Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park,over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire,
I do wander every where,
Swifter than the moon's sphere;
And I serve the Fairy Queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green,
The cowslips tall her pensioners be;
In their gold coats spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favours,
In those freckles live their savours.
I must go seek some dewdrops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear.
Farewell thou lob of spirits; I'll be gone.
Our Queen and all her elves come here anon.
You remember your home.
You remember what it was like, before They took you.
The sound of your family's voices,
the smell of your home,
the colors of your neighborhood.
Even after the blinding glories
and pitiless dark wastes of Faerie,
Your memories were a beacon.
Without them, you would never have found your way back
through the twisting maze of the Thorns,
to collapse torn and exhausted on the cool earth
of the world you were born in once more -
To find that your home was no longer yours,
that an impostor had taken over your life,
that you had been changed.
Your is beauty and grotesquerie,
illusion and iron,
insight and madness.
Where will you go now that you are Lost?
Who will you love, who will you war against,
who will you make of yourself?
How will your tale end?
And that is what has happened. You were taken once, so long ago you can barely remember. You joined in the dance, or said the forbidden name, or trespassed on the haunted property, and they took you. They took you and they changed you, twisted you to fit some purpose that lacked both rhyme and reason. Before you may have been a renowned explorer, the bravest kid on the block, a peaceful and content mother or a criminal caring only for himself and built like a brick-wall. But in Fae, that didn't matter. The Fair Folk took you, changed you and twisted your mind. The mother became the vicious hellhound, the brave boy became the gentle snowfall after a storm, the tough-as-nails mobster a helpless clockwork puppet dancing to the tunes of his inhuman captors.
But you remembered. Something inside you remembered the smell of strawberries and cream, or the feel of concrete beneath your feet as you made your round... or the laughter of your children, and you escaped. You tore your way through the Hedge that separates the real and your prison. You bled, suffered and fought to reclaim what you had lost.
But there was nothing to reclaim. The Gentry cleaned up after themselves. Either you were assumed dead and your friends and family moved on... or they left something else, a fetch, a crafted carbon copy of you, a bleak, pitiful excuse of your old self... but no one can see that! To them, it's like you never left... and with what had happened to you, how much you'd changed... could you truly reclaim something you lost so long ago? It doesn't help that you look just like a human to them, their eyes cannot pierce the Mask that hides your true nature from them.
Time in Fae has taken its toll. What might have been ten, fifteen years to you could have been fifty in the real world... of a few weeks. You might not have aged a day, but your fetch, your family are all old and frail. When you entered through the hedge, you were a human, when you left... you were something else. A changeling, a half-fae, a foot in each realm, you belong in neither. You have found others, escapees just like you, and together you huddle, frightened to be found by the Gentry, frightened of your alien selves, frightened that you will lose what little you have reclaimed. You are Changelings, you are lost. But it will be a cold day in hell before you let those bastards take you back!
So yes, as some of you know, I'm planning to set in motion a game of Changeling: The Lost. The game is a part of the (new) World of Darkness series released by White Wolf, and uses a heavily modified Storyteller System to create characters. We will get to that bit in a little while.
I'm planning to run our game in Seattle, since I've a bit of a crush on that city because of RAIN, FORESTS and being the host of the coolest episode of the first season of X-Files. However, not being American, I know very little about it, and most likely the game will take place in some fictional city/town a bit away from the Metropol, but we will see about it. The game will also be set in and around the beginning of the 21st century.
I am currently looking at a maximum of 6 players. Even though a few of you are further along with others, I want confirmations here on who wants to play on a first come, first served basis. I've juggled the idea around of having two separate threads, but I'm not certain I could handle that, we shall see what happens.
I'm aware that most of you people don't own or have in your hands the core rulebook. Do not sweat, I have bought the game, and I've also uploaded the pdf, which I will share the link to with you in a PM exchange. If you do not wish to have the PDF, we can handle character creation over IM, although I do recommend the book since it has much more material that what I will post here.
The game will be played on the board primarily, although I want to run individual preludes with you people before we start. First and foremost so we can flesh out your characters more, but also because it helps give those who aren't too sure about the system and setting something to work with.
I will also post, essentially, a guide to fleshing out the most crucial elements of your character by yourself here, but I will attempt to be available as much as I can over IM in case of questions. The system is static, and doesn't require any rolling to be done when you make a character, instead you allocate points as you wish. There are, however, several features that generally is a pain to keep tabs on unless you have the books yourself.
