For Beginners

What Is a Changeling

Part flesh and part dream, changelings' appearances mirror their dual natures. Changelings see one another in their true forms: as embodiments of the Dreaming given form by the Glamour of faerie magic. This is their fae mien. Banality shrouds this form, however, hiding it from the world behind a human like appearance, called the mortal seeming. Changelings do not shift between the two forms like shapechangers. How a changeling appears depends on who perceives her.

The mortal and the magical worlds exist in tenuous juxtapo-sition. The two realms have no effect on one another for the most part, but they do collide now and then. Boundaries slip and magical elements find their way into mortal consciousness, or denizens of the real world suddenly witness or become a part of the strange and puzzling events of the Dreaming.
The fae strive constantly to bring back the Summerlands, the halcyon country that once embodied the perfect union between dreams and reality it was the very realization of dreams. Some believe that restoring the Summerlands will rejoin the faerie realm of Arcadia to the human world, sparking a renaissance of magical possibilities that will preserve the mundane realm from stagnation and decay.

Although humans deny the existence of the fae, relegating them to legends and fairy tales, the fact that these stories persist indicates a desperate desire to believe in the unbelievable. Many humans hope that wondrous creatures such as the fae exist, but cannot sustain faith in what they cannot perceive directly or embrace through reason. In fact, most mortals hardly remember what it is they long for. They are broken by a banal world that tells them that searching for intangible or spiritual fulfillment is a waste of time and energy.


Accordance War, The: The war fought between the returning Sidhe and the commoner kiths in the early 1970s. It was ended by the ascension of High King David Ardry ap Gwydion to the throne of Concordia and the establishment of the Parliament of Dreams.

Arcadia: The magical homeland of the Fae; the home of all faeries within the Dreaming.

Arts: The ways of shaping Glamour; Changelings' magical powers.

Autumn: The modern age.

Balefire: the magical fire that is the focus of Glamour in a Freehold.

Banality: Mortal disbelief as it affects Changelings and their Glamour.

Bedlam: a kind of madness that falls upon Changelings who stray too far from the mortal world.

Bunk: The price Glamour exacts for its power.

Cantrip: a spell created with Glamour through a combination of Arts and Realms.

Changeling: a Fae who has taken on mortal form to survive on Earth.

Chimera: a bit of dream made real; unseen by mortals, chimera are part of the faerie world. They may be objects (suits of armor, weapons, toolkits) or entities (clockwork servants, dragons, giant talking rabbits).

Chrysalis: The dawn of fae consciousness; the great awakening into one's changeling nature.

Commoner: Any of the kiths who are not sidhe.

Concordia: the Changeling kingdom encompassing all of North America, from Canada to Mexico.

Dauntain: Faerie-hunters; once Changelings, now deeply twisted by Banality.

Dreaming, the: the collective dreams of humanity. Changelings often travel in these realms both to seek adventure and to gather the raw stuff of dreams that can be used in crafting chimera. The Dreaming includes the Near Dreaming, the Far Dreaming, and the Deep Dreaming.

Dross: Glamour in material form. Often used as currency by Changelings.

Enchant: to imbue a non-fae with the power to see the faerie realm.

Escheat: the highest faerie laws.

Fae Mien: a Changeling's faerie visage, visible only to other Changelings and enchanted beings.

Fledge: A newly awakened changeling of any age.

Freehold: a place that is infused with Glamour. Freeholds are proof against Banality, at least for a time.

Gallain: 1) Those who may be Kithain but whose origins, customs and magical ways are not understood. 2) Any inscrutable creature of the Dreaming.

Glamour: the lifeblood of the Dreaming; changeling magic.

Household: A family or group of noble fae.

Interregnum (known to the sidhe the Twilight Times): the 600 years between the Shattering and the Resurgence.

Kinain: Human kinfolk of a changeling who possess faerie blood and who often display magical gifts because of it.

Kith: The particular race of fae to which a Changeling belongs. Each Kith has distinctive characteristics, Birthrights, and Frailties. The nine most common Kith are: Boggans (hardworking helpers of the needy); Eshu (traveling storytellers originally from the Middle East); Nockers (irascible tinkerers with a gift for mechanical work); Pooka (shapeshifting pranksters); Redcaps (eating machines with bad attitudes); Satyrs (lusty, hedonistic "goats"); Sidhe (ruling nobles with unearthly beauty); Sluagh (secretive skulkers in the darkness); and Trolls (large, strong and honorable warriors).

