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  • Radical Changeling/Mage/Demon proposal/idea/headcanon

    I decided to make a separate thread from the General Headcanon so I can get some feedback... and because this is less my headcanon and more a what-if?

    And I'll say again: it's radical, and I know the books don't agree with it. No offense meant to the themes or fans of Changeling, Demon, Mage, or the Hsien. And I don't want this thread to become about Fallen-bashing or any other bashing.


    OK, so I have for years been bothered by the way Changelings all over the world fit into a European mold (and all fear Iron) except for the Hsien. The problem isn't the Hsien in themselves, but that I have to ask why the dreams of East and Southeast Asian humans are cut off from the Dreaming? And why would African fae, for example, fear iron?

    I also don't like trying to combine Demon Abrahamic cosmology with the cosmology of my favorite WoD gameline, which is Werewolf and probably the least compatible with Demon. Again I have no problem with having a proven, True cosmology in a work of fiction or it being Christian, but it clashes so much with Werewolf.

    Changelings believe that all other supernaturals are faeries who forgot their faerie nature and became immune to cold iron somehow, Mages believe all reality is formed of metaphysical ideas manifested by belief, and all stories including outright fiction exists somewhere in the Umbra and/or the Dreaming. The Dreaming and some parts of the Umbra (in Mage) look like they fill oddly similar cosmic niches, yet they're absolutely separate as of Revised edition. And both Mage and Changeling have their own version of Djinn that I think ought to have been the same thing...




    So .... what if the Dreaming is the Astral Plane, and all the Changelings, Djinn, Celestials, and Hsien are former natives of this Astral Dreaming?

    In Mage, the Astral has angels and demons in it. Said demons may not be the original demons who caused the Fall, but they are certainly demons. Said angels may be created by human belief... or they may be exactly what they claim to be. The Afterlives in the Astral may not be the real Heaven and Hell, but at least they're Umbral reflections of those.

    So:
    Dreaming (C:tD) = Astral/High Umbra (M:tAs) = Gaia's Mind (W:tA Mokole)
    Chimerical Reality = Astral version of the Periphery
    Near Dreaming = Astral Penumbra
    Far Dreaming = Vulgate
    Deep Dreaming = (includes) Spires and Epiphanies and maybe Far Umbra (or Otherwhere contains the Epiphanies)
    Slow Empires are among the Elemental Courts
    Astral Banality (Weaver calcification and static anti-belief) harms any part of the Astral, not just the Dreaming. The different cultural views (and different game rules) are equally valid ways of perceiving the realms of pure thought and myth.

    Imagine that the Mists of the Dreaming swirl between the Vulgate and an abstract Penumbral world. Through the Vulgate winds the River of Language, and somewhere stands the Library of Alexandria, and the Great Forest. The River empties into a sea lined with Yathamaya of Gaia's Memory. Far above or far away, you can glimpses more mists over a vast sea of memory and thought, with huge pillars or mountains or cosmic trees rising out of them, the Spires and Splintered Mountanis. Upon and among them are the countless spirit courts and Deep Dream Realms. Inanimae Empires are among the Courts, as is the Eastern Court from which the Little Gods (Hsien) were exiled. Spreading out beyond them into an infinite vastness of thought and meaning are the Epiphanies, and somewhere out there is Arcadia itself. Or perhaps Arcadia is as far beyond the Umbra as Heaven and Hell are.

    The realms of the Dreaming exist alongside the realms of the Astral (in Mage). Yet what a visitor experiences (or can find) depends so much on their own perspective and mindset that a changeling visitor might be unable to visit the Grand Hall or the Epiphamy of Calculus, while a Celestial Chorus member may be able to meet demons and angels but fail to notice the chimera. Somebody who astrally projects themselves from the material world might skip entirely past the Astral Penumbra (the Near Dreaming). Somebody who can't grok pure abstraction can't reach the Epiphanies at all, or just evaporates when they try.


    Astral "spirits" are a very, very broad group. Besides the spirits of the Astral in Mage and Werewolf books, there are also all the Unembodied faerie and chimerical beings – especially those formerly worshipped as gods (some European Fae actually originated as disrespected Pagan gods). Inanimae are kin to the Astral-dwelling elementals, and to the Middle Umbral elementals as well. The Hsien were Astral messenger spirits of the Eastern Court in the Spires. Angels, Elohim, and Astral demons are also Astral spirits, or at least manifest that way outside of the true Heaven and Hell (wherever those are). Bygones might be embodied chimera in a way, or embodied beings that partake of the Astral and thus can be harmed by unbelief - stories that are inherently material rather than inherently immaterial/spiritual.

