member, 652 posts
Sat 9 Jun 2018
at 03:37
Wraith: The Oblivion- Harrowing, or Catharsis?
Short version: Is running a Wraith game a good idea, or a bad idea in this day and age?

So I was going through my old collections and came across my Wraith books. It is one of the more interesting games I never really got to play as much as I would like. With a few recent and not so recent multimedia delves, I got a kind of bug in me now to run a game (doubt I can play in one).
But then I got to thinking about how things now are vastly different than they were the 10-15 years ago in regards to how people react to dark and horrible things.
Out of all the WoD Horror games, I found this one actually fulfilled the actual meaning of the word. So much so that I am not even sure the themes and setting of the game are even tolerable anymore, let alone if people can handle it in a mature fashion. I'm sure a simple prelude leading to one's death might be a landmine of problems for me as the Storyteller. Compound that with even just two players who might have to interact with each other and partake in the other fun mechanic of Shadows.
 member, 199 posts
 Portal Expat
 Game System Polyglot
Sat 9 Jun 2018
at 04:16
Wraith: The Oblivion- Harrowing, or Catharsis?
I really, really like Wraith thematically, but it really, really requires players who are willing to take all of its various facets seriously.  To really be effective on the level it tries to, you have to really deeply psychoanalyze your character, and expose all of those flaws and foibles to not only the GM, but to another player, who is literally assigned to play mind games with you.

Is it worth it?  I think it can be.  And I don't think the subject matter is out of bounds.  Dying unfulfilled and facing an underworld that is better equipped to hollow your soul into a bureaucratic husk than grant fulfillment and redemption seems especially timely.  And senseless, tragic death is thematically evergreen.

But it's a game that very heavily relies on keeping a tight rein on tone, especially since the characters are by definition emotionally driven.  It's easy to get one player who thinks he's playing Beetlejuice and another who thinks he's playing What Dreams May Come, when you were really trying to do Ghost.
 member, 41 posts
Sat 9 Jun 2018
at 09:15
Wraith: The Oblivion- Harrowing, or Catharsis?
Orpheus is probably an easier game to run, because it's more about action and figuring out external issues - at least to begin with - than working on internal strife.  Having said that I really loved Wraith the few times I played and ran it.  As GryeGriffin says you really need players on the same wavelength, and you definitely need to make it clear at the outset what kind of game you're looking to craft together.

Wraith also takes a lot of trust.  The players need to trust that whoever's playing their Shadow is going to reflect those dark aspects of their character with skill and respect, while the Storyteller needs to trust that the players are willing to embrace the themes of the game, and here's where things get really vital:

You need players who can handle letting their characters have profoundly vulnerable and weak moments.

Being a Wraith is a constant trial.  You're worn away not only by the forces of Oblivion, not only the terrible spectres and the machinations of the other Wraiths, their guilds and empires, the constant threat of slavery or worse.  More importantly, you're worn away at by your worst traits with a mind of their own.  Nobody else knows you as well, knows exactly which buttons to push.

It's all too easy for a player to just flatly ignore anything their character's Shadow offers.  Sure, that might be tricky when things get hairy but it's a simple matter for a player to just decide not to bother with the inner temptation angle, which is (arguably) the single most poignant part of the game as written.  You need players who really dig that stuff and are willing to allow their characters to slip up from time to time, to varying results.

This kind fo game would take very careful curating.  You're best off, I think, starting with people you've roleplayed with before and you know have the same kind of groove that fit with the game.  Then I'd suggest using them as your network - if they're interested, get them to ask the players they know who are into the same thing.  Keep the group size small and make sure everyone agrees on whether their Shadow will be played by you, or by another player.
Big Brother
 member, 452 posts
 Who controls the past...
 ... Controls the future.
Sat 9 Jun 2018
at 15:30
Wraith: The Oblivion- Harrowing, or Catharsis?
First let me say, I'm always up for a Wraith game.

Second, I (partially) disagree with GreyGriffin, in that it doesn't really require opening up your character to another PC. I actually asked a similar question [another forum].

And third, I think Wraith is fine and easily workable for this day and age. The issues may have changed, but not the fact that horror is horror is horror. It is your job, as the ST, to evoke that sense of horror and dread; it may simply take a different form than in did a decade, decade and a half ago. For example, yesteryear it was (I dunno) car accidents and kidnapped children while this year it's terrorists and economic collapse.

This message was last edited by a moderator, as it was against the forum rules, at 16:19, Sat 09 June.