Pretty much everything in Changeling revolves around Glamour. It is the lifeblood of Changelings, sustaining them and giving them power. Without Glamour, Changelings forget who they truly are, and they fade away into a dull, normal life of mortal Banality. But with it, they can cast their cantrips, employing Art and Realm to shape it and pull off fantastic feats.
As an interesting side note, for those who have played other games in the World of Darkness… Glamour is essentially the same thing as Faith, Gnosis, and Quintessence. It is all the same, living, vibrant force that supports supernatural creatures. Each different race simply has different terminology for it and different ways of harvesting and shaping it.
Glamour is more than the points on your sheet or a source of fuel for cantrips. It is a living, semi-sentient force borne from the dreams and imaginations of humanity. It can be unpredictable and whimsical. Sometimes, it might even break all of the rules that Changelings think they know in order to weave a story of its own.
There are multiple different ways to get Glamour, but they mainly stem from either mortals or the earth itself.
Freeholds and Glens
For those privileged Changelings who possess freeholds or have guardianship of a glen, they can harvest a number of Glamour points equal to its rating each night. For obvious reasons, freeholds and glens are all highly-prized, fought over, and fiercely protected. Freeholds all have a balefire which burns, acting as the focus for the Glamour. In other words, the balefire is the place where the Glamour rises from the earth or from the Dreaming, like a beacon of light or a fountain. Glens, on the other hand, have a sacred stone as their heart.
For most Changelings, the only way to harvest Glamour is to turn to the mortals. It’s more difficult, and it requires a lot of time and investment, and it carries some high risks of Bedlam if the Changeling gets too greedy. An Epiphany is a method by which a Changeling harvests that Glamour.
If you have the Dreamers background (+explain dreamers) then it is assumed that an Epiphany is being used with your Dreamers on a frequent basis. You can just go through the rolls to evoke your Epiphany. However, if you don’t have the Dreamers background, and you want to use an Epiphany, an encounter will need to be GMed. Afterwards, assuming all went well, you can regain Glamour and use the experience to justify purchasing a dot in the Dreamers background.
There are four different Epiphanies that can be used:
- Reverie: One of the most noble methods and the one highly-favoured by the Seelie court, Reverie is the practice of inspiring a mortal Dreamer to cultivate a work of art and to tap into the Dreaming. Changelings who follow this path are often regarded as muses or patrons to their mortals, and the Changeling, in turn, must spend time with his or her mortal to learn what inspires him best. Many Changelings use love for inspiration, but this carries risks, as the mortal may grow obsessed and jealous, causing the beneficial relationship to change into something darker and more violent. A Changeling receives the Glamour from Reverie when in the presence of the mortal’s work of art, and he can actually receive a renewed burst of Glamour if the work is presented to a new, overwhelmed audience. However, if diluted too much or put into the presence of too many mortals, the master piece will become mundane and produce no more Glamour. See Changeling, pages 212-214, for details on Reverie and the Musing Threshold. It gets pretty complicated. End roll: +roll manipulation + empathy=6 and every success nets the changeling 1 Glamour point. This roll can be done a number of times equal to the character’s Dreamers rating.
- Rapture: This is a very rare ability and not often done among Changelings, but it is the method that has the Changeling tapping into his own mortal side to produce a work of art so wondrous that he produces his own Glamour. In one glorious burst and one fleeting moment, mortal and faerie are one, tapping the Dreaming and getting swept away in ecstasy.
- Ravaging: Favoured by many Unseelie Changelings, Ravaging is the ripping or tearing away of Glamour from a mortal. It is, undoubtedly, a psychic rape, and it is frowned upon by many Seelie, who view it as an unnecessary evil. Ravaging damages the mortal who suffers from it, leaving their creativity depleted and their minds in a state of listless depression. If done too deeply or too often, the spark of creativity is extinguished from the mortal forever, and they are cut off from the Dreaming. Unseelie justify this by merely saying, “There are always more Dreamers.” Ironically, to accomplish a Ravaging, an Unseelie floods a mortal with his own Banality. This forcibly squeezes out the Glamour inside of the mortal, allowing the Changeling to absorb it. Occasionally, Banality backlashes on the Unseelie, which is another reason why Seelie frown upon this practice. See Changeling, pg 215, for full details on this method.
- Rhapsody: Illegal as Hell, banned by both Seelie and Unseelie Courts. A mortal is imbued with so much raw Glamour that he burns like a Roman candle, produces one fantastic masterpiece, and then is left a shattered husk afterwards, never to create again. If he or she even survives the process, the mortal often becomes an enemy of the fae. To harvest the Glamour in the work, the piece of art has to be destroyed, adding insult to injury for the mortal. See Changeling, pg 215-216 for full system details, if anyone tries this.
Dross are objects of natural beauty or artwork that contain Glamour inside of them. Dross can also be harvested as bits and trophies from chimerical creatures that have been killed inside of the Dreaming.
Now, Dross is often used as a currency among Changelings. When the object is destroyed, either in part or in full, the Glamour inside of it is released and can be used to make it easier to cast cantrips. The Glamour cannot be absorbed. Once released, it has to be used immediately, or it just goes to waste.
Cantrips. That’s pretty much going to be the most-employed application of Glamour. Whenever a Changeling casts a cantrip, they are manipulating Glamour through sheer force of will to pull off a magical effect. The techniques for shaping Glamour are known as Arts. Arts are just different sorts of powers, and each level in an Art lets you use a different effect. For example, the Primal Art has to do with nature and healing. The Sovereign Art gives you power over people and other faeries. Each Kithain has an affinity for a certain type of Art.
