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How Do You Roleplay Clarity?

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  • How Do You Roleplay Clarity?

    The Clarity meter is a big part of Changeling, but it also is a challenge to roleplay. It seems to involve small hallucinations and delusions of reference (thinking you're still back in Faerie and your friends are loyalists or hobs in disguise) that get worse as it goes down, but perhaps also some features of anxiety and a lot of similarities with PTSD, especially being triggered by lifestyle changes and other events stressful to people who thrive on routine. But having your character act like a stereotypical "crazy person" is both really disrespectful and, moreover, annoying to the ST and the other players.

    So, I wanted to create this thread so people could share suggestions on the roleplaying aspects of the Clarity meter, share stories about how they RP it in their games and discuss possible methods of roleplaying it.

    For instance, the breaking points seem to be based on psychological triggers, so I was wondering if it would be a good idea to create a list of personal triggers for your character related to their Durance and even their life before it if applicable as roleplaying guidelines. You don't need to have them freak out every time they experience a trigger or even roll for it, just show that it makes them a bit uncomfortable. Universal triggers would be the Seeming breaking points and other breaking points already mentioned in the books.

    Do you think this is a good idea, or is it problematic?


    A god is just a monster you kneel to. - ArcaneArts, Quoting "Fall of Gods"

  • #2
    Have you read the 2e Clarity preview? Because what you described about personal Triggers is exactly how it looks like it's going to work in 2e.


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    • #3
      Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
      Have you read the 2e Clarity preview? Because what you described about personal Triggers is exactly how it looks like it's going to work in 2e.
      that's cool. I checked it out after you told me and I like it a lot. As someone with a minor trigger, it seems pretty realistic without being annoying to play. so, but anyway, I was more asking about roleplaying tips rather than rules stuff. It seems to have changed in 2e, but I got the impression from stuff like the Malibu Dream House game that Changelings at all times are at risk for minor hallucinations and delusions that get harder to deal with the lower your Clarity gets or the more Faery power you acquire. And the new clarity preview says outright that a failure on a breaking point roll gives the Warped condition (not sure what that does, but sounds like a mental effect), and a Dramatic Failure gives them the Delusional condition, which outright says that they experience hallucinations and delusions. So, I guess it's more just general tips about roleplaying a Changeling, or roleplaying a neurodivergent person respectfully in general.


      A god is just a monster you kneel to. - ArcaneArts, Quoting "Fall of Gods"

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      • #4
        They do sort of always see "hallucinations" (there have been arguments about whether or not that term is accurate since they are seeing the wyrd sorta rather than it being 100% imagined), even when they have high clarity it's just that as the clarity increases the changeling should be better at figuring out which hallucinations are "real" and they become more "helpful".

        I like to imagine a high clarity changeling seeing things like an untrustworthy person appearing to have a goatee. When your looking for something it might have a glint like you see in a videogame like bioshock, or maybe the object itself looks bigger than it really is. As the changeling's works out his dull boring normal job, the world might seem to have less colour, but then slowly grow more vibrant as you head towards your motley's meeting place. When searching through a crime scene, you might feel waves of warmth coming from a piece of jewelry causing you to notice it (and then you latter findout it's "hot" and was stolen).
        Last edited by milo v3; 12-05-2016, 04:43 AM.

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        • #5
          wait, so high clarity gives you superpowers in daily life? I thought it just let you sense magic really well


          A god is just a monster you kneel to. - ArcaneArts, Quoting "Fall of Gods"

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          • #6
            that aside, I'm not as interested in mechanics effects as in roleplaying tips. The books and the canon stuff available around here has all the mechanics


            A god is just a monster you kneel to. - ArcaneArts, Quoting "Fall of Gods"

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            • #7
              And while the status of the hallucinations is arguable, I would definitely classify "I'm still in Arcadia and this is all a lie" as a delusion of reference once they get low enough that they actually start seriously believing it. Because, unless you have a really sadistic ST, it's generally not true.


              A god is just a monster you kneel to. - ArcaneArts, Quoting "Fall of Gods"

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Master Aquatosic View Post
                wait, so high clarity gives you superpowers in daily life? I thought it just let you sense magic really well
                High clarity gives you a bonus to perception, solving riddles, dealing with logic puzzles, and finding out the truth. So for my games, when someone lies a changeling might see that person's nose grow in length, suddenly their pants go on fire, maybe they get a warped twisted smile or a serpentine tongue. The changeling knows that this isn't real because of their high clarity, but they can use the information in the wyrd their seeing to notice abit more about the world than others can.

                that aside, I'm not as interested in mechanics effects as in roleplaying tips. The books and the canon stuff available around here has all the mechanics
                .... thats why I had examples that weren't mechanics, but were ways of describing how a changeling's hallucinations can be. They don't need to just be "I'm currently seeing dolphins walking down the street". They can be incorporated into what the player's actually doing.
                Last edited by milo v3; 12-05-2016, 09:00 AM.

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                • #9
                  I could use suggestions on how to handle Clarity as a Storyteller while we're at it.

                  I'm liking the idea of "helpful hallucinations" as a way to describe the perception bonus at high Clarity, along with colorful metaphors to describe NPC intentions. They're essentially seeing the threads of fate and interpreting them in sensory metaphors. At low Clarity, they start losing the ability to sort through the information and wind up with a lot of distracting details.

                  I think the idea that Clarity is also a measure of sense of self could be a factor in it: At high Clarity, you easily focus on the threads of fate relating to your personal story. At low Clarity, you get that focus muddled with a lot of input from other people's stories and thus get distracted by the personally irrelevant information.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by milo v3 View Post

                    .... thats why I had examples that weren't mechanics, but were ways of describing how a changeling's hallucinations can be. They don't need to just be "I'm currently seeing dolphins walking down the street". They can be incorporated into what the player's actually doing.

                    My bad. I interpreted it wrong


                    A god is just a monster you kneel to. - ArcaneArts, Quoting "Fall of Gods"

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BronzeDog View Post
                      I could use suggestions on how to handle Clarity as a Storyteller while we're at it.

                      I'm liking the idea of "helpful hallucinations" as a way to describe the perception bonus at high Clarity, along with colorful metaphors to describe NPC intentions. They're essentially seeing the threads of fate and interpreting them in sensory metaphors. At low Clarity, they start losing the ability to sort through the information and wind up with a lot of distracting details.

                      I think the idea that Clarity is also a measure of sense of self could be a factor in it: At high Clarity, you easily focus on the threads of fate relating to your personal story. At low Clarity, you get that focus muddled with a lot of input from other people's stories and thus get distracted by the personally irrelevant information.

                      I think it might be the opposite. If Clarity 0 means you are as solipsistic as the True Fae, you probably not only cannot see anything but your own story, but the story becomes more of a trap than a tool. Someone with High Clarity can discern the interactions between everyone's stories


                      A god is just a monster you kneel to. - ArcaneArts, Quoting "Fall of Gods"

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                      • #12
                        These are all very helpful, but they seem to be stuff that's more the remit of the ST. I was talking about how to get in-character and how to act during conversations.


                        A god is just a monster you kneel to. - ArcaneArts, Quoting "Fall of Gods"

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                        • #13
                          I imagine it as some magical form of PTSD affecting war veterans.

                          Early in the game, it causes them to suffer episodic flash backs and (if treatment is ignored), causes them to gradually lose their ability to function in the 'real' world, thus prompting them to return to the only thing that makes sense to them anymore.... Arcadia.

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