    Changelings, in a very broad sense, includes anything with a human body but the Astral spirit of a myth inside it. Kithain, Thallain, Hsien, and the Fallen are all "Changelings" in a way. What is banal (that is, Static with unbelief) depends on the culture from which the dream originates, or in which the story-myth is relevant. For European Fae and Chimera (and Kappa, for some reason), it's cold iron. Perhaps the cold iron has become the bane of Nunnehi and Menehune and Australian Spirit Beings, when their cultures experienced Shatterings brought on by invaders armed with iron (but actually it was steel and lead, so maybe not?). But perhaps the Fallen fear holy water. The Hsien and spirits/fae of African, Asian, and maybe East European cultures would be struck by other things that embodies unbelief in their cultures. And Angels fear... ichor of distilled blasphemy, or something.
    Last edited by Erinys; 05-17-2020, 08:27 PM.


    I am extremely literal-minded and always write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
    Exalted and cWoD book list. Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors.

  • #2
    I wouldn't try and turn everyone into Changelings. Cultural banes seems appropriate in general but leave Demons out of it. Yeah, Demon doesn't agree with Werewolf but Werewolf doesn't agree with anyone but Mage anyway and with Mage they only agree on the barest of bones. Demon is perfectly compatible with Mage or any other splat because you can just chalk up disagreements to
    1, They might be wrong. Spirits believe all sorts of wrong things. Nothing new there.
    Or
    2, They're right but even in their own book the universe has fractured many times over and even when it *was* in one piece many parts of Creation appeared to contradict (6 days of Creation vs 14 billion year old universe for example. Both are true in Demon). They don't hold *all* the truths so don't worry about it.

    So, if you don't want to deal with the Abrahamic focus, just don't.

    Comment


    • #3
      Nothing wrong with the headcanon, it's certainly interesting, just figured I'd add some points and hopefully share informative tidbits and concepts that people will find useful.

      •International Changelings
      -This is a point covered particularly in the C20 Player's Guide and I totally agree that the standard kithain are very much euro-centric and should not necessarily be proscribed for areas outside their cultural reach. However we see with sources such as the Menehune, Nunnehi, and C20 Player's Guide that different cultural areas do spawn different kiths who do interact with The Dreaming differently depending on their cultural context.

      I do also agree though that the Hsien are somewhat tricky, although I do think that they have enough similarities that one could argue that they're another paradigm of The Dreaming although I also consider adding regional kiths that more closely resemble the CtD model to co-exist alongside the Hsien.

      •Demonic Existence
      -The Demon question is also an interesting one and one that I also think can be well served by the concept of different paradigms for an idea of cosmic evil which we see in various forms such as Wyrm Spirits, Demon Spirits, Thallain & Nightmare Chimera, Demonic entities (Bygones?), Children/Neverborn, and Earthbound & Fallen as described in DtF who take on a primarily Abrahamic context.

      I understand that this will not work for everyone but I personally take no issue with all of these being's co-existing in one setting. Fallen Angels sealed away in Hell, spirits resembling demons and wholesale demons sprung from The Pit, alongside Banes and Neverborn. They all ultimately represent an ephemeral pursuit of human suffering and the steady corruption of Creation until its putrefaction and/or destruction.

      Comment


      • #4
        I think your idea has some legs. Another way to work demons (and angels) into your concept might just be to say the Changelings are right. They are fae who've lost their direction.

        IMO, there are a lot of similarities between the way that Demons work and the Arcadian Sidhe. Both are extradimensional entities, in a sense, that were prevented access to Earth for a long time, who return via a big event, have a semi-symbiotic relationship with human hosts, and I think a storyteller could do some interesting work with regard to the interrelations and distinctions between dreams and faith.

        If you go with a Mage-style idea of the cosmos, with heaven and hell as human inventions, then I think it would be definitely feasible to incorporate demons as Fae perceived through an Abrahamic lens. The demons remember their origin as fact, because they're insane. They spent god knows how long trapped in a spiritual prison and the only thing they had to sustain themselves was their now very limited connection to human faith. But they could well be more powerful in certain respects because, unlike many other beliefs, Christianity has only risen in terms of influence and power.

