What is it and why did I buy?
Wraith: The Oblivion is an RPG, by White Wolf Publishing, which uses the Storyteller system. Each player runs a recently deceased ghost which still has emotional ties to the living world. Each player also plays the shadow of another player’s ghost which is supposed to lure the ghost into oblivious and become a spectre–a being of ultimate nullification and entropy.
The World of Darkness game line had always intrigued me since I’d first seen the books. I’d already purchased the revised edition of Vampire: The Masquerade and Mage: The Ascension. So I bought Wraith: The Oblivion to round out the collection, I guess.
This was right before I went to college. I distinctly remember reading through the rulebook as my mom drove me to Freshman Orientation meeting or something like that (I wouldn’t get my own car until half-way through my Freshman year). That, and the Great Modron March Planescape adventure.
To this day I have no idea what my mom thought of me reading such a weird RPG.
Why did I sell it?
And it was a weird RPG.
Was Wraith: The Oblivion supposed to prevent suicides? That’s the impression I had from reading the book, anyway:
You think this life sucks, just wait until you see the Shadowlands, where your spirit still walks the Earth but you can’t interact with anybody unless you’ve got special abilities (Arcanoi).
Oh, if you think that’s bleak, just wait until you see the Deadlands and the Kingdom of Stygia where you’ll have to make allies to maintain your existence. But by doing so you might not transcend this state of being into a higher realm.
Oh yes, and the there’s the Tempest, where spectres come from and try to take you away to… Oblivion…where the dark side of your soul secretly longs to end up.
The game was depressing and confusing. What were the PCs supposed to do? Get embroiled in the factions of Stygia? Do their damnedest to transcend to a higher plane? Haunt the person who killed them?
The few players I showed this game to weren’t interested, and I wasn’t sure how to run it. As I recall, I purchased the Storyteller’s Screen, which came with a booklet of chronicle ideas, but it wasn’t much help either.
Thus Wraith: The Oblivion was one of the first of my RPG books to end up on The Used Book Store Pile.