Grave Goods and Buried Treasures [Geist: The Sin-Eaters]

Geist: The Sin-Eaters

The latest from Travis, our humble Geist 2nd Edition developer:

Sin-Eaters borrow the term Memento from the Latin phrase memento mori, “remember that you must die”. People have been finding or making tokens by which to remember death for nearly as long as they’ve been dying, but to the Bound they are something more. A Memento is a physical object with a Twilight presence, transformed by the resonance of death into something that’s no longer entirely of the living.

Death Trinkets

Most Mementos are ordinary objects that were transformed by playing an important role in someone’s death, or by acting as one of a ghost’s Anchors. The Bound have never been able to figure out exactly what turns one object into a Memento while another remains untouched; one grisly murder might result in the murder weapon itself becoming a token of death, while another death, just as violent, leaves the murder weapon unaltered, but creates a Memento out of the porcelain doll sitting on the shelf next to where the victim died.

Mementos can also come from more unusual sources. Objects brought back from the Underworld often become Mementos, resonating with the purpose for which they were returned to the world of the living. With effort, the Bound can even create Mementos, infusing an object of their own creation with Plasm and deathly inspiration. Geists can also create Mementos, through their own demise: a geist that’s torn apart or otherwise ended leaves a physical token of their existence in the form of a mask, and certain Ceremonies can create Mementos by trapping a ghost in one of its Anchors.

Some Sin-Eaters claim to own even stranger Mementos: the bones of a Kerberoi, bottled souls, undead hearts, and more. Such stories are exactly as fanciful as they are impossible to prove, but if nothing else they turn a common Memento into a great conversation starter.

Enduring Treasures

Mementos, like Sin-Eaters themselves, are equally solid to physical matter and Twilight ephemera. They’re also damned hard to destroy — they’re never damaged by accidents or environmental hazards, and even deliberate attempts to destroy them require overcoming an extremely high Durability. (Yes, that means a Memento umbrella can be used as a shield, and a Memento leather jacket is roughly the equivalent of a Kevlar vest.) The Bound can feed a Memento to their geist for a full refill of Plasm, but that’s considered a tool of last resort.

Aside from their Key, which we’ve already discussed, all Mementos have a supernatural effect of their very own — from a marble that always rolls toward the closest exit to a bootleg record pressed onto an old x-ray film that plays new songs by dead rock stars, Mementos warp the world around them. Sometimes they’re obvious, sometimes subtle; sometimes they’re powerful, sometimes they don’t seem to have a practical use, but people do strange things for a taste of magic, and Memento cults are known to spring up around charismatic individuals or especially remarkable Mementos. Even the Bound are known to be impressed by a well-curated collection of Mementos, artfully arranged by theme or expressing the sheer variety of death.

Greater Mementos

While most Mementos have a weird, but ultimately minor, supernatural effects, rumors abound of those with truly staggering power: A watch that stops you from aging as long as you wear it. A perfectly-preserved Roman trireme that can sail to any port in the Mediterranean in one night. A date book that tells you exactly when, where, and how you’re fated to die.

No one can seem to agree on what makes these Mementos, if they even exist, so powerful. Is it because they’re associated with famous deaths, like Caesar’s assassination or the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper? Is it because they’re very old, like the 430,000-year- old skull of the first known murder victim? Or is it just sheer dumb luck and random cosmic convergence?

Whatever the truth, even the rumor of a greater Memento can set the occult world on edge, and an actual, verifiable greater Memento is the sort of thing krewes and cults go to war over.

Example Mementos

Just to whet your appetite, here are a couple of example Mementos from the book. (The usual disclaimers about this being non-final, pre-editing text apply.)

The Cold Harbor Diary

Key: Stillness

Description: A small, bloodstained, leather-bound book, filled with notes written by a Union soldier during the American Civil War. Despite being made in the 1860s, it looks almost new. The pages are a uniform cream, the blood on the cover barely dry. The entries begin cheerfully, but become increasingly nihilistic and distraught as the diary goes on. The final entry is uncharacteristically short and to the point: “June 3. Cold Harbor. I was killed.”

Effect: The body of anyone who dies holding the Cold Harbor Diary cannot be identified. Fingerprints, DNA, dental records, and more all fail. Even the deceased’s loved ones can’t do better than “It sort of looks like him, maybe, but it’s hard to tell.” This effect does not extend to the deceased’s ghost.