Kithain: Changelings' self-referential term.

Liege: One's sworn noble sovereign (whether baron, count, duke, or king).

Long Winter, The: The prophesied eradication of all Glamour.

Lost Ones: Powerful Fae who retreated to their Freeholds during the Interregnum. Most went into Bedlam as a result of dwelling too long within their Freeholds.

Mists, the: a metaphysical curtain of mortal disbelief, responsible for the tendency of mortals to forget the effects of changeling activity after a very short time.

Motley: A family or gang of commoner fae.

Noble: Any changeling with a noble title; though nobles are traditionally sidhe, some commoners have also received noble positions.

Prodigals: Collective term for the other supernatural races of the world — vampires, werewolves, etc.

Realms: the five aspects of the world which Changelings can affect with their Arts. These are: Actor (the realm of mortals), Fae (the realm of the fae and all things of the supernatural world), Nature (the realm of the natural world), Prop (the realm of anything crafted by the hand of man), and Scene (the realm of places).

Resurgence, The: the time when the Sidhe returned in 1969.

Saining: "The Naming"; a ritual performed on a newly-awakened changeling to determine his kith, True Name, and place in the Dreaming.

Seeming: (1) a changeling's mortal appearance (also called the "Mortal Seeming"). (2) The particular "age group" to which a changeling belongs. These three are: Childling (under 13), Wilder (13-25); the most common Changelings), and Grump (alternatively, "Greybeard" [males] or "Grandame" [females]) (25+).

Shattering, The: the time during the Middle Ages when the last Sidhe left for Arcadia and the last of the Trods to Arcadia closed.

Sundering, The: The time when humanity first began to turn away from dreams; the Iron Age.

Trods: magical gateways; faerie roads. Some lead to other freeholds, and some may lead to Arcadia itself.

Tuatha de Danaan: the mysterious progenitors of the Fae.

Vassal: Any sworn servant of a liege.


The traditions that make up the Escheat form the basic laws of Kithain society. Believed to have originated among those wise faeries who lived closest to the Dreaming, the laws were recorded after the Sundering as a way to ensure fae survival in the face of inexorable change. Passed down and enforced by the nobility, the Escheat's tenets are respected by both Seelie and Unseelie nobles (although the ways in which the Courts interpret each principle vary).

The six basic rights of the Escheat are detailed below:

The Right of Demesne - A lord is the king of his domain. He is judge and jury over all crimes, large and small. His word is law. A noble expects obedience from his vassals and respect from all others. In return, a noble respects those lords who are superior to him.

The Right to Dream - Mortals have a right to dream unhindered by our needs. The Dreaming will die if we steal directly from the font. No one is allowed to use Glamour to manipulate the creative process. Although you may inspire creativity in the mortal mind, it is forbidden to give direct instruction or to infuse a human with raw Glamour.

The Right of Ignorance - Do not betray the Dreaming to Banality. Never reveal yourself to humanity. Not only will humankind hunt us down for our wisdom and power, it will overwhelm us with Banality and destroy our places of power. The more humanity knows, the more ardently it will seek us, draining the world of Glamour and petrifying our essence with its basilisk's gaze.

The Right of Rescue - All Kithain have the right to expect rescue from the foul grip of Banality. We are in danger together and must strive together to survive. Never leave anyone behind. Kithain are required to rescue other faeries or any creature of the Dreaming trapped by those who serve Banality.

The Right of Safe Haven - All places of the Dreaming are sacred. Kithain cannot allow faerie places to be endangered. All those who seek refuge in such places must be admitted. Freeholds must be kept free of both Banality and worldly violence.

The Right of Life - No Kithain shall spill the lifeblood of another Kithain. No Kithain shall bring salt tears unto the earth. No Kithain shall take from the Dreaming one of its own. Death is anathema.

