Changeling: The Lost - IRC RPG

A modern day Changeling the Lost role play game using an IRC format, go to the irc.darkmyst.net server, channel #CtL:OOC or email babylon.submissions@gmail.com
 
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 Darklings

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Avy
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Join date : 2016-06-27

PostSubject: Darklings    Mon Jun 27, 2016 11:12 pm

Seeming Contracts: Darkness

Concepts: Parapsychologist, nocturnal building superintendent, night-shift call center worker, chimney sweep, professional spelunker, lab assistant, amateur night-time naturalist, night refuge manager.

When dealing with matters of Faerie, there are things that a person must do, and things a person must not. This is the foundation of many stories of the Fae, including this one. It begins with a hill, somewhere not far away, and they say that the Invisible Throng congregate there, three times a year. The rules are simple. From sunrise to sunset on that night, the people must not speak of the Invisible Throng, and from sunset to sunrise of that night, they must not leave their homes. Consider the young man of courage and curiosity, who would rather see the faeries for himself. He tells his sweetheart, the sweetest girl in 50 miles, that he wishes to see the faeries that morning, and she recoils in horror, and says that he must not speak of -- but it is too late, and she has spoken of them, too. She cries, and says that she will not go with him. And she retires that night with her rosary and she prays. And the young man of courage and curiosity hides at sunset on the mound, in a tree. And he sees them, as they swoop from the sky in their hundreds, and without warning they descend upon the tree and sweep the young man of courage and curiosity away, and the tree with him. And one hour before dawn, the sweetest girl in 50 miles hears the voice of her sweetheart at her window, begging to be let in. She goes to the door and steps outside to embrace him, and she, too, is gone. One day the young man, still of great courage but no longer of great curiosity, will escape. His sweetheart never will. She is theirs forever.

Changelings know that their deeds have consequences, but few feel those consequences so keenly as the changelings who are called Darklings. Many were stolen away as the consequence of attracting the attention of the Fae. The Darklings' obsessive clinging to the solace of the night is the consequence of having been imbued with shadows. Their love of quiet is the consequence of having lived in a world where all was whispering, all was rustling and snapping twigs and creeping fear.

The Darklings believe that they found it hardest to escape from the lands of the Fae, because their way back was hidden from them. Of all the changelings, they were lost in an alien landscape, with no reference point to return to, with all paths shrouded in shadow. To escape, they had to be the ones who could survive in the shadows, to thrive there with creeping things and dark things and dead things that move. Having come back, they are the changelings who wait in the shadows.

A Tunnelgrub works in sewer maintenance. He rarely sees the light of day, but he's happy down there. Every so often, the Court asks him to lose something or hide something or keep something safe, and he knows exactly where to put it. He knows where the alligators are kept. A Leechfinger, thin and predatory, works as the night porter in a hospital. The hospital has a terrifying death rate, partly due to the things that spontaneously appear in the basement, and partly because of the night porter's special talent. His opinion is that the patients are dying anyway. Who cares if they die faster? An Antiquarian runs a secondhand bookshop in a rundown arcade. Everything's organized in the haphazard, impenetrable way that only the truly great antique bookshops affect, and yet the Antiquarian knows exactly where everything is. And then there's the private collection, the books that only the changelings get to see, if they know to ask and the price is right. A Gravewight works as a funeral director, his sweet decorum only just masking his searching eyes. Another Gravewight travels around the villages of central southern Uganda in the capacity of a church-licensed exorcist. Sometimes his methods are violent, but the ghosts know him and respect him. His Court has use of his ghost lore on occasion. A Mirrorskin, meanwhile, lives in an old house on the edge of a small town somewhere in Tennessee. He watches the town, and the local kids know him by a variety of nicknames. One night not all that long ago, some children dared each other to go inside. Two went in, and both ran out screaming. One saw his dead father. The other saw his granddad. The kids don't go in there so readily these days, but the weird old man in the big rotting house, he's still watching. Another Mirrorskin accosts people on the street, picking their pockets with a smile, like a street magician -- only not giving the money back. The police have been trying to catch her for months, but every time, the smiling pickpocket wears a different face. Some of the money goes to the Court. Not all of it, though.

Appearance
Darklings tend to appear somehow less solid, less substantial than other changelings. It's not that Darklings are transparent or anything. They just feel less solid somehow. Many (but not all) are thin, in their fae miens unnaturally so. Many are tall, and the ones who aren't are only shorter than normal because they're hunched over. Some have pointed ears and noses. Some have straight, lank hair. Their skin runs the gamut from deathly white to transparent, shadowy black or blue. Their eyes are almost always dark, like deep pits that reveal nothing. Sometimes, in their fae miens, they have freakish features, such as tiny horns or fangs, extra eyes and the like.

