Greetings, all! This week we’re going to tease a little morsel of content from the upcoming The Hedge for Changeling: The Lost 2e! I know this book is very much anticipated, so do read all the way to the bottom. We’ll be asking for your opinion on what to preview next!
In the meantime, let’s take a look at a portion of the Hedge Survival Guide in Chapter One, and see what it has to say about persisting in such a wyrd environment:
Hedge Survival Guide
Traversing the Hedge is never dull. In the badlands outside Drumheller, merchants ride saurian goblins, daring any to trespass upon their land. Motleys crossing over in Abu Dhabi find floral minarets blossoming in the desert sand. In bustling Hedge cities, Goblin Princesses ride through the streets on motorcycles, selling faerie cocaine to passersby. Distance becomes a narrative tool rather than a physical absolute. Some realms within the Hedge are “far” from Arcadia, meaning the Gentry’s minions are less common and it’s more difficult for the Lost to accidentally stumble into their would-be masters’ realms. Of course, other parts border Fair Folk palaces and estates, even if they appear to be entirely surrounded by trods and hollows. Time tricks people in the Hedge, geography is no longer an absolute, and little is as it seems.
Time is a funny enough thing for mortals who don’t have to contend with the Hedge’s mercurial physics. In Arcadia proper, where everything conforms to the Kindly Ones’ whims, time means next to nothing. Hedge regions close to Arcadian estates have a similarly loose relationship with causality. In one grove, time freezes like a river in winter, slowing down to such an extent that epic sagas play out within while barely a second passes in the rest of the Hedge. Within a castle floating in the sky, time skips, leap-frogging the Lost into their own futures before resuming its ordinary course.
Time in the Hedge not only varies from place to place, but rarely behaves the same way twice even within a single location. The first time a changeling passes through a forest of backward-running clocks, he emerges in the previous week. If he does it again, his body regresses instead, changing him back into a gangly teenager. Abusing these regions is a dangerous prospect — when things go wrong with time travel, they go spectacularly wrong. Changelings may gain a second or third fetch. A motley finds their histories remain the same, but that its members’ kiths and seemings have been shuffled. A Summer Courtier ends up in an alternate world where she’s a vampire instead of one of the Lost.
Time has no sway in the regions called the k?la, whose surreal landscapes are filled with melted clocks, sundials that run backwards, and webs of golden thread. Instead, it collapses into a single point, allowing changelings from across time to interact with each other. If a Huntsman catches a changeling while they’re in a k?la, they can rip her from her timeline, stranding her in an unfamiliar era. Otherwise, when they leave, each changeling returns to the moment they entered the k?la regardless of how long they were inside.
Summer Sun, Winter Shade
Everything has its season in the Hedge. The seasonal courts’ namesakes dance through the forests and thorns, but Spring, Winter, Summer, and Autumn aren’t the only ones to hold sway. Hobgoblins cultivating goblin fruits along raging rivers recognize a Flood Season, a Growing Season, and a Harvest Season. Monsoon Seasons sweep through as well, complete with flash floods and torrential downpours. Many Hedge seasons aren’t related to the weather at all. When hobgoblins break out old-fashioned goalie masks and razor-sharp sticks, it heralds Hockey Season’s arrival. Even Goblin Queens bow before the Kindly Ones in the Noble Season, where the Hedge bends to the Gentry’s will, reflecting their Titles at every turn.
Each season carries sets of rules and expectations. During Carnival Season, hobgoblins dress in masquerade masks and tempt changelings to indulge in the finest ambrosia. When Hunting Season gets its turn, those same goblins turn on changelings, betraying them to the Huntsmen or privateers. Neither malice nor logic dictates their actions, for the Hedge defines how its residents should behave. Woe betide the motley that doesn’t meet these expectations.
Hedge seasons aren’t bound to the mortal world’s progression. Winter spreads its chilly grasp across the land when the Bloody Artist takes up residence in his Winter Palace, no matter the time of year. Why? Because if such a potent Goblin Queen is in the Palace, it must be winter. If enough goblin merchants gather outside an established Market, it can shift the local Hedge into Faire Season, sending potential buyers toward their stalls. The upside to all this is that canny changelings can get a sense for a region’s unique quirk before they meet any hobgoblins by observing the environment and understanding the current season. Ambitious motleys can even influence the seasons, convincing the Hedge through their actions — or Hedgespinning — that a new season has arrived.
Over the Hills and Under the Mountains
The Hedge is a realm of fantastic reality. Often its environs are recognizable but elevated to the stuff of legend. Woods are darker, paintings brighter, and castles more imposing. The sweltering sun is a literal hobgoblin trying to kill you in the Empty Sands’ desert wasteland, while bottomless whirlpools are a genuine threat to those sailing the 77 Seas that lie on the other side of the Bermuda Triangle. The following biomes serve as inspiration for Storytellers.
