Tumbledown Market [Changeling: The Lost]

Hi, Rose here. ^_^ Changeling has officially gone to editing! To celebrate, I thought I’d preview one of Meghan and my favorite freeholds from Chapter 6, Lauren Roy’s Tumbledown Market.

Tumbledown Market

The French Market, New Orleans, Louisiana
Large Flea Markets across the United States

Running alongside the Mississippi River at the edge of the French Quarter is New Orleans’ French Market. It’s part flea market, part souvenir shop, and part art show. Tourists and residents alike browse the market’s wares. Anything you might need is likely to be tucked away in a stall, from tee shirts to spices to jewelry.

The French Market is also home to a goblin market so sprawling that it’s broken the bounds of not only the alleys of shops along the river, but New Orleans itself. Used to be, the only way to enter the goblin market of Tumbledown was to know the secret entrance at the back of the French Market, near Barracks Street. Nowadays, it has grown so large you can find trods in just about any large flea market in the United States that will wind you up in Tumbledown.

The freehold of Fair Coin began as a motley that traded frequently in the market. Its members are mostly composed of New Orleans residents, but as Tumbledown’s borders have spread, its changeling residents have accepted more out-of-towners into the fold. Tumbledown is always open for business. It’s exhilarating and exhausting, a non-stop carnival even in the dead of night. Someone’s always willing to make a deal.

Historiarum Obscura

Native Americans had established a trading post along the Mississippi River well before Europeans colonized the area. The market’s location shifted occasionally, but stayed in the general vicinity. In 1791, the space that had once been known as the Meat Market — the only place in the French Quarter where meat was allowed to be sold — became officially known as the French Market. It was largely an open-air market at first, with structures being added near-constantly over the next two hundred years. The French Market stretches six blocks, from Café du Monde in the market’s original location, down to the flea market stalls across from the New Orleans Mint downriver.

The goblin market of Tumbledown began as a few stalls tucked in among the mundane vendors. A few enterprising traders sold goblin fruit alongside the everyday fruit sellers. Careful listeners might hear the details of a pledge being hammered out amidst the humans haggling for a deal.

As the French Market expanded, so did its goblin counterpart. More stalls popped up. More hobgoblins left the Hedge to hawk their wares. Shoppers came from far and wide to hunt for rare items, so many that the sellers began hiring Ogres to guard the Barracks Street entrance, letting only a handful of buyers through at a time to keep the humans from noticing.

In the late 1800s, a change rippled through Tumbledown. Where for decades, travelers came to the goblin market, suddenly the goblin market came to them. The spaces between stalls in markets across the country opened out into the humid air of New Orleans, the smell of the Mississippi and the lilt of Creole. Trods that had been closed off or forgotten opened up, their roads leading to Tumbledown. The market itself expanded, sprawling far beyond the six blocks in the French Quarter. Not only was there room for more vendors, Tumbledown became a small town all its own, with merchants and visitors pitching tents on the outskirts. Over the years, permanent structures have taken their places, housing inns, taverns, and storefronts. Most of them echo French Quarter architecture, even though they reside in the Hedge.

Theories explaining exactly what happened abound, but not a one has been proven true. One rumor tells of a massive contract negotiated with an embodiment of Commerce. Another suggests a fae merchant opened the Trods in a burst of Glamour and was never seen again. An old Wizened, who spent all his years studying the Hedge, insisted until his dying day that the Hedge itself decided Tumbledown should exist, and so it was. The proprietor of the Sans Merci tavern hosts storytelling contests twice a year, seeking the best telling of Tumbledown’s origin — it doesn’t matter if it’s true, only that it entertains.

New Orleans has other freeholds, but Tumbledown holds itself separate. The freehold of Fair Coin started with a motley whose members frequented the French Market. Elaine Beaudoin’s family worked the same stall for generations, selling fresh seafood and small bites to hungry browsers. Two years after her Keeper stole her away, she returned to find her fetch bantering with her favorite customers. A nearby merchant offered her a handkerchief to catch her tears, and it took a few moments before she realized the handkerchief was made of dream-silk, and her companion had the face of a cat. She took a job with the silk-seller, only a few stalls down from her family’s, and traded there unseen for months before she fell in with her motley.

