Contracts of Steed [Changeling: The Lost]

Changeling: The Lost core book coverHi, folks! As Changeling continues in the editing process, I’d like to preview the final version of Contracts, including the full text of the Contracts of Steed.

Arcadian Contracts are broken out into categories called Regalia: Sword for strength and aggression, Shield for defense and protection, Crown for leadership and rulership, Jewels for manipulation and temptation, Mirror for perception and self-transformation, and Steed for movement both seen and unseen. Every seeming has a favored Regalia, and the player chooses a second favored Regalia for their character.

Common Contracts are deals the True Fae originally negotiated for their servants. They focus on extending senses, and shaping what’s already there, whether it be emotions or physical phenomena.

Royal Contracts are agreements the Gentry originally forged for themselves, which changelings have been able to make themselves party to. They deal with creating people, places, and things out of whole cloth, directly tampering with minds, forcing people to do your bidding, and affecting destiny.

Finally, Contracts have special clauses for particular seemings. One of these is always the seeming that favors the Regalia, while the other is another seeming thematically appropriate to the Contract.

Below are the Contracts of Steed.

Contracts of Steed

Steed is always on the move, traversing both time and space. Where the stallion treads, his hooves punch holes in reality that let a changeling travel from one location to another. Embracing the freedom of the wild, Beasts favor Steed.

Boon of the Scuttling Spider (Common)

The changeling scuttles across a solid surface strong enough to support his weight.

Cost: 1 Glamour

Dice Pool: None

Action: Instant

Effects: The world flattens in the character’s eye, until all surfaces are equally horizontal and equally upside down. He can move along walls, ceilings, or slick surfaces normally too treacherous to cross, as long as they are strong enough to carry his weight. He can move at his normal Speed, and acts without hindrance while moving in this fashion.

•           Beast: The Beast embraces all of the spider’s advantages, including its webbing. He may use the restrain move in a grapple as though he had rolled an exceptional success, even if he didn’t.

•           Darkling: The Darkling instinctively sticks to the shadows, granting his player a two-die bonus on Stealth rolls while he scuttles on improbable surfaces.

Loophole: The changeling swallows a live spider.

Dreamsteps (Common)

The changeling steps into the dreams of a nearby sleeper, to travel from the mortal world into the dreamer’s Bastion. He touches a sleeping target, and synchronizes his breathing with hers until he can see her dreams. He then steps forward into them.

Cost: 1 Glamour

Dice Pool: Intelligence + Empathy + Wyrd vs. Bastion’s Fortification

Action: Contested

Duration: Instant

Roll Results

Dramatic Failure: The changeling enters the target’s dream, but suffers the Flesh Too Solid Tilt, and the dreamer’s Bastion gains +1 Fortification until she wakes.

Failure: The Contract fails.

Success: The changeling enters the dreamer’s Bastion through the Gate of Ivory (p. XX), rather than entering his own.

Exceptional Success:  The dreamer’s Bastion suffers a ?1 to Fortification until she wakes.

           Beast: The Beast may take on the mien of any of the sleeper’s nightmares that he witnessed. Once during the current chapter, he can inflict the Spooked Condition on her while interacting with her in the waking world.

•           Fairest: The Fairest sees a glimpse of the dreamer’s soul, granting him the Informed Condition regarding the sleeper.

Loophole: The changeling holds a teddy bear or other childhood comfort object that belongs either to him or to one of his Touchstones, while using this Contract.

Nevertread (Common)

The changeling leaves only scraps and emptiness in his wake.

Cost: 1 Glamour

Dice Pool: None

Action: Instant

Effects: The changeling stops to cloak one of his footprints: he can drop leaves over it, erase it and leave a pebble in its stead, or sculpt the earth until it resembles a hoof track. He then continues on his way, and the Contract changes all his footprints accordingly for the duration. This makes him impossible to track save by supernatural means, triggering a Clash of Wills, and altered tracks remain so even after the Contract ends.

•           Beast: The Beast lets people traveling with him benefit from this Contract, up to double his Stealth rating in companions. He still need only invoke the Contract once.

•           Wizened: The Wizened’s footsteps leave traps in their wake, per the Safe Place Merit (p. XX) with effective dots equal to his Dexterity.

Loophole: The changeling leaves a note, bloody fingerprint, or other clue of his passing. This can be hidden, but must provide a clue to his identity if found.

Pathfinder (Common)

Combining practical navigation with omens and divination, the changeling finds his way in the Hedge to Hollows, trods, goblin fruit, and dreams.

