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Victims of Sidhe and Denizen body-snatchers: Lost-style Changelings?

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  • Victims of Sidhe and Denizen body-snatchers: Lost-style Changelings?

    From what I've read, there's not a canon answer to what happens when a Sidhe or Denizen steals some hapless mortal's body. I'm not sure if that's even answered for Hsien.

    So where do they go? Let's say they go to Arcadia. It might be a super-fun paradise for True Fae, but what if it really sucks for humans? What if they're enslaved and mutated into half-faerie servants? Is it plausible to have both Dreaming and Lost style Changelings in the same world?

    As written, Changeling: the Lost has a different cosmology and most importantly, in Dreaming the gates of Arcadia are shut. IIRC one can't just take a trod to the Autumn World, unless something Resurgence-like happens. Also, Sidhe victims haven't got bodies, and a Sidhe noble is a different beast than a Fetch. I'm not sure how the Hedge could fit into the Dreaming, unless it surrounds Arcadia out beyond the Deep Dreaming (I suppose it could, since nobody remembers clearly what Arcadia is like). If there are Lost-like Changelings stuck in Dreaming's Arcadia, is there any plausible way for them to escape to the Autumn World, or at least the Near Dreaming? Would they become Denizens themselves, as the Keremet have? What would they have to do to get bodies of their own again? If they underwent the Changeling Way, they'd forget everything human and give up their old life, so that isn't a great solution.

    Or perhaps they're sent to some Dream Realm, not Arcadia itself, because the gates are shut. One that has a Hedge border and trods leading back to Earth, and is inhabited by Gentry-style True Fae. That still leaves the I-have-no-body problem. What if, instead of Fetches replacing Changelings, they build Fetch-like bodies to replace the ones the Sidhe stole?

    Last edited by Erinys; 12-03-2020, 06:37 PM.

    She/Her. I am literal-minded and write literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to make a joke.
    My point of view may be different from yours but is equally valid.
    Exalted-cWoD-ArM url mega-library. Exalted name-generators.

  • #2
    Very interested in this discussion! Please remind me: Fetches were introduced in the Reckoning book, and are the souls of mortals displaced by changeling souls. Is that right? Commoners also generate Fetches, or just nobles and other body snatchers?

    I guess mortals coming back Lost-style could practice some form of possession, becoming something like Changeling themselves. That would make tragic protagonists and scary antagonists.


    • #3
      In Lost, fetches are the creatures left behind by an abductee's captor so that no one will go looking for them. It's basically an artificial construct made out of detritus at the scene of the abduction and given the illusion of being the abducted human by fae magic.

      As far as I know, fetches don't exist in Dreaming.

      Erinys' suggestion is exactly how I'd go about combining the two games: make the Lost similar to the Dark-Kin, specifically like the Keremet but without the deathly aspect. Note that Denizens have two ways to manifest in the physical world: they can possess a Dreamer, or they can create a temporary body for themselves. (C20 p.385, “Denizens and the Autumn World”). I'd be inclined to reimagine the second option along the lines of Lost's fetches: the Lost's magic pulls together detritus into a humanoid form, then cloaks it in a glamour that makes it appear like the Lost did back before she was taken: her human mien. I'd want the first option to require agreement from the prospective host, and ultimately leave the host in charge: something like Shadowguiding from Wraith, except that the Lost usually isn't a nihilistic presence seeking to tear down the host.

      I'd like the Lost to have Clarity instead of Banality: both are traits describing how strong of a connection the Lost had to the Autumn World; but Clarity has a more positive spin on it. In terms of manifesting in the Autumn World, Clarity would be key: the more Clarity you have, the longer you can stay in fetch-form, and the easier it is for you to create a fetch-form or enter a Dreamer.

      Keep the Dark-Kin Aria as an expression of where the balance sits between a Lost's Legacies, which should be reworked to conform to the Lost notion of Needle and Thread rather than Seelie and Unseelie. Replace the seven Adhene with a set of six derived from Lost's Seemings: Beast, Darkling, Elemental, Fairest, Ogre, and Wizened. Court and Kith should be a thing, too; but mechanically, these Lost elements are very different from their Dreaming namesakes. Courts are more like Houses (but without the implication of Nobility), and Kiths are add-ons to the aforementioned Seemings.


      • #4
        A fun subject. For my tastes, I would treat mortal souls cast into the Dreaming much like the recipients of the level 5 Oneiromancy (2E) cantrip Expiation. See below.