        An interesting question though becomes "what are Angels" in this setting? In Demon the Fallen, the absence of their old enemy is one of the most confusing aspects of the Demons' re-emergence. You might be able to use this is your setting in a few ways, these are some examples that occurred to me:

        1) Angels and Demons are both specific types of fae who always took forms based on Abrahamic religious entities. The angels then could still exist, but because they were never imprisoned, they're well aware of what they are and are hanging around either Earth, as Changelings (...maybe similar to Hunter's Imbued? Someone with a better grasp of that game may know if that idea is feasible) or have gone back to Arcadia/Heaven/the Astral Plane. This would of course accommodate having angels and demons hanging around the Astral Plane whenever you want.

        2) Angels and Demons literally didn't exist before the Demons' were imprisoned. They were just fae, in the standard style and having some kind of Seelie vs. Unseelie, or Kith vs. Thallain battle. The victors imprisoned the losers in such a way that cut them off of the dreaming entirely, except there's some sort of loophole that still allowed a connection to Christianity and/or the other Abrahamic religions. Because that's the ONLY form of sustenance they could get, they ended up influenced by it to the point where they now remember everything through that lens. In this version, angels don't exist at all. They'd just be how the demons remember the Sidhe and other Seelie and/or Kithain fae. I think this version would be less compatible with the Astral Plane idea though. But if you didn't want to deal with Abrahamic imagery at all, then this version might work.
        Last edited by kalinara; 05-29-2020, 11:57 AM.

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        • #5
          Thanks, Gryffon and Kalinara,

          Originally posted by Gryffon15 View Post
          The Demon question is also an interesting one and one that I also think can be well served by the concept of different paradigms for an idea of cosmic evil which we see in various forms such as Wyrm Spirits, Demon Spirits, Thallain & Nightmare Chimera, Demonic entities (Bygones?), Children/Neverborn, and Earthbound & Fallen as described in DtF who take on a primarily Abrahamic context.

          I understand that this will not work for everyone but I personally take no issue with all of these being's co-existing in one setting. Fallen Angels sealed away in Hell, spirits resembling demons and wholesale demons sprung from The Pit, alongside Banes and Neverborn. They all ultimately represent an ephemeral pursuit of human suffering and the steady corruption of Creation until its putrefaction and/or destruction.
          This is the premise of the thread, yes. The World of Darkness gamelines don't work very well together but I can't resist trying to come up with a cosmology that incorporates them, mostly intact. Different supernaturals may view the force of evil in the world as the Wyrm, Asura, Entropy, Oblivion, Grand Maw/Grandmother, the Dark Dream, Yomi, or the Devil, but there is evidently some sort of relation between the heads of the hydra even if the true face of the "master" is beyond sane comprehension.

          Originally posted by kalinara View Post
          I think your idea has some legs. Another way to work demons (and angels) into your concept might just be to say the Changelings are right. They are fae who've lost their direction.
          To clarify, my idea is more that Fae and Demons both seem to originate in the Astral, but are not necessarily the same kind of creature.

          Originally posted by kalinara View Post
          IMO, there are a lot of similarities between the way that Demons work and the Arcadian Sidhe. Both are extradimensional entities, in a sense, that were prevented access to Earth for a long time, who return via a big event, have a semi-symbiotic relationship with human hosts, and I think a storyteller could do some interesting work with regard to the interrelations and distinctions between dreams and faith.
          This is the very interesting thing to me. Some Sidhe, the House Leanhaun, tried to gain glamour from Christian faith before the Shattering, but that didn't work out for them. Perhaps a Demon would have an equally hard time getting Faith from somebody writing fantasy stories, but I don't know much about Demons.

          Originally posted by kalinara View Post
          The demons remember their origin as fact, because they're insane. They spent god knows how long trapped in a spiritual prison and the only thing they had to sustain themselves was their now very limited connection to human faith. But they could well be more powerful in certain respects because, unlike many other beliefs, Christianity has only risen in terms of influence and power.
          This is my personal preference for a united WoD. It's quite possible there is or was a Supreme Being -- God is a big part of Noddist lore, the One is mentioned in Mage, and Ahu and Gaia-That-Was are mentioned in Werewolf. Ahu is the Bastet concept of the entity that created the Triat. Gaia-That-Was is a Kitsune concept for an entity that tore itself into pieces, and the pieces became Luna, Helios, the Triat, the Umbra, and the physical Earth. I don't know what the One is, but it seems like it also broke itself into pieces to create the Worlds. Maybe part of it became the God whom the Angels obeyed. This God, or its angels, could be the God who cursed Caine.

          But the specific religious details in Demon don't work in a combined World of Darkness. The story of the Fall of Demons and the War of Wrath can't be reconciled with the Mesozoic history of Werewolf... unless the Demons fell during the civilization of Dragon Kings instead of humanity! But I don't think the Underworld existed until after the creation of humanity.

