Umbral Domains: Changeling - Shadows of a Dream

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Author's Conceit: This is how I think Changeling: the Dreaming should have been written all along. I feel it's truer to traditional portrayals of human/fae interaction and history. Also I think it's more interesting to play human characters grasping at the thin sliver of fairy existence left to them, or to play fae characters interacting with humans out of necessity or fascination, than it is to play some half-human/half-fae things that are trapped in that state partly by choice and partly by a quirk of history and who are kind of miserable because of it.

This is a different World of Darkness. Here the Changeling Way ritual never became popular and most Fae retreated from the Autumn World long ago. Few Fae dwell here now, though many venture through the Raths and Trods on business.

In place of Changelings the Kinain have become more predominant in the Autumn Realm. Now these children of the Fae act as their primary servants in the Autumn world ...or the primary champions of human causes in the Dreaming.

History (revised)[edit]

The Fading[edit]

The Sundering took place, but while there was no single event which could be construed as The Shattering. Instead Banality merely increased in a gradual way causing more and more Fae to flee to The Dreaming. In time Arcadia did indeed close it's doors, but those Fae who remained beyond it's bounds still found the Glamour-rich reaches of the Dreaming a much more hospitible home than the Autumn World. And thus the Fae retreated from the world of men.

However, their offspring remained behind: Those mostly human but with the taint of fae blood in their veins. Of these most in time forgot their fairy ancestry, succumbing to Banality and taking refuge among their human kin. A few passed the carefully recorded secrets of fae lore and magic down through the generations as a family heritage. Even for these faithful few the acquisition of Glamour (that very substance of Dreams) was difficult to come by, rendering their eldrich abilities more theoretical than practical.

Still, some Kinain have managed to cling to their Fae heritage more securely, rooting out renewable sources of Dross such as Dream Stones and Fonts, making forrays along the Trods to barter for the food of the dreamlands, or dreaming up chimeral allies to provide them enchantment. At one time those who sought out such methods of Glamour gathering were rare and frequently misunderstood the very nature of the stuff they sought. However, Kinain (and other Enchanted mortals) have become better informed and persistant in their pursuit of Glamour since The Resurgence.

The Resurgence[edit]

The Aonide Conspiracy[edit]

Over the years the nature of the Dreaming shifted subtly and in more permanent ways than the ever-changing Firchlis could account for. While the Dreaming never became fully cut off from the Autumn World, most of the Trods and Raths which led there fell into disuse, and few Fae ventured to humanity's banal shores. Those who did so most frequently were the Aonides or "Muses".

To most Fae it was consided merely a quirk of the Aonide's nature, a Frailty perhaps, that they gathered their Glamour frequently among humans rather than simply drinking in the rich bounty the Dreaming itself had to offer. However, in the fullness of time, a certain sidhe lord, expert in the lore of Gremayre, grew curious and sent various minions to investigate the Aonide gathering of Glamour and it's uses. His discovery proved shocking:

Somehow, overlooked by the majority of Fae but well known to the Aonides, Glamour derived directly from human sources posessed special qualities which more incidental Glamour (that found in Chimera and occuring naturally throughout the Dreaming) lacked. By gathering significant quantities of this "mortal Glamour" and employing it in the use of certain transformative Arts (particularly Naming and Dream-Craft) one could create changes to the Dreaming on a fundamental level, reshaping even the fabric of fae history and the entire Realm's metaphysical underpinnings.

The Secret History[edit]

It is now speculated that history as remembered by all Fae creatures is not the history of the place as it actually happened. The Aonides are known to have changed certain aspects so subtly and gradually over time that no abrupt alteration of the realm was distinguishable. As a result no one knows for sure what events in the history of the Dreaming might have always been or what thing now taken for granted might once have been otherwise. Still, there are oddities here and there, hints of pasts that never were or limits that might not always have been. Two of note include:

The Medieval Paradigm - It's well established that the Dreaming is largely stuck in a "medieval paradigm". Few inventions of modern advent work well in the Dreaming and few more recent than the Renaissance function at all the deeper one goes. Until recently many assumed that this effect was simply due to the amount of time it took for the Mists to get used to the idea of such innovations. However, with the revelation that lost histories might exist some masters of Gremayre have pointed out flaws in this old assumption. The most often cited of these cases is the Great Engine.

Residing in the Deep Dreaming as it does the Engine is in the place it would be least likely to exist or endure for long. Technically, according to common wisdom, the Great Engine is a thing that should not be, an anachronism even among the Dreaming's vast store of strange juxtapositions. Yet there it is, embedded far within the land's most mythic recesses and untouched even by the Firchlis.

Recent speculation contends that the Medieval Paradigm may not always have been as strongly enforced as it currently is, that at one time it may even have competed or shared dominance with a myriad of other world-views. But the Aonides found it more suited to their own uses than more technologically advanced paradigms. And so, perhaps in the latter part of the 19th century or early 20th, they began musing mortal fantasy writers to gather sufficient glamour to effect the appropriate changes.

And the changes appear to be rather effective. UFOs and chimera of "the grays" seem to be scarce as Autumn World hens teeth when they should practically black out the skys in the Near Dreaming around locations such as Roswell and Area 51. Chimeral soldiers with modern fire-arms are outnumbered 10 to 1 by those resembling armored knights or warriors in ancient Celtic motif. And even in Silicon Valley few chimeral computers function correctly unless created as Treasures.

Yet the Great Engine appears to be a more persistent dream than these others. The Mists attempt to obscure and encrypt it's inscriptions and the Dreaming itself seems to have relegated the device to a somewhat inaccessible and out of the way realm, but modern sages still marvel at the force that must be at work allowing the continued existence of such a device in a world which has moved on.

