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Prosopon [Masks of the Wyrd]

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  • Prosopon [Masks of the Wyrd]

    (so in a recent thread there was a long and quit spiraling discussion about how can abstract concepts be treated as entities for things like bargains and such. Now, while I personally have no problem with changelings being able to interact with them only for the purpose of Court forging, I can't deny that having a system from abstract concepts to have greater interactions with the setting could be cool, so here is my attempt at presenting such as system, somewhat inspired by the Judge system for Mummy. Hope you'll like it).

    Ask the common changeling about the meaning of the Wyrd, and they may tell you it is in the name- it's fate. Well, not the classical "unknown destiny enforced by higher entities" kind of fate, but fate nevertheless. It is the thing which arranges events in a way which would make sense, bringing order out of chaos. For example, it is raining and you forgot your umbrella at home? That must be because you didn't spat when the black cat crossed your path. You survived a traffic accident? God thing you wore your lucky shirt. You couldn't decide between a tuna sandwich and a omelet one so you flipped a coin? Good thing you did- because the poor soul who took the other one got food poisoning. You have seen the same person three times in the same week? That must be fate- you should finally ask them out. The Wyrd is not some foreign artificial fate assigned to fulfill the will of a alien god. It is the personal fate which arises from our own actions, which ties together unrelated events in order to give them meaning. Without it, there is only chaos, as wild mess of random causes and effects which are only related to one another by accident without any meaning. Without it, there is only nihilism. Thanks to it, the world has meaning. As such, it is no wonder that many occultists within the Lost community have equated it with the First Law of Thermodynamics (which is highly important, even if the Third is more popular). Something is taken, something is given. Make a promise and you must follow it. Luck emerges from fate, and when everyone agree on the rules of the game everyone know what to expect. Reality is the game, the Wyrd is the manual and you are rolling the dice.

    And if everyone agree that something exists, it makes no wonder that it sometimes take life of its own.

    Just like the Wyrd, the scholars of the Lost think of those strange beings as emergent phenomenon- many, disparate conceptualizations and personifications of reality which are collected together through shared faith, be them religious systems, superstitions or bedtime stories. The rest simply call them as Prospons- the manifestations of the abstract concepts with which the fae deal with on a regular basis. The seasons, the planets, metals, the sea and sky- those are all physical entities of this world, yet they become what they are only because there are people around to give them their names and meanings, and as the Lost know well, names have power. When enough people agree that something is known as the "Ocean", the large body of liquid H2O becomes an Ocean, which is different from "Sea" and very different from, let's say. "Lake" or "Swamp". And then you give that specific Ocean a name of its own, creating artificial boundary which everyone agree upon between throughout this large body of liquid H2O with a large enough quantity of solvated NaCl. And then people start to tell all kinds of stories about this specific Ocean, some of which are real and some of which are fake, referring its name to all kinds of unrelated objects and people who were accidently near it, as well as legends, myths and even personality traits which the Ocean would have been surprised to know it had of large bodies of liquid H2O with high enough amount of solvated NaCl could have been surprised. And then those people find other people, who speak their own language and have their own names and legends and personality traits for things, and when they start translating one another they eventually agree that their word for this large body of liquid H2O with artificial boundaries and enough solvated NaCl is the same as their name for the same large enough body of liquid H2O with artifical boundaries and enough solvated NaCl, even though their legends, names and myths are different. This is all an arbitrary mess which makes no meaning- but they agree on it, so it must be true. And that's when the Wyrd comes in to clean up after that pile of nonsense and give meaning to it all, and the result is a Prosopon.

    When asked who or what they are, Prosopons would usually shrug- they are what they say they are. The Spring, the Ocean, Trade, Knowledge, Death. Don't you know those things? You are the ones to give them their names. They exist because they exist, and they are here because they are required to be here. As such, while different changelings may meat different Prosopons of Winter, which may have different forms, personalities and traits, they would all agree that they are Winter, and in the case two Prospons of the same concepts would meet, they would simply acknowledge that they are both the same entity- not different parts or aspects of it, but exactly the same being. What, you think that everyone see you as the same person? No, every one has a different understanding of who you are, and that's basically the same thing. Just different names, different views and different concepts of what other people think that they are, but it doesn't change the fact that they are the same entity. Don't think about it too much, you'll just get an headache.

    In general, Prosopons are not very common in the world- generally they only manifest when a changeling seeks to make a bargain and forge a Court or have something like that with the entities of interest. If and when the conditions fit and the price is found worthy, the concept would manifest a Prosopon, which would negotiate the exact terms and conditions. Once the deal is fulfilled, the Prosopon would vanish shortly after, its role in the story being complete. Changeling may, of course, try to invoke a Prosopon for other deals beside creating new Courts, but their requests are usually left unanswered- the concept will only involve itself in a way which fits its nature and if the changeling is not already under the protection of another concept, and as most of the requests of the Lost are for protection from the Gentry and are under the Mantle of an existing Court, other concepts will rarely get involved with them, and the original concept have already managed a deal to protect them- the deal is already signed, and the price was paid, what more do they want? However, there are instances when changelings do manage to draw the attention of the Powers That Be, using a carefully designed chain of events meant to force a representation of the concept into form. Such rituals are highly complex, yet if successful the Prosopon will come- not angry, usually, but more confused for what could have been important enough to cause so much mess that it would have to get involved. The changeling, of course, better have a good enough reason and be willing to pay a price- for once invoked, the Prosopon will not leave until a bargain is signed, for better or worse. The balance must be kept, after all, and if something was taken, something must be given back.

