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  • C20: Wonder, Seeker, Keeper?

    I was catching up on the C20 teasers and reading the Nocker write-up and it seems super cool. Though one thing worries me a little - are they totally changing the Childling, Wilder, Grump set-up? What are the new categories of Wonder, Seeker, Keeper, and will they be age-bound as they used to be? That certainly seemed to be the dominant perspective in the comments.

    Let me preface this by saying my excitement remains undiminished, I'm so thrilled we're getting this book. I don't want to be negative and I'm well aware that this is speculation and that execution can make a big difference.

    That said, if they are moving away from the age-related categories and the focus on how growing older and banality are tied together, I think I'd be sad. To me, in many ways, Changeling is a story about growing up, growing older, working out how to do that without letting the world kill you. There's a poignancy to the way the Dreaming allows you to live forever while the mortal world makes you live with the desperation of Logan's Run. One of the things that is truly unique about Changeling is the position children occupy in society and the fact that playing child characters is detailed and given space and attention.

    I've definitely seen players talk about how having childlings in a game can make it more difficult to explain - why is this 20 year old hanging out with this 11 year old? But it was never a perspective I shared - to me, well, that's sort of the point. How do you explain that? If you have to stop taking the 11 year old with you on adventures, is that a banal decision on your part? Does it have a banal effect on the Childling? How - as an adult - do you feel about taking children on adventures to start with? What if the kid has a Remembrance of 5 and is more capable than you as a warrior? What if the kid doesn't but has been chosen by the Dreaming for a quest? What if neither of those is true, but the terrors and wonders of the Dreaming keeps the child's soul alive and the other option is the crushing banality of being a bullied kid at school with Autumn People for parents?

    I guess I just think these are really cool questions, and the notion that, inevitably, banality increases with age, is a really core part of the game. I'm not sure how I'll feel if you can just say "Sure, I'm 30, but I'm young at heart!" and choose Childling stats?

    I don't know. As I said, I certainly am not trying to make an assumption about what will ultimately be in the book. But based on the comments in the thread, it seemed like a lot of people had a really different opinion to me on what I consider to be a really key feature of the game. So I guess I'm just asking about that.

    Am I the only one who would be sad to see this?

  • #2
    For me, the problem is the names. They're just dull. A better option (for me) would be to keep age-related Seemings and have Wonder, Seeker and Keeper as a kind of status or rank, instead.

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    • #3
      Honestly I've always been ambivalent about age being linked to Seeming. On the one hand it reinforces the idea of Changeling as a game about being young, which I've always mined a lot out of. On the other hand I don't love the infantilism that tends to come with viewing "growing up" as wrong. What I have experimented with in the past is making Childling, Wilder, and Grump less about innate Glamour and Banality and more about the ease with which one gathers Glamour versus the resistance one has to Banality.

      Then again I was already playing Grumps when I was a Wilder. For me Grump is where Changeling really begins, everything else is just prelude.

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      • #4
        There are children who grow up too fast, and adults who never do. There are plenty of people the category system just doesn't work for based on age.

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        • #5
          adambeyoncelowe - I like the names as they are because they're a little weird and awkward, but can see that others might not. I wouldn't have a problem if it was essentially a name change.

          Caitiff Primogen - I think where we differ is that I don't see it as saying that growing up is wrong, I think it's focusing on a specific type of pressure that comes with growing up. For instance I don't think taking responsibility for your actions, fighting for what you believe in or protecting those you love - all aspects of growing up - are portrayed negatively in the game. What I think it focuses on is the way that as you grow up - and specifically as you go from being a child to a young adult to a regular adult (i.e. that sweep from childhood through to your late twenties) - society expects different things of you and gives you progressively less leeway for nonconformism. Obviously there are children suffering under incredibly banal conditions just as there are adults lucky enough to live lives in places and with people who exert far less pressure. No system is going to be perfect for every occasion. But very broadly speaking, the values of imagination, play and whimsy are progressively less valued as you "grow up". So...for that value of growing up, I think that Changeling does take a position that "growing up" is wrong, but I'm not sure I'd view it as infantilism. You know, for that definition of growing up.

