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  • Considering buying CtD20 - should I?

    Hello all,

    I've never played Changeling: the Dreaming but, with the anniversary edition almost with us (for non-backers, anyway) I'm curious about it. However, if I was to run a game, I'd probably do so taking inspiration from works like Fables (fairytale creatures in the modern world). Is C:tD suitable for that or am I missing the point about what the themes of the game are?

    Probably should add: I'm a huge fan of Changeling: the Lost and Vampire: the Requiem/Masquerade. I prefer to run low-powered games with normal people trying for small successes. My games are usually "noir" in theme with politics and intrigue running second. I include this in case C:tD is too *different* in theme that I will struggle to run similar games.
    Last edited by wodvamp; 05-24-2017, 08:45 AM.

  • #2
    Should you buy it? Yes!

    (sorry, I couldn't resist )

    More seriously though, Changeling: The Dreaming's biggest themes are the death of dreams and the gradual loss of identity. Fables is certainly a suitable inspiration for Dreaming. The biggest difference is that the PCs are mythology archetypes instead of specific myths themselves.

    Changeling is right up there with Vampire in terms of politics and intrigue. C20 ups the game's power level somewhat from previous editions, but in a way that attempts to keep the feel that Glamour is scare and the Kithain broken, dying remnants of the mighty fae of the mythic ages.


    Charlie Cantrell
    Onyx Path Freelancer
    Changeling: The Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition, Night Horrors: Conquering Heroes, Book of Freeholds

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    • #3
      Changeling the Dreaming is faerie tales by way of 19th century Romanticism, placed in the back drop of a modern world that is anathema to your very existence. If that appeals to you the 20th anniversary edition is an excellent book for it.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by PookaKnight View Post
        Should you buy it? Yes!

        (sorry, I couldn't resist )

        More seriously though, Changeling: The Dreaming's biggest themes are the death of dreams and the gradual loss of identity. Fables is certainly a suitable inspiration for Dreaming. The biggest difference is that the PCs are mythology archetypes instead of specific myths themselves.

        Changeling is right up there with Vampire in terms of politics and intrigue. C20 ups the game's power level somewhat from previous editions, but in a way that attempts to keep the feel that Glamour is scare and the Kithain broken, dying remnants of the mighty fae of the mythic ages.
        Thank you for that. Having mythology archetypes actually helps. Are characters aware from birth that they are Changelings or discover it later on in life?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by zenten View Post
          Changeling the Dreaming is faerie tales by way of 19th century Romanticism, placed in the back drop of a modern world that is anathema to your very existence. If that appeals to you the 20th anniversary edition is an excellent book for it.

          Forgive my ignorance, what do you mean by " faerie tales by way of 19th century Romanticism"? I understand the mechanic of banality, which is toxic.

          A campaign concept I'm playing with is having the PCs take inspiration from second or third generation immigrants, who have been brought up with stories of their ancestors' lands and feel that the culture they live in is...I dont want to say "stifling" but I would like the PCs to be young people trying to explore their heritage while blending it with the culture of the nation they grew up in so forge a new identity for themselves. Is that doable with Changeling as presented or require a lot of re-work?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by wodvamp View Post

            Thank you for that. Having mythology archetypes actually helps. Are characters aware from birth that they are Changelings or discover it later on in life?

            They are born unaware, and eventually Something Happens™ that causes them to Chrysalize, awakening the faerie part of their soul. They only remember bits and pieces of their former lives and, unless characters start with a high Remembrance rating, there's a lot to "relearn" with each new incarnation.

            Also, I agree with everything Charlie said above and wanted to add that Dreaming is only as political as you want it to be. There are so many different types of stories that can be told depending on the themes you want to highlight. If you want politics to take a backseat to something else, you can absolutely design your setting around that. If you want courtly intrigue front and center, plenty of room for that, too.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by gl1tterboots View Post


              They are born unaware, and eventually Something Happens™ that causes them to Chrysalize, awakening the faerie part of their soul. They only remember bits and pieces of their former lives and, unless characters start with a high Remembrance rating, there's a lot to "relearn" with each new incarnation.

