In the Shadow of Wraiths

By on 15 March 2016
Scenes From the Mall ParaSpace

Originally conceived within the mini campaign scenario Scenes from the Mall, In the Shadow of Wraiths introduces the setting of Awakened Earth as it explores the events of an immense and cataclysmic apocalypse of magical provenance. Created as normal, modern day citizens, the player characters are immediately thrust into the heart of the action when spiritual entities (wraiths) descend upon the modern world and the decimation of humanity ensues…

With its chronology chapters separated into two sections, one as a reference for the players and the other providing information, hints and tips on running the game for the GM, In the Shadow of Wraiths (ItSoW) details the first month of the awakenings.

The opening scenes of play are devastating and chaotic! All around, wraiths choke the life from everything that lives. No-one can stand against the slaughter and society breaks down within the first few hours as millions succumb to the scourge. Looting becomes pandemic and lawlessness and violence erupts. Amidst the destruction and confusion, the player characters will need to act quickly if they are to survive…

Not more than a few hours after the initial outpouring of wraiths, the millions of silent, frail, gaunt bodies that have fallen whilst trying to escape the carnage begin to stir. Driven by an uncontrollable hunger, one by one, the ashen bodies begin to drag themselves to their feet. Mindless and ever hungry, they awaken as flesh eating, walking dead and take their place in the food chain, beside the wraith and above man! Over the next few weeks, the player characters will need to seek refuge and meticulously plan raids in order to gather food and resources.

During these raids, the characters will start to learn many things as magic and other strange beasts are subtly introduced to the setting. Decimated and reduced to small clustering groups, humanity is provided with a means to fight back and the remnants are able to steadily emerge from hiding and gather together as they strive to survive in a world of cataclysmic change.

At the time of writing, the first draft of In the Shadow of Wraiths (ItSoW) is already complete at 148 pages. Consisting of five sections and their associated chapters, it provides all the information required to run and play games set within the first month of Awakened Earth.

Section 1, The Awakenings.
In addition to providing several modern day archetypal characters that are ready for play either as PCs or NPCs, the opening chapter of this section, Creating a Character, also contains information to assist with building individual, personalised, characters as well as a handful of new Skills and additional Quirks suitable for a modern day setting.

The second chapter in the section, Chronology of the Awakenings, forms an account of the events that occur in the first 31 days and explores the chaos and hopelessness of the situation as humanity is quickly decimated and society breaks down to nothing more than small clustering groups.

Section 2, Resources.
This section contains notes and statistics for some modern day equipment, home made weapons and specific firearms that may well become the difference between life and death.

Section 3, Magic.
The spells, talents, recipes and rituals that are included in this section enable players to create magic using characters that mimic the tarot readers, psychics, new age witches and miracle healers etc. of the “real world”. But, In the Shadow of Wraiths also sets the scene as magic energy flows back into the land and becomes a much more proliferate power.

Section 4, The GM’s Section.
As expected, this section is for the GM’s eyes only. As well as providing a number of ideas for scenarios, developing and personalising the setting, the section, contains hints and tips on running the game including aspects such as fortune telling, sickness and disease, magical items and artefacts of power. It also introduces the concepts of Ley Lines and Nexus Points and looks at some of the powers that such places can bestow.

Section 5, The Creature Catalogue.
The Creature Catalogue provides full details and statistics for the wraith, exploring both it’s behaviour, purpose and the nature of its being.

But wraiths are not the only thing spewed forth with the return of magic energy and the section also contains details and statistics for a number of other spirits, beasts and critters of legend that are set to awaken over the course of the hours, days and weeks that follow.

Running until Saturday 16th April 2016, this kickstarter project is intended to help generate funds for illustrations and cover initial production costs. Full details can be found at:

What’s next?
In the Shadow of Wraiths will be the first of three source books for Awakened Earth and work is already underway preparing the next two:

The Ley of the Land will explore events that take place from June to the end of the first winter and will provide more detail concerning magic, nexus points and Ley Lines. In addition, as humanity truly begins to emerge from hiding, The Ley of the Land will provide guidelines for running scavenging missions and an easily manageable game method for recording acquired resources. (Release date: Autumn 2016)

Communities looks at the future of Awakened Earth and explores the politics, trade and tribulations of the new settlements. Awakened creature XP Profiles, for use as player characters, will also be included as well as details of new and old awakened religions and gods (Release date: 2017)

About Dave McAlister

Dave has been roleplaying for over 30 years, having played and/or run most mainstream systems with the espionage genre being an early favourite. So much so that, in 1999, he started Modus Operandi. That same year he joined the Sarbreenar “Living” campaign team as their plotline controller before moving across to the Living Spycraft campaign team (as UK Regional Branch Director) in 2003. 2003 also saw the birth of UK Role Players as well as Dave’s first freelance writing appointment (co-writing World Militaries and consulting on both US Militaries and Battlegrounds, all for Spycraft).

Since then, Dave has concentrated on supporting the UK gaming scene. He has organised and run several small, one-day, events and was the RPG Area Manager for Gen Con UK in 2004. His current favourite systems are Dungeons & Dragons (specifically 5th Edition), Savage Worlds and Cinematic Unisystem. He has a (currently neglected) blog at and runs a D&D 5e SRD website at

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