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What "killed" Wraith?

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What do you guys think killed off the Wraith system?

Do you think people just didn't like the concept? Or did White Wolf market it wrong? Were there misconceptions that lead people to beleive they wouldn't like it without even trying it? Did WW just axe it as a pre-TOJ move?

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I think there were a lot of problems with the concept. People think of ghost as bound to a place (haunted house) and therefore not suit for roleplaying characters.

WWs Wraith also had a world that was hard to understand. Im not at wraith player (yet) and have'nt really got at grip on exactly how the setting looks like.

The "art" of John Cobb is'nt making the game look better eather.

But I guess the game did well in the beginning. Maybe those who stopped buying products can give a answer. Maybe it wasnt as big interested in the settings since it wasnt our world (as most world of darkness settings are).

jk

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I think there were a lot of problems with the concept. People think of ghost as bound to a place (haunted house) and therefore not suit for roleplaying characters.

WWs Wraith also had a world that was hard to understand. Im not at wraith player (yet) and have'nt really got at grip on exactly how the setting looks like.

The "art" of John Cobb is'nt making the game look better eather.

But I guess the game did well in the beginning. Maybe those who stopped buying products can give a answer. Maybe it wasnt as big interested in the settings since it wasnt our world (as most world of darkness settings are).

jk

I agree, the world of Wraith as far as a physical layout is kind of hard to understand.

I also agree it might have to do with being in a different world, in a way. Wraith had a TON of crossover books with all the other systems, which might have been White Wolf's attempt to save the system.

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Well, there was the thing about the geography of the Underworld, as you’ve already mentioned. That part might have been hard to get a grasp of, when first approaching the game.

Also, what I perceived as one of the strengths of the game, the very personal characters, might have been its greatest weakness. It needed a skilled ST to create a good Wraith Chronicle.

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I've enjoyed playing wraith when I did and that was because it was easy with the very excellent ST that I gamed under, but I had been told by otheres that they couldn't really understand it and that in an on-line setting, playing the Shadow of a Wraith would be difficult for one person, though I didn't have any problems. It was like playing a Malk with split personalities, only there was only one other personality.

But I have to agree from what I've just picked up on the grape vine is that the fact that it really wasn't set up to readily interact with the physical world, even with the books that were out and the Sluagh's ability to hear wraiths, it was seen as difficult because of all the things that needed to be incorporated into the character sheet and that if a wraith didn't have a certain Arcanoi, then they weren't going to really affect the physical world.

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But I have to agree from what I've just picked up on the grape vine is that the fact that it really wasn't set up to readily interact with the physical world, even with the books that were out and the Sluagh's ability to hear wraiths, it was seen as difficult because of all the things that needed to be incorporated into the character sheet and that if a wraith didn't have a certain Arcanoi, then they weren't going to really affect the physical world.

True - it was written like interaction with the lands of the living would be an important thing, and such interaction really depended on certain Arcanoi. But a good ST would take the dependency on such Arcanoi, and make it part of a Chronicle, instead of a hindrance.

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I would have to strongly disagree about Wraith's "inability to interact with the physical world". Firstly, efforts were made to make it easier, what with Primary Crossover interactions (i.e. things like the Giovanni, Capadocians, Samedi, Silent Striders, Silver Fangs, Euthanatos, Dream Speakers, Nephandi, Mummies

and Sluagh and all their associated powers and potentials) and

by the rules themselves in various books (like the Shroud

reduction around Supernaturals and books like Ghost Towns).

The point people seem to be missing is that interaction with the

Physical world is *SUPPOSE* to be hard. Wraiths are suppose to

be able to gaze upon the world with new found powers, but are

Forever distant from all that they love and despise in that

world, unless they have the desire and drive (plus the know

how) to bend the rules. The film "Ghost" is a surprisingly good

example of that.

One of the questions Wraith poses is "if you were given the chance to 'set things right', what would you do and just how far

would you go?" Beating the Shroud is simply elements of that, same as the Shadow, the Fog, the Dictum Mortuum,

etc. It's up to players and ST's to dictate however much these

elements apply. If easier access to the Skinlands was desired,

fudge or drop the Shroud system. Rules are never set in stone.

