The successor to Changeling The Dreaming
and fifth of the New World of Darkness
games, following Vampire
. Player characters are Changelings, humans who were stolen from their lives by the True Fae
and kept as slaves or servants. Changelings are no longer entirely human, having been tormented in positively Lovecraftian
ways until they were broken in either body, mind, soul, or all of the above, and then rebuilt according to the True Fae's whims. The player characters, and many non-player character Changelings, are those who managed to fight, sneak, run, or trick their way back to freedom and the mortal world, but even when they return they bear the scars of their experience. Their very bodies have been changed into inhuman shapes. Their eyes have been opened so that they can see the truth of things, but they are also beset by hallucinations and tricks of perception. Worst of all is the constant, nagging worry: what if I never escaped? What if this is all a trick... or if I was allowed to leave?
Considered by some to be the single bleakest thing White Wolf has ever written. Well, maybe not quite
as bleak as Wraith: The Oblivion
was, but cranked up there pretty hard and fast. Definitely
a stark contrast to its idealistic predecessor, Changeling: The Dreaming
Even if it isn't the bleakest thing White Wolf has included in the New World of Darkness
, it is almost certainly among the most melancholic and a stark contrast to its predecessor, Changeling The Dreaming
. There is no redemption, no way to go back to what you once were. The True Fae are infinite, their sorcery unstoppable, and their appetites impossible to slake. The Changelings can either resume their old lives knowing that they could be helping but aren't, or they can take on their new lives, safe in the knowledge that their endeavors will be at best a moist towelette on the raging bonfire of the Fae. If, by some miracle, they ''do'' become powerful enough to truly take on the True Fae, the results aren't pretty.
On the other hand, there is a deep emphasis on relationships, interconnection, and wonder
that isn't there in other New World of Darkness
games. Being only slightly better than humans, Changelings must rely on others— their Motley, their Freehold, their Entitlement— to help them take on most threats and maintain their hold on what sanity remains to them. In addition, several sourcebooks note that for all the horrors of the Changeling existence, they also experience incredible beauty and fantastic marvels that most mortals can never see.
Changeling was the second "limited cycle" game after Promethean, with a set number of sourcebooks, but proved popular enough that the line got extended for a few more books. The original five sourcebooks shared the same "seasonal" motif as the Changelings themselves: Rites of Spring
gives more details regarding the specifics of Changeling life, the Hedge, and Fae magic, Lords of Summer
elaborates on each seasonal Court, its place in a Freehold, and the noble Entitlements Changelings can join, Autumn Nightmares
gives specifics on enemies and antagonists a Changeling might face, Winter Masques
describes the Seemings and Kiths in more detail, as well as listing new potential Kiths and Courts from around the globe, and Equinox Road
gives rules for high-powered and endgame play, including the dread truth behind the origins of the True Fae. The secondary sourcebooks were Swords at Dawn,
which gives examples of change, Narrative Causality
, and war amongst Changelings, Dancers in the Dusk,
which describes endings, dreams, nightmares and fate, and Grim Fears,
part of the Night Horrors mini-line of World of Darkness antagonists, focused on Fae-themed monsters and enemies.
There have also been some PDF supplements: a set of Ready-Made PCs
, Goblin Markets
, a guide to those strange, peculiar markets where virtually anything is for sale, if you're willing to pay the price, and Victorian Lost
, exploring changelings in Victorian Britain
As of GenCon 2014, it has been revealed that a 2nd edition of Changeling the Lost is planned for an as-yet-unrevealed release.The various Splats of Changeling are as follows:The Seemings:
The inborn classification of the Lost, representing the scars of each Changeling's time in Faerie and the manner of their keeping. Each Seeming is associated with a number of Kiths or subgroupings.
- Beasts: Those who were transformed into animals by their keepers. This Seeming includes those who are associated with real-life animals such as hounds, lions, and eagles, as well as those associated with fictional or mythical animals such as griffins, mermaids and sphinxes. Beasts gain supernatural composure and animal magnetism from their Seeming, but lose some of their mental ability as they have had trouble regaining their human faculties.
- Beast Kiths vary from outright embodiment of specific animals to embodying animals as they are associated with certain traits and qualities. From the corebook; Broadbacks (those of great endurance... and stubbornness), Hunterhearts (predators and other creatures with built-in weaponry), Runnerswifts (creatures of remarkable speed), Skitterskulks (creepy-crawlies or other creatures with jittering reflexes), Steepscramblers (climbing animals), Swimmerskins (aquatic and water-loving creatures), Venombites (poisonous animals) and Windwings (flying animals). To these, "Winter Masques" added the Cleareyes (representing creatures renowned for their senses), Coldscales (reptiles), Roteaters (carrion-eating beasts) and Truefriends (representing pets, pack animals, or others emphasizing loyalty to others). They also got one extra kith in "Grim Fears"; the Riddleseekers kith embodies animals as representatives of wisdom and cunning (sphinxes, spiders, snakes, owls, etc).
- Culture-based Beast Kiths (Also from Winter Masques) include: Chimeras (mix-and-match creatures who get along with hobgoblins), Coyotes (clever and greedy beasts), and Nixes (watery beings with intoxicating voices).
- Darklings: Often taken for breaking some obscure or arcane law of the Fae, Darklings were taken to lands of nightmare to become nightmares themselves. Boogeymen, face-changers, gargoyles, succubi, and scholars of lore mankind ought not know make up the ranks of this Seeming. Darklings are witty and adept at lying and hiding, but find their magic less effective during daylight hours, due to their bond to the darkness.
- Corebook Darkling Kiths are the Antiquarians (keepers of ancient lore and forgotten knowledge), Gravewights (those with ties to death and the undead), Leechfingers (soul-suckers, breath-stealers and blood-drinkers), Mirrorskins (shapeshifters and face-changers) and Tunnelgrubs (things that crawl and squirm below the ground). "Winter Masques" added Lurkgliders (gargoyles and flying... things), Moonborn (children of the moon and madness), Nightsingers (players of "the music of the night"), Palewraiths (spectres, shadows, and the like), Razorhands (serial killer-style nightmares) and Whisperwisps (spies and rumor-whisperers). "Victorian Lost" offers up the Lurkers (master thieves and pickpockets).
- Culture-based Darkling Kiths (Also from Winter Masques) include: Illes (trolls with illusory beauty), Pishacha (bizarre madness-inducing creatures), and Skogsra (animal-controlling forest-dwellers).
- Elementals: Humans taken and transformed into inanimate 'things' - statues, snowdrifts, pools, streams, puffs of air, dolls, and other, more obscure items and substances. Connected as they are to the "bones of the earth," to the most primal, basic, and often durable of substances, Elementals have the ability to endure stunning amounts of punishment and damage, but they have trouble dealing with and understanding humans. How do you identify with standard-issue mortals when you've spent time as a tree, or a bonfire, or the sky itself?
- The Seeming whose kiths are most straightforward; the corebook Elementals are Airtouched (air), Earthbones (earth and stone), Fireheart (fire), Manikin (man-made items), Snowskin (cold), Waterborn (water) and Woodblood (plants). "Winter Masques" introduced the Blightbent (pollution), Levinquick (electricity), Metalflesh (metal) and Sandharrowed (sand) kiths.
- Culture-based Elemental Kiths (Also from Winter Masques) include: Apsaras (watery tarts who induce lust), Ask-wee-da-eed (will-o'-the-wisps who bring bad luck), and Di-cang (jeweled Bodhisattvas who ease pain and...uh, break into things).
- Fairest: Of Them All. Mortals taken by the Fae and sculpted into images of beauty (or, at least, of intriguing attractiveness), then kept in torturous ecstasy by their keepers. The Fairest were often used as pleasure slaves or concubines by the Fae. Others were singers and dancers, or cast as statues to be viewed and enjoyed by the Gentry. A rare few (especially of the Draconic kith) were warrior-artists or magical monsters like dragons and chimeras. Due to their preternatural beauty and grace, Fairest wield advanced presence, persuasive skill, and social poise, but their separation from humanity (and, in some ways, from other Lost) tends to hasten their descent into madness.
- Fairest have the greatest variety of kiths. Bright Ones embody light. Dancers used their grace and agility to amuse their Keeper. Draconics embody the glory of the Great Beasts; dragons, chimerae, manticores and the like. Flowering Fairest were used as literal pieces of horticultural art or sent to use their seductive musks upon others. Muses were used to inspire, be it admiration, disgust or fear. Of their "Winter Masques" kiths: Flamesirens represent the entrancing beauty of fire. Polychromatics are living embodiments of the shifting rainbow. Shadowsouls show how darkness can be beautiful as light. Telluric Fairest are bonded to the stars and the celestial bodies. Treasured were living trophies to be admired and coveted by their Keeper. "Grim Fears" adds another set: Minstrels amused their Keeper with music and/or song. Romancers were the idealized lovers of the True Fae, and punished terribly for being anything less than perfect. Larcenists stole for their Keepers, and often stole their freedom from their Keepers. Perhaps worst of all, the Playmates were taken to be the "best friend" of a childish True Fae.
- Culture-based Fairest Kiths (also from Winter Masques) include: Gandharva (eloquent androgynes), Succubus (or Incubus) (beautiful seducers), and Weisse Frau (gentle protectors).
- Ogres: Victims of monstrous brutality, Ogres had to become brutal monsters to survive. Often, but not always, big and imposing, Ogres can be cunning cyclopes, massive giants, nimble and bloodthirsty redcaps, or surly trolls. Their strength and fighting skill have been boosted by their Durances, and they can be terrifying when they wish, but the workings of the Others can leave them gullible and sometimes dull-witted, often with short tempers.
- Cyclopeans are Ogres with preternaturally accurate senses, though the ogres are often maimed or handicapped in some way. Farwalkers are bestial Ogres of the wilderness. Gargantuans are giants even among Ogres. Gristlegrinders are gifted and cursed with gnashing maws (and often a matching hunger for flesh). Stonebones display the toughness of a mountain cliffside. Water-Dwellers are amphibious Ogres. Of new Kiths introduced in "Winter Masques": Bloodbrutes are survivors of Arcadian gladiatorial arenas and wrestling rings. Corpsegrinders were fed on death. Renders can destroy almost anything they touch, a legacy of their time as labourers with no tools save their hands, or as living siege weapons. Witchteeth are Ogres who have proven more receptive to the mystical side of their Faerie nature, embodying the cruel man-eating witch and the magic-wielding giant of old lore.
- Culture-based Ogre Kiths (from Winter Masques) include: Daitya (giants who rend and tear with supernatural ease), Oni (demons who gain power from the blood of the sinful), and Trolls (manipulative brutes).
- Wizened: The Wizened endured endless tortures, then lives of undignified, often pointless drudgery, at the hands of their Keepers. They cleaned the houses, dens, or lairs of their Fae captors, crafted tools and machines, healed (or helped to alter) other Changeling captives, and sometimes served as butlers or cooks in the Fae households. Each Wizened has been 'reduced' in some way - height, weight, size, or sheer physical presence has been shrunk. Some are dwarfish, others unnaturally thin, and still others seem less 'real' than other people. Wizened are clever and nimble, often able to dodge attacks with unbelievable skill, but most are spiteful, shy, or otherwise have trouble dealing with people.
