- Stephen is the only one who can have a Retainer, Mentor and Allies in the Big Business (Changelings). However anyone can have Contacts.
- Since the Changeling's also run the single biggest corporation in Chicago - for every Dot spent in Mantle (Autumn) receive the equal dot in Status: Industry.
Court Goodwill (• to •••••) Edit
This Merit reflects how well liked and respected you are in a Court other than your own. While members of a given Court will always be true to their own members and agendas above all, they are more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt in a dispute, or come to your assistance if it does not undermine their own position. Unlike Mantle, which represents a supernatural quality as well as a political one, Court Goodwill is entirely a social construct, and depends entirely on the opinions of the members of that Court. Mistreat them, and Court Goodwill can disappear in a flash; cultivate their friendship, and they might rally to your defense when no one else will. Court Goodwill adds to dice pools for social interaction with members of the Court in question (though not supernatural powers based on Social rolls). Each two dots (rounding up) add a +1 die bonus to relevant rolls with members of that particular Court, so a changeling with Court Goodwill (Autumn) •• adds a +1 die bonus to Social rolls with a member of the Autumn Court. The Merit also allows one to learn some of that Court’s Contracts, though the highest levels are generally reserved for members alone. As with Mantle, loss of Court Goodwill does not prevent the changeling from using any Contracts that she no longer meet the prerequisites for, though she suffers the usual penalties (see p. 124). This Merit may be purchased multiple times, representing a character’s relationship with a different Court each time. A player cannot purchase Court Goodwill (Courtless); the Empty Hearts are not a social entity in their own right. Lastly, a character cannot purchase Court Goodwill with his own Court that is the province of the Mantle Merit.
Because Court Goodwill is a purely social construction, a changeling may choose to ignore an attempt by another character to apply Court Goodwill to a roll they are involved in, essentially snubbing him despite his reputation in their Court. For example, if an Autumn changeling tried to apply Court Goodwill (Summer) •••• to a roll against member of the Summer Court, the target could declare that he was ignoring thecharacter’s reputation and thus deny the Autumn changeling those two bonus dice. However, such disrespect is a serious insult. Unless the snubbing character can prove there was a valid reason to do so the outsider was throwing his weight around in a supremely petty fashion, for example, or trying to use his leverage to get the character to act against the best interests of the Court more often than not, the momentary satisfaction of the slight costs the character dearly within his own Court. It might even result in a reduction of his Mantle rating as his reputation as a member of that Court slips, not to mention earn him the ire of the Court whose member he snubbed.
Harvest (• to •••••) Edit
Glamour is a precious commodity, and one of the first things many changelings do upon coming to terms with their new existence is try to find some way to secure a steady supply. This Merit represents a relatively stable and consistent source of Glamour that the changeling is considered to have ready access to, allowing her to more easily refresh her supply of Glamour in times of need. This does not guarantee that the changeling will always be able to find the exact amount she needs — in all its forms, Glamour is an unpredictable energy at best — but it does give her a bit more security than a changeling who never knows where his next bit of Glamour will come from. Each dot of Harvest adds one die to certain rolls related to gathering Glamour. A character must specify what type of Glamour-gathering activities this Merit represents when it is purchased. The different types available include but are not necessarily limited to Emotions, Pledges, Dreams and Hedge Bounty. Thus a character adept at gaining Glamour from mortals would take Harvest (Emotions), while a changeling receiving Glamour due to upholding pledges would possess Harvest (Pledges) and a savvy scrounger who knows where some of the best groves in the local Hedge can be found would have Harvest (Goblin Fruits). The bonus applies only to rolls related to that type of collection, so a changeling with Harvest (Dreams) would receive no bonus on a roll to gain Glamour from a mortal’s waking emotions. The actual source of the Glamour can vary considerably, from a reserved room at the back of a local nightclub where the changeling brings her conquests (Emotions) to a secret glen in the Hedge where the goblin fruits ripen (Hedge Bounty). This Merit may be purchased multiple times, but only once per type of Glamour gathering. Note that the changelings receiving Glamour from pledges with mortals are still limited to the maximum number of vows determined by their Wyrd rating (see p. 176).
