Changeling: The Lost - IRC RPG

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 Fairest

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Join date : 2016-06-27

PostSubject: Fairest    Mon Jun 27, 2016 11:10 pm

Seeming Contracts: Vainglory

Concepts: Charismatic but incompetent executive, professional athlete, lead singer in a band, amiable politician, catalog model, aging heartthrob, too-glamorous gangbanger, out-of-work actor waiting tables, high school beauty queen, low-table professional footballer, late night torch singer.

This story concerns a young man, who dreamed of the love of a beautiful girl in his village. One night, he made a special cake from a recipe he learned from his grandmother, and he waited in the dark for a faerie to come and take it. The door opened; a dark, tall faerie came in. He said to the faerie, "Not for you," but he sinned in this: He shouldn't have spoken to her. So he sat and waited a little longer, and the door opened; a loathly hag stepped in. The hag reached out her hand for the cake, but the young man tapped her on the wrist and said, "Not for you." He sinned in this: He shouldn't have touched her. So he sat and he waited a little longer, and the door opened; a lady of unearthly beauty and grace stepped in, and he could say nothing, so stunned was he, and the lady said, "For me," and took the cake. She stayed with him after that, this lady. She granted his wishes, but somehow they were always twisted. He wished for money, and soon he married an ugly old woman, in the hopes that she would die and leave him nothing. The old woman proved healthier than he could have imagined, and was cruel and mean. The youth turned to his Fae lady again and wished the old woman dead. True to her word, the Fae lady brought the plague to the town, and the old woman died, but so did the young man's sweetheart. He gained the mean old woman's riches, but his love was dead, and he wished himself dead, and he fell into a deep sleep. He awoke in his coffin, buried six feet under the ground, and as he began to beat upon the wood, he heard a sweet, sweet voice say, "For me." And if anyone were to dig up his coffin, they would find nothing there but dried leaves and stones.

This is the way of the Fae, and it's the way of the Fairest: They take what and whom they will take, and they will have their fun first. It is their prerogative to be loved and admired, and their right to treat that love any way they will. Sure, they'll try to rise above it, but there's always the fact that they really are the fairest of them all. They won their beauty fairly. They deserve to be beautiful.

The Fairest consider their own flight through the Hedge the hardest to have effected. The world they were part of -- or as much of it as they remember -- was beautiful, a world of sweet pain and pleasant cruelty, a bittersweet paradise. Surrounded by beauty as they were, thralls to creatures a thousand times lovelier than anything on Earth, they had to focus all their thoughts on remembering what it was to be plain, to walk among the ordinary.

Those who do leave, then, are those who had enough of a sense of self to be able to abandon ecstasy, and they know it. They brought back their seeming from the Fae realm, and with it, they brought back cruelty, and this cruelty is sometimes amplified by the arrogance that comes from knowing that they were pure enough of heart and strong enough of will to escape.

Often, the Fairest believe that they should be far more influential and powerful in their Courts than they actually are, mistaking social prowess and ruthlessness for the qualities of leadership. Some manage, by sheer force of personality and charm alone, to rise to the top, but there are more Fairest in positions of authority than there are Fairest who know what they're doing.