- The Wizened kiths all relate to the tasks they performed. Artists (obsessive craftsmen), Brewers (creators of heady and potent potables), Chatelaines (impeccably-mannered valets and diplomats), Chirurgeons (unrivaled doctors and surgeons), Oracles (fortunetellers), Smiths (forgers of magical tools), Soldiers (battle-scarred swordsmen), and Woodwalkers (survivors of alien wildernesses), "Winter Masques" adds: Authors (master polyglots), Drudges (swift but overlooked workers), Gameplayers (clever masters of trivial pursuits), and Miners (telegraphing without the telegraph). "Victorian Lost" adds Inventors (makers of technological wonders). "Swords at Dawn" adds Fatemakers (those skilled in Talecrafting better than others).
- Culture-based Wizened Kiths (from Winter Masques) include: Gremlins (tinkerers who render equipment useless), Pamarindo (greasy but sustaining epicures), and Thussers (mesmerizing musicians).
Half political party, a third support group, 5/7ths ruling body, and .75 masonic lodge, the Courts are the chosen Splats of Changeling. The various court systems offer protection from the Others by confusing Them with the sharing of power - or, at least, this is the theory.The Seasonal Courts
- The most commonly-followed Court system in Europe and the Americas, this court system changes power with the seasons, the Spring Court handing over rule of the Freehold to the Summer Court on the Solstice. These courts tend to have "splinter" courts, in those areas with slightly different takes on the seasons — an equatorial country may have Dry Season and Wet Season courts as the only courts, both splitting off from Summer.
The Directional Courts
- Spring Court - After being twisted and stunted by the Gentry for so long, Changelings should have the ability to grow again. The Antler Crown is all about growth, healing, and rejuvenation. They dive into life, often developing a strong presence in the mortal world. Their court emotion is Desire. Variants include Short Springnote and Whirlwind Springnote
- Summer Court - If the Gentry return, we'll be ready. The Iron Spear is focused on martial prowess and strength (or skill) in general, and often stands as the freehold's army. The ranks of Summer also include generals, scouts, and the occasional diplomat or lawyer. Their court emotion is Wrath. Variants include the Dry Seasonnote and the Monsoon Seasonnote
- Autumn Court - The best way to beat the Gentry is to understand how they work. The Leaden Mirror consists of occultists, Hedge wanderers, and sorcerers. They learn and develop powerful Contracts, catalogue the weaknesses of the True Fae, and even study the other strange denizens of the New World of Darkness. Their court emotion is Fear.
- Winter Court - We drew the attention of the Gentry once, and we sure as hell won't do it again. The Silent Arrow deals in stealth, secrets, and obfuscation, with the main goal of keeping the Lost safe by keeping them secret. Members serve as spies or scouts and often create safe houses for others of their Court or Freehold. Their court emotion is Sorrow. One variant is the Dead Seasonnote .
- Wide portions of Asia, including Japan, China, and surrounding countries, follow this system, which divides the Freehold into quarters, each ruled by an Emperor.
The Diurnal Courts
- North Court - The best way to resist the depredations of the Gentry is to guard one's self against the burdens of the world. The Court of the Tortoise consists of ascetics and disciplined scholars who expose themselves to pain and exposure, believing that the Others won't take them again if the courtiers have nothing to lose. Their court emotion is Suffering.
- East Court - The best way to shore one's self against the Gentry is to build power and influence. Businessmen and manipulators, the Court of the Serpent uses wealth and notoriety to maintain their kingdoms. Courtiers often develop sprawling webs of influence and status. Their court emotion is Envy.
- South Court - The Gentry opened our mind to new senses, and the best way to adapt is to lose yourself in them. Artists and Ecstatics, the Court of the Phoenix throws itself into its interests with passions unmatched by others. They believe that the strength of their emotion grants them power with which to defend against the Others. Their court emotion is Ecstasy.
- West Court - We will stand against the Gentry and protect the others of the freehold at all costs. Warriors and generals, the Court of the Tiger stands firm against all threats. Unlike the less controlled Summer court, the West Court tends toward rigid, almost obsessive discipline. Their court emotion is Honor.
- Followed in areas of Eastern Europe, this system changes power at twilight and focuses on balance and equal opposition, each court seeking to overcome and undo the works of the other.
- Day Court - One must stand against the sins of the world and serve as a beacon to others. The Court of the Sun is dedicated to serving as paladins, priests, and moral figures to the rest of the freehold. Much as the Others cannot understand the sharing of power, they say, They cannot understand true virtue, and so living virtuously offers a defense. Their court emotion is Shame.
- Night Court - The world is a sinful place, and sin can give you strength. The Court of the Moon consists of malcontents, criminals and radicals who deal in vice and laugh in the face of unyielding righteousness. After having been controlled by their Keepers, Moon Courtiers refuse to allow society to dictate their actions. Their court emotion is Disgust.
- Some freeholds follow court systems even more obscure than those listed above. The Dawn and Dusk courts, for example, change power depending on the whims of fate and the welfare of the Freehold itself.
Terminology, with translations:
- Dawn Court - There's always the chance things will change, if you're willing to sacrifice, and things can always get better. The Court of the Dawn is made up of visionaries, martyrs, and others who believe that with hard work and change, things can improve. Their court emotion is Hope.
- Dusk Court - Everything's going to Hell in a hand-basket - the Freehold, the world, everything. 'Course, that just means you've got to work, fight, and party like it's your last day alive, 'cuz, heck, it probably is. Dusk Courtiers are warriors, seers, and others with the strength to accept that a dark fate was coming but face it nonetheless. Their court emotion is Fatalism.
(Character) was once a perfectly normal (or at most mildly exceptional) human taken by one of the True Fae, enduring a Durance
(length of time) in Arcadia, and frequently replaced by a Fetch
(almost-twin) created by their True Fae abductor to fill their place in the real world. Surviving in Arcadia shapes the abducted into a member of one of six Seemings,
(races) probably with an associated Kith
(sub-race). Once they have returned, most Changelings choose to join a Court
(class) of like-minded Changelings, which gives the Changeling extra power and an infrastructure to draw upon. Changelings enact powers known as Contracts
(spells), which represent clauses in ancient deals brokered between the Fae and aspects of reality itself. A city full of Changelings is known as a Freehold
generally made up of one or more Motleys
(parties), small groups of allied Changelings. Some Changelings further join an Entitlement
(prestige class) for more power, allies, or what have you.
This game features examples of:
- Alien Abduction: Some of the True Fae are said to be the source of modern-day abduction myths, bearing the grey skin, bulbous heads, and almond-shaped eyes of the mythical extraterrestrial Greys.
- In a way, those who believe folks are being abducted by aliens are right, except that rather than being extraterrestrial, they're extradimensional. And magic.
- And to confuse the issue, it's also stated that the True Fae are idea thieves, meaning that they didn't come up with the The Greys image themselves (hell, there's a Mage: The Awakening version that has them as mortal cryptids, completely unrelated to Fae)...and that some disappearances have nothing to do with the Gentry.
- All Myths Are True: Somewhat exists in the game. The True Fae take on the forms of the deities of various religions, but it's ST fiat as to whether or not they are indeed those same deities.
- Winter Masques gives a variety of kiths based on myths and monsters from around the world, playing off this trope. From Hindu lore comes the Gandharva (Fairest), Daitya (Ogre), Apsaras (Elemental) and the Pishacha (Darkling). American Indian stories give rise to the Coyote and Ask-wee-da-eed kiths of Beasts and Elementals. The Weisse Frau (Fairest) and Nix (Beast) are both Germanic in origin. Italy gives the Wizened the Pamarindo kith. Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Scandavinian stories of Trolls (Ogre), Thussers (Wizened), Illes (Darkling) and Skogsra (Darkling) take a life of their own beyond the Hedge. The Di-cang is an Elemental kith based on Buddhist lore, while the Oni is a Japanese version of the Ogre. Even more modern cultures aren't immune, with Wizened who bear the kith of the Gremlin... and there's classics like Beasts of the Chimera kith and Fairest who represent the Succubus and Incubus.
- All Therapists Are Muggles: Invoked, played straight and defied. Having a psychotherapist who isn't a Changeling (or at least Ensorcelled) does give a penalty to therapy rolls, but there's an entire Prestige Class based around the idea of changelings becoming therapists to help out their own kind.
- Alternative Character Interpretation: all courts, seemings, and entitlements have a official character traits and several official alternative character traits in universe.
- Always Chaotic Evil: The True Fae. Well, it's more like Always Chaotic Neutral, but the distinction is academic given their behavior. As Autumn Nightmares says, the True Fae are "fiends" with a totally narcissistic and solipsistic worldview. Any True Fae that acts "good" or "in love" is doing just that: acting, in an ultimately doomed attempt to understand the human condition that they will almost certainly get bored of one day. Any True Fae that does something helpful for a person does so either because it's within their own interests or on a whim, not out of any true altruism. Not even the "Charlatans" (True Fae who have gotten stuck in the mortal world and forgotten they are not human) are an exception to this rule, as they're still just Fae even if they don't know it and therefore just as soulless as any other True Fae...though ones that can develop some small degree of genuine empathy and a Clarity gauge (in all books not Autumn Nightmares, that is), though they still aren't recommended player characters.
- Ancient Conspiracy: The Guild of Goldspinners are rumored to secretly control the government and the economy via their ability to spin thread into gold. Frankly, it's not particularly far-fetched.
- And I Must Scream: Many of the uses your character were put to by a Keeper may fall into this trope. Best not to think too hard about the details.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: Sometimes high-Wyrd and low-Clarity Changelings find themselves called to return to Arcadia, there to become True Fae themselves.
- There's also a very subtle implication: the True Fae occupy themselves by making up fictional characters, settings, and items, and then enacting stories with them for their own amusement. Remind you of anyone?
- Angst? What Angst?: Attempted (to varying degrees of success or failure) by the Spring Court.
- Some Autumn Courtiers as well...
- Anti-Magic: One of the multiple in-universe theories about why Cold Iron harms the True Fae is that it is the most non-magical substance on earth, and is therefore anathema to Fae magic.
- Appearance Is in the Eye of the Beholder: This is the benefit of the Romancer Kith of the Fairest. They always look like the beholder's ideal of beauty.
- Changelings who join the Knights of the Knowledge of the Tongue receive a scent-based variation of this. All Knights de Cuisine smell like food, but what sort of food they smell like depends on both an observer's attitude towards the changeling and their own association of food with pleasant/indifferent/nasty. For example, if two people like the same Knight, she may smell like apple pie to one and buttercream icing to the other. Likewise, if they hate her, she may smell like boiling cabbage to one and brussel sprouts to the other. It depends on what food they like best, hate most or are generally indifferent to.
- Artificial Human: The Fetch is an example of this - a false human made of a conglomeration of found items, trash, and a bit of a Changeling's shadow, covered with a high-grade Mask to make it appear human. Many never even realize that they're not who they appear to be, until the Changeling comes back to reclaim his life.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Ogres of the Gargantuan kith can do this even if they aren't big already.
- And if you use the cross/multi kith rules, they don't even have to be Ogres.
- Awesome but Impractical One of the contracts for the Spring Court lets you summon an amount of rain based on the successes you achieve on an extended action. If you keep this certain clause up for a long enough period of time, you can summon a hurricane. You'll end up causing unacceptable amounts of collateral damage, hence this trope.
- Awesome McCoolname: Many Changelings take new names when they return, whether because their old name is taken by their Fetch or because they wish to distance themselves from what they used to be. Many of these new names are somewhat... fanciful.
- Or simply because they can't remember their original name.
- If you are using the optional True Name magic rules, it's a good idea to use a false name...
- One NPC from the free example adventure released by White Wolf uses an alias because her former True Fae master will show up and drag her back if her original name is spoken three times in her presence.
