The Orpheus Group
Throughout history, cultures the world over have told tales of haunted places or cursed items. England has the Tower of London and Long Island has the infamous Amityville house. Ancient Egypt gave birth to the cursed artifacts of King Tutankhamen’s tomb while the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. is home to the ill-omened Hope Diamond. At the heart of all these and other such legends, if Orpheus is to be believed, is a Haunter.
In life, future Haunters are typically rootless wanderers. They hear the call of the open road at a young age, and are quick to answer it. Drifters, runaways, sailors, commercial pilots, flight attendants, carnies and circus folk – all these and more might one day become Haunters under the right circumstances.
In general, the person who one day becomes a Haunter differs from his fellow nomads in a couple of ways. One is that he is never forced into this sort of life: He embraces it himself. People compelled to follow such a lifestyle though circumstances beyond their control and who long to lead a more settled life seldom, if ever, become Haunters. A Haunter is unique among his peers in that he always feels at home wherever he may roam. To the Haunter, each new town, new port and new destination is an adventure waiting to unfold. When a Haunter grows bored with his current situation, it is time to move on to the next big thing.
The second way the Haunter differs from other wanderers is that he seldom forms strong emotional bonds with other people. A haunter may have tons of acquaintances, but only one or two close friends he cares deeply about. Instead of forming long-term interpersonal relationships with others, the Haunter reserves the majority of his affection for something besides his fellow human beings. It may be automobiles, a form of artistic expression, an institution or a government, but whatever it is, the Haunter loves this thing or concept more than he ever will another person.
Scientists with Orpheus Group theorize that it is this very ability to project the feelings human beings typically reserve for one another onto inanimate objects or abstract concepts in life that allows Haunters to exercise their most well-known ability in death… the ability to physically merge with inanimate objects in the way Skin-riders do with human beings. Haunters feel more comfortable with the inanimate because it is more predictable that the human.
Some Orpheus scientists speculate that most Haunters suffered some form of abandonment or betrayal early in life, and it is the fear of another such incident that keeps them from ever forming intimate bonds with other people thereafter. These same scientists believe that Haunters, their nonchalant demeanor notwithstanding, bottled up the resentment they felt about this initial betrayal and about their frustrated attempts to form close bonds with others. It is this anger, Orpheus researchers say, exploding to the surface that forms the basis of their somewhat less common Horror Witch’s Nimbus. Regardless these scientist are reluctant to share their pet theory with the Haunters themselves since they consider these spooks borderline sociopaths with anger-management issues. What the scientists have done is to suggest to upper management that Haunters be closely monitored and receive proper psychological counseling.
Thus far, issues of cost prohibit Orpheus from implementing these suggestions.
Beginning Horror Inhabit
Banned Horror Wail
Base Vitality Stamina + 3
Base Spite 8 – Integrity
Beginning Stains 2
Manifestation Haunters can manifest only in reflective surfaces – mirrors, windows, bathwater and the like. In this state, they appear as substantial as they would in life, but only as a reflection. A soccer mom who sees a Haunter reflected in her SUV’s rearview mirror, sitting between her two kids, and spins around to look will only see the two children, not the Haunter. In this form, Haunters are incapable of verbal communication, instead relying on gestures or messages written with the Inhabit Horror. Those touched by Spite ratings near to their Vitality are masked by shadows that seemingly scrabble over them for purchase, and their eyes, as windows to their souls, are empty sockets.
One Vitality The Haunter appears wet and mucous with a caul that clings to his face, obscuring his features, looking much like a cross between the old Victorian photos of ghosts’ ectoplasmic forms and the bed-sheet ghosts common on Halloween. In this form, all dice-pools are halved, round down. Again, high spite ratings can affect this form, and the Caul bulges and moves as if with darkened tendrils pressing against its inner surface, almost like a grease-thin paper bag filled with worms.
Two Vitality The Haunter now appears essentially as he did in life, though a Haunter appears unhealthy if not outright anemic or jaundiced. The Haunter may now interact with his environment and those around him as though living. The Haunter now possesses all his normal Dice-pools, as well as access to any of his Horrors.