Alternative Titles: The Grave Tenders, The Keepers of the Necropolis, The Keepers of Memory
Informal Names: Funeral Priests, Corpse-Brides (derogatory)
Attached to Order: Parrot
They say all are equal before death, but the people of Alhambra know this is not true. Death is a transition, but something of the individual remains. Even when you're dead, life, as it were, goes on. The dead still owe loyalty to the Last Empress. They are still expected to serve for the survival of Alhambra if their Queen requests it. In turn the Last Empress has her royal duties to keep her dead subjects safe and protected.
The Protectorate of Amethyst represent the Queen in her role as Lady Protector of the Dead, in Alhambra they are responsible for taking care of the Ghosts and performing the funeral services. In the rebellious provinces they are sent to rule and safeguard the dead in the Queen's name. Though officially all forms of undead fall under the Protectorate's jurisdiction they have little experience with forms of the dead other than Ghosts, and to a lesser extent dead Princesses.
Marks and RequirementsEdit
Corpse-Brides don't have a connection to Death itself, they have a connection to the dead. Their role is closer to that of a caretaker than a psychopomp. They are expected to ensure that the honoured dead are kept comfortable and provided for; much in the way that that a government employed caretaker might be responsible for providing aid to the elderly or the disabled. The bread and butter of ghosts, and thus of the Grave Tenders' trade, is performing funeral services. The required Attribute is Presence and the required skill is Expression.
The Grave Tenders are expected to mostly cut ties with the living in favour of living as one of the dead. In doing so something of a the Ghost's unsubstantial nature sinks into their Transformed identity. Their skin becomes pale, but not unhealthy. Their regalia acquires funerary shrouds and turns snow white. Colours themselves seem muted and distant. The official hair style is long and swept back in white or silver.
Sidebar: Is something missing?Edit
The Keepers of Memory are Alhambran through and through; their Privileges reflect the realities of Ghosts in Alhambra and lack some obvious powers that would be useful when they travel beyond their borders; such as the ability to see Ghosts in Twilight.
This doesn’t stop them from carrying out their duties; it simply means that they use more Lacrima Charms than, say, the Embassy to Death.
Sharing Life with DeathEdit
The Keepers of the Necropolis are expected to live in as though in death, and so bring the comforts of life to the death. No method they have is more direct than by inviting a ghost into their own body to share the comforts of the flesh themselves. In recent nights this Privilege is most commonly used to transport ghosts between Alhambra and various Enclaves in the rebellious provinces.
To invite a ghost into her body a Secretary must touch it and spend a Wisp. If the ghost wishes it may freely enter the Secretary’s body; the effect of this is exactly as if it had used the Fetter Manifestation on the Secretary (that is, the ghost is Fettered and the Secretary is Urged; see [GMC 224] and [GMC 227].) The possession lasts for one day, unless the Secretary and the ghost agree to break it earlier, or someone is impolite enough to exorcise the ghost.
Moreover, by spending 1 Willpower the Secretary can temporarily release the ghost from her body, allowing it to use its powers freely; the effect of this is identical to the Unfetter Manifestation. The Privilege requires nothing from the ghost but its agreement - it need not spend Essence or know either Manifestation. If a ghost does know Unfetter, it can use that Manifestation without ending the possession.
Honouring the AncestorsEdit
Ghosts gain Essence when remembered by the living, and the primary duty of the Protectorate of Amethyst is to provide them with Essence by leading funerals and rituals of remembrance. While Transformed, a Funeral Priestess may perform a special funerary ritual. The ritual takes half an hour of hymn-singing and slow dance, reassuring any ghosts who see and hear it that they are not forgotten. Normally the Priestess leads several assistants in the ritual, as having more people makes it more effective, but the rite can be performed alone. At the end of the service the Secretary rolls Presence + Expression.
- Dramatic Failure: The Secretary’s ritual is so poorly done that she offends the local ghosts. She gains the Shaken Condition [GMC 183] with respect to ghosts or the place she did the ritual.
- Failure: The local ghosts are not impressed, and get no benefit.
- Success: Every ghost in Twilight who watches the whole ritual regains 1 Essence per success. Each ghost may regain Essence this way once a day.
- Exceptional Success: On top of the immediate regained Essence, the place the Secretary stands becomes an Anchor for all the affected ghosts. If a ghost already had it as an Anchor, it becomes Open as well. The Condition made by the ritual lasts for one day.
