Viva la Vida
Advantages are aspects of your character that set him apart from his peers, for good or ill. A strong will, an unshakeable moral conviction or a simple talent for ducking are all possible benefits in a rough and uncertain world. As your character develops over time, his advantages can increase to exceptional levels.
Most advantages are derived traits determined by adding two or more Attributes together. Others, such as Morality and Size, have a base value with which all characters begin play. As your character’s Attributes increase through the expenditure of experience points, his advantages increase as well. Likewise, as Attributes are temporarily decreased through supernatural curses or other strange events, their linked advantages are similarly reduced.
Traits: Stamina + Size
A character’s Health trait reflects his body’s capacity to cope with injury and remain functional. As your character suffers damage, whether accidentally or in combat, each point of damage inflicted lowers his Health by one. When your character’s Health points are reduced to three, he suffers a negative modifier to his dice pools. As his Health points continue to decrease, this negative modifier increases as he is slowly overcome by shock and physical trauma. When all of your character’s Health points are marked off as aggravated damage, he is dead. Obviously, the larger and more robust a character is, the more damage he can withstand before dying.
Health is marked on your character sheet and has both a permanent and a temporary rating. Your character’s permanent rating is filled in on the dots of your character sheet. His temporary points are recorded in the corresponding boxes. Every time your character loses a Health point to damage, mark off the kind of injury inflicted from left to right. When dots and filled boxes are equal, your character is badly hurt or dying.
Your character regains lost Health points at different rates based on the type of damage inflicted. When points are recovered, the Health boxes on your character sheet are emptied from right to left.
As your character’s Stamina increases through the use of experience points (or through temporary supernatural enhancements), his Health increases as well. DonÕt forget to adjust your character’s Health dots when his Stamina changes.
Your character sheet offers a chart for keeping record of your character’s changing state of being. The dots are filed in from left to right, one for each Health that your character has. The squares shown are used to gauge his current condition — his Health points. If he has no injuries at all — no squares are checked off — your character is in perfect condition. Each time he suffers damage, mark a square from left to right across the row. Multiple points on a damage roll inflict extensive harm. For example, if your character’s opponent achieves one success on an attack roll and your character is currently in perfect condition, that damage is marked in the left-most box on your sheet. If in a subsequent turn he suffers two more damage, you mark off the second and third boxes.
The more injuries your character suffers, the more impaired his actions are. Penalties are imposed on your dice rolls thereafter. The more damage your character takes, the more difficult it becomes for him to act at full capacity, as follows. Remember that wounds are marked off from left to right on your character’s Health chart, so the wounds on the right of your character’s chart indicate whether he suffers any penalties from injuries.
Health Boxes Marked / Penalty
Third-To-Last / – 1
Second-To-Last / – 2
Last / – 3
Subtract the dice penalty listed for your character’s current Health from your dice pool for every action he performs (including Initiative rolls, but excluding Stamina rolls to remain conscious until the wounds heal.
So, if your character starts with 7 Health and suffers five points of damage (there’s a wound mark in his third-to-last box), his actions suffer a -1 wound penalty until that fifth Health point is recovered.
Should your character take more damage, he suffers a -2 and then a -3 penalty as the second-to-last and the last of his boxes are checked off.
Wound penalties also affect movement, reducing your character’s Speed trait by the amount listed for the right-most box filled on your character’s Health chart. Wound penalties do not apply to your character’s Defense or other Resistance traits — Stamina, Resolve, or Composure — when those traits are subtracted as penalties from opponents’ dice pools.
The injuries that your character suffers are recorded on your character sheet by filling in the squares of his Health chart. Bashing wounds are marked with a “/”, lethal wounds are marked with an “X” and aggravated wounds are marked with an “*”. As injuries of different severity are suffered, lesser wounds shift right. You don’t have to erase and re-draw every wound on your Health chart, though. You can transform a bashing mark into a lethal one by drawing an criss-crossing line to create an “X”. You can turn a lethal wound into an asterisk by drawing a horizontal and vertical line through the center of the “X”. Just be careful not to “lose” any wounds in the translation. When your character heals and recovers from wounds, you do need to erase those marks.
Damage and Healing
The changeling’s oeuvre is finesse. The fae are naturally predisposed to trickery and guile as a means of bypassing problems. In some cases, this is because their bodies are fragile by compare, like a half-remembered dream clouding the mind of a waking sleeper. Their beauty can hide cruelty, however, and the most brutish among them have no fear of violence. The Lost are not strangers to blood and pain, and understanding how damage affects them is an important part of the game.
