Syndicate Industries, also known as The Syndicate, consist of the changelings of Chicago. To everyone else, Syndicate Industries are a defense contractor company. However the truth is that their headquarters, Syndicate Tower is built over the archway to the Hedge, providing safety to those that make it out and a job for life. The Tower is located at 233 S. Wacker Drive Chicago, Illinois 60606.
Changelings are ordinary human beings who were kidnapped by the Fae and taken to serve a durance of slavery in Faerie (alternately known as Arcadia). The Syndicate represent changelings who have escaped their otherworldly captors and through the netherworld that separates Faerie from Earth, known as the Hedge. The Syndicate provide safe haven to changelings as they re-discover the world of their birth, try to cope with the changes they have undergone, and seek to evade recapture.
Changelings were kidnapped by the immortal Fae, taken to an alien realm, and held prisoner. While trapped in Faerie (referred to as their "Durance"), they were forced to serve their otherworldly masters and endure servitude ranging from menial labour to torture. In being dragged through the Hedge to Faerie, some essential piece of their humanity was torn away by the thorns of the Hedge, and over the course of their Durance, they are forced to forge compacts with the realm that triggers a change in their physical and metaphysical nature to survive under the twisted laws underpinning Faerie.
Many escape only to find that in their place has been left a Fetch, faerie simulacrum forged from leaves, twigs, and other debris, and that their experience of the passage of time may be greatly different from the passage of time on Earth since their theft. While some will seek to kill and replace the Fetch in hopes of reclaiming their lives, many more discover that either the world or their selves have altered far too much to resume where they left off.
In turn, many of the escaped turn to others of their kind, establishing political havens and refuges amongst the enclaves of humanity. Partly to provide mutual protection against external and internal threats, partly to provide a support network of fellow survivors of Faerie that they can identify with, and partly to hold society and court in the absence of true integration with humanity. For even under the best possible circumstances, the Lost are no longer fully human, and having been exposed to the wonders and horrors of Faerie, they cannot subsume themselves within the bliss of ignorance.
Changeling society represents aspects of both human society and the nature of faerie accords. As changelings are creatures bound to an imperceptible flow of fate known as the Wyrd, they can forge with each other verbal pledges that are mystically binding. This is itself a reflection of Faerie, where the entire fabric of its reality functions by a process of conceptual contracts and interrelation. In this manner, changelings use the art of pledge crafting as the basis for building trust amongst themselves, and social decorum, so verbal pledges and codes of etiquette serve in stead of formal written laws as in human society.
While the freehold contains many of the trappings of feudal society, such as fealty, a court system, codes of etiquette, patronage and peerage, the functional model is unique to changelings. Rulership is a shared function, in that rulership is expected to cycle through a number of holders on a reasonably equal basis as accorded to the power of the various courts of a freehold. This division of power is held by the various courts, with each court representing one section of a group of natural phenomena. As well, each Court has a specific plan for resisting and turning away the True Fae.
The Seasonal Courts, which are used in the Syndicate, are as follows:
Spring Court Edit
The Emerald Court are affiliated with the emotion of Desire and the aspect of New Growth and Rejuvenation. They revel in delight and pure joy. Due to their friendly and sociable nature. Syndicate Employees from the Spring Court are usually involved in areas that involve the public, such as P.R., Marketing and Purchasing
- Jibadiah Hutt - Head of the Spring Court
Summer Court Edit
The Crimson Court are affiliated with the emotion of Wrath and the aspect of Heat and the Sun. They seek to destroy the True Fae who come to Earth with military might. Due to their more aggressive stance, they seem to be a natural fit for Weapons Testing. Syndicate Employees from the Summer Court are usually involved in munitions areas such as Weapons, Armour and Equipment.
- Tommy Cercetti - a money-man.
Autumn Court Edit
The Ashen Court are affiliated with the emotion of Fear and the aspects of the Harvest and Decay. They use stolen Faerie Magic (Contracts, Tokens, Oneiromancy, and Pledges) against their creators. Due to their talents in research and science, they primarily are in charge of developing the Bleeding edge technology fusing the very best of human and non-human elements. Syndicate Employees from the Autumn Court are usually involved in areas such as Science, Technology and Research.
- Rachel Hall - a CBI Agent.
Winter Court Edit
The Onyx Court are affiliated with the emotion of Sorrow and the aspect of Cold. They attempt to go "underground" and avoid the attentions of the True Fae. Due to their more conservative stance, they avoid the more high profile areas, instead focusing on areas you would find in any organisation of this size that dont grab headlines, such as Personnel, HR and Accounting.
Mechanics of the Changelings Edit
As changelings are part fae, there are a number of abilities that are inherent to their enchanted nature:
The Mask Edit
All things faerie, including changelings, are veiled so that they appear mundane to normal human senses. Only the fae have any natural facility at penetrating the Mask to see the truth beneath, but the act of ensorcelling can grant a human being this power, usually temporarily. In addition, certain humans are "eternally ensorcelled", being able to see faerie beings without the need for a pledge or Contract, this power being granted either due to events such as head trauma or being faced with evidence of Faerie so unavoidable that a normal mortal's mind cannot help but accept it.
A changeling's Wyrd represents their affinity with the power of Faerie. The greater a changeling's Wyrd the stronger their mystical prowess and their fae nature is. All changelings start with a Wyrd score of 1, though experience points can be spent to increase it. Low-Wyrd changelings may appear almost human, while high-Wyrd changelings are closer in nature to the True Fae. A high Wyrd score also brings Frailties.
