Orpheus: The Taste of Ashes - Speculation

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This is the page to add wild speculation about what you think is going on in the game. This may or may not be in character - though if it's in character you may want to post it to the forum.

Spectres

The Land of the Spectres

  • Mona may be trapped in the same place that Teresa, Kate and Annie ended up in when they looked at the moment of a spectre's creation. But Mona was looking at an event in the future. Does that mean that the 'land of the spectres' isn't a land, as such, but a future time?
    • Looks unlikely
    • Mona did seem to be trapped in a future event, but there was nothing to suggest that this was the place that Teresa, Annie and Kate ended up in previously. Possibly that place (or time) was where the black tower came from.
  • The land of the spectres may be part of, or connected to, something like a universal subconscious. This could be why Frank was able to get there from Teresa's dreams.

Radio Free Death

The Broadcaster

  • Annie's voice and linguistic analysis suggests that RFD's speaker is male, black, poor and has probably spent some time in prison. He could be one of the inmates believed to have died in the Marion Prison fire. The most likely candidate is Terrence Green, a former New York gangmember.

Pigment

Distribution

  • The drugs market is being flooded with cheap Pigment. Perhaps someone wants to create a lot of projectors.

Spectre Involvement

  • At least one pigment dealer seemed to have a spectre companion. He didn't seem to know it was there.
  • That same dealer was subsequently killed, and his ghost apparently dissipated. It seems likely that this was the work of the spectre, but why?
  • There was a gauze chess piece hidden in the dealer's drugs stash. It was the same as the piece seen in Mona's vision of death on a black horse: a white bishop. The current theory is that this was acting as some kind of marker, perhaps singling the dealer out for death.
  • It seems like something of a coincidence that the dealer was killed just after Ben went to talk to him.

Organisations

Terrel & Squib

  • T&S may be behind Mastworth Packing. They developed the anti-spook tech that the company are using (or, at least, the MP stuff looks very similar to the T&S inventions) and there was a RFD broadcast that said something about "zombies" in connection with them. It also said: "being killed isn't the worst they can do".
    • Confirmed
  • T&S have developed some method of capturing, and possibly altering, spooks.
    • Confirmed
  • Maybe NextWorld's attack on them was just a ruse to make them appear to be more victims. Perhaps they're really in on whatever's going down.

Mastworth Packing

  • This is clearly a cover for a group experimenting with spooks.
    • Confirmed
    • Terrel & Squib are funding Mastworth
  • They seem to have been making something like zombies (for want of a better word) out of homeless people they've abducted. One of their reports mentioned terms like "convergence", "harmonisation" and "mutation". What if they're making Jasons that they have some method of controlling? The "harmonisation" could be an effect similar to the spectre hive mind.
    • Partially confirmed; partially disproved
    • They have been making zombies, but these were created by forcing them to project, breaking them in gauze form and then putting the docile spooks back into their bodies.

The Ghosts in the Wires

  • Shelley raved about something coming "out of the wires" just before apparently disappearing from the computer she was Inhabiting. Something came out of the phone line in Tom's apartment and may well have been responsible for him burning his apartment down. Something is inside the FBI system and seems to be able to manipulate it in ways not commonly associated with Inhabit. This all adds up to there being a group of spooks able to interact with computer systems and, possibly, power and/or telephone lines in previously unkown ways.
    • Partially confirmed
    • Mastworth have been working on ways of getting ghosts to interact with electronics. They have demonstrated success with at least one subject: Shelley Jackson, the ghost of a Delta Crucible Haunter. She can now travel through power lines, and apparently be controlled remotely.
  • Does this tie into Roy Berkeley's conspiracy theory (possibly inspired by RFD) about there being ghosts in the telephone exchange?

The Chips

Origin

  • Only the government or a large (possibly multinational) corporation are likely to have the resources to make something like this.

Functions

  • Each one must broadcast a unique signal allowing them to be identified and tracked.
  • It's possible that the chips may have active functions, rather than just passive recording of data. For example, what if there's some sort of override or trigger for certain actions? In particular, there might be a "manifest and destroy everything around you" function. If that's the case, maybe this was triggered in Tom's by whatever came out of the wires, effectively puppeting him into flaring up with Witch's Nimbus.

Apocalypse

Mona's Visions

  • In the future she saw, a rift opens up and spectres come through to interact with the physical world. What if the Orpheus attack, the Pigment glut and whatever went on at Marion Prison has something to do with whatever causes that?

Countdown

  • It seems likely that preparations have to be made in order for the spectres to create the rift and bring about the apocalypse. These preparations may be linked to the 'Dark Cathedrals' that Mona spoke of: places of pain and death.
  • The recent visions that Mona, Kate and Annie experienced might relate to these preparations: a particular number of deaths at a particular time and place, in a prescribed manner. If this can be stopped, could it prevent (or at least hinder) the apocalypse coming to pass?
  • Maybe it's more than death that they need -- maybe it's something to do with creating more spectres.
  • What's the role of the pigment in all of this? Is it just a convenient tool that they're making use of, or is it something that they've seeded?