Besides, what's so great about the Skinlands? There's the

Tempest to consider, to! Like the Umbra in Werewolf/Mage, it's one of the most overlooked elements of the game and abused. elements of the game (i.e. it's just used to get from A to B). Why not try a bit of Doomslaying in the Labyrinth, some

political Skull-duggery in Pre 6 Stygia or, especially with the Big

6 in full swing, try and make a desperate pilgrimage to a

half-forgotten Far

Shore, one said to contain an Artifact of great power, one

rumoured to allow it's user to command the very fabric of the Underworld itself, Maelstrom or no?... That's the

beautiful of Wraith,; unlike like some of the other ST games

you have alot of scope to play with.

I do concede that WW did IMHO mishandle Wraith. What with

irregular print schedules and the occurance of dodgy art and

quality of material towards the latter half of it's run, it seems

that WW really didn't know what to do with it. Shame, really.

However, I don't believe that it's simply because of the subject

matter or rules. There's ways around that.

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I would have to strongly disagree about Wraith's "inability to interact with the physical world".  Firstly, efforts were made to make it easier, what with Primary Crossover interactions (i.e. things like the Giovanni, Capadocians, Samedi, Silent Striders, Silver Fangs, Euthanatos, Dream Speakers, Nephandi, Mummies

and Sluagh and all their associated powers and potentials)  and

by the rules themselves in various books (like the Shroud

reduction around Supernaturals and books like Ghost Towns).

In regards to this, this was what I was told by people on why they didn't really care for wraith. Why they really didn't feel that it could be incorporated into their game. It was because, in their minds, it would be a bit more difficult to mesh in.

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Here's my view on why Wraith got the axe. Keep in mind that I'm a bitter little man with a cynical and jaded outlook towards just about everything White Wolf does lately, especially since they canned Wraith. It used to be my second favorite game, after Werewolf, and until Hunter came along. I still really like the game, even though I can't find books for it.

At any rate, there were a number of things that led to Wraith's downfall.

First among those things is the system itself. Shadowplayers, although very unique and innovative, require effort. At the time Wraith came out, White Wolf games were still considered the "Twinker's Games of Choice" mainly because of Werewolf and Mage. The effort involved in playing two separate characters, one of whom exists solely for the purpose of destroying group unity and another PC was practically unthinkable at the time for anyone but the most hardcore players with a meanstreak a mile wide. It just didn't appeal to players of the time.

The concept behind Wraith is the portrayal of alienation and deep emotion. Many gamers prefer to spend their time gaining power and manipulating the world around them, even players who aren't considered twinks. To that end, Wraith was very unappealing, because the Metaplot and the mechanics worked against them on every level.

Whereas Wraith does not just stress Roleplay, but enforces it, the game loses appeal for being about something that is fairly alien to the average "well-adjusted" roleplayer. As much as we like to think that we are outside of the realms of normal society, we are still a part of it. People just can't identify with the nature and basde theme of Wraith because of this.

This lack of appeal started the downward spiral for the game, but corporate ethic finished it,as well as creative "inspiration" *snort*

The game was losing numbers, so it was being cut back. Ultimately, someone came up with the idea for Hunter, a game about hunting and destroying ghosts, where in that case, the appeal of actually being able to have ghosts that directly interact with the world would finally be met. Monetary budgets of the time would likely only allow for one of the games to flourish. White Wolf made the decision to serve its best interests and appeal to the lowest common denominator, as opposed to continuing support for a game that looked like it was going to sink.

Wraith just couldn;t compete with a game that would appeal to both serious gamers and twinks. Mind you, Hunter is not designed for twinks, and they invariably wind up dissappointed by it, but perception is everything in sales. Wraith, as noted with the artwork comments, did not even have the visual appeal going for it.

It sunk because it jjust wasn't given the proper attention, in the end.

As a side note, I'd like to mention that I have only played in one Wraith chronicle, and the Storyteller was absolute suck-ass. He was an AD&D dungeonmaster that couldn't get his head out of that game. I still had little trouble negotiating the geography of the game or the system, so it isn't as confusing as some folks make it out to be. In the end, I practically ignored the Storyteller, and almost ran the game myself from the player's seat.

You just have to change your perception of the gameworld to three dimensions of travel, instead of just the two that you're used to on a "flat" ground.

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Wow...

getting into this topic a little late.

