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Changeling and Arthurian Legend in Mage the Ascension

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  • Changeling and Arthurian Legend in Mage the Ascension

    I'm running a MtAs game, and one of my players is a Verbena mage (Druid) who's entire backstory is that their family quest is to search for the return of King Arthur.

    That was all fine and great, though the player is starting to reference a bunch of sources about The Lady of the Lake and her connection with the Fae. He's also talking about how he'd really like to encounter changelings in this game.

    No, I'm only vaguely familiar with Changeling. I know the basic premise, that their world is a delusional mythical version of our world, that Changeling are basically insane and need to cling to this insanity to avoid Chimeric death, but must also keep fairly grounded to hold on to their mortal half. I also know about the Fae in the context of Mage, the dreaming being called "The Maya" and can only be accessed via Fae enchantment.

    But that's about it. Nothing on mechanics, nothing on the types of Changeling there are, and certainly nothing about the setting.

    I've told the guy that anything that requires me to learn a whole entire game will not likely feature very heavily into my chronicle, but at the same time, it would be fun to put a few elements of this stuff into the story, just to spur on the imagination at the very least.

    So, I've come here for help. Is there any material in Changeling about Arthurian Legend, and if not then what else would be appropriate?

    What do you think I need to know about the Fae to introduce them properly into my game?

    Please limit recommended reading to sections of chapters. Just telling me to "go read Changeling" isn't going to help. I've got enough sourcebooks to read within the Mage setting already.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by Saikou; 09-13-2016, 11:00 AM.


    Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running Chapter 35: Rising Tensions

  • #2
    Isle of the Mighty has stuff about the Wyck and Arthurian legend. The thing to remember about chimerical reality is that it's not just an illusion; it does have an objective existence outside the heads of fae. Think of it as the Shadowlands or Penumbra of the Dreaming. Its inhabitants and obstacles can cause damage and injury to the fae, and humans who are enchanted find it very real too.

    The Dreaming itself is partially the old Mythic Realm of the Middle Ages and before, and partially the collective unconscious of humanity as it exists now. Basically, in the past, when the Mythic Realm started dying, some of the bygones and pretty much all of the fae took refuge in dreams as the last place where a sceptical humanity would allow them. That's why in Dark Ages: Fae, the fae had very little to do with dreams at all. It was only later that the mythic and the imaginary became one.

    The Sandman and The Books of Magic would provide good inspiration. In all likelihood, there's a part of the Dreaming where the myths of King Arthur play out. So you could easily have the character head into the Dreaming on a quest to find what he wants. Kith is only really important to those fae merged with human souls, the changelings--the True Fae who never left the Dreaming can take whichever form you want. Similarly, the great thing about the Dreaming is that any kind of fantastical creature can be simulated using the rules for chimera. Need vampires? They can be bloodsucking chimera with sunlight as a bane. No need to refer to VTM. (Indeed, the fae believe every other supernatural is an errant fae being who has forgotten its true nature, and thus is called a Prodigal.)

    The Lady of the Lake could be a water Inanimae (see Inanimae: The Secret Way). But, if urban fantasy is less your thing than Gothic Punk dark fantasy, you could have her devolve into a river hag. Essentially, the kiths that stayed in the human world did so by becoming more rigid. They took on the forms of archetypal human dreams and lost something of the fluidity they once possessed. So a magnificent water goddess could feasibly become, over the centuries, a hungry monster who drags children to their deaths in the water and eats their flesh. It's a fitting and tragic idea for the World of Darkness.

    River hags basically look like Meg Knucklebones (am I remembering that correctly?) from Ridley Scott's Legend. Like redcaps, I think they can eat anything (this costs one Glamour point if it's particularly noxious) and can intimidate anything (including inanimate objects). They can't leave their watery homes for long, though, or they start to wither away.

    Rules for river hags here: http://changeling.wenchipedia.com/kith.html#riverhags
    Rules for redcaps here: http://changeling.wenchipedia.com/kith.html#redcap

    Alternatively, she could be a sidhe who lives in a freehold underwater. The rath (entrance) would be just below the waves and she'd have some kind of Treasure or chimerical apparatus to help her breathe. Or you could just fluff it to say that anyone who enters the water at a specific point will find themselves walking on the surface and descending, as though down steps, into the freehold (without the need to breathe underwater).

    Rules for sidhe here: http://changeling.wenchipedia.com/kith.html#sidhe

    The sword itself could be a Treasure (CTD equivalent of a Wonder). It's probably been augmented with Naming: http://changeling.wenchipedia.com/naming.html. She would probably use Naming 4/Saining to determine the One True King (or, more nefariously, she might use Naming 5/Reweaving to transform the Nature of the person she chooses to make them suitable to rule).

