The Shadowlands

he Restless call their version of the real world the Shadowlands. This gloomy realm, though physically similar to the Skinlands, lacks the vitality of the living world. Chilling and barren, the Shadowlands mirror the material world from a twisted yet often morbidly beautiful perspective.

The stillborn twin of the lands of living, the Shadowlands correspond exactly to the Skinlands in terms of geography. Anywhere the living go the dead go as well, and only the metaphysical Shroud separates the two. Theoretically, a wraith could walk from Canton, Ohio to Canton, China without ever leaving the Shadowlands. All that would be required would be patience and a good set of relic boots. A wraith standing in Times Square in the Shadowlands is, in a sense, standing in Times Square in the Skinlands, and runs the risk of being trampled by mortals who don’t see him and rush right over his position.

Everything mortals can see, wraiths can witness as well. They watch TV in mortals’ living rooms, attend meetings, and witness deaths. However, wraiths can see what the living cannot – the patterns of death and life in everything living. People and things that are very close to death are marked by it, and wraiths can perceive this. Still, even the most Oblivion tainted among the living appears healthier and more vital than the lands beyond the Shroud, which are gray and somber with rotting majesty.

Everything that exists in the Skinlands exists in the Shadowlands, more or less. The more emotion an object or a place inspired in the living lands, the more concretely it appears in the Deadlands, and buildings long gone in the Skinlands still rise on the other side of the Shroud. At once beautiful and terrible, the landscape of the Shadowlands is constructed of memories draped like cobwebs over those places, which yet stand in living lands.

Although barriers and hazards are quite real and irreducibly solid to wraiths in the Shadowlands, things in the Skinlands are less so. Without the use of Arcanos, ghosts cannot even open a door or touch a living loved one’s face. Walls may initially pen a wraith into a room as they would any living thing, but by expending a minimum of Corpus they can pass through them with little effort. A wraith may be able to reach out to a paperweight or a pencil, but without the use of her Arcanoi she cannot touch it. It is only the Shadowland echoes of these things, once they are destroyed, that a wraith can affect directly. The Shadowlands epitomize the tragedy of the Restless; the living world exists for them, but they do not exist for it.