But they have their place in changeling society. A Dancer works her magic around a pole in a gentleman's bar. The Court sometimes needs a patsy, or something done by someone disposable, and the patrons, ensorcelled by the pole dancer's routines, often serve the changelings' purpose. A Draconic Prince works for the People's Government in Beijing; although a stickler for social niceties, he's known to some of the people on the streets as a man who can bend the rules for the right price and the right reason. Many people in the city owe their homes, their health and the survival of their families to him, and the gratuities he receives aid the changeling Court. Most of all, he always seems to get away with it. Another Draconic changeling leads a coven of bored housewives by force of will, practicing the blackest of magic, keeping her followers divided but devoted to her. The Courts don't trust her all that much, but they need her resources and contacts at times, and they are inclined to overlook if she is too inclined to follow the lead of the old stories and pay a tithe to Hell. A Muse runs an art school in a bohemian corner of a provincial city. His students always seem to do much better work before they graduate. A Flowering Demon Lover strides through the club scene, manipulating its social politics and alliances, leaving relationships wrecked and friendships torn with suspicion. Although a minor player in his Court, here he's on top of his game, trusted and admired in the bars and clubs, every guy's best friend to their faces. Another Muse, an Indian Deva, works in Mumbai, an assistant choreographer for a half a dozen Bollywood studios. He's never at the top of the credits and never receives much recognition, but the films he works on are among the brightest, most exciting and most cheerful of them all. And hidden within the sumptuous song and dance routines are messages for those who know. A Bright One, an African American orisha, works as a recruiting sergeant for the Army. In the office, he's as bright as a button, and as optimistic as a Boy Scout, telling stories of heroism and organizing training exercises and tours of the local base. Sometimes there's a recruit who doesn't shape up, but the recruiting sergeant always seems to be there with the offer of work. Sure, it might not be with the Army, but there's always a place for a willing soldier.

Wherever the Fairest find themselves, they're prominent. They push themselves into everything they do. Sometimes their undoubted charisma is enough to carry an enterprise on its own. Sometimes it isn't. But then, of all the changelings, the Fairest are the least suited to being alone. Although sometimes haughty, and sometimes cruel, they are social beings, and when they rise above their shortcomings, they work surpassingly well as part of a team. The cruelty that made them can be redeemed, if only they'll let someone else close enough to make a difference.

Appearance
The Fairest are often tall, often slim and always good-looking, however they appear. They're never really conventionally attractive. They're striking, and memorable with it. They're also the changelings who as humans look the most like their fae miens. The pole dancer has full, sensual features and a knockout figure. Her eyes are an amazing shade of violet. Most people think she's wearing contact lenses. In her fae seeming, her hair is even longer than it is already, her ears are pointed and the fullness of her lips, the curve of her chin and the size and color of her eyes are exaggerated to an almost painful degree. The Draconic Prince has flaming red skin and sharp teeth, but they only serve to show what a striking man he is. As a human, he has a broad smile and perfect teeth in an angular face. The Demon Lover is always immaculately groomed, and he always smells good without ever using product. Again, in his fae seeming, his cruel beauty is emphasized to the extreme. His ears are pointed, and he has the look of a Victorian stage devil to him. The Draconic Witch resembles nothing more than a perfect, affluent suburban housewife; in her fae seeming, her perfect dress and jewelry become the accouterments of a dark, cruelly beautiful lady, with a cold satanic grace that freezes the soul. The Deva looks like a smiling Hindu god, all blue-green skin and liquid, heavy-lashed eyes. Those eyes appear much the same in his human seeming. The gung-ho orisha is a big African American man with a shaved head and a warm smile. In his fae seeming, he is taller and slimmer, his features angular, elongated and clear, like a Nigerian carving.

Background
The Fairest were not always those whom the Fae thought to take for lovers. Although most were pleasing to the eye, all had some talent beyond simple good looks. Some could dance, some had beautiful voices, some were artists or poets. The few who have made it back have often found that this one talent has consumed them. It's almost all they have, in a way. The arrogance that comes from having the strength of self to be able to freely return from bleak, beautiful Faerie is perhaps bolstered by insecurity. What if the talents they have are not enough to make them truly the most talented, the brightest, the most beautiful? After all, in the stories, the Fae sorceress is very rarely, if the mirror is to be believed, the Fairest of them all.

Durance
The Fairest find that the memories of their time in Faerie are brief, fragmentary. The Fairest have dreams of self-annihilating ecstasy, of perfect pleasure, intercut with moments of horror and fear. Romantic interludes segue into hellish agonies. A bed covered with radiant blossoms is suddenly drenched in blood, the flowers becoming hooks and chains that rend and tear. The perfect body, only glimpsed in fragments, becomes as cold as crushing stone. Threads of fragrant hair that cover the dreamer's face become strands of razor-sharp wire that slice his face away. And when the changeling wakes up, he screams and he doesn't know if he's screaming in agony or in bliss.