The wiki page with step by step instructions for casting cantrips is, as you might expect, under Cantrips.
Another use for Glamour is Enchantment. Normally, mortals cannot see the world of the Changelings (not even most Kinain, the mortals who are related to Changelings by blood). In order to let a mortal see the Dreaming, see and be affected by chimera, and see the Changeling’s fae mien, a Changeling must Enchant the human (or supernatural, like a Garou, Vampire, Mage, etc.).
This is done through an infusion of Glamour. The Changeling takes a small token and infuses it, like a bit of ribbon, an origami, a drink, or some sort of food. The mortal must accept the token, then carry it or eat/drink it. The amount of Glamour invested into the token determines how many days the mortal is Enchanted, on a one for one basis. Supernaturals, on the other hand, react somewhat differently to Enchantment. While mortals react for one day to one point of Glamour, some supernaturals will react for much longer for one point of Glamour. Full details are found at Enchantment.
Calling Upon the Wyrd
Normally, mortals and Prodigals cannot see your fae mien, nor do they see the chimera that dance about. However, when a Changeling calls upon the Wyrd, they can bring their fae mien and their chimerical possessions into reality. At that point, if successful, EVERYONE can see a Changeling’s true self.
In order to do this, a Changeling must spend a point of Willpower and a point of Glamour. Then he or she must make a Willpower roll, difficulty equal to the character’s permanent Glamour rating, and he/she must achieve at least one success. The effect lasts for the duration of a scene. Failure means the character just can’t do it.
If successful, however, the following happens:
- All chimerical weapons in the character’s possession inflict real damage.
- All cantrips that the Changeling casts are considered Wyrd and all will cost one point of Glamour to cast, even if the system says they are normally Chimerical.
- Any chimerical companions purchased as a Background are real and do real damage.
- A character who has called upon the Wyrd takes real damage from chimerical weapons, cantrips, and creatures.
In short, Chimera are constructs of Glamour. Changelings perceive them as completely real and can perceive them with all five of their senses. Normal mortals and the Prodigals cannot see them, interact with them, or be affected by them, however. In a way, they are bits of imagination and dreams made manifest, able to be seen and heard only by the Changelings or those who have been Enchanted.
Chimera can be animate or inanimate. They can be dragons, pixies, stones, trees or just about anything that imagination can conjure up. They can be intelligent, or they can be dumb as a post. Chimerical constructs can be buildings, clothes, creatures, weapons or… anything at all, really.
There are several different types to note:
- Incidental Chimera — This the majority of chimera found in the mortal world. Stray dreams, detached from the main body of the Dreaming. This type of chimera is brittle and delicate, given that it’s exposed to so much Banality in the real world, and it doesn’t often last long if taken away from its original dreaming site. For example, a chimerical tree branch broken off and taken out of its woods soon falls apart and dissolves like wet cotton candy. This is true even if the Changeling takes the chimera into the Dreaming itself, though the Changeling could nurture it and save it with infusions of his Glamour.
- Dreamed Chimera — The most common type in the Dreaming, but rarely found in the mortal world. Changelings may used Dreamed chimera as raw materials in crafted or forged items, because they have a more independent and permanent existence. However, Dreamed chimera cannot stray too far from their original forms, or they’ll far apart. A Changeling could take a tree branch and strip it of its twigs, but if he tried to carve it into an ornate walking stick, it would fall apart unless it was properly crafted or forged. Changelings who want to craft items usually have to get Dreamed chimera rather than Incidental, and the rarer the item, the deeper into the Dreaming one has to go.
- Crafted Chimera — These are chimera that have been altered from their original forms through traditional crafting methods. It’s difficult to pull off, and few Kith can do so with any real degrees of success (Nockers, Boggans, and Sidhe of House Dougal, mainly). The creations are usually basic and simple, often no more complicated than simple machinery. The process involves collecting the appropriate materials, then spend a point of Glamour. Dexterity + Crafts is rolled, difficulty and number of successes varying (and Kith who are not Nockers, Boggans or Dougal Sidhe face greater difficulty penalties).
- Forged Chimera — One step up from Crafted chimera, generally only the Nockers work with Forged chimera. This allows for the creations of complex machinery, castles, airships, or whatever else imagination might dream up. If anyone ever gets to the point where they want to work with Forged chimera, the full rules are in Changeling: the Dreaming, under the Nocker entry in chapter three.
- Nonsentient Chimera — Although they may look alive and intelligent, nonsentient chimera are little more than impulses following a preordained series of actions. They might use a sword and fight well, carry on a conversation, or go hunting. However, it has no independent thought or will at all, and it will never deviate from what the Dreamer imagined it to do.
- Sentient Chimera — Only Kithain or low-Banality Dreamers (rarely over a rating of 2) can give birth to Sentient Chimera. It’s very rarely done, but sometimes, it happens, such as when a child dreams that her teddy bear is alive, and when fueled by her dreams, a chimera of her teddy bear actually does come to life. This can also turn very bad when a lunatic imagines that his nightmares are real, and those nightmares try to kill him. Sentience can be lost over time if the Dreamer forgets about the chimera, or if they’ve been exposed to Banality for too long. It’s also possible to tell the difference by rolling Perception + Gremayre (varying difficulty) or by visually looking with a Perception + Kenning roll (difficulty of chimera’s Glamour; two successes needed). Changelings may not be able to easily communicate with a sentient chimera if they don’t speak the language. German chimera speak German, and a sentient tree might require someone to use nonverbal signals or Occult (plant lore). Chimerical companions fall under the category of sentient chimera.