Cost: 1 Glamour

Dice Pool: None

Action: Instant

Effects: The changeling mingles some of his spit or blood with earth from the Hedge, and uses the mixture to draw a compass on his hand. He instinctively knows the distance and the direction of the nearest general Hedge feature of his choice — the nearest Goblin Market or Hollow, a patch of goblin fruit, or an entrance to the Gate of Horn, for instance. The Contract only reveals information about the Hedge itself, not about creatures lurking within.

•           Beast: The Beast’s finely honed instincts also yield information about nearby creatures: how many creatures they are, and whether they mean ill. “Meaning ill” is not immutable — if the changeling pisses off a friendly goblin, it might then mean him ill.

•           Wizened: The Wizened automatically knows whether goblin fruits that grow nearby are beneficial or detrimental, and gleans their types.

Loophole: The changeling plucks a thorn from the local Hedge and leaves a drop of blood while doing so when he invokes this Contract.

Seven-League Leap (Common)

The changeling leaps legendary distances, clearing chasms and obstacles in a single bound.

Cost: 1 Glamour

Dice Pool: None

Action: Reflexive

Duration: One turn

Effects: The changeling hops up and down, regaling the air with stories of his athletic prowess. The player then makes a jumping roll (Strength + Athletics), and the character can clear a jumping trajectory of 10 yards per dot of Wyrd he possesses.

           Beast: Seven-League Leap increases the Beast’s Speed by 10 for the scene. If he used this Contract in a foot chase (p. XX), he gains the Edge next turn.

•           Ogre: The Ogre can use his leap as an unarmed attack to crush an enemy, adding two to his Strength for the attack roll, and inflicting the Knocked Down Tilt if he hits.

Loophole: The changeling is wearing boots he stole from an enemy in this scene.

Chrysalis (Royal)

The changeling calls upon the savage nature that fueled his escape from Arcadia, howling like a great beast, or scuttling like an insect. He feels his own identity slip, drowned by the comfort of just being, and his body follows suit.

Cost: 2 Glamour

Dice Pool: None

Action: Instant


The changeling chooses two animals when the player purchases this power, and can transform into either one by invoking it. He must have seen the animal before (an accurate representation works), and it can’t be smaller than Size 1 or larger than Size 7. He can choose a mythical beast, though he gains none of its supernal powers — only the physical form: Physical Attributes, Size, Speed, and Health. He can also use the animal’s mundane senses and modes of movement; he can’t levitate, but as a winged dragon he could fly. If he transforms into an aquatic animal, he copies its gills and aquatic lungs. While in animal form, the character can communicate with other animals of the assumed species.

•           Beast: The character can choose two additional animal forms when the player purchases this Contract.

•           Ogre: The character can choose animals up to Size 15 to transform into.

Loophole: The changeling is in the natural habitat of his chosen animal and is near enough to touch at least one of them.

Flickering Hours (Royal)

The changeling picks meandering paths through the Hedge, stopping occasionally to smell a flower or prick his finger on a thorn. While his path seems random at best, and ineffectual at worst, the changeling is actually weaving an enchantment with his footsteps that allows him to slow or speed the passage of time. Cost: 1 Glamour for the changeling alone, 1 Glamour + 1 Willpower for a group

Dice Pool: None

Action: Instant

Duration: Until the changeling exits the Hedge

Effects: The changeling can extend this Contract to anyone traveling with him at the moment he invokes it; hostile pursuers, if they’re close on his heels, included. He may slow time by half, or speed it up to pass twice as quickly, for any of the targets individually. Until the sun next crosses the horizon, anyone quickened also gains the Fleet of Foot Merit, with effective dots equal to the changeling’s Wyrd up to three, and always has the Edge in a chase. Unwilling targets may pull free of the effect by succeeding at a Resolve + Supernatural Tolerance roll contested by the changeling’s Wits + Occult + Wyrd.

•           Beast: The Beast may freely extend this Contract to anyone he meets on his journey, if he spends the Willpower cost to include others once.

•           Elemental: The path becomes nearly impassable in the Elemental’s wake, and suffers the mechanical effects of the Ice Tilt with specifics appropriate to his associated element.

Loophole: The changeling smashes an antique clock or other old timekeeping instrument as he invokes the Contract.

Leaping Toward Nightfall (Royal)

The changeling touches his target, and speaks an impossible riddle that both curses and blesses her with time. What she has will be lost, what she lost will be found. When he finishes the riddle, and the target’s mind tries to wrap itself around the conundrum, he sends her hurtling through time.

Cost: 3 Glamour + 1 Willpower

Dice Pool: Intelligence + Occult + Wyrd vs. Resolve + Supernatural Tolerance

Action: Instant or contested; see below

Duration: Special

Roll Results

Dramatic Failure: The changeling sends a random target forward in time instead, chosen by the Storyteller, which could be himself. Upon arrival, the target suffers either the Volatile Condition (for objects) or the Spooked Condition (for characters).

