” To try to fashion something from suffering, to relish our triumphs, and to endure defeats without resentment: all that is compatible with the faith of a heretic.”
Spirituality and the Afterlife
At the crossroads between the dead and the living is the question of faith, spirituality and belief. Originally Stygia did not weigh in on the beliefs of it’s citizens – the path to Transcendence could be one of many faces after all. And there were the Far Shores, a place of beauty and splendor in the desolation of the Underworld where the dead could go to enjoy the remnant of their wraithly lives. The simultaneous betrayal of the Shining Ones to forge their own utopias in their image coupled with the coup of the Fishers (Christians) against Stygia led spirituality to die out across Stygia.
Transcendence is a myth. There is no Far Shore for you…or is there?
Enter the Heretics, a faction that is often not given much screen time in Wraith games. To be a heretic does not simply mean you are religious, but you prescribe to a set of beliefs that are not only intrinsic to your character but shape its approach to Restless society – everything from the Hierarchy to freewraiths, to the views of your Shadow, to Oblivion, to Transcendence and the Far Shores. As you will see, L.A. boasts some pretty deep Heretic Cults. You might be one of them, forging a path for yourself to the future. Or, you may be like the supermajority of the Restless Dead and consider Transcendence and all that to be poppycock. But for those true believers, there are others among you.
Heretic Cults in L.A.
Prescribing to the will of the Surgeon General, voice of the Great Sculptor, the Beautiful People seek the perfect vessel to help shrug off imperfections of the soul and reach Transcendence.
The New Family (Oblivion Cult)
Helter Skelter wasn’t just the jibbering words of a racist madman, it was a prophecy that detailed a time when Spectres and Oblivion would dominate the Earth. Led by the originator of the term, Charles Manson is a Haunter who has taken his Guild’s arcanos of Pandemonium to a near divine status. Still charismatically racist, Manson lures potential souls under his umbrella to prepare for Helter Skelter – and only Manson can stop it…or enable it. Or use it. Unclear which. Will you help him? You should. You should see what he does to people who say no.
Tied to the Shining One Morg, the Tethan Ascendancy (or just the Ascendancy) fosters the growth of one’s true self to destroy the self’s rivals. Only when that is done will you become a master of the universe and take your place at Morg’s side in a timeless realm of splendor and paradise, the Far Shore of “Eternity”.
LOS SOLDADOS DE SANTA MUERTE
A former Renegade gang has joined forces with (some say has been subsumed by) a Heretic cult, laying claim to East Los Angeles under the banner of Los Soldados de Santa Muerte. Like the Mexican narco cartel Los Zetas, this motley collection of zealous Renegades, disillusioned Legionnaires, and iconoclastic Haunters and Spooks, went from being enforcers for their respective factions to becoming a local power all unto themselves. Known for engaging in brutally violent “shock and awe” tactics, they also operate through protection rackets, assassinations, extortion, kidnappings and other activities, all in the name of growing and expanding their unique flavor of Santa Muerte cult. Rumor has it they even count a Risen (or two? three?) among their ranks. Their leader is either a former Harbinger or Pardoner (depending on who you ask) turned Heretic, and the group exerts control over the East Los Angeles shadowlands, using it as a base of operations to fund sinister exploits into the Mictlan ziggurat in Santa Monica bay, bordering the Great Rip.