- Arcadia: Bluntly subverted by the home of the True Fae. There are realms of nature, yes, and some places seem peaceful, but the reality of the place is closer to Hell (or perhaps the home realms of Hellraiser's Cenobites) than it is to any sort of idyllic natural setting. Any vestige of the old Arcadia is found in the Hedge, an infinitely twisting maze of endless thorns that rip your soul out of your body, piece by piece. They even have a mechanic for it.
- Battle Butler: The Chatelaine kith is ideal for this sort of character, as the Contract to foul or improve mechanical weapons is native to the seeming, and the availability of most Fighting Style merits.
- Bazaar of the Bizarre: Goblin Markets. Strange marketplaces run by hobgoblins, where you can buy anything from new Contracts to magic items to the dream of a summer day - for the right price. (The right price ranges from a memory to three locks of hair via your pet rat to three fingers from your left hand, almost all of which are in-universe metaphors for Glamour points or XP.)
- The Beautiful Elite: The Fairest. Also subverts Beauty Equals Goodness, but not to the degree of Daeva-they have a looser hold on sanity then their contemporaries because they got a double dosage of the Mind Rape and most quietly stew in self-loathing.
- Beast and Beauty: It's even a stereotype that Ogres really like the Fairest. The Fairest usually don't reciprocate these feelings, but it happens. Generally though the Ogre will merely be strung along and serve as dumb muscle.
- Beast Man: The Beast seeming.
- Be Careful What You Say — Changeling: the Lost is full of this trope, most explicitly in the ability for Changelings (and Gentry) to bind ANYTHING you say as a magically enforced Pledge as long as it's phrased in a way that can be taken as a statement of intent. Most of the subtropes end up being used by players and storytellers, too. Some Changelings are leery about making and breaking *any* sort of promise, whether bound by a Pledge or not, out of concern that the Wyrd might take an interest.
- If a Changeling does try to invoke a pledge without the direct consent of the other signatory (IE tricking them into making one), they suffer a potential breaking point to their Clarity for doing something so much like one of the True Fae would do. It's stated that a good number of Changelings get dragged to Arcadia in the first place by the True Fae who pulled this kind of trick, so it's not too surprising that Changeling society frowns upon it.
- Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Not universally, but many Changelings turn around and become abusers in their own right. And some go even further than that...
- Big Eater:
- Many, if not most, Gristlegrinders.
- All Ogres have access to a Contract which benefits such behavior - while the contract is active, the Changeling can heal his wounds by gorging himself to unbelievable levels.
- The Blacksmith: The Smith kith, natch. Artist kith Wizened can also make pretty darned good ones.
- The Blank: A version of the Noppera-bo features as an inhabitant of the Hedge.
- Blessed with Suck: Okay, some of the powers they have are pretty darn cool. But what they had to go through to get them is most decidedly not.
- Blood Brothers: Some Motleys form like this. Groups of changelings swear an oath on the Wyrd to come together for a common purpose, and usually gain mechanical benefits related to that area on the condition that they stand up for one another and don't flag in their pursuit.
- Blood Magic: Some Tokens, magical items infused by the power of Faerie, require a tithe of blood to fulfill their Catch. Notable is the Pledge Stone, which requires the sacrifice of a finger or tongue.
- Blue and Orange Morality: The Keepers.
- The Changelings, too. Clarity is based on things that will cause changes in perception as well as "sins." The main difference, historically, between Changelings and the True Fae are that the Changelings try to keep a grip on conventional morality and help people when possible. True Fae help people whenever they want to, and even then, they often can't bring themselves to really care. Besides, as the trope might imply, their concepts of "help" can often be somewhat... off.
- Broken Aesop: The Scarescrow Ministry are monsters that try to scare people away from areas where real monsters lurk, so that they will not be killed or taken. Some members have been known to do this by killing those people and leaving a few survivors to tell the warning tale.
- But I Can't Be Pregnant!: Both Changelings and Fetches are, by and large, infertile. Both have *very* rare options to overcome this, none of which are safe or without severe cost.
- By the Eyes of the Blind: The corebook lists several groups of people who might have a possibility to see through the Mask, including children, the insane, seventh children of seventh children, and those who suffer from mental illness. The book Autumn Nightmares gives an example - a man who took a bullet in just the right spot in his brain.
- Carnivore Confusion: Beasts changed into carnivorous animals sometimes have to make a distinct effort to avoid thinking of other people, especially other Beasts transformed into prey, as food.
- Casting a Shadow: The Contracts of Darkness actually don't do this. It is, however, possible to purchase The Contracts of Elements for shadow or darkness, which does.
- Celestial Deadline: Both manifestations of this trope show up. Pledges last for the agreed-upon length of time and no longer, while some Contracts last until sunup, sundown, noon, or midnight.
- Changeling Tale: Well... not quite; these Changelings aren't the false people the Fae left behind, but are instead the real people who were stolen. The trope more appropriately applies to the Fetches occasionally left behind in their place by the True Fae.
- Charm Person: The Contracts of Vainglory, which range from "I bear the mantle of authority, so you're more inclined to listen to me" to "I'm so unnaturally beautiful that you couldn't possibly bring yourself to hurt me" to "I think I'll pull a Galadriel and go so horrifically pretty that you run screaming."
- Chef of Iron: Members of the Knights of the Knowledge of the Tongue, an Entitlement. These Changeling gourmands dream of making the best foods ever - which often means delving deep into the Hedge to harvest strange Goblin Fruit, or trying to gather the meat of some Hobgoblin or other which is, more likely than not, trying to eat them right back.
- Chess Motifs: Contracts of the Board, which allow a character who serves as head of a number of forces (such as a general or one of the seasonal Monarchs) to understand the conflict in terms of a game of chess or some other board game, allowing him to transmit strategies and direct forces by manipulation of the board itself. This doesn't have to be Chess. Picture an Ogre warrior, directing his forces by intently playing Candyland.
- Easily adoptable by a Gameplayer Wizened. After all, they may have spent their Durance as a living chesspiece.
- City of Adventure: Miami.
- Clockwork Creature: This is a popular aesthetic for Changelings, especially Elemental Manikins or certain Wizened. Some Hobgoblins are also like this, as are some True Fae.
- Clone Degeneration: The Fetch which the Fae leaves behind in a Changeling's place is often somewhat... off from the original, even before its original returns. This often manifests as a tendency toward psychopathy. It's not fun. And just to prove that White Wolf is evil, the missing trait can be a personality flaw as well - meaning that the Changeling might come back to find a family man Fetch who's more moral and well-adjusted than the original. Still want to slaughter the guy to take your life back, Jerk Ass?
- Cold Iron: The specific vulnerability of the True Fae. The actual game definition of what qualifies as Cold Iron is somewhat inconsistent from sourcebook to sourcebook, but generally boils down into two types: one, any iron which is pure enough to be called "iron" (as opposed to steel or any other alloy), and two, iron which has never been heated by the hands of man (which, since turning iron ore into useable iron in the first place requires heat, limits this to Thunderbolt Iron by definition.)
- Combo Platter Powers: Like the Fae, changelings can have Contracts with almost anything, and are thus very, very inclined to this trope. A character might be able to talk to dogs, remain comfortable in any temperature, enhance her performance skills, seem to be a celebrity, and interrogate the landscape of a parallel dimension. When you bring in goblin contracts, the platter can get really overloaded.
- Point in fact, the mechanics of the game itself tend to encourage this, as Changelings pay less to purchase/upgrade their "affinity" power sets than any other denizen in the World of Darkness, and have far, far more of them as well — a vampire has affinity to three Disciplines (four if of a Bloodline), but a Changeling has Affinity to nearly every type of Contract except the specialty Contracts of other Courts and Seemings.
- Considering how outright weird most contracts are, you kind of need a lot of them to have even a shot at having one useful for a current situation.
- Comes Great Insanity: The more powerful a Changeling gets, the easier it becomes for their Clarity to drop and the harder it becomes for them to distinguish between reality and fantasy. A Changeling that grows too powerful and has too little Clarity is well on their way to becoming one of the True Fae.
- Compelling Voice: There are Kiths, Merits, and Contracts all out there to represent this archetypal Fae power.
- Cooking Duel: Duels among the Lost aren't always decided via combat. Swords at Dawn details the various types of duels the Courts use to resolve disputes, split along lines of Physical, Mental, Social, and Mystical. Sure, two members of the martial Summer Court could engage in a fist-fight to first blood... but they could also easily decide on a duel where each argues a case before an impartial judge and tries to make the best argument. There are examples given of duels by oratory, drinking contests, and even a trial by artistic creation - to the death.
- Cool Old Guy: The hobgoblin Billy Birch is the Cool Old Guy, the undisputed oldest denizen of the Hedge. He is frighteningly powerful when he gets angry, and even the True Fae know better than to mess with him.
- Cosmic Horror Story: Averted, despite everything on this page. Truth is, it's heavily implied that most Keepers don't even notice their slaves are missing, much less care, and part of the point of the game is that while horrible things were done to you, you gained something more than what you lost, even if what you lost was something you dearly valued. This is one of the two games (the other being Promethean: The Created) where Earn Your Happy Ending is explicitly an option.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: It doesn't get much more corrupt than Baron Fairweather, a True Fae personifying capitalist greed.
- Creative Sterility: The True Fae are incapable of bearing children, creating art, or even feeling like humans feel. Changelings are better off, but still suffer from very low (almost nil) biological fertility. There is also some flavor regarding making items through magic, or using luck magic to succeed at a creative task, which always seems less good than work done mundanely.
- Some True Fae do spawn "children", either on their own or impregnated into human women, but these are hobgoblin creations rather than more True Fae. An already-pregnant human woman who sleeps with one of the True Fae has her unborn child affected by it; they will have the Unseen Sense Merit and often mental problems as well.
- Fetches, by default, can't have children because they're nothing but pale imitations of human life. Autumn Nightmares offers the possibility that they can have a child if they truly love the human they're courting and don't know that their pretense of humanity is a lie. They produce either Creepy Children, Enfantes Terrible, or both.
- On changelings and having children, several books offer possibilities for a changeling desperate to become a father or mother. Certain goblin-beasts in the Hedge reflections of the tundra bear a goblin fruit called "pedicle velvet", which causes the eater's next heterosexual encounter to produce a pregnancy. It explicitly doesn't safeguard the embryo from miscarriage or abortion, but it's still a conception. A more difficult and dangerous option is granted by the final Clause of the Contracts of Shade & Spirit, a charm called "Opening the Black Gate", which opens a doorway to the Underworld. The Underworld has a river called Eresh-ki-gala, the River of Dead Seed — "drinking" from this river will cause the drinker to be able to produce a pregnancy through their next heterosexual act, even if his partner (or her partner) is infertile. A soup made from the comb of Fenghuang, a phoenix-like hobgoblin with the power to bring the recently killed back to life, will grant the drinker fertility akin to the other options, so much so that ordinary contraception will fail to prevent the drinker from producing a pregnancy. Finally, the Goblin Contract "Goblin Midwife" once more offers the guarantee that the target's next heterosexual act will generate a baby - but the child will have some fae flaw, and the changeling who enacts the Contract will lose the affection of someone he loves. Nothing comes free, though a child conceived by any means other than the Goblin Midwife contract will be a normally person, or at most fae-touched. Arcadian characteristics are not inherited.
- Creepy Child: Fetch-children. Just because the kid of your Evil Twin isn't a mass-murdering hard-to-catch sociopath (see Enfante Terrible) doesn't mean the fact he can see True Fae -and you- for what you really look like is any less spooky. Depending on the Storyteller, Fetch-children fall into two categories: strange, fae children, created from nothingness and a wisp of a soul, anathema to both Mortals and Fae, or truly alien creatures who have no connection to the Wyrd, no compulsion against killing to get what they want, and no understanding that other beings exist.