Hollow (• to •••••; special) Edit
A door under the old town bridge that opens up into a quiet forest grove. A broken-down old shack that contains a fabulous mansion for those who know the right secret knock. A town high in the mountains that can only be found by the outside world but once a century. All of these are examples of the pockets of reality that changelings call Hollows — places in the Hedge that have been cleared of thorns and shaped into a stable location for inhabitation. Some Hollows are little more than a clear patch of grass in the midst of the great Thorn maze, while others are dwellings quite elaborate and fantastical. Changelings actively create many of these locations through sweat and toil, while other Hollows are simply found and adopted in an almost fully formed state. Although Hollows are always a welcome refuge from problems of the mortal world and Hedge alike, not all Hollows are created equal. A tiny cave in the Hedge might be easily overlooked by enemies but also be cramped and contain few escape routes. A fantastic Victorian mansion might be able to house an entire motley and be packed with all manner of amenities, but without the proper wards, the mansion will also act as a beacon for all manner of freeloaders and other undesirable entities. A Hollow’s strengths and weaknesses are thus tallied according to four factors — size, amenities, doors and wards. Players who choose this Merit must also choose how to allocate these four factors when spending points. Thus, a player who spends four dots on this Merit might choose to allocate two to Hollow Size, one to Hollow Amenities and one to Hollow Wards. Hollow Size is perhaps the simplest defining characteristic, governing the amount of raw space the Hollow encompasses. A Hollow with no dots in Hollow Size is barely large enough for a pair of changelings to fit comfortably, and has little if any storage space.
• A small apartment, cave or clearing; one to two rooms.
•• A large apartment or small family home; three to four rooms.
••• A warehouse, church or large home; five to eight rooms, or large enclosure
•••• An abandoned mansion, small fortress or network of subway tunnels; equivalent to nine to 15 rooms or chambers
••••• A sprawling estate, fantastic treetop village or interconnected tunnel network; countless rooms or chambers
Having a lot of space doesn’t always do much good if there isn’t anything occupying it, which is where Hollow Amenities comes in. Reflecting the relative luxuriousness of the Hollow as well as how well-stocked it is with supplies and other material comforts, this rating gives an idea of how elaborate the Hollow is as well as what a character can reasonably expect to find within it at a given time. (A character who wants a humble cabin doesn’t need to allocate much here, but a character who wants an elaborate treetop village stocked with delights should be ready to invest quite a bit.) A Hollow without any dots in Amenities contains few if any buildings or possessions — it might be big but it’s mostly empty space. At the other end of the spectrum, a retreat with five dots in amenities is likely fully stocked with all manner of luxuries, and while most of these Amenities are made of ephemeral dreamstuff and thus cannot travel across the Hedge or even that far from their origin within it, they still make for a very pleasing stay. (In other words, Hollow Amenities cannot be used as a substitute for other Merits such as Resources or Harvest, and if the character wants the things found in his Hollow to travel outside of it, he must purchase the appropriate Merits to represent these riches.) While a high Hollow Amenities rating often entails a high Hollow Size rating, exceptions do occur for example, a changeling might not invest much in Hollow Size, but then make that small cabin a veritable wonderland full of excellent food, interesting books and a magical fireplace that keeps itself at the perfect temperature all the time. Likewise, a motley might invest a lot in Hollow Size to get a giant Victorian mansion, but without much spent in Hollow Amenities, it will be sparsely furnished and likely a bit rundown. Although Hollows cannot have access to some high-tech facilities such as phone service, Internet connections or satellite broadcasts, some of the more impressive Hollows make up for it with minor magical touches. These magical elements should not mimic anything as powerful as Contracts, but can provide basic household services and serve as excellent descriptive details and flourishes to create exactly what the player desires for the look and feel of their Hollow. A game board with living chess or gwybdyll pieces that can play against a living opponent is a perfectly acceptable entertainment amenity, for example, as might be a battered arcade cabinet that changes every new moon to a different video game never seen in the mortal world.
• A couple of homey touches, but otherwise quite plain
•• A comfortable Hollow with a few notable features and decent fare
••• An elaborate Hollow with quite a few clever details and an excellent supply of refreshments and diversions
•••• An impressive Hollow containing abundantmundane delights and even one or two noteworthy minor magical services as well
••••• A lavish dwelling with nearly every comfort of modern living as well as quite a few magical conveniences
Hollow Doors reflects how many entrances and exits a Hollow has, which can be equally important if a character is cut off from her normal access point in the real world or finds herself in need of a quick escape route while staying in the Hollow. Without any dots in Hollow Doors, a Hollow is assumed to have one entrance in the real world and one small entrance in the Hedge — the Hollow can be reached through either side. (A character may waive either of these “free” entrances if he only wishes the Hollow to be accessible from one side.) With each dot in Hollow Doors, the Hollow has one additional point of entry/exit, either in the real world or through the Hedge. For example, with the expenditure of multiple dots, each motley member might have a door in his own residence that allows him access to the group’s private Hollow. Note that these doors must be tied to static access points in either realm — these places do not change.
