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  • Questions about the Bargain Patrons

    Wanting to explore three questions.

    1. Who are the Patrons? I have been meaning to make a thread exploring the identities of the Patrons for a while now. Since the "names" changelings use are abstractions of what the god represents it remains a mystery about who those gods actually are. Is "Autumn" the Dark Mother? Did one Court get the signature of an Oracle or Firstborn? Is "winter" Winter Wolf? Had to look it up when my brain tripped over the double word play.

    2. What do the Patrons get from the Bargain? A recent thread helped me realize the relevance of this question. For all the changelings know they could be providing funding for some secret ritual or war. It is not like the Bargain restricts or reveals the usage of what the gods do with their resources.

    3. Are the Regalia represented by some super Bargain where some gods got the chance to benefit from the collective resources of the entire Gentry race?

  • #2
    1.) The names of the Seasonal Courts are not just abstractions. The powers are literally tied to the seasons. As such I'm inclined to believe they're either spirits or goetia tied to the concepts of the seasons, as those two types of entities are very symbolically "pure" (meaning less weird idiosyncrasies that could arise from other patrons), very conceptual (allowing them to actually represent the seasons) as well as capable of representing neighbouring symbolical concepts (i.e. why summer is connected to rage and autumn to fear).

    2.) A regular Bargain with a human is just that each side provides a service or payment. The protection against the Gentry is incidental to the terms of the bargain. If Mantle Bargains truly are similar to regular Bargains, then I'd assume it's the same type of deal. The patron entity receives some service or payment from the founder in return for granting some other service or payment. Developing a Mantle has very little to do with the patron at all so that's probably not part of the actual deal.
    That said, I do think whatever services or payments that are traded back and forth should absolutely be of much higher gravitas compared to regular Bargains, as to fit the scope of the side effects you gain for making such a deal. I also think it's probably a one time thing in most (if not all) cases since there's nothing that says the Mantle disappears if either party breaks the terms of the Bargain. The most fitting payment for the patron is probably carrying out some sort of quest for it. It just seems very fitting as it's thematic, conductive to interesting play, and something that basically any type of patron could agree to (and some are even predisposed to dealing out quests in the first place).

    3.) Each Regalia is some sort of ancient deal between the Gentry and something else. That much is explicit. Whether or not it can be called a Bargain seems unimportant.
    Last edited by Tessie; 03-10-2021, 02:08 PM. Reason: Clarified my first point.


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    • #3
      Originally posted by Excess View Post
      1. Who are the Patrons? I have been meaning to make a thread exploring the identities of the Patrons for a while now. Since the "names" changelings use are abstractions of what the god represents it remains a mystery about who those gods actually are. Is "Autumn" the Dark Mother? Did one Court get the signature of an Oracle or Firstborn? Is "winter" Winter Wolf? Had to look it up when my brain tripped over the double word play.
      There is no wordplay. Spring is Spring. Changelings can make a Bargain with abstract phenomena through their connection to the Wyrd and its influence on their perceptions. The particulars of the Bargain may influence the particular shape that manifestation of the patron takes — Retaliation is more than what the Hangmen draw from its patronage, the beasts of the Four Directions are not the whole of the mystical correspondences of the four directions, et cetera — but generally speaking, if a Court is sworn to something bigger than a discrete actor, it's sworn to what it says on the tin.

      Spirits are less conceptually pure as they grow in power, and goetia are somebody's idea of a phenomenon that mostly sticks to the world beneath dreams. Autumn is Autumn, and it can be found wherever Autumnal Things are.

      2. What do the Patrons get from the Bargain? A recent thread helped me realize the relevance of this question. For all the changelings know they could be providing funding for some secret ritual or war. It is not like the Bargain restricts or reveals the usage of what the gods do with their resources.
      Representation and reinforcement. Winter has rituals relating to winter performed for it through the agreement a given instance of the Winter Court has with it. Maybe they make Winter stronger, maybe they make its enemies weaker, maybe it's simply adding to a tally somewhere, maybe it's happy to take whatever's offered that's appropriate to it, but the point is that what Winter gets out of having a fae court acting in its name is having a fae court acting in its name.