- Curiosity Causes Conversion: This is a central mechanic for the True Fae. As primordial chaotic beings, they can't understand human things like altruism or love; they just view them as passing fancies to be tossed aside when convenient rather than defining forces. In trying to understand these bedrocks of humanity, they become human, cutting themselves off from their fae memories and a good chunk of the powers. Of course, in most cases, that only lasts as long as they don't start getting curious about fae existence...
- Curse: As is only proper in a faerie tale. The book Dancers in the Dusk goes into some detail over the ways a Changeling might curse someone - anywhere from using a harmful Contract to binding the person's words into an impossible pledge with a painful Sanction.
- Cursed with Awesome: The outlook of the Autumn Court. They don't like what happened to them, but they figure that since becoming a Changeling has given then magical powers, they might as well get as good at them as they possibly can.
- Curse Escape Clause: Occasionally shows up, (once again as befitting the fairy-tale nature of the game). Some Changelings manage to escape their captivity this way, especially if the Keeper in question wasn't careful enough to ensure that the "impossible" conditions for a Changeling's release were, in fact, impossible. One more reason to pay close attention to the wording of those Pledges.
- Cute Monster Girl: Members of the Beast, Darkling, Ogre, and Elemental kiths are just as capable of buying Striking Looks as any Fairest - and that's discounting kiths such as the Fairest Draconic.
- Dangerous Forbidden Technique: goblin contracts, tokens, and pledges (and sometimes Goblin Fruits) can all work this way.
- "Call the Hunt," a four-dot Goblin Contract that simply brings the Wild Hunt- an aggressive group of True Fae slave-takers- into the world. You're a dead Changeling if you aren't ready to run as soon as the Contract is invoked. Most Goblin Contracts have drawbacks (one that unlocks any door for you has the drawback that the next person to break into your home gets the same benefit, and sends out a subtle beacon to that kind of person just to make sure it happens). "Call the Hunt" doesn't - it's already its own drawback.
- The Auroch's Horn is a blood-spattered auroch horn that mysteriously appears at the doorstep of a freehold with a note tied to it signed: From Faerie. Any changeling from that freehold can sound the horn, which summons their Keeper, flanked by two briarwolves, to fight tooth-and-nail on the changeling's side. In return, the Keeper gains physical bonuses against the changeling who summoned it, the permission to enter the world freely and the ability to always know where every changeling in the freehold is. If that wasn't bad enough, seven children will vanish from their beds on that night, taken to Arcadia, as payment. Oh, and the horn appears on the freehold's doorstep, note and all, if it is ever destroyed or given away.
- The only real means of using this without screwing you over utterly is to invoke the Horn against an enemy you cannot possibly defeat on your own...who has a pretty good chance of killing your Keeper. That may just only be one part of them... Use it carefully.
- Darker and Edgier: So much compared to the predecessor.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Members of the Darkling Kith tend to be ugly, creepy, or both, and have a definite bond with darkness and night. That said, they're no more likely to be evil or crazy than any other Changelings.
- Deadly Decadent Court / A Fête Worse Than Death: Any gathering of the True Fae. Many Freeholds descend into this, as well.
- Deal with the Devil: Some Changelings were abducted due to deals of this kind. Protip: if someone calling himself "the blue man with willow-thistle arms" offers to solve your problems, don't take him up on it.
- Almost any deal with a Changeling or True Fae can become like this, due to their ability to bind agreements into Pledges and the ability most develop with contracts and loopholes. Many a mortal has tried to get the better on a Changeling only to find himself snared in a catch-22 and looking down the barrel of a greater curse for his troubles.
- Defeating the Undefeatable: Though very, very difficult, it is possible for a Changeling to kill their Keeper in Arcadia, potentially rendering them Deader Than Dead. Tricking them into breaking an oath sworn on their True Name does the trick (since a True Fae's true name is essentially his vow to exist, and he loses that vow as his sanction).
- Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: Cold Iron, the bane to the Fae. See "Weaksauce Weakness" below.
- Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: The True Fae are incomprehensible. One time a Changeling encounters his True Fae keeper, it might hunt him down to recapture him or torture his closest friend. The next time it might just pat him on the head and offer him a chocolate-chip-and-maggot cookie.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Some Changelings do manage, by cunning, strength, or both, to defeat (or even destroy) their True Fae master. This is easier in the mortal world, as Fae are weakened while in the Real, but it's technically possible even in Faerie - just very, very difficult.
- Did You Just Scam Cthulhu?: A method of dealing with the True Fae that is slightly less likely to end in death or capture than all-out battle. Some Changelings manage to escape captivity by catching their Keepers in pledges or obscure oaths. Caution is advised, though, as the Fae have had millenia to practice that sort of scheming.
- There exists an Entitlement, the Legacy of the Black Apple, that exists in part to do exactly this. Officially tasked with negotiating with Fae invaders to get Them to leave without kidnapping anybody, Legates are more than happy to oathbind a Fae so that it can't kidnap anybody, even if it wants to. This is a very dangerous job. Though there's also a rumor saying that the Legacy of the Black Apple is just a front for Loyalists...
- Rumors in the book are to be taken with a grain of salt (they're in-character pieces, and changelings are prone to assume things without all - or any - of the facts). Said rumor sidebar also claims they lose bits of themselves due to their abilities, which is simply not true.
- A specific example would be Jack o' The Lantern (yes, that Jack) who was banned from Hell - ie, Arcadia - not because his Keeper was afraid of getting scammed again, but because he tricked the greedy Fae into believing there was a (non-existent) treasure only he was capable of getting. He lost some of his emotions in the process, but for his part, he could not care less he's stuck on Earth.
- Dream Land: The Skein. Made of the collective dreams of all sleepers, a Changeling can travel into any dream he can find just by finding a door into the Skein and walking down its tangled roads.
- Dream People: Incubi, ranging from simple "background players" to more aggressive concepts, such as Succubi, Night Hags, and a sentient play that convinces the actors to kill each other in a fit of jealousy.
- Dream Weaver: Nearly all fae creatures, including the True Fae and Changelings, are capable of this to one degree or another.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: All changelings possess the innate talent to have oracular dreams as part of their ties to the Wyrd; they just have to realize whether or not a dream really is prophetic before they can act on it. Some Merits, however, allow them to refine this talent, to the point that they can dream of the past or gain beginner's knowledge of any skill or language from the collective unconscious.
- Dual-World Gameplay: the mortal world and the Hedge. Some Changelings with the Contracts of Shade and Spirit get access to the Underworld, too.
- Duels Decide Everything: Among the True Fae in Arcadia. As reality in that chaotic world only exists by consensual agreement of the Fae who rule it, the results of a duel actually revise reality. Among Changelings, duels don't have the same sort of power, but they're still fairly common methods of making decisions and resolving conflicts.
- Dying Dream: The Pluto Dreams of the Autumn Court's horoscope. Pluto Dreams are the last dream a person has as they lay dying and their brain shuts down; they're usually filled with revelation, which makes catching one extremely difficult but rather worth while. Some particularly foolhardy Autumn courtiers will attempt to ride a Pluto Dream the "easy" way...
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Changeling lives tend to either end young and brutally, or in various forms of eternal torment. But like with any dark, terrible story, it leaves all the more potential for happy endings to shine all the brighter.
- Eldritch Abomination: Many of the True Fae (see above) also verge into this territory.
- Eldritch Location: Arcadia itself, and the Hedge in many ways.
- And most of the True Fae. Arcadia is weird.
- Elemental Armor: The second Clause of the Contracts of Elements does this.
- Elemental Embodiment: Members of the aptly-named Elemental seeming. They were transformed into inanimate objects while in Arcadia, and even on their return to the real world they possess elemental features either literal, metaphorical, or both. With the highest levels of the Contracts of the Elements, *any* Changeling can turn into a towering flame, stone statue, animated wave, or what have you.
- Elemental Powers: The aforementioned Contracts of the Elements. Toyed with, in that you can invoke these contracts with esoteric elements not usually in the lists - things like fire, ice, and wind are listed, but so are things such as plastic, hair, glass, or concrete.
- Elemental Shapeshifter: The highest clause of an Elemental's Contract allows them to transmute into said element, with certain benefits — insubstantial elements (such as fire, air, and lightning) can only be harmed by certain kinds of damage, whereas substantial elements (such as stone or metal) grant heavy armor and physical bonuses.
- Emotion Bomb: This can be the result of less-than-subtle applications of...
- Emotion Control: Most of the Seasonal Courts have powers that let you do this to some extent or other with that court's specific emotion. Bedlam, one of the abilities an exceptionally powerful Changeling can develop, basically lets you infect a group of people with an emotion, turned up to 11.
- Emotion Eater: Changelings (and many other fae creatures) can bask in the emotions of mortals to gain Glamour, the game's Mana (see below).
- Emotional Bruiser: The Ogre blessing/curse arrangement makes this incredibly easy.
- Enfant Terrible: Fetchspawn. If a Fetch ever manages to have a child with a human, the result might be one of these monstrosities. They have no Karma Meter. They have no empathy. Most people just assume they're autistic because of their total inability to relate to other human beings on an emotional or social level. They tend to kill things... just because. This is all exacerbated by the fact that their touch automatically opens all doors and springs all locks, they cannot be bound or imprisoned, and people tend to ignore them, so they're able to slip around without notice. They are immune to Changeling powers, and their touch drains the Lost of magical energies. Oh...and did we mention that at the age of 21 they get sucked back into the Hedge, likely to become Gentry themselves?
- On the other hand, the other kind of fetch-child, supposedly created when a Fetch who still thinks he's human has biblical study of a person he truly loves is almost always psychologically healthy. They're a little weird, to be sure, but no more weird then a high-functioning autistic, and they get better as they near puberty. Unfortunately, they're also a little Blessed with Suck-their very existence is a key to the Hedge, and their blood is supposedly toxic to Fae, meaning they're likely to draw the attention of militants.
- Even Evil Has Standards: The True Fae may be pitiless kidnappers and abusers, but they tend to get very, very angry at anyone - including one of their own - who breaks a sworn promise.
- Not that it stops them from Loophole Abuse-ing said sworn promises to the fullest, however.
- You do NOT. FUCKING. BREAK. Market Law. Essentially it declares Goblin Markets has a "Safe Zone" If you're in one, nobody is going to fuck with you, even if you run into your Keeper, they can't do jack. You yourself don't have the protection though, its the people selling goods, the second one of them get hurt or any of the other parts of Market Law get violated, you get nailed with a powerful Curse, and every Goblin in the market rushes you and starts beating the everloving SHIT out of you. It says something when even the True Fae don't want to deal with this kind of crap. (Also: Don't even think about shortchanging or god help you STEALING from a Marketeer). It IS possible, if you have goods to offer that the Goblins find useful or interesting to become a Marketeer and gain total and full protection under Market Law, even if they avoid harming anything else, they can't touch you within the confines of market. The caveat is its very difficult to fulfill the criteria to become a Marketeer and if you fuck it up too badly...Well, its not fun to say the least.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The True Fae are, by their very nature, utterly sociopathic, incapable of seeing other people as anything other than toys or pets, at best. Their inability to understand humans is vital to the True Fae's power. If one does grow to understand humanity, its power is drastically reduced, and it may very well lose its memories and find itself permanently exiled to the Mortal world. Changelings base their government on sharing power to take advantage of this, because the idea of voluntarily choosing not to possess all the power throws the True Fae off.