Character Creation
The Fairest often concentrate on Social Attributes and Skills, although they do not neglect their bodies, having reasonable levels in Physical Traits. Many have high ratings in Expression and Socialize. The Striking Looks Merit is particularly common among them. They're stereotyped by some of the other changelings as not being overly clever. While this isn't always fair, many of the Fairest do put Mental Traits on the back burner.

Blessing
These changelings really are the Fairest of Them All, and their magic only emphasizes this. The player can spend Glamor to improve dice pools that include Presence, Manipulation and Persuasion. Each point spent increases one dice pool by one point.

A changeling counted among the Fairest also suffers no untrained penalty for using Social skills in which she has no dots.

Curse
The Fairest, similar to the creatures who stole them, can be callous and unfeeling, vicious and prone to toy with others, even people who love them. Their inner balance suffers for this. One of the Fairest suffers a -1 die penalty on dice pools to avoid losing Clarity (for example, the player of a Fairest with Clarity 5 who kills another changeling rolls two dice to avoid losing Clarity, rather than three).

Kiths
Bright One: Changelings who came from light; will-o'-the-wisps, bright elves, White Ladies and other beings of light and fire and ice from all over the world. Their blessing is Goblin Illumination: The player can, at will, illuminate an area the size of a smallish room (about 15' x 15' x 10' high) with a soft, pale light for the rest of the scene. Although the light centers on the changeling's left hand, it doesn't have the changeling as its source, seemingly coming from the air itself. The light doesn't move. If the changeling leaves the radius of the light, he leaves it behind. With the expenditure of a Glamor point, the light becomes painfully intense; anyone trying to target the Bright One treats him as partially concealed and suffers a -2 dice penalty (-1 die if the attacker is wearing sunglasses).

Dancer: Those among the Fairest blessed of particular agility and grace, for whom motion is itself beauty and art. Whether entertainer, courtesan, artist or murderer, the Dancer is happiest when moving to the sound of her inner rhythm. The Dancer's blessing is Fae Grace: She benefits from the 9 again rule on any Expression or Socialize rolls involving agility (such as juggling or dancing in a performance or social setting), and always adds one to her Dodge total when dodging attacks.

Draconic: Changelings who bear within them the blood of dragons or other Great Beasts of Faerie, including celestial bureaucrats and tithe-payers to Satan alike. Haughty and possessing a robust physicality, the Draconic Fairest have the secret of the Dragon's Talon: a Draconic changeling gains an extra die on Brawl rolls, striking with the power of a chimera's claw or manticore's sting. His player can also spend one point of Glamor to re-take one failed Brawl roll, once per scene.

Flamesiren: These burning Fairest represents the entrancement of flame -- when people stare at a flickering candle or gaze into a crackling bonfire, the force that holds their attention is the essence of the Flamesiren's appeal. It's the beauty of danger and destruction, together in one sinuous, lambent package. The Flamesiren may invoke the blessing of Burning Hypnotism: Once per scene, the player may spend one Glamor to surround the Flamesiren with a blazing flame-like aura. Anyone looking at the Flamesiren must make a successful Resolve + Composure roll, or suffer a two-dice penalty to all actions until the character decides to douse the aura or the scene ends, thanks to the distraction.

Flowering: Flowers blossom on bare earth where these changelings have stood (although they take months to appear in the human world rather than seconds, as they did in Faerie). Their skin is soft like the petal of a rose or a chrysanthemum and bright with a bloom of health. The Flowering Fairest has a Seductive Fragrance: her skin, hair and breath carries the aroma of unknown blossoms from places unseen, the promise of pleasures unknown. Her bouquet seduces and lulls in equal measure. She gains the benefit of the 9 again rule on dice pools including Persuasion, Socialize and Subterfuge.

