character in Wraith has 10 Health Levels, which can be taken away depending upon what sort of damage she takes and what state of being she was in when injured.
Wraiths and Health
Unlike other dwellers in the World of Darkness, wraiths have two measures of their health, or Corpus. These are called Permanent and Temporary Corpus. Temporary Corpus is how healthy the wraith is currently, while Permanent Corpus indicates the wraith’s maximum number of Corpus Levels. A wraith’s Temporary Corpus can never exceed her Permanent; if she has seven levels of Permanent Corpus, she can never have more than seven levels of Temporary, no matter how much Pathos she has available to heal with.
When a wraith takes damage from combat or interference from the Skinlands, it is Temporary Corpus that is marked off. If a wraith loses all of her Temporary Corpus, she falls into a Harrowing. During a Harrowing, it is possible for a wraith to lose Permanent Corpus instead. However, at no other time can a wraith lose Permanent Corpus.
Each Wraith character begins with 10 Permanent and 10 Temporary Corpus. Over the course of play Temporary Corpus will go up and down, while Permanent Corpus will probably slowly decrease. There is no way known to replace Permanent Corpus once it is lost, though there are rumors that certain less scrupulous Usurers and Masquers have a few leads…
Wraiths and Destruction
It is nearly impossible to “kill” wraiths. The most horrific damage from the Skinlands barely affects them. The most devastating blows can, at worst, send them into Harrowings, which, while dangerous, are not usually fatal. The more telling dangers to wraiths come from less traditional sources: the Shadow, Spectres’ corrupting powers, loss of Fetters or avoidance of Passions, soulforging or soulshaping, but even a thorough thrashing in hand-to-hand combat will rarely damage your wraith significantly or permanently.
With that in mind, you should feel free to take a few more chances and do a few more daring things with your wraith. That is not to say that there are no perils in the Shadowlands – screw up once, and you just might find yourself as a lawn chair – but that physical prowess is far less important in the Underworld than it might be somewhere else. The strongest Legionnaire might not be able to stand up to the mildest blandishments of his Shadow, while a 98-lb. Weakling of a Heretic might find the strength of character to become a legendary Pardoner.
States of Being
Wraiths have different states of Corpus, reflecting how solid they are in the Skinlands or the Shadowlands. These states are:
Material: When the wraith is solid in the Skinlands through the use of the Embody Arcanos. This allows the wraith to take damage as if she were a physical being.Corporeal: The normal status of any wraith, intangible to the living but solid to the Restless.Incorporeal:When an object in the Skinlands damages a wraith, and her form becomes misty and indistinct with regards to the lands of the living. Incorporeal wraiths can still be touched and damaged by other Shadowlands objects and denizens.Destruction:When a wraith loses all of her Corpus, she is immediately drawn into the Tempest and pulled into a Harrowing.
Substantiality and Going Incorporeal
Wraiths are normally Corporeal as regards to both the Skinlands and Shadowlands. When an object in the Skinlands impacts a wraith with enough energy to hurt (i.e., what is called “The Rule of Ouch”), then the wraith loses one level of Corpus and becomes Incorporeal. A wraith touching a wall or having a leaf blown through where he’s standing is not enough to cause Corpus loss and Incorporeality; a bullet or a slammed door is. In addition, a wraith can voluntarily surrender a level of Corpus to go Incorporeal (by running through a wall, for example).
No matter how severe the impact from the Skinlands, however, the wraith never takes more than a single level of Temporary Corpus damage before going Incorporeal. An Incorporeal wraith cannot be affected or touched by anything physical in the Skinlands. He can however, be touched and damaged normally by wraiths or objects in the rest of the Underworld; a Stygian steel sword will cut a wraith regardless of if he is Corporeal or Incorporeal.
Wraiths are considered to default to Corporeal status. When a wraith goes Incorporeal, he must indicate his altered status by making the gesture indicating his new status. Specifically, this consists of clenching the left fist and placing it at the right shoulder. The Narrator determines exactly how long a wraith remains Incorporeal. Usually the state lasts anywhere from 30 seconds up to three minutes.
Incorporeality and Stuff
When a wraith goes Incorporeal, everything that he is carrying or holding becomes Incorporeal along with him. If, for example, he is holding a relic handgun, the gun goes Incorporeal with him as he runs through a wall, but if he then turns around and shoots at his pursuers, each bullet will become Corporeal as soon as it leaves the barrel of the Incorporeal gun. If the pursuers have also passed through the wall at this point, then the bullets stand a normal chance of hitting them. However, if the Skinlands wall still stands between pursuers and pursued, then the bullets will impact with the wall, instantly go Incorporeal, lose their single level of Corpus (each bullet has one Corpus Level), and dissolve harmlessly into the Tempest.
Aggravated Damage in the Underworld
Certain creatures or objects damage wraiths so severely that the wounds they inflict cannot be healed either normally or easily. These injuries, called aggravated wounds, come from specific sources:- Weapons made from Stygian steel.The Narrator may also choose to declare a particular nasty injury to be aggravated damage.
- The claws, teeth and other appendages of Spectres.
- The claws/teeth of vampires, werewolves and other supernatural creatures (assuming they enter the Deadlands, or the target wraith is embodied). - The rare substance known as barrow-flame.
- Soulfire crystals (crystallized Pathos).
- The effects of certain Arcanoi’s arts (specifically Outrage and Usury).
Wraiths can regain one lost point of Temporary Corpus point by expending a point of Pathos. The healing process takes three minutes, though at Narrator discretion this time can be increased or decreased. Certain Arcanoi can also aid in the healing process. Usury in particular can be used to help restore a wraith’s Corpus by allowing wraiths to use Pathos from others in order to heal.
Healing aggravated damage costs three Pathos points and one day per level. The Moliate Arcanos (specifically the art called Sculpt) also allows a wraith to heal himself of aggravated damage.
Wraiths with Fetters also have the option of Slumber when it comes to healing. A Slumbering wraith, if she spends eight uninterrupted hours in her Fetter, may regain as many Corpus levels of Non-aggravated damage as the Narrator thinks appropriate. This usually amounts to two or three levels, but more or less can be handed out, as a Narrator deems appropriate. Unless the rest of the characters involved in the game are also Slumbering, the player whose wraith is Slumbering must sit out of game to represent her time in her Fetter. However, this does not mean that she must leave the game. Instead, she can, if she and the Narrator choose, still be active in the game by playing a nonplayer character or helping out the Narrator with Storytelling.
A Note on Slumbering
When a wraith Slumbers, she actually sinks into her Fetter and is no longer physically “present,” even in the Underworld. To a passing wraith, the Fetter will betray no trace of housing a Slumbering wraith. This works for Fetters that are objects, places or people, and a wraith can only be forced out of a Fetter by the application of certain specialized Arcanos arts. Otherwise, the only way a wraith can be forced to leave a Fetter involuntarily is through damage of some sort to the Fetter itself.