Viva la Vida
Throughout their durance in Faerie, changelings are both exposed to and warped by Glamour, the energy that makes the miracles and horrors of that alien realm possible. Gradually, they learn the nature of Glamour, which is drawn primarily from the distilled essence of human sentiment. Whether stolen in the arms of an ardent lover, culled from the fury of the battlefield, collected in the wake of a good scare or plucked from the flowers on a grave, Glamour is primal emotion that makes possible the terrible wonders of Arcadia. For all the Gentry’s power at shaping and commanding Glamour, however, it is also their inability to generate this precious resource themselves that forces the True Fae to continually steal mortals to serve them. In time, changelings learn to wield this resource themselves, and while they are seldom enchanters on the same scale as their Keepers, they soon learn to tap the power of the Glamour flowing through their veins in ways beyond the ken of any mortal.
Glamour is not a physical necessity, at least not for changelings of Wyrd 5 and below, but it can be very addictive. For those Lost unfortunate enough to have addictive personalities, harvesting Glamour can be the ultimate rush. Even the most intense physical experiences pale in comparison to the sensation of absorbing such primal emotional power. Some changelings resist these urges with the same force of will that brought them through the Hedge, taking Glamour only sparingly and steeling themselves against its allure. Others give themselves over to the addiction, indulging the rush constantly with little regard to what it leads them to do to get it. Yet others tread the ground between these extremes, unable to deny the matchless intensity of harvesting Glamour but unwilling to let that sensation control them. It is a tenuous balance, like so many others in the lives of the Lost.
A character begins play with a number of Glamour points equal to half his Glamour pool as determined by Wyrd (rounded up).
A number of common uses for Glamour include the following:
Powering Contracts: Most clauses require at least one Glamour point to activate, and powerful clauses may require more. Unless otherwise specified in the description, a changeling may still cast clauses that require multiple Glamour points, even if the changeling cannot spend the entire amount in one turn the changeling simply must spend his action casting each turn until the required points are spent, and risk having it interrupted by intervening factors in the meantime.
Seeming/Kith Blessings: Each seeming has a special blessing that allows a changeling to spend Glamour to receive a benefit related to her seeming’s natural strengths; these are described individually for each seeming. In addition, certain kiths have their own individual advantages in addition to the general seeming blessing, which occasionally requires Glamour as well. Unless otherwise noted, both blessings may be activated simultaneously, provided the changeling can pay the required Glamour.
Activating Tokens: Glamour can be used to “jumpstart” the strange enchanted objects of the fae. A changeling may spend a point of Glamour to forego the usual Wyrd roll to activate a token.
Incite Bedlam: Changelings with a high Wyrd rating gain the special ability to release highly concentrated waves of emotional energy, sweeping up nearby individuals in a frenzy of uninhibited fervor). Unleashing this cascade of emotional energy requires the expenditure of a Glamour point.
Strengthening the Mask: A changeling may spend a point of Glamour to strengthen the illusion of the Mask for a scene, preventing other fae from seeing his fae mien. His shadow still betrays him, however.
Dropping the Mask: By spending his entire pool of Glamour at once, a changeling may temporarily dispel the Mask for a scene, allowing anyone to perceive his true mien. This ability is an exception to the usual limitation of only being able to spend a number of Glamour points in a turn determined by Wyrd.
There are several different methods changelings employ to replenish lost Glamour points, a process commonly known as “harvesting.” The specifics of these processes are outlined below. It should be noted that except where specifically detailed otherwise, changelings cannot harvest Glamour directly from their own kind, or from True Fae or any other native denizens of Faerie or the Hedge. The inability of changelings to harvest the emotions of their own kind is just one more indicator of their lost humanity. This immunity also extends to those who have been driven into Bedlam by a changeling, due to the fae source of the emotions’ strength.
Changelings may also attempt to harvest emotions and dream energies from other supernatural beings. However, doing so presents some unique risks and variables, depending on the type of being in question. Mages, psychics and hedge wizards are treated normally, though changelings who attempt to enter their dreams occasionally find such beings more lucid than their average victim. Werewolves and their ilk are treated normally unless the changeling is attempting to harvest anger in any form — any such attempts receive double the amount of Glamour for the number of successes rolled, but the changeling must also roll their Willpower or suffer a fit of violent hysteria for the rest of the scene. Ghosts and vampires provide minimal Glamour — no matter how many successes are rolled, a changeling trying to harvest Glamour from the emotions of these undead beings receives only a single Glamour point, and a rather hollow feeling one at that. Prometheans provide Glamour in the ordinary fashion, although their emotions often feel curiously secondhand. Ultimately, the Storyteller is the final arbiter of what results from attempting to harvest Glamour from a particular supernatural being.
Emotions: The most common way to harvest Glamour is to feed on human emotions. To do this, a changeling simply must find a human who is experiencing strong emotions and attempt to leech some of that energy. Both “positive” and “negative” emotions can potentially provide Glamour; the strength of the emotion is what truly matters, not the type. Exactly what kind of roll is required to gain Glamour in this fashion depends on the action or situation taken to obtain. For example, an Ogre who wishes to get a quick rush of fear might pick up a hapless victim and slam him against a wall, requiring a Strength + Intimidation roll, a Spring Court club kid might use Manipulation + Socialize to entice a naïve young thing to join him for a bit of lustful fun in a darkened corner and a retiring Darkling might use Composure + Empathy to soak up the sorrow of a funeral home while maintaining the pretense of a grieving relative. The Storyteller is the final arbiter of what traits are required for a particular harvesting roll. One Glamour point is obtained per success on a harvesting roll.