              Also, I agree with everything Charlie said above and wanted to add that Dreaming is only as political as you want it to be. There are so many different types of stories that can be told depending on the themes you want to highlight. If you want politics to take a backseat to something else, you can absolutely design your setting around that. If you want courtly intrigue front and center, plenty of room for that, too.

              What sort of examples are given for the "something happens", broadly-speaking? I'm just curious how I could shape my campaign idea.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by wodvamp View Post


                What sort of examples are given for the "something happens", broadly-speaking? I'm just curious how I could shape my campaign idea.
                Are you familiar with Mage: The Awakening at all? You can frame a Chrysalize much the same as an Awakening. They're always highly personal, some kind of event or personal development that resonates with the faerie soul (which can again vary depending on your kith) that starts to shake them out of the shackles of Banality. The most recent example I used was I have a high school troll (trolls are honorable protectors) who is an Eagle Scout. His Chrysalis was jumpstarted when he jumped into water to save a very young Cub Scout from drowning. So basically, a Changeling who begins to Chrysalize undergoes what faerie society calls "the dream dance" where glamour is radiating out of them and they start to reconnect to the Dreaming. How long it can take depends on the character. They start to have visions, "hallucinations" of chimerical reality or of past lives. They start to buck against mundane, banal routine. Local fae and chimera are drawn to the dream dance because of the amount of glamour and incidental chimera being created by the blossoming changeling. Sometimes other changelings will pump glamour into the individual to keep the Chrysalis moving along (and also because it is part of faerie law to rescue a changeling from the clutches of banality). Usually another local changeling will be there to help them acclimate to their rediscovered truth.

                I'll include a collection of examples of possible things that you can base a Chrysalis around. It can happen at any age.
                • Surviving a life-threatening event
                • Attending drama camp as a child and being encouraged to play and explore and imagine
                • Donating a significant amount of time to a charity for the first time and seeing how it feels to help others (especially for boggans)
                • Stealing a car and going for a highspeed joyride
                • Moving away from home to start college in a new town at your dream school, pursuing a degree that makes you feel inspired and complete
                • An actor who lands their first role
                • Throwing caution to the wind and skinny dipping for the first time with your lover (great for selkies)
                • Freeing an animal from the zoo (great for pooka)

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by gl1tterboots View Post

                  Are you familiar with Mage: The Awakening at all? You can frame a Chrysalize much the same as an Awakening. They're always highly personal, some kind of event or personal development that resonates with the faerie soul (which can again vary depending on your kith) that starts to shake them out of the shackles of Banality. The most recent example I used was I have a high school troll (trolls are honorable protectors) who is an Eagle Scout. His Chrysalis was jumpstarted when he jumped into water to save a very young Cub Scout from drowning. So basically, a Changeling who begins to Chrysalize undergoes what faerie society calls "the dream dance" where glamour is radiating out of them and they start to reconnect to the Dreaming. How long it can take depends on the character. They start to have visions, "hallucinations" of chimerical reality or of past lives. They start to buck against mundane, banal routine. Local fae and chimera are drawn to the dream dance because of the amount of glamour and incidental chimera being created by the blossoming changeling. Sometimes other changelings will pump glamour into the individual to keep the Chrysalis moving along (and also because it is part of faerie law to rescue a changeling from the clutches of banality). Usually another local changeling will be there to help them acclimate to their rediscovered truth.

                  I'll include a collection of examples of possible things that you can base a Chrysalis around. It can happen at any age.
                  • Surviving a life-threatening event
                  • Attending drama camp as a child and being encouraged to play and explore and imagine
                  • Donating a significant amount of time to a charity for the first time and seeing how it feels to help others (especially for boggans)
                  • Stealing a car and going for a highspeed joyride
                  • Moving away from home to start college in a new town at your dream school, pursuing a degree that makes you feel inspired and complete
                  • An actor who lands their first role
                  • Throwing caution to the wind and skinny dipping for the first time with your lover (great for selkies)
                  • Freeing an animal from the zoo (great for pooka)

                  Great. Thanks.

