Spirit Retainers

(modified from Giovanni Clanbook, 2nd ed. p. 67 & 54)

The interests of the Dead and the Undead rarely coincide, or at least, rarely do so for long. Ghosts are by their very nature obsessed with things that are of little interest to most Cainites. They usually have little interest in accruing power in the mortal world, and long association with the intrigues of Cainites tends to have a deleterious effect on their health and spiritual well-being.

Even so, this Background represents a hold that you have over a ghost, or several ghosts. Usually this hold is in the form of a fetter (a physical object or place for which the ghost has a particular connection). Alternatively, you may have convinced the spirit that it is best served by serving you (which requires an extraordinary amount of upkeep), or perhaps you have some other method for ensuring its loyalty, such as blackmail (which tends to be a short-term arrangement, as few spirits are willing to take such lying down). The spirit is not at all subservient like a ghoul, unless you are willing to bully it by threatening its fetter, or have some other means of compulsion.

Few spirits are willing to enter into the service of a necromancer willingly, and fewer still are prepared to do so openly. Serving the Quick (as the living are called) carries a certain stigma in Wraith society, and indeed even interacting with the world of the living is considered a crime by the Powers That Be on the other side of the Shroud. A wise necromancer uses his ghostly assets sparingly and secretively, lest he draw the unwholesome attention of these powers.

Any necromancer worth his salt can tell you that ghosts, or wraiths as they tend to refer to themselves, tend to come in one of two varieties. Spirits are typical wraiths, who still have a desire to watch over people, places or things that gave their life meaning. They tend to be easier to deal with, and run the gamut of all human tempers. Spectres, on the other hand, are destructive spirits that crave the more negative passions of the human spirit. They are malign, destructive and devious in the extreme, but generally more powerful than a typical example of their counterparts. Neither variety will long countenance domination of their wills against the passions that drive them, nor will one variety willingly work with another. Whatever the case, a wise necromancer tends his retainers faithfully, and seeks not to bind too many to his own will.

Most spirits who are compelled to serve a Cainite are fairly weak examples of their kind. They may learn more and grow in power as they progress, but more powerful wraiths will not long suffer the commands of a Cainite and will eventually seek freedom or the destruction of he who would enslave them. A benign necromancer might release his hold on these Wraiths, hoping to maintain a Contact. More rarely, with Storyteller permission, the player might take the Wraith Companion Merit for their character. Of course, there are exceptions even to this rule. Among the nascent community of necromancers, rumour has it that the likes of Augustus Giovanni have more than a dozen, highly skilled and very dangerous ghostly slaves at their command. The united front of the Giovanni must be formidable indeed.

  • Level One: You have a hold on weak spirit.
  • Level Two: You have a hold on two minor spirits.
  • Level Three: Three lesser spirits serve you.
  • Level Four: Four ghosts are under your sway.
  • Level Five: You have mastered five weak ghosts.
  • Level Six: You command the service of no fewer than seven ghosts.

Crunch: A necromancer with the Spirit Retainers Background should work closely with the ST in creating them. A weak Wraith will generally be quite new to their state. They will have Attribute & Ability points identical to a mortal Retainer (and indeed, may have been such before their passing). They will begin with 5 Background Points (which may require reassigning) and 15 Freebies. A Spirit Retainer has access to all Basic Wraith Abilities, and in addition will have 1 level in each of two Arcanoi (including a minor ability) and two minor abilities of other Arcanoi (or the same ones, with ST permission).

Spirit Retainers

The Concord of Ashes Haligaunt