    While each concept and each Prosopon has their own nature, there is one shared personality trait among them- their hate towards the Arcadians. While they are, too, fellow entities of the Wyrd, they are forces of chaos which either abuse or break the system of the game. Hobgoblins abuse the system, the Gentry are cheaters and the Huntsmen outright flip the board when they lose. They take the Wyrd and twist it for their own gain, and disrupt the system of the world- bringing chaos to the order, which later has to balanced out. For that reason, the Prosopons are generally in favor for making bargains meant to protect the changeling from their former Keepers, even though they are less into a open battle with the Gentry. Such a war could terribly twist the Wyrd, disrupting the flow of the world and render concepts meaningless. It is not to say they are not willing to help the Lost or even use one of their Masks to punch the face of one of the Title- but an all out war between She Who Walks In Red and Spring? No, that's unthinkable.

    And besides, it is not like the Lost could even offer an high enough price for them to do so, right?

    Mechanics
    If a changeling wishes to forge a Court, follow the rules in Oak, Ash and Thorn, with a Porsopon being manifested during the phase of the Invocation and lasts until the Bargain is either completed or abandoned. Alternatively, a changeling can also try to invoke a Prosopon for other Bargains. If the changeling already has a Mantle, they can only try to appeal to the same concept with which they either Bargained or became a part of its Court- even though they may try to invoke other Prosopons of the same concept. Trying to make any Bargain beside gaining a Mantle has a -2 modifier for all relevant rolls for the invocation, which turns to -3 if they negotiate with a different Prosopon than the one to which they are bound. A changeling without any Mantle can try to invoke any concept, yet suffers a -5 modifier in case it is not meant to gain a Mantle, as the concepts rarely involve themselves with mortal affairs beside protecting the world from Arcadia's madness.

    While that's valid for making Bargains with the Prosopon, the changelings may wish to force the concepts to take form and take a more active roll in the world. Doing so requires creating a chain of events which tells the story of the desired Prosopon- for example, a Prosopon of Spring-as-Easter may require recreating the Last Supper and the crucifixion of Jesus, while a Prosopon of Winter-as-the-Snow-Queen may require creating Andersen's legend. Doing so is represented through the Investigation system, yet instead of Clues, each roll gives a Sequence for the storyline, and the changelings must gain a number of Sequences equal to the Prosopon's desired Wyrd rating (decided in advance). Once manifested, the Prosopon will not vanish until it is either destroyed or makes and completes a Bargain. Bargains sealed this way could enforce an active involvement of the Prosopon, even though they may require an high price for their actions.

    The Prosopon itself has two forms- Actor and Person. As an Actor, the Prosopon is invested as the will of the concept within a vessel. The vessel is generally a human, but beasts, objects and sometimes even other supernatural beings could be chosen as Actors of the Prosopon. The Actor must have some kind of relation to the Prosopon in question- a florist could become an Actor for Spring-as-Blossom, while a violinist may serve as an actor as Spring-as-Vivaldi's-First-Season. The Actor gains a Wyrd score equal to that of the Prosopon, and they get Frailties as if they were a changeling with the same rating. Actors maintain their own original mind and personality (if they had any), yet replace (or gain) their Aspirations with those of the Prosopon, which dictate the types of Bargains they are willing to offer and what they wish to achieve. Actors are able to see through the Mask of faeries, and gain 15 points to allocate for their attributes, and additionally gain a number of Influences dots equal to their Wyrd meant to be distributed across the different aspects appropriate to the Prosopon which are paid with Glamour. The Actor also gain half of their Wyrd in their corresponding Court's Mantle and Court Goodwill, and can access all of the corresponding Court Contracts, which they power with Glamour. They harvest Glamour as if they were changeling. On the other hand, the Prosopon are very warry of their words- for they must fulfill any agreement or promise to which they devote themselves, with willingly breaking their word would immediately cause them one point of aggravated damage. While they lack a Bargain, they lose one point of Glamour per hour- and if they are left without any Glamour in this state, the manifestation immediatly ends.

