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The Carver Institute. A antagonist idea

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  • The Carver Institute. A antagonist idea

    I am thinking about getting Changeling: The Lost 2ed when it comes out and while thinking up possible antagonists, an interesting idea sprang into my head. My basic idea so far is a organization called The Carver Institute, a top-secret scientific organization that studies physics, biology and bizarrely enough, the theory of Alternate Dimensions. The Carver Institute, led by Dr. Anton Carver, is obsessed with finding proof of alternate dimensions and studying them. This becomes a problem when Dr. Carver, while under the guidance of something he called his " Muse", found out a way to enter the Hedge. The Muse, when then revealed herself to the scientists gathered in the entrance, offered the scientists a chance to study The Hedge and it's denizens under one condition, The Carver Institute would have to track down Changelings and bring them back to her. The Institute, of course, agreed to this deal and began to track down Changelings for their " Muse" while beginning scientific studies of the Hedge.

    Could this antagonist idea work in Changeling and what would you do to make them threats to Changelings?

  • #2
    I mean, it sounds like the scientists become hobgoblins by entering into a Goblin Contract with the Muse, having no way to discharge the accumulated debt. So they'd be able to learn additional Goblin Contracts/Dread Powers, even if their understanding of these is probably scientized a la the Nul Mysteriis. They'd also have one hell of an element of surprise, being hobs with a well-established base of operations on Earth and access to ample mortal resources in addition to Contracts and whatever resources they bring back from the Hedge.

    I kinda like the idea of some nebbishy geeks with powers they only half-understand chasing after Changelings in order to get their Hedge fix.

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    • #3
      It sounds like you have a solid idea for a Hunter group tailored to Changelings right there. I'd say go for it.

      Now, what could make them a threat to Changelings. For one, having a reliable source of iron/cold iron (Iron that has been worked by hand without the use of magic) is something that the True Fae and their minions (barring Huntsmen) cannot really do, so this would make them a terror to deal with. Another thing that would make them a threat is simply knowing where to start looking for them, since Changelings look like everyone else but their freeholds tending to be in towns or cities that are large enough to support such a power structure without it being obvious. Knowing where to start looking means they can start investigating people and looking for discrepancies in their history - many Changelings don't end up resuming their old lives, meaning they need to start up new ones that may not make the most sense on written paper. This gives Hunters an edge to use to track them down.

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      • #4
        A hunter compact employed by a Fae Entity. the only things I can say in regards to that is "why has no one thought of this til now" and "Put it in a book now, please." I'd imagine part of entering into the contract with The Muse would grant some sort of ability to detect changelings in some form, be it some sort of sense, or just a flat out "you can literally see the person who appears to also be made out of a Redwood Tree in the grocery store right now." These people would be absolutely terrifying to changelings, can see you before you realise who they are, and they're just "humans." I think if you do it I would also reccomend allowing them to discover how to create and use Tokens and Hedgespun items

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        • #5
          Originally posted by emmens View Post
          A hunter compact employed by a Fae Entity. the only things I can say in regards to that is "why has no one thought of this til now" and "Put it in a book now, please." I'd imagine part of entering into the contract with The Muse would grant some sort of ability to detect changelings in some form, be it some sort of sense, or just a flat out "you can literally see the person who appears to also be made out of a Redwood Tree in the grocery store right now." These people would be absolutely terrifying to changelings, can see you before you realise who they are, and they're just "humans." I think if you do it I would also reccomend allowing them to discover how to create and use Tokens and Hedgespun items
          Hmm, what about assigned or recruited "spotters" who can see past the Mask (ie. Fetches). Non-Changelings can use Tokens, provided they fulfill the Loophole. Combine that with a True Fae's protection while travelling a portion of the Hedge, some access to Goblin Fruit, and your have a treasure trove of options.

          (Aside: This fits perfectly for a "Loyalist" Oath-Bound group; my variation on the 2E Fae-Touched, which I've broken out into sub-categories, Oath-Bound being closest to what is in Core.)
          Last edited by Vent0; 01-01-2018, 04:45 PM.


          Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
          Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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          • #6
            The Unseen Sense Merit seems perfect for these spotters. Possibly with an additional Merit/Endowment for removing the Mask of a changeling.


            Bloodline: The Stygians
            Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
            Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Vent0 View Post

              Hmm, what about assigned or recruited "spotters" who can see past the Mask (ie. Fetches). Non-Changelings can use Tokens, provided they fulfill the Loophole. Combine that with a True Fae's protection while travelling a portion of the Hedge, some access to Goblin Fruit, and your have a treasure trove of options.

