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How to approach C20?

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  • How to approach C20?

    The only game I’ve really played in WoD is Mage, and I was very big into reading up on the cosmology. My reading extended into a lot of spirit stuff from Werewolf, as well as a great chunk of Wraith. Always wanted to play wraith but never found a group who wanted to play dead

    Changeling has always been on the periphery for me. I ran a verbena heavy game so naturally talk of fey came up every now and again, but I never really dove into changeling deeply, I certainly have a much deeper understanding of wraith and werewolf despite having never played them.

    As an aside I’ve never read vampire either, but the premise doesn’t really excite me. I am huge into the metaphysics of the umbra, which is what draws me
    To both werewolf and wraith while playing Mage, but from what I can tell, vampire is a bit more grounded in mundane reality.

    What I know is that changeling is a game about hope in the face of certain doom, and in many ways is the equal and opposite of wraith, both have themes about holding on to what we have left, but while wraith is focused more on what we do to keep from falling further and further into obscurity, changeling is more about pulling things back out of obscurity.

    I really like the idea of a campaign which starts light and fizzy, but bit by bit the sparkle fades and it dawns on the players that everything they do to keep what they care about tarnishes something else, and that one way or another, failure becomes inevitable.

    I also understand that the original changeling editions have very wonky mechanics that have since been completely overhauled for C20, but as is always the case with WoD games, unless you’re already familiar with the setting, you usually need to read the thing cover to cover to get a handle on everything.

    If this were Mage, I’d just advise people to read revised, and once they have a good idea of the framework, to read specific pieces of M20, focusing on the updated traditions, possibly some extra combat choices, and maybe some character specific sections. But mostly M20 is a source for me to draw from than a prerequisite to play (especially considering how much better revised was at teaching the spheres)

    My problem is C20 is pretty immense, and having no really experience with the game or setting, I am really at a loss of how to best proceed with this. How easy is it to read with no prerequisite knowledge? Are there certain sections that make sense to read out of order? Will my Mage experience make certain sections easier or unnecessary to read over?mor is a cover to cover read necessary for this thing?

    I’d also be interested in hearing some snapshots of campaigns you’ve played, and how well the followed this theme the game promises of fading hope and what one does when faced with the death of their creative soul.

    All advice welcome.
    Last edited by Saikou; 08-30-2021, 12:26 PM.


    Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running FINALE: Chapter 39: Green Fairy

  • #2
    I'd recommend just using C20, at least for a "vanilla" C20 game. It's much better written IMO than M20, and is a lot more straightforward. There's just a lot of stuff from various supplements packed in that makes it so big.

    As to your Mage background, don't try to read Changeling from the perspective of Mage. Lots of things will get confusing, like you probably thinking that the Dreaming is an Umbral realm, while not actually following the rules of Umbral realms. Crossover is certainly possible, but you have to have both games stand on their own for their respective domains.

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    • #3
      First of all I disagree with the recommendation you would give to someone new to Mage. Don't get a newcomer to read two books, ever, get them to read the one book that will be best as introduction, even if to deconstruct some pieces after that. I agree that M Revised is better to get the game, but then I would tell them to just play Revised for a while.

      If the rules on M20 are better, or passing knowledge on almost everything is required, then by all means they should start through M20 despite the problems.

      But as zenten said, in this case C20 is just plain better. But not only better than M20, it is better than previous Changeling editions. Is easier to digest and understand, it has more solid and interesting rules, and it did a really good job showing supplement material with clearer presentation than the original supplements themselves. Also without a lot, and I mean a LOT of florid text that occupied far more page count than it should in regards to the amount of actual information given.

      Once you get into it, of course, reading those 2nd ed books or asking details here can help, but generally speaking C20 is the best introduction to the game you can hope for.


      #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs
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      • #4
        For anyone new to Changeling or just returning to it after a long while, or even new to rpg's in general, just pick up C20, it has everything needed presented in clear manner and the ruleswise C20 is the best edition there is.

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        • #5
          How easy is it to read with no prerequisite knowledge? Hard to judge, I found it very easy but that is with 20-ish years of CtD under my belt.....my newer players haven't had any real trouble though.


          Are there certain sections that make sense to read out of order? Not particularly.

          Will my Mage experience make certain sections easier or unnecessary to read over? Well you know the basics of the Storyteller System so you should be able to breeze through that.

          Is a cover to cover read necessary for this thing? Not particularly.....I mean theres no reason to use Thallain, Hsien or Inanimae in a basic CtD game so you can probably skip those sections.

          I’d also be interested in hearing some snapshots of campaigns you’ve played, and how well the followed this theme the game promises of fading hope and what one does when faced with the death of their creative soul:

          Now here is where I'm going to be a little use to you as the majority of my CtD games deal with different themes, mostly my campaigns are focused on the inherent conflicts in the colonial experience of Kithain in SE Asia and Oceania and the balance between Reverance, Retribution and Reconciliation.
          Last edited by Damian May; 09-03-2021, 11:52 PM.

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          • #6
            The only thing I would add is that it’s safe to skip the kingdoms of the world section if you’re a newbie. It gets into the weeds in such a way that doesn’t add anything for those just starting out. Even for experienced hands it’s only really useful if you’re going to run a game in a particular place.


            Charlie Cantrell
            Onyx Path Freelancer
            Changeling: The Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition, Conquering Heroes, Book of Freeholds, Guide to the Night, C20 Players Guide

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