The Orpheus Group
In classic legend, the will-o’-the-wisp (also called jack-o’-lantern or faery light) was a malevolent spirit who led hapless travelers to their doom by creating tiny, compelling lights before leading people into swamps or off cliffs. Wisp characters, when accused of similar tendencies, manage a credible impersonation of shock but certainly remember the idea for later use.
Wisps, in life, were social animals. Whether the life of the party or a social predator like a con artist, a Wisp feels most comfortable around other people; some are jokers and bon-vivants, always attempting to lighten the mood with an endless string of wry witticisms, sight gags, dirty anecdotes, movie quotes or whatever else they feel their audience would enjoy. Others are malicious, almost sociopathic individuals who seduce, intimidate and cajole, all for the purpose of gaining power – even momentarily- over another person without resorting to force. Even these unpleasant sorts are easy to get along with, however. They make it easy to like them, adapting their behavior to whatever the standard seems to be. They make it easy to like them, adapting their behavior to whatever the standard seems to be. The old adage that you can survive on charm for fifteen minutes, after which you‘d better know something does not hold true for wisps – they can rely on charm indefinitely.
Some Wisps see their role as that of Jester or Clown; if everyone is too serious all the time, they forget why they do anything and slip into drudgery. These are the folks who play pranks at the office and watch cartoons into adulthood – they refuse, no matter what folks tell them, to grow up. Unfortunately, Wisps can take this role of the contrary to dangerous extremes. Many find themselves losing friends after a particular prank goes too far, and they are bewildered by the sudden change in climate – after all, they laughed at all the other tricks.
Fortunately, most Wisps are also superb social manipulators, capable of wriggling out of any bad joke or faux pas. A self-deprecating remark and a disarming smile, and the party continues, no one worse for the wear. This skill is especially useful for those socialites who make their living (or at least fun) landing in trouble; it’s one thing to seduce a mob boss’ youngest daughter, but quite another for him to hand you the car keys for the second date. Wisps might find employment on one side of the law as comedians, magicians, lawyers and public relations experts. On the other side, however, may find work as scam artists, hustlers and dealers.
Of course, all of this changes when a wisp enters the afterlife. Their beguiling tendencies take on a literal form, and the wisp becomes capable of literally leading people around by the nose. Whereas a Wisp’s force of personality was strong in life, in death it becomes powerful enough to seduce both the living and the dead, forcing people to follow his glow even unto their demise – just like in the legends. Likewise, a Wisp’s social agility takes on a more tangible aspect, enabling him to disappear and reappear some distance away. Wisp ghosts and projectors often adopt the roles of thieves and spies, simply because their Horrors allow them just the right mix of power over both living and dead witnesses for this sort of work. In his crucible, however, a Wisp is rarely the leader but often is second-in-command pointing out the flaws in the groups plans and keeping all on their toes.
Beginning Horror: Unearthly Repose
Banned Horror: Puppetry
Base Vitality Stamina + 2
Base Spite 7 – Integrity
Beginning Stains 2
Manifestation Wisps manifest as a soft glow, usually white or yellow though those who are close to being overwhelmed by their spite have been known to glow a hellish red or unwholesome violet color. The glow is not humanoid in shape; an observer who saw both the ghost’s gauze and glow would see the light radiating from his chest. A living observer sees only a faint ball of (usually very beguiling) light, until the Wisp decides to invest more of himself in the manifestation. In this form the Wisp is completely mute, but can flick physical objects in small ways (flicking a light switch, fogging windows and the like).
One Vitality With some additional effort the Wisp looks like a blurry rendition of her true appearance. The ghost or projector appears to the living as a recognizable, humanoid form, but her features slur and run together as though being viewed through a rain-lashed window. Some Wisps, particularly those with high Spite ratings, take on darker shades in this form and resemble old black and white photographs.
Two Vitality By exerting herself, the Wisp can appear as a human being, manifesting completely. This renders the Wisp nearly indistinguishable from their normal, living forms, save the fact that they glimmer with an inner light. Most such Wisps have beatific smiles – or devilish grins, depending on their general temperaments – a light, dexterous touch and obvious grace. Since Horrors are usable in this form (and Wisps tend to be showy), they often glow with low-level Unearthly Repose.