I would say one of the things that contributed to Wraith's demise was in fact that the line didnt have some of the innovative "flavour" additions like a tradepaperback of The Dictum Mortem (ala The Book of Nod, Revelations of the Dark Mother etc). It also lacked a line of novels (or comics). However, as was said, when the game failed to produce results...the corporate decision of scaling back production came into play. It happened to other games that they had as well (Mage: The Sorcerer's Crusade comes to mind easily).

There are other problems as well....like the Spectres splatbook being a Black Dog Game title (as opposed to a regular title) making it harder to run a game if you cannot purchase that book (I lucked out and found a used copy somewhere).

Would the addition of tradepaperback books have saved the game...probably not. However, it could have pulled it off life support long enough for all the Guild splatbooks to have been produced.

All in all....I must say that I miss Wraith. I own all but the 1st Edition Wraith RPG (and intend on getting it when I can....if for nothing else but the Wealth Background that should NOT have been cut out for the 2nd Edition).

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Donor

That, and Caravan of Shadows and the Dark Kingdoms Trilogy (both EXCELLENT, BTW; Richard Lee Byers did a fantastic job on the trilogy...)

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*clink of two cents hitting the ground*

Let me begin by saying that I absolutely love the concepts of Wraith and thought that despite the art, I thought it was a great game. But my thoughts on why Wraith died are the following:

1) Wraith is intesely personal. I mean to the best of my knowledge it was the first game to encorporate character emotions and goals as a quantified statistic. This meant that to have a character that was truly worthy of the passion portrayed in Wraith, it required alot of personal dedication and effort on the part of the role-player. In my eyes, this required a very dedicated Storyteller in order to create the equally important environment for the characters to interact with. Most Players and Storytellers of the day were still too ingraned into the mind-set perpetuated by role-playing games of the previous generation. They weren't ready for that level of perosnal dedication in a character.

2) I found that the actual Shadowland politics were annoying. A Wraith is a Wraith because he still has a deep and personal attachment to things in the SKINLANDS. I could never quite wrap my head around why or how a Wraith would be able to turn their focus from the Skinlands to the Shadowlands and mantain themselves as Restless Dead. So, the political and societal aspects of Wraith bothered me. It's always been a personal game. It was billed as a personal game. The Stygian politics are not personal.

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I only have ever seen Wraith played once, but what I think is that the focus should be a lot more on the world of the living, your ties to it, and getting your job done, then moving on. Wraith seems to me a game more suited for a linear movie like story to me, and that's not what White Wolf did with it. Also the focus on the underworld and how the Shadowlands are designed works a whole lot better for a Demon game than for Wraith I think. From what I've heard it's also a game in which it's particularly hard to accomplish anything, though I don't know whether that's really true, or just one person's experience. Yes and the guilds, I would like to see them done away with, and have Wraith powers based on what's going to help you accomplish your purpose, and more on your personality in life. I'm sure I don't have as clear as an idea about why the game failed as an avid Wraith player did, but the things I mentioned are what turned me off to it. On the other hand I love the idea of a Wraith/demon crossover.

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I believe Wraith got discontinued because of the fans, literally. When Wraith was introduce, Vampire & Werewolf were going strong, and Mage...while building up steam...was fighting to keep up. Mage introduced deep cosmology and advanced gaming mechanics that the other two systems lacked...and then they threw Wraith in. Wraith was probably the most complicated gaming system White Wolf ever produced, at least in the opinion of most. In truth, it wasn't really all that complicated. It just lacked something that vampire, mage, and werewolf had. Twinkdom. It made a huge effort to display emotions, passions, sadness, drama, inner darkness, the struggle, etc...

It did not really give you the power to play a supernatural monster that could blast humanity or other supernatural monsters. It was, in my opinion, the only true horror game White Wolf ever put out. While Vampire and Werewolf were about horror, and they had strong influences to it...99% of the people who played that game didn't great freaked out, scared, or even a little bit shakey during game time. Ripping that dude's arm off was fun. Getting the life sucked out of you to become a vampire was cool! Deep down, we all knew it was fiction and just a game. Afterall, most of us don't actually believe in vampires and werewolves and reality bending mages.

However, death is real. We all can and will die. Ghosts, and the realms they exist in are subjects that will give us uneasy feelings. If you read the Wraith book, it's all about the deadlands. About normal people who just died. They didn't run into supernatural monsters (although some might have) they simply just died very cruel and horrific deaths. Things very possible for each and every one of us.