A harvesting roll may be modified by several factors. As a rule, momentary flashes of emotion and buried old feelings are not nearly as “nourishing” as fresher or more in-depth emotions. The Storyteller may choose to penalize harvesting rolls that involve generating mere flashes of emotion, such jumping out of the dark to startle someone, kicking someone in the shin to generate anger or mentioning a relative who died years ago. Likewise, rolls involving truly extreme or in-depth emotions, such as new love, fresh grief over a recently deceased loved one or full-out rage over a deadly insult may receive bonus dice to reflect the relative ease of harvesting such potent feelings. Multiple changelings may attempt to feed off the same source simultaneously, but each additional changeling subtracts one die from the harvesting roll; this does not represent a scarcity of available material so much as their efforts beginning to impede each other.
A changeling who is attempting to coax out the emotion of his Court receives an additional Glamour point in the event of a successful roll (not to exceed his Glamour maximum). Thus, a Winter Court Darkling seeking to feast on the sorrow of mourners at a funeral home would receive a bonus Glamour point if his roll succeeds, since sorrow is his Court’s emotion. Lastly, feeding off the emotions of disturbed mortals or frenzied supernatural beings is a risky process while such lunatics often generate a great deal of emotional energy, it can also infect an unwary changeling with some of their madness. Any time a changeling harvests Glamour from a target currently suffering from an active derangement, the changeling must roll Resolve + Composure. Failure means that one of changeling’s own derangements becomes active for the scene; if the changeling does not possess a derangement, then he suffers the target’s active derangement instead.
Harvesting Glamour in this fashion doesn’t actually drain energy; the mortal does not suddenly feel less emotional as the changeling harvests the mortal’s feelings. Many changelings take comfort in this fact, interpreting the lack of visible harm as less of a violation. However, whispers tell of mortals who are subjected to regular harvesting over a long period of time eventually losing some indescribable, yet vital spark. While these ravaged souls remain the stuff of rumors, it is enough of a fear that many changelings avoid tapping the same resource too often, especially in the case of friends or loved ones. Just in case.
Dreams: Another method of restoring lost Glamour points is to step into a mortal’s dreams and attempt to absorb some of the emotional energy contained therein. Freed from the limiting wishes of the conscious mind, dreams tap directly into the strongest fears and desires of the soul, and thus provide an impressive font of emotional energy for changelings willing to brave the strange scenery, surreal logic and lurking horrors of the dreamscape. This method obviously requires a bit more preparation than some other types of harvesting, since the changeling must use the necessary pledges or Contracts to gain access to a mortal’s dreams, but it allows the changeling to control access to the source a bit more than hunting for emotions does, and leaves even fewer traces of the changeling’s presence behind.
Harvesting Glamour from a mortal’s dream typically involves a roll of Composure + Wits + Wyrd, making it potentially one of the most lucrative sources of Glamour as a changeling increases in power. Each success generates one point of Glamour. At the Storyteller’s discretion, this roll may be altered to represent changing circumstances in the dreamscape or the demands of harvesting the Glamour of a particular dream. For example, a dream that centers around understanding the pain the dreamer felt as a small child might require Composure + Empathy +Wyrd instead, while feeding on the fear generated by escaping from a nightmare beast could change the roll to straight Dexterity + Athletics + Wyrd as the changeling struggles to outdistance the monster. Regardless of the situation, a changeling’s Wyrd rating is added to harvesting rolls involving dreams, as their Wyrd aids the changeling in interpreting dreams and communing with this primal source of emotional energy.
The roll to harvest Glamour from a dream is most commonly modified by urgency. Unlike emotions, which can provide energy almost instantly, a changeling must typically spend a bit of time immersed in the energy of the dream in order to obtain Glamour. Drinking from the font of dreams allows a changeling to drink more deeply than most sources, but it does tend to be more time-consuming. Attempting to rush the process and gain Glamour before the dream has run its course typically involves the changeling taking a more active role to move along the action of the dream. Penalties are assessed depending on exactly how much the changeling wants to try to speed up the process.
Pledges: Fulfilling obligations sworn with the weight of the Wyrd is another way that changelings commonly obtain Glamour; the exact amount of Glamour gained and the circumstances required to generate it depend on the specifics of the pledge in question.
Hedge Bounty: Not all Glamour is gained in congress with mortals or upholding vows sworn in the eyes of the Wyrd. Changelings may attempt to harvest Glamour from certain items found in the Hedge. Most of these items take the form of goblin fruits, although the meat of certain Hedge creatures is also said to impart Glamour to those who dare to consume it. In rare cases, changelings may even be able to harvest Glamour by “consuming” inedible objects or even more bizarre feats of harvesting. A forest made of shining crystal might provide Glamour in the form of glass “fruit” that releases energy when shattered, for example, while humming a particular musical tune might impart Glamour within the confines of a strange realm.