Changeling the Lost: 2nd Edition


  • Coder

    So, it's out. Changeling 2e. Hello, Changeling 2e.

    It's a moderately poorly laid-out book where I was finding issues with quickly upon starting. The stories are less compelling but more realistic and informative to the game. It's hard to compare to What Alec Bourbon Said, though, so I'll consider it fine.

    The first slap of ice-cold water happens under Seemings. If you've read the first edition of CtL, you know what these are. If 2e is your first Changeling read, they do not tell you before delving into the different Seemings. The player is not lead into what a Seeming is or why it's important. The same is true for Courts. And finally Kiths, which if you're not paying attention look like it's an extension of the Winter Court write-up; Onyx Path did not use the same visual break they did for the previous two character-defining elements.

    Seeming

    Seemings are broken down into an introduction, the kind of personality that becomes a that seeming and why you left Arcadia ("Once"), how that affects you ("Now"), Nicknames, Blessing, Curse, Regalia (Favored Contract), and Tales (example character types).

    This is where I don't like the new Changeling. What I liked about 1e was that everyone could choose to be a monster or a saint, a victim or a survivor or a warrior.

    Here is how 2nd Edition describes Ogres:

    You can’t erase what you did in Arcadia, but you can make up for it.

    This is a typical sentiment across a lot of the breaking-point mechanics, but because this is first, the idea that Ogres are there to atone is introduced and could be a big turn-off.

    The game is a lot more flexible than this, so it's a lot of a shame.

    Court

    The core four seasonal courts are still there, but they are far better fleshed out. Two sides to the court emotion are described, the role of each Court during their season and away from it are there, and each Court write-up describes how they share the Freehold, which was never really clear in 1e. It also explains how each Court's emotion affects the Gentry's ability or inability to do anything to the Freehold's members, which was never explained in 1e.

    ("What's a Freehold?" someone not familiar with Changeling would say. Yup.)

    Kith

    The definition of Kith is described more than Seeming or Court are, and they each are more formulaic, for the better. Each Kith gets an easier Exceptional Success condition when using a specific skill specialty, and a nice little power, but because any Seeming can take any Kith, the twelve listed seems a bit few. Each Kith fits two Seemings very well, but it's still a short list. There will be a Book o' Kiths. The game needs it.

    This is all of Chapter One, and I'll stop here since I think I got most of my point across. I think I'm going to come to like this version, but Onyx Path did not write a teaching book which is a ball dropped pretty far down the rabbit hole.


  • Coder

    Chapter Two.

    Arcadia

    Arcadia is the realm of the True Fae. It is neither the wellspring nor the gutter of imagination, but imagination defines it. Arcadia is a stage, with the will of the True Fae its lights and sounds, and their changeling and hobgoblin captives its actors. In Arcadia, the whims of the Fae are the laws of physics. And that can make it damn hard to get home.

    This is how the book should be written. This is a fantastic introduction to a complicated subject. The book apparently has, what, 10 writers? Here's one place where it shows. I, at least, am hooked. Hell, the chapter itself starts with, "This chapter will explain to you where you were taken, and its inhabitants." Whomever this chapter's author is knows how to structure an essay.

    The "Once/Now" structure continues, and really continues all throughout the book. "Once" here explains what Arcadia and Gentry are, "Now" explains how your character remembers it. This is one of the better new structures of 2e.

    This chapter covers the important background fluff of Arcadia, Gentry, Durance, Wyrd, The Hedge, Hobgoblins (real people distorted like you were), Ghosts, The Return, Fetches (still optional), Freeholds, Mask & Mien, Contracts, Pledges. None of this is different than in CtL 1e, except where descriptions of things are laid out better as per my previous post.

    Wait, did I say ghosts? Yes, I said ghosts. Changeling is now partially a ghost story. Faerie tales were always intertwined with ghost stories, and now they're part of the game. How will this affect Geist? Kickstarters will tell. Again, this chapter is about critical fluff, introduction ephemera.

    This chapter should have come first. This chapter is: What is Changeling?