So most people didn't find the "fun" in playing in real fear of the unknown, and truly playing a game of death itself. At least, most of the people who dismissed the game after checking it out felt this way. Whether they admit it or not. They got uneasy by reading the setting and book, which made them uncomfortable and they eventually never finnished the book or played the game.

Most of the reason Wraith failed, was because not many people thought it would be fun to play a ghost. Many people thought it to be too difficult to interact with the physical world, and all the serious drama, etc etc.

However, 70% of the game takes place in the Underworld, realms like Stygia, The Jade Kingdom, The Far Shores, The Tempest.

Wraith isn't a game about "setting right what once went wrong". It's a game about emotion so strong that death can't stop it. It's coming back, and it's going to get that last kiss...it's going to kill that fucker who killed me...it's going to cause me to get into my stinking corpse and arise as a risen...

It also lacks clans or tribes, or traditions, or kiths. The first and I believe one of the only games that does this. Yes, it has guilds, but since you do not begin play in a guild...you have to actually RP joining and even finding that guild.

Personally, Wraith didn't do well not because of concepts...because they are actually fairly easy to grasp. You just read the game as a new game. You don't compare it to vampire...or werewolf...or mage.

The books tell you everything that's going on...the only difference is you need to use a bit of your own creativity, and you have to have the desire for deep, and even painful stories. Sad stories. Depressing Stories, and sometimes even very terrifying stories.

So, in my own opinion, based on the huge success of Vampire and Werewolf...and the decent success of Mage, the majority of White Wolf fans don't want to be creative with their own settings. They don't want serious RP, and stories about sadness and despair. They don't want an open ended game. That's proven enough by Mage alone and how a lot of White Wolf fans see Mages as twinks and "power gods".

They want their powers set out in nice neat packages they don't have to think about, and they want overall a game that is defined for them.

While there are a fair amount of people who do not share this view, the majority are pretty much this way. They don't want deep games. They want basic settings, awesome powers, and little to no rules or systems they have to learn.

Basically, many of them are just down right lazy and they are not storytellers. Even the players are storytellers. Everyone's involved in a story. Not a game where so in so becomes all powerful or I can learn this power and do this to so in so. But a story. The majority of fans I've ran into and found do not tell stories. They just max out their sheets. Some like to do it slowly while believing they are telling stories about their characters...some like to do it fast and get known as twinks.

Fact is, few of them focus on the fact there needs to be overall plot, foreshadowing, drama, and suspense. There needs to be an actual story involved that is greater then their characters.

So, games like Wraith, Changeling, Mummy, etc didn't do well. For those who disagree and have never read Wraith, or for those who disagree and have never played a game of Wraith or finnished the entire book...try checking it out first. It's not incomplete, and it's not all that confusing if you approach it with an open mind.

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Donor

People have brought it up and I also want to add to it. Wraith was a very personal game, full of emotion. Now what makes a Ghost story so evocative is its ties to the living. We are mystified by the afterlife because we don't know anything about it. Well some of the problem with Wraith was that it told you too much. It explained everything about Ghosts and gave them a society and politics. Now how can this feel like a ghost story when I know everything and have very little dealings with the living?

Dont get me wrong, I liked the setting a lot but I liked it more for what could have been then what it was. The horrifying concepts of the Neverborn, Soulsteel, The Tempest, Shadows and such were riveting. Making another world inhabited by the dead took away from it and gave us too much. Fewer Ghosts would have been the way to go, after all how many Mages, Werewolves and Vampires were there. Not as many as a dimension of Ghosts Ill tell you. I think in part thats why an Oprpheus was made, to address these problems and make it more a part of the living world, that was ok but then they made the game too much about them. Sigh...

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I am saddened Wraith was discontinued. By the time I got into it, the game was already out of print. ::sighs:: With the exception of Vampire, all of my favorite RPGs are discontinued. Wait, scratch that- Vampire:tM is discontinued too!

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Donor

I totally agree ... Wraith is a dark, emotinal game for adults who are more interessted in the tradegy of the setting and their characters. It's not about powergaming an killing your opponent, it's about your death, your doom.

Most of the people want to have fun (by killing others) only a few appreciate playing a dead loss. I did.

