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  • Changelign the Lost 2e Pledges

    Hey, so I posted this on reddit but was hoping I may get some more official or enlightened confirmation of the rules here. I know there are already posts about this but none definitively give confirmation or provide evidence/links/quotes that the writers intent is for pledges to be anything but infinite duration. The book is so misleading on this subject, and as far as I can find gives no example of making an oath, that I have seen multiple people argue against the concept of having limited duration oaths(until the next full moon, or for a year and a day etc.)

    copy of the post I made on redit- "Hello, So my gm is going to be running Changeling the Lost 2e soon! I am very much looking forward to this as I absolutely adore changeling. I have my character mostly made and have character art commisioned, but have found something that strikes me as odd: Pledges.

    2e pledges, oaths in particular, seem incredibly terrible RaW. 3 incredibly weak options, aside from gm intervention, with a large cost for breaking them. The worst part is the seemingly fixed duration. As far as the book says all oaths are permanent. There is literally nothing that even hints at them being able to made with a duration.

    It makes perfect sense to make a pledge of: "Until the next sunset I shall protect you from harm so long as you pay me X$" and choose the option that lets you take damage for them. Yet the book makes it sound like this is permanent, as though there is no "until X" option.

    Have I missed something or is it truly that oaths are intended to be permanent duration with no outs? It seems as though the intent is for it to "mark" you, noting that you made the pledge, but given how it's written it instead makes it seem like the only option is "forever" as duration.

    The book seems quite terrible at giving examples, and there is no part that explains how to make a pledge any way but mechanically. Worse still there is very little that goes into the flavor or lore behind what I felt to be a massive aspect of the fae. As far as I've seen there is no ensorcellment either.

    I entirely understand the need to nerf the broken 1e version, but I feel they also did away with all of the lore and flavor that made pledges interesting. Now it feels like something that is only something you'd want to do if you were joining a court or freehold. ( I cannot see a changeling, thematically untrusting, ever willingly deciding to trust a motley FOREVER unless they trust them in the extreme)

    Please tell me this is just poorly written and that it was just a huge oversight to imply to all readers that once you joined a motley you were stuck upholding the oath "to protect each other whenever possible" or "keep in contact", for example, forever. Or worse that once someone joins a court, said court has no way of removing them from the court.

    I've looked this up in other spots but cannot find any solid confirmation. I have seen some people talking about Goblin Vows, which I do not see anywhere in the 2e corebook, so I don't know what the situation with that is. If anyone could clarify on this it would be greatly appreciated."


    Sorry if it seems a bit harsh, but I did not want to mince words that I had already posted somewhere else. I truly do not intend to be mean or rude with this post but genuinely am curious if this is the intent or not- this is a question/critique, not a hate speech(I adore everything else I've seen from 2e, including sealings)

    Tl;Dr Pledges are written in such a way that they leave no indication of having any possible durations aside from "Infinite"/ "FOR ALL ETERNITY". I find this extremely grating, especially for a changeling who may have just left the hedge. "Oh I just got freed from my "eternal" slaver, might as well sign away the rest of my life and arguably my afterlife to a group of drinking buddies, in exchange for getting to talk pretty once every so many days FOR THEM." I have no knowledge of goblin vows, which I have seen mention of multiple times on the forums but cannot find a source aside from 1e rites of spring, and would love to know where I can find out more or some official source for this.
    Last edited by Akkiraus; 01-14-2019, 08:11 PM.

  • #2
    You would have been better served mincing your words, because failing to do so burns a lot of goodwill right out the gate when your copied text goes on for several paragraphs in that vein.

    It doesn't help that the thing you find extremely grating (and go on to be extremely grating about) is entirely of your own manufacture.

    Like, I want you to exercise an ounce of critical thinking for a few moments:

    Does "you can't have not made this oath, and breaking it comes with a cost that you pay until you make up for it" actually translate to "the terms of this oath apply forever in perpetuity and are tantamount to lifelong slavery," or does basic sense tell you that oaths being subject to the laws of causality is different from them being traps as a matter of course?

    Does "changelings make these agreements sparingly and as an exercise of fellow-feeling" sound like it's the 2e inheritor of the aspect of 1e pledgecraft that was rooted in simple I'll-do-you-this-favor-and-if-I-don't-then-I-suffer-consequences transactions, or is that plainly more the domain of sealings?