          Lian I spoke about this some in my original post. I also think it's worth pointing to the paragraph above to define my view on what CtD means by "growing up is bad", but based on that, the fight against banality and its inevitable ultimate victory is - to me - the very core of the game and what makes it both beautiful and sad. No system will fit every character all the time (and I'd argue that it's completely possible to represent a Grump who is on the edge of the Forgetting versus one who is vibrant and joyful and fully awake in the Dreaming with the mechanics we already have), but to say that the core conflict of the game just...doesn't affect you because you're "young at heart" and chose not to grow up? I mean, the entire game is about struggling to make that choice. So - mitigated, as everything should be, by the golden rule - I still feel quite firmly that Changeling's focus on...not necessarily age, but the process of ageing, is really interesting and a really huge part of the game.

          Even if others don't agree with my specific take on why the current agebound system is valuable, I guess I'd still say that this is a really big change to the system. Like a really huge setting change, and I suppose...my preference would be for the 20th anniversary edition to be the definitive edition of a game I've loved for two decades rather than a place to experiment with large changes to the setting.

          Again, to reiterate, I make no assumptions about what they are doing, and if they make a change like this that I dislike, it will be easy enough to houserule. But yeah. That's where I'm at with it conceptually.

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          • #6
            If I'm reading between the lines correctly--and it's a very real possibility that I'm not--then both the childling, wilder, grump and the wonder, seeker, keeper setup will be used simultaneously for characters. The age category (childling, etc) will likely be used to determine a character's age and their inherent banality vs glamour, whereas the lifestyles category (wonder, etc) will be used to determine a character's interactions with others and likely how they gather glamour. Note the description of the Nocker's attitudes are all about their relationship to knowledge. The Eshu write-up will likely be about their relationship to stories, the Boggan write-up will likely focus on their relationship to work.

            The nocker wonder reads like they would gather glamour from going out and learning mechanical skills and taking things apart, i.e. by engaging in their curiosity about machines they gain glamour. So too with the other lifestyles. And these don't really have to preclude the childling, wilder, or grump age categories.

            That's my guess at least.

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            • #7
              Rabbit Pooka I hope you're reading correctly - I think that would be a really cool additional mechanic that would add to the current set up rather than undermining it.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by beccatoria View Post

                Lian I spoke about this some in my original post. I also think it's worth pointing to the paragraph above to define my view on what CtD means by "growing up is bad", but based on that, the fight against banality and its inevitable ultimate victory is - to me - the very core of the game and what makes it both beautiful and sad. No system will fit every character all the time (and I'd argue that it's completely possible to represent a Grump who is on the edge of the Forgetting versus one who is vibrant and joyful and fully awake in the Dreaming with the mechanics we already have), but to say that the core conflict of the game just...doesn't affect you because you're "young at heart" and chose not to grow up? I mean, the entire game is about struggling to make that choice. So - mitigated, as everything should be, by the golden rule - I still feel quite firmly that Changeling's focus on...not necessarily age, but the process of ageing, is really interesting and a really huge part of the game.
                .
                I don't feel its the central conflict of the game. Balancing Dream vs Real Life is. Maturity and what one chooses to do with it is not an age thing.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Lian View Post

                  I don't feel its the central conflict of the game. Balancing Dream vs Real Life is. Maturity and what one chooses to do with it is not an age thing.
                  I don't think I ever suggested maturity had anything to do with it? I spent quite a while discussing this with Primogen Caitiff explaining I thought there were many aspects of "growing up" that were beneficial - taking responsibility for one's actions, protecting what you love, fighting for the things you believe in, to name a few. Maturity is not banal.

