f all the 13 Greater Arcanoi, Puppetry is the one that Charon forbade most sternly. Only the Deathlords and their Hierarchy were sanctioned to ride the mortals, to possess them and thus affect them directly. But like all forbidden fruits, Puppetry has its devotees, those willing to risk Hierarchy sanction for another taste of the Skinlands.
Wraiths riding a subject are not truly part of the Shadowlands, and as such are immune to the normal dangers of that place. However, they take the damage as their hosts do. Also, the host's Physical Traits and non-Mental Abilities take precedence over the wraith's unless the wraith is in direct control. The Puppeteer is a backseat driver, and usually nothing more.
Most aspects of Puppetry require the wraith to attune himself to a Consort by spending Willpower Traits while Skinriding. The wraith may try these arts (at the Narrator's discretion).
Use the Leadership Ability for retests with the Puppetry Arcanos.
The wraith may tell if another wraith is currently Skinriding the target, or even if the target has been attuned for Puppetry.
System: The player makes a Static Mental Challenge to detect a current possession or to perceive the indications of Puppeteer manipulation on the Consort.
Skinriding is the most basic art of possession. It is the capability to slip into a mortal's body, thereby joining with him for a brief ride. The wraith can exert no control with this art, and the host acts of his own free will. However, any more sophisticated Puppetry art requires the wraith first to Skinride the host.
System: In order to slip into a host's body, a wraith must enter an Extended Static Physical Challenge. Any success will allow the wraith to Skinride the host; the number of successes determines how many the next Puppeteer to come along will need to supplant the first in that body (assuming she's still there). Wraiths who are Skinriding merely stand a pace behind the mortal (or other being) that they are Skinriding. A Skinriding wraith is not visible on either side of the Shroud (being literally "inside" her host), but by the same token may not speak or otherwise communicate her presence except by using Arcanoi.
A wraith using this art may briefly override his host body's arm, leg, or speech center. Subtle use of this art can make a host manipulate an object in some way without realizing it. Using this art to cause speech results in a strange blend of the wraith's and host's voices.
System: To use this art in order to physically manipulate the host, the wraith must enter an Extended Physical Challenge against the host and spend one Pathos point, with the more successes giving the wraith more control of her host. If the host actively resists, the wraith gains one point of Temporary Angst. NOTE: Most hosts will be taken by surprise by Master's Control, and will not be able to resist actively. Those mortals with some knowledge of ghosts (at least one Occult Trait) or supernatural beings will be sufficiently aware of what's going on to attempt to resist if they wish. To use this art in order to take control of the host's speech centers, the wraith spends one point of Pathos and enters into an Extended Mental Challenge. Each success allows the wraith to speak as the host for one breath. The wraith also gains one point of Temporary Angst.
Rein in the Mind:
This art allows a wraith to possess someone without the host's knowledge. In most cases, this can only be done to a Consort. The host remains semiconscious, though passive, through the art's effect, and will regain control when the Puppeteer releases her. She will immediately try to rationalize her actions; failing, she may seek out therapy or mental health testing. Any pain the host feels feeds back to the Puppeteer as Corpus damage, however.
System: The player enters an Extended Mental Challenge against the target. The effects of the art lasts for five minutes per success. The host may spend a Willpower Trait to try to resist the possession, enabling for a retest. Each success on the retest subtracts one from the wraith's initial number of successes. If this number is reduced to zero, the Arcanos fails. This art costs three Pathos and bestows a point of Temporary Angst.
Obliterate the Soul:
After conditioning a Consort through extensive use of Rein in the Mind, the Puppeteer may begin to live full-time within the host's body. The host personality is devoured by the Puppeteer's Shadow. Whenever the wraith leaves a body thus possessed, it becomes catatonic, responding to nothing and taking no actions on its own.
System: Once a wraith has conditioned a Consort (by using Rein in the Mind on the Consort at least 10 times), the player may make an Extended Physical Challenge against her target. When the wraith totals enough successes to equal the number of Mental Traits the host possesses, she succeeds. Two weeks after its original's soul removal, the host body will begin a slow process of decay. Before too long, it will become useless. Therefore, most wraiths use Obliterate the Soul only in the direst circumstances. This art is ineffective against other supernatural beings, and can only be initiated once per game session. If the first attempt to Obliterate the Soul gains no successes, the wraith must wait until the next game to try again. On the other hand, even one success on the initial challenge will allow for follow-up attempts whenever the Puppeteer feels up to it. This art costs four Pathos and the expenditure of two Willpower Traits. In addition, the wraith gains a number of Temporary Angst points equal to the host's original Willpower Traits.
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