The Immortals [Changeling Players Guide]

Changeling: The Dreaming

Hello, lovely Dreamers! Matthew Dawkins here to provide an intriguing extract from our upcoming Player’s Guide for Changeling: The Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition. Co-developers, Pete Woodworth and Luka Carroll selected this piece of Josh Harrison’s draft on the Siochain, which I hope you’ll enjoy. Please post your thoughts in the comments below, along with any questions about the book content, and I’ll ask Luka and Pete to check them out!

From Pete: Here’s a neat excerpt from our section on Siochain, the legendary changeling immortals who we’re covering in detail for the first time. It’s written by Josh Harrison, and yes, I’m ending it on a bit of a cliffhanger because I’m a jerk and want the players curious for more:

The Immortals

The Changeling Way allows Kithain to survive. Through the magic of this ancient rite, faerie cleverness flouts the cruelties of time and, in new contexts, stories bloom perennial. Yet for all its power, the Way is not without its cost. Glimmering but fragile, a changeling is a dream too clear to last. Bedlam and Banality take their prices in turn, and sooner or later, almost every changeling is Undone, one way or another.

Almost every changeling.

There are those who strive beyond, those who shun the cycle of rebirth in favor of a pristine immortality. These daring few wager their very selves to chase the dream impossible. From sacrifice to sacrifice, they work to become a living part of the Dreaming, an eternal narrative icon, and a symbol of harmony between worlds. To succeed, they must learn to bring their mortal and fae selves into perfect balance. Those who find the summit at journey’s end earn a Mantle: a blessing from the world of stories signifying their new role as Siochain, faerie immortals.

Rare and shrouded in rumors, the Siochain are living legends. The stories that swirl around these accomplished Kithain have only a few common traits. The Siochain are ageless, called to serve the Dreaming for all time. The Siochain step outside the normal cycle of the Changeling Way, transforming into a new type of faerie creature as part of their journeys. And, most mysteriously, the Siochain gather in secret councils to help shape the story of Kithain as a whole. Some believe that such a council originally devised the Changeling Way to share with the world, gifting others with a form of the immortality they’d earned themselves.

An aspirant to this legendary status soon discovers that all these things and more are true.

Most changelings still believe that the Siochain are a comforting legend, nothing more than an invention devised to patch an anxiety common to the Kithain. But some have turned to tales of the Siochain for hope in the face of the Autumn World’s wilting Glamour. Despite the new surge of interest in their dealings, the Siochain themselves remain resistant as ever to inquiry. Though some mingle with the Kithain, they stay elusive on the particulars of their status, and most Siochain communicate only through cryptic messages sent from secluded lairs and studies when they profess the truth of their transcendence.

Immortality does not provide the ultimate safety against the encroaching forces of fathomless shadow and despair. The Changeling Way gives a fae soul a mortal mask to use as a security blanket, keeping their tragic heart warm amidst the deepening Winter. The Siochain path, the immortals learn, transforms this safety net into a magnifying lens, making the changeling’s fae soul more vulnerable to the mortal world and not less. The secret lies not in protecting the self from Banality and its wailing counterpart, Bedlam, but in welcoming each in turn. Only wisdom won through a double disaster of the mundane and ordinary can kindle a light that will not fail in a changeling heart.

The Siochain represent important anchors for the Dreaming. They volunteer to bring true, archetypal Story into the world by the means of their Mantles. Though it earns them rare and special gifts, their sacrifice is ultimately selfless. They gain a lifetime without end, but that life must be spent in constant service to their kind. Fae immortals invest the time they earn, finding every possible way to help the power of narrative flow back into the Autumn World.

To do so, they must not only master the tropes of the Dreaming, but embrace the calm, predictable mundane. Siochain are the champions of the fantastic ordinary and the whimsical quotidian. They can find the treasure map in a bus route and the spreadsheet in a sigil. The Dreaming charges its immortals to cherish and celebrate both of their twinned selves, granting endless tomorrows only to those who keep their disparate aspects in perfect balance. Striving to achieve and maintain that balance defines every Siochain, from initiate seeker to legendary immortal.

Becoming Siochain

Any changeling may strive to become an icon and claim immortality, and indeed many motivations might drive a Kithain toward the path. Some desire a closer relationship to the Dreaming and a chance to understand its secrets. Others feel drawn to the perilous road by destiny. A few become the students of existing Siochain, by accident or design, as =immortals sometimes seek to pass on their gift and return to life as ordinary changelings. Most simply hear the legend of the Siochain and elect to dedicate themselves, as have the storied few, to the service of the Dreaming. Becoming one of the Siochain is a spiritual transformation, more like a sharpening of focus than transcendence or ascension.

Siochain are very much still changelings, after all, just existing with a slightly different perspective.

No matter how a changeling arrives to the quest, the first step is always the same. A revelation appears, calling the Kithain to wager their soul in glorious adventure. This revelation takes on characteristics from the more neglected of the changeling’s twin selves. If the seeker has embraced their fae side more, the message will be an inter-office memo or a mobile phone alert, a jagged bolt of normalcy interrupting a dream. If they are more comfortable in their mortal life, the revelation will be a watercolor streak of nonsense woven through their daily routine. Some push the interruption aside, and in so doing, miss their chance at something greater. But others grab hold of it and follow where it takes them, which leads to the first great revelation and officially begins their journey toward immortality: choosing a Mantle.

  8 comments for “The Immortals [Changeling Players Guide]

  1. Nicolas Milioni Gravina Abdu
    August 30, 2018 at 11:38 am

    Hummm,id like to know if this players guide explores the relationship between changelings and other supernatural beings?

  2. MagusRogue
    August 30, 2018 at 11:57 am

    So is there going to be expanded kithians? Like the Merman houses?

  3. Lian
    August 30, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Isn’t this the same preview from June 26?

    • Ian A. A. Watson
      August 30, 2018 at 1:21 pm

      So it is, good catch. My apologies.

  4. Lian
    August 31, 2018 at 11:00 am

    So are we going to get another preview?

  5. Will D. Beast
    September 2, 2018 at 11:34 am

    This sounds amazing! Yet another book to look forward to.

  6. Noneofyourbusiness
    September 2, 2018 at 10:57 pm

    “Some believe that such a council originally devised the Changeling Way to share with the world, gifting others with a form of the immortality they’d earned themselves.”

    Wasn’t the previous canon that all faeries were immortal before they started using the Changeling Way?

    • Arrendis
      September 10, 2018 at 5:07 pm

      I expect the intent there is that the first Siochain are the Dreaming’s response to the Shattering and the closing off of Arcadia. As Banality sets in in places that have been (comparatively) heavily urbanized, fae begin to Fade and die. So the Dreaming selects a few whose nature is suited to this new world.

      Maybe they embody the dreams of safety, comfort, or protection of the vulnerable. Whatever the reason, they’re the dreams to which the new shape of the world isn’t inherently anathema. They’re the fae creatures who can explore what it is to be among humans, instead of just around them.

      And through them, still during those desperate first few decades while things are in flux, the Changeling Way is discovered.

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