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Planning first C:tL game - advice/suggestions requested

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  • Planning first C:tL game - advice/suggestions requested

    ​Hello, I've been wanting to run a Changeling game for a while now and 2e coming out seems like the perfect opportunity. Unfortunately I've hit a brick wall with ideas, so I would welcome any feedback and suggestions based on what I've got so far from people with more experience running Changeling. I am new to running Changeling, so advice would also be welcome - I've GM'd Hunter 1e and Vampire 2e before, but looking at the subject matter of Changeling I feel I need to up my game to do it justice.

    The main idea is for a road trip/quest type game across the UK (and local Hedge) - chasing a mystery while being chased through their dreams by a sinister figure. Inspirations are mainly the BBC radio series Pilgrim, some Arthurian mythology, and the song 'Where the World Divides' by the Oysterband ( I'm toying with the idea of the theme being building a home in people rather than in a place - hence I'm planning to do character creation together to establish PC relationships and a reason to stay together other than plot. Also to figure out what kind of game the players would like to play.

    My current plan is to ultimately give the PCs the same reason for going on the road - they all saw the same figure in dreams, a slenderman-like Fae woman. She isn't their Keeper, but her intentions are not good. They always see her in one of those nightmares where something nasty is chasing you, and you wake up just before it finds you. Except this woman eventually found them after weeks of these dreams - and appeared in the Freehold the next day. All hell broke loose, and she was eventually repelled, but Changelings die. However, shortly afterwards they started having the dreams again, and discovered that they could delay her finding them by keeping on the move - hence, road trip.

    After that, I'm leaning towards structuring the adventure as four 'episodes' at different locations, with an overarching story and individual location-based and character-based stories woven around it. I have rough ideas for what is happening at each place and some of the connecting threads, but anything more specific is where I hit the brick wall with regards to antagonist motivation, methods, stuff that might be cool to have at certain locations, introducing Fae elements, etc. So below I'm just going to throw out my current set of ideas, regardless of how vague they are. Maybe this is all a bit ambitious, but I'm rather excited at the prospect.

    Location-based plots:
    1. ​PCs meet at the village of Aisley Bridge (reasons for going there? Unknown as of yet), where hedge gates are opening across the village. Hobs in the local area are departing, aware that something has disturbed Old Abaeron, and the dragons are coming. The reason for this is an archaeological dig disturbing an ancient barrow and taking slate slabs from it for study. Also located in the village is an ancient sculpture of the woman in their dreams, and the expert in it (a Changeling occultist named Mrs Pleasance) has disappeared.
    2. The PCs search for Mrs Pleaseance at Caudley Fair, a Changeling festival held at the ruins of Bayldon Abbey in the South Downs. Changelings have travelled from across the UK for the celebrations, including the monarchs of London and other major British freeholds and people they may have had connections to/run away from. But is Mrs Pleasance as benign as she seems? And what about the rumours of witches on the hills and strange creatures in the woods?
    3. The PCs are tasked with retrieving the ancient Roman Changeling, Marcellus, from his slumber beneath the chapel on Lindie Island, off the coast of Pembrokeshire in Wales. Unfortunately, this also awakens the ancient Huntsmen that have been after Marcellus for centuries.
    4. Mrs Pleasance is waiting for the PCs at Bleaker Lake, where the world divides (the Lake is simultaneously a verge, an Avernian Gate, and an entrance to the Hedge - specifically the start of the Equinox Road that leads to the Isle of Avalon and on to the gates of Arcadia itself) and the Drowned Mage sleeps beneath the waves, his dreams rising from the water each night to torment the surrounding forest.
    Overarching story elements:
    • The woman in their dreams - is she a true fae? Type of Huntsman? Something else? A Sister of Avalon? Why is she chasing them?
    • Mrs Pleasance - a very old Changeling occultist with great knowledge of the Abaeron, and seeks the Drowned Mage. Motivation? Power? Love?
    • The Abaeron - an ancient book of Fae magic, with slate pages that have ogham writing down the edges. Like the One Ring, it has a sentience of sorts and was responsible for the disruption in Aisley Bridge after its barrow was broken into. It was created by the Drowned Mage, and can only be fully comprehended by him. What does it want? Get back to its creator? Did it deliberately run from him - did it imprison him in the Lake? Shard of a page embedded in a PC?
    • The Drowned Mage - no, not one of those Mages. A True Fae who bargained to understand humanity, yet retain much of his Fae nature. Wrote much of his knowledge into the Abaeron, before being imprisoned beneath the waters of Bleaker Lake. Possibly Merlin? (some Arthurian legends talk of Arthur fighting the Romans in Gaul, so possible connection to Marcellus there?)
    TL; DR - GM new to Changeling having some trouble coming up with detailing ideas for a chronicle, asking for suggestions/feedback on ideas. Thanks

    "Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it depends on what you put into it."
    -Tom Lehrer

  • #2
    *cracks knuckles*

    Alright, you've got some good stuff there already. I can see your 4 locations as a progression. They first get the lead of the sculpture of the woman in their dreams being at Aisley Bridge, so since they have nothing else to go on, head there.

    As for Mrs Pleasance, according to the 2E take on Entitlements, maybe she is after one for Nimue.

    As for why the woman is chasing them, if you want to be prophetic and screwy, make it because of what they did/will do at the end. Either she foresaw it, or a time-loop. Maybe she is after the Nimue Title, the Drowned Mage's Title, freeing the Drowned Mage, or recovering the Abaeron (or something else)? The PCs are necessary for everything to play out, but when and how is less clear to her. So... She goads them on.

    For the Abaeron's motivations, why not all of it? It did want to be free of the Drowned Mage, and imprissioned them to do so. But it misses them and wants to go back (or screwed up and needs their help). Sure, have an important part embedded in/on a PC.

    Sure, do as many parallels to Merlin (and Arthur) as possible without outright stating it.
    Last edited by Vent0; 01-16-2019, 11:13 PM.

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


    • #3
      Thanks for the good suggestions that got me thinking

      Yeah, progression will probably work with the four locations. The sculpture takes them to Aisley Bridge, then looking for Mrs Pleasance to Bayldon Abbey, then Marcellus actually met the woman in their dreams, and he gives them the information that leads to Bleaker Lake. I've got the corebook now, so hopefully that'll help me hash out individual details of each place.

      Nimue ("The Lady in the Lake", maybe) has a lot of potential as a Title, connecting to influencing the destiny of nations and anointing a champion. Although I think there are multiple Ladies of the Lake in Arthurian stories, so mashing them together as aspects of the same Title probably creates something potent enough to be a True Fae Title, or a pretty potent Title to claim. As to the woman in their dreams, I like the idea of fae/changelings fighting over a potent Title, especially if it has the potential to shake things up on Earth and in Arcadia, and the thought of getting prophetic with her is appealing - apparently Wyrd is a concept of fate and personal destiny, after all.

      Having the Abareon's motivations be all of it would be a nice plot twist, I think, and lead to some fun portraying it as really selfish and abrasive.

      One thing I am wondering about is handling Touchstones (although smartphones probably have that covered) and freehold/court pledges on the road - does going on the road because you think it'll keep other people safe break whatever oath you made, and if not how long before it breaks from not fulfilling other obligations?

      "Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it depends on what you put into it."
      -Tom Lehrer