    Does "making this type of pledge effectively gives you an extra Thread on top of its more specific magical bonus" sound remotely casual, or is it possible that the type of pledge that changeling society is literally built on is not the place to look for commonplace fae agreements in a context where less emotionally raw and magically ruinous agreements are right there in the neighboring text?

    An oath is a shared expression of intent between two or more fae that connects them at the heart for better or worse. If you want an expression of trust between changelings that only lasts as long as a single job, you go to voluntary sealings with very thoroughly-scrutinized wording. If you want a tit-for-tat deal with a lesser fae, hobgoblin deals are pervasive and rooted in available resources, just as bargains allow you to offer the same exchange to a mortal with relatively little skin off your nose if you run out.

    Goblin Vows are no longer a thing, pending future reintroduction, and essentially worked the way they did in 1e as mechanically-assembled pledges with specific subsets of reality. Their role is currently best filled by Goblin Contracts and hobgoblin deals.


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

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    • #3
      I feel sealings are quite good, but *relatively* useless when dealing with other changelings. Sure it costs something to disregard them and used properly they can lay someone low, but that is still not my point. I quite love the new sealings setup, it keeps some of the flavor from the old stuff, though I do feel it is rather light in relation to changelings which I dislike. As far as your first point-

      "Does "you can't have not made this oath, and breaking it comes with a cost that you pay until you make up for it" actually translate to "the terms of this oath apply forever in perpetuity and are tantamount to lifelong slavery," or does basic sense tell you that oaths being subject to the laws of causality is different from them being traps as a matter of course?"

      It is not "it comes with a cost that you pay until you make up for it" RaW. Though this is vaguely implied it more so notes that it is indeed permanent, but the actual effects could change but never does it actually say you can be freed of the original oath's wording, merely that you can be forgiven for breaking it. This leaves players and gms largely in the dark on how to run such a scenario. I just feel as though oaths are going from 0 to 100 in severity with little purpose, and need clearer wording and explanations.

      The wordings seem intensely clear: "Swearing an oath binds characters together. That binding is permanent — though someone can “break” an oath, doing so merely changes the parameters of the oath, rather than erasing it." / "once he makes restitution, the terms may shift to accommodate the new circumstances, but the oath doesn’t go away." / Even hostile oaths only hint at short durations, but not because making a short one is possible but because they are likely to die after- "Once the oath is sworn, the participants must remain enemies. Hostile oaths usually don’t last very long as the characters swearing them often fight to the death shortly after doing so." /

      I am sure some of the benefits could also be utilized in useful ways, but that does not make them any less underwhelming compared to the risk of breaking a poorly worded or otherwise botched oath, which literally could include attracting the true fae(or other fae in general at the least). More than anything the fact that it poses all durations as "forever" is entirely needless. It gives severity that was already there. How likely would you be to just go out tomorrow and make a deal with 3 friends to protect each other if in danger, and to generally support one another through thick and thin- whilst knowing that that deal is literally for the rest of your life, and that any time you make a promise with someone else they instantly KNOW if you went back on that for any reason.

      Binding someone for the rest of their like to a deal you make sounds more like a clarity breaking point than a wise decision. I can understand if it were like the 1e stuff where it had a variable duration because people change, but given this, it seems like a terrible idea. In other parts of the book, it notes that such connections are the type of things the gentry could follow to find a changeling. How many changelings would die or go back to Arcadia before giving up their ally? Nearly every changeling knows this as well- people change, and not always because they want to. To make a deal that lasts forever, unconditionally and with repercussion aside, is not just a serious decision for a changeling, I feel it is colossally underrated.

      There should be value and meaning in oaths, I agree, but to go so far is excessive and makes it feel like something to avoid in all but extreme circumstances.- If the intent is truly for infinite duration only. Thanks for clarifying on goblin vows.

      Edit: Btw I perfectly understand that it is possible I have misread something and will gladly acquiesce if that ends up being the case, but the issue stands people seem to regularly defend the rules as being infinite only duration.