              (Aside: This fits perfectly for a "Loyalist" Oath-Bound group; my variation on the 2E Fae-Touched, which I've broken out into sub-categories, Oath-Bound being closest to what is in Core.)
              Contracts have Loopholes, Tokens have Catches, but that's a fair point. Fetches being recruited for the Agency, possibly even by the Gentry themselves, sounds like a pretty good means to allow this group to do their duties without becoming a Conspiracy.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Taidragon View Post

                Contracts have Loopholes, Tokens have Catches, but that's a fair point. Fetches being recruited for the Agency, possibly even by the Gentry themselves, sounds like a pretty good means to allow this group to do their duties without becoming a Conspiracy.
                ([Grumble]Stupid inconsistent terminology replacement[/Grumble]) Plus it gives great opportunities for you to have to work with some creepy dude called "Mr. Button".


                Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
                Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by emmens View Post
                  A hunter compact employed by a Fae Entity. the only things I can say in regards to that is "why has no one thought of this til now" and "Put it in a book now, please."
                  *pages through Mortal Remains*

                  ...oh yeah, it was only Mummy and Demon that got new compacts and conspiracies that specifically go after them. Huh.

                  But yeah, as an antagonist group and potential hunter group, this is some good shit.

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                  • #10
                    This is really interesting. What about a Contract with a Loophole that gives them the Unseen Senses Merit for any Changeling that they have researched to a certain number of accumulated successes? That would give them a strong bias towards Academics without just handing out Merits willy-nilly. During the research they would naturally come into contact with a large number of fetches, whom they could recruit as agents.

                    So you'd basically end up with a cabal of academics producing literal tomes of surveillance on Changeling targets, directing what would be to them criminal activities (or, X-files style ops), backed up by fetches to do the dirty work. Meanwhile, said academics are cheerfully able to craft cold iron for those moments when you just absolutely have to step out of the presentation hall. I imagine real members carry a cold-iron ballpoint pen in their pockets at all time... a fine shiv, in other words. Maybe a small, iron hand-mirror (about the size of a business card) that when used does not reflect a Changeling's mask? Could also double as a business card holder?

                    The really interesting things is, metaphysically speaking, that the Carver Institute has found the path into alternate universes: the Hedge seems [to me] like the natural space-time superfluid dimension that buffers (semi-)stable realities imposed on the primordial chaos referred to as "Arcadia". In other words, Ironside is what it is because humans think (or thought) it so, while the hedge grew up around it as a phase-boundary between the solidified dream of reality and the non-solid, unshaped potential Other. True Fae are, in fact, interlopers who either knew, absorbed or came to understand enough of the Wyrd energies of the primordial possibilities out there, that they could contract for/impose their own pocket universes. Whether such entities were kicked out of the Supernal, wandered through the Hedge, or whatever, is irrelevant--just as is the question of whether they were once human with a soul, or not.

                    Whether my own (limited) understand is correct in reference to the books, I'm sure some Carver associate has written and argued papers along these lines.

                    --Khanwulf

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                    • #11
                      Honestly, I'd just outright give them Unseen Sense: Changelings (or Fae, even) to try and find Changelings, or perhaps Goblin Fruit that grant this method as a sign of the deal between the True Fae and the Hunters in question. Giving Hunters a contract seems a little out of character for a True Fae. Contracts are meant to be an agreement between fae beings and actual forces of nature and happenstance, brokered via the Wyrd, and even people who somehow manage to return from being a Hedge Denizen or Goblin Queen with Goblin Contracts had that connection once.

                      I'm not sure why sending a Fetch to do the dirty work would be a good idea - though Fetch do look to protect themselves from the monsters/Changelings who are coming to kill them (if they do), they usually aren't trained in defense, suppression and killing methods that Hunters typically are. They do have various abilities they can use themselves, but these are varied, require Glamour to use and not all of them are really useful in combat. Plus, a Hunter knowing a Fetch can use their abilities would make them appear less human to a Hunter - a big part of the Hunter's beef with Changelings is that they don't know they were once people and thus victims, just that they are supernatural and are targeting people they look like (the Fetch in this case). The Fetch's ability to see past the Mask without appearing supernatural to a Changeling is their biggest draw.

                      I really do like the idea of them carrying around implements that are of cold iron. Only problem is that while these hurt Changelings, True Fae and denizens of the Hedge instinctively shy away from them, so it may be a bit of a faux pas carrying them...though that could work in-universe as a flaw of the compact.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Taidragon View Post
                        I really do like the idea of them carrying around implements that are of cold iron. Only problem is that while these hurt Changelings, True Fae and denizens of the Hedge instinctively shy away from them, so it may be a bit of a faux pas carrying them...though that could work in-universe as a flaw of the compact.
                        I mean, there's a very distinctive path of least resistance for getting around that.

                        Like calls to like, after all, and mankind has nothing like a monopoly on single-minded hunters.


                        Resident Lore-Hound
                        Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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                        • #13
                          My comments on fetches as agents, and in general the perspective that resonates with me is, that these guys and gals are academics first, and hunters second. They're in it for the research and publication creds, not some higher obligation to humanity. They'll capture these aliens among us for study and export back to their "Keeper" in the place they "belong", but they are not thugs, not trained police or military, and not constitutionally inclined to get into scrapes.