- Evil Twin: Nearly all Changelings are replaced by a Fetch, a construct made from whatever's lying around, along with a piece of the original's shadow, when taken. This fetch looks and acts exactly (or nearly exactly) like the original, and in many cases believes it is the original until a creature with its face and wood for skin shows up. Some Fetches still serve the True Fae, or are simply emotionless monsters. Most of them aren't, or at least aren't that monstrous, which is why killing one dings the Karma Meter (his entire life is a lie, if he discovers the truth of the matter he'll be a psychological wreck for the rest of his life, and you decide to kill him. Enjoy your loss of Clarity, asshole).
- Despite the risk of Clarity, which is more the unnerving sensation that you are killing your reflection if not your own self (with a little of the conflict between your human senses saying "this is a human being" and your changeling senses saying "no, this is a bloody faerie", stressing your mind) than an actual moral issue, Autumn Nightmares makes it clear that many, or even most, changelings do actually kill fetches. Some freeholds make it a point of law to kill fetches, perhaps even using it as an initiation rite — some changelings will even hunt down and slay any fetch they can find, not just their own, though even in fetch-killer thresholds this is looked down on. Because it robs the fetch's changeling of the chance to kill the fetch of their own accord, and thusly denies them an important part in returning to the human world, not because of any sympathies with the fetch. As mentally shattering as it can be to kill a fetch, it's still an important milestone and can bestow a number of supernatural benefits.
- Exact Words: There's generally no such thing as "the spirit of the agreement" when it comes to pledges, especially not when the True Fae are involved. Canny Changelings learn how to take advantage of the Exact Words of a pledge to avoid getting the worse end of their deal.
- Expendable Clone: Many Changelings view Fetches as these at best, and as pawns of the Gentry at worst.
- One notable Fetch power allows them to create other simulacra, which will animate when the first Fetch dies. Essentially, they become Expendable Clones
- Exposed to the Elements: At least two low-level Contract clauses (one with the Element of air and one with Summer) prevent you from taking damage from the atmosphere or leave you comfortable in any temperature. It'd certainly be in-keeping for, say, one of the Fairest to make use of them to attend a winter masquerade ball in a bikini.
- Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: All the torture a Changeling is put through psychologically scars them and their time in Arcadia has made them part Fae, able to use fae powers and bound to The Wyrd. But using too much of this magic takes it's toll. Once a Changeling's connection to the Wyrd reaches its highest possible level, sometimes the Changeling's Clarity will begin to drop at an exponential rate — mainly because whenever they dream, they remember Faerie perfectly, which means they have a Clarity-loss trigger condition every time they go to sleep. And when a Changeling hits Wyrd 10 and Clarity 0... they are called to re-enter the Hedge, travel back to Arcadia, and become one of the True Fae.
- Also, Fetches are supposedly unable to conceive children. However, when they do...
- The Fair Folk: Fairly obvious, but used in several ways. Firstly are the True Fae, which are creatures of Lovecraftian power and alienness who abduct humans for their own reasons. Secondly are Hobgoblins, fae creatures from the in-between realm of the Hedge that range from plantlike to superhuman. Finally, the player characters themselves have been transformed into fae creatures by their time among the True Fae. Word of God says that lots of fairy tales about antagonistic faeries were based on the True Fae; tales of benevolent faeries generally recounted the actions of Changelings.
- Fake Memories: Fetches live out the lives of the people they've replaced, oblivious to the fact that their whole life is a sham... until the taken human, now a Changeling, escapes from Faerie. Most Fetches aren't aware anything's amiss until this happens, and most take the news that they are fakes with memories stolen from a small piece of a person's soul poorly. Of course, sometimes the Fetch's memories are imperfect to begin with...
- Familiar: Changelings (and other fae creatures) sometimes take Hedge Beasts as pet/sidekick/companions. These are Hobgoblins who look exactly like a mortal animal, except that they can speak and have human-level intelligence.
- They can also use Changeling Merits and Contracts. So its entirely possible to have an Ogre based around smashing things to have a Hedgebeast Buddy that's really good at research and packing Wizened contracts.
- Fantastic Drug: Goblin Fruits in general have the potential to be like this; the corebook even contains a plot hook for a Vampire: The Requiem crossover in which a goblin fruit called "bloodroot" is being sold on to the local kindred. Bloodroot is harmless to changelings, but to vampires, it's a powerful narcotic — and one they can actually feel wholeheartedly and without needing to use through human blood to enjoy.
- In addition, Rites of Spring lists rules for Glamour intoxication, letting Changelings who indulge too strongly get drunk on the essential power of human emotion.
- Fantastic Fragility: Every contract has a catch, and every oath wriggle room. Breaking them is no less catastrophic, though.
- Notably, the True Fae are terrifyingly powerful, but suffer from varying weaknesses that clever changelings can mercilessly exploit. Cold Iron and Evil Cannot Comprehend Good being the foremost.
- When a Changeling's Wyrd raises to 6, they start taking fragilities which could range from having to count spilled grains of rice to pain from the sound of church bells.
- Fantastic Fruits and Vegetables: Goblin Fruits and oddments. What else would you call a blood-flavored orange that heals your wounds, or a chewing-gum-like moss that helps you understand any spoken language?
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink: This game has everything. Autumn Nightmares even gives us Chrometooth, a True Fae Transformer. Let me repeat that: TRUE FAE TRANSFORMER. His alternate form is a motorcycle, if you were curious. The reason for this that all the game lines are designed so that crossovers are optional. This includes werewolves and vampires, and even spirits. You can actually make your stereotypical Daeva vampire in this game as a Fae, and it's not even that difficult.
- Fate Worse Than Death: Getting taken back by the Fae. Several high-power spells and special effects put out a beacon for the True Fae. Using these in a fight is considered worse than killing the target- worse even than breaking a Pledge with your best friends. Plus, more likely than not, you won't make it out either.
- Fear Discover Power: The Contracts of Fleeting Autumn has type 1 and type 2 examples of this; appropriate for the Court of Fear.
- Each court's Fleeting contract list offers a similar emotion-sensing power as its first clause. Either it allows you to detect what would cause/has caused the emotion in the changeling, or to sense strong concentrations of the emotion in the world around you.
- Fertile Feet: Often occurs long-term behind Fairest of the Flowering kith (with a time-frame of months, rather than moments). Also an appropriate manifestation of Spring Court mantle.
- The Fettered: Pledgecraft can make these sorts of characters quite powerful indeed.
- Fighting a Shadow: Equinox Road realizes that the True Fae who come to Earth to kidnap humans are simply one aspect, or Title, of the greater Fae entity it represents, which might have as many as half a dozen similar Titles. These Titles may manifest as items, swarms of creatures, individual creatures, or the entire Fae Realm itself.
- BUT they don't have unlimited titles. If you take down one of a Keeper's titles, you've significantly weakened the whole creature. This may not sound like much, but Keepers DO end up banished from Faerie occasionally if they loose all of them, or even destroyed You CAN fight the mad things from beyond the world, and you CAN have real, meaningful, victories...but boy, oh boy the cost is steep. If you can pull it off at all, expect to have a lot of dead friends, and lost a lot personally, raising the question: Is it worth it?
- Fisher King: Every single True Fae is a god unto their own realm in Faerie, having control over every single aspect of their home, from whether the sky is blue to the conditions as to when a fire will or will not cook a person's food. The Changelings, human slaves abducted to act as servants, have to enter pacts with every element in order to even survive. The world changes according to what a Faerie thinks is entertaining. The True Fae are powerful outside their home realms, but have nowhere near this level of control over other domains.
- Fisher Kingdom: If the True Fae and their Contracts don't directly alter captives themselves, there's also the fact that they're living in a Faerie domain, eating Faerie food, drinking Faerie water, and doing Faerie work.
- Flashback Nightmare: Changelings often dream incomplete memories of their Durance... dreams which become clearer and more accurate the more powerful the Changeling gets.
- Flying Dutchman: Jack o' the Lantern, of Grim Fears. Yes, he's that Jack.
- Foe Yay: The closest thing True Fae have to a friend is a sworn enemy.
- Food Chains: One of the ways in which a mortal might catch the attention of the True Fae (resulting in kidnap and durance) is by eating food the Fae's claimed as its own. Also, some of the fluff indicates that humans transform into Changelings in Arcadia, in part, by eating the food, drinking the water, and breathing the air.
- The Four Gods: the Directional Courts of China are patterned off of The Four Gods and supposedly embody associated values (the North Court is made up of ascetics who use suffering to escape memory of their durance at the hands of The Fair Folk, the East Court values material wealth and draws power from envy, the South Court consists of artists and other creatives who value ecstasy, and the West Court is made up of honor-bound warriors).
- Every area in which the Directional Courts take hold are subject to an unpleasant extra facet - a "Demon's Gate", usually a particularly nasty Trod, somewhere in its northeast. Closing or destroying one just means another one opens elsewhere.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Many Wizened, especially those with high levels in the contracts of Artifice, Animation, or both.
- Gargle Blaster: Wizened Brewers get the ability to turn any beverage, whether initially alcoholic or not, into this with the expenditure of a point of Glamour. They're one of the few Wizened kith who are popular at parties.
- Genre Savvy: Changeling: the Lost characters almost always have at least some, with some being downright experts; the Talecrafting rules are a way of making this into an actual magic power.
- Gentle Giant: Not all ogres are cannibalistic engines of destruction.
- Glamour: The Fairest's contract of Vainglory does this at high settings.
- Glamour Failure: Everything fae has a Mask, an illusion that makes it appear normal to humans. Some people, and all fae, can see through this Mask, however. In addition, the more powerful a Changeling is, the more likely it is that some of his true nature will bleed through - a bristling beard turns rootlike, an underbite looks like tusks out of the corner of the eye, that sort of thing. Some mortals also have a chance of seeing through the Mask, specifically children, madmen, those under the influence of drugs, and others with "altered" states of mind. Whenever the Changeling is in the Hedge, an otherworld between our world and Arcadia, his true shape is visible to any who are looking. A Changeling can "turn off" his Mask by burning any Glamour remaining in his system for the effect, revealing his true Mein to the world. Finally, Changelings can intentionally allow others to see beyond the Mask by Ensorcelling them, imbuing them with Glamour (usually through a Pledge) so that they can see through the Mask. A Changeling can also use Glamour to strengthen the mask for a few moments against those that are trying to see past it, but even then his shadow will reflect his true face and not the Mask he wears.
- A God Am I: Or so say the members of the entitlement known as The Lost Pantheon. And considering the fact that they get more perceptive and long-lived the more delusional they get, they can derive Glamour from being worshiped, and they get bonuses versus the True Fae and their servants, well, they may have a point.
- Godzilla Threshold: The Aurochs Horn and Call the Wild Hunt summon the True Fae. It takes absolute desperation to see this as a good idea, although it is JUST possible enough to use this as a trick to kill the Fae summoned. But you'd also have to be very desperate (or vengeful) to want to attempt that either.
- Go Mad from the Isolation: A Changeling at certain levels of Clarity who spends too long without human contact must roll to check for Clarity loss - by avoiding others, he finds himself stewing in his own twisted perceptions.
- Gone Horribly Right: The expected result any time a Changeling uses Call the Wild Hunt.
- Grimmification: The Home Game!!
- Growing Up Sucks: Arguably inverted in the new Changeling, in which the focus is no longer on keeping your innocence and naivete in a harsh and dark world but rather about finding the way back from the loss of innocence and the pains of life and learning how to put yourself back together and discover what comes next.
