concepts and ideas than game mechanics. This could make it useful for at least Storytellers to read this book before they get down to the nuts and bolts of how the game actually works, although with players new to the game they may prefer to let them experience all this through play rather than read about it first.

Next comes the section on Shadows. This is something that can be hard to grasp, especially when you are new to the game. It is the negative part of a given Wraith's personality and it has one objective: to drag that Wraith into Oblivion as fast as it can. The mechanic is interesting - another player at the table plays your Shadow, as well as their own Wraith. It's not intended as an outright competition or tug-of-war, though. It's more insiduous than that. For a start, what does the Shadow really want? It may want the now-Wraith to admit they were wrong about something they feel strongly about, for example. The 'Shadowguide' - that's the person playing the Shadow - needs to get to know their Wraith really well, to know their weak spots and their triggers, and then use them, creatively and relentlessly. There's a balance to be struck between standing back and letting the Wraith get on with business without interference, and being a complete and utter pest, in their face all the time. Plenty of advice here about how to develop your skills as a Shadowguide. The Shadow may even be as confused and lost as the Wraith at the beginning, or it may already have an agenda mapped out. There are hints and tips for Storytellers here as well, as they need to decide how things will work in their game. At times, the Shadowguide will have to work with the Storyteller, especially when setting up set-piece events called Harrowings, which basically put the poor Wraith on the spot.

Finally, the section directly aimed at Storytellers. It can be quite an overwhelming task, especially if you and your group are new to Wraith. There is a lot to take in, the good news is that the Storyteller - like newly-deceased Wraiths - can acquire the knowledge slowly and steadily rather than all at once. You just need to be a step or two ahead of your players. There's a wealth of advice here and one of the most important bits is to be aware of your players. They are here to have fun, even if their characters are not. If anyone gets uncomfortable, stop and find out what you need to avoid for the game to continue being enjoyable for all participants. There are lots of ideas for initial adventures too, many of which are designed to help you ease your players into their characters' new existence.

This doesn't replace the core rulebook, but it does lift the lid on the underlying ideas and concepts on which the game is built. Storytellers certainly ought to read it. Players may want to wait until they have been playing for a while before diving in, as it explains concepts that might be better discovered through play. Once they have met the concepts, though, this can deepen their understanding of them. It's a good way to get a handle on a quite difficult game, one with novel concepts and processes quite unlike anything else.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wr20 Handbook for the Recently Deceased
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by John M. S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/07/2018 08:41:16

This is a great supplement that I read through in one sitting delving into the lore of Wraith (albeit only dipping a toe in to a vast tank of story), though unlike other companion books that have been released around the time of their parent books, there was no stripped down version of character creation to get you started. That wasn't advertised, so not an issue. There were some tips on running elements of wraith, however I felt that some knowledge or a lexicon was required as the book launched into descriptions of certain things without explaining what they were. This is only an issue as at the time of reading, I had not read the Wraith rules. I suspect that knowledge would have made this much easier to read. I would give 5 stars but as it was released prior to main product and was read prior to main product I didn't get the full benefit of it, or at least I won't until the main book comes out. You can read my full review HERE



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Wr20 Handbook for the Recently Deceased
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Josh H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/21/2018 16:21:08

Wraith is not the easiest RPG to sit down and play. This handbook is going to be required reading for every player of mine from here on out. The guidance on Shadowguiding is essential reading, well presented and immediately helpful! This little book is the perfect taste of the game to help a new player get focused on what matters in Wraith and to a new Wraith in world. Even the most weathered Storyteller will benefit from the brief suggestions and guidance here.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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