    Oh yes, there are Touchstones now. One of the unsupported themes all over 1st Edition was that you managed to make it home because you had something to come back for, you had an emotional motivation. Touchstones solidifies this, and makes Changeling a little more consistent for the Chronicles of Darkness as a whole.

    The big question on my mind, as a long-time reader of World/Chronicles of Darkness works, is will the setting description be consistent across the rest of the game? We shall see.



  • @thenomain said in Changeling the Lost: 2nd Edition:

    the twelve listed seems a bit few.

    Wait, there are only twelve Kiths listed? Like, total, in the whole book?



  • @wizz said in Changeling the Lost: 2nd Edition:

    @thenomain said in Changeling the Lost: 2nd Edition:

    the twelve listed seems a bit few.

    Wait, there are only twelve Kiths listed? Like, total, in the whole book?

    Does that surprise anybody, after the Vamp book with 0 bloodlines and the Mage book with what, 1 Legacy?

    Kiths are more 'intrinsic' to the splat, yeah, but it sounds like they were lazy and the Kiths aren't bound to Seemings now? They probably figured "Oh, Seeming + Court is good enough!"

    Gonna assume there aren't any Entitlements in the book at all.

    Not a fan of Touchstones in general. It probably works for tabletop, but in MU it is 100% a useless thing that never comes up ever.

    Also not a fan of tying Changeling as a whole to ghosts at all. Seems pretty...random?


  • Pitcrew

    @tempest said in Changeling the Lost: 2nd Edition:

    @wizz said in Changeling the Lost: 2nd Edition:

    @thenomain said in Changeling the Lost: 2nd Edition:

    the twelve listed seems a bit few.

    Wait, there are only twelve Kiths listed? Like, total, in the whole book?

    Does that surprise anybody, after the Vamp book with 0 bloodlines and the Mage book with what, 1 Legacy?

    Yup. Eleventh Question.

    Not a fan of Touchstones in general. It probably works for tabletop, but in MU it is 100% a useless thing that never comes up ever.

    Yeah, I agree 100%.


  • Pitcrew

    Shall we call the firemen?

    alt text



  • @tempest

    Touchstones useless in MU*

    I'm not sure why people act surprised about this. Like, at all.


  • Coder

    @tempest said in Changeling the Lost: 2nd Edition:

    the Kiths aren't bound to Seemings now

    I believe that this is a feature.

    Seriously, how many people drool over Dual Kith options just to get their Beast + Bright One or whatever?

    One thing that was pitched originally is that Seeming was "how you left Arcadia". This is no longer the case. There is still some of that element, but Seeming is mostly what it's always been: What you were when you were there, either because of your personality or your design or most likely both. This gives you an idea of how you managed to escape, but I'd encourage people to ignore that part and do what makes sense.

    Kith is now a generic refinement, instead of a Seeming-specific one. If you want your Wizened Draconic, go for it.

    --

    As a tangent, I never understood people's demand that they have a hundred rules options for bloodlines and legacies. In D&D, I'm happy with "Fighter". With Vampire I'm happy with "Toreador". I can make these things quite special without"Spellsword" or "Gargoyle" add-on options.

    I know that I'm in the extreme minority. I also know that almost every time I see this in Changeling it's to grab a special power; it's the power not the Kith that people make grabby-hands about, and make their character around that. So what I see are people wanting to be more special of a snowflake than those around them.

    HOWEVER.

    If you're going to do it, don't half-ass it. The Kith system in Changeling 1e was not so much half-assed as it was arbitrary. I'm far happier with twelve well-thought-out Kiths than 25 Kiths Because We Have To.

    That said, 12 is still too few. 18 would've been a good number. Who knows how much of this was forced by page count concerns.


  • Pitcrew

    @thenomain said in Changeling the Lost: 2nd Edition:

    One thing that was pitched originally is that Seeming was "how you left Arcadia". This is no longer the case. There is still some of that element, but Seeming is mostly what it's always been:

    This makes me very happy.