Failure: The Contract fails.

Success: The changeling can send an object up to Size 10 or a character forward in time. The target instantly vanishes and reappears at the predetermined time in the same location, conserving momentum if it was moving. If something else occupies that spot, the target appears next to it instead. No time passes for the target. Sentient beings can contest this Contract. The changeling determines how far into the future he sends the target, to a maximum of days equal to successes rolled to invoke Leaping Toward Nightfall.

The changeling cannot end this Contract prematurely.

Exceptional Success: The changeling may also send the target to a new location occupied by someone to whom he owes a debt. He can’t choose the location itself, only the character who will receive the incoming target when it arrives in the future.

           Beast: The Beast may allow the ravages of time to buffet sentient targets, inflicting the Disoriented Condition. The target must either find an ally to resolve it (landmarks don’t help), or let it fade without resolution at the end of the scene in which she arrives.

•           Darkling: Upon arrival in the future, the target doesn’t remember the scene in which the Darkling invoked this Contract. This effect is permanent unless reversed through supernatural means, which triggers a Clash of Wills against the changeling.

Loophole: The changeling uses this ability when the target is touching part of the Hedge. A piece removed from the Hedge counts.

Mirror Walk (Royal)

The changeling steps into a mirror. He hears baying hounds in the distance, and senses a dark chill on the air. The changeling cuts his finger, leaving a bloody print on one of the myriad mirrors before him, and wills it to open to any mirror of his choice in either the mortal world or the Hedge.

Cost: 1 Glamour + 1 Willpower

Dice Pool: Wits + Survival + Wyrd

Action: Instant

Duration: Instant

Roll Results

Dramatic Failure: The changeling becomes lost in mirror space, which is part of the Hedge, and gains the Lost Condition. If he was reaching for an object instead, he drops it in mirror space.

Failure: The Contract fails.

Success: The changeling touches a reflective surface.. Once the way is open, the changeling can step through, bringing any companions he likes in a chain of linked hands, or simply reach his hand through to grab an object on the other side. The changeling must have touched the exiting mirror before, and both the entrance and exit must be large enough for him to physically pass his body or hand through.

Exceptional Success: The mirrors remain portals for the scene, and anyone may pass through freely with the changeling’s permission in either direction, without the need to link hands.

•           Beast: The Beast may end the Contract before he reaches the other side, deliberately depositing himself in mirror space; his player gains a two-die bonus to all rolls to navigate there or deal with its denizens for the scene.

•           Elemental: The Elemental becomes mirror-like after exiting the portal, only reflecting what is already in the room. This renders him invisible to the naked eye for a number of minutes equal to successes rolled to invoke the Contract.

Loophole: The changeling speaks the name or title of a character currently reflected in the mirror where he plans to exit. This can be a guess on the changeling’s part, whether because he knows little Mary goes to bed at seven and brushes her hair in the mirror beforehand, or because Mr. Witherfield locks up at five and his shop’s door has glass in it. If the person isn’t there, the Loophole doesn’t work and he doesn’t invoke the Contract.

Talon and Wing (Royal)

The character spreads his arms, or paws the ground, remembering dreams of flying. He then opens his mouth, to consume the dream and claim its power for his own.

Cost: 1-3 Glamour

Dice Pool: None

Action: Instant

Effects: This Contract can grant three different effects, which can be stacked at a cost of one point of Glamour each.

•           The character gains the mode of transportation of a beast, increasing his Speed by 10.

•           The character gains the senses of a beast, giving his player a three-die bonus to perception rolls and eliminating penalties in dim lighting or darkness.

•           The character gains the claws of a beast, giving his unarmed Brawl attacks a weapon modifier of +0L. If his unarmed attacks already deal lethal damage, his claws become preternaturally sharp and deal aggravated damage instead.

•           Beast: The Beast doesn’t tire, immune to mundane fatigue of any kind. Supernatural powers that make him tired trigger a Clash of Wills.

•           Darkling: A Darkling may add venomous fangs or claws to his transformation for one extra point of Glamour. Outside combat, this venom has Toxicity equal to his Wyrd and deals damage once per hour, for a number of hours equal to (six minus the target’s Stamina) hours. In action timing, a successful attack inflicts the grave Poisoned Tilt on his target. The poison remains in effect even after the Contract ends.

Loophole: The changeling eats a piece of fur, a talon, or another part of an animal he wants to emulate.