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Donor

I would like to point out that White-Wolf was still an infant company when Wraith came around. They wanted all of their other players to spend money on this other product, and what better way to do it than crossing the systems? You see, early crossover made sense, so I don't blame white-wolf for it.

I'm now going to leave, since I've never played or read wraith.

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I really agree with some of the points mentioned in these posts, Wraith tends to attract gamers seeking a more personal and intimate game and journey into horror. Of all the world of darkness games Wraith for me is by far their best creation when it comes to capturing the horror setting.

I dont know why it became so shunned as myself and other people believe it is the crowning star of the WoD - and no, we're not all on antidepressants and in therapy. Its the game all the others should have looked to as a role model of how things should have gone but like Nin pointed out it is far easier in the other games for players to rip the arms off people and just kill for fun an coolness.. Killing for fun isnt really a great pass time in Wraith for long, no matter what your shadow will tell you.

I know that whatever WoD you play it can be made as dark and as serious as Wraith, my Changeling and Mage adventures are equally bleak and deliciously dark as my Wraith. Players an STs make a game, Wraith just oozed it out the pages giving you a head start, it wasn't fresh print you smelled breaking the clingseal it was preserved and moliated corpus.. even the bound spirits within could be seen staring back at you through the padlock keyhole when it was dark. hehe.gifwraith.gif

Perhaps it wasn't what was wrong with Wraith but more along the lines of what Wraith wouldn't do that didn't eventually help, it didn't compromise or lower its standards to enable it to fit into the happy-smiley-bodybag or dumb down the more unsavoury elements (serious roleplaying, personal suffering, enevitable oblivion) to enable it to join the rest of the gore spattered family were death just wasn't viewed the same way, after all all the other dead folk were still among the living unlike Wraith were the dead really knew hell. wraith.gif

Luckilly for us, the gamers that actually fell in love with Wraith, we have therapy and medication and The Wraith Project! wraith.gifwub.gif

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Donor

I can't comment on why it doesn't do well. Quite frankly, games that do really well don't appeal to me (D&D is something I just find dull, and to me Vampire is one of the least exciting games that white wolf has produced). However, for myself, the main barrier in wraith has been how to do the shadow properly. It's just something that adds a lot of logistical issues imho.

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Shadow guiding was something truly unique with wraith. Unless I had a well experienced and serious group of wraith players...I usually ran the groups shadows for them as the ST. Such tactics usually made Wraith more appealing initially, until they understood the game enough to actually start taking on the roles of shadow guides.

When I did have players shadow guide for each other, I always made it "luck of the draw" each session to ensure no one player was being nerfed.

It definitely takes a pretty mature group of players though.

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After reading the book, I think my initial suspicion is confirmed: Wraith was just too weird for most gamers.

As has been pointed out, most gamers want action. I'm not saying that everyones a twink, nor that Wraith doesn't have action. It'sw just that, to the average player, there was too little resembling what they had played before.

Wraith has no splats, you jare expected to come up with all the hooks and uniqeness of your character yourself.

The Arkanoi are strange, and many of them deal with the self, rather than the outside world. There are no real categories, no hooks to hang them on. They just don't resemble anything else.

The concept of the Shadowguide player is perhaps the most alien prospect to playing Wraith. I think most people thought it was too complicated.

And lastly and perhaps most importantly, Wraith is so intensely personal, so focused on the emotions of the individual character and their goals and history, that those players who were in it for the blavk trechcoats, sitting on top of lamp posts and ripping out throats to the music of Marilyn Manson were confused and put off by it.

It takes a special kind of player to enjoy Wraith like it was intended to be played, and most people simply don't have the capacity (or the nerve..) to do so.

Personally, I, love it. I've waited like 4 years to get my hands on a Wraith book, and now that I've read it I simply can't wait to try it. STing Wraith seems like the ultimate challenge, and I like challenges! B)

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I doubt that you will not be disappointed Temple, I believe it is the crowning gem in the blackened crown of wod horror.

You lucky soul, soak up the pathos and enjoy the ride of your li.. umm.. death. icon6.gifwraith.gif

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Well, I just ordered Wraith 2nd ed. from Amazon .com, so I expect to have it in my clammy, cold hands by the end of next week (Norway and all...).

W00t! Go me!!

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