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Help a ST: How would Changelings mount a defense?

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  • Help a ST: How would Changelings mount a defense?

    Hiya beautiful people,

    I'm currently STing a campaign of Beast: The Primordial set in Las Vegas. I pretty much drew it up from the ground, with inspiration from the cWoD Fallen Towers supplement for MtA.

    It's a city where virtually all splats are around in one form or another, although mages are clearly dominating. No moatter my original intention for the campaign it's now pretty much a game of Islamic State: Supernatural edition, with the three players running around Vegas sowing chaos and destruction wherever they go. Which is fine by me.


    But now the managed to attack a freehold. They didn't know it was one at the beginning, thinking it was just a resort for families, where parents could leave their children at daycare while they themselvers where out gambling and drinking. Imagine a small Disney Land, mixed with a daycare set in Vegas controlled from the shadows by the Changelings.
    And my players did...I think you'd rather not know WHAT they did, lets just say that it wasn't pretty. They realised fairly quickly that Changelings are somehow involved here, because an ogrelike creature tried to stop them, but was defeated and barely managed to escape.

    Because they don't know exactly what Changelings can do (IC as well as OC) aside from some dream stuff and liking contracts and pledges, they've now decided to attack them full force while they're still reeling from what happened a few hours ago, instead of waiting for a counterattack.

    Now here's my question:

    I read the core book and think I've got a handle on the mechanics, but I'm unsure how a freehold would handle an attack like this. I'm not looking for ready made characters, maps or anything. More for an input on how they'd react. It's autumn currently, but most of the changelings are aligned to Spring in one form or another if that helps.


    Thank you guys in advance for any help you can give!

  • #2
    Simply put, a freehold would be composed of...literally everything you can imagine, and if you're using the second edition materials, then your players are seriously in trouble. Even with first edition, if your players are Beasts, you have Changelings who are going to be extra motivated simply because not only do they have a force that resembles the Gentry at their gates, it's a force that is not as powerful. This will motivate the Lost to arms, especially if these creatures are coming to kill and not their usual fate-worse-than-death upon return to Arcadia. They have less to lose than they otherwise would.

    Changelings aligned with Spring are going to be able to heal wounds and reduce dice penalties. Very high Wyrd Changelings are going to be coming out of the woodwork, practically and literally if you want them to, elementals will be summoned with contracts, luck will turn against your players and they very well meet themselves as well (well, mirror images of themselves). That's not including how Changelings can literally alter fate and force certain outcomes, nor how their many different tokens will grant them who knows what capabilities.

    Simply put, Changelings hide because they know they're against something that can tear their world apart. Your players have just given the freehold an active target to take out a lot of repressed aggression and fear, many of whom are likely to have actual combat experience, and there is going to be a ton of them. Even if your players break the freehold, no splat can navigate the Hedge like Changelings, and they can be very, very spiteful. Imagine if they found a few Heroes looking for a way into the dreams of a few monsters...

    Note: I'm more familiar with second edition than first, so I may be a bit off with some of these things. Still, that's my take on it.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Taidragon View Post
      Simply put, a freehold would be composed of...literally everything you can imagine, and if you're using the second edition materials, then your players are seriously in trouble. Even with first edition, if your players are Beasts, you have Changelings who are going to be extra motivated simply because not only do they have a force that resembles the Gentry at their gates, it's a force that is not as powerful. This will motivate the Lost to arms, especially if these creatures are coming to kill and not their usual fate-worse-than-death upon return to Arcadia. They have less to lose than they otherwise would.

      Changelings aligned with Spring are going to be able to heal wounds and reduce dice penalties. Very high Wyrd Changelings are going to be coming out of the woodwork, practically and literally if you want them to, elementals will be summoned with contracts, luck will turn against your players and they very well meet themselves as well (well, mirror images of themselves). That's not including how Changelings can literally alter fate and force certain outcomes, nor how their many different tokens will grant them who knows what capabilities.

      Simply put, Changelings hide because they know they're against something that can tear their world apart. Your players have just given the freehold an active target to take out a lot of repressed aggression and fear, many of whom are likely to have actual combat experience, and there is going to be a ton of them. Even if your players break the freehold, no splat can navigate the Hedge like Changelings, and they can be very, very spiteful. Imagine if they found a few Heroes looking for a way into the dreams of a few monsters...