35 thoughts on “Contracts of Steed [Changeling: The Lost]”

    • Yep. Here are the experience costs:

      Common Regalia/Court Contracts: 3

      Royal Regalia/Court Contracts: 4

      Favored Regalia Common Contracts: 2

      Favored Regalia Royal Contracts: 3

      Goblin Contract: 2

      Out-of-Seeming Contract Benefit: 1

      Wyrd: 5 per dot

      Lost Willpower dot: 1

  1. Wildly, incredibly cool! This seems like a much cleaner system than what we’ve seen before.

    Out of curiosity, do Courts still provide Contracts?

    • Yes, Courts still provide Contracts.

      (Theoretically, all sorts of metaphysical forces could enter into Contracts with changelings — the Wyrd, as the principle of universal exchange, can be quite accommodating to making deals between all kinds of entities. You could do some pretty out-there crossover that way! But in the core book, we offer Arcadian, Court, and Goblin Contracts.)

      • Aaaaand now I’ve just gotten an idea for the God-Machine making a Contract as the focus of an Infrastructure. Oh lord the implications. I’m grinning right now at the possibilities.

        Thanks Rose. 😀

          • I think a deal with a mage would be a regular pledge, but something with an Ananke might be more like a Contract. Contracts are generally deals you make for one weird trick with an entity that has a very wide purview.

  2. I know it’s by far past the time to change anything, but I’ve found myself a bit doubtful in some of the details I’m seeing here. So, remembering I’m only expressing my feelings based on a limited peek:

    It’s a curious division and it makes arcadian contracts more uniform in terms of purchasing and acquiring them, but I’m not sure the in-universe distinction between Common and Royal contracts (or their origins, rather) serves that significant a purpose.

    There only being two levels of potency also looks more restrictive than helpful bearing in mind the myriad of contracts within a wide band of power that have previously existed. I’m reflexively concerned it’s going to lead to some flattening of the potential of contracts, or more pertinently, significant skews in usefulness between contracts that are categorized as roughly the same level. There seems to be some of that in the preview, which makes me a bit skeptical.

    Also, pardon my confusion, but shouldn’t Chrysalis be a Mirror contract?

  3. This is awesome! I’m incredibly excited about CtL2E and eagerly await the kickstarter and the resulting book & pdf release. perhaps the kickstarter will include more sneak peeks for backers?

  4. I really like this. It does make me wonder a bit about how these will interact with new Seemings, though. Would the Grimm Seeming have Seeming-specific Contract benefits available to them, or would those only be for the core six?

    • Any seeming can have these clauses. If you use a seeming outside of the core book, adding some clauses to existing Contracts for the Regalia you choose for it would make complete sense.

      (It’s worth noting that the choice of two seeming clauses per Contract is based on needing to fit a lot of Contracts into the core book. There’s no reason not to make up new ones that seem thematically appropriate.)

  5. So I’m more-or-less a total Changeling noob, though the previews have my very interested. But I’ve got to ask: what are the Loopholes? Is it an alternate payment instead of the Glamour cost?

    • Yes. Normally, activating a Contract costs one or two points of Glamour. But if you fulfill the loophole, you don’t have to pay that cost.

      • Why the change from ‘catch’ to ‘loophole’? The former felt more – I dunnno – fairytale-ish to me. Mileage varies, I know, so take this as a very small feedback concern.

        • One thing that came up a lot over the years, particularly in teaching the game, was that people expected “catches” in “contracts” to be things that were bad for their characters.

          (The original logic was that it was a “catch” for the other party the Contract was with, but since that party is rarely present in any kind of personal form, this didn’t come across clearly.)

          “Loophole” more clearly indicates that you’re getting away with something you’re not usually able to, and sounds more like something your character can use to their advantage.

  6. Again, I like how this is different BUT still feels like Changeling: The Lost! The (very minimal, mind you) peek we’d had into Contracts earlier felt… not right? It was too much LIKE the older version but made DIFFERENT just to BE different, I guess.

    Similar to what I saw with how Black Hat Matt (and his team, of course) handled the Transmutations in Promethean: The Created Second Edition, this change feels like it has a solid reason behind it… That’s not to say I like it, but I respect what you’re trying to do here. Um, I’m not saying I DISLIKE it, either. I’ll want to see it all in context. I’m looking forward to that! 🙂

  7. wait. What did you have in mind for what characters are able to start with then? Any contract 2 dots or lower is common and contracts 3 or higher are royal?

    • We’re not dot rating them at all, we’re giving you slots. You get to pick a few Common Contracts and a few Royal Contracts.

        • Yep! Here it is:

          Your character begins with four Contracts chosen from among Common Regalia, Common Court, and Goblin Contracts; she must have at least one dot in the appropriate Mantle Merit to take Court Contracts. Two of those must come from the character’s favored Regalia. She also gains two Royal Contracts from her Court or favored Regalia.

          • That’s actually perfect. So if I have a beast seeming then I can pick from the contracts of steeds royal contracts as a favored regalia?

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