                  The specific form of growing up CtD portrays as negative is the increasing pressure to conform, to prioritise "real life" over "dreaming". And that is something for which social pressure increases as you travel from childhood into adulthood. Even if specific individuals have lives where that is not the case, the effect would still be cumulative, and the longer you exist in opposition to the external forces of banality, the more they will affect you.

                  Age may not be a thing for an individual, but it is very much a thing in terms of societal expectation.

                  The fact that Changelings often lead brief, brilliant lives is underscored by the mechanical reminder that, for most, you are living on borrowed time. I maintain that if the the core theme of Changeling is the struggle to stay in the Dreaming and fight against the Forgetting for as long as possible - however we choose to define those sides of the coin - then decoupling the likelihood of the Forgetting from the age of the character represents a very large shift in the game's setting (whether we view that positively or negatively), and also, in my mind, rather defangs the Forgetting.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Rabbit Pooka View Post
                    If I'm reading between the lines correctly--and it's a very real possibility that I'm not--then both the childling, wilder, grump and the wonder, seeker, keeper setup will be used simultaneously for characters. The age category (childling, etc) will likely be used to determine a character's age and their inherent banality vs glamour, whereas the lifestyles category (wonder, etc) will be used to determine a character's interactions with others and likely how they gather glamour. Note the description of the Nocker's attitudes are all about their relationship to knowledge. The Eshu write-up will likely be about their relationship to stories, the Boggan write-up will likely focus on their relationship to work.

                    The nocker wonder reads like they would gather glamour from going out and learning mechanical skills and taking things apart, i.e. by engaging in their curiosity about machines they gain glamour. So too with the other lifestyles. And these don't really have to preclude the childling, wilder, or grump age categories.

                    That's my guess at least.
                    At least one of the writers (Pooka Knight?) has hinted at this as well. It makes sense, I guess. I mean, we know there's going to be a new way to reap Glamour (Revelry), so perhaps this is tied to that?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by adambeyoncelowe View Post
                      At least one of the writers (Pooka Knight?) has hinted at this as well.
                      I dropped a few hints about seemings in one of my play test write ups, but things do change. There are some things changing in direct response to play tests, and some of the original ideas in the first drafts might be a step too far for a 20th Anniversary book.

                      I'd really like to say more, but I'm afraid I'll get myself in trouble for revealing anything too early. I can't wait for this book to get in everyone's hands so we can talk about it openly!


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

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by beccatoria View Post

                        I don't think I ever suggested maturity had anything to do with it? I spent quite a while discussing this with Primogen Caitiff explaining I thought there were many aspects of "growing up" that were beneficial - taking responsibility for one's actions, protecting what you love, fighting for the things you believe in, to name a few. Maturity is not banal.

                        The specific form of growing up CtD portrays as negative is the increasing pressure to conform, to prioritise "real life" over "dreaming". And that is something for which social pressure increases as you travel from childhood into adulthood. Even if specific individuals have lives where that is not the case, the effect would still be cumulative, and the longer you exist in opposition to the external forces of banality, the more they will affect you.

                        Age may not be a thing for an individual, but it is very much a thing in terms of societal expectation.

                        The fact that Changelings often lead brief, brilliant lives is underscored by the mechanical reminder that, for most, you are living on borrowed time. I maintain that if the the core theme of Changeling is the struggle to stay in the Dreaming and fight against the Forgetting for as long as possible - however we choose to define those sides of the coin - then decoupling the likelihood of the Forgetting from the age of the character represents a very large shift in the game's setting (whether we view that positively or negatively), and also, in my mind, rather defangs the Forgetting.

                        Race and economics have as much of an effect on social expectations along with well location, being able to better model more of the human condition for the conflict between Dream and Mundanity is a good thing. Your interpretation no offense intended comes off as "The horror of White suburbia"

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Lian View Post
                          Race and economics have as much of an effect on social expectations along with well location, being able to better model more of the human condition for the conflict between Dream and Mundanity is a good thing. Your interpretation no offense intended comes off as "The horror of White suburbia"
                          We agree that the intersectional issues of race, poverty, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, etc., are likely to impact on someone's social status and - in Changeling terms - the amount of banality they are likely to face.