The Drowned Phone

Key: Deep Waters

Description: A banged-up smartphone a few years out of date. Drops of water under the screen and behind the lens of the back camera create weird distortions in the display and in any photos taken with it. Despite that, the phone functions perfectly, though the operating system refuses to update to the latest version.

Effect: The phone can make calls and access the internet from anywhere, regardless of reception, provided it is at least partially submerged in water (which doesn’t affect it the way you’d expect). Audio sent this way is raspy and distorted on the other end, but usually still comprehensible. The phone can even make — and, according to one previous owner, receive — calls from the Underworld.

Next Time

Power that goes unused is little more than bragging rights. Sin-Eaters use their powers in service of their fellow dead and in opposition to the forces that would exploit them. So, next week will we learn about Reapers, or about ghosts?

  49 comments for “Grave Goods and Buried Treasures [Geist: The Sin-Eaters]

  1. BigDamnHero
    February 22, 2018 at 10:46 am


  2. Gregory Walter
    February 22, 2018 at 10:49 am


  3. Runcible
    February 22, 2018 at 11:00 am

    Reapers all the way! Let’s see those new antagonists!

  4. Second Chances
    February 22, 2018 at 11:04 am


  5. Re_Becca
    February 22, 2018 at 11:09 am

    Reapers! Ghosts are cool, but we know a lot about them already, after all.

  6. Tessie
    February 22, 2018 at 11:09 am

    What can we learn about ghosts that we don’t already know from all the other core books that has reprinted the same ephemeral rules? I’m guessing new Numina and what happens when you resolve a ghost’s Anchors (as opposed to just ending them).
    For that reason I’m definitely going to vote for Reapers.

    • Second Chances
      February 22, 2018 at 11:11 am

      I suspect that there are more details about different types and classes of ghosts. Geists being the foremost among them.

    • BigDamnHero
      February 22, 2018 at 11:16 am

      I also expect at least a glimpse at how they’ll tackle playable ghosts.

      • Tessie
        February 22, 2018 at 11:27 am

        Playable ghosts would be cool, but one interesting thing in a post that could otherwise be completely insubstantial is not something I’d gamble against a new type of entity we know close to nothing about (and absolutely nothing about, ruleswise).

    • Tessie
      February 22, 2018 at 11:29 am

      I’m honestly a bit disappointed in this preview. All we got to know is that there are no rules for how Mementos are created, and no guidelines for what powers they can have. The main mechanics of Mementos were already covered in the previous preview, so here we basically only got to know that they can be consumed for Plasm. I hope the next one, regardless of what it is, will be more informative.

  7. ajf115
    February 22, 2018 at 11:12 am

    I vote Reapers. Although ghosts are tempting, we already know far more about them than we do about Reapers.

  8. Elvis Jansson
    February 22, 2018 at 11:28 am

    Ghosts! More info on them is always welcome

  9. Afro Luigi
    February 22, 2018 at 11:30 am


  10. Jason Inczauskis
    February 22, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    I’m going to vote for Reapers as well.

  11. Shachar Gold
    February 22, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    Reapers all power!

    Also, I really like the presentation of Mementos- but I didn’t really got if “deathmasks” as their own thing are still, well, a thing. They are mentioned, after all, but so briefly that I don’t know if the term itself would still be used.

  12. ahather
    February 22, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    going to have to vote reapers

  13. Mad Maudlin
    February 22, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    Reapers, please.

  14. Yossarian
    February 22, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    I think the other side has this one, but ghosts!

  15. Vele
    February 22, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    Another fascinating entry. I like the changes made to mementos.

    As for my vote, Reapers for sure.

  16. SilverFang
    February 22, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    Got to say, I’m more curious about Reapers.

    But I’m also curious as to whether the rumors I’ve heard about ghosts are correct or not.

    But I cast my vote for the unknown Reapers.

  17. hoodedclaw
    February 22, 2018 at 2:45 pm


  18. Arcane
    February 22, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    Reapers please.

  19. Carnival
    February 22, 2018 at 3:18 pm


  20. Metalrift
    February 22, 2018 at 3:25 pm


  21. Nicias
    February 22, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    Nice. I like the weird effects. Usable but require creativity.

    Reapers please!

  22. Thorbes
    February 22, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    Ghosts, please 🙂

  23. Baboonking
    February 22, 2018 at 4:07 pm

    Reapers please. Curious to learn more about them. 🙂

    I like the little random effects on mementos. Opens up for a lot of possible fun and creative scenarios. Also like the ideas of cults of vanilla humans formed around them.