First, lay your eyes on these two files.
These are the character sheets. The second file, sheetguide, is what I will briefly take you through now, at least the most vital parts of the game. This will be a short tutorial and explanation, more information can be found in the book itself.
Name: Many, many changeling don't remember their old names. It's something that happened during the change. A name has power, and if you ever offered your name to Them, they took it, and they changed it, and with it they changed you. Some figure their old names out, or take new ones, this is common for those who can't, or don't want to, return to their old lives. Others keep the names they were given by their Keeper (the one who owned you, not necessarily the one who caught you, but generally the one who changed you), out of spite or merely because they can't be bothered to figure out a new one. Others take their names from old nursery rhymes and stories... that isn't always a good idea, however. You never know, and fae fear this especially, whether that name actually belongs to one of Them.... and you do NOT want to say it out loud...
Player and Chronicle are just that. Chronicle's the story you will all be participating in, which is Seasons' Greeting.
Concept: This is your character in two words or so. Maybe you're playing a savvy loanshark with a bite or a passionate tree nymph artist or whatever. There are several suggestions in the book, and I will list them further down when I explain the seemings. This is just a helpful tool to anchor your character, nothing that dictates how you need to play, or something like that. If thine concept offends thee, pluck it out and replace it.
Virtue and Vice: These are concepts akin to the old Nature and Demeanor of the old WoD system. Basically, you pick a Virtue and a Vice, and these are core elements that are close to your character. Virtue is something in which you are strong and is positive, it is a defining feature of who you are. The seven virtues are: Charity, Faith, Fortitude, Hope, Justice, Prudence and Temperance.
- Charity is fairly self-explanatory. A charitable character is guided by her compassion to share what she has in order to improve the plight of those around her.
- Faith means you believe in a purpose, that there is a reason behind it. Not necessarily a deity, but fate, or destiny. Nothing happens at random.
- Fortitude means that you simply do not believe in faith without action. you want your ideas and beliefs to be tried, you want to prove your worth and weather the storm. Regardless of the cost.
- Hope is something you have because you know evil cannot prevail, injustice will be set right and wrongs will be corrected. Morality and decency shall triumph over the base.
- Justice is much like hope, but where hope beliefs in good vs evil, justice is about blind equality. If you sin or break the law, it's on you. No matter what.
- Prudence Wisdom and restraint shall triumph. Better to think first and act after.
- Temperance It's all about balance, moderation in everything, excess only leads to trouble.
As far as vices go, they're Envy, Gluttony, Greed, Lust, Pride, Sloth and Wrath. You guys know these.
Virtues and vices aren't necessarily what defines your character, and these are certainly not the only virtues and vices you have. But. They're your most prominent virtues/vices. These are the things that call forth your best, and worst, sides. If you act accordingly during situations that summon these manner of emotions, you will be rewarded by regaining willpower.
Seeming and Kith: This is what category of changeling you are. Generally, most people will be able to tell, from a glance, what seeming you are, and might treat you accordingly. Your seeming is decided upon who your keeper was and what he/she did to you. A Frosty queen of Ice and Snow might make her changeling-slaves into her icicle servants and maids, thus turning them into living ice. But she could have also kept you as her hunting-falcon, or a tailor (or a rug!), or even a soldier or librarian. Each seeming is also further divided into kiths, 'families' of the seeming that share similar traits. The Beasts, for example, have kiths like Hunterhearts, predators, and Runnerswifts, (generally) the prey. Or Skitterskulk, creepy crawlies. Kiths, like seemings, define how you look, and gives you a slight advantage, but it is generally preferrable to pick something that suits your character rather than something with a power you like. Also, for those not satisfied with the kiths presented here,
The six seemings are called The Beast, The Darkling, The Elemental, The Fairest, The Ogre and The Wizened
The Beast was kidnapped and turned into an animal, real or mythological during her stay in fae. And with that change, her lost her mind. She became a beast, and instincts ruled her life. She may have been one of the hounds kept to hunt down other beasts for sport, or she could've been their prey. Or a songbird in a gilded cage, or a beast of burden, or a prowling predator in the night. Or a spider, weaving webs in the keepers' dungeon... the list goes on. When they remembered, they also regained some of that humanity, and once they left fae behind they could think, and feel, and love... but the instincts are still there. You generally look more human than beast, obviously, but the more in tune you are with the Fae, the more beast-like your seeming is.