They were all changelings from New Orleans, several of them scouring the goblin market on a regular basis for Contracts that might help protect them or their families — even though those families had forgotten them, or never knew they were gone.

When Tumbledown expanded, Elaine was there. The influx of new customers, many of them Lost themselves, meant a slew of people who needed guidance and protection. When a person desperately seeks an item, Tumbledown’s pull can be overwhelming. Many shoppers find themselves wandering the stalls, unsure of how they arrived but certain the answers to their problems will be found hanging from a rack or twinkling in the starlight. The freehold of Fair Coin formed to help those travelers, to keep changelings from bartering away their hearts, their dreams, or their freedoms for deals that don’t balance out.

The Traders’ Courts

Currency in a goblin market takes several forms, most of it heavily dependent on what the seller wants and what the buyer is willing to trade away. Coins, services, secrets, a favor to be collected later, or a dark deed done now, all are fair and valid trades. Fair Coin’s loyalty is to transactions of all types. The bargains don’t have to be honorable, but they do need to be honored.

The Court of Coins

The simplest transactions are completed with cold, hard, cash, though that cash might more closely resemble lost doubloons or pennies gathered from the depths of a specific wishing fountain in Poughkeepsie. It has a specific value, can be counted, can be bitten to test its realness. Change also jingles in one’s pocket or purse, signifying to anyone listening for its clinking, clattering song that the carrier has riches to spend.

Members of the Court of Coins are the most straightforward of the Lost, preferring to deal in specifics and absolutes. They rarely hide behind ruses, wanting to deal straight with anyone who cares to trade with them, and expecting the same in return.

The Mantle of a Coin courtier carries with it the sound of coins shaken in deep pockets, or bills counted out from a drawer. They smell of copper and paper and ink.

Mantle of Coins

Harvest: Your character gains a Glamour point whenever she successfully hunts down someone who owes her something and gets it.

• Gain bonus dice equal to your character’s Mantle dots on mundane rolls to persuade someone to make an oath (p. XX).

•• Gain bonus dice equal to your character’s Mantle dots to mundane rolls to figure out whether someone is trying to cheat her.

••• Once per chapter, you may spend a Willpower point to grant your character additional dots of the Resources Merit (p. XX) equal to her Mantle dots, to a maximum of five, for the scene.

•••• Once per chapter, reduce your character’s Goblin Debt by his Mantle rating.

••••• Once per scene, you may spend a Willpower point to learn the current heart’s desire of any character present.

The Court of Barter

The farmer will let you sleep in her barn if you brush the horses. The hitchhiker tells stories to the driver who takes her from Boston to Albany, keeping him awake and entertained as the long miles pass. For a week’s worth of the Fairest’s beauty, the hag will help her find her long lost love. People have bartered since time immemorial, trading their surplus to those with needed skills, and letting their trash transmute into another’s treasure.

Changelings who join the Court of Barter realize that everything has value, even if it’s hard to see. It’s this court that takes in most of the newly escaped Lost, guiding them away from the stalls in Tumbledown where less scrupulous merchants will sense their desperation — for information, for vengeance, for word of lost families. The Barter Court makes itself available to witness bargains, letting the entrants know whether their deal is fair or not. While this is generally met with approval, some sellers take it as an insult that their clients distrust them so openly.

The mantle for a Barterer manifests in even tones and calming scents. They leave drips of sealing wax in their wake.

Mantle of Barter

Harvest: Your character gains a Glamour point whenever he successfully intercedes on someone else’s behalf in an unfair deal.

• Gain bonus dice equal to your character’s Mantle dots on mundane rolls to read someone’s situation from their behavior.

•• Gain bonus dice equal to your character’s Mantle dots on mundane rolls to make deals and agreements in Tumbledown.

••• Regain a Willpower point whenever you resolve the Oathbreaker Condition, or when someone else resolves it due to your influence or meddling.

•••• Once per chapter, when the Storyteller spends your Goblin Debt to impose a Condition, you may replace the Condition with another of the same general type.