                  I am aware of M:tA and even owned the book but couldnt get into it for some reason - although I did play in a campaign where magic was equated with drug-use (in a "it's seen as cool but can be addictive" rather than a judgemental sense) which was fun.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by wodvamp View Post


                    Great. Thanks.

                    I am aware of M:tA and even owned the book but couldnt get into it for some reason - although I did play in a campaign where magic was equated with drug-use (in a "it's seen as cool but can be addictive" rather than a judgemental sense) which was fun.

                    Using the supernatural as metaphors for human struggles or conflicts makes for great stories. It's one of the reasons Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a successful show!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by gl1tterboots View Post


                      Using the supernatural as metaphors for human struggles or conflicts makes for great stories. It's one of the reasons Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a successful show!
                      Indeed. I was just unsure whether my idea would mesh with the game as presented or whether I'd need a lot of changes. On the face of it, it seems promising and I might just buy the book anyway as it's been a while since I've bought a new WoD game

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by wodvamp View Post

                        Indeed. I was just unsure whether my idea would mesh with the game as presented or whether I'd need a lot of changes. On the face of it, it seems promising and I might just buy the book anyway as it's been a while since I've bought a new WoD game

                        The great thing about Dreaming is that it has always been a game that's incredibly malleable. It's about dreams and imagination, after all! Take what you want, leave the rest. Or take all of it and add some more whipped cream to the sundae. My chronicles are usually micro in scale to the more macro approach of Classic World of Darkness, including Dreaming. I rarely tell stories that utilize sweeping court structures and politics that web all across the kingdoms. It's good that it's there, for folks who love those stories, but if you want something to go a different direction in exploring the themes, there's plenty of support for that. I guess what I mean to succinctly say is that the game is very versatile. Like any good chimera, it is what you want it to be, what inspires you as a Storyteller.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by gl1tterboots View Post


                          The great thing about Dreaming is that it has always been a game that's incredibly malleable. It's about dreams and imagination, after all! Take what you want, leave the rest. Or take all of it and add some more whipped cream to the sundae. My chronicles are usually micro in scale to the more macro approach of Classic World of Darkness, including Dreaming. I rarely tell stories that utilize sweeping court structures and politics that web all across the kingdoms. It's good that it's there, for folks who love those stories, but if you want something to go a different direction in exploring the themes, there's plenty of support for that. I guess what I mean to succinctly say is that the game is very versatile. Like any good chimera, it is what you want it to be, what inspires you as a Storyteller.

                          I understand. From what I've read I've always found Changeling to be a different game to the others I play. I mean, all of them are different but - much like Wraith - Changeling might make me tell different stories. There's only so many grim tales of murder in rain-slicked backstreets one can tell before they get boring.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by wodvamp View Post


                            I understand. From what I've read I've always found Changeling to be a different game to the others I play. I mean, all of them are different but - much like Wraith - Changeling might make me tell different stories. There's only so many grim tales of murder in rain-slicked backstreets one can tell before they get boring.

                            That's the nail on the head. Cogent stories with heartbreaking tragedy, childlike optimism, and D&D-esque adventures all occupy the same space between the covers of Changeling: The Dreaming. The system was what I needed to be fixed in C20 and they by and large delivered. As a tabletop game, it is much more cohesive.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by gl1tterboots View Post


                              That's the nail on the head. Cogent stories with heartbreaking tragedy, childlike optimism, and D&D-esque adventures all occupy the same space between the covers of Changeling: The Dreaming. The system was what I needed to be fixed in C20 and they by and large delivered. As a tabletop game, it is much more cohesive.
                              Well, I'm sold

                              Although I have always been a little bit curious about the (now ancient) trading card system the game originally came with.

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