        So named because of its ability to burn away the physical “dross” in its victims, this cantrip can literally turn Autumn inhabitants or material into dreams. The cantrip's victim actually becomes a living, sentient chimera and is left to cope with his new reality as best he can. Newly formed chimera don't automatically gain Redes, though supernatural powers translate into chimerical equivalents. Thus, the car salesman who cheated a Denizen is reletively defenseless (and terrified) in his new dream state, but a werewolf may still depend on chimerical equivalents of his Gifts. In the case of long term Expiation, the victim floats farther and farther from the waking world. Depending on how many people knew him, memories of the person fade at different rates (it's easier to make a transient drifter disappear than a well-known celebrity). Even physical manifestations of the person's life (photographs, birth certificate, etc.) fade in time, though they may spark someone's memory while they remain. Similarly, used with other Realms, it is far easier to make a set of keys disappear than a famous cathedral (not to mention the Banality backlash inherent to the latter example). The rumor that something along these lines may have happened to the missing King David has sent some of his subjects into a panic.
        System: The caster rolls Intelligence + Realm against the Willpower or Banality of the target (whichever is higher). The number of successes scored over the target's roll determines the cantrip's duration. Those who have undergone the Changeling Way ritual add +2 Willpower for the purpose of resisting this cantrip. Expiation does not work on Denizens, chimera, Thallain or other creatures who are already fully spirit, though it can force a Denizen from a possessed body or undo the Manifestation cantrip. A Denizen possessing a mundane body may suddenly find himself standing next to a very confused human chimera, while a Manifested Denizen or changeling may suddenly find herself in Phantom Form. Even those permanently Expiated may eventually regain their physical form, though this may become the object of a major quest. Once the last person has forgotten the victim, however (no matter how many successes were originally scored), no power except for the original caster's permission may bring them back - though they might live forever in the Dreaming.
        1: One Day. Those who have met the person only once or twice forget him.
        2: One week. Distant associations forget him.
        3: One month. Daily acquaintances forget him.
        4: One year. Friends forget him. Minor physical attributes (photographs, personal effects, etc.) disappear or are misplaced.
        5: Permanent. Loved ones and foes forget him. All remaining reminders of the person (bank records, personal letters, works of art, etc.) disappear, are misplaced or are attributed to others over the next few years.
        Type: Wyrd

        “Humpty had always sat on walls, it was his way.”
        Jasper Fforde, The Big Over Easy


        • #5
          Thanks, Dataweaver, that made it clearer. But... there is a creature along the line of what I described in the Reckoning book, right? I seem to recall something like that...


          • #6
            Originally posted by valismedsen View Post
            Thanks, Dataweaver, that made it clearer. But... there is a creature along the line of what I described in the Reckoning book, right? I seem to recall something like that...
            I think you are thinking of the "Time of Judgement" multisplat book. The sidhe replaced souls make an appearance there as antagonists, but it has been a long time since I looked at it. Will double check.

            Thoughts ripple out, birthing others


            • #7
              You could possibly expand the scenario to any Changeling as something obviously happens to the mortal during Chrysalis for the other kiths. The Changing Way was described as a means to "successfully implant their spirits into the bodies of young children or infants, fusing themselves with their hosts' mortality without displacing their souls." While it is worded in a way to make it sound benign, it actually seems quite sinister. The mortal soul is separate from the fae spirit. The soul isn't "displace" but "fused". What does that mean? There's certainly no consent given by the mortal. Nor does the game do anything like a Psyche/Shadow split in Wraith where the fae spirit and mortal soul alternate in control or have a dialogue with one another. Whatever the "fusion" is, the fae is in control unless Banality takes over. (The game naturally takes the perspective of the Changeling/Fae that Banality is bad and a character falling into Banality so he become mortal is awful. But that may not be the perspective of the mortal soul or an "objective" point of view.)

              So I've recently began including a new type of Dauntain in the game (I don't actually run Changeling, but I take it into consideration as a setting element for the other games) - someone who was once "fairy stricken" and exchanged for a changeling, but has managed to return from their imprisonment in fairyland. What all that means is that Banality forced out the Changeling, and the mortal soul is once again in charge. Of course this person has vague memories of their time in fairyland (possibly true or completely false according to the Mists) and knows they were abducted, and that a changeling wrecked havoc in their place. Armed with their knowledge obtained from their time imprisoned, they now hunt the fae and seek to help other people return as well and slay or banish the imposter changelings.

              From what I understand, there's not much difference between the Sidhe and other Changelings except that the bodies the other kith inhabit are somehow already "born" that way while the Sidhe occupy their bodies at some point after birth (and that somehow Changelings "know" the other kiths will be continually reborn after they die while they don't know what happens to the Sidhe).

              You have several ways of deciding the truth of the matter. Here are options that appear to me -

              Sidhe just like the other kith "fuse" with the mortal souls as well. They no more go to somewhere else than the other kith's.
              The condition of the mortal soul is more like a metaphysical matter rather than being displaced "physically" in some other dimension.
              It gets sent to some special realm - whether that realm is accessible or inaccessible (and hence the mortal soul can return) is based solely on the whim of the ST

              [Edit: I just realized I didn't read the quote closely enough. It doesn't say the fae spirit fuses with the mortal soul. It says it fuses with the "host's mortality" without displacing their soul. I think this actually makes it worse - the Changeling seems to push aside the mortal soul and seize control of the body, but the soul isn't displaced. That sounds like the mortal sound is essentially imprisoned in its own body. Perhaps it is in some kind of fairy delerium because of the Mists. This could mean anything, but one possibility is the person is trapped in their own little fairy "world" similar to a dream.]
              Last edited by Black Fox; 12-05-2020, 02:37 PM.