The sewer worker's skin, although pale, has a greenish tint, and his bloated face has a wide mouth, a broad, flat nose and tiny eyes. Small horns grow from his temples. Both of his hands have six fingers. To human eyes, he's flabby and pasty-looking, with blotches and acne. The murderous hospital porter is hunched and curved, looking like a great pale, leering question mark. His nose and chin are pointed together like some effigy of Mr. Punch, and his hair falls straight to his shoulders. In his human seeming, these features are less pronounced… but not much. The bookseller appears as a precise, decorous figure, all dressed in black. Her black, pupil-less, heavy-lashed eyes sparkle with good humor. Her mouth is small and precise. Her fingers are freakishly long. The funeral director's hands are like broad, flat shovels, his face pale, round and pockmarked like the moon. As a human, he's prim and small and softly spoken. The Ugandan exorcist, on the other hand, is huge and broad, like a vast grinning shadow, and if sometimes he's almost transparent, that only adds to his menace. Even when his fae mien is invisible, the only thing people remember of his face is that terrible smile, those terrible white teeth. The strange old man is bent almost double, but straightens when he creates a new face. He always speaks in a whisper. The pickpocket, on the other hand, is quick moving and fast-talking, smooth and young and charming, but has so many faces, she's not even sure which one is her own.

Background
Darklings are among those Lost who were stolen because they transgressed. They might not have known they were transgressing, or even that there were rules to break, but they went too far. Many crossed the line out of curiosity, and it's this curiosity, this need to find new things and to explore, that helped to bring many of them back out through the Hedge. This curiosity made them what they were: by investigating the dark, they became like the dark. Many Darklings are talented at finding things out, and many take on roles that depend upon them being observant.

Durance
The Darklings' memories of their time in Faerie are awash with shadowy fears. Vague, hulking forces loomed from the corner of the room. Small skittering things crawled across faces or became momentarily tangled in hair before dissolving. Wet, slithering things moved around in the background. Trapdoors and boarded windows with something behind them figure heavily in dreams of Faerie. Being sent on errands with no point, being forced to copy ancient codices of lore that made no sense while outside things shrieked and fluttered, being made to enter a cellar and being eaten, over and over again, being lost in mazes: All of these things feature heavily in Darkling dreams of Faerie. The dark places of the human world don't remotely compare.

Character Creation
Darklings are often nimble and cunning. They often have their highest scores in Finesse Attributes (Dexterity, Wits and Manipulation). Although physically weak and unprepossessing, many have reasonable ratings in Resolve and Composure, the better to have resisted the fears of the Fae night. Darklings often excel in Skills that require precision and training, such as Larceny, Stealth, Subterfuge, Academics and Crafts.

Blessing
Just as the shadows that infect them, the Darklings are as ephemeral and flighty as the dark itself. A player can spend Glamor to increase dice pools that include Wits, Subterfuge and Stealth -- each point of Glamor increases one dice pool by one point. The character also gains the benefit of the 9 again rule on Stealth dice pools.

Curse
Darkness and twilight so define these changelings that their magic falters somewhat when the sun is in the sky (that is, not at night, or at twilight). Darklings suffer a -1 die penalty to all rolls to enact Contracts during daylight hours. The penalty increases to -2 dice if the sun is directly visible to them.

Kiths
Antiquarian: Those Darklings who surround themselves with dusty tomes of lore and the artifacts of long-dead lands and peoples. Dusty, quiet and diligent, they hold the Keys to Knowledge: The Antiquarians know where to find lore ancient and modern, and have a near-flawless memory for facts, trivial and not so trivial. Every Antiquarian receives the benefit of the 9 again rule on dice pools including Academics and Investigation. They may also spend a point of Glamor to gain the benefits of the Encyclopedic Knowledge Merit for one question. If the Antiquarian already possesses this Merit, he may spend one Glamor to add three dice to the roll.

Gravewight: Cold-skinned Darklings who draw comfort from consorting with the dead, both restless and in repose. The Gravewight possesses the Charnel Sight: The changeling can see the unquiet dead. For one point of Glamor, the changeling can see ghosts for the rest of the scene. The power doesn't extend to any other invisible beings that may or may not be present, and doesn't allow the changeling to touch the ghost or compel it to answer her unless the ghost chooses to allow that.

Leechfinger: The faeries who steal life from humans, grain by grain, drop by drop, with just a touch. Every Leechfinger knows how to Sap the Vital Spark: With a touch, he can steal the health of another to heal his own injuries. The character needs to touch the target, and the player spends a point of Glamor. The victim takes one point of lethal damage, and the changeling heals one point of lethal or bashing damage, or downgrades one point of aggravated damage to lethal. This blessing can be used once per scene per point of the Darkling's Wyrd.