      Note: I'm more familiar with second edition than first, so I may be a bit off with some of these things. Still, that's my take on it.

      Thanks very much for the input! I already told them that the chances of a TPK are very high if they decide to attack. They realise that, but IC it makes too much sense for their characters them to demonstrate their power and to eliminate the only serious threat they've come across so far.

      In reality I'll probably pull an, almost literal, Deus ex machina in the form of one of the Gentry who became VERY interested after being lured into Vegas thanks to everything that's happened so far in the campaign.

      It'll be interesting to see how the players react to it. (The Changelings will probably run off in fear as soon as they realise that the Fae is not interested in them in the slightest.)

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      • #4
        Uhhh, this should be nasty-... I think an open attack would result in some long term enemies...

        Even if this ends perfectly fine for the party, they are going to have a lot of blood on their hands, and the survivors (If any) are going to be out for vengence (After all, changelings stick together, and there could be made some pledges to avenge the dead and dying...)

        As I see it, the would be survivors from the freehold would start to wear down the beasts... Track them down, and mess with the PCs dreams... Suddenly you have a group starved for willpower, as the way I run it, you only get willpower if you get undisturbed rest.

        Next comes the part where they start to strike from the shadows... a remaining coy darkling could easily constantly be on the prowl, poisoning food, sabotageing efforts... And could be gone before you ever know what hit you.


        From experience, changelings can be nasty in battle, sure. But I think that the biggest threat ain't in open combat, but their diversity and their devotion. they are often willing to do anything for their friends and loved ones, and they can strike in any way you can possibly immagine.


        Decent storyteller. Poor Banjo player.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Sarner View Post
          From experience, changelings can be nasty in battle, sure. But I think that the biggest threat ain't in open combat, but their diversity and their devotion. they are often willing to do anything for their friends and loved ones, and they can strike in any way you can possibly immagine.
          Diversity and devotion is right. The kids- KIDS! were under their protection. Not all changelings are combat monsters but they are specialists. Some specialize in direct combat, others can destroy your WP, learn all about you from your dreams to get a social edge against you, and murder you in your dreams. They can fly, be completely invisible, turn into the elements, and cut deals with the monsters under your bed. The players can't hide, changelings have prophets and visionaries and contracts to track each of the evil players down no matter where they go. As a bonus, changelings are really hard to spot. The mask that hides their true nature is nearly perfect and the Breasts will characters would need to use mystical perception to have a chance at breaking through it.

          If the entire freehold turns against them, they're not going to face straight up fight, they're going to be stalked physically and mentally, their allies will be turned against them, luck will turn against them, and they'll be broken before they are executed.

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          • #6
            Right, so, here's the thing. Beasts actually aren't that vulnerable in the Hedge- unlike virtually everything else, they can navigate it just like a Changeling does. That's a plus. Beasts also can use their powers as often as they want, though admittedly not if they want to be throwing out the heavy duty mojo, and every Atavism scales in a way that would make the Kith Blessings of the Lost look kind of insignificant in comparison. Beasts also have their Lairs, which, if they're on familiar ground, makes them spectacularly dangerous. They are immune to every Environmental Tilt that they can unleash themselves, in the Lair they can use the Satiety Expenditure effect with Willpower, and they become a big, beefy, Horror. These advantages are not insignificant, and a Beast in their Lair, especially at Low Satiety, is a serious hand-to-hand threat.

            Here are the downsides.

            Changelings are just as good, if not better, in dreams than Beasts are. A Beast only has their Dream Health- they lose that, they're dead. A Changeling can choose whether to take a hit to their dreaming self or their physical body, which means they can last (at least) twice as long as a Beast with similar stats. Embracing the Wyrd is probably the panic button for most Changelings, especially since it causes a break from Clarity, but it's a serious boost, even at middling levels of Wyrd, and dropping the Mask is just as, if not more, potent than that. A Changeling will be making an Exceptional Success on every single Contract Roll if they drop their Mask, with successes equal to those rolled, their Wyrd, or their Mantle, whichever is higher. Having Embraced the Wyrd, a Changeling could, one second, become impossible to hit physically, or impossible to slug with a Nightmare, but they can still hit you just fine.

