ost of the time, wraiths will interact with each other. As long as the wraiths who are dealing with each other are on the same plane of existence (i.e., both in Stygia, both in the Tempest, both in the Shadowlands, etc.), interactions take place as normal. Even if a wraith is dealing with a visitor to the Underworld, such as a very lost Garou or mage, things proceed more or less smoothly as long as everyone involved is on the same side of the Shroud.
However, wraiths sometimes need to deal with things in the Skinlands. As the lands of the living are separated from the Deadlands by a membrane of fear and hate called the Shroud, this can be problematic. Reaching though levels of reality is far more difficult than reaching across a table, after all.
Walking Through Walls
In the world of wraiths, walking through the walls is a childishly simple proposition. Unfortunately, for players of Oblivion things can get a bit more difficult. No matter how talented the role-player, odds are she’ll have a bit of trouble sliding into the interstices between atoms of solid sheetrock.
With that in mind, it is recommended that Storytellers declare all actual, solid walls in their Oblivion game locations to be Underworld construction – relic or Artifact manufacture – which is impermeable to wraiths. Skinlands walls, less solid to the Restless, can be postulated anywhere in the gameplay area, but as for honest-to-goodness real wall, they should remain as impenetrable to characters as they are to players.
Depending upon surroundings and circumstance, the Shroud in a given area can have a rating from 4 to 10. The creepier and more eerie the setting, the lower the Shroud. A deserted mansion at midnight will have a much lower Shroud rating than a used car lot on a sunny afternoon. The local Shroud rating is the difficulty of the Static Mental Challenge that a wraith must succeed at before directly affecting someone or something in the Skinlands with an Arcanos. This affects certain Arcanoi, such as Outrage and Pandemonium, far more than other like Argos and Castigate.
The difficulty of the Static Challenge can be affected by a variety of factors. If the wraith is attempting to affect one of her Fetters directly, she gains an automatic retest, and the Trait risked in the first test is not lost. If the second test is failed, then the Trait is lost.
If the desired effect is in the vicinity of a wraith’s Fetters, if she loses the first test, she loses the Mental Trait but can immediately retest. Wraiths who are attempting to operate across the Shroud somewhere other than near their Fetters do not have the option of retesting for five minutes.
Additionally, if a wraith is in a Haunt, she automatically gains a Mental Trait (which can be bid for purposes of crossing the Shroud). Haunts and the local Shroud rating of in-game common areas should be posted prominently. Otherwise, the local Shroud rating always defaults to an 8.
Once the initial success in the challenge has been made, repeated tests need not be made for the duration of the scene. The wraith is considered to have penetrated the Shroud sufficiently not to need to be continually poking and prodding at it.
Embodied wraiths need not make this additional challenge to use Arcanoi or otherwise affect the Skinlands, as they are already across the Shroud.