      3. Are the Regalia represented by some super Bargain where some gods got the chance to benefit from the collective resources of the entire Gentry race?
      The Gentry cut deals with the forces that the Arcadian Regalia represent back at the dawn of the Fae's ascendancy, and the esoteric nature of those forces filters down to a bunch of fae-appropriate Royal and Common Contracts much like a Court patron's power takes cues from the agreements and activities of its founder.


      tl;dr The abundance of fiddly details should not be taken as a sign that a Bargain is at all complicated in its basic function, which is, as with mortal bargains, "changelings and something that isn't fae make an agreement so that the changelings are hidden from the Fae (and given some other minor benefit) and the other party receives some defined services from the changelings."


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      • #4
        Satchel. I don't believe you. I started this thread specifically because I don't believe you.

        When I said my brain tripped on the word play I was only talking about my embarrassment that I had to look up the name of Winter Wolf. I was really talking to myself.

        I expressly don't believe your answer to the first question. I have the sourcebook for how Bargains are made. I read it over again when you made your response. I still don't believe you. I think you are carrying your assumptions from the first edition. There is absolutely nothing about the patrons being pure abstractions in this, unless I missed something, but I doubt it. Reading carefully, it says you need to actually find the entities first before the Bargaining process can start. It says changelings can't tell the difference between entities for the most part and leave that to the wyrd and glossed over, so how can you, the reader, tell the difference between them and pure abstractions? In mechanics section on non-traditional Mantles it mentions the possibility that the changelings could forget the patrons true identity. How does any of this make sense if you can just pick a word from the dictionary and strike a deal? How can you "find and meet" a raw abstraction? If "find and meet" means interacting with its purview then why does it not say so? I checked, it doesn't. The closest to saying such is how you make your proposal once you already found it.

        I made your same assumption about what the patrons get from the Bargain. I still believe that it is true to some degree. Given that the gods are embroiled in this Ascension War, and possibly other secret wars, I am now assuming that we may have glossed over ulterior motives. That is the stuff of plot hooks. Why should the Bargains offer less possibilities?

        As for the third question, you didn't give me the answer I wanted. I already figured as much. I was just wondering if there was some ultra-rich gods at the heart of it all. Your answer didn't relate to that at all.

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        • #5
          Not to mention that it's virtually unplayable. At which point do you tell your players their characters can just start conversing with the concept of winter with no actual entity to represent the concept? How do you describe that? Do they just... talk right into empty space during a snowy day and get answers beamed into their minds? Can they just speak to abstract concepts all the time as long as they're in a fitting environment/context? Or is it that the changeling can will an avatar of that concept into existence? What's required for that, and what limitations are there for that? Either way is a really bad take on a process that otherwise has concrete rules printed for us to use.
          And, as Excess points out, the book providing the rules for these kinds of deals explicitly says the changeling needs to find an actual entity to negotiate with.


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          • #6
            Like, if I'm allowed to quote Oak, Ash and Thorn:

            The characters probably don’t care what specific kind of entity they Bargain with, and your troupe doesn’t have to either if they’re comfortable with just saying “we want to make a Bargain with the Sky.” Players and Storytellers who want to choose a particular entity from the larger Chronicles of Darkness cosmology, though, should use the following guidelines
            My understanding of this part is that changelings can make Bargains with specific types of entities can do so. However, you can just as easily say you are making a Bargain with the Spring, Trade or Death. One does not invalidate the other. Saying "I don't believe you" in such a way feels very, very strange. Like, if you want Autumn to be the Dark Mother, no problem, but you could just as easily say you are making a pact with Autumn as entity, and it is still valid. I generally think that forcing you to use entities from other gamelines is a very poor choice, but that's just my view. Besides, even if your are making a Bargain with a specific entity, they are there more as an anchor for the pact- hence why their nature don't matter for the result. The Spirit of Spring makes a bargain with the Lost on the behalf of Spring, more or less. All that matters is that the Bargain is made, and the Wyrd deals with everything else.

            In short, saying "I don't believe you" as if someone tries to lie to you when it is said that making a Bargain with abstract concepts is a valid thing is really weird to me.