    You could also make her one of the merfolk, but that seems less appropriate. She could be one of the Morganed: https://www.facebook.com/notes/charl...52745076864635.
    Last edited by adambeyoncelowe; 09-13-2016, 11:03 AM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Saikou View Post
      I'm running a MtAs game, and one of my players is a Verbena mage (Druid) who's entire backstory is that their family quest is to search for the return of King Arthur.
      .
      Check Blond Girls in Fuyuki city, Japan.

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      • #4
        Having her be a Sidhe is interesting, since some versions of the legend say that the Lady of the Lake was the Queen of Avalon, and the Sidhe's thing seems to be that they use to be the noble class of the Fae (if I'm interpreting that correctly).

        Here's the thing. The player who's doing all this Arthurian Legend stuff, his Avatar is the spirit of Excalibur. So, I thought it would be fitting that once he finds the correct lake, he'll have to throw himself into the lake and sink to the bottom, and only when he allows himself to almost drown will the Lady appear and take him to Avalon. Of course, the player know none of this, so the big challenge for them is to allow themselves to drown.

        Is Avalon ever mentioned in Changeling?


        Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running Chapter 35: Rising Tensions

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Saikou View Post
          Having her be a Sidhe is interesting, since some versions of the legend say that the Lady of the Lake was the Queen of Avalon, and the Sidhe's thing seems to be that they use to be the noble class of the Fae (if I'm interpreting that correctly).

          Here's the thing. The player who's doing all this Arthurian Legend stuff, his Avatar is the spirit of Excalibur. So, I thought it would be fitting that once he finds the correct lake, he'll have to throw himself into the lake and sink to the bottom, and only when he allows himself to almost drown will the Lady appear and take him to Avalon. Of course, the player know none of this, so the big challenge for them is to allow themselves to drown.

          Is Avalon ever mentioned in Changeling?
          If it is, it'll be in Isle of the Mighty. But it'd be a short paragraph or so, and little more. The British Technocracy has an Arthurian conspiracy, where Camelot is a metaphor for their idea of utopia. Avalon would probably just be a kingdom in the Deep Dreaming.

          Bear in mind that the only 'safe' part of the Dreaming is the Silver Path used by the fae. The Silver Path can look like anything, and crosses land, water and air, but has a slight silvery sheen. On the path, chimera have to spend a point of Glamour to hurt you. Off the path, you're at their mercy. Most chimera will try to lure dreamers off the path, as humans are a juicy source of Glamour. Ravaging is a particular nasty way of harvesting Glamour by emotionally assaulting a human. That would be the biggest risk. Start off by stripping Quintessence and then move onto Willpower, until the character falls into a coma or catatonia.

          Any mage who is incapacitated from chimerical damage is apparently likely to wind up ejected into the Astral Umbra (Dreams and Nightmares), unless they die first.

          Glamour could be absorbed as Quintessence by a mage, but with the correct Dynamic Resonance. Too much is likely to simulate the effects of Bedlam (faerie madness). Normally he'd need Spirit and Mind to affect to the Dreaming from the mortal world, but in the Dreaming his Spheres would work differently. I summarised the rules from Dreams and Nightmares, with a few of my own tweaks, here: http://wiki.rpol.net/?id=63447/True%...the%20Dreaming.

          Note that I quickly dropped the requirement for Mind and Spirit for mages already in the Dreaming or who are enchanted, as it seemed extraneous, even though it's pretty much RAW. The other thing to remember is the way effects will warp, and how some effects won't work at all (you can try to bring cold iron into the Dreaming, but the Dreaming is sentient and WILL blow you and the iron up).

          Good luck!
          Last edited by adambeyoncelowe; 09-14-2016, 05:28 AM.

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          • #6
            Also, here's my system for calculating equivalent Banality using Tradition and Essence:

            p. 281 of CTD2e lists the following Banality ratings for mages:

            Mysticks (Verbenae, Ecstatics, Hermetics, Dreamspeakers) 2-4
            True Believers (Nephandi, Celestial Chorus, Akashayana, Chakravanti, most Crafts) 4-6
            Modern Cynics (technomancers, most Orphans and Hollow Ones) 6-8

            Here's how we'll play it:

            1. Take your Avatar Essence or dominant Resonance
            2. Dynamic and Entropic (Primordial) Essences/Resonance give you the lowest rating from the above range.
            3. Balanced puts you in the middle of the range.
            4. Static (Pattern) puts you at the higher end.

            So a Static Akashic would have Banality 6 and a Dynamic Verbena would be Banality 2.