Of course, a changeling might have the most gigantic and elaborate Hollow imaginable, but unless it is properly warded and secured against intrusion, it will most likely be lost to opportunistic scavengers in short order — or worse yet, subject to an unpleasant visitation from the Others. Thus, it is wise to invest at least a few dots in Hollow Wards, representing the precautions both mundane and magical that protect the Hollow from unwanted visitors. Each dot invested in Hollow Wards subtracts one die from all attempts by unwanted visitors to find or break into the Hollow; in addition, those inside receive a +1 die bonus per dot on their Initiative compared to those attempting to break in. Lastly, the more dots invested in Hollow Wards, the less likely the location is to be found by True Fae or creatures from the Hedge; each dot subtracts one die from any rolls made to find the Hollow. Characters whose players spend no points at all on Hollow simply do not have access to any sort of special location in the Hedge. They might come as guests to another’s dwelling from time to time, but if they wish to have regular access to any particular location, they must purchase this Merit on their own or pool points with other changelings who already own an existing Hollow. Characters with no Hollow points simply do not enjoy the mechanical benefits of having spent dots on a better living space in the Hedge. Each aspect of the Hollow Merit has a limit of 5. In other words, Hollow Size, Hollow Amenities, Hollow Wards and Hollow Doors may not rise above 5 (to a maximum of 20 points spent on this Merit).
Mantle (• to •••••) Edit
Mantle represents a mystical connection with the elements and emotions that a particular Court embodies. The higher a changeling’s Mantle rating, the more he has come to embody that Court’s ideal — even if he is a hermit who doesn’t involve himself in local politics, a character with a high Mantle is still given at least grudging respect by his peers because of his obvious commitment to the values his Court cherishes. From a descriptive perspective, as a character’s Mantle rises, his fae mien reflects this ascendance, displaying both literal and figurative signs of the season. A character with Mantle (Autumn) • might be followed by a slight brisk breeze, for example, while one with Mantle (Autumn) ••• might have illusory leaves kicked up as she walks and at last at Mantle (Autumn) •••••, the character might be illuminated by late afternoon light and surrounded by a reflective hush similar to that found in a library. Specific examples of how a Court’s particular Mantle increases can be found in the “Courts” section in Chapter One. These trappings are not visible to mortals and have no real game effect, but should be used to enhance a character’s description and convey a sense of how rooted in her Court she has become. As a sign of brotherhood, Mantle adds to dice pools for social interaction with members of the Court in question. Each dot adds a +1 die bonus to relevant rolls with members of that particular Court. This Merit does not add to dice pools predicated on supernatural powers. Characters with no Court cannot purchase Mantle. Mantle also serves as a prerequisite for learning certain Court-related Contracts. A character may learn clauses from the relevant Contract path of his Court, which generally require a certain amount of Mantle to learn, though he must still meet any other prerequisites as well. Should his Mantle fall or he adopt the Mantle of a new Court, he might no longer meet the prerequisites for some of his old Contracts; in that case, he must spend additional Glamour to activate those Contracts. (See “Changing Seasons,” p. 94, and the note on Contract prerequisites, p. 174). Each Court has certain mechanical and descriptive benefits for all its members developing a Mantle rating, as outlined in the Court descriptions in Chapter One. In addition to those benefits, each Court has a benefit reserved for its leader, an advantage most commonly referred to its “crown.” A crown can only manifest in a freehold where there are at least a handful of members of a particular Court and they are able to choose a common leader, and generally manifests only during the appropriate physical season. Occasionally, a crown will manifest during the off-season if a Court is especially prominent or powerful in the area, as the Hedge reflects the Court’s potency, or a changeling who is elected leader of the freehold might manifest his crown out of season if he is sufficiently popular. Note that the leader of a Court is not always the member with a highest Mantle rating. Ultimately, the Storyteller is the final arbiter of when and how a crown appears, but as a rule, only one crown may manifest in a given freehold at a time.
The Mantle of the Autumn Court is more overtly sorcerous than the others. It has mystical overtones — sparkles of light, occult characters, queer musical tones or other indicators — in addition to the normal seasonal nature. At Mantle • to •••, a character’s seeming displays the occasional dead leaf on the wind (moreso during the height of the season), lit candles or the vines of harvest-time plants. At Mantle ••••+, the seeming shows those with more frequency and occasionally appears to kill nearby plants with frost, or at least make them wither. People who can perceive the seeming also feel occasional chills, not usually associated with temperature. Members of the Ashen Court have an affinity for the magic of the fae. Mantle • provides a character two bonus dice on any Contract activation roll that uses Occult. As the character ties herself more strongly to the Court, she develops an affinity for the Fae. At Mantle •••, she adds one die to Empathy and Investigation rolls dealing with True Fae or Faerie. The greatest members of the Court benefit from an instinctive understanding of magic. At Mantle •••••, they may re-roll any failed Occult roll dealing with magic (but not activating a power, such as a Contract or pledge). The results of the second roll stand.