- Broadbacks -animals of great endurance or stubborness, like camels, or horses, mules, etc.
- Hunterheart - Generally predatorial animals like wolves, crocodiles, birds of prey or cats.
- Runnerswift - Fast runners like rabbits, antelopes, etc.
- Skitterskulk - spiders, centipedes, rats and other nasties.
- Steepscrambler - Climbers and such, monkeys, raccoons, squirrels, some insects.
- Swimmerskin - Fish, sharks, otters, ducks, etc.
- Venombite - Poisonous spiders or insects, or even reptiles.
- Windwing - Flyers, such as butterflies, bats, birds.
Suggested concepts Horse whisperer, cat burglar, animal rights activist, ox-sized college jock, homeless sewer rat king, man-eating loan shark, reptilian lawyer, grizzly man with a cluem hare-like professional athlete, dog soldier, queen bee of the sorority, eagle-eyed detective, penniless frog prince.
The Darkling sought to know more than she was allowed to. With enough courage and determination, you can find out anything, but you have to ask yourself if the price is truly worth it. The Gentry aren't happy with those who try to steal from or spy on them, and their punishments are cruel and unusual. She was torn in two, forced to live as a shadow upon the wall, or as a shrivelled wretch digging tunnels, or a wight forced to consort with ghosts and other unspeakables. Maybe she impressed them enough to become their keepers of secrets, but it was never a reward. The Fair Folk are capricious and unreliable, and no few have spent years in fae guarding useless junk for their masters. The Darklings are the boogeymen, the stalkers and the creep.
- Antiquarians - The keepers of lore and artifacts
- Gravewights - Cold-skinned darklings who hang with the dead
- Leechfingers - They live off the life of humans like their namesakes
- Mirrorskin - They don't have a face anymore, but they can look like others.
- Tunnelgrub - The unseen, the slithering, the tunnelers.
Suggested concepts Parapsychologist, nocturnal building superintendant, night-shift call-center worker, chimney sweep, professional spelunker, lab assistant, amateur night-time naturalist, night refuge manager
The Elemental are perhaps the furthest from real humans. Taken as human, she is twisted and infused with parts of the nature around her. Perhaps she was turned into a flickering reading-candle, or maybe a nymph in a great garden, or a single falling snowflae, or a tornado tearing up everything around her, or a puppet made of wood and strings. When she fled, she may have regained some of her humanity, but when others are still, in essence, humans (or so the elemental might feel), she is equal parts human, nature and fae, and feels more at home in her element of choice than with the beasts she once belonged to.
- Airtouched - The elementals of air, wind, cloud or smoke. They are as light as air, but can be as fatal as pestilent smog.
- Earthbones - Forged out of the earth, they are strong, resilient and unmovable.
- Fireheart - The flickering flame or the enraged thunder, they as bright and quick as their namesake.
- Manikin - These are the poor wretches who were turned inside out, emptied and stuffed with filling. Or slowly had their limbs replaced by wooden copies... or forged out of glass or mercury.
- Snowskin - They are the cold and silent, the terrible chill.
- Waterborn - Ladies of the lake, undines, water demons or water babies.
- Woodblood - The plants, flowers, grass and greenery. Tall as a tree, or small as a seed.
Suggested conceptsSecretly incompetent firefighter, landscape gardener, logging saboteur, clockwork secretary, workaholic steelworker, tornado chaser, model with flawless skin, all-weather surfer, competitive mountaineer, deep-sea diver, extreme sports fanatic
The Fairest was taken because they had something the Gentry wanted. They were beautiful beyond peer, or genius craftsmen or musicians, great leaders or a vile seductress who murdered her victims. All of them carried the spark of arrogance, of pride and the ability to back it up, that drew the Fair Folk to them like a moth to a flame. But life as a Fairest was hardly enjoyable. Tormented to stand as a lone statuette to be forgotten in a park, or the servant of a cruel and greedy dragon, or a musician forced to play the same tune again, and again, and again, until her captors lost interest and threw her away with the other baubles. Still, she escaped, which was a difficult choice, because the Fae is the most seductive to the Fairest. It is a place of bittersweet pleasure. Where they are loved and beaten daily.
