A Fragile Immortality
The unreal is more powerful than the real, because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it, because its only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend? They can go on and on. -Chuck Palahniuk
So, we’re playing Changeling: The Lost. The players are taking the roles of those who were stolen from their homes, their lives, probably replaced with a thing of sticks and twigs and whatever the Fae bastards had on hand, and stolen.
I know who I am and who I may be, if I choose. -Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Most likely we were stolen at some point in the last 50 years; otherwise the world has changed too much for us to return, because it is our memories, our truest memories that let us come home.
But in pushing through the Hedge, those years elsewhere, what some call Arcadia, have changed us. We’ve become twisted half-children somewhere between humanity and the Other, the Strangers, the Fae, or as I like to call them, the rat fucking bastards. We understand that occasionally reality is mutable if you make certain agreements, and our time over there has meant that our promises have more weight than any other mere mortals.
It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. -J. K. Rowling
The date the game will begin is March 5, 2009. The day after the Spring King has taken the throne within the Freehold of the Sacred Privilege. The players should be Changelings that have escaped from the Hedge in the last year, preferably, in the last six months. Why? Because by the Freehold’s tradition only recognizes motleys formed in public the day after the Sovereign, the year’s ruler of the Freehold (in this case the Spring King), and taking the public pledge. There is nothing wrong with forming a motley at some other time, or keeping it private; however, it just will not be recognized by the Courts.
The players should choose why they are forming a motley together. Were they connected, in some half-remembered way, with each other before they left Arcadia? Did they escape together? Or did they just meet through actions and happenstance on this side of the Hedge? Or even more extraordinarily, did you have some connection before you were taken? Or will it be some mixture of all of these options? This is for you, and not I, to chose, together.
I would ask, for the game that I want to run, that everyone be a member of the Courts and to have a desire to stay in Washington D.C., even if it is only because there is no where else for you to go.
While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions. -Stephen R. Covey
So let us speak of the game that I wish to run. Changelings are fleshy-beings, little tougher than your average human. So while I am sure there will be direct physical conflict and strife, it shall not play a primary role. Though I expect that it will play a background role, for it will keep all the parties honest, as frequently the ability to do physical harm is the reason why diplomats stay at the table.
There will be intrigue within the courts, and without in the mortal worlds. Washington D.C. is a place of power and personalities, of people seeking their wants and their needs. In the World of Darkness, it is darker than the city we are familiar with, harder, edgier. It never recovered fully from the violence of the 1970’s, the riots that occurred. However, here, Nations, the dance club exists and flourishes, because why, for all its power and grandeur, would anyone want a baseball team here?
There will be investigation to fill the days, some parts will be a day-to-day affairs of the Courts, trying to discover a fae’s True Name, and yes, though some will tell you otherwise, True Names have a certain power over us, as they do over the Fae. Some of it will be solving the conundrums and mysteries of living in a city teeming with humanity, and the conflicts that arise. And hopefully, most of it will be drive by your own needs and desires.
There will be exploration, but it will be more of an exploration of a player’s choices.
Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved. -William Jennings Bryan
There will be plots and counterplots in this game. There will be a well defined people of position and power, whether they are possible allies or antagonists will depend on the choices you make, both in designing your characters, and the choices you make in play.
This being said, there is no need to feel like you have to be grasping for the limelight, to have ambition, but you do need a reason for why your character is doing something other than withdrawn from world trying to get by.
What do you want? Why can you not get it? If you are having trouble, check out my old LJ post on Goals, Motivations, and Conflicts.
I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our lifetime. -Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
So let me tell you about Washington, D.C. It is still, probably the same Washington, D.C. that you grew up knowing, while the capital of the United States, it is still one of the most violent cities in the country. The control board has never really let the mayor have sovereign rights over his city, and the battles for the control rage loudly through the newspapers.
And while the politicians fight, the populace suffers. As bad as the disparity between the rich and the poor is in the real Washington, D.C., the disparity in the World of Darkness Washington is even greater.