  • Coder

    A few changes:

    1. All Changelings can escape everything except iron.
    2. Each Seeming has some more Blessing features. As well as the +1 Attribute Dot that everyone else gets:
    • Beast: +3 Init & Speed, Lethal Unarmed
    • Darkling: Turn to mist/darkness/etc. etc.
    • Elemental: Use your 'element' to make mundane (unarmed) actions
    • Fairest: Spend Willpower on another's behalf. (Fairest are now 'teh leaders'...ish.)
    • Ogre: Give an attack victim the 'Beaten Down Tilt'; costs more if not attacking on someone else's behalf. (More 'atonement' nonsense.)
    • Wizened: Transmute materials, e.g. straw->gold, steel->diamond. Must use tools. (Widdums.)

    (Beaten Down: Must spend Willpower each time they want to take a violent action.)


  • Pitcrew

    @thatguythere said in Changeling the Lost: 2nd Edition:

    @thenomain said in Changeling the Lost: 2nd Edition:

    One thing that was pitched originally is that Seeming was "how you left Arcadia". This is no longer the case. There is still some of that element, but Seeming is mostly what it's always been:

    This makes me very happy.

    Yeah that is a lot better. I'm still hella skeptical tho.



  • @thenomain said in Changeling the Lost: 2nd Edition:

    Beaten Down: Must spend Willpower each time they want to take a violent action.

    It should be noted that the aggressor also has to spend WP to keep going in this situation. It's not quite as haxx as it sounds.


  • Pitcrew

    @wretched said in Changeling the Lost: 2nd Edition:

    Yeah that is a lot better. I'm still hella skeptical tho.

    I agree with that, though it is enough of an improvement to have me considering buying it to check it out. Where as before it was no where near consideration.
    From Thenos review I can tell I won't like the atonement stuff connected to Ogres but I do like the buffing up of the seemings.



  • Ogres were true monsters that did truly mostrous things. If you don't come out of Arcadia feeling regret for that, you're gonna have some issues. The atonement aspect makes complete sense for that. I'm not sure why people find it so kneejerky.



  • @derp Why do Ogres have to be monsters that did monsterous things?


  • Pitcrew

    @derp
    For me it is at least partially me not liking the game making RP decisions for my characters, I have played multiple ogres in TT and Mushes since I generally like the big brute types. Most have wanted redemption in some form or another, a minority were just unrepentant bastards out for self interest and personal gain. That is one of those things like playing evil alignments in D+D if the folks running the game be it a table top GM or Mush staff and the player have zero issues with it I don't see it as the place of the game itself to moralize.
    Note I have no issue at all with a Gm or Staff saying no to an unrepentant mob enforcer Ogre because it is not the type of character they want in a game but I find the game itself trying to force a redemption story to be a strike against it.


  • Pitcrew

    The pledge mechanics have been entirely rehauled. They're significantly less powerful, but also a lot simpler - making an oath or a bargain no longer involves breaking out a mini spreadsheet and balancing the equation on the fly. Also an interesting thing - there's no mechanism that I saw (in my brief readthrough) for 'enchanting' a mortal to see the fae world, but in order to make a bargain with a human, you have to shed your Mask and show them your true form. Which is a risky thing to do - but at the same time, bargains with mortals hide you from the huntsmen and the fae. So, it's very likely that every Changeling will have at least one mortal who knows their 'non-human' state, although you don't have to tell the human what you ACTUALLY are, and certain Contracts can change aspects of your mien so you could still be deceptive if you like. But it's a great hook to bring mortals into the game, along with touchstones.

    After reading it, I think the new Lost is one game line that would actually really benefit from having a small town setting in a MU*, and putting some restrictions around it that, yes, every PC was taken from this town and returned to this town from the Hedge. Your fetches are all around you, your family is here, fragments and shreds of your life are here but maybe you can't reconnect with them, so you're always living on the edge, looking in at the familiar edges of your past, trying to figure out who you could trust to anchor you, and who you love /too/ much to bring them in. Strong collection of ongoing mortal NPCs to hang bargains/touchstones off of, where the Lost are reluctant caretakers and protectors of family and friends who no longer recognize them, and you can get a lot of mileage out of small town ghosts (real and metaphorical) and /history/.