Courts and Codes

Even before the Shattering rendered changelings dual creatures of Glamour and Banality, the children of the Dreaming possessed a two-fold nature. Permeating all of faerie life on an individual as well as societal level, the twinned strands of Seelie and Unseelie enlivened the Dreaming with its pas-de-deux of contrasts between light and shadow, order and chaos, law and freedom. Eternal rivals for ascendancy in the fae world, the Seelie and Unseelie once engaged in a perpetual struggle for dominance. Now they exist in an uneasy state of truce, forged during the Interregnum, but liable to shatter as the pressures of the mortal world bring the sides closer and closer to outright conflict.

The Seelie Court

The Seelie have a reputation as the guardians of fae traditions. They see themselves as peacekeepers, proponents of courtly love, protectors of the weak and the embodiments of the ideals of chivalry. They tend to be traditional and often conservative in their outlook, preferring the tried and true over the risky and innovative.

The Seelie Code:

Death before dishonor
Chivalry still lives. Honor is the most important virtue, the source of all glory. Personal honor must always be kept stainless. Sometimes death is the only path that can erase a mark of dishonor.

Love conquers all
Love lies at the heart of the Dreaming. True love transcends all and epitomizes what it means to be Seelie. Courtly love expresses love in its highest form, although familial love and love of companions are also valued embodiments of that exalted virtue. Anything is permitted in the name of true love.

Beauty is life
Beauty is a timeless, objective quality that, while it cannot be defined, is always recognized for itself. Beauty is the muse of creation, the ultimate flowering of the Dreaming. Once found, it must be protected, for it is both eternal and fragile. To die in the service of beauty is an honor and a privilege.

Never forget a debt
One gift deserves another. The recipient of a gift is obligated to return the favor. Likewise, a curse should be returned in kind. An oath of friendship should be answered with a corresponding oath. Never refuse to aid anyone to whom you are indebted. Never forget a kindness…or a cruelty.

The Unseelie Court

Whereas the Seelie dedicate themselves to preserving the traditions of the fae, the Unseelie style themselves as mockers of those traditions. They stand for the principles of constant change and impulsive action. They have a reputation for fostering war and madness, despising those weaker than themselves, and valuing freedom and wildness over any chivalric code. The Unseelie consider themselves to be radical visionaries, bringing about vital change and transformation through whatever means necessary, including violence.

The Unseelie Code:

Change is good
Security does not exist. The slightest of circumstances can transform a king into a peasant. Nothing is certain in a world where change is the only constant. Embrace change or be destroyed by it. Chaos and discord rule the universe. Adapt or die.

Glamour is free
Glamour is worthless unless used. Hoarding Glamour makes no sense, since it is an eternally replenishable resource. So long as humans exist, there will always be dreamers - hence, there will always be more Glamour. Acquire it by any means possible, and you will never be without.

Honor is a lie
Honor has no place in the modern world. It is a fairy tale constructed to hide the essential emptiness behind most traditions. Truth can be attained only through enlightened self-interest.

Passion before duty
Passion is the truest state of the fae spirit. Follow your instincts and act on your impulses. Live life to the fullest without regard for the consequences - they will come about no matter what you do. Youth passes quickly, so have fun while you can. Death can come at any time, so live without regret.

Dual Nature and Interacting With the Real World

Changelings are creatures of dream, trapped in mortal flesh. Born of two worlds, they live in the mundane, but truly exist in a world of fantasy and chimera.

Changelings experience the world as a magical, mystical place filled with amazing and exciting things. They see things from a fae perspective that colors everything. Trees are not merely wood and leaves, but glowing green-topped pillars shot through with golden, life-sustaining sap. Moreover, should a changeling use her faerie sight to look deeply into the essence of a tree in search of its faerie nature, she might find it to be a resting dream-being, arms thrust skyward, feet planted in the earth. Butter knives might be silver daggers. An old stuffed animal might be a prancing faerie steed. An old raincoat might be ornate armor. As most people cannot perceive such things, they dismiss changelings' reactions to the chi-merical world as playacting, miming or just plain insanity.

There are those who argue that chimerical reality is actually a greater or more expanded reality than the one we know. Neither compartmentalized nor tightly tucked into a common consensus of what is real, this altered state of sensibility contains stories, tall tales, legends, myths, childhood playthings, imaginary compan-ions, hopes and dreams. It also consists of fears, monstrous horrors and the darkest imaginings of humankind. All exist within chimerical reality, and all are as real as any objects found in the mundane world. This reality is all that remains of the age of legends the fragment of Arcadia still on Earth. As a faerie king once said, Anything is possible within the Dreaming.

