What's up with Wraiths?One thing that never settled right with the rules team in Shadow Accord is wraith draining. Wraiths in SA are basically ghost vampires. They get energy by taking health from others in a way that fits the canon of Vampire, not wraith. In WoD canon, wraiths get energy back from feeding off of strong emotions that fit their particular Passions. Certain wraiths feed of certain emotions, the angry/fear wraith gets nothing from happy people, the happy/romance wraith gets nothing from angry people. The whole draining people thing just doesn't exist in WoD. It feels like a patched on mechanic because there were already rules for it in the game, rather than something that was uniquely wraithy. We want wraith to feel like wraith, and vampire to feel like vampire.
Looking at the broad spectrum of what's wrong with Wraith, energy exchange is its own whole big thing. In SA it is a mainstay power that keeps the entire wraith and shifter faction full of energy. In WoD canon, it can't be used to take or make gnosis, blood, essence, or anything like that. Then again, in WoD canon, wraiths and shifters aren't hanging out on the same plane and rarely interact. Either way we simply don't feel that we can leave energy exchange like it has been in the past if we want a limited energy game. We also don't like the idea that a wraith can take an emotion like murderous malice, and turn it into hippie shifter energy.
To some degree the largest factional changes came up for wraith because if feels like the rules for wraith are totally thought through. Wraiths are built more like a patch onto the game rather than a well built and incorporated system. This is not to put down the wonderful job that wraith players have been doing making wraith into something significant, they just don't really have a very effective rules system backing them up. So we were looking at some big changes in order to encourage the Wraith game.
Wraith ChangesAs you may have guessed from above, we removed the draining health mechanic from wraiths. We really felt that if we could give them a better alternative, we had to. Instead we are adding Passion nodes. Passion nodes work much like Gaian nodes except that a wraith may access them once each day resetting at sunset (twice per event). Additionally, there will be a number of types of Passion nodes and wraiths will only be able to draw from those that match their particular Passions. The Passions we've come up with are Anger, Fear, Love, Hate, Pain, Pleasure. Each wraith will pick two passions at creation or conversion. The nodes will be set up in static locations and have an appropriate type and number of Pathos that can be drawn for it.
So what about Energy Exchange. Well Wraiths will still be able to transfer health and pathos as they do today using usury, but there is no reason to maintain their ability to magically switch energy types to other factional energy. How is it that I can drain a human and turn it into gnosis? We're better off without it. Instead we're focusing on making usury into the pathos banking system it is designed to be, rather than the currency exchange system it is now.
With the Passion nodes, there's no need for a haunt. A wraith circle exists where there's wraiths, they don't need a central gathering point in order to function as a faction. This means that wraiths can focus on their primary task of bugging humans and fighting oblivion rather than using their draining system to kill anything and everything that comes their way. While they won't be the killing anything machines they were in the past, they'll be able to focus on being a wraith.
What this means for WraithsOne of the biggest changes this will bring is that the wraith shifter alliance won't be predicated on the energy system. If it remains it will be due to mutually beneficial social interactions and alliances, rather than energy dependance. I feel that this is somewhat liked to seeing what our interactions with Israel may be if we remove our dependance on the middle east for oil imports. We'll still be friends, but it'll be different than it was before.
Wraiths won't get a haunt. Honestly I don't know how much of a change this will really give. They don't spend time and energy protecting the haunt in the same way that others do.
Wraiths will have to roam a little bit. A wraith that wants to get their energy back will have to hit a couple of specific locations to be full up. It'll probably take 10-20 minutes of their game.
Combat overall becomes a bit more of an energy management game where you can't just run to the back line and fill up doing the drain and heal routine.
Overall I feel these are good changes that are really working to bring Wraith in line with Wraith. They have a unique feel, and once again, the nodes system makes things very manageable from a running the game standpoint. Staff doesn't need to do anything other than put them up.