            Depending on how you see Entropic Resonance, you might also attach a few Nightmare dice to such a character's dice pools for effects (for each one that rolls a 1, you add weird, nightmarish side-effects or draw the attention of the Dreaming's darker denizens).

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            • #7
              Originally posted by adambeyoncelowe View Post
              Also, here's my system for calculating equivalent Banality using Tradition and Essence:

              p. 281 of CTD2e lists the following Banality ratings for mages:

              Mysticks (Verbenae, Ecstatics, Hermetics, Dreamspeakers) 2-4
              True Believers (Nephandi, Celestial Chorus, Akashayana, Chakravanti, most Crafts) 4-6
              Modern Cynics (technomancers, most Orphans and Hollow Ones) 6-8
              I've always found this insanely silly. Orphans can't incorporate Fairy symbolism. Someone who's litterally been to the Hollow Earth and Hunted Dinosaurs is more banal than a Hermetic Librarian...

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Lian View Post

                I've always found this insanely silly. Orphans can't incorporate Fairy symbolism. Someone who's litterally been to the Hollow Earth and Hunted Dinosaurs is more banal than a Hermetic Librarian...
                They're guidelines only. Of course there will always be exceptions, but generally technomancers are more banal and mystics are more glamorous.

                Most mages are pretty banal by CTD standards. There are actually two tables for Banality, and the other one puts mages significantly higher in general (Banality 5-8, with Technocrats at 8-10).

                It's worth noting that what makes something glamorous is usually its proximity to the Mythic. The Dreaming is all about the Mythic. Anything vaguely technological was always, in prior editions, tarnished with the banal brush. I'm pretty sure it'll change in C20, but it's what we have to work with so far.

                Any 'rational' being, by fae standards, has Banality 7 or above. Mages, in general, tend to be rational even if they're seething with magick. The Traditions celebrate highly structured learning and the use of rote. The Technocrats use Enlightened Science. Freestyling drunkards would still be in the 4-5 range. The most glamorous mages are the Marauders, as a result.

                Within the logic of CTD, it does make sense, even if it seems odd in a MTA context.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by adambeyoncelowe View Post

                  They're guidelines only. Of course there will always be exceptions, but generally technomancers are more banal and mystics are more glamorous.

                  Most mages are pretty banal by CTD standards. There are actually two tables for Banality, and the other one puts mages significantly higher in general (Banality 5-8, with Technocrats at 8-10).

                  It's worth noting that what makes something glamorous is usually its proximity to the Mythic. The Dreaming is all about the Mythic. Anything vaguely technological was always, in prior editions, tarnished with the banal brush. I'm pretty sure it'll change in C20, but it's what we have to work with so far.

                  Any 'rational' being, by fae standards, has Banality 7 or above. Mages, in general, tend to be rational even if they're seething with magick. The Traditions celebrate highly structured learning and the use of rote. The Technocrats use Enlightened Science. Freestyling drunkards would still be in the 4-5 range. The most glamorous mages are the Marauders, as a result.

                  Within the logic of CTD, it does make sense, even if it seems odd in a MTA context.
                  Nockers exist.

                  The Banality Chart is inconsistant with both Mage concepts and Changeling concepts. Its lazy and should readily be thrown out. Lets look. a Curmugeon who never leaves his library and is sure he knows the truth about the universe just by being a hermetic would be 5 by your old chart. A full on Pulp Adventurer like Doc Eon who's traveled through time and space, explored strange and forgotten cities, wrestled with dinosaurs he's still apparently more banal when people can litterally write about him and produce glamour.

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                  • #10
                    The Kingdom of Apples would be what the Name Avalon means, and oh look we have that in the setting, New York. And High King David may be the spirit of the Myth of Arthur, and he has Caliburn.

                    In the Classic World of Darkness though, the original Arthur was actually a Gurahl.


                    It is a time for great deeds!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Eldagusto View Post

                      In the Classic World of Darkness though, the original Arthur was actually a Gurahl.
                      And Rasputin was a Setite.

                      The Gurahl are as self serving in their history as everyone else. I mean they claim King Arthur was male, so clearly wrong.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Lian View Post

                        And Rasputin was a Setite.

                        The Gurahl are as self serving in their history as everyone else. I mean they claim King Arthur was male, so clearly wrong.
                        Well Arturas is still around so it's not really just a story...

                        And the modern legends evolved from him, hence high King David who is a Fae rather then human soul.


                        It is a time for great deeds!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Eldagusto View Post

                          Well Arturas is still around so it's not really just a story...

                          And the modern legends evolved from him, hence high King David who is a Fae rather then human soul.

                          There is a guy the Guhral claim to be the complete and utter "true" Arthur. That's all.