- Bright ones - These are the shining, glowing lights of the stars, of the sun or the moon; from fire, from ice or from water.
- Dancer - Those who were blessed with grace and agility, and forced to perform until their feets were bloodied stumps.
- Draconic - Haughty and arrogant leaders who rule through threats and bile.
- Flowering - Flowers blossom at the feet of these gardeners without peer.
- Muse - Like those of legend, you are a thing of awe-striking beauty, enough to inspire humans to amazing deeds.
Suggested concepts Charismatic, but incompetent executive, professional athlete, lead singer in a band, amiable politician, catalog model, aging heartthrob, too-glamorous gangbanger, out-of-work actor waiting tables, high school beauty queen, low-table professional footballer, late night torch singer.
The Ogre knows that the world is hard, cruel and merciless, so she had to be that too or else she would die. She suffered beatings, abuse and unfair treatment so she could get stronger, bigger and better than those who lost. And she did. She became an ogre, a troll of the old legends who is as much a bully as her captors. The ogre has accepted that sometimes the bullied becomes the bully, and she has, whether she likes it or not. Even a gentle person will break at some point, and the unifying concept of the ogres is that they have an incredible will to live, to survive and to exact revenge on their captors. The ogres are not necessarily stupid, or slow, they just appear like that... and they were rarely given leave from their hard labor to study or practice their social skills. Many are also known to eat human flesh, and enjoying it!
- Cyclopean - The hunters and herdsmen of legend who captured men to eat in their pot. Most are somehow crippled, but have an amazing sense of smell to compensate.
- Farwalkers - Bigfoot, the yeti, the missing link. They are the farwalkers, abominable men of mystery.
- Gargantuan - Captured by giants, it's no surprise they're gigantic themselves.
- Gristlegrinder - Eater of man, glutton without peer and with a constant thirst for blood, you're the thing under the bridge and there are no goats around.
- Stonebones - Huge, rocky and generally fairly even-tempered... by ogre standards.
- Water-Dwellers - The thing under the surface, who pulls down unwary children and eat their bones... maybe.
Suggested Concepts Working-class Red Cap hard-man, arrogant giant CEO, shrill political activist, gung-ho Marine grunt, nightclub bouncer, understanding but non-nonsense bar manager, Bigfoot hunter, belligerent redneck, prizefighter, long-distance truck driver, deep sea fisherman.
The Wizened is a strange one. Taken and experimented on, her only sin was that she was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe she was abducted and slowly turned into one of her abductees, or maybe she was forced to serve as a maid until nothing occupied her mind but to keep the castle spic and span, spic and span, spic and span... or maybe she got taken as an assistant to a cook, or a brewer, or any other tradesman. Now they're back in the human world and they have the skills to prove their worth... for a price, of course.
- Artist - knockers, gnomes, great workers of art, craftsmen without peer. Whatever they do, they do it like no one else.
- Brewer - You can cook up just about anything. As long as it's drinkable, that is.
- Chatelaine - Perfect butlers, manservants, organizers and seneschals. They live to serve and to be served.
- Chirurgeons - They are the perfect doctors, often with knowledge far greater than anything mankind knows... but at what cost?
- Oracle - They can see the future like their namesakes, but sometimes it's muddled and hard to read.
- Smith - Forced to do labor under the watchful eyes of their keepers, they've learned to mold the metals and wield the tools like no one else.
- Soldier - Nothing more than another life to be wasted... or so it was until the soldier proved to be surprisingly hard to kill.
- Woodwalker - Living in and protecting the wild, using any means necessary. Great herbalists.
Suggested Concepts Creepy backstreet surgeon, paranoid UFO enthusiast, faithful laconic manservant, snooty maître d', footpad for hire, reclusive artist, socially inept radio technician, antisocial Nethead, pawnbroker.
That should get you all started. Get in touch with me here or over AIM (I'd prefer you to sign up at least here, so it'll be easier to keep tabs on who's signed up. Right now the people who have signed up officially are Shinigori, Idran and DarkKnight, so you better hurry up!
I originally intended to cover the entire process, but seriously... writing this thing nearly killed me. Use this to get a sense of what you want to play, and we'll solve the rest either together, or you handle it with the book.
Hope to see you aboard!