Interacting with the Real World
Changelings may live in a chimerical world, but they are aware of the banal world. Changelings respond to stimuli that mundane people cannot perceive, but this does not mean they are ignorant of real-world objects, people or dangers. Changelings don't ride their faerie steeds along airport runways, oblivious to the aircraft taking off and landing all around them. Nor can they ignore a mugger with a gun.

Changelings don't have some sort of double vision that lets them see the mundane and magical at the same time. Rather, magical aspects are paramount, superseding the mundane reality of the objects and people with whom changelings interact. Yet magic does not eradicate the presence of the mundane. It is almost as if changelings' bodies remember worldly details, while their minds reach beyond. A car is still a vehicle, even if it appears to changelings that the car glows orange and that its hood is fitted with antlers.
Solid objects exist in the mundane world and must be accounted for. This often causes problems for changelings whose faerie bodies are larger than their mortal selves. This is especially true for massive kith such as trolls. A changeling who is imbued with Glamour always defers to his faerie mien and makes every effort to compensate for its mass. Respecting mortal seeming instead causes a break from the Dreaming. It is therefore possible for a seven-foot-tall troll to climb into the back of a Volkswagen Bug, but in doing so he denies his faerie existence, giving in to mundane reality. Such acts can be dangerous for any changeling, for falling back on the mundane invites Banality.

Banality and Glamour


Disbelief threatens the very existence of changelings. The curtain of doubt and rationality that humans raised centuries ago to explain away their fears not only separates the mortal world from the Dreaming, but also snuffs out the spark of creativity that ignites into hope and imagination. Changelings call this universal negation of the creative spirit Banality, for it seeks to reduce the marvelous to the mundane, the miraculous to the ordinary, and the inexplicable to the impossible. Many old Kithain refer to this destructive force of disbelief and cynicism as the Endless Night or the Long Winter, for it epitomizes darkness, dreariness and relentless cold. Banality is the death of the spirit.

Banality clouds the minds of mortals to the wonders of the world, and blinds them to the possibilities of making their dismal lives better. Banality imposes the belief that everything is the result of cause and effect. Evolutionary processes and entropic decay follow fixed patterns, and all things will eventually come to a grinding halt with the death of the sun. Banality is the wet blanket of the cosmos. In more immediate terms, Banality prompts a jaded parent to destroy a child's belief in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. It forces a talented student to lay aside his dreams of becoming a great writer or musician in favor of joining the work force because his advisors counsel him to make realistic decisions about his future.


The stuff of dreams, the magical clay, the energy of awe, the workings of wonder, the breeze that blows the cobwebs of disbelief from our eyes æ Glamour is all of these things and more. The ability to live your dreams, to perceive the true and fantastic essence of the world, abides in Glamour. Everyone can create it, even normal humans. However, only the fae have the ability to give it form, to use it, and to wield its creations as a weapon.

Raw Glamour can take physical form, and changelings can perceive its presence. Raw Glamour appears to changelings as multicolored flickers and tentacles of ever-changing energy. Unlike an aura, raw Glamour does not radiate, but seems to caress and wind through things and beings, never still, ever evolving. When imbued in a cantrip, Glamour sparks and flickers around both the caster and the target of the effect. It is therefore very difficult for a changeling to cast a cantrip without all other changelings present realizing exactly who is doing it. A changeling has to be extremely subtle to hide his use of Glamour from other creatures of the Dreaming.

Glamour has both a permanent and a temporary rating. As Glamour is used, a character's temporary rating lowers. A changeling's temporary Glamour rises by one point (up to a maximum of the character's permanent score) for each night that he dreams.

Glamour has a number of uses.

* Each use of a Basic Art costs one Glamour point.
* Each use of an Advanced Art costs two Glamour points.
* Affecting a mortal with an Art or using an Art in the presence of mortals costs an additional Glamour point.
* A changeling can use Glamour to create a token that enchants a mortal. To do so, the changeling invests a number of temporary points of Glamour into a small item, such as a ribbon or coin, equal to the number of days that he wants the enchantment to last. A mortal is considered to be enchanted upon receiving the token, and can see changelings in their true faerie forms.