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            • #7
              Also, quoting oak ash and thorn:

              The form this invocation takes depends on the entity. The concept of Carousing may accept a drunken plan publicly declared in the middle of a bar

              So it appears that a changeling can "just talk right into empty space during a snowy day and get answers beamed into their minds"
              I suppose you could argue that the answer in truth comes from a near Carousing spirit.... i confess that i m a little in doubt about this detail.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Excess View Post
                In mechanics section on non-traditional Mantles it mentions the possibility that the changelings could forget the patrons true identity. How does any of this make sense if you can just pick a word from the dictionary and strike a deal? How can you "find and meet" a raw abstraction? If "find and meet" means interacting with its purview then why does it not say so? I checked, it doesn't. The closest to saying such is how you make your proposal once you already found it.
                See LostLight and Neos1's quotations. You don't need to track down the ur-monster to make a Bargain with Fear Itself, much less with the harvest season and all its attendant spooky business that comes around once a year. There's no need to hunt down a long-lost Pangaean creation in the Shadow to forge a relationship with Summer unless you want a Bargain with a powerful spirit of summer instead.

                I made your same assumption about what the patrons get from the Bargain. I still believe that it is true to some degree. Given that the gods are embroiled in this Ascension War, and possibly other secret wars, I am now assuming that we may have glossed over ulterior motives. That is the stuff of plot hooks. Why should the Bargains offer less possibilities?
                They don't. The Bargain demands services rendered that filter down to rituals that are part of the basis for a court's culture. The Ascension War is a bunch of archmages moving pieces around to persuade the universe to make their vision of reality the True one, and the stage for that conflict is the entire world. The ulterior motives at play there are ego and ambition, whose invocation at that scale is little different from any other "a major part of reality suddenly stops working right" plothook in the abstract.

                As for the third question, you didn't give me the answer I wanted. I already figured as much. I was just wondering if there was some ultra-rich gods at the heart of it all. Your answer didn't relate to that at all.
                You are overthinking the matter, because the forces at the heart of the matter are not personlike actors unless they are specifically approached in that context, which most beings cannot do at all, much less with the bargaining power of the Gentry.

                The Fae cut their deals with Arcadia in ways that benefited and continue to benefit forces of protection, leadership, deception, perception, transportation, destruction, et cetera, which mostly looks like reality as usual with a side of arcane loopholes and obligations that fae things deal with. Changelings might forge courts around individual instances of those forces, but that gives rise to more speciated Court Contracts instead, with the limits and permissions that entails.


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                • #9
                  My toughts on this, admittedly heavily colored by my vision of the Gentry as personifications of human ego, is:

                  Arcadia is an expression of extreme individualism, also know as Desire.
                  All Arcadian contracts are bargains with a different facet of Desire.
                  Crown=of power - Mirror=of knowledge - Steed=of freedom - Shield=of safety - Sword=of revenge - Jewels=of comforts
                  Now, Court bargains are similar but differents.
                  To me both are arranged with a facet of a REALM (Arcadia, the Material world, the Astral, ecc...) embodied in some cases by a "god" (rank 6+ entities).
                  The "gods" are necessary intermediaries because they must hold some kind of dominion over the correspondent realm.
                  And who are the gods of Arcadia (the ego)?
                  The True Fae! They strike a bargain with themselves!
                  But as most people would agree with the fact that Desire is not the only thing that define humans, Arcadian bargains are not the only option.
                  So what changeling are trying to obtain to me is to strike a bargain that define them as individual beings but not egoistic as the Gentry.
                  In that way they metaphysically mask themselves as a different kind of creatures.
                  But the question is, who are the "gods" of the Material world, heralds of the seasons, cardinal directions ecc...?
                  Humans.
                  Not single humans, those are another kind of pledge, but human societies.
                  After all Spring was invented by humans, and exists only as long that humans transmit it to other humans.
                  Changeling striking those kind of bargains use THEMSELVES as intermediaries, but the parts of themselves defined not by strict individualism, but by their position in a part of an human society.
                  They are saying "no matter what you ve done to me, this is still my home".

                  From that point of view, all the bargains are in fact contracts in which a changeling defines his personal identity after an idea.
                  And that is what the patron gains.
                  I am my identity.
                  If other people becames more like me, i am becoming more, with more possibility to multiply again.
                  It s a simple law of universe, self replicating systems expands, the other shrinks.

