Changeling Canon

C:tL in Ten Minutes or Less

Learn you some Changeling! This synopsis is meant to be educational to give players a taste so they can get interested in Changeling. You aren't going to get any mechanics here, and not all the topics in the game are covered, because the book is about 350 pages and you should go get it! So, you can get started here, and then go buy the book at Drive Thru RPG!

Changeling focuses on people whose lives are hijacked by the Gentry, fantasy monsters who are nightmarish slave owners which drag humans to their realm, Arcadia, as servants for their needs and whims. The Gentry are far removed from human nature and understanding, so almost invariably the experience will be scarring from abuse of some sort because they treat you about as well as a 4 year old would treat her beloved, 6th goldfish. When humans are taken to Arcadia their survival necessitates them to be morphed into non-human (but usually humanoid) creatures. Most of them don't escape, but those that do leave by finding and activating a gateway back to reality. They come through the Hedge, a buffer zone between arcadia and reality, which amounts to a dangerous forest that doesn't stay still, is full of monsters, and can quite literally sense your fear. Now that they're back, depending on how long they've been gone, they may be able to reunite with their old life. Until they find out about…

  • Fetches: A clone of you which thinks it is the real thing but is actually just enchanted odds and ends, planted so you were never "gone". It's living your life and has your family. Not all Changelings have fetches.
  • Time fluctuation: Time in Arcadia can pass at a different rate than time in the real world. Twenty years there could be twenty minutes here. Five minutes there could be a month here. There could be an even ratio. It's unpredictable.
  • Federal Field Day: You might actually no longer be able to prove your identity as you because of the fetch/time fluctuation or both.

You either get your old life back or you don't, but you try to live one regardless. Chances are that after a traumatic experience with nonhuman slavers, you're 100% USFDA approved, grass fed bonkers in some fashion, like PTSD, paranoia, or very specific phobias. If you made it over here, though, it was because you had the resolve and tenacity of will to handle yourself, so you're not completely damaged goods, but, you're also now aware of the Faerie world and the dangers it presents to ignorant innocents — and you. This tends to produce a life we like to call not normal. You learn that…

  • Humans can't see your mutations. There is a phenomenon called the Mask which makes supernatural objects, people, and animals, appear mundane and normal to mortal eyes without any conscious effort. An object's shadow will betray your true form (your mien), however, and if you use a Contract (a supernatural power) your true from (your mien) will flash into view, but you probably shouldn't be enacting superpowers in public anyway.
  • The Fae aspects of your existence continue in the real world. You might have to obey the laws of physics again most of the time, but you can enact your Contracts (your super powers), usually by channeling Glamour (magic derived from emotions). You can craft Pledges with others, which are contracts in the literal sense (You and I agree to X by Ying and if we don't Z, then the consequences are B) but ones of a preternatural nature. Vows of secrecy or silence, for instance. You can enter the Hedge on your own terms, through Gateways (portals into the Hedge that you open yourself by infusing glamour into a passageway like a door or window) or Keys (rituals even non-changelings can perform to make gateways happen). The Hedge is still a scary soul-stealing wasteland, but it has its perks, like hedgefruits (magical fruits, like beans, but even better) and goblin markets (insane, magical farmers markets where you can buy practically anything at all), and hollows (hidey holes in the Hedge where you can retreat from reality or the dangers of the hedge).
  • You're not alone. There are other Changelings! Hooray! Changelings tend to stick together because of the nature of their unique experiences: you can't commiserate with a human. This leads to the formation of Freeholds, which are organized support groups with the mission statement of keeping changelings within it safe. This also introduces you to courts, which are organizations of people who have like mindsets on how to emotionally approach their durance (time spent in Arcadia).
  • You're not human at all, anymore. There's something fundamentally different about you now. Human contact is like food: you feel the emotions of other humans, if they are intense, like a second-hand high just by being around them. This infuses you with an energy (Glamour) which you can use to power Contracts, but more interestingly can become addictive. Changelings feel emotions with overwhelming intensity. They can not siphon emotions off of other Changelings. It's like humans charge your batteries, or something.

So that normal life you were trying to piece together invariably ends up being affected by your Fae nature, at the very least by your intrinsic need for human contact which ends up giving you this stimulant sort of high. Because of a Changeling's shaking past experiences, they crave stability and reason. Doing unreasonable things or being subjected to sudden change and stress fundamentally jolts their sense of security, like an abused animal. They fear that they will become as fickle and immoral as their old captors. Time spent in the Hedge, extensive effort using Contracts, and other related tomfoolery will chisel them further by (slowly, but surely) strengthening their Wyrd, the thing that is woven into their being that makes them part Fae in the first place. Perhaps your old captors were human once, themselves. So, one day it will hit you. You've been strapped in onto a path straight into madness. It's just a matter of how much you can slow it down.

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