Note: This FAQ is based on the rules as they are currently presented in Changeling: The Dreaming. Some changes to these interpretations may occur with the publication of Changeling Second Edition.
How do you use this FAQ?
This FAQ is divided into two parts. The first offers general information to players new to Changeling. The second provides answers to many of the most common questions asked by Changeling players. For those of you already familiar with Changeling, I suggest skipping to Part Two.
What is Changeling?
Changeling: The Dreaming is the last in the Storyteller game series by White Wolf Publishing. It is a game of modern fantasy in which dragons, magicians, knights in shining armor and other even more fantastic creatures exist right alongside the mundane world - hidden from mortal view by humans' own disbelief. You play a changeling, one of the immortal fae who has taken on mortal form in order to survive in a cold, rational world. During the course of the game you tell stories of heroism and wonder, and struggle to hold onto the Glamour that gives you your power.
What should I get if I want to play Changeling?
You need a copy of the main rulebook, and if you intend to be the Storyteller you may get a copy of the Storytellers Screen.
The Kithbooks offer in-depth examinations of each of the different faerie races, or kith.
The Changeling Players Guide offers many insights into the world of changelings for both players and Storytellers, as well as many new rules that are very useful.
Nobles: The Shining Host delves into the world of the changeling nobility. This book is especially useful for players with sidhe characters or Storytellers who like to incorporate lots of politics into their chronicles.
The Shadow Court reveals the secrets of Unseelie changelings and the enigmatic Shadow Court.
The Autumn People discusses the enemies of the fae, both those mortals who are so banal that they pose a danger to changelings just by their existence, and the Dauntain, changelings who have turned against their brethren and devoted their lives to snuffing out the fae. This book also contains a ton of useful information on the various effects of Banality on changelings.
Freeholds and Hidden Glens describes several changeling freeholds in North America. It is extremely useful to those beginning to play Changeling as it offers several sample settings that demonstrate what the world of Changeling is like.
The Immortal Eyes Trilogy (The Toybox, Shadows on the Hill and Court of All Kings) is a series of sourcebooks based on the events of the Immortal Eyes novels. Each of these game books describes the setting in one of the fiction books, and contains three short adventures based on the events that take place in the novels. The Toybox is set in San Francisco. Shadows on the Hill is set in Hawai'i. Court of All Kings is set in Ireland. The Immortal Eyes novels are highly recommended for Changeling players.
I've heard that you need to buy a bunch of cards to play Changeling. Is that true?
No. Cantrip cards will be completely eliminated as of Changeling Second Edition. Rules for playing without the cards are provided in the core rulebook. Changeling Players Guide also offers expanded rules for playing Changeling without cards.
Is there going to be a Changeling Second Edition? If so, what changes can we expect?
Yes, Changeling Second Edition will be released in August '97. The primary changes involve clarifications of the first edition rules and setting. The cantrip casting system will be significantly changed from that of the first edition and will be quite similar to that provided in the Changeling Players Guide.
What Is the Dreaming?
The Dreaming is a formless realm created by the dreams and aspirations of mortals. Arcadia, the home of the fae, lies at the center of the Dreaming. The fae can travel to and through the Dreaming, but not even they are as adept at it as they once were and must rely on ancient paths, called trods, to navigate successfully. It is said that anything is possible within the boundless Dreaming.
I don't understand the seemings. Is a changeling always in his mortal seeming or does he switch back and forth between mortal and fae?
A changeling is always in his fae seeming (unless he has been Undone, either temporarily or permanently). A changeling always recognizes another changeling as such, and a mortal always perceives a changeling as just another mortal.
I don't understand the seemings and how a changeling ages. Does a changeling age as he acquires more Banality, or does he age exactly as a mortal?
A changeling ages at the same rate as a mortal, passing through each of the changeling ages (childling, wilder and grump) throughout his life. A changeling does not age while within a freehold or while in the Dreaming (this includes time spent traveling on trods). However, a changeling who spends too much time in a freehold risks entering Bedlam.
