Orpheus

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Orpheus
Orpheus logo.png
Role-playing game published by
White Wolf
Rule System Storyteller System
First Publication 2003
Essential Books Orpheus: Don't Look Back
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Orpheus is a roleplaying game published by White Wolf that consists of six books: Don't Look Back, Crusade of Ashes, Shades of Gray, Shadow Games, Orphan Grinders, and End Game. Only the first book is needed to play, but the rest flesh out both the system and overall plot. The fluff expansion works well enough, but the crunch split among six books is a worse headache than Scion if you have them in dead-tree format and not as computer files.

Dying is Part of the Job[edit]

Several ways to send living people to interact with the dead have been discovered. The oldest and easiest method is, obviously, to just die (while really attached to something from your life) though this is the unappealing and better reserved as a "fall back" plan if your other method fails. So that leaves two popular methods: the difficult to master ancient soul projection technique and new cryogenics technology inspired by frogs & tested on dogs that allows revivification (unlike the older stab every cell to death with ice crystals tech).

The Plot[edit]

Picks up after Wraith: The Oblivion with an unending Maelstrom trashing the entire Underworld starting in 1999. Yes, the Underworld experienced Y2k while the living world was mocking the idea. It's all thanks to a bastard named Xerxes Jones, a man determined to prove mages were human enough to compete in the Darwin Awards, who detonated a relic nuclear weapon at the center of the Labyrinth, in the mouth of Oblivion. It resulted in the Underworld equivalent of igniting the Earth's atmosphere, starting the Sixth Great Maelstrom. Not only did it kick off an apocalypse, it created cannon fodder zombies for an entire game-line (Hunter: The Reckoning) and woke up an eldritch abomination that had been sleeping since Exalted. So be careful, 'cause Granma's comin', and she's hungry.

The series as a whole could be seen as another in the Time of Judgement series for WtO and humanity in general, albeit longer than a single chapter or book. Six books show what happens as the wall between the living and the dead gradually erodes, with the epilogue offering ideas of a post-death-tech civilization (assuming your party doesn't mess everything up and doom the world to being eaten by undead monsters).

The Startups[edit]

  • The Orpheus Group is interested in money and afterlife research, in that order. The company starts very generic and meant to be fleshed out during a campaign by the Players.
  • Terrel & Squib Pharmaceuticals have plenty of funding and little respect for safety, they're more interested in capitalizing on a new niche market before their competitors.
  • NextWorld, Inc. is a Russian corporation working off of GRU research from the Cold War, they're mostly interested in the espionage & military applications for ghostly field agents.

The Follow-ups[edit]

  • Future Life
  • Lazarus Redux
  • Osiris Inc.
  • other smaller firms

Other Organizations[edit]

  • Governments departments (DEA, FBI, NSA, etc.)
  • The Black Steel Centipede Triad
  • Blasphemers (former Hells' Angels)
  • Brooks House
  • Death Merchants
  • Exorcist Mobile, LLC
  • The Midnight Star
  • The Missionary Works of the Holy Ghost
  • Pigment Cults

Characters[edit]

Shades[edit]

Characters are separated by their key abilities while in their ghost-like forms, like Arcanoi/Guilds from WtO adapted into a generic template.

  • Banshees
  • Haunters
  • Marrow
  • Orphan-Grinders
  • Phantasm
  • Poltergeist
  • Skinrider
  • Wisps

Laments[edit]

Yet another meaningless category from White Wolf.

  • Projectors: People who aren't dead.
    • Skimmers: soul projectors, fastest in & out of their bodies, can't sit still indefinitely.
    • Sleepers: cryogenically frozen, the cooldown & warmup take a long time so they're under for while.
  • Ghosts: The dead who haven't reached the Underworld, they mostly just hang around their fetters. If they can get over themselves, they can work for one of the new startups.
    • Animals: generic dead animals.
    • Hues: dead people created from overdosing on the drug Pigment.
    • Spirits: generic dead people.
    • Wraiths: older type of dead people, may or may not appear depending on if your ST ever played WtO.

Spectres[edit]

Not just the Shadow consumed Wraiths fought in WtO anymore. A mysterious entity has shown up in the Underworld and is converting ghosts, wraiths, and old spectres into new subservient forms. The Malfeans, really really old spectre leaders, are madder than hell at the newcomer and are fighting back with their own old castes (under different names made up by the Orpheus Group).

New Spectre Breeds[edit]

  • Carpet Crawlers: giant amoeba ghosts?
  • Chitters: spectre-hive guards
  • Chupacabras: warped animal ghosts.
  • Clappers
  • Collectors: bat-winged squids? wtf?
  • Fetches
  • Hawgs: spectre-hive drones, haul raw materials.
  • Lawgiver: what happens if an Orphan-Grinder is recaptured.
  • Leeches: wormy web-users.
  • Outflyers: giant sea urchins?
  • Reapers: heavy hitters, classic "cloak & scythe" appearance.
  • Ribbon-Cutters: essentially a ball of blades.
  • Shepherds: lead groups of Fetches, "cloak & crook" look.
  • Spectre Hounds
  • Spreaders: spectre-hive builders, have spread beyond the Underworld.
  • Syrenes: PC hunter/seekers.
  • Swarm Globes

See Also[edit]

Links[edit]

The games of the World of Darkness
Old World of Darkness New World of Darkness
Vampire: The Masquerade Vampire: The Requiem
Werewolf: The Apocalypse Werewolf: The Forsaken
Mage: The Ascension Mage: The Awakening
Wraith: The Oblivion Promethean: The Created
Changeling: The Dreaming Changeling: The Lost
Hunter: The Reckoning Hunter: The Vigil
Kindred of the East Geist: The Sin-Eaters
Mummy: The Resurrection Mummy: The Curse
Demon: The Fallen Demon: The Descent
Orpheus Beast: The Primordial
Deviant: The Renegades
Fan-made games
Highlander: The Gathering Genius: The Transgression
Zombie: The Coil Giant: The Perfidious
Mutant: The Aberration
Princess: The Hopeful
Sovereign: The Autonomy