Spectres are wraiths that have, in so many words, given into their Shadows. When a spirit accumulates too much dark emotion, its Shadow takes over permanently and it becomes a Spectre; its humanity and former identity are replaced with a truly evil, sadistic personality tied into a massive hive-mind. In the process, the wraith forgets about its old tethers, friends and ideals, which keeps it from Transcending. Spectres roam desolate parts of the world of the dead thereafter, minions for Oblivion.
Spectres generally form when the Shadow, or dark side of a wraith, takes control over the wraith's Psyche. Special types of Spectres, like Mortwights, may enter the Shadowlands with their Shadows already dominant, essentially becoming Spectres instantly upon their death.
Although Spectres are basically made of the same stuff as wraiths, Spectres also differ from them in a number of notable ways. Spectres, due to their proximity to Oblivion, tend to lead very brief, very violent lives; the rare few who manage to survive for centuries become among the most powerful of beings in the Underworld. Oblivion also dulls their senses and they lack the heightened sight and hearing they may have possessed as a wraith.
However, Oblivion also gifts them with new Arcanoi known as Dark Arcanoi that allows them to manipulate Oblivion, the Tempest and other things off-limits to wraiths. Spectres can also track down a being that puts forth large quantities of Willpower.
In addition, Spectres possess Deathsense, which allows them to see the inherent Oblivion in a being and judge how close to death and darkness they are, and Deathsight, or the ability to clearly see the Shadowlands. Spectres do not, however, have Lifesight; to see the Quick through the Shroud, a Spectre must have the Dark Arcanos Shroud-Rending. The Shroud is also much harder for a Spectre to travel through, but it can be accomplished.
Orpheus Spectres, like the spirits, are a bit different. Spectres in Orpheus form the same ways as Wraith Spectres, but the Shadow is replaced by a mobile form known as a Doppelganger (or a Gemini for Orphan-Grinders). Like wraiths, they cannot travel or see through the Stormwall unless there is a nihil present. Luckily for Spectres, the larger hives conveniently form tunnels of sorts through the Stormwall.
Wraith Spectre Society
Wraith Spectres have a decided pecking order. Mortwights and Haints are the lowest of the functional Spectre castes, since they entered the service of Oblivion directly from the Skinlands, and have been least touched by its radiance. Doppelgangers come next in the pecking order, having endured the trials of their Psyche and triumphed through their devotion to Oblivion; at this point, however, they do not show its marks upon their bodies. Shades and Apparitions have higher standing, as in them the marks of Oblivion have begun to show. Nephwracks come next because their constant exposure to Oblivion has transformed them to the point Moliate can no longer hide their nature. The Onceborn and Hekatonkhires are the highest castes any once-human Spectre can attain; though devoted to Oblivion's cause, they still once lived. At the very top of the system stand the Neverborn, who crawled from Oblivion itself in ages past. Striplings are unique in that they exist outside the caste system and serve at almost all levels of Oblivion.
Orpheus Spectre Society
Spectres in Orpheus have actually become split between two factions, those who serve the Malfeans and those who serve Grandmother. The two groups use the Spectres to build Spectral hives, breach the Stormwall, and fight out a war that has repercussions in the world of the living as well as the world of the dead. They are bound together by a combination of Darwinian struggle and abusive love transferred over the hive-mind; "I love you, but" is the foundation of Spectral society (the relationship between a Friendly Angel and its band of Lost Boys is a perfect example).
It is possible, under the right circumstances, for a Spectre to remember something from its old life that triggers it to disconnect from the hive-mind and return to being a ghost. Spirits who manage to do this become Orphan-Grinders.
Wraith Spectre Types
- Children of the Atom
- Hachiman Dragons
- Wounded Demons
- Glowing Hands
- Akuna and Oni
Orpheus Spectre Types
- From Orpheus Rulebook
- From Crusade of Ashes
- From Shades of Gray
- From Shadow Games
- From The Orphan-Grinders
- From End Game