            Another advantage that Changelings have is they can, with a little Willpower, add their Clarity to rolls to resist non-fae supernatural powers, instead of the usual +3/-2 that they'd normally get. If we're talking about a Changeling PC, out of the box, that's a Clarity score of seven, which could very well be larger than your players' entire dice pools. And, perhaps most importantly, your Beast players were dumb enough to go after kids. There's several Contracts and Kith Blessings with Catches centred around revenge, justice, and children. And the ones with Catches like that aren't exactly weak, either. Hell, if your Beasts invest heavily in Environmental Tilts, even if the Changelings follow you into your Lair most of the Elemental Contracts have Catches letting them function without spending Glamour if the character is exposed to the element in question, which means they could start turning your own Lair against you and using it to protect themselves.


            My Homebrew Hub

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Sarner View Post
              Uhhh, this should be nasty-... I think an open attack would result in some long term enemies...

              Even if this ends perfectly fine for the party, they are going to have a lot of blood on their hands, and the survivors (If any) are going to be out for vengence (After all, changelings stick together, and there could be made some pledges to avenge the dead and dying...)

              As I see it, the would be survivors from the freehold would start to wear down the beasts... Track them down, and mess with the PCs dreams... Suddenly you have a group starved for willpower, as the way I run it, you only get willpower if you get undisturbed rest.

              Next comes the part where they start to strike from the shadows... a remaining coy darkling could easily constantly be on the prowl, poisoning food, sabotageing efforts... And could be gone before you ever know what hit you.


              From experience, changelings can be nasty in battle, sure. But I think that the biggest threat ain't in open combat, but their diversity and their devotion. they are often willing to do anything for their friends and loved ones, and they can strike in any way you can possibly immagine.
              That's pretty much what I plan on doing although with less "survivors of an attack" and more of a "lets hunt down the idiot bastards who thought they could take us out". As someone else said they did something nasty and if they wouldn't attack now, the entire Freehold would come crashing down on them within a few days. I don't really plan on them making it through the attack on their own merits. But that's why I asked that question. What would a Freehold throw at them to completely and utterly overwhelm them. Until this point they were able to do pretty much what they wanted virtually unmolested, due to nobody knowing exactly what they are, they were able either evade the other splats, or play them against each other. This'll be the first time that they have direct unmitigated consequences for the horrible things they're doing and I want to throw the (Changeling Core Rule) book at them.
              They'll probably still make it out thanks to the Fae, but now they've made another powerful enemy that has a fairly good idea about what they are and how to deal with them.

              I think the Werewolves are pretty much the only faction they haven't managed to directly oppose so far. I've been constantly rolling in the background, and by now the mages figured out that they were had by a nonmagical Mind effect (Alien Allure) it's only a question of time until the vampires figure out somethings amiss too and come after them.

              Now they got the Changelings and never mind the half dozen hereos they managed to attract by filling the trunks of cars in a Monster Truck show with multiple bodies that exploded into swarms of locusts when they were crushed by the trucks. (As I said, we're playing ISIS: Supernatural edition by now)

              I don't really expect the campaign to last much longer but it'll go down in a glorious blaze of flame. It's nice to have an experienced group of players who realise that they're being stupid but don't mind a TPK if the story's good and it comes as a consquence of their own choices.
              Last edited by Zaofy; 11-24-2016, 02:57 AM.

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              • #8
                Okay, back on the actual topic then!

                Looking towards an actual open fight... Id expect the changelings to run guerillia warfare.
                You know, set traps, ambushes, make sure they fight on their home turf... Now hedge does not do much against beasts, but provided the freehold does not know that, they would probably try to lure them into the hedge where they have hedge-shaping on their side, setting up all sorts of traps.

                Also, keep in mind few changelings are actually warriors, so there would probably be a limited "straight up army" as such... But the ones that are there will fight like there is no tomorrow, with hit and run tactics, and without hesitating to give their own life... Basicly expect the NPCs to burn through all their willpower pretty quickly, giving them a bit of an edge.

                Besides, when open combat does eventually start, except them to be well coordinated and working well together, the court of summer has been sparing for years, so odds are they know what to expect from one another, and that they are trained in working together... So dont be surprised if they gang up on one enemy at a time to wear them down quickly.

                Finally, if you want to bring in a Fae, you can always have them (When truly desperate) break a promise token, or have someone call the wild hunt down on the place. with the thought "Either we bring a true fae here, and run. Or we are definitely going to die"-... Normally changelings would prefer death over arcadia... But it only takes one low-clarity soul with the right merit.


                Decent storyteller. Poor Banjo player.

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