As with many other concepts in the Underworld, Angst has a spiritual component and a manipulable physical component. Angst manifests as an inky blank substance, which stains the hands of Pardoners, is collected in their iron lanterns, and is eventually transferred into a massive Angst Battery in the Pardoner Chapterhouse. Concentrated Angst is a form of toxic waste, the stuff of Oblivion, and left to its own devices can be dangerous.
In Play Edit
Wraiths have an Angst attribute, which is measured from 1 to 10. The Angst Attribute is actually two Attributes. All Wraiths have a Permanent Angst defined at creation, rated in "dots", and a Temporary Angst score which fluctuates during play, rated in "points." Angst is largely controlled by the Shadowguide and the Storyteller, and under most circumstances, a Wraith's player knows his Angst score only in vague terms.
Angst is increased several ways: Rolling a "1" on Shadow Dice offered by the Shadow, by using certain Arcanoi, and by fulfilling a Shadow's Dark Passions. When a character's Angst is too high (exceeding his Willpower), the Shadow can attempt Catharsis to take over the Wraith and cause even more damage. In addition, a Shadow can trade in 10 Temporary Angst points for a Permanent Angst dot. If a Wraith's Permanent Angst reaches 10, then he becomes a Spectre under Storyteller control.
Angst is generally harder to decrease than it is to increase; the Underworld as written in Wraith is stacked in Oblivion's favor (and has been growing worse as time passes). That said, the standard Wraithly tool for managing the Shadow is the Castigate Arcanos. The Dark Kingdom of Jade uses a similar, but more limited art called the Way of the Soul.
Background Information Edit
Many White Wolf fans (and detractors) often use the word "angst" in reference to the World of Darkness games, usually intending to refer to some vague mopey, depressed quality; or the state of shaking your fist futilely at uncaring gods.
The actual definition of angst has nothing to do with this odd interpretation.
- angst: A feeling of anxiety or fear. From German.
See also: pretentious