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                  • #10
                    Neos01, Satchel. I just checked again. That is not what it says.
                    Look to the systems for "Forging the Mantle" right before the invocation:

                    "Once the changeling finds a willing entity, the process consists of several steps..."

                    The basis of the whole process is that you actually find the entity. Everything is entity centric. In the main book of second edition it clarifies that changelings see the ones they Contracted with, forgot if it was during signing or activation. In the first edition everything was already part of the wyrd and Bargaining with an abstraction was just a matter of finding the right thread. The threads would act as entities for the purposes of dealing. It is conceptually incoherent to make a deal with something that isn't an actor or agent, it is just that first edition wyrd allowed you to essentially create the other party out of nothing. Where in second edition do we find this? Is there a second edition merit of "goblin vow" that I missed? Until you produce something like that you have no case.

                    One more thing Satchel. The Ascension War isn't Archmage only. Imperial Mysteries only addressed their side in any precise details. The book explained that the other supernatural races were overseen by entities of comparable power to the Archmages and limited the Archmages interference in their subjects matters. The book also said that the other entities were able to observe botched Acts of Imperium and retaliate. How would that make sense if they were not engaged in the Ascension War? Why would they not involve themselves if they were not already involved? Nothing is untouched by it.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Neos01 View Post
                      My toughts on this, admittedly heavily colored by my vision of the Gentry as personifications of human ego, is:

                      Arcadia is an expression of extreme individualism, also know as Desire.
                      All Arcadian contracts are bargains with a different facet of Desire.
                      Crown=of power - Mirror=of knowledge - Steed=of freedom - Shield=of safety - Sword=of revenge - Jewels=of comforts
                      Now, Court bargains are similar but differents.
                      To me both are arranged with a facet of a REALM (Arcadia, the Material world, the Astral, ecc...) embodied in some cases by a "god" (rank 6+ entities).
                      The "gods" are necessary intermediaries because they must hold some kind of dominion over the correspondent realm.
                      And who are the gods of Arcadia (the ego)?
                      The True Fae! They strike a bargain with themselves!
                      But as most people would agree with the fact that Desire is not the only thing that define humans, Arcadian bargains are not the only option.
                      So what changeling are trying to obtain to me is to strike a bargain that define them as individual beings but not egoistic as the Gentry.
                      In that way they metaphysically mask themselves as a different kind of creatures.
                      But the question is, who are the "gods" of the Material world, heralds of the seasons, cardinal directions ecc...?
                      Humans.
                      Not single humans, those are another kind of pledge, but human societies.
                      After all Spring was invented by humans, and exists only as long that humans transmit it to other humans.
                      Changeling striking those kind of bargains use THEMSELVES as intermediaries, but the parts of themselves defined not by strict individualism, but by their position in a part of an human society.
                      They are saying "no matter what you ve done to me, this is still my home".

                      From that point of view, all the bargains are in fact contracts in which a changeling defines his personal identity after an idea.
                      And that is what the patron gains.
                      I am my identity.
                      If other people becames more like me, i am becoming more, with more possibility to multiply again.
                      It s a simple law of universe, self replicating systems expands, the other shrinks.
                      Sounds interesting, don't really get it. Do you have evidence? How did you arrive at that conclusion? From my understanding, Gentry dress themselves in human dreams and stories but have no essential need of humanity in the slightest unless their obligations include them.

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                      • #12
                        Lostlight. Addressing you.
                        CofD has always included the option to abstract complicated procedures and allow the storyteller to simplify things with a roll. That the wyrd takes care of the details means the game really doesn't have to focus on it. That is real stated reason why the players can ignore it, not that the entities are representing something else for there is nothing in there like that. The actual systems state first that you need to find an entity before the invocation, not an abstraction treated like an entity. Second edition wyrd is not first edition wyrd.