••••• Once per chapter, you may ask the Storyteller if someone your character is dealing with has left a loophole or catch that will disadvantage him in a deal.

The Court of Favors

Jill never carries cash, but she’s got great credit. Give her a few days and she’ll make it up to you. If the Pie Man will part with one of his goblin fruit tarts, Ash promises she’ll bring him the finest berries from a secret shrub in the Hedge only she can find. Favors are a currency built on risk and trust on the part of both seller and buyer. The seller trusts they’ll recoup their investment; the buyer trusts that, when the bill comes due, they’re not forced to pay more than what their purchase was worth.

The Lost who swear to the Court of Favors tend to be shrewd listeners and smooth talkers. They promise just enough, and know when to walk away from a bad deal. Whatever it is their business partner needs, the changeling knows a guy who can get it for him. Their networks are vast, and oathbreakers are rarely tolerated in their ranks.

Favorsworn mantles carry with them the sound of bells tolling or hands clasping to seal a bargain.

Mantle of Favors

Harvest: Your character gains a Glamour point whenever she makes good on a promise she made within the same chapter.

• Gain bonus dice equal to your character’s Mantle dots on mundane rolls to convince someone to make a bargain (p. XX).

•• Gain the benefits of the Fixer Merit (p. XX) even if your character doesn’t qualify.

••• Other characters take a dice penalty equal to your character’s Mantle dots to mundane rolls to swindle her or lie to her about a deal or promise.

•••• Once per chapter, you may accept a point of Goblin Debt to pawn off an obligation from a bargain onto another changeling without being personally involved.

••••• Once per chapter, you may reroll any mundane action that would pay off a favor she owes and choose which result to keep.

The Court of Shady Deals

The gentle-natured man would never do harm to another living being, but oh, how his neighbor snores at night. If only someone would pinch his nose shut. Sure, you don’t have the Snowdrop Crown in your backpack, but if it were to find its way into it, and then to Tumbledown, well… don’t you want to know if your daughter still dreams about her father? What’s one more throat cut, after all the lives your Keeper made you take?

Members of the Court of Shady Deals are willing to take on the jobs most others would reject outright. They do the hard jobs, the ones that require cold logic, steady hands, and no aversion to blood. They do what’s necessary. They’re not sorry. The Lost who swear to this court are also the freehold’s defenders. If the Huntsmen come near, they know where to hide the bodies.

Light dims around these courtiers, and the sound of knives rasping on whetstone follows them.

Mantle of Shady Deals

Harvest: Your character gains a Glamour point whenever he successfully hides evidence of a dirty deed when someone comes looking for it.

• Gain bonus dice equal to your character’s Mantle dots on mundane rolls to pick a lock or break into a place he doesn’t belong.

•• Gain bonus dice equal to your character’s Mantle dots on mundane rolls to escape a sticky situation unnoticed.

••• Your character may use Goblin Contracts without incurring Goblin Debt a number of times per chapter equal to his Mantle rating.

•••• You may spent a Willpower point to ignore all the effects of the Oathbreaker Condition for one turn.

••••• Once per chapter, you may reroll a surprise attack roll and choose which result to keep.


Wren Lamontaigne

Wren Lamontaigne was born and raised in the Crescent City. She preferred Decatur to Bourbon, could tell the time by how loudly the Preservation Hall crowd was clapping, and never, ever, wanted to leave. She was taken at nineteen, one minute listening to a tour guide tell his enraptured crowd about the ghosts in the Beauregard House, the next tearing through the Hedge, bits of herself catching on the thorns.

Her Keeper made her tell stories until she was hoarse, then tell more. Wren doesn’t have much of a voice left, but she knows every tale there is to tell. The Lost seek her out in Tumbledown and offer her tea and honey to soothe her ragged throat. In return, she tells them stories: their own.