- Have You Seen My God?: One of the example origin stories for the True Fae is based on the Manx interpretation of faeries. True Fae are actually angels whose God has left the universe. Without His guidance, they have gone completely insane.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Changelings have a dozen ways to become Well Intentioned Extremists or Knights Templar in their battles against the True Fae. Bridge-Burners try to close down all doors between the real world and the Hedge, despite the utility (verging on necessity) other Changelings find in it. Militia members seek to "enlist" other members into probably-Pyrrhic battles against the Others. Even members of the standard Courts who don't fall in with one of the extremist groups can become oppressors themselves in order to develop power with which to fight or avoid the Others.
- The Hedge of Thorns: The... er... Hedge. There are Thorns in it. Yeah.
- Hell Gate: From the eyes of most folks a Hedge Gate would definitely apply. Not only is the Hedge a dangerous, soul-tearing place, but Arcadia, on the far side, is much, much worse.
- Hobbits: Probably the closest analogues in this game would be the Wizened Drudges.
- Horror Hunger: Disturbingly common. Not only are there Gristlegrinder Ogres and some Hunterheart Beasts whose teeth and mouths have become deadly weapons and who often spent their Durances chowing down on whatever or whoever they could catch, but some Kiths, such as the Darkling Leechfinger or Ogre Oni, can heal themselves by eating their foes. Any of these could face cannibalistic urges. And this isn't counting those driven to cannibalism through the workings of their steadily-worsening psychosis.
- How Do You Like Them Apples?: Many a goblin fruit. Special mention goes to The Apples of War from Swords at Dawn — the gold one summons an Automaton Horse and Carry a Big Stick, the Silver one summons The Cavalry / Elite Mooks, and the Copper one summons a small Redshirt Army.
- Horned Humanoid: Any of the Seemings can give a Changeling permanent horns. Elementals of fire, Darklings and certain Fairest might echo the modern conception of the demon or devil - either frightening, alluring, or both. Wizened and ogres might appear similar to horned goblins or trolls. Beasts might be transformed into bulls or rams.
- Horny Devils: A potent enough archetype to have its own kith in Winter Masques; the Fairest's Succubus kith (called "Incubus" for male changelings with it). The changeling gets a bonus to Social rolls against people with the same Vice as the Incubus (with the bonus increased if the shared vice is Lust) and all of them are blessed with at least a modicum of Striking Looks.
- Humanity Ensues: Those who were taken and turned into Beasts and Elementals have a hard time adjusting back to being human again. The Beasts have a hard time thinking non-instinctively after being animals for so long, and the Elementals have trouble relating to other people after spending so long as flames or trees.
- Humanity Is Infectious: In their original state, True Fae are incapable of caring about other beings, or even understanding how to care for other beings. If the Kindly One actually manages to understand and feel strongly about humanity, in any way, he loses all memory of his true nature and the vast majority of his power, becoming a Charlatan, a Banished Fae.
- Humanoid Abomination: The True Fae can Mask themselves as humans when in the real world, although there's always some sign of what they really are.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: Subverted outright (Dancers In Dusk states few things rekindle a changeling's much-needed faith in other people then visiting a stranger's dreams for the first time).
- Hyper Awareness: At the highest levels of Clarity, a Changeling is so adept at telling what's real from what's not that it grants a form of this. Not only do high-Clarity Changelings gain bonuses to mundane perception, but they gain access to the Kenning, allowing them to sense supernatural critters, even when hidden.
- Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: Due to quirks of time and distance, it's possible to walk from place to place in the Hedge much quicker than it would be to walk in the real world. Granted, it's exponentially more dangerous to do so, but sometimes the risk is worth it.
- I Gave My Word: Due to the importance of Pledgecraft to the Lost, most Changelings are *very* careful about keeping to the letter of their promises. Even if the promise wasn't sworn as a magical Pledge, it's generally considered bad luck to renege on an oath, as the Wyrd may be watching anyway.
- I Have Many Names: The True Fae are called many things by their once-slaves out of fear that they might come if called: the Keepers, the Gentry, the Others.
- I Know What You Fear: The first Clause of the Contracts of Fleeting Autumn grants this ability. Somewhat recursively, this is one of the things that makes folks afraid of the Autumn Court - that any one of them has the ability to find out what drives you pants-soilingly terrified, then confront you with it.
- I Know Your True Name: This setting dealing with The Fair Folk makes this trope inevitable. Both Changelings and Keepers have True Names, with the power gained over the individual in question varying depending on which rulesets are used. Critically, whilst a Changeling can conceivably change their True Name, the True Fae cannot.
- I See Dead People: Gravewights and anyone who knows the Contracts of Shade & Spirit have this power.
- Improvised Weapon: The specialty of the Bloodbrute kith, who can easily turn stop signs into great-axes, car antennae into rapiers, and street signs with cement left at the base into warhammers.
- Incendiary Exponent: Any player with Contracts of the Elements 2 in fire can do this. And it's fairly awesome.
- Infallible Babble: Very, very averted. The "rumors" side bars on various Entitlements often make some pretty large leaps of logic, and sometimes conflict with the actual write-up; ie, just plain wrong. This is Lampshaded in the writeup for the Ancient and Accepted Order of Bridgemasons, it's pointed out that very few changelings are stupid/paranoid enough to think their handiwork draws the True Fae (if it was, why haven't it's users been abducted already?), but rulers who dislike them are known to lend credence to the theory.
- Inhumanly Beautiful Race: The Fairest (and many of the True Fae)
- Inn Between the Worlds: A Hollow can share much in common with this trope - doors in the Real World and the Hedge alike... and the doors in the real world don't need to open in the same building, or even the same city.
- Insane Equals Violent: Averted. It often does, but it's made quite clear in Rites of Spring that this is a result of the individual changeling's madness, not a loss in Clarity directly. It recommends that changelings who are losing their grip on it be treated with sympathy.
- Insert Payment To Use: The Catch means that not only can Tokens work this way, but so can the Changelings' Contracts. Catches range from a putting handful of dead fireflies into a token, eating a live spider to activate a contract, or cutting off your own tongue to activate another Token.
- Insubstantial Ingredients: Commonly bought and sold at Goblin Markets. You might give the Hob the color of your eyes in exchange for seven minutes of good luck, trade away a springtime afternoon to buy the use of a Hedge Beast, or find a vendor willing to give away a Goblin Contract for a song (meaning, you can never learn or sing it again). In system, most of these just represent XP, but it's much more fun in game-terms to say you're giving away the scent of a rose in exchange for that Token.
- Instant Expert: One of the early Clauses of the Contract of Animation is to give the Changeling who uses it an innate knowledge of how to use a device. Combined with the ability to gain Skill and Merit bonuses through Pledgecraft, or to use a Merit to draw knowledge from the collective dreams of mankind, this means that a Changeling could go from computer illiterate to Googling away in a few moments, and become a fairly serviceable hacker overnight.
- Invisible to Normals: The Mask, mentioned above essentially fools all five human senses, rendering their mien invisible to the eyes, removing anything clearly supernatural from their voice, muffling any odd scents or tastes, and convincing a human's sense of touch into believing that odd features like fur or horns are simply unaltered skin. Supernatural creatures with special sensory powers can pierce the mask, but it's extremely difficult.
- Invoked Trope: The book Swords At Dawn introduces a new mechanic called Talecrafting, which essentially lets canny players spot Tropes in motion (or good places to shoehorn them in) and tweak the Wyrd to cause them to come to pass. Changelings often get the inspirations for this power when they realize that they're, in a sorts, LIVING in a Faerie Tale, as they are Fae creatures. For example, a Changeling loses two huge bets at Vegas, but suddenly realizes that the Third Time's The Charm and goes for one last bet, hoping to win it all just like in all the stories. Conversely, the same Changeling might set up events to fool the Wyrd into thinking it should enact the trope, such as using rigged 'failure' dice, intentionally blowing bets, etc. The Wyrd doesn't like it when it catches you doing this, and so inflicts a dice penalty on the attempt. The system has a dangerous caveat: unless the player gets very lucky on their Wyrd roll, their success comes with a Cruel Twist of Fate, such as the casino busting the Changeling for 'cheating', who gets a blunt lesson in All That Glitters. Needless to say, the possibilities in this system are as endless as this very website's bottomless resources, and this site indeed is LINKED TO in the book itself as a resource. Ladies and Gentlemen, things just got Meta.
- Jackass Genie: Pledges bind you to the word of the agreement: no more, no less. That makes it fairly simple for a Changeling to take a poorly-worded Pledge and play this straight.
- In a more specific example, You always have to be careful of this when buying something at a Goblin Market. Market Law says that all products and services must work as advertised, but there Ain'tNoRule that says the merchant has to fully disclose all negative qualities and side-effects of a purchase.
- Karma Meter / Sanity Meter: Clarity. This tracks how much a character has mentally grown to resemble her Fae captors, both in her moral uprightness and her ability to tell reality from the dreams and hallucinations that come from her fae perceptions.
- It is worth noting that Clarity is somewhat unique amongst the various World of Darkness Morality tracks in that it can drop through no fault of the player- their sanity has become much more fragile, and general disruptions and chaos that disrupts their day to day routine can be just as jarring and detrimental to their mind as actively doing something reprehensible.
- Clarity is also far less forgiving than some of the other Morality scales of the NWoD because it doesn't know the meaning of "extenuating circumstances", unless you're acting in accordance with your Virtue, which will usually give you bonuses to degeneration rolls but not avoid the need to roll at all.
- Clarity is also unique in that beneficial events can trigger potential drops (if they're not expected). Having to move to a new home (even if you're acquiring a nicer residence) triggers a chance at degeneration if your Clarity is 7 or above. Unplanned pregnancy explicitly is actually a larger trigger for degeneration (Clarity 4) than killing another changeling (Clarity 5). Changelings greatly desire a stable environment and routine.
- On the plus side, as seen above under Creative Sterility, having an unplanned pregnancy is really hard for a changeling.
- Lack of Empathy: The True Fae, Fetchspawn, and many low-Clarity Lost are like this. How varies:
- True Fae are fundamentally incapable of understanding the feelings and minds of other beings, and due to the way their biology works, hate is literally the same thing as love.
- Fetchspawn are the True Fae's solipism taken to extremes-they aren't even aware other beings exist.
- Low-Clarity lost are so insane that they don't see other people as people.
- Land of Faerie: With many names: Arcadia, Faerie, Elfhome, Hell, That Terrible Fucking Place...
- Law of Inverse Fertility: If you want a child, you'll pay to get it. If you don't want a child and end up with one, you'll still pay for it.
- Les Collaborateurs: Privateers and Loyalists. Technically, Loyalists work directly for one of the True Fae (whether out of misguided loyalty or just in order to avoid a horrible fate for themselves). They're poorly regarded at best, but can also garner some sympathy. Privateers are Changelings who kidnap and sell their fellow men just for the money. They're universally reviled among other Changelings, and for good reason.
- Lie to the Beholder: This is how the Mask works, more or less.
- Literal Genie: This is how Pledges work. Be very careful how you word your pledges, folks.
- Living Labyrinth: The Hedge.
- Living Toy: Many Elementals, from Manikins to Metalflesh tin soldiers.
- Loophole Abuse: This is Pledgecraft, in a nutshell.
- Lunacy: The Contracts of the Moon deal specifically with derangements, the clauses ranging from telling if someone is suffering from one with just a look to infecting a crowd with a madness of your choice.
- There is also a Darkling kith called the Moonborn. Their power lets them infect themselves with a mild derangement and someone they touch with its severe version.