Changelings suffer from damage in the same manner as normal mortals. Three different types of damage can be inflicted: Bashing, lethal, and aggravated. Changelings have no inherent bane or anathema. Thus, nothing inherently causes them to suffer aggravated damage from exposure, as sunlight and fire affect vampires. Changelings do have an innate aversion to cold iron, but that’s a unique case. Bashing damage includes any wounds inflicted by blunt instruments, punches, kicks or other similar trauma. Lethal damage comes from knives, bullets, or any type of attack that actually pierces or cuts flesh. Aggravated damage is usually reserved for supernatural sources — forms of harm that exceed the mundane or even reality as people know it. Anyone can incur aggravated harm, however, when bashing and lethal injuries turn so grievous that a victim falls into a coma and/or bleeds to death.
All types of injuries are cumulative and the resulting total determines your character’s current Health points. Specifics on each type of damage are provided below.
When marking your character’s damage in the Health chart on your character sheet, record a “/” for bashing, an “X” for lethal, and an asterisk (“*”) for aggravated damage.The last is best described as drawing a cross (“+”) on top of an “X”, for an eight-pointed star. These marks go in the boxes of your character’s Health chart.
When it comes to your character’s long-term survival, lethal damage is crippling and aggravated damage is ultimately fatal. If your mortal character’s Health chart is filled with X’s, he’s on death’s door. He’s horribly beaten and in a coma, barely holding onto this mortal coil. Any subsequent injuries upgrade boxes with X’s in them to asterisks. Once all boxes are filled with asterisks, your character is dead and gone.
When your character acquires a mixture of bashing, lethal, and/or aggravated damage, mark the most severe damage at the left in his Health chart; it pushes any lesser damage right. For example, if you mark that your character has taken a point of bashing damage in the left-most box, and she then takes a point of lethal damage, mark the left-most box with an “X” for the lethal damage and move the bashing damage right one square by putting a “/” in that box. Any further bashing damage goes in the third box and keeps going right. Any further lethal damage pushes the entire thing right again until all the boxes are marked with either an “X” or “/”.
Aggravated damage works the same way. Say your character has already suffered a point of lethal damage (first box) and a point of bashing damage (second box). He then suffers a point of aggravated damage. As the most severe injury that heÕs incurred, the aggravated goes in the left-most box, the lethal moves right to the second box and the bashing moves to the third. Any more aggravated points suffered continue to push those lethal and bashing injuries right.
And that’s the first rule of tracking your character’s Health: A more severe wound always “pushes” a less severe wound to the right. Wounds that are “pushed off” the right edge of the Health chart as a result are ignored.
Remember that before any wounds are “upgraded” in severity, all of your character’s Health boxes must be filled and there can be no less severe injuries to push to the right.
It’s possible that your character might acquire extra Health dots that make him more robust for a temporary period of time. A spell or supernatural effect might increase his Stamina, Size or even his Health trait directly. These bonus Health dots are added to the right side of your character’s Health chart, and each also has a corresponding box where any wounds are recorded. The question arises, though, if he incurs wounds in such extra Health and then the spell wears off, what happens? While his extra Health dots are lost, any wounds in them are not. Your character returns to his normal Health dots. Any wounds that were assigned to his bonus points now upgrade the least severe wounds that he already has, from left to right on his Health chart.
Any kind of damage that does not pierce the body but that batters against it is considered bashing damage. This includes most harm from brawling combat, punches, kicks, beatings with a blunt instrument, and even falling or being thrown into a brick wall. Certain targeted bashing attacks may cause lethal damage, at the Storyteller’s discretion.
Attacks made with piercing or cutting weapons — knives, guns, crossbows, or swords — deliver lethal damage. Fire also causes lethal damage to ordinary people.
The creatures that lurk in the world’s shadows work in ways that most people cannot comprehend. They have their own mysterious agendas and miraculous capabilities. Among the latter is the capacity to inflict crippling harm on other beings and mortals. These otherworldly attacks sometimes prey upon enemies’ inherent weaknesses, such as silver for a werewolf. Or they involve dark magic and unfathomable might, inflicting horrifying injuries.
In a similar sense, the same types of things that cause damage to mortals cause damage to changelings. Changelings suffer from deprivation, disease (though see “Longevity and Decrepitude,” below), drugs, electrocution, physical violence, falling, fatigue, fire, poisons and extreme temperature as do most other people.
Recovery from injury takes the same time for changelings that it does for normal mortals. Because changelings’ bodies aren’t too terribly different from mortals, damaged tissue repairs itself and broken bones knit at about the same rate for changelings as they do for those untouched by the “other” nature of Faerie. However, changelings often make use of certain curatives harvested from the Hedge, called goblin fruits, to heal their wounds.