Oh and one other thing, as you, yourself have proven, Changelings are real. There is something more to reality, than the simple day-to-day existence that most of humanity tolerates.
Within Washington, D.C., there stands what many call the world’s most powerful trod, the Washington Monument. And it is this trod that is both Washington’s boon, for the riches it brings, and the bane, for it is a beacon for the Others, the True Fae. But none the less, no blade has but one edge, and Changelings have settled here.
Though you were not aware of it, there were once many more Changelings in D.C.; however, in the aftermath of September 11th, the Bastion Freehold was eliminated, as the Fae returned for their lost charges. However, the older, more established Freehold, the Freehold of the Sacred Privilege took in the survivors with nary the blink of an eye.
Sacred Privilege was formed in the early 20th century when one of the masons who built the monument, and saw the inscriptions placed within the stone work, returned after haven been turned into one of the Wizened. However, with the Monument to bring the Changelings home, more followed, and grew into a community.
The mason, who had taken the name of Bradley Smith at the point, formed the Freehold of Sacred Privilege. And as a God and now Fae fearing man, he formed a religious group to be the front for the operations of the Changelings within the city – Covenant of the Sacred Privilege which had the following charter statement:
The Covenant of the Sacred Privilege shall speak for the silent; guide the lost; and aid the harmed. The Covenant pledges that there shall be no hesitation found within our words, thoughts, or deeds.
And that statement of the charter, alone of all others through the years, remains unchanged. The Covenant is now a multi- or non-denominational religious non-profit, working with the various political, legal, and community stakeholders in the areas of Advocacy and Human Rights; Community; Crisis Support; and Justice and Legal Affairs. It is in this position that the Freehold finds many of its future members.
An oddity of the Sacred Privilege freehold is rather than each court ruling for a period of months, each court rules for a year, starting on March 4th. There are a number of positions called for in Bradley Smith’s original contract and charter.
- Sovereign: The leader of the faction in power. They may take the name King or Queen as appropriate.
- Heir: The leaders of the other three courts, generally colloquially called Prince or Princess as appropriate. An oddity of the process is that the three Heirs can negate an action of the King or Queen if united. This happens rarely.
- Seneschal: Generally the Sovereign’s second who handles Court matters and administration while the Sovereign rules.
- Knight-General: The Changeling in charge of Freehold’s Security. Nominally, answers to the Sovereign first, before any of the Seasonal Courts.
- Marshal-Inspector: The investigator of the Freehold, also answers to the Sovereign.
- Herald: The Herald is the Sovereign’s voice to the Freehold.
- Ambassador: The Ambassador is generally, oddly enough, a younger Changeling (i.e., high Clarity and low Wyrd) who is the mortal face of the Freehold; and traditionally is placed in charge of running the Covenant’s activities.
The four Seasonal Courts have their own structure and titles, and the Courtless, well they exist, and some even attend the festivities. However, the changeling population is growing within the city, and has almost regained the numbers lost when the Bastion Freehold was taken. The size it was when the Bastion Freehold originally split from the Sacred Privilege during the tumultuous 1970’s. Whether history will repeat itself is for us to find out.
And one final thought:
Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you. -Thomas Jefferson
Notable Rules Inclusion
I will be using the True Name rules from the Rites of Spring (pp. 22-23). A true name consists of 3 parts:
1. Your pre-taking name. 2. The name your True Fae master called you. 3. The name you have taken since you left the Hedge.
Of these, only the last can be changed on Beltane or Halloween for 1 dot of willpower.
What are the benefits of knowing a Changeling’s True Name?
1. If used as part of a Contract, that Changeling gets no Resistance roll; however, it must be said loudly and clearly. 2. Pledges that are invoked with the True Name gain all benefits noted, +1 Adroitness, Blessing, or Favor, +1 Glamour Harvested, etc.
If those benefits make absolutely no sense to you, let me sum it up:
1. It is dangerous for someone else to know your True Name. 2. Swearing by your True Name makes some magic more potent.