- The Lost Woods: The Hedge, in all its psychoreactive, space-twisting, soul-ripping glory. If you get lost in the Hedge, you may never leave again - at least, not as a human. And if you enter the Hedge, there's a *very* good chance you'll get lost.
- MacGyvering: The highest level of artifice rivals the man himself in it's versatility. Need a gun? No problem, just take a lead pipe and a piece of string. An Airplane? A lawnmower and a roll of duct tape should suffice.
- Magical Seventh Son: In the corebook, being the seventh child of a seventh child is one of the ways to have the possibility to see through the Mask. Conversely, it could also be given as the reason the True Fae took interest in a Changeling character to begin with.
- Mad Lib Fantasy Title: Just like the other World of Darkness gamelines.
- Mad Oracle: Due to the Lost's fragile grip on sanity, many of those who develop precognitive abilities will fulfill this archetype. The Goblin Contract "Diviner's Madness," does just fine on its own: It gives you visions of the future, past, or present, but it drives you (temporarily) insane.
- Magic Mirror: It's a Fairy-tale-inspired game. Are you really surprised?
- Specifically, there are a couple magical Tokens made of mirrors, one or two Contracts that use mirrors as foci or required components, and some Fetches have power over mirrors, as an extension of their nature as "reflections" of their Changeling counterparts.
- The Magic Touch: Many of the Contracts of Artifice offer temporary equipment buffs in this manner, though performing actual adjustments (however needless) generally makes the process better or cheaper.
- Magical Underpinnings of Reality: This is how everything in Arcadia works. You need to establish a contract with Fire to be warmed, a contract with Carrots to eat one. But no contract is needed with Rock in order for the True Fae there to crush you with one.
- Magically Binding Contract: Pledges are a borderline case. While a Pledge won't supernaturally compel or fate the oathbound to fulfill their ends of the bargain, it will hit them with a supernatural Sanction if they break their word. As these sanctions can range from minor curses to death, they're often a pretty powerful motivation.
- Particularly nasty fae can also bind mortals into contracts they aren't aware they are making. Badly chosen words, like screaming 'I'm gonna kill him!' can be bound into bargains that will punish someone for not carrying out their promise.
- In the flavor, one character gets himself into a bargain that will have a Changeling or fae (it's not clear which) kill the "pests" in her home. The last thing he says to a friend before the 'exterminator' arrives? "You're such a pest."
- Mana: Glamour, the energy of Faerie, also connected to emotions and dreams. Changelings can recover glamour by absorbing it from the emotions or dreams of mortals, by fulfilling some Pledges, or by eating strange Goblin Fruits which grow in the Hedge between our world and Faerie.
- Masquerade: A variation - Changelings are, in general, not overly worried about human reactions to their presence. However, word of a horn-browed man transforming into autumn leaves and blowing away might travel the rumor mill until one of the True Fae learn of it, and that's what Changelings keep quiet for. Lucky for them they have the Mask to help (and Winter Courtiers to clean up if that fails)
- Mirror Match: This is what a fight between a Changeling and her Fetch probably looks like for anyone who isn't able to pierce the Mask. Especially if that Fetch has a power that lets him use the Changeling's own powers.
- Mobile Maze: The Hedge, the paths of which often shift and change position. Getting lost there is pretty easy, and not a good idea.
- Monsters Anonymous: The various Courts, Entitlements, and Motleys of the Lost serve, in part, to provide this sort of assistance to the Lost who join them. Certain members within the Spring and Winter courts especially offer aid in reintegrating with Mortal society or gaining appropriate documentation with which to blend in (respectively, with some overlap)
- Mr. Fixit: Wizened. Anyone else with the Contracts of Artifice tends toward these types of skills, too.
- Muggles Do It Better: A common lament of the Wizened. Changelings can use Contracts and other methods to create incredible things, but it's either a temporary effect or likely to be flawed in some way.
- Multiple-Choice Past: Several possible reasons are given for what the True Fae are, where they came from, and why they kidnap mortals. The precise truth, if any, is up to your table's ST.
- My Instincts Are Showing: One reason the Lost so often seem (or become) mad when compared to mortals. When you've been turned into an animal, an inanimate object or force, or a boogeyman, your adjusted instincts are going to be... off, compared to normal. This is especially clear in the Beast and Elemental kith Curses - the Beasts are so tied to animal instinct that mortal thought has atrophied somewhat, and the Elementals have spent so long as inhuman embodiments of creation that they have trouble identifying with humans.
- Mythpunk: A distinct possibility for how to run Changeling games. You don't have to use traditional fairy tales, but they lend layers to the game.
- Natural Weapon: Several Kiths offer this, as does the "Lethal Mein" merit. These include Hunterhearts, Gristlegrinders, Razorhands, Leechfingers, Blightbent, and Oni. Some of these offer secondary powers as well, such as the ability to use the dealt damage to heal the changeling himself.
- Occasionally leads to Fridge Logic when you realize that your perpetually on-fire Changeling needs a special Merit or Contract to actually BURN people with it. Then again, given the nature of Contracts and what they actually represent, perhaps not.
- Nightmare Fuel: The Scarecrow Ministry works to spread it in order to keep mortals away from the real monsters.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The True Fae can be whatever they want. See the Fantasy Kitchen Sink example for Chrometooth.
- Noodle Incident: "Changelings tend to avoid giving Freeholds too-obvious names derived from myth, ever since the disaster that befell the 17th-century legendary freehold of New Lyonesse."
- The Oath-Breaker: Any Changeling known to have broken his sworn word is looked upon with extreme suspicion by the rest of Lost society, and with decent reason - the bonds of Pledges are one of the only ways Changelings can manage to trust one another.
- Older Than They Look: The Changeling's connection to the Wyrd slows their aging and extends their lifespan, up to a maximum of + 140 years at Wyrd 10. By that point, it may not be long before aging is no longer an issue...
- Omniglot: A Changeling with the Wisdom of Dreams Merit can at any time draw knowledge of another language from the collective unconscious of the world.
- Our Monsters Are Different: Given the fluid nature of the True Fae and the flexibility of the Kith system, many of these apply:
- Phantasy Spelling: The books tend to go with "Fae" and "Faerie" rather than "Fairy"
- Somewhat justified, as that's the Old French spelling whence we get the English "fey" and "fairy".
- Phlebotinum Rebel: The Summer and Autumn Courts, each to a degree. Summer focuses more on the "rebel" side of things, Autumn on the Phlebotinum.
- Power Born of Madness: The looser a grip a member of the lost Pantheon has on reality, the more powerful and longer lived he is, and unlike most other changelings they prefer to face the Gentry head on.
- Poisonous Person: the Blightbent kith of Elementals are elementals of pollution and corruption. Venombite Beasts represent venomous animals.
- The Power of the Sun: Several Summer Court contracts, but not all of them. The Court of the Day has no listed court contracts in the book, but if your ST has given them any, they probably include these as well.
- Predatory Business: The Max Mart chain of box stores owned by Baron Fairweather, almost literally - it's part of his attempt to claim the mortal world as his own.
- Prestige Class: Entitlements, groups of Changelings who claim a noble Title and swear an oath to that effect. This grants them power, but requires them to fulfill certain responsibilities, which can occasionally conflict with the Changeling's interests. Worse, joining an entitlement also makes them that much more...interesting to the True Fae if they should come calling. The Equinox Road brings the Eldritch Orders into the game, ancient Entitlements for the Changeling equivalent of epic characters.
- Professional Killer: Some members of The Tolltaker Knighthood (essentially Changeling bounty hunters) prefer to take nonlethal jobs. Others fall square into this trope. This isn't to mention the various Jack Ketches often found in a Freehold willing to kill off Fetches, or Winter Court assassins.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: A party of Changelings is called a motley, as in 'motley crew of outcasts'.
- Really 700 Years Old: Even the youngest-looking True Fae may be ancient.
- Reality Is Out to Lunch: In Arcadia, Reality never even clocked in. Instead, the world runs on Clap Your Hands If You Believe, Magical Underpinnings of Reality and the Theory of Narrative Causality.
- Reality Warper: Each True Fae in its own domain. Because many of them are their domain.
- Replicant Snatching: This is how the True Fae replace their soon-to-be-slaves with Fetches. A changeling who hopes to regain his life after coming back might need to do this to his Fetch in turn.
- Rules Lawyer: Every single Changeling that survives for any amount of time becomes one. This is one of the few games were having Legal experience helps you role play.
- Sacred Hospitality: One of the most important customs and traditions of Lost society. This doesn't exactly mean that folks don't break hospitality, it just means that the ones who do are considered even worse. This even applies in ARCADIA. Every realm in it, by laws even the Gentry find as ancient, is required to be hospitable and survivable in some manner. Not that the rules have to make sense: Equinox Road gives an example of a realm where you can walk on fire and swim in lava without harm, but if you touch an icicle, it instantly freezes you.
- Scary Scarecrows: The Scarecrow Ministers mentioned below, whose Mien eventually starts to look like them.
- Schmuck Banquet: Not every Hollow in the Hedge is occupied. But then, some are only unoccupied while their owner is out shopping for children to kidnap. The books list several specific locales like this, including a sumptuous underground manse, accessible only by ladder, filled with beautiful decor and giant marionette handservants that offer you the finest refreshments. And then you try to leave, and find that the ladder's disappeared, and the walls up are covered with an extremely slippery substance. And if you stay in that manse, you'll slowly become one of those genderless automatons, dedicated only to pleasing your "guests."
- Screw You, Elves!: The resounding cry of every non-Loyalist Changeling.
- Scooby-Doo Hoax: An interesting case. The genuinely supernatural Changelings of the Scarecrow Ministry have a tendency to create elaborate Scooby Doo Hoaxes to keep people away from truly dangerous beings such as True Fae, werewolves and Spirits (either through fear of the hoax or through being attracted to it rather than the real monsters). Sometimes they go a bit too far, and become the monsters they impersonate.
- Seasonal Baggage: The prominent Courts of western Europe and North America. As noted by Winter Masqes, areas with altered seasonal cycles sometimes follow the same Court system, modified to match.
- The Shadow Knows: A Changeling's Mask usually hides all traces of his true Fae nature from non-fae beings, but if he chooses, he can strengthen it to hide those traces from everyone... other than his shadow, which then shows the truth.
- Shake My Hand If You Believe: Arcadia runs by rules such as these. In Faerie, the only laws of physics are those agreed upon by the True Fae who rule it, and they only affect you if you agree to let them. Part of the process that transforms people into changelings is entering into these agreements, either consciously or subconsciously, in order to actually survive.
- A section in Autumn Nightmares detailing weapons with minds of their own that the Gentry can have gives the example of floating metal orbs.
- Several of the pregenerated changelings and True Fae are references. Wild Sam (from Night Horrors, Grim Fears) is a Darker and Edgier Max from Where the Wild Things Are. The minotaur mentioned in The Equinox Road is strikingly similar to the Minotaur from House of Leaves.
- The Rites of Spring supplemental book gives details on how a Changeling can maintain a collection of supernatural research. Examples given are a collection of books, a Glamour-powered computer or "a talking skull with several lifetimes of information at hand".
- Lords of Summer states that the Autumn Court gives a specific title to its best warrior. This title? The Paladin of Shadows.
- Shown Their Work: Whatever authors wrote these books, they knew their legends, myths, and the true- much darker- stories of the Fair Folk.
- Sizeshifter: The innate power of the Gargantuan kith. The third Clause of the Contract of Mirrors also grants a more flexible form of this ability.