Harvest of Whispers: Once per session, the Autumn leader may take a minute to reflect on what she has learned so far that session (and consult the Storyteller as to whether or not a particular bit of information qualifies for this ability), and then perform the Harvest of Whispers. For each valuable secret, important truth, revelatory fact or other significant piece of information she has uncovered this session, up to a maximum number equal to her Mantle rating, the character receives two Glamour points that are placed in a special pool apart from her regular Glamour points. These harvested Glamour points can be spent only to power Contracts, activate tokens, facilitate dream travel or cross into the Hedge. These points cannot be used for any other purposes, including seeming abilities, and cannot in any way traded or given away; anything left in this pool fades to nothingness at the end of the session. This ability may allow the character to effectively exceed the limit of Glamour points she can possess as dictated by her Wyrd, but the number of Glamour points she can spend per turn is still limited normally. Furthermore, as long as a character exceeds her normal limit of Glamour, she is considered especially noticeable by beings that can detect Glamour or magical energy, so unless she wishes to attract undue attention, it is also best to ready a concealing Contract or two to help dim this radiance. It is important to note that only new information learned that session can be used for the Harvest of Whispers even if a character learned something just last session, it’s old news and doesn’t qualify. Those who don the crown of the Autumn Court are expected to always be seeking out new and interesting information, not rest on the body of knowledge they’ve already accumulated. The Storyteller is the final arbiter of whether a piece of information is new, valuable or important enough to qualify for this ability.
New Identity (•, •• or ••••) Edit
Your character has somehow managed to acquire documents supporting a new identity since his return. In this age of background checks, paper trails and bureaucratic scrutiny, this is an incredibly handy resource to call upon, especially for changelings who have returned to find their old lives stolen by their fetches, or who have returned years or even decades after being taken and must forge new lives simply because it is functionally impossible to re-enter their old ones. You are encouraged to work with the Storyteller to determine exactly how your character acquired his new identity. If your character doesn’t seem to have any Merits or relationships that might explain how he got his new identity, presumably he had to ask a favor from someone else who did — if so, what did she want in return? Many great story hooks can come from the process of acquiring a brand-new identity. The number of dots spent on this Merit determines how convincing and in depth the documentation surrounding this new life actually is.
New Identity (•) represents an identity that passes casual inspection, but not much else — a character can go shopping and get around in most daily situations, but any kind of trained scrutiny such as from a police officer or bureaucrat immediately identifies her identity as a fake.
New Identity (••) imparts an identity that will pass most forms of relatively cursory professional inspection, but cannot stand up to a sustained investigation — a police officer who has pulled the character over will not automatically pick up anything unusual if he runs the character’s license plates or calls up her name in a database, but should the character be arrested and the police begin a formal investigation, her identity will quickly unravel.
New Identity (••••) represents an identity that is essentially as real as any identity can be — it would take a truly dedicated, competent and time-consuming search by trained professionals to uncover any hint that the changeling isn’t exactly whom she claims to be, at least as far as her documentation is concerned. This Merit may be purchased multiple times at multiple ratings, each time representing a different identity, and an identity may also be upgraded later with the appropriate in-game explanation and experience expenditure. In the case of certain Merits such as Resources or Status, it might also be worth noting which identity these Merits are tied to, since a character may not easily be able to access or maintain them if that identity is compromised.
Token (• - •••••) Edit
Fae lore is replete with stories of objects with magical powers, either “liberated” from former masters in Arcadia, discovered deep within the Hedge or even forged by skilled changeling craftsmen. Though these objects are seemingly mundane to the mortal eye, the Lost see these useful but double-edged objects for what they are. A character with this Merit has one or more such tokens in his possession. Each dot in this Merit translates into one dot’s worth of token, which can be divided up as the player sees fit. Thus, a character with Token •••• could possess one four-dot token, two two-dot tokens, one one-dot token and one three-dot token, and so forth. This Merit can also be used to purchase the expendable tokens called trifles at a cost of three trifles per dot, or even goblin fruits (p. 222) at the same rate. In most instances, a character does not need to spend experience points for tokens acquired during the course of play, only those in her possession at the beginning of the chronicle. At the Storyteller’s discretion, ownership of truly mighty tokens may require a partial or even complete investment of experience points, representing the time required to learn the complexities of using such epic items as well as safeguarding them from potential thieves.