Do all changelings begin as childlings?
A would-be changeling may undergo the Chrysalis at any time in his mortal life. His mortal age at the time of his Chrysalis determines his seeming. A changeling who awakens from his mortal existence - who goes through the Chrysalis - at age six is a childling. A would-be changeling who goes through the Chrysalis at 40 would be a grump. Most changelings emerge from Chrysalis as childlings since the more Banality a character accumulates before changing, the less chance he will undergo Chrysalis.
A faerie soul can remain trapped within its mortal coil throughout the body's entire mortal life without emerging. This is rare, though, and usually occurs only in the cases of individuals who have extremely banal lives.
When a changeling is permanently Undone (by gaining 10 points of Banality) does the faerie soul remain with that mortal till death, or is it reborn into another body immediately?
The faerie soul remains within that mortal body till death - a horrifying reminder to all fae of the danger they face.
What is the difference between being temporarily Undone and permanently Undone?
A changeling is generally only permanently Undone by gaining 10 points of permanent Banality. Characters who have suffered a chimerical death are considered to be temporarily Undone. Changelings can become temporarily Undone by other means as well, such as deliberately denying the Dreaming (to avoid a dangerous chimera, for example), or by simply getting hit by too much temporary Banality at once. Being temporarily Undone is also called the Forgetting, since the changeling forgets his fae heritage until he is given Glamour by another changeling.
Detailed information on the Undoing can be found in The Autumn People.
Can a nine-foot-tall troll walk through a normal doorway without stooping? If so, what do mortals see?
This is probably one of the most common questions asked, and the most difficult to answer. Ultimately such situations are up to the Storyteller to resolve.
Lets first assume that the mortal seeming of the troll is at least close to seven feet tall (trolls tend to be on the tall side, even in their mortal seemings). In this case, a slight stoop would be in order, and would not be out of the ordinary. However, in certain situations this might not be acceptable. In such cases a changeling can temporarily deny his own faerie seeming, allowing him to do things he might otherwise be unable to do. Any time a changeling denies his faerie seeming he gains a point of temporary Banality. The gain of Banality results from the fact that the character actively denies the existence of the Dreaming, if only for a short period of time.
So in the above example, a troll character who wishes to avoid stooping or who wants to fit into a small place can deny his faerie seeming, allowing him to pass through the doorway or fit into the small space unhindered. The character gains a temporary point of Banality, though.
What happens if a mortal character shoots a changeling in a portion of his body that exists only chimerically, such as a rabbit pooka's ears or the upper body of a troll (whose chimerical self may be two or more feet taller than his mortal self) with a real gun?
This really goes beyond the scope of the Storyteller combat system. Combat in Changeling is intended to be narrative rather than technical. Situations like these should be worked out between the Storyteller and the players.
What happens when a changeling is "killed" by chimerical damage?
A changeling who is "killed" as a result of chimerical damage lapses into a coma-like state which lasts for an uncertain period of time based on the Mists Chart (see page 230, CtD). Upon awaking the changeling is temporarily Undone, unable to remember his fae existence, or he recalls it as a distant dream. The character's temporary Glamour is also reduced to zero. The changeling can be awakened from this state by another changeling who gives him Glamour. The one attempting to re-awaken a changeling need only touch the Undone person and will the Glamour to be transferred.
Can a mortal be affected by chimera or chimerical weapons?
Mortals can only be affected by chimerical objects if the those people are enchanted. Chimerical weapons and creatures have exactly the same effects on enchanted mortals as they do on changelings.
What about a mortal "killed" by chimerical damage?
An enchanted mortal lapses into a coma, just as
changelings do, when "killed" by chimerical damage.
After awaking, the degree to which he remembers his experiences
among the fae is determined by his Banality rating, as listed
on the Mists Chart.