- Sliding Scale of Free Will vs. Fate: Changeling as a gameline lies somewhere in the middle. Fate, alternately known as the Wyrd, is a definite force in the lives of the fae, but not every fated prophecy will come to pass.
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Justified with the Fairest; True, they happen to be prettier then they could have ever been when they were mortal-a fact which they like. Said beauty often comes with the second-worst variety of Durance (the worst being Wizened) leading to major self-esteem issues, and an even more fragile connection to reality then other Changelings.
- The Soulless: The True Fae. Some particularly sociopathic Changelings are rumored to be soulless as well. Even a Fetch usually has a smidgen of soul... not that that makes them necessarily nice.
- Space Elves: Some True Fae model themselves off of Gray Aliens and the like (and model their abductions off of alien abduction stories).
- Speaks Fluent Animal: The first Clause of the Contracts of Fang & Talon grants this power. All Beasts have a lesser version of this ability; they can't speak with animals without the Contract, but they have an innate rapport with the kind of animal to which they're the most closely aligned.
- Split Personality Merge: In an Enemy Without sort of way. Common belief is that a Changeling's Fetch incorporates part of the original's soul, metaphorically and metaphysically represented by a scrap of his shadow. Normally, a changeling either leaves the Fetch alone or kills it. But if a Changeling and Fetch can grow to truly understand and empathize with one another, they can merge, rejoining that scrap of soul with the Changeling's tattered remnants. This helps shore up the Changeling's sense of self and Clarity, and grants him access to all the Fetch's memories.
- Stages of Monster Grief: Changelings are all over the scale. Some can't accept what they are and go insane, others are so caught up in rage over the change they go on impossible anti-True Fae crusades, others go evil, and some go True Fae. Those who accept what they are, and try to stay sane don't have it particularly easy, either.
- Starfish Aliens: Many of the True Fae manifest in forms that just plain don't make biological sense. In their defense, though, it's magic.
- Stay on the Path: Wandering off the path in The Hedge can be a very, very bad thing. Not only do the Thorns themselves drink your Glamour (and thus ability to defend yourself) away, but hobgoblins lurk in some of the deeper parts... and the Gentry occasionally take their strolls through it. This is if you're a Changeling. Mortals have it even worse. Changelings just lose Glamour. Mortals have bits of their soul ripped off.
- Strangled by the Red String: In-Universe. This is a good reason to avoid Crimson Weavers and Talecrafters.
- Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: This is the raison d'etre of the Autumn Court. Granted, most Fae magic is about as simple to catalogue as contract law, but Autumn Courtiers often branch out into other areas of the World of Darkness's supernatural.
- Summon Bigger Fish: This happens when someone uses Call the Hunt (see Dangerous Forbidden Technique above). Ideally, both enemies would kill one another off, leaving the Changeling safe from either.
- Summon Magic: The higher levels of the Contracts of Communion allow one to transform inanimate substances into elemental servitors. likewise the highest Contracts of Animation allow the user to bring constructed items to life to do his bidding. And then there's Call the Wild Hunt...
- Supernatural Angst: Fully and horribly justified by the horrors Changelings have endured, and generally continue to endure.
- Let's see... the Beasts were turned into either savage predators or fearful prey and had the capability for rational thought ripped from them. The Darklings were taken for breaking some unknown law and submerged in nightmares. The Elementals were transformed into pure natural forces and still remain divorced from human thought patterns. The Fairest were used as sex slaves and underwent Durances that bounced between utter luxury and unimaginable hell. The Ogres were all, by definition, abuse victims. And the Wizened were turned into slaves and craftsmen, subjected to random spite, and often tricked into thinking they'd escaped from Arcadia, only to have their Keepers collapse the illusion in the cruelest way possible.
- Talking in Your Dreams: Possible through oneiromancy.
- Tautological Templar: Talecrafting addicts.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Freeholds and Motleys often work out this way. After all, even if the Pledges you've sworn mean that the guy next to you will suffer if he betrays you, that doesn't mean you trust him - or, heaven forbid, like him.
- Theory of Narrative Causality: This is one aspect of the Wyrd. It encompasses oaths and agreements, fate and destiny, dreams and emotions, and stories and archetypes, possibly with a vaguely undefined will behind it all.
- There Are No Therapists: Well, there are some, but non-Changeling therapists wouldn't begin to know how to deal with these characters' problems, and Changeling therapists (such as the Entitlement of the Bishopric of Blackbirds) usually have problems just as bad as the folks they're treating.
- However, it is possible to give someone psychotherapy in their dreams; a successful roll makes a single night's dream into a week's worth of normal therapy sessions.
- Touched by Vorlons: Molested is more like it, though...
- Hehe. "Show me on the doll where the True Fae touched you..."
- *Points to head* Here.
- ... or worse-*points to hand holding doll* "here"
- Talecrafting Will Ruin Your Life: Addicted Talecrafters tend to start seeing patterns out of fairy tales in everything, whether they're actually there or not. This can result in some very bad delusions.
- Wait, what happens if you try to invoke this tro- *KABOOM!*
- Terror Hero: Any beneficent Autumn Courtier is likely to become this.
- Transhuman Treachery: This is what happens when an Autumn Courtier gets a little too low on the ol' Clarity-meter — though any Changeling can fall prey to such, Autumn's philosophies are more predisposed toward it.
- Arguably, Privateers and Loyalists as well, as they all too often will be right there condemning the poor Muggles to the same fate they endured for profit, fear, or twisted loyalty to their insane masters.
- Truce Zone: The Goblin Markets, as enforced by Market Law.
- Truth Serums: There's a low-level Goblin Contract named Sight of Truth and Lies that lets you automatically tell when somebody is telling a lie. The downside is, if you lie while using it, you'll automatically believe anything but utter bullshit is true when coming from the speaker's mouth.
- Undead Tax Exemption: The New Identity Merit is there to address concerns of how you get by in society when your fetch is living your life and you may look younger/older than you should be.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Some Contracts allow this, but Darkling Mirrorskins have this as their special ability.
- Villain Ball: The True Fae's wonky perceptions of everything can lead to them picking this up. See: Jack o' The Lantern, and how he managed to both walk out of Arcadia and rendered it impossible for him to be taken back.
- Walk on Water: The first clause of the Contracts of Separation allows it.
- Weakened by the Light: Darklings' ties to night and darkness means that their magic is less certain and powerful during daytime.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Some of the Frailties a True Fae or high-Wyrd Changeling can suffer. Unable to cross a line of ants? Must drink alcohol instead of water?
- Also, the universal anti-fae power of Cold Iron- that is, iron that has not been worked into steel or any other alloy. Against normal Changelings, you lose any defensive benefits and are reduced to your base, human stats; against the True Fae, it does the same, plus if it's hand-worked without the benefit of machinery (or even fire), it deals Aggravated (nigh-irreparable) damage. Why? Because, in layman's terms, the True Fae once cheated the entire concept of Cold Iron in a business deal, and Cold Iron got pissed and swore revenge.
- ...or something like that. For the True Fae, reality is like a fairy tale and makes almost as much sense.
- A result of this is that the best iron for taking out Fae comes from meteorites.
- A more epic way of dealing with them would be to find some way to drop a goddamn meteor on one of the True Fae. Sure, it's probably highly unlikely to be possible, but hey, its cool to think about.
- Get a Telluric Fairest or two, a whole ton of varied Elementals, someone get the Autumn Court researching this.
- Weirdness Censor: ...or perhaps Wyrd-ness censor - the Mask helps enforce this by making all things Fae seem perfectly mundane unless actively using some supernatural power.
- What Did You Expect When You Named It New Lyonesse?: It's because of situations like this that Changelings avoid naming their freeholds after myths, legends, or fairy tales - the Wyrd sometimes like to make sure the story repeats itself. Mention is made of "the grave fate that befell New Lyonesse."
- What Have I Become?: Many Changelings suffer psychological issues due to the alterations that have been forced upon them (even the beautiful Fairest). Surgery, drugs and self-mutilation are common among the most disturbed of Elementals, for example - imagine having leaves and branches growing out of you, or constantly oozing toxic waste from every pore. Now add to that, you were a conscious, immobile candle for the last thirty years. No wonder so many Changelings go Axe Crazy...
- Changelings invariably tend to have issues. Motleys and Courts are at least partly support groups.
- What Is This Thing You Call Love?: Brought up as a possibility with, of all entities, Marquise Tistresse, the Scarlet Widow, a faerie spider in Grim Fears. As an entity that absorbs qualities of her prey (it's how she became sentient in the first place), and with the Theory of Narrative Causality being known to changelings, the fact she can take a human(like) form has led to the rumors that she isn't merely a beast hard-wired by her appetites, that she embodies the archetype of the fae princess as well as the fae monster. This is true — the fae princess archetype is one of the older ones that she digested — but raises the possibility that she may have the untapped potential for unselfish love. Though storyteller's have fiat, naturally, it's official that she really could fall in genuine love with somebody, much to her great shock. The potential consequences are "many, varied, enticing and frightening".
- The Wild Hunt: Definitely shows up. See "Dangerous Forbidden Technique" above.
- Winds of Destiny, Change: The Contracts of Hearth allow one of the Lost to grant good or bad luck - but use them wrong or too often, and the effects reverse. For some of the weaker clauses, this simply makes things more flexible (you can grant a curse rather than a blessing). For others, the ill luck affects YOU. The Wyrd knows, and it does not enjoy being used.
- Winter Royal Lady: Any queen of the Winter Court, fairly obviously. Female Elemental Snowskins (or other Lost women with cold powers) can also play up to this archetype, though the books note that just as many intentionally avoid the Winter Court to avoid it.
- Changelings Live Longer: The Wyrd increases the lifespan of Changelings, depending on the strength of their fae nature. At the peak of a Changeling's potential power, he can live up to 140 years beyond his natural lifespan. Assuming he hasn't transformed into another True Fae by then.
- It gets weirder then that, there is no limit to how long they can be in Arcadia, so long has more then one hundred years have not passed in the human world since they where taken. They can have a internal durance that lasts for centuries and come back just a few seconds later, having lived and suffered for centuries and not coming out any older or younger. THEN when you add onto the age extension that comes with high Wyrd, and certain contracts and goblin fruits, you can live a pretty damn long time in this game...assuming you WANT to live that long in the first place.
- Workplace-Acquired Abilities: How some Lost, especially those of the Wizened kith, "benefited" from their Durance.
- World of Chaos: Arcadia. The True Fae only exist in relation to one another, and the only way they can keep from being subsumed back into the dreamstuff from whence they came is to constantly pit themselves against one another.
- A Year and a Day: One of the possible Durations of a Pledge, and the duration shows up in other places, as well. According to the books, the extra day is to account for Leap Years - if a pledge is sworn for only 365 days, it could unravel on the leap day, causing unwanted consequences.
- Year Outside, Hour Inside / Narnia Time: Time flows strangely while in Arcadia.
- And a bit closer to home: the Changeling Contracts of Hours (power over the flow of time) have a clause that allows you to cause this to happen while in the Hedge; you can either speed up or slow down subjective time while you're in the Hedge by anywhere from x2 to x6 times. But only for you and anyone who enters the Hedge with you, anyone already in the Hedge is unaffected by the Narnia Time. Meaning you can have a conversation with someone, both exit at the same time, and still wind up in the real world an hour before or after the other individual.
- You Keep Using That Word: Oh so very many. But the sheer number of instances of the word "Catch" being used incorrectly is impressive.
- You Sexy Beast: All changelings with the Beast seeming have as their blessing an animal magnetism that lets them increase their Presence and Composure.
- No, my place is a pigsty. Let's go to yours. So. What was your name again?