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I need some assistance making a court bargain

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  • I need some assistance making a court bargain

    This is for a Freehold I have been working on and off for about two years now, and though I’ve managed to make the Bargains for the two other patrons of the Freehold’s Courts I can’t really think of one for the Court that started it all, the Hydra-Line Court. Unlike many, many other Courts, these Court patrons are all beings that the Changelings can interact with physically - two Horrors and one Spirit - and thus the Freehold has been given the tentative title of Infrastructure Way (which is unrelated to God-Machine activity). Also unlike many Freeholds, power changes on a sort of defcon system - when things are calm it defaults to a particular court, but as things escalate (first for fear of infiltration, then to outright combat) or when things deescalate (when the enemy cannot be found, and then when sweeps of the city tell that the invaders are likely out) then power changes hands. Normally it requires evidence, but a monarch can force the change if they can’t meet or discuss the matter (though it may cause political strife or leave other Changelings in the lurch, so they don’t do it if they can help it).


    The Court of White Noise has the patron White Noise, a spirit that looks vaguely like a giant, upside down radio tower until you look at it up close. Purportedly built up to its current state by the current queen, White Noise is territorial towards other spirits and even more so towards invading fae. This is reflected in its Bargain and the powers it grants its courtiers, designed to deny communication and releasing loud quantities of noise. Its mantle has the benefit of allowing its courtiers to speak White Noise, a form of spirit language that sounds like static. An unfortunate side effect of White Noise’s presence is that wireless reception in the Freehold can be spotty, especially when the court comes into power, though most members of the Freehold take that as an early warning sign.

    The White Noise Court comes into power when invasion is imminent or certain, when the Freehold is to fight to the last person standing. When it does, any sounds not intended for a fae unaffiliated with the Freehold is rendered as static. It doesn’t matter if it’s a footstep, a sword being unsheathed or directions shouted to someone else, no enemy fae will be able to decipher it audibly. However, while this applies to any recordings made of these sounds, mortal beings can repeat any dialogue without any such impediment.


    The Court of the Heterodyne Hotel (or the Heterodyne Court) is based on the titular Heterodyne Hotel, a very old hotel that has had a lot of strange goings on and more than a few suddenly changing owners, though its name steadfast refuses to change. The hotel itself is alive, growing more alive and peevish with age, up until the point that it could enforce its own rules with great prejudice. Fail to live with them and your stay at the hotel will get very unpleasant, whether you’re staff or not. On the other hand, be a model guest and it’ll be quite genial. Be a Changeling or at least in on the secret and it’ll even talk with you, whispering into your ear. The hotel is always listening, unable to truly see but is audibly sensitive to the point that a lack of sight is a minor inconvenience (barring the very quiet). (points if you can tell the reference) The court’s main powers are themed around buildings, information gathering and silence.

    The Heterodyne Court comes into power when the fear of infiltration is about, being the most cautious level. When the Heterodyne Court comes into power, the awareness of the hotel spreads out throughout the entire freehold, though it lacks any capability to manipulate the infrastructure of anything that isn’t explicitly part of it. It is able to whisper into others’ ears though, and pass messages and warnings as it pleases. The danger of this is that if any infractions are too minor for the higher ups to know the hotel can be negotiated with, and it has a very good memory...


    The Court of the Hydra-Line is most recent court to enter the Freehold, and the one that managed to make the Heterodyne Court and the Court of White Noise unify properly. The court’s patron is the titular Hydra-Line Engine, a conglomeration of train engines that roughly form into a bio-mechanical hydra-like creature or split into separate trains to travel along existing rail lines or those in the Hedge (its own version of Discorporate). Even without being forced to separate, the Hydra-Line Engine regularly has a number of its engines running along the lines with passenger cars, running through the Hedge to allow the Freehold’s members to get to places safely. The Hydra-Line Engine is perhaps the most involved of any of the court patrons, as its engines allow Changelings to travel the Hedge fairly regularly in freehold-wide trods, and its powers facilitate high speed, the ability to travel without a vehicle and even bring other ruined vehicles to life. It is also at something of a war with the Hobs of the Hedge, who have taken to derailing its individual engines into the Thorns to forcibly change them into Hobs, making their own train network, though one aspect of the Hydra-Court Mantle specifically grants courtiers an advantage.

    The Hydra-Line Court comes into power when there are no invasions suspected or in play, but sometimes the Freehold remains at this level if only for surprising invaders canny to the change in power. The Bargain is unfortunately where I stumble - I’m not sure what would work well as a means to impose problems for the Gentry while at the same time being balanced and or not leaving Courtiers in the lurch when power changes without warning.

    Any suggestions would be helpful, whether it’s for the Hydra-Line Court or any of the others.
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