          Originally posted by kalinara View Post
          An interesting question though becomes "what are Angels" in this setting? In Demon the Fallen, the absence of their old enemy is one of the most confusing aspects of the Demons' re-emergence.
          My thought for this is that Angels are of the same origin as the Fallen, but still faithful to their original purpose. They still exist in the Astral and are still doing their thing, as depicted or hinted in Mage. But the Fallen were cut off from the Spirit World, so utterly that they can't remember it existsd. (If they actually fell during the Mesozoic, the Gauntlet hadn't even arisen yet, so they couldn't possibly know about the Umbra!) They also aren't aware of the Demons running around in the Astral, or the Banes in the Middle Umbra and Far Umbra.

          Perhaps their imprisonment so close to the Mouth of the Void has even infected them with the corruption of Oblivion? The hordes of Spectres, and even the Great Maelstroms, never manage to cross from the Dark Umbra into the other Umbrae*, even though all the Umbrae are connected together. Perhaps this is related to the Fallen beign cut off from the living side of the Umbra.

          *unless you count the Avatar Storm and 6th Great Maelstrom as one giant super-maelstorm.

          Originally posted by kalinara View Post
          1) Angels and Demons are both specific types of fae who always took forms based on Abrahamic religious entities. The angels then could still exist, but because they were never imprisoned, they're well aware of what they are and are hanging around either Earth, as Changelings (...maybe similar to Hunter's Imbued? Someone with a better grasp of that game may know if that idea is feasible) or have gone back to Arcadia/Heaven/the Astral Plane. This would of course accommodate having angels and demons hanging around the Astral Plane whenever you want.
          Wouild this make the Demons in the Astral in Mage latter-day Fallen Angels...?
          Last edited by Erinys; 06-26-2020, 12:06 PM.


          I am extremely literal-minded and always write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
          Exalted and cWoD book list. Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors.

          Comment


          • #6
            I’m all for if they made the Dreaming the Astral Umbra, I always thought about that because I’m a fan of the Manga Berserk and they have it that way. As for why Iron hurts most Fae even outside of Europe, I think it has to do with the Sundering/Shattering. Before when it was dark age Fae Fae had many echoes, I think Iron was just an old Echo that hit one area so strongly that when the dreaming formed as being a separate realm it was an echo that stayed while other echoes left. And the dreaming still exists in Asia it’s just the Kithain don’t naturally originate from there and the local Fae converted as Celestial Emissaries long before Fae became fully Changelings. They tended the sacred places like Dragon Nests which are related to Freeholds and glades already so there was less of a need for the dreaming to still have Changelings. But Asia does have Adhene and Inanimae.

            In my headcanon they also have Changeling population but they are treated as Mavericks and impious cousins to the Hsien since they don’t serve heaven directly, but they also aren’t banished from heaven so maybe a lot of that scorn is sprinkled with envy.


            It is a time for great deeds!

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            • #7
              I agree with this headcanon.


              Jade Kingdom Warrior

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              • #8
                I do want to ask what people think the ramifications would be of bringing Mage and Changeling cosmologies together like this. Not all of the differences are just mechanical depiction of chimera vs. spirits. For example, mortals and changelings who stick around in the Dreaming too long get smacked with Bedlam. Mortals and even Mages stuck in the Umbra long enough get Disconnected and become spirits, which could be a variety of Bedlam. But I don't know how rapidly that happens to somebody when their Silver Cord is cut in the Astral. Hours? Days? Months?

                I was thinking about Mages and faerie creatures interacting in the same spiritual realm, and the weirdness they could get up to. On the one hand, Fae and Chimera would have to worry about Technocrat, Nephandi, and Akaa attacks. On the other hand, Technocrats would have to worry about Dragons, Fell, and indescribable Nightmare horrors, in a region where their Banality/Stasis isn't quite such a deadly weapon due to the free Glamour. Mystick Mages, Fae, "bygone beasts", and chimera would have another arena to make alliances or adventure or mischief, and it would help explain why there are Changelings (or True Fae?) living in the Horizon Realms. Then I imagined Nockers and Ethermages inventing truly weird things in some rather permissive realm somewhere, and a small herd of unicorns ambushing some Hermetic to get revenge for their great-grandfather's ignominous death 800 years ago.

                What else could happen?