A changeling with no more Glamour becomes a normal mortal, and forgets his faerie existence until he is given Glamour by another changeling.

Changelings regain Glamour by inspiring mortals and gathering the Glamour produced by mortal creativity. This is called having an Epiphany and is described below.

Glamour can also be gained at artistic gatherings and events such as gallery openings and concerts. The amount of Glamour gained in this fashion is always at the discretion of the Storyteller. As a guideline, whenever a changeling attends such an event, the player can roll the character's Social Trait (difficulty 4). Each success indicates that the character gains one point of Glamour.


When a changeling spends time with a mortal artist, he can attempt to inspire her creativity, thus generating Glamour. This is not a simple task and can take several hours or even days of effort on the changeling's part. Whenever the Storyteller believes that the time is right, the player may roll his character's Social rating (difficulty 5). Each success generates a point of Glamour.

Chimera and Dross

What Is a Chimera?

Sometimes creative thoughts and dreams assume solid form or are deliberately shaped into objects, places or creatures. The unreal given reality, these fanciful creations are called chimera. Birthed by changelings or other beings touched by the Dreaming, chimera may be animate or inanimate.

Some are formed intentionally. Some spring into being spontaneously. Others seem to come to life almost against their dreamers wills. Chimera are seldom what their creators expect; they may be beautiful and friendly, or dark, twisted and inimical. Chimera may even be dangerous to changelings, especially chimera given form through unresolved fears or vivid nightmares.

Regardless of how they come into being, chimera created within the confines of reality must relate to the material world in some fashion. Inanimate chimera, such as rocks, forests or houses, have little choice as to their interactions. Animate dreams-come-true, such as animals, often take on lives of their own. They can even become real to humans on rare occasions.

What is Dross?

Changeling Society

Commoners and Nobles
Nobles consider commoners to be lowly and tainted by the trappings of mortality. Commoners believe nobles to be arrogant and unfeeling, concerned only with power and status. Although some commoners and nobles may like and respect one another as individuals, the two classes of Kithain generally share a mutual distrust and dislike. The Treaty of Concord enforced the feudal system on commoners, but most of them still do not fully adhere to all of its strictures, privately rebelling against the more onerous duties relegated to them as "lower" Kithain. Most commoners pay lip service to local lords while reserving their own private opinions, considering themselves the equals of all nobles.

Liege and Vassal
Noble society hinges on a hierarchy in which rank and title determine one's position in the greater community. Respect is given to those of high rank and expected from those of low status. Almost every noble owes fealty to a higher noble within the feudal structure. Even the kings and queens of Concordia are vassals of High King David, the supreme authority of faerie society in America. Similarly, every noble is someone else's liege. Only squires, who occupy the bottom rung of the noble hierarchy, have no vassals, although they may exercise some limited dominion over the pages beneath them.
Commoners fall outside the strict hierarchy of noble society. Traditionalists regard them as little better than peasants, and therefore consider all commoners to be their subjects. In the aftermath of the Accordance War, a few commoners have attained noble rank and have thus integrated themselves into the noble hierarchy. Despite this, nobles consider "titled" commoners to be upstarts, and rarely take them seriously.

Fealty Chain and Proper Forms of Address

Rank Address As Refer To As
Squire [Given Name]or Squire [Given Name] [Given Name] or Squire [Given Name]
Knight Males-Sir [Given Name]Females-Lady (or Dame) [Given Name] Males-Sir [Given Name]Females-Lady (or Dame)[Given Name]
Baron/ess Males-Lord [Given Name]Females-Lady [Given Name] Males-Lord [Given Name]Females-Lady [Given Name] Baron/ess [Given Name]
Count/ess Your Excellency or His/Her Excellency Count/ess [Given Name]
Duke/Duchess Your Grace or His/Her Grace Duke/Duchess [Given Name]
Prince/ss Your (Royal) Highness or His/Her (Royal) Highness Prince/ss [Given Name]
King/Queen Your Majesty or His/Her Majesty King/Queen [Given Name]

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