      Last edited by Akkiraus; 01-14-2019, 11:34 PM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Akkiraus View Post
        It is not "it comes with a cost that you pay until you make up for it" RaW.
        Reread how the Oathbreaker Condition is resolved.
        Though this is vaguely implied it more so notes that it is indeed permanent, but the actual effects could change but never does it actually say you can be freed of the original oath's wording,
        You go on to quote that the parameters of oaths can change, which comes from a paragraph where both of the provided examples literally just involve leaving the relationship's original context.

        The binding is permanent — characters who shared an oath can never not be significant to each other in some fashion, as befits a pledge that you literally choose to define yourself by — but the terms of the pledge are not limited to "we do this forever and ever" just because writing the agreement onto your souls is an indelible act; the wording is the wording, which is why changelings looking to memorialize such an agreement still watch their language carefully to avoid a very messy adjustment process after the fact.

        I am sure some of the benefits could also be utilized in useful ways, but that does not make them any less underwhelming compared to the risk of breaking a poorly worded or otherwise botched oath, which literally could include attracting the true fae(or other fae in general at the least).
        What book did you read? All the example consequences beyond the Oathbreaker Condition and the Clarity attack concern themselves with the injured party, which tends to be another changeling, and are described as relatively minor.

        How likely would you be to just go out tomorrow and make a deal with 3 friends to protect each other if in danger, and to generally support one another through thick and thin- whilst knowing that that deal is literally for the rest of your life, and that any time you make a promise with someone else they instantly KNOW if you went back on that for any reason.
        About as unlikely as I would be to find a bunch of friends for whom I'd literally stake my life and receive the same against all the world's slings and arrows, which is a degree of unlikelihood I can boast by virtue of not being a fugitive skywriter for the Prince Among Verdant Stars trying to eke out a living in the freeholds of the Rust Belt.

        Seeing as doing so would still be a voluntary process carried out by characters who know that the words they say matter for these sorts of things, I feel it's tremendously overselling matters to say "you folks declared together to the world that you were going to do this, staked your names on it, even, and then had the gall to turn your back on that self-assigned duty, so now changelings don't completely trust you, your magic doesn't work quite as well as it should, you're entirely out of the casual wordbinding game, and if you agreed to or called down any particular extra little trouble then that comes home to roost too until you make amends" is a particularly disproportionate inconvenience.

        Binding someone for the rest of their like to a deal you make sounds more like a clarity breaking point than a wise decision.
        Clarity has to do with your certainty of your own truth and perspective, not the ethical ramifications of existence as a magical subcontractor. Oaths sworn in haste imperil your Clarity when they break bad, but the act in and of itself is not a reminder of how plastic the mind can be to the fae.


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

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        • #5
          I think another important thing to add here is the book gives examples of how the Wyrd (i.e. GM caveat) can influence the actual results of oaths. I believe the main example it gives is in regards to players mining relatively minor oaths for beats. But I think it can also logically be extended to an understanding of how important some oaths are over others, and context changes over time. Breaking an oath of friendship is more dramatic and will have wider consequences if you abandoned your motley in their hour of need as one is borne away by loyalists, than if you didn't help them move their couch last weekend. I think there is also room to reasonably say if all the originators of the pledge come together and formally dissolve it then that is fine in the Wyrds eyes. The breaking of oaths tend to be one sided affairs (on purpose or not), and much more enforcable than a mutual ending. The Wyrd (storyteller) has a lot of room to decide any mechanical punishment in addition to Oathbreaker conditions. At least that is how I read it.

          TL;DR 2e pledges seem to be more about flavour and plot generation than the 1e mechanical, systems based implementaion.
          Last edited by Dom2772; 01-15-2019, 08:57 AM.

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          • #6
            Whelp that entire reply just deleted itself, ugh.

            Oathbreaker- I must admit I somehow blindly walked in without reading oathbreaker itself, which I apologize for. At the same time it does in itself pose another problem- any hostile or grudge-bearing changeling can entirely stop you from making amends and resolving oathbreaker.:

            "The character undertakes a sincere attempt to make restitution for his betrayal. This includes finding all other participants involved in the oath and undertaking whatever task they assign."

            My concern is not for entire motleys, which it did sounds like and I apologize for my poor wording, but the chance character that is forced to break an oath. Oathbreaking has been something that came up in multiple points in a previous 1e campaign I've played in, and people were largely not intending to break an oath, but had little to no choice or fell to wording. You may argue it says attempt, but it also says that the attempt includes undertaking said tasks, which could be anything, even something incredibly lethal.