Speculation

The Chains (The Party Spirit), Portland (Happy New Year) and Spook Night (Powers, Principalities, Thrones and Dominions) events are connected. The spectres are causing deaths, and possibly weak areas in the boundary between the physical world and the place where they reside. It’s likely that this is related to (possibly necessary for) the coming apocalypse. These sites (and others like them) may correspond to the “dark cathedrals” Mona wrote about in her journal. If these assumptions are correct, then the Portland incident indicates that the upcoming apocalypse isn’t just New York’s problem.

The Portland deaths were thought to be drug-related, and that drug was probably pigment. The one thing all of these incidents have in common isn’t necessarily death; it’s ghosts. Maybe the deaths aren’t the important thing: it could be that the spectres need the ghosts or, more specifically, their gauze. That would explain the pigment involvement. When they have to cause deaths (rather than luring in pre-existing spooks), it’s a way to make sure that the dead people leave ghosts. Maybe they are involved in the manufacture and distribution of the drug, making sure that it floods the market and creates more potential “snacks”.

Maybe the spectres need the gauze to build something; more structures/entities like the one in Chains’ basement, or perhaps the tower itself. The sounds that will precede the rift might represent similar scenes being played out; perhaps the last few deaths or acts of consumption needed to forge the tower or open the way.

The apocalypse is related to the coming of an entity that the spectres call “Grandmother”. This entity is the “she” referred to in the prophecy. The “war that shall stop up the well of souls” is the reason why there are no pre-millennial ghosts. This scarcity is possibly why the spectres might have been driven to creating more of them. The number 318 featured prominently in the Forebode visions relating to the Spook Night event, and the prophecy mentions a “choir of three-hundred souls”. This number reflects the number of spooks they need, regardless of what it is they actually need them for.

If the majority of the harvests involve deaths and pigment, it may be possible to identify any others that have already taken place. If there is a pattern to it, then it might be possible to identify the time and place of any future harvests, and stop them from happening.

Supporting Evidence

Grandmother (First Interlude)

One of the spectres uttered the cryptic phrase “Grandmother’s coming”, when asked what the sound of drumming meant.

Chains (The Party Spirit)

Not-Gwynneth was using Gwynneth to lure ghosts to the nightclub. Although it isn’t clear exactly what happened to them there, they certainly didn’t leave again. The accompanying sound of knives might mean that they were shredded, or possibly consumed. There was some kind of organic gauze structure or entity in the basement, and destroying this caused a small storm on the spiritual plane.

Portland (Happy New Year)

While assessing Portland as a possible site for a new branch of Orpheus, Zoë heard an explosion and felt the ground shake. None of the ordinary people seemed to notice anything, so since she was projecting at the time she assumed it was purely a spiritual phenomenon. The disturbance seemed to come from the direction of Powell’s City of Books, and when she investigated further she observed a gauze haze surrounding the building. This seemed similar to the storm that grew around Chains when Tom destroyed the entity in its basement, but not as strong. The haze was also present within Powell’s. Searching for the source, she instead found a gauze object: a tablet with some kind of inscription in a language she didn’t understand. Unfortunately, she also found two spectres or, rather, they found her.

When Tom and Teresa researched the area, they found a newspaper article about a multiple murder. The incident happened no more than a block or two from Powell’s, and was thought to be drug-related. Although none of the ordinary people seemed able to perceive the haze when Tom and Teresa checked out the bookshop for themselves, the atmosphere was oddly tense, and the people inside were more irritable than might have been expected. Above the gauze tablet, there was evidence of some kind of weakening on the spiritual plane; possibly the remains of some kind of portal.

The Lost Boy (Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back)

The Lost Boy ate three of the four projecting deadheads, confirming that spectres can consume spooks. Evidently, they can interact with even very weak projectors enough to eat their gauze.

The Prophecy (Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back)

“She will come, in all her raiment and glory
Heralded by her choir of three hundred souls
And by these signs shall you know her
First will come a great war that shall block the Well of Souls…”

Spook Night (Powers, Principalities, Thrones and Dominions)

At least four Foreboders received warning visions or dreams about some imminent event involving a large number of deaths, and there was evidence to suggest these deaths would be connected to a tainted batch of pigment. Further investigation showed spectres keeping dealers company, with more of them occupying at least one of the Spook Night venues (in advance of the big night). One dealer turned up dead, and a Forebode vision showed this to be the result of something like an epileptic fit; possibly caused by tainted drugs. The unfortunate man left a ghost, which was apparently consumed by his spectre companion.

The Apocalypse (Shadows of Destiny)

On May 1st 2003, a rift will form at Ground Zero and a tower will come through, slamming into the ground with enough force to create a blast wave that will envelop the city. Spooks caught in it will be shredded, and there were signs that embodied people at the site will be killed. Spectres will emerge and capture spooks, dragging them back to stretch them over the tower like a skin. Just before the rift opens, there will be a chorus of agonised screams over the abattoir sound of steel slicing flesh.

According to Mona’s journal, there are or will be a number of sites around New York that she calls “dark cathedrals’; places drenched in pain and suffering. These seem to be connected to the apocalypse.