    While the Prosopon is generally satisfied in the form of a Actor, it can, for short time, become a Person. Doing so disturbs the Wyrd greatly, and as such the Prosopon would avoid doing so unless the time is dire or if is enforced by a bargain- or if they decide that a changeling have tried to cheat them in a Bargain they made. By doing so, the Prosopon takes control over the Actor, creating a terrifying visage of the concept's true nature- Storm may become a combination of clouds, winds and lightning, while Ocean may become a swirling vortex of sea water. In that form, they are treated as Court Avatars who were subsumed by their Mantle (see Oak, Ash and Thorn), yet their Wyrd goes immediately up to 10. They do, however, lose one point of Glamour per Scene in this state, and when all of their Glamour is depleted their return to their Actor form, and suffer only from one point of damage per cause source as long as they are Personified. While a Person, the Wyrd twists and turns around the Prosopon- any roll which resonates with the Prosopon's nature and aspirations done within its sphere of influence (which is about 1 km) gains a +5 modifier, and all other rolls suffer from a -5 modifier. After a Person manifestation, the area as whole remains cursed for a number of days equal to the Prosopon's Wyrd, granting a -5 modifier for any roll done within this territory.


    (P.S- it is my first time writing a homebrew for Changeling, so I hope I haven't messed up too much :P)


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  • #2
    Very cool,very you

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    • #3
      Love it. Just want to note two things

      1) Hobgoblins in 2e especially have even less of a metaphysical relationship to Arcadia than Changelings do. They would not be considered Arcadian creatures. Their system of Goblin Debt sounds like they are closer to the Wyrd than any other far too. I'd think they would understand Prosopons well, maybe even get a bonus.

      2) Person as a title for a form of great power is a little awkward. What about Persona?


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

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Master Aquatosic View Post
        Love it. Just want to note two things

        1) Hobgoblins in 2e especially have even less of a metaphysical relationship to Arcadia than Changelings do. They would not be considered Arcadian creatures. Their system of Goblin Debt sounds like they are closer to the Wyrd than any other far too. I'd think they would understand Prosopons well, maybe even get a bonus.
        According to OA&T, fae beings can't be used as Court patrons, hence the said antagonism to all such beings (including goblins). At any case, Prosopons dislike everything beyond the material because they are "forces of stability", and the Hedge, while not Arcadia, still goes against what they represent. I also have a head canon that the Hedge is basically the original Faerie realm, or at least what was remained of it after the Gentry colonized, civilized and urbanized it, and the Prosopons have a long enough memory to dislike hobgoblins and their like just as much as they dislike the Gentry. Think about them as the ever neutral "powers that be" that don't think you should use the Wyrd at all, but let the system do its thing. They are basically the emergent fate of humanity made by human choices, and as such even hobgoblins will be at odds with them, IMO.

        2) Person as a title for a form of great power is a little awkward. What about Persona?
        I considered Persona- but the problem is that Persona means a mask, and Prospon also means a mask, so having two titles which mean "mask" feels redundant. Also, the Person is meant to be the true self of the Prosopon, so Persona is again out of theme here. It is not that I am too in favor for Person as a title, but it should be something to represent the theme of expressing their true self. I considered "Personification" but it was too long, and "Character" is even more awkward.


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        "And all our knowledge is, Ourselves to know"- An Essay on Man

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        • #5
          Originally posted by LostLight View Post
          According to OA&T, fae beings can't be used as Court patrons, hence the said antagonism to all such beings (including goblins). At any case, Prosopons dislike everything beyond the material because they are "forces of stability", and the Hedge, while not Arcadia, still goes against what they represent. I also have a head canon that the Hedge is basically the original Faerie realm, or at least what was remained of it after the Gentry colonized, civilized and urbanized it, and the Prosopons have a long enough memory to dislike hobgoblins and their like just as much as they dislike the Gentry. Think about them as the ever neutral "powers that be" that don't think you should use the Wyrd at all, but let the system do its thing. They are basically the emergent fate of humanity made by human choices, and as such even hobgoblins will be at odds with them, IMO.
          That's fair. I might use your system with slightly different lore given my own headcanons centering around the nature of the Hedge as the astral barrier. And i still personally think they'd like goblins, but I get your reasoning. I still think you should say Fae creatures, because outside of your headcanon, most people don't see Hobs as " Arcadian"

          I'll think about good alternate names for Person too. Is Incarnation too long? How about Incarnate? I personally don't mind a little doubling up on terms
          Last edited by Master Aquatosic; 03-21-2021, 10:44 AM.


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

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Master Aquatosic View Post

            That's fair. I might use your system with slightly different lore given my own headcanons centering around the nature of the Hedge as the astral barrier. And i still personally think they'd like goblins, but I get your reasoning. I still think you should say Fae creatures, because outside of your headcanon, most people don't see Hobs as " Arcadian"

            I'll think about good alternate names for Person too. Is Incarnation too long? How about Incarnate? I personally don't mind a little doubling up on terms
            I do like Incarnate as a term. It's got more impact in describing an embodiment of an abstract concept/force of nature. As for the system itself, I need to give it another read of that supplement to better review how it works with Prosopons.

            I do see potential in weaving in Goblin Vows with them in some form.


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