Savvy travelers understand how the Hedge responds to their thoughts and feelings, and can learn to deliberately shape it by altering people’s mindsets, including their own. The Hedge is anything but simple — any change may have unforeseen and potentially dangerous consequences. But mastering the art means gaining a measure of control over the landscape, easing a journey or making someone else’s harder. The Thorns may burst open and release goblins armed with daggers and malice, but the changeling scorches clear the path ahead with pure, searing rage.
Any fae creature can subtly shape the Hedge, but only changelings, Gentry, and Huntsmen can enact paradigm shifts. The Hedge also shapes itself: whenever a character makes a roll to navigate or investigate a place, deal with a Hedge denizen, or otherwise interact with the Hedge, the Storyteller rolls eight Hedgespinning dice. This roll loses the 10-again quality if she’s on a trod, gains 9-again if not, and gains 8-again if she’s in the Thorns. The Storyteller can use any successes beyond one to enact shifts, subtle or paradigm, in direct reaction to whatever the characters just did. A paradigm shift the Hedge itself enacts grants a Beat to each player whose character suffers adverse effects from it.
It’s not enough to simply think of something terrifying, or use Contracts to change emotions magically. A traveler must engage in a give-and- take with the surrounding Hedge and the people whose minds it reflects, pushing and pulling a little at a time until each changes the other. For instance, if she wants to create a bridge to span a chasm, she must guide events toward harmony or progress, perhaps convincing people (or goblins) to work together to accomplish something, or physically wrestling with a foe who represents an internal struggle she wishes to move past.
Any mundane action a character takes in the Hedge may help pave the way toward Hedgespinning, although since the shifts reflect the emotions and general mental state of everyone involved, the results can have unpredictable side effects on exceptional successes and dramatic failures. Before each action, the player decides whether she wants it to generate shaping successes or not. If she does, the action takes a dice penalty depending on where she is: ?3 on a trod, ?2 in the Thorns, or ?1 elsewhere. If she generates successes in excess of what’s necessary to succeed at the action, she may immediately spend one Glamour and allocate those extra successes to Hedgespinning. She can spend Hedgespinning successes to change details about her surroundings, or learn secrets and shortcuts. A dramatic failure on a roll designated for Hedgespinning incites Bedlam (p. XX) in everyone present.
A player can only allocate any given rolled success to one purpose, so on actions for which successes matter, she must choose whether to allocate each success to its usual result or to the shaping. For instance, if the changeling makes a successful attack against a loyalist and rolls four successes, she may either deal four points of damage (plus her weapon’s modifier as normal), change four successes’ worth of Hedge details, or compromise between them to deal some damage and change some details. The player can only allocate rolled successes to Hedgespinning, not successes automatically added by a weapon’s modifier or other method. Because the number of rolled successes always matters for Hedgespinning, working together with allies is vitally important for achieving major changes to the Hedge; a player can more reliably score large numbers of successes while taking teamwork actions with her motley. Extended actions in the Hedge can allocate successes to Hedgespinning as well, but each roll must immediately apply its excess successes to shaping during that interval; they don’t accumulate over the course of the action.
Subtle Hedge-shaping effects can be as fantastical as the changeling likes, as long as they’re still relatively small changes. Players should describe their changes in terms of what’s actually happening to the scenery — for instance, creating a weapon via Survival actions might make a tree sprout sword-leaves a changeling can pick, or she might take a Jury Rigging action to smash two rocks together until they merge and form a hammer. Learning information about the area via shifts involves actions that confuse or persuade the Hedge to open up paths that didn’t exist before; for instance, she could draw a picture of a door on a blank stone wall and convince everyone present that it’s a real door through which a threat might come at any moment, thus making it one that leads to a Hollow she didn’t even know was there. Of course, doing it that way might lead to a Hollow inhabited by someone hostile, but that’s just an opportunity for potential gain.
[SUBTLE SHIFTS CHART REDACTED]
If a player achieves an exceptional success on any action designated for Hedgespinning, she may spend two points of Glamour to enact a paradigm shift, spending not just excess successes on the roll, but all of them. If she does, she forfeits the usual Condition she would bring into play for her exceptional success. She may spend these successes on subtle effects as above, but she may also spend them on more drastic changes, listed below.
If the character has a Contract, token, or other power that would allow her to make a change normally, the player doesn’t need to spend successes to do it. For instance, using Elemental Fury to call down a storm doesn’t require a paradigm shift and doesn’t give her an emotional Condition.
[PARADIGM SHIFTS CHART REDACTED]
Once per scene, if a paradigm shift aligns with the changeling’s Thread, gain one extra success to add to her next Hedgespinning action during the scene.
Enacting a paradigm shift in the Hedge requires the changeling to let what’s going on around her affect her deeply. At the end of any scene in which a changeling performed at least one Hedgespinning paradigm shift, she gains an emotional Condition that reflects the general direction and outcome of the changes she made. For instance, if she summoned a blazing fire, she’s likely to gain the Berserk Condition; but if that blazing fire got out of control and killed a few innocent goblin bystanders, she might gain the Guilty Condition instead. Pulling these emotions from deep inside her to change reality might dredge up memories from her durance or make her feel too fae for comfort, potentially prompting a breaking point at the player’s discretion.