                          The thing is the Arthur character comes from mutliple sources. You might have had a real warlord in post roman Britain, he would have nothing in common with our idea of Arthur in a modern setting. Various stories were incoporated into his story that were intially unrelated.
                          Last edited by Lian; 09-15-2016, 10:57 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Lian View Post

                            Nockers exist.

                            The Banality Chart is inconsistant with both Mage concepts and Changeling concepts. Its lazy and should readily be thrown out. Lets look. a Curmugeon who never leaves his library and is sure he knows the truth about the universe just by being a hermetic would be 5 by your old chart. A full on Pulp Adventurer like Doc Eon who's traveled through time and space, explored strange and forgotten cities, wrestled with dinosaurs he's still apparently more banal when people can litterally write about him and produce glamour.
                            Yes, and Nockers make things by bashing them and swearing loudly. It's not the same thing. But, for the record, I'm not saying science is always banal. I'm saying that the scientific paradigm tends to be more banal because of the people who use it and how they use it. Not because of discovery or knowledge or wonder but because of essentialism, rationalism and imperialism. These things reduce options, and narrow our understanding of the universe, rather than expanding it.

                            Science isn't really the problem; it's the way humans use it in an almost dogmatic way to deny mysticism and magic (picture people like Richard Dawkins and their aggressive atheism, who arrogantly declare that there can only be science). Science is regularly used to say 'this isn't possible' and 'this can't work', whether or not that's scientific.

                            But, as I said, IT'S ONLY A GUIDE! You can't use the exception to deny the general rule. Of course someone who never leaves the library might be pretty banal compared to an etheric adventurer, but in general, a mythic paradigm is more accepting of the fae and the Dreaming than a technomantic one.

                            Are you suggesting Changeling should never suggest any standard Banality ratings ever? How is that helpful? Splats are usually painted in broad brushstrokes anyway. Plus, it's just a chart. I don't understand why it offends you so much.

                            If it offends you so much, just swap the Hermetics for another Tradition in the chart. Either way, few humans are likely to be lower than Banality 5 anyway. That's the whole point--being a human in itself is un-fae.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by adambeyoncelowe View Post

                              Yes, and Nockers make things by bashing them and swearing loudly. It's not the same thing. But, for the record, I'm not saying science is always banal. I'm saying that the scientific paradigm tends to be more banal because of the people who use it and how they use it. Not because of discovery or knowledge or wonder but because of essentialism, rationalism and imperialism. These things reduce options, and narrow our understanding of the universe, rather than expanding it.
                              Nockers build things via normal methods. swearing is just part of it. Its a key part of all technological understanding. The yelling and the cursing. An Etherite would understand this. a Technocrat would try and cover up this secret because its not part of their agenda.

                              that is LITTERALLY what separates the Etherite Paradigm from the Technocracy. They litterally believe in not reducing the options but expanding them.

                              Science isn't really the problem; it's the way humans use it in an almost dogmatic way to deny mysticism and magic (picture people like Richard Dawkins and their aggressive atheism, who arrogantly declare that there can only be science). Science is regularly used to say 'this isn't possible' and 'this can't work', whether or not that's scientific.
                              That's bad science. You see something that doesn't fit your theory you change your theory to incorporate it. Not the other way around.


                              But, as I said, IT'S ONLY A GUIDE! You can't use the exception to deny the general rule. Of course someone who never leaves the library might be pretty banal compared to an etheric adventurer, but in general, a mythic paradigm is more accepting of the fae and the Dreaming than a technomantic one.
                              No its not. Because there is no "technomantic Paradigm". There are Hermetics who use technology has part of their paradigm. There are Dreamspeakers who are technomancers. There are Verbena who are Technomancers all 3 of the "Mythics" could be technomancers. Technomancer is a methodology not a Paradigm.


                              Are you suggesting Changeling should never suggest any standard Banality ratings ever? How is that helpful? Splats are usually painted in broad brushstrokes anyway. Plus, it's just a chart. I don't understand why it offends you so much.
                              Because guy who goes to Hollow Earth and Hunts dinosaurs isn't the same Banality or Paradigm as "Guy basically goes out and Ravages people using Primal Utility because Economics destroy dreams".

                              Fortean times which is pretty much as close as you'll get to a Real world Etherite Publication regularly has features on Fairies, sometimes arguing they are UFOs or tying them to cropcircles or what have you

                              If it offends you so much, just swap the Hermetics for another Tradition in the chart. Either way, few humans are likely to be lower than Banality 5 anyway. That's the whole point--being a human in itself is un-fae.
                              It offends me that Etherites who even the most mythic of mythics point at and go "that's fucking crazy" for stuff they do are considered sane, rational individuals. There's nothing intrinsically nonbanal about following ancient traditional actions by rote.

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