The GauntlettWraith: The Oblivion is One Game You Have to Play to BelieveThe Gauntlett - RSS 2.0
Gauntlett: That's an idea that goes through the entire Wraith line. One of the sections in The Great War that always struck home with me says, 'The ghosts in this game aren't really re-fighting the war. They're dealing with its tremendous consequences, and to some extent, they're fighting to be remembered.'
Dansky: Very much so. The point of Wraith is that it's unfinished business, the aftermath; it's what do you do now. In my opinion, it's one of the most hopeful worlds in the World of Darkness, because you are doing something. You have a goal. You have something to take care of. It would be pointless if the afterlife was just a repeat of life. It's a new situation, a new place, there are new rules, there are new enemies, and it was important that the setting not just be a re-run of the Western Front, as it were. It couldn't be a replay of what actually happened, but rather dealing with those consequences, asking the question 'What now?' Making sure that what was done, was not done in vain.
Gauntlett: The Great War came out at about the same time - the same year, in fact - that the Wraith line ended, which was slightly earlier than anticipated. Did you get to tell all the stories that you wanted to tell?
Dansky: In a somewhat abbreviated fashion, we hit all the high points! I know I'm constantly using the plural first person pronoun here, but really, nobody does this by themselves. There's the writers, the editors, the artists, so when I say, we didn't get to tell all the stories we needed to tell, I'm not trying to use the imperial We here; it's very much that it was everybody's creativity going into it. I look at it sort of like the fourth season of Bablyon 5, if I can make a thoroughly dated geek reference here! They have the five season arc, and they thought they were going to end at four, so suspended the time table, eliminated a few of the elements, combined a couple characters, but they got to where they needed to go. They told the story they needed to tell, and the big elements, the big beats were all there. While I would have loved to have had more time, more space, more books, the things that made Wraith Wraith, the shape of the arc stayed the same.
Gauntlett: Last but not least, to end on a fun note, let's say for the sake of argument that you got drafted in to do one more Wraith supplement, but the publishers want you to focus on ghost documentary reality TV shows - and yes, I have read your Rant 8. What's your approach?
Dansky: Heh! Well, after the maniacal cackling dies down, and bearing in mind I am working on the 20th Anniversary edition of Wraith - so we've gone past supplement stage to 'Oh my God this is devouring my life, but in a good and welcoming way' - if I were to do a Wraith book dealing with the paranormal investigator types and their mandatory green screens, I would use Lucien Soulbans' work on Haunters as a starting point and essentially do the guide to messing with those guys. If you look at them in the context of Wraith, they are a wonderful source of Pathos, of emotional energy. Hundreds of thousands of people are watching them, they're amplifying their emotions all over TV, overacting impressively, and at the same time they're oversimplifying what ghosts are, all of which makes them an incredibly valuable resource to ghosts. So the book would be how to mess with them, how to use them for your own advantage, how to interact with them, and how to keep them on the air!
Gauntlett: It would explain so much!
Dansky: It would! I do enjoy watching people blunder around various locations in the dark, with their night vision goggles, reassuring us that they're alone in there, except for the camera and sound crews that are following them. I grew up in Philadelphia, so every one of these shows needs to make the pilgrimage to the Eastern State Penitentiary; a little jolt of nostalgia for an old Philadelphia boy!