Frailties are limits imposed on changelings and other fae creatures by the Wyrd to compensate for their powers over reality. Frailties come in the form of Taboos, which either prohibit or compel certain behaviors, and Banes, which are things that automatically injure a changeling who is exposed to them. Frailties can be major or minor: minor frailities are either uncommon or very specific issues (such as a bane of toad spittle, or a taboo that requires one to not wear blue) that are easily avoided in everyday life, whereas major frailites are more common or more general (a bane of salt, or a taboo that forces one to offer hospitality to any person that recites one's name), and therefore more difficult to avoid.
Changelings can swear upon the Wyrd to mystically bind and enforce verbal and written accords and vows with each other. These pledges can grant changelings advantages in the form of boons, and inflict punishments against those who would break them.
The realm of Faerie is partly forged of the substance of dreams, and this fact grants the Fae a special mastery over dreams and dreaming. Changelings, too, have a lesser mastery over dreams, being able to walk in them, shape them, reap Glamour from them and a number of other abilities.
This is a mystical energy that all faerie creatures use to fuel the terrible wonders of Faerie. Within the game, changelings use it to fuel a number of abilities and powers. For a changeling to replenish their spent stores, they must harvest it from a number of available sources, which includes human emotions.
Cold Iron Edit
Iron that is relatively pure and unworked by machine is repellent to the creatures of Faerie. It has a natural ability to destroy enchantment, and inflict grievously supernatural wounds to the Fae themselves.
The Hedge Edit
The Hedge represents a vast, seemingly intelligent or partially intelligent ecosystem that forms a boundary between Faerie and Earth. Changelings have the innate ability to enter, access and explore the Hedge. It is home to "hobgoblins": beings, sometimes sapient and sometimes not, who deal with changelings on a fairly regular basis and may represent varying degrees of threat.
An inherent ability of the True Fae is the power to forge covenants with concepts or natural mechanisms (such as summer, the wind or fear), and be lent some power related to the subject of the covenant. Changelings have a lesser ability to learn and exploit these agreements, allowing them to call upon such powers to a more limited extent. A number of contracts are naturally available to all changelings, while some show an affinity only with certain seemings or certain courts.
The list of common contracts include:
- Contracts of Dream: Enable the changeling to manipulate, enter, and create dreams.
- Contracts of Hearth: Bestows changelings with the arts of blessings and curses.
- Contracts of Hours: Bestows changelings a limited command over the flow of time
- Contracts of Mirror: Grants the changeling shapeshifting and physical transformations.
- Contracts of Moon: Bestows changelings command over madness and delirium.
- Contracts of Omen: Endows changelings with visions of the past and future.
- Contracts of Reflections: Allows changelings manipulation of reflections and mirrors.
- Contracts of Smoke: Bequeaths changelings with the arts of stealth and deception.
- Contracts of Lucidity: Allows the changeling to manipulate sanity and perception.
- Contracts of Goblin Wyrd:
The list of Seeming affinity contracts include:
- Contracts of Animation: Wizened affinity contract that animates the inanimate.
- Contracts of Artifice: Wizened affinity contract that bestows supernatural craftsmanship.
- Contracts of Communion: Elemental affinity contract that allows communion and animation with the elements.
- Contracts of Darkness: Darkling affinity contract granting nocturnal witchery.
- Contracts of Den: Beast affinity contract that grants protection over the home and den.
- Contracts of the Elements: Elemental affinity contract bestowing mastery over the elements.
- Contracts of Fang and Talon: Beast affinity contract granting mastery over animal forms.
- Contracts of Forge: Wizened affinity contract granting mastery manipulation of shape.
- Contracts of Oath and Punishment: Ogre affinity contract granting power to enact punishment to broken oaths.
- Contracts of Separation: Fairest affinity contract that severs physical ties and bonds.
- Contracts of Shade and Spirit: Darkling affinity contract that grants command over the undead.
- Contracts of Stone: Ogre affinity contract bestowing supernatural strength.
- Contracts of Vainglory: Fairest affinity contract granting the appearance of great and terrible beauty.
- Contracts of the Wild: Beast and Elemental affinity contract granting mastery over the weather and the wilderness.
The list of Court affinity contracts include:
- Contracts of Eternal Autumn: Autumnal contracts over the harvest and curses of withering.
- Contracts of Eternal Spring: Spring contracts over growth and rejuvenation.
- Contracts of Eternal Summer: Summer contracts over heat and vigor.
- Contracts of Eternal Winter: Wintry contracts over snow and ice.
- Contracts of Fleeting Autumn: Autumnal contracts inducing and warding against fear.
- Contracts of Fleeting Spring: Spring contracts to manipulate desire.
- Contracts of Fleeting Summer: Summer contracts that bestow and remove wrath.
- Contracts of Fleeting Winter: Wintry contracts to invoke and banish sorrow.
- Contracts of Punishing Summer: Summer contracts over the dominion of war.
- Contracts of the Sorrow-Frozen Heart: Wintry contracts that seek to chill the heart.
- Contracts of Spellbound Autumn: Autumnal contracts over the mysteries of the supernatural.
- Contracts of The Four Directions: Directional Court contracts over distance and location.
- Contracts of Verdant Spring: Spring contracts crowd emotional manipulations.