Lurker: The thriving criminal underworld of the Victorian era was mirrored in Arcadia, where devious Gentry criminal masterminds employed gangs of changelings to steal from their rivals. Darting from one shadow to another and either slipping unnoticed into dwellings or snatching valuables from wealthy pockets, lurkers are used to taking what they want without regard for whom it belongs to. This kith was common until the mid-20th century, but eventually the more powerful Gentry hunted down these Gentry masterminds and their changeling thieves. Their blessing is Larcenous Fingers: The lurker gains the benefit of the 9-again rule on all Larceny dice pools, and their nimble fingers mean they never suffer penalties for poor equipment on these rolls. They can also spend 1 Glamor to gain a +2 bonus to any Larceny roll. In addition, lurkers gain the benefit of the 8 again rule on all Stealth dice pools, instead of the 9 again rule other darklings possess.

Lurkglider: Raised among the twisted treetops of Arcadian forests or the spires of palaces lost in dark storm clouds, the Lurkgliders are at home watching from the shadows far above. They may be tied to legends of creatures that swooped down to carry off the unwary, or Lurkgliders may have been kept as grotesque sentinels to watch over their Keepers' holdings. A Lurkglider enjoys the blessing of the Gargoyle's Grace: By spending a point of Glamor, the changeling may dive from up to 100 yards without taking any damage whatsoever. In addition, he receives a +2 bonus to all rolls for the purpose of keeping his balance on small ledges, outcroppings or other small footholds.

Mirrorskin: Darklings who hide in plain sight from the eyes of humankind. Their bones are malleable, their faces like flowing quicksilver. The Mirrorskin's blessing is The Mercurial Visage: He can change the cast of his features to resemble (if not completely mimic) anyone he has met. The player may do this at will, gaining a +3 dice bonus to Wits + Subterfuge disguise attempts. This bonus applies to both mien and Mask.

Moonborn: The lunatic children of the moon, those who dance by their mother's pale light. They are sometimes insightful, sometimes foolish, sometimes calm and sometimes wrathful. Their moods wax and wane with the moon, their humours affected by its tides. The Moonborn's blessing is the Lunatic's Kiss: Once in any 24-hour period, the Moonborn may afflict both himself and a person he touches with a derangement. The player must spend a point of Glamour and roll Intelligence + Wyrd, contested by the victim's Resolve + Wyrd (or other Supernatural Tolerance trait). Success gives the Moonborn a mild derangement, and the victim the severe version of the same derangement. An exceptional success means the Moonborn suffers no derangement at all. The madness lasts until the next sunrise in the case of supernatural beings; humans must bear the madness for a lunar month.

Nightsinger: The Darklings are not without their music. Darkling music, however, is largely heard without ever catching a glimpse of the musician. Nightsingers compose operas of wolf howls and owl cries, sing banshee songs and play hauntingly devilish tunes on fiddles strung with unwholesome gut. Nightsingers may set aside their instruments and strive to escape for home, but the music stays with them. The Nightsingers enjoy the favor of the Haunting Nocturne: By playing an instrument or singing, they may lull listeners into a hypnotic state. The player spends a point of Glamor and makes a Performance + Wyrd roll; listeners may contest the roll with Composure + Wyrd. Success makes the affected listeners more suggestible; such listeners suffer a -2 penalty to Resolve, Empathy and Subterfuge rolls for the duration of the scene. A Nightsinger also gains a free Performance Specialty.

Palewraith: Many Darklings are pallid, but the Palewraiths are colorless to the point of partial translucence. Their flesh is hazy and partly indistinct; some look spectral, others smoky. In some cases, their bones are still visible through their skin. The Palewraiths gained this remarkable trait by being kept so far from natural light that they began to become partly immune to the light. The kith's blessing is Light's Aversion: The character may spend one Glamor to receive +1 to Defense when within sufficient shadows. This bonus

Tunnelgrub: Those of the Darkling faeries who slide and slither through tunnels and sewers and chimneys, the better to do terrible things in the night. The Tunnelgrub has the ability to Slither and Squirm: She slips and slides and wriggles through tight spaces and out of handcuffs and other bonds. The player spends a point of Glamor. The changeling can get through spaces that are only just too narrow for her to get through, spaces that would otherwise leave her completely stuck. The changeling gets to roll Dexterity + Athletics to wriggle out of ropes or handcuffs. If it's a long distance, such as a chimney or a sewage pipe, the player needs to make an extended roll, earning at least three successes, perhaps more, depending on the length of the tunnel. A dramatic failure means that the character is stuck and can't escape on her own or try again using this talent (if the changeling is caught in the middle of a tunnel, this could be disastrous, because she can't get out on her own).
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