Geist: the Sin-Eaters is the reimagining of the original World of Darkness game-setting called Wraith: the Oblivion. While the general concept of playing an entity that can operate in both the realm of the dead and the lands of the living are still present along with a smattering of terminology (like caul and [ecto]plasm), that is where the similarity ends. Notice how Geist’s cover has keys, but the old Wraith book had chains and a lock? That is very indicative of the difference between the old and the new.
This is a good thing, because the new setting is pretty damn good in its own right. The Atomic Array was kind enough to give me a pre-release PDF copy of the Geist core book that will hit the shelves during GenCon. I’ve spent about a week reading and skimming the pages, mostly reading the always excellent short fiction pieces that bookend each chapter.
In Geist, players take on the role of someone who has died, but came back to life. However, it wasn’t without a price. When the character died a Geist, a spirit of the dead, offered a deal to be returned to life if the person also allowed the Geist within them. This gives the character extraordinary powers, but also causes them to truly become someone other than they were as the process merges the two entities.
Every Geist was sensitive to the supernatural before their death, so they are not wholly unprepared. But now they have been given a new lease on life, strange powers, new motivations, the ability to walk in both worlds, and presented with new challenges. How these characters meet these new challenges with the knowledge of death is what a Geist chronicle is all about.
Just as with the other settings in the World of Darkness, Geist offers a new template to add to the basic World of Darkness character that provides some unique new traits. You begin by making creating a basic character per the World of Darkness core book, and then apply the template.
An Archetype is a more advanced Virtue/Vice mechanic in that if the character would regain Willpower from actions that are in line with those elements, the character would also regain Plasm (the Geist energy trait) in the same fashion.
Additionally, if the character activates a Manifestation (the Geist supernatural powers, similar to Disciplines or Gifts) in a manner that reflects her archetype, then the cost in Plasm to activate the Manifestation is ignored; of course what is in line with a Geist’s Archetype is up to the Storyteller to determine.
New Advantage: Psyche
Psyche is a measure of the strength of the bond between the Bound (the living person) and the Geist. Mechanically it limits the amount of Plasm a character can have and spend and maximum attribute and advantage scores (much like a Vampire’s Blood Potency trait).
Geists with powerful Psyches require Anchors to connect them to lands of the living. Destroying anchors can have profound effects on Geists as they lose their connections to living world. It is very much akin to the Fetters of ghosts.
Plasm is the fuel that empowers a Sin-eater’s Manifestations and other supernatural abilities (mechanically similar to Blood for a Vampire). Other supernatural abilities include healing and opening Avernian Gates to the underworld.
Synergy replaces the standard World of Darkness Morality trait and represents how in tune a Bound is with their Geist. There are of course a new set of “laws” that govern what a “sin” is for Synergy. Example sins include killing other Geists, destroying anchors, and murder.
Several new Merits make their way into the World of Darkness. The first is Ceremonies, which are just rituals that can be performed to aid a character on his mission. The next Merit is Haunt, which is a refuge for a Geist to restore Plasm or make it easier to cross over into or out of the underworld. The final Merit is Momento, which are powerful relics that serve as foci for supernatural power.
I hope you enjoyed the small preview, check out the book when it hits the shelves this August.
Want to learn more about Geist: The Sin-Eaters? Read on…
- Atomic Array: Geist: The Sin-Eaters (Atomic Array 027)
- Game Cryer: Review by Chris Perrin
- Flames Rising: Deal with the Dead
- Gnome Stew: Running Geist
- RPG Aggression: Rudis Review
- Atomic Array: Free Demo Quickstart
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