Changelings recover one point of bashing damage per 15 minutes, one point of lethal damage per two-day period, and one point of aggravated damage per week.
At the player’s discretion, a character may form a “signature” scar around the mostly healed site of an especially important wound. While this won’t be the case all the time, the character might like to wear as a badge of honor the scar beneath his eye from when he fought the treacherous duke, or the rift in her breast where the goblin crow sought to pluck out her heart.
Scars of this nature tend to reflect the character’s seeming. A Stonebones’ scar might be a hard, rocky keloid while a Bright One’s wound might issue a light that’s mildly visible from even beneath her blouse.
There’s no cost to do this. It’s just a way of allowing players to customize their characters’ appearance to remind them of significant events in their lives.
Those who know the secrets of the Fae tell a curious tale about the Fair Folk’s weakness to cold iron. Long ago, a powerful Other made a Contract with iron itself, but that creature failed to honor the terms of the Contract. Thereafter, iron swore itself as an enemy to the prodigal people, cold and unyielding in its grudge against them. This elemental animosity passed down to the changelings, as well.
In effect, an item made from relatively pure iron (not steel) ignores defenses contrived by the fae and their magics. A protection Contract will not offer any safety from an iron weapon, for example. A changeling wearing fae armor will find it’s no protection from a spike torn from a wrought iron fence. Iron pure enough to be called “cold iron” is used very rarely in the modern world, and most Lost who look for a weapon to use against their fellows must often hunt through antique stores to find items with the distinctive grain or forge it themselves.
Iron weapons forged by hand have even more power. Mass-produced, machine-cut knives are not “cold iron,” nor is metal that has been conjured, transmuted or even shaped by magic. The most damaging iron has been hammered into its shape with nothing but muscle, a hammer and patience. Hand-forged iron confers an additional benefit, but only against the Gentry — True Fae suffer aggravated damage from hand-forged iron weapons. Even contact with hand-forged iron causes discomfort to the Others. Against changelings, hand-forged iron works the same as pure iron. Luckily for changelings, pure iron, especially hand-forged, is somewhat rare in most modern environments.
Objects built from metal for durability are typically made of steel or other alloys. Iron is less common, less practical and even regarded as a bit “primitive” in certain contexts — consider the somewhat coarse look of a hand-wrought iron fence when compared to a mass-produced chain-link fence. Especially among weaponry (where iron is most likely to come into play), iron is the exception rather than the rule. Iron implements can be had relatively easily, but they’ll probably have to be special ordered or created by custom work.
Longevity And Decrepitude
Time passes strangely in Faerie. A hapless traveler who stumbled through the Hedge into a midsummer’s party and stayed a few hours might find that weeks or even years had passed upon his return. A changeling stolen on her second birthday might return through the Thorns 19 years later to find her fetch only seven years of age.
So, too, does time occasionally pass oddly for those changelings who have made it back to our world. Particularly as a changeling’s Wyrd increases, the forces of fate and time have less sway over her.
Wyrd itself fluctuates for each changeling as well, though, making its effects difficult to pinpoint at a glance by the casual observer. The old man with the rheumy eyes and fluttering white beard might be 70 years old, or he might be over 100.
In addition, as a changeling’s Wyrd increases, the influence of fate abates somewhat over him. Disease, illness and infirmity all affect the character less than they would otherwise.
The following table depicts the increased longevity in years that a character might experience as his Wyrd increases. The table also includes the dice pool bonus the character receives to ward off the effects of sickness or other physical decrepitude. Note that these bonuses apply to illness and the effects of aging or physical deterioration only. The bonuses do not apply to resisting poisons, shrugging off damage or withstanding spells or other magical effects directed at the character. They might, however, affect the aftermath of such effects. For example, if a mage inflicted a Temporal Pocket or Faerie Glade effect on the character, the character wouldn’t receive any bonus dice to resist the effects of those rotes, but any concomitant effect that might visit the character afterward as a result of his advanced age would receive the bonus dice.
Wyrd / Longevity / Infirmity Bonus
1 / +10 years / +1
2 / +20 years / +1
3 / +30 years / +1
4 / +40 years / +2
5 / +50 years / +2
6 / +60 years / +2
7 / +75 years / +3
8 / +90 years / +3
9 / +105 years / +3
10 / +130 years or more / +4
If a venerable or diseased character’s Wyrd ever decreases, that may spell his doom, as his changeling’s body is no longer able to stave off the ravages of fate and time with the weakening of his ability to shape them.