    I notice that the creation methods for mementos clearly correspond to 1e vanitas, fetters, and death masks. But you have been clear on that the idea and mechanics for mementos are more streamlined now in 2e, no longer being a catch all term for 5 different things. So this distinction in how they are created is just fluff now, right?

    Will any of the unique effects of fetters or vanitas exist in some other form in 2e or have they been completely scrapped?

  24. Ryan Spinney
    February 22, 2018 at 4:45 pm


  25. Fernando
    February 22, 2018 at 5:47 pm


  26. Robert D
    February 22, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    Toughest choice yet! I am fascinated and intrigued by the new antagonists, but also, I love supporting cast, and if the ghost option will give us a peak at the playable ghost supporting cast option…….
    I will put my vote on ghosts please!!

  27. Philip
    February 22, 2018 at 7:13 pm


  28. Cherubic
    February 22, 2018 at 8:37 pm

    Interesting, I like the little niche mechanical effects they have now. It gives them a bit more flavor (not that you couldn’t tell some interesting stories with why a Memento came to be in 1e Geist, but this brings it into the mechanics more I think.)

    For the vote, let’s hear about Reapers! I’ve been curious about them since they were first mentioned.

  29. Alan-Michael Havens
    February 22, 2018 at 8:57 pm


  30. WuseMajor
    February 22, 2018 at 10:29 pm


    That phone is very interesting. And creepy!

  31. Adrian
    February 23, 2018 at 2:27 am

    Going to join the choir and say Reapers as well. Ghosts are interesting, but we really need to learn bit more about the antagonists to know where the theme and interactions of Geists fall on, human side, or mostly underworld like before. Like, do sin-eaters work to protect humans close to them for example. I mean, outside of general “I’m a good person” sense.

    That said. I feel like a decent way to off someone without evidence is to hand them cold harbor diary before doing them. No one will ID the body. Weird items can have their uses.

  32. Taiko
    February 23, 2018 at 4:45 am

    Ghosts please.

    I’ve noted this elsewhere, but I really like that mementos now have actual mechanical effects this time around. First edition made some notes on how certain mementos had particular effects, such as a bus ticket that a bus driver would accept as fare before returning the ticket without realizing it. However, beyond a couple of examples this was something neither the rules nor subsequent materials followed. I was always a bit disapointed by that. Glad there will be some proper support for that in the coming edition.

    All that said, I wonder if making a character into a memento collector would be a bad idea…

  33. kevin mckinney
    February 23, 2018 at 10:42 am

    I want to see if you can become a Geist as a playable ghost

    • Robert D
      February 23, 2018 at 12:19 pm

      Fascinating possibility!

  34. Tadanori Oyama
    February 23, 2018 at 7:22 pm

    I would dearly like to learn about Reapers.

  35. Uncle Yo
    February 24, 2018 at 12:37 am

    Reminiscent of “The Lost Room,” which is a 7-layer cake of awesome into the setting.

    Reapers, definitely.

  36. tasti man LH
    February 24, 2018 at 3:14 am

    Reapers please. New enemies are always appreciated.

  37. reseru
    February 24, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    Reapers, please.

  38. wyrdhamster
    February 25, 2018 at 2:12 am

    Really want to see more about Ghosts!

  39. Joris
    February 25, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    I didn’t really like Mementos at the first edition because I thought the mechanics surrounding them were overly complicated and that they were a bit confusing about what they did and what they were, and I’m excited to see the new approach the second edition is taking with them, and that I’m actually looking forward to seeing more of them 🙂

    My vote will be on Ghosts just because I want to know about the way Sin-Eaters see them, beyond just an echo of someone who was alive, or residual memories

  40. ThomasM
    February 25, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    Thank you for another fun update. I vote for Ghosts.

  41. Xia Grey
    February 26, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    Reapers! It’s time we learned what they are!

  42. John Veltman
    February 26, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    Gabe mains!

    Er, I mean Reapers!

  43. Noneofyourbusiness
    February 26, 2018 at 10:21 pm

    Reapers, they’re newer!

    You mean the bones of a Kerberos not “a Kerberoi”, right? The singular hasn’t been changed to the same as the plural?

  44. Josh Stotz
    February 27, 2018 at 11:16 am


    Also, holy shit all! This is GREAT! SO excited!!

    So…I know I probably will not get an answer but it can never hurt to ask…are we going to see a playtest? HMMM? 😀

Comments are closed.