                          Yet, they're going up against creatures that infiltrate human society from alien worlds with alien rules, and bring with them while doing so some of that "Wyrd" power. Dangerous stuff, demanding exacting standards of peer-reviewed approach before confrontation is initiated. Sure, there may be a few Indiana Jones-style chaps who are "fire, ready, aim", but they'll be more tolerated (because they get results... i.e. specimens/offerings) than lauded.

                          The cold iron is a nod to practicality: if you know the stuff works, and you may run into alt-reality aliens, then better to have something innocuous yet useful to ward them off. Even if it complicates relationships with the superfluid trans-reality space you're working to contact and understand.

                          It also seems to me, going back to fetches for a moment, that if those things can see the targets for what they are, naturally, then that would be the preferred way of doing final confirmations before launching the capture attempt. Again, as academics, I think they'd look down on members "tainting" themselves too closely with the effects of their research (energies, supernatural merits)--which wouldn't stop it of course, but could fuel internal politics and give Carver members some individual character.

                          Just a few pennies' worth.

                          --Khanwulf

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                          • #14
                            The Loyalists of Thule are scientists who capture supernaturals, examine them in order to try and explain away what they are through science. The Talbot Group are people who take in werewolves to try and "cure" them of their supernatural nature. Yuri's Group is a support group devoted to bringing therapy to those who are suffering from supernatural attacks, and they also provide therapy for the monsters themselves who do not want to hurt people.

                            The Loyalists of Thule regularly dissect supernaturals to see what they're like inside, and have made theories about what happens if they remove the brain of a Sin Eater, let them come back to life, and then disect them again to see if the second brain is identical to the first.

                            The Talbot Group have subfactions who believe that they should not only destroy loci of spiritual power, that werewolves and or spirit possessed not only require death but they should be blamed for their conditions in the first place.

                            Yuri's Group is a support group first and foremost, but if they find a monster who hurts because it can? They will use all the memories of those they have helped, those who were hurt and helpless, and become terrifying. Their primary prey? Beasts, the Primordial, the literal stuff of nightmares.

                            Just being academics doesn't mean that they are incapable of violence, not to mention that they don't have lives outside of studying theory, stories and history. Even in my time at college, I've met professors who are actual dab hands with guns, many who regularly took hikes and at least one who knew methods of disection. Even if the Compact as a whole didn't enjoy violence, there is always going to be a subfaction in the group who prefers that method, the type who would laud the Indiana Jones archetype. After all, there is the trope "Beware the Quiet Ones" and it does apply to real life as well; also bare in mind that the very subject matter of finding beings who look like us but are not and travelling into a realm that is full of supernatural beings that could lead to alternate dimensions, and being called to action by a God-like "Muse" is going to bring the crazy out of otherwise rational and sane people.

                            My point wasn't that a Fetch couldn't get involved, and shouldn't be there to confirm a Changeling is who the target was; it's just that the Fetchs wouldn't be the driving force in capturing them. Certainly, there will be Fetch who want to get in on the action, and some will actively serve the Gentry, but Fetch in general are normal people. If a Fetch was made to capture a Changeling who was freed, then they'd do it by default and the Carver Institute wouldn't be required in the first place. A Fetch, by design, is meant to believe itself to be a normal human, with all the foibles and ignorance that could allow. A Fetch who works for the Carver Institute can allow them to go on with their lives without getting their own hands dirty in the process.

                            To make this a metaphor for the roles the organization would play (at least in my eyes), the "Muse" is the supplier of both targets and purpose for the Hunters, the Fetches point the guns in the right direction, and the Carver Institute load and fire said guns. The Muse cannot act on its own without problems, otherwise it wouldn't need the Carver Institute; the Fetch can load and fire the guns, but they have significantly less inclination to, again, otherwise the Carver Institute wouldn't be needed; the Carver Institute could point their own guns, but they can't see the targets as they are without significantly more effort and false positives.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Taidragon View Post
                              To make this a metaphor for the roles the organization would play (at least in my eyes), the "Muse" is the supplier of both targets and purpose for the Hunters, the Fetches point the guns in the right direction, and the Carver Institute load and fire said guns. The Muse cannot act on its own without problems, otherwise it wouldn't need the Carver Institute; the Fetch can load and fire the guns, but they have significantly less inclination to, again, otherwise the Carver Institute wouldn't be needed; the Carver Institute could point their own guns, but they can't see the targets as they are without significantly more effort and false positives.
                              Thank you Taidragon, and this seems like an excellent summary of a functioning organization. It also calls out links that are automatically weak points that could be exploited for story action. Monolithic threats are no fun for anyone.

                              --Khanwulf

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