                Originally posted by Eldagusto View Post
                As for why Iron hurts most Fae even outside of Europe, I think it has to do with the Sundering/Shattering. Before when it was dark age Fae Fae had many echoes, I think Iron was just an old Echo that hit one area so strongly that when the dreaming formed as being a separate realm it was an echo that stayed while other echoes left.
                What are Echoes? This is something from Dark Ages: Fae?
                Last edited by Erinys; 06-30-2020, 11:02 PM.


                I am extremely literal-minded and always write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
                Exalted and cWoD book list. Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors.

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                • #9
                  Echoes are generally bits of folklore that actually effect a far as humans imagine they should. For instance, wearing a shirt inside out might make you literally invisible to the right fae

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Erinys View Post
                    OK, so I have for years been bothered by the way Changelings all over the world fit into a European mold (and all fear Iron) except for the Hsien. The problem isn't the Hsien in themselves, but that I have to ask why the dreams of East and Southeast Asian humans are cut off from the Dreaming? And why would African fae, for example, fear iron?
                    The WoD games took a wrong turn somewhere in the mid to late nineties when they adopted a kind of modern day multiculturalism approach to the supernatural. Wraiths all of a sudden used different mechanics (as opposed to in-character different interpretations of existing mechanics) if they came from Africa or elsewhere. Instead of using one baseline, that could have different interpretations, for all the kinds of "invisible people" every culture around the world had, we now had entirely different types of creatures depending on whether they were based on legends in Europe, North America, Middle East, India, or Far East. Instead of the Camarilla being a truly worldwide organization with members who came from every human culture, now we had specific sects mapping to the current world's culture. The Garou and Fera suddenly split off into a completely different culture simply because they happened to be in China.

                    In my opinion, this made the game worse. I completely ignore it.

                    For me, I simply dump much of the Changeling setting and use my own. I've never played or ran Changeling so it's mainly theoretical except for one elements cross over into one of my other games. But If I did, I would have much more generic Kiths and provide examples of what kinds of fairy creatures usually fit into them regardless of culture. European fae would still look like European fairy tales, and the various invisible people of the Middle Eas, Africa, China, and Americans would like their depictions in their cultures. But they'd all use the same mechanics.

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                    • #11
                      Thank you all for the amazing brainstorming in this thread. I actually have a Chronicle now trying to tie Changeling and Demon (one player with a splat each), so this has been very helpful. I have just a few sessions of game until now, so these have not all been tested.

                      I'd love some insight on how to adapt rules to bring together these two and the other games.

                      One thing I've been doing is borrowing a lot from Changeling 20th to improve Demon (a game that really needed a new edition, although Devil's Due helped a lot).

                      I've been letting Fallen Unleash Lores just as Changeling Unleash Art, because I felt Lores are somewhat limited in their scope, even if they are very powerful.

                      I am also using a unified approach to both Faith and Glamour as facets of supernatural energy related to human (divine) creative spark, the belief in things higher than the individual, and hopefulness. I use the Changeling system of Five Epiphanies to simulate both Revelation and Pacts, but I also allow Changeling to forge something similar to Fallen Pacts and gain Glamour from them. I'd let Changeling reap people they have a Pact with, but that would risk severe Banality. Whenever a Changeling would gain a Banality point Fallen gain a Torment, and vice-versa.

                      I think Demon could benefit a lot from something similar to Chimerical Reality (or, at least, Fae Miens), where the Apocalyptic Forms are visible to other Fallen, even when not manifested (although it could still be hidden from other Fallen with a little effort). I've been thinking how to use the Echoes system from Dark Ages Fae, and the Taints system from Devil's Due in the modern system.

                      Bastions and Freeholds already share a similar concept. Many Fallen still have to discover how essencial Bastions can be.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                        ...I would have much more generic Kiths and provide examples of what kinds of fairy creatures usually fit into them regardless of culture. European fae would still look like European fairy tales, and the various invisible people of the Middle Eas, Africa, China, and Americans would like their depictions in their cultures. But they'd all use the same mechanics.
                        I think Changeling: The Lost may be set up something like this. It's too bad there's no Changeling Translation Guide.

                        Originally posted by valismedsen View Post
                        Thank you all for the amazing brainstorming in this thread. I actually have a Chronicle now trying to tie Changeling and Demon (one player with a splat each), so this has been very helpful. I have just a few sessions of game until now, so these have not all been tested.
                        I had no idea anyone was doing this! Good luck to you. I don't know anything about C:TD or D:TF mechanics myself.
                        Edit: But I'd like to know what works, what doesn't, and what you come up with.
                        Last edited by Erinys; 07-09-2020, 09:22 PM.


                        I am extremely literal-minded and always write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
                        Exalted and cWoD book list. Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors.

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