              • #8
                Really good points, Black Fox!

                This thread brings to mind something I've always wondered about, a "theory" of the human soul in the World of Darkness. We know it is multifaceted, its multiple parts having some cohesion during life. But at death it splits in at least three parts: the Psyche, the Shadow and the Eidolon. Certain Wraith cosmologies say the connection to the living (Fetters) and the emotions underlying it (Passions) are also part of the soul. From a Vampire point of view there is the Beast as well, which seems more than just a poetic name for their bloodlust. It might be a vampiric version of the Shadow. I'd say that Faith and / or Glamour (a measure of how deeply the human can believe) is also a piece of the soul.

                The human soul seems very prone to forming symbiosis with other spiritual entities. The Avatar of Mages, for instance. Although Avatars might just be an inherent part of the soul that is "asleep" in most people. But the fact that Avatars reincarnate (much like Fae souls) might mean it really is external to the human soul.

                Then there are Banes and the Fallen, spirits that can take residence in human souls, although they seem to require some spiritual degeneration to do so. What spiritual space do they occupy? Maybe the Eidolon. They also seem to achieve the same integration with the Psyche that seems to be the experience of Commoner Changelings.

                Maybe human souls displaced by the Sidhe are really just the Eidolon, the Psyche remaining behind and achieving integration with the Fae soul. The Shadow seems to be absent from the Noble Changeling (then again, perhaps its not, given that they are awful). But the Shadow might go to become Spectres, or the Bean Sidhe (what was their origins again?).

                Maybe returned displaced mortals might represent the reunion of the Eidolon (which might actually be sent to Arcadia) and the Shadow (a Spectre from Oblivion). Such a foe would be fearsome, but also tragic. The Eidolon with Fae powers, and the Shadow with base instincts.


                • #9
                  In your examination, you've skipped over Mummy's contribution: there aren't just three parts to the soul; there are at least five.


                  • #10
                    Right, so, according to Mummy:

                    khat - the physical body
                    sahu - the spiritual body, incorruptible and eternal, which joins the gods (the Eidolon?)
                    ab - the heart, the source of good and evil thoughts (the Passions?)
                    ka - the astral body (the Psyche?)
                    ba - both an energy and the guardian of the body, right? (it seems to be a partition of the Psyche specific to the Undying. It also seems related to Fetters)
                    khaibit - the Shadow
                    khu - the body's intangible covering (the Aura?)
                    ren - True Name (actually, the most important soul piece I've forgotten)
                    sekhem - power (Quintessence, Pathos, Faith and possibly Glamour points? Also, Chi and Vitae)


                    • #11
                      Mummy 2e has a section on “Other Mummies”, including the Cabiri, who use Greek terminology for the parts of the soul:

                      Eidolon: Ka
                      Psyche: Ba
                      Pneuma: Sekhem
                      Theourgia: Hekau
                      Hades: Amenti

                      So that addresses two of them: Eidolon is Ka, and Psyche is Ba. My take is that Sahu would be the seat of Faith; and if the Avatar is part of the soul, that's likely where you'll find it (unless it's associated with the Ren?). Meanwhile, I'd associated Glamour with the Ab.


                      • #12
                        In the LARP book the Piskies are the souls of People the Changlings body snatched, and it doesn’t make since at all since everyone who has done the Changling way involves kicking the human soul out instead of merging with it. Not just the Sidhe, and logically Since Piskies also go through the Changling way which means there souls should become Piskies, and so on until the World of Darkness is filled with Piskies.


                        • #13
                          In the old Sorcerers Crusade line, the Changeling Way switches a fae spirit with a persons Avatar (Daemon, Enlightened Genius, etc). This always felt thematically solid to me.

                          “Humpty had always sat on walls, it was his way.”
                          Jasper Fforde, The Big Over Easy


                          • #14
                            I was doing some research on Keremets (essentially fae that are Enchanted Wraiths, one of the Adhene/Denizens) and came across something of relevance here.

                            On the White Wolf Wiki, it mentions that an elite group of Keremets - the Soul Bearers, who are oathbound to the two Courts - are charged with ferrying the human souls displaced by the Sidhe (when they inhabit a human body) back to Arcadia. This is also mentioned in a section on the Black Paths of Balor although I don't know why these Paths would be used to ferry a human soul from the Autumn World to Arcadia - maybe just because its a soul without a body? This should be in the description for Keremets in Denizens of the Dreaming for anyone who wants to look it up.

                            It doesn't say what happens to the souls once they get there, but they seem to be sent there.

                            Are the Sidhe treated any differently in terms of Banality when it takes them over? Or is it the same as for other Kiths? That may have interesting implications if a Sidhe's banality overwhelms her, and her mortal personality takes over.


                            • #15
                              Arcadian Sidhe suffer double the normal Banality as other Kiths, Autumn Sidhe included.