Charlotte Wake

Charlotte was rarely a good girl. If an elder said “don’t,” she heard “I dare you.” No Trespassing signs were gilded invitations. The French Market at night, after the stalls had closed? She could hardly resist. That first night, she wandered the empty rows, peeking beneath dropcloths and pretending to sell the wares to her imaginary friends. At ten years old, she was the queen of the market. Until the night she snuck in through the Barracks Street gate, and found herself farther from home than her imagination had ever carried her. It was fun at first, some of the vendors as fanciful as anything she’d ever read in her fairy tale collections. But then the Dusk Witch found her, and put her to work. Charlotte served the Dusk Witch for seven years, until the Fair Coin found her and set her free. Now she runs with them, acting as their errand girl and wreaking small havoc on the Dusk Witch’s stall.

The Pie Man

One of the draws of any goblin market worth its salt is the goblin fruit vendor. The Pie Man puts them all to shame. No one’s ever seen him bake, but every morning his stall is filled with racks upon racks of fresh pastries and tarts, their fillings made of goblin fruits of every kind. Something in the dough or his technique enhances their effects. He refuses to share his secrets.

The best pastries are gone within minutes of him putting up his awning, so changelings who want the most potent fruits are wise to arrive at Tumbledown early.

The Tumbledown Players

What’s a market without wandering musicians? The Tumbledown Players are a roving band, who range about the market hearing the latest gossip and weaving it into their songs. They serve as both rumor mill and town criers. Membership in the band rotates, and it doesn’t always consist only of changelings. If a hobgoblin can carry a tune or keep time, they’ve been known to join the ranks now and again.

The players are also said to be able to manipulate behaviors with their music, playing songs that make people more likely to buy, or linger at a stall long enough for the shopkeeper to make the right offer.


Dutch Alley

In New Orleans, Dutch Alley is a row of art galleries and exhibits, the art created by human hands. Tumbledown’s Dutch Alley boasts more unusual pieces, many of them made by local changeling artists. Some are works stolen from Keepers’ palaces, or from their jewelry boxes. The paintings boast colors impossible to reproduce with mundane pigments, and sculptures may once have been alive.

The Sans Merci Tavern

In the middle of a long day of shopping and bargaining, travelers may wish to sit down grab a bite to eat. The Sans Merci has stood for over a hundred years, built after Tumbledown’s expansion. The chefs cater to both changeling and faerie palates, offering pints of ale and thimbles of newborn tears side by side on the menu. The Tumbledown Players and other musicians often stop in to sing for their supper and hear the latest goings-on. The proprietor, a slender, tattooed man who’d look right at home in any bar on Rue Decatur, goes only by the name of Jack. As a game, he offers a reward for anyone who can guess his last name — one guess per patron per night — but it’s been a century, and no one’s hit upon it.

Café du Monde

As far as you can get from the Barracks Street entrance and still be in the French Market is the 24-hour coffee and beignet stand, Café du Monde. It’s a tourist attraction in New Orleans, selling squares of fried dough covered in powdered sugar, and strong chicory coffee. It’s a place many of the Lost go for quiet moments away from the Market. They’re surrounded by humans at all hours, and when you feel your perspective start slipping away from too many encounters with hobgoblins and horrors, a good dose of excited tourists and jaded locals can set you back to whatever your normal is.

The Exchange

Not everyone carries the proper currency with them when they reach Tumbledown. Some come bearing braids of their true love’s hair, only to find the merchant’s had enough of that and now wants the howl of a Briarwolf in a green glass bottle. Rather than going home empty-handed, market-goers stop by the Exchange to see if they can make a swap.

The Exchange doesn’t look too impressive on first glance. Boxes overflowing with what appears to be junk are piled atop one another, their contents spilling out onto the dusty ground. Cardboard produce boxes sit beside milk crates, and steam trunks with broken hinges lay open next them. A pair of badger-faced sisters handle the transactions, sometimes arguing in hushed tones about the values and exchange rates of the items in question.

5 thoughts on “Tumbledown Market [Changeling: The Lost]”

  1. So Awesome!
    I love the ability to make new Courts anyway, but seeing it in action in such a flavourful way makes me even more excited about Changeling 2e 😀

  2. This is so good!! All I can think about is incorporating the Ft Lauderdale Swap Shop in my games now. Lol. Is there an average time from Editing to being able to buy?


Leave a Comment