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                        • #13
                          Well, it may be the scientist in me, but things like the seasons and the planets are also entities. From what I can see, when the book talks about such concepts, it describes them as "fundamental entities". Also, isn't it a thing in fairy tales that abstract concepts are treated as entities? You could define them as "spirits" or "goetia" or whatever, but why should it be any issue that Spring is an entity by its own right, defined through the Wyrd? This is a fairy tale game, after all- the rules for a godlike entity (which, again, from my reading could be treated basically as a rubber stamp for the larger concept that it represents) are there, but you don't actually need to define it for the system to work. Like I said, I don't have a problem with simply making a bargain with an abstract entity, but if it includes it, my interpretation is that it the entity in question represents the wider, abstract concept, and through a bargain with it the Wyrd allows the changeling to make it with the larger entity. A goetia of Death, a spirit of Death and a powerful Kerebros may demand different payments, but in the end the court will be the Court of Death, as this is the power behind the bargain.

                          My question is what is the problem with the seasons being the Seasons? Why Trade must have some powerful spirit behind it, or Sea must be an Ochemata? What problem there is with those concepts being actual entities which can interact with the world through the Wyrd, given life through the force that binds as an antithesis to the terrors of the Gentry? There is beauty in such a fairy tale like view, IMO, and it is much more interesting than stating "every Court is personally bound to a specific entity and the Lost are just unable to see that"
                          Last edited by LostLight; 03-13-2021, 05:39 PM. Reason: My brain likes to troll me and make me think I've wrote complete sentences when it is just fragments of my mental process


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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Excess View Post

                            Sounds interesting, don't really get it. Do you have evidence? How did you arrive at that conclusion? From my understanding, Gentry dress themselves in human dreams and stories but have no essential need of humanity in the slightest unless their obligations include them.
                            No evidences, only extrapolations based on the now canon concept that the whole Hedge is the Barrier separating minds from the Astral (the collective mind of the universe).
                            I m not saying that Gentry needs humanity, but that they exist as an human reflection.
                            Another clue are Huntsman (in my headcanon simplier animal egoes), once they where ruler of Arcadia, then the Gentry arrived, enslaved them and forged Contracts with Arcadia to wield magic.
                            Sounds to me like Humans becoming sapiens and enslaving the world and animals.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                              Well, it may be the scientist in me, but things like the seasons and the planets are also entities. From what I can see, when the book talks about such concepts, it describes them as "fundamental entities". Also, isn't it a thing in fairy tales that abstract concepts are treated as entities? You could define them as "spirits" or "goetia" or whatever, but why should it be any issue that Spring is an entity by its own right, defined through the Wyrd. This is a fairy tale game, after all- the rules for a godlike entity (which, again, from my reading could be treated basically as a rubber stamp for the larger concept that it represents). Like I said, I don't have a problem with simply making a bargain with an abstract entity, but if it includes it, my interpretation is that it the entity in question represents the wider, abstract concept, and through a bargain with it the Wyrd allows the changeling to make it with the larger entity. A goetia of Death, a spirit of Death and a powerful Kerebros may demand different payments, but in the end the court will be the Court of Death, as this is the power behind the bargain.

                              My question is what is the problem with the seasons being the Seasons? Why Trade must have some powerful spirit behind it, or Sea must be an Ochemata? What problem there is with those concepts being actual entities which can interact with the world through the Wyrd, given life through the force that binds as an antithesis to the terrors of the Gentry? There is beauty in such a fairy tale like view, IMO, and it is much more interesting than stating "every Court is personally bound to a specific entity and the Lost are just unable to see that"
                              I have literally zero problems with the Seasons being discrete entities that can be bargained with. That's exactly what I prefer because that's something that can be represented in the game (though my curious side really wonders what they might be in the wider CofD cosmology, but that's mostly beside the point). My problem is the idea that a changeling can just make a deal "through their connection to the Wyrd and its influence on their perceptions" because that's not something that can be represented in the game. That simply doesn't work with the fact that the characters are supposed to be able to do the exact same things with the explicit rules that have been given to us. Turning an important and fundamental part of the process to an abstraction or deus ex machina that amounts to "and then my character somehow makes a deal with this concept" doesn't sit well with me at all.
                              Not everything needs to be represented through rules, but when you provide the rules for creating a Mantle and a new Court that requires a patron, maybe negotiating with that patron should be possible during play and not just glossed over.


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