The arts of the dead, Arcanoi are secret spiritual abilities that can either be taught or acquired through experience. Generally, the higher the level of the Arcanos that you wish to learn, the more difficult it will be to learn, the more powerful it will be, and the higher it will cost to activate.
Excessive use of one or more Arcanoi skills will undoubtedly result in the marking of his or her corpus with traces of those powers. Such markings and traces cannot be removed by any sort of cosmetic alteration. If a wraith frequently uses more than one Arcanos, then the markings of all used Arcanoi will be visible. If the Arcanoi markings would conflict (as with Argos and Intimation), then the wraith takes on the markings of the Arcanos used most often, with the other manifesting in subtle ways (so a wraith with Argos primary and Intimation secondary would have jet-black eyes, with an olive sheen apparent in the left one under the right light).
In order to activate an Arcanos, a wraith must normally spend Pathos, the energy of emotion. To use an Arcanos toward a particular end, one must roll dice to acquire the success rating of the Arcanos, and the attribute it is being used in concert with. For usage in the Skinlands, one must also contend with/roll against the rating of the Shroud, usually 9 except on rare occasions such as visits to graveyards, usage of seances or ouija boards, the stroke of midnight, Friday the 13th, Halloween, or other special holidays or traditions regarding the deceased.
Notes on names
Users of Arcanoi are traditionally referred to by the name of the Guild that the Arcanos once belonged to, even though the Guilds themselves have long since disappeared from the respectable parts of wraith society. For example, a wraith with Argos is always called a Harbinger, even if they have never actually been a member of or even heard of the Harbinger Guild. Likewise, a user of Embody is always called a Proctor, a user of Flux is always called an Alchemist, and so on. Wraiths with multiple Arcanoi can be referred to by any of the names of Arcanoi they possess, though it usually defaults to their strongest ability.
The Primary Arcanoi
The following appear in Dark Reflections: Spectres
- Hive-Mind (renamed Collogue in Wraith: The Oblivion 20th Anniversary Edition)
The following appear in Doomslayers: Into the Labyrinth
The following appear in The Book of Oblivion
The Risen Arcanoi
The Jade Arcanoi
- Chains of the Emperor
- Way of the Artisan
- Way of the Farmer
- Way of the Merchant
- Way of the Scholar
- Way of the Soul
- Behest - A specialty Arcanos from the Dark Kingdom of Ivory. Found in Wraith: The Great War.
- Connaissance - An Arcanos of Les Invisibles. Found in the
- Displace - Used in Swar. Found in Wraith: The Great War.
- Kinesis - An early form of Inhabit. Found in Wraith: The Great War.
- Leechcraft - A form of Larceny used during wartime. Found in Wraith: The Great War.
Connection with Spheres
Some have speculated as to the connection between the innate abilities of Wraiths to exhibit Arcanoi, and those similar abilities of Mages to manipulate reality through Spheres. Perhaps there is a connection. In a similar vein, some have connected the strength of the Shroud with the idea of Paradox, in that the general consensus of sleeper minds can prevent Spheres and Arcanoi from succeeding. Some have called this Mage-Wraith crossover mechanic "The Oppositional Aura."