But perhaps the secret of technology is not entirely lost to the Dreaming, nor the riddle of the Great Engine. Even now certain factions, backed Nockers and members of House Dougal, have operatives hard at work gathering glamour from Dreamers in the Autumn world. Their ultimate intent being to shift the Dreaming's paradigm once again, ushering in a new era of Science and innovation. Or at least to re-awaken the Engine from it's slumbers and fulfill whatever grand purpose it may have had.

The Tuatha - It was common knowledge that after the War of Trees the Tuatha turned their eyes from the mortal world, the Dreaming, and even Arcadia and set their divine sights on some distant transcendent local, often referred to as the Western Lands. Their opponents, the Fomorians, though not defeated in battle, willingly went into exile and sleep in various far flung regions of the Dreaming.

This odd turn of events, though favorable, had often been remarked on but never understood. However, revelation of the secret history has fueled even livelier debate and speculation among Fae scholars, as to what really happened back in the day, what strange complications only partially concealed led to the current state of events.

Lost Arcadia - Though most Fae still reside in the Dreaming, Arcadia appears lost to all but a few, though sidhe claiming to hail from this realm still occasionally make their way along some obscure Silver Path to the more peopled regions of the Dreaming. The loss of Arcadia had long been acknowledged an effect of the subtle taint upon those Fae who lingered too long in the Autumn World, preventing them from ever returning to their homeland.

Of course, as with so many things this assumption too changed. The pieces just didn't fit. Why could even those sidhe who emerged from that hallowed realm now not return if they had never visited the Autumn World? Why were some strange and powerful mortals occasionally found in the Deeper regions of the Dreaming claiming to hail from Arcadia?

The current thinking among some sects is that during the Aonide's reshaping of the Mists they attempted to remove Arcadia entirely from the picture, possibly as part of a ploy to wrest power away from the sidhe. However, like the Great Engine, Arcadia appears to be too indelibly etched across the Dreaming and the minds of it's denizens. Although access to Arcadia may have been cut off, the memory of it and the yearning to return there, could not be so easily swept under the rug.

The Preponderance of Freeholds - Considering that the last time most Fae visited the Autumn World was at a time when Glamour was common, Hints at a more Changeling Way predominant world. ***

The Discovery of Human Glamour - Once it might not have been as potent. ***

The Fool's Crusade[edit]

The revelation of the Aonide conspiracy spread among the Dreaming's Adhene and Kiths like wildfire, and while many Fae seemed to feel it made no great difference in their life personally (the Moirae smiled when informed but generally showed no particular concern) an equally large number voiced sentiments of betrayal and jealousy. Shortly after individuals and contingents of Fae began seeking out trods and piling into the Autumn World in search of their own mortal Glamour. This hasty rush has since been termed the Fool's Crusade and is one of the more tragic incidents in recent Fae history.

Most Fae reaching the Autumn world seemed to expect it paved with mortal Glamour, ripe for the taking. Instead they found a Banal wasteland, baren of dreams, whose toxic atmosphere quickly eroded their powerful Meins. Most lacked even basic knowledge of the Autumn Way cantrips and could never figure out why they passed through this world of mortals as ghosts, unable to interact with anyone.

Even those few who were somewhat schooled in Autumn lore frequently lacked the understanding or knack for proper musing. Some simply couldn't determine how to get the glamour to come out of a human. They could sense a little inside some mortals, like a couple coins rolling around inside a cash box, but hard as they might shake they just couldn't figure out how to get the stuff to come out of there.

Other fae went around heedlessly ravaging glamour from mortals like a farmer chopping entire branches off a tree to get at the apples. Then they wondered why glamour was so scarce in their vicinity and banality so much more predominant.

Within a few months the Fool's Crusade had ended with nearly half it's contingent being Undone and a majority of those who remained retreating to the Dreaming with deep psychic scars and a permenantly haunted look in their eyes. Fae society's interaction with the Autumn World was far from over, but the next steps taken would be more careful and well thought out.

But a new Age is dawning for the Kinain. (still in progress) ********

But in order to muse humans correctly you have to get them to focus their dreams in a particular direction. Acts of terrorism could include forms of Raphsody. - Various wars:

  • The old war (with the Fomorians vs. Tuatha), fear, suffering vs. courage, beauty, love. But then came reason and Banality at it's heels.
  • The new war (Seelie vs. Unseelie (Fomorian backed)), respecting the human dream vs. dominating the human dream.

Revised Kinain Character Creation: 1) Choose concept, Legacy, age category and heritage

2) Select Attributes: Prioritize Physical, Social, Mental (7/4/3)

3) Select Abilities: Talents, Skills, Knowledges (13/9/5)

4) Choose Backgrounds (6 points) with the following provisions: - Fae Blood: Characters must buy at least 1 dot in Faerie Blood Background - Chimera Companion: Chimera are as described in the Chimera Companion background here, but are built using points described in the corresponding rank of the normal Changeling "Chimera" merit. Often such Chimera will have the Enchant Rede. - Kinain may have many Changeling Backgrounds including the following special provisions: -- Dreamers - Unavailable. Kinain have no use for these. -- Holdings - Kinain may own and maintain Freeholds, but **** & ***** Freeholds will attract the attention of full blooded fae and may be difficult to maintain. -- Remembrance - This works, but not due to past lives so much as "racial memory", or a mind linked to the collective memory of the Dreaming it's self. -- Title - Few Kinain have a title above two dots. -- All other Backgrounds are fair game.

5) Choose Fae Gifts (partly based on your Backgrounds). Use 5 points.

6) Record Glamour, Banality, and Willpower based on your Seeming.

7) Spend freebie points (21) for Merits, Flaws, Arts, Realms, and other qualities as you see fit.