                          I disagree that that is relevant to the very broad statement that, in addition to any individual factors, most societies, and groups within society, have increased expectations of their members as they grow into adulthood. There is an increased expectation to conform to social norms.

                          Respectfully, if you think I'm describing "the horror of white suburbia" I suspect that may be down to your assumptions more than anything I said. I also think that's a criticism that could plausibly be discussed with regards to the original game. Changeling is extraordinarily close to my heart, but in retrospect, while well-meaning, it is quite focused on white, Western urban fantasy of a particular genre. The Eshu, for instance, could be validly read as kind of tokenistic.

                          But to return to what I've actually been describing - if specifics would help - when we're talking about pressure to conform, I don't just mean the expectation to get a nine to five job and do your taxes on time. I also mean the crippling need to work three jobs because if you don't your family will starve. I also mean mandatory military service. I also mean the way young boys are trained to shut down their feelings and encouraged to express themselves with aggression. I also mean the way police officers are trained to dehumanise black children.

                          And ultimately, even if we were to agree and decide that the amount of banality leveled against adults and children was the same (and in some situations that will be the case, or the reverse will even be true), it is cumulative. The longer you live, the longer you have been fighting, the more it will wound you.

                          It comes back to the fact that Changeling, since the beginning, has focused on the fact that changelings know they may very well have brief lives.

                          So yeah, I think representing that with age is fairer than doing so with any other attribute, because unlike race, gender, economic status, etc., aging is universal.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by PookaKnight View Post

                            I dropped a few hints about seemings in one of my play test write ups, but things do change. There are some things changing in direct response to play tests, and some of the original ideas in the first drafts might be a step too far for a 20th Anniversary book.

                            I'd really like to say more, but I'm afraid I'll get myself in trouble for revealing anything too early. I can't wait for this book to get in everyone's hands so we can talk about it openly!

                            Awesome, thanks for the information. I'm glad to hear that the process is going well. Speaking just for myself, and not wanting to backseat playtest (or worse, backseat write!), I'm genuinely excited about some of the new ideas I've seen that weren't present in the original - such as the idea of a mechanic based on Unleashing from DA:Fae. I just also want it to still feel like a Changeling game, with the core setting ideas still intact, rather than a chance to write a new game "inspired by".

                            Sounds like that's what you guys want too, though, and I'm really excited to see that you've got a job freelancing for it. I've been at the very peripheries of Changeling fandom since the original WW boards went down, but stuff like KB: Boggans even I took notice of, and really appreciated you guys making.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by beccatoria View Post
                              I just also want it to still feel like a Changeling game, with the core setting ideas still intact, rather than a chance to write a new game "inspired by".
                              Unlike V20, W20, and M20, C20 is going to be a true 3rd edition along with being an anniversary edition. Pretty much all of the mechanics, including the seemings, are getting tweaked at least a little bit. The goal, though, is to get to the heart of Changeling: The Dreaming and really make everything build to the core themes of the game. Everyone involved is a huge fan of Changeling: The Dreaming. Lost and DA: Fae are great games, but they're not Changeling: The Dreaming. We all want to make this the Dreamingest edition of Dreaming that's ever been Dreamed!

                              One thing I will say about seemings - in my first play test session I was lucky enough to have all of my original players from back when we all first discovered Changeling: The Dreaming together in one place again. We all remade our very first Changeling characters using the C20 play test documents. Back in the day, all of these characters were wilders, but this was the first time I've ever had a childling, wilder, and grump all as PCs in the same group. It was glorious!
                              Last edited by PookaKnight; 05-17-2016, 08:47 AM.


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

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