            As for leaving a motley- it never says you can do so without breaking the oath, and actually implies you would.:

            "A changeling can leave a motley, but he can’t take back the time he spent with the other changelings or the oath he made; once he makes restitution, the terms may shift to accommodate the new circumstances, but the oath doesn’t go away."

            The issue is that what "terms may shift" means is entirely up in the air and left to the gm. This means it could be anything from following the same oath but with less restrictions, or it could mean helping out the motley in other ways from a distance- depending on the oath. There is literally nothing in the book that explains how to handle this aside from oathbreaker and breaking an oath rules.

            Overall I agree that it should be and seems implied that it is a record/mark on you rather than a forever duration for all oaths, but the problem is that the book also implies the other way heavily at multiple points. We should not even be able to argue this. At no point has anyone been able to just give me a page number and point me to anything that definitively explains durations of oath terms, how to design oath terms, or anything else conclusive. Oath terms should be limited, oaths themselves should not- I agree wholeheartedly(if that is your stance).

            The problem is that the book is misleading on this subject, and the fact we could argue it, either way, is a big issue. Players and gms should not be up in the air as to how to handle core aspects of the game like this. This is the type of thing that leads many tables to argue raw vs rai, and in each different table interpreting it differently. Which I can tell you from experience is frustrating. Players and gms should not have to guess at rules or intent, as this overall leads to needless arguments and can ruin a lot of the fun.

            I also want to make it very clear that I absolutely love the book, and this is my only sticking points. I only bring this up because I want to see it do well. I feel that this may be minor but could easily lead to a lot of needless arguments at tables and debates on the intent. The rest of the book, including the other aspects of pledges, seems great to me- though I wish a number of aspects were more clearly told to the players rather than handwaved as gm decided or merely implied.

            edit- tbh I think the primary issue is that there is no example of oath making(aside from commiting the binding of the oath or in mechanical terms) or what an oath could even look like. How would any new player that picks up the game to run it for fellow new players even know what do for the wordings of an oath or how to design one?
            Last edited by Akkiraus; 01-15-2019, 10:50 AM. Reason: clarification

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Akkiraus View Post
              edit- tbh I think the primary issue is that there is no example of oath making(aside from commiting the binding of the oath or in mechanical terms) or what an oath could even look like. How would any new player that picks up the game to run it for fellow new players even know what do for the wordings of an oath or how to design one?
              The root issue there is a practical one: In addition to Second Edition corebooks having to dedicate a sizable chunk of their rules chapter to reproducing the core mechanical breakdown, Changeling in particular is second only to Mage in terms of sheer amount of stuff to keep track of, and a lot of that stuff is a fae-specific version of stuff that exists in other contexts; the Lost have at least two separate otherworlds to deal with, each with their own subsystems of special interaction, and their magic is split into three meaningfully-distinct subcategories on top of the very broad ability to bind people's words to fate. There just isn't a whole lot of room for in-depth examples that doesn't cut into the wordcount of other equally-important-to-get-out-there material in the corebook.

              As in First Edition, there's a decent chance a supplement will cover the topic in more detail, but as it stands I'll take "If you decide to retire from the heartbound obligations of your old flame, even if everybody understands completely the magic necessitates a token act of compensation because y'all made that bond Significant" over, say, losing the entire Hedgespinning section or not knowing how True Fae pledgecraft differs from changeling pledgecraft as far as non-comprehensive information goes. Who knows, maybe it'll be addressed as early as the Companion.


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

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              • #8
                I don't mean to interject but I think the disconnect here is what Oaths are used for and how often they're sworn in 2nd Edition vs 1st Edition.

                In first edition they were more commonplace and near ubiquitously expected for most interactions with each other in changeling society. Freeholds, in 1e were essentially held together by giant cobwebs of interconnecting Oaths.

                In second edition, however, they are much MUCH more personal and rarely done. Oaths have a huge effect on the "souls" of the participants. So Oaths are no longer ubiquitously expected and when Oaths enter the equation, all parties know the seriousness of the matter.



                Frequent Story Teller for the Circle of Five gaming group.

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