Muse: Their beauty inspires the arts. Whether a Rubenesque beauty, a sedate and delicate daughter of the Heavenly Ministry, a grotesquely beautiful masquer garbed in yellow tatters, or a Dark Lady who drives her beloved to destruction, the Muse inspires the creation of things of beauty and horror and love and hate and fear. The growth of confidence can precipitate a headlong rush to doom, and the Muse knows how to make it happen. The Muse's talent is The Tyranny of Ideas: The changeling's presence can give a human the confidence and talent to do things that he otherwise would not be able to do. For every point of Glamor the changeling spends, the human subject (and it must be human; it can't be another changeling or another supernatural being) gains +2 on one dice pool involving Expression, Persuasion, Socialize, or Subterfuge.

Playmate: A changeling taken by a Keeper who just wants someone to play with might become a member of the Playmate kith. Their blessing is The Circle of Friends: The changeling gains a +2 to any teamwork roll when he is the primary actor. When he is a secondary actor, he can forgo making a roll to add dice to the primary actor's roll and instead grant the primary actor 9-again (or 8-again, if the roll already has the 9-again benefit).

Polychromatic: They are the sons and daughters of the rainbow, fae who are living embodiments of color itself. Their hair and eyes flash all number of vibrant colors, sometimes shifting to match the Fairest's temper. In a world of leaden skies and rain-slick gray concrete, the Polychromatics are a form of beauty that can never be dimmed. These Fairest enjoy the benefits of the Prismatic Heart: The character can change her mood as if moving from color to color. By spending one Glamor point as a reflexive action, the character may add two dice to any rolls made to resist emotional manipulation for the duration of the scene. In addition, all Empathy rolls made against the Polychromatic suffer a penalty of one die, as her prismatic moods are difficult to read.

Shadowsoul: The antithesis of the Bright Ones, these fae are the most beautiful chosen of the nigh. Their beauty comes from the darkness they swathe themselves in rather than the light they radiate. They were the favored concubines, adornments and hand-maidens to nocturnal Keepers, and are distant cousins to the Darklings. The Shadowsoul's blessing is the Unnatural Chill: The player gains a bonus to Intimidation rolls equal to her Wyrd, and receives the benefit of the 9 again rule to Subterfuge rolls. In addition, she may purchase Contracts of Darkness as affinity Contracts.

Telluric: Those who walk the skybridges in the vaults of Faerie heaven, the stars in their hair and comets in their eyes. Tellurics are Fairest imbued with the essence and spirit of celestial bodies. They shine with empyrean light, have hair like a starry nebula, or are marked with the signs of a specific planet -- the red skin and fiery temper of Mars, the quicksilver wit and quicksilver hair of Mercury, the pale beauty of the moon. Telluric Fairest are guided by the Music of the Spheres: Tellurics have an absolute knowledge of exactly what time it is as measured locally, even if they've spent the last day unconscious in a barren room. They can count down ticking seconds as accurately as a stopwatch, which gives them a +3 bonus to any actions that might require precise timing (such as disarming a time bomb or attempting to drive across town while hitting all green lights). In addition, Tellurics gain the free Specialties of Astronomy and Astrology to Academics and Occult, respectively.

Treasured: Far more than any other Fairest, the Treasured were treated as nothing more than prized objects for display. They spent their durance in golden cages or atop cold stone pedestals, with no greater hope than to please the eye of a passing Gentry. Treasured are jeweled, gilded, alabaster, like Michelangelo's David given the faintest hint of color or a figure that has stepped away from Alma-Tadema's The Roses of Heliogabalus. Countless hours upon a pedestal have given the Treasured the blessing of Alabaster Fortitude: Once per scene, the player may spend one Glamor to retake any one failed Stamina, Resolve or Composure roll. The only exception is a roll made to avoid gaining a derangement through Clarity loss.
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