Paradigm shifts also alert the Hedge locals that some powerful business is going down nearby, and they inevitably come to have a look — or punish whoever turned their liar’s apple tree into a scarecrow. The more paradigm shifts a character enacts in a scene, the more attention she draws to herself.
A changeling may use her kenning (p. XX) with a dice bonus equal to her Empathy dots to read the nature of any paradigm shifts that occurred in the area within the last week.
Following are some hobgoblins for use in your chronicles.
“You sound like someone in need of some better luck.”
Background: Mosspocket once owned a fine house in the Hedge. It had secret rooms and reading nooks, and a little squirrel-faced woman who brought him tea every afternoon. A canny group of changelings tricked him out of the house and the secret rooms and the reading nooks, and even the little squirrel-faced woman, and Mosspocket was forced to leave with nothing but his satchel full of parchment and ink.
The changelings are long dead, and even though Mosspocket’s house now stands empty and encroaching brambles threaten its lawns, he can’t go back: The changelings held the deed, and he doesn’t know who they passed it on to. Instead, he makes deals with anyone he can, hoping to trade up and up and up until he finds the person who holds the faerie deed to his faerie house, and swap them their heart’s desire for his own.
Description: Mosspocket appears as a young man, with owl-like features that actually include feathers on his face. His coat rustles with all the parchments tucked into its pockets and his satchel clinks with jars of ink and pens.
Storytelling Hints: Mosspocket is very polite, and tries to be helpful. He’ll chat with the motley to see what they need, and always, always has something in his many pockets he’s willing to trade.
Mental Attributes: Intelligence 4, Wits 3, Resolve 2
Physical Attributes: Strength 3, Dexterity 2, Stamina 2
Social Attributes: Presence 3, Manipulation 4, Composure 4
Mental Skills: Academics 3, Investigation 2, Politics 1
Physical Skills: Athletics 2, Larceny 2, Stealth 2, Weaponry 1
Social Skills: Empathy (Desires) 3, Persuasion (Deals) 4, Socialize 3, Subterfuge (Misdirection) 2
Merits: Eidetic Memory, Fast Talking 3, Fixer, Pusher
Glamour/per Turn: 9/4
Aspiration: To restore his estate to its former cozy glory
Contracts: Know the Competition, Sight of Truth and Lies
Dread Powers: Bottle Glamour, Lethe’s Embrace, Miracle, Reality Stutter
Type Damage Dice Pool
Thornknife 0L 4
“Where do you think you’re going, kid?”
Background: Like their cousins of legend, the bridge trolls, trod trolls demand tribute, favors, or tasks from those who wish to pass. Many of them make their homes in Hollows close to a trod, where they can hear the footsteps or hoofbeats and carriage wheels of approaching travelers. The trolls move out to block the road, and refuse to let the travelers continue on their journey until they’ve paid their way. This tribute can take many forms: a sack of goblin fruit, favors owed, or anything else the troll might need, or senses the changelings value.
Some changelings refuse to pay the tribute and instead attempt to leave the path, skirting into the Thorns to avoid the troll and his reach. Doing so is risky: Leaving the path for any reason often leads to disaster, landing the changeling somewhere dangerous and unfamiliar. The trolls know this, too, and choose spots to block where abandoning the road is especially ill-advised.
Description: Trod trolls are huge. No, bigger than that. They’re large enough to plunk themselves down in the middle of a trod and leave no room for a traveler to squeeze by on either side and still remain on the path. Often, they change their skin to resemble the road itself, so they blend in from a distance. They might be the pale gray of cobblestones, the dusty beige of a dry dirt road, or the deep, dark brown of a muddy road after a rainstorm.
Storytelling Hints: Trod trolls tend to be surly and a bit smug. They aren’t very smart, but they don’t have to be: They’re big and heavy and they’re not kidding when they threaten to pitch you into the Thorns if you defy them. Sometimes, they’ll set up shop near a Goblin Market. This way, they encounter travelers who are more likely to retrace their steps and buy what the trolls want from the Market, rather than returning home and finding another trod.
Trod trolls are generally solitary creatures, content with limiting their socializing to the people they meet on the road. However, sometimes they work in pairs, the second one hiding until his partner has engaged the passers-by, then sneaking onto the road behind them and blocking their escape route so the changelings are forced to pay up immediately.
Mental Attributes: Intelligence 1, Wits 1, Resolve 3
Physical Attributes: Strength 7, Dexterity 3, Stamina 5
Social Attributes: Presence 2, Manipulation 2, Composure 3
Mental Skills: Investigation 2, Occult (Trods) 1
Physical Skills: Athletics (Throwing) 3, Brawl 4, Stealth 3, Survival 3
Social Skills: Intimidation (Looming) 5, Persuasion 2, Subterfuge 2
Merits: Iron Stamina 3
Glamour/per Turn: 9/4
Aspiration: To amass a fortune
Frailties: Must attempt to solve a riddle asked of it (taboo); sunshine from the mortal world (bane; if a trod troll dies from its bane, it turns to stone)
Type Damage Dice Pool
Fists 2B 11
Thrown boulders 2L 10
Contracts: Might of the Terrible Brute, Paralyzing Presence, Seven-League Leap
Dread Powers: Home Ground (Trods), Regenerate 1, Surprise Entrance (p. XX), Unbreakable
Changeling: The Lost 2nd Edition can be pre-ordered via BackerKit at the Kickstarter page!