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anodyr

East or West?

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The Tempest howls on either side of me, echoes of voices of long forgotten friends moaning and shrieking in the wind. Ashes and bonedust blown into the air about me reduce the broken road upon which I travel to a half seen blur of grey, eyes half-closed, one hand in front of my face to ward against the abrasive grit and detritus of the dead. Shadows move at the corners of my vision, taunting me from the edges of the path, beckoning me to step away, into the storm...

A shadow ahead grows darker, resolving amidst the whirlwind to reveal a gallows looming over a fork in the road. A shrunken cadaver hangs cruciform-style, arms eternally frozen in place to indcate each path.

From the westerly-facing linb hangs a twisted scrap of dark iron, skull shaped rivets outlining scraped and scored letters: "STYGIA".

The Easterly pointing arm bears a similar sign, though this one is fashioned of stone, jade, it's legend carved in painstaking script: "Yellow Springs".

The Tempest roars with renewed malignance, closing over the road behind me, an impenetrable barrier formed of razors and barbed wire, pain and loss. I can only go forward.

But which way do I turn..?

Ahem. :whistle

So, I've recently "discovered" Wraith, which is to say that I've always known of it's existence but only recently felt impelled to start reading the books. And they're awesome (but then you guys already know that...).

Anyway, I'm ploughing through the core at the moment and my curiosity has already been peaked by the mention of the Dark Kingdom of Jade, desite all the gritty, feudal goodness of Stygia being equally evocative. Now, I'm liking the ideas behind both settings so far, but am unsure as to which way I should focus my reading efforts at this point (or more specifically, when I finish the Core). I can carry on with the Stygian setting, attacking all the other books in turn, or I can step off the well worn path and "specialise" in the Oriental, focussing purely on the Yellow Springs books (I've already read the section in Players Guide, so that just leaves the Dark Kingdom of Jade "core"book and story book I believe) but possibly also taking on some of the KotE books (assuming, and if anyone can confirm/deny this, that'd be much appreciated, that there is further material in the KotE line that would be beneficial to me in exploring the Yellow Springs).

So I'm interested in what folks here think I should do? Which road should I follow in my self-imposed mission to take on the realms of the dead, and why? If it makes a difference, I'll eventually look to ST a game here, so if you'd like to see/participate in a Stygian/Jade game then pointing me in one way or another could be the way to determine what that game would be...

Cheers,

Anodyr

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Procurator

Very cool opening fiction.

There's more, much more, information on Stygia than there is on the Jade books (those would be Dark Kingdom of Jade and Dark Kingdom of Jade Adventures) I can't recall any information on Yellow Springs wraiths in the KotE books. There was sentence or two, in Land of Eight Million Dreams, but that mostly consisted of a mention of the Shinma / Little Gods being haunted by the wraiths of the people whose bodies they took over at the moment of death or after death. Wraith the Great War has some WWI specific information on Yellow Springs wraiths, as well as the Bush of Ghosts (Africa) and tyvastryia (India's wraiths). So essentially, there are only two books for the Jade wraiths.

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I have played wraith for a very long time, it is perhaps my favourite game of all time, however, it is not an easy game to play (not that any wod games are). Wraith is a game of very personal horror, a game of individuals and what they have lost rather than what they have to gain. Yes the alien and unusual lands and customs of the Jade kingdom (my personal faves btw) may seem appealing at first, I strongly urge you to leave that road untrodden...for the moment. Stygia is familiar, it is comforting in a way, we can all associate with the practices and laws of this world, find a common ground on which to plant our feet and rest our weary heads. When we take the familiar and twist it beyond all mortal recognition, when we take something the players know and feel comfortable with and use it against them then we have created a very real and personal horror for them.

I suggest your first game be a small and very personal affair perhaps with only two of three players, let them know nothing of your world, let them experience the horror slowly and on a personal level. By this I mean make the horror, the danger very personal for the character, if he has fears, exploit them, if he has vices indulge them, if he has goals let him know exactly just how much it is going to cost them to achieve. Wraith is about loss more than anything, there is a reason they have 7 points in backgrounds, because the past is so important to them, more so than what arcanoi they posess, what faction they join or which leigion claims them. The game, more than any other WW has published is about the characters as individuals rather than how they work as a coterie or pack. They are a half glimpsed, half formed memory of something that used to be, and that is one hell of a kick in the nuts, they have so many goals and dreams yet is so hard to achieve them and putting them in a twisted, rotting mirror image of their hometown makes that horror and pain all the more real because it is familiar.

By all means throw them off the pier and into the yellow springs if you like, but I would save this for another time myself, concentrate on the Dark Kingdom of Iron and the misery you can sow in your own back yard, exploit the familiar and the local and send your players on a very personal harrowing.

If you want more help or advice on Wraith as I said I've been laying it for years and have run two Jade Kingdom campaigns as well as many Stygian ones, feel free to message me! Or if you prefer, don't listen to this old fool and choose your own path!

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So I'm interested in what folks here think I should do? Which road should I follow in my self-imposed mission to take on the realms of the dead, and why? If it makes a difference, I'll eventually look to ST a game here, so if you'd like to see/participate in a Stygian/Jade game then pointing me in one way or another could be the way to determine what that game would be...

Cheers,

Anodyr

I agree with Mastermime. I think that Stygia would be easier. Unless you are very familiar with Chinese culture (for that is the dominant perspective from which the book is written), then it would be worth the effort. Having skimmed the book I felt that it was like having to learn a second game on top of the first

Assuming that you grew up somewhere in Europe or North America, then ordinary important parts of your culture that you take for granted work for you in terms of writing material. An example is knowing what a typical funeral service is like, or being aware of common superstitions, and knowing how people behave socially. All of those elements would be very different from a Chinese perspective.

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