Falling Star Caverns
The Hedge around Krugersdorp, South Africa plunges deep underground, forcing changelings through tight squeezes and galleries of stone teeth. This Hedge is a maze of passages, perfect for hiding a Hollow in. It’s also prone to collapse, burying its inhabitants alive or exposing middens where long-lost hobgoblins hid their treasures.
New Tilt: Constricted
Description: Walls, debris, or other solid materials squeeze the character on all sides.
Effect: The character’s movement is restricted, and his speed reduced. He can only inch forward or backward. He can’t apply Defense against incoming attacks and can’t take combat-related actions.
Causing the Tilt: Attempting to crawl through tight spaces can cause this Tilt, as well as sudden collapses.
Ending the Tilt: Emerging from the narrow environs or finding a way to widen the space surrounding the character can end the Tilt.
The 77 Seas
Centuries’ worth of wreckages sit in the Hedge just on the other side of the Bermuda Triangle. Monstrous deep-sea hobgoblins lurk within these wooden and steel skeletons, hiding among the rust and decay. Sea serpents, albino whales, and krakens battle each other one moment, then barter with privateers the next. Massive pelicans soar overhead, gulping down submarines and their faerie crews like sardines. Changelings sail off the ocean’s edge, plunging into dark and shadowy Bastions or casting off into the starry night sky. Here, trods and the Dreaming Roads aren’t literal paths to walk, but currents, straits, and passages through razor coral and treacherous living sandbars.
New Tilt: Belly of the Beast
Description: The character has been swallowed whole and is trapped in a monster’s gut.
Effect: When the beast moves, the character’s Dexterity-based dice pools suffer a ?1 to ?3 penalty. Stomach acid or other dangerous substances inflict 1 point of bashing damage per turn.
Causing the Tilt: Getting swallowed by a creature in the Hedge causes this Tilt.
Ending the Tilt: Finding a way to escape from within the beast — whether carving a way out or convincing it to spit the characters back out — ends the Tilt.
And there’s more to come in that same section of the book. The Hedge is absolutely filled with player and Storyteller information, so do pick it up when it’s available!
We’ve had some Scion preview requests come in, for the upcoming Once and Future and The Wild Hunt, so keep your eyes open on future blogs. Are there any other books or games you want to see previewed or discussed here?
Let us know in the comments!
13 responses to “[The Hedge] Preview”
Would love to see a preview of Icons of Rage
YAY!!! Been waiting a long time for this! So excited to see that it’s still in the works! Is the k?la on purpose?
On the whole, I am loving how this is shaping up. Lots of cool ideas and details (the Hockey Season bit is gold honestly), and it really helps establish that the Hedge is a place where literally anything can happen. The whole section on trying to abuse time travel and its weird effects is also a great bit of creativity. That said, there are a couple things noted here worry me a bit.
Given all the advantages that Gentry have in the Hedge innately, it feels a little worrying that they have a whole time where the Hedge practically venerates them in Noble Season. On the other hand, given all they bargained for it feels fitting the Gentry would want a whole section of time devoted to them (even when every day is already devoted to them); fits the colonial angle they have.
Another is Hunting Season, and the like – if a Fae Mount is a Hob (albeit one without contracts a uniform ability to enter the mundane realm without a merit benefit) then would they also be compelled to turn on Changelings?
Love it. More please.
A bit of ‘Across the Eight Directions’, if you please.
I will gladly, readily, *eagerly* second or third some kind of preview from Once and Future.
This is describing time being sped up not slowed down. Events in the area are happening faster than elsewhere which means time is moving faster there:
“In one grove, time freezes like a river in winter, slowing down to such an extent that epic sagas play out within while barely a second passes in the rest of the Hedge.”
Good catch, that’s absolutely true. I hope they take notice for errata.
All good narrative to allow a troupe to tell any kind of story they want – including an alternate history when they’re all vampires. Lovely.
I would love to see a Once and Future preview.
Is “k?la” how it’s meant to look or a formatting issue? I noticed that “-1” and “-3” were rendered as “?1” and “?3” on this page.
Whenever some actionable intel from the Clades Companion becomes available, I’ll be all up ons.
I haven’t played in forever and just randomly decided to search up WoD and eventually landed here. I’m so glad you guys are still making content for Changeling. I’m looking forward to picking this up
anything that’s for changeling 2e is good news for me, i did feel the hedge in 2e wasn’t -quite- as fleshed out as the underworld in geist, so this supplement is perfect, can’t wait.