- Modifiers: the Secretary does not know the ghosts she is performing for (-4), the Secretary has a ghost’s Anchor (+1), the Secretary has no assistants (-2), the Secretary has at least three assistants (+1 for 3, multiply by 2 for another +1 - 6 gives +2, 12 gives +3, and so on), the Secretary has appropriate grave offerings for the targeted ghosts (+1 to +3)
Blessing the Union of Life and DeathEdit
By touching both a person and a ghost while Transformed, a Secretary can ease them into a harmonious possession as per Sharing Life with Death. She spends a Wisp and rolls Presence + Occult; the person may contest with Resolve + Composure + Supernatural Tolerance, and the ghost may contest with Resistance + Rank. If either the person or the ghost wins the contest the possession fails. While the possession lasts the person may spend Willpower to Unfetter the ghost, as the Secretary could if she were harboring it.
If a ghost knows Fetter, the Secretary may help it use the Manifestation. Again, she spends a Wisp and rolls Presence + Occult; her successes become bonus dice on the ghost’s Manifestation roll.
Hallowing the NecropolisEdit
Ghosts suffer; they suffer because they have unfinished business among the living and they suffer because their nature separates them from the living. In Alhambra the departed have no such restriction and the Keepers of the Necropolis can bring this peace to the provinces. To do this she spends 2 Wisps and begins an extended Presence + Expression roll to consecrate the ground; the threshold is the area’s Sanctuary.
When sufficient successes are accumulated the target area becomes a Necropolis. Ghosts within a Necropolis gain two benefits: First, the Necropolis is an Anchor for all of them, keeping them from the Underworld and saving them from Essence bleed even if their last personal Anchors are destroyed. Second, all of them can use the Image Manifestation whether or not they know it; a ghost that does know Image can use it without spending any Essence, while other ghosts spend 1 Essence to activate it.
Under ordinary circumstances a Necropolis lasts for Inner Light days. If cast upon Consecrated ground it will last as long as the Consecrated Condition does, though to benefit from Consecrated a Necropolis must be cast on all and only the Consecrated ground.
Bequeathing Funerary GiftsEdit
In Alhambra all are expected to do their part for the survival of the city, and the departed are no exception. Yet beyond Alhambra’s borders most ghosts can do little but watch or spy. The Corpse-Brides are occasionally asked to help prepare a ghost for more involved tasks.
This Privilege allows a Governor to turn a Bequest into a ghost’s Numen. This requires preparing the Bequest with an Extended Inner Light + Occult roll with a target of the Bequest’s dots as a Merit. Once this is done the Governor hands the Bequest to the ghost, the physical objects rots and crumbles and the ghost has a new ability, spending Essence in place of Wisps where required. There is no way to recover the Bequest after it has been changed into a Numen, or for anyone but the ghost to use it.
If the ghost is given a Bequest that is able to create Wisps, such as Capitation, the ghost regains Essence by using it. If the ghost is given a Bequest that can transfer Wisps, such as Charge, the ghost can transfer Essence. The one absolute limit is that ghosts cannot benefit from the Bequeath upgrades Charged and Empowered. If Bequeathing Funerary Gifts is used on a Bequest with either upgrade, the effects of that upgrade are lost in the transition.
Bearing the Burdens of the Dead Edit
By touching the ghost of a Princess a Regent can draw the ghost’s Shadows into her own soul, protecting the dead Princess from its greatest threat. Through this privilege the oldest ghost Princesses have been kept active for thousands of years.
Using this Privilege requires touching the royal ghost and spending a Wisp as an instant action. The Regent peels off the darkness and decay from the ghost and hides it deep within herself. Each activation of this Privilege transfers one dot of Shadows, but the Regent may use it as many times as she wishes.
The player should track the number of ghost Shadows separately from her regular Shadows. This is because they have a second use. Emotions are somewhat more physical to ghosts, and so are their Shadows. As a reflexive action the Regent may expel angry wraiths from her body, removing one ghost Shadow per wraith. These wraiths are a form of Darkspawn, not ghosts, though they are immaterial and usually exist in Twilight. They are similar enough to the Darkspawn known as Shadow-wraiths that the Storyteller may use the traits for those creatures. If the Regent spends a Willpower point when releasing ghost Shadows she may roll Resolve + Composure. Success allows her to direct the released Darkspawn to attack targets of her choice, though they always put their own survival first.
Drawback: Working with Shadows always has its downsides. Shadows taken from a ghost Princess have all the same disadvantages as regular Shadows. The Regent may remove them as per normal Shadows; the player decides what kind of Shadows to remove first.
Releasing ghost Shadows into the wild risks a compromise with a -3 penalty to the roll. Directing ghost Shadows to attack someone risks a compromise with a -5 penalty to the roll.