  • Coder

    @derp said in Changeling the Lost: 2nd Edition:

    Ogres were true monsters that did truly mostrous things. If you don't come out of Arcadia feeling regret for that, you're gonna have some issues

    I'm with @Kay, but let's take the Ogre premise at its word.

    "I must spend 1 glamour to Beat Down someone for my own reasons instead of when doing it on behalf of someone else" does not feel in-line with what Glamour or The Wyrd is. It feels like a game mechanic enforcing character behavior.

    Here's another example: In Buffy (and later Angel), Angel is a mean-ass vampire who regains his soul and becomes all mopey and remorseful. Spike is a mean-ass vampire who regains his soul and then shrugs about it gets on with life.

    This Ogre thing isn't going to stop me or anyone from playing someone with shades of monster still in their character concept, but the "takes more Glamour" part strikes me as outside player agency. At least with Clarity breaks, the player can decide whether or not this is the direction they want to go.

    (Ogres risk Clarity damage if an ally runs or cowers in fear from them. That makes sense.)

    --

    @derp said in Changeling the Lost: 2nd Edition:

    @thenomain said in Changeling the Lost: 2nd Edition:

    Beaten Down: Must spend Willpower each time they want to take a violent action.

    It should be noted that the aggressor also has to spend WP to keep going in this situation. It's not quite as haxx as it sounds.

    Not in this book it doesn't. The victim gets Beaten Down for three turns. The Beaten Down description says nothing about maintaining it, but the victim gets Willpower and a Beat if they acquiesce.



  • @thenomain said in Changeling the Lost: 2nd Edition:

    Spike is a mean-ass vampire who regains his soul and then shrugs about it gets on with life.

    Shenanigans. Spike was a mean-ass vampire that went crazy after regaining a soul and attempted suicide on multiple occasions, while stalking the Slayer.

    Low-Clarity would let you do that just fine I would imagine.

    Further, I see nothing wrong with negative game mechanics enforcing a behavior, but YMMV.

    Don't think the number of turns rightly matters. If they're beaten down, they can still surrender, and that enforces the surrender mechanics:

    Beaten Down:

    Any character who takes more than his Stamina in bashing damage or any amount of lethal damage is Beaten Down: He’s had the fight knocked out of him. He must spend a point of Willpower every time he wants to take a violent action until the end of the fight. He can still apply Defense against incoming attacks, can Dodge, and can run like hell, but it takes a point of Willpower to swing or shoot back.

    Before that happens, he can surrender, giving his attacker what she wants according to her declared intent. If you give in, you gain a point of Willpower and take a Beat, but you take no more part in the fight. If the other side wants to attack you, they’ve got to spend a point of Willpower to do so, and probably suffer a breaking point. If everyone on one side has surrendered, the fight’s over and the other side gets what they want.


  • Coder

    @derp said in Changeling the Lost: 2nd Edition:

    Spike was a mean-ass vampire that went crazy after regaining a soul and attempted suicide on multiple occasions, while stalking the Slayer.

    By Angel he was over it, and was not remorseful. Some people heal.

    Further, I see nothing wrong with negative game mechanics enforcing a behavior, but YMMV.

    If they fit with the theme and other mechanics, sure.

    "You must use more emotion-juice to bring the boom-wow because you're guilty about what you are" does not feel like it fits. It only starts to work when you apply the guilt onto the character's foundational personality (where The Wyrd's psychoactive nature taps into), which seems to me to be a silly act of an RPG reducing player agency over their character.

    --

    Beaten Down (CtL2e, p.327)
    Personal

    • Description: The character has had the fight knocked out of him.
    • Effect: The character cannot take active part in the fight without extra effort. The player must spend a point of Willpower each time he wants the character to take a violent action in the fight. He can still run, Dodge, and apply Defense.
    • Causing the Tilt: The character suffers bashing damage in excess of his Stamina or any amount of lethal damage.
    • Ending the Tilt: The character surrenders and gives the aggressor what he wants. At this point the character regains a point of Willpower and takes a Beat, but can take no further action in the fight.

    That's it. No mention of the aggressor needing to spend Willpower to keep attacking the victim.

    I'm finding text closer to what you're quoting on p. 183 with the header "Optional Rules".