Mask

A changeling’s true face is something hidden from most of the mortal world. Although the changeling’s physical body has been changed, ordinary humans and even most supernatural beings are unable to see the Lost for what he has become. They see instead the Mask, an illusion made of Glamour that hangs around each changeling and provides a human guise. The illusion is quite complete, able to deceive even film and digital media with only the occasional faint blur or after-effect.

The Mask is not a choice. It protects and disguises the Lost even when they would have it otherwise, even beyond death. The Mask seems to be another expression of the ancient pacts struck by the Fae to protect them and theirs from the eyes of common men and women. Though the Lost are no longer “the Gentry’s” in many ways, apparently changelings are still close enough for the purposes of this bargain. So they appear to be who they were instead of what they have become for the most part. There’s always just a hint of the changeling to the Mask, be it skin that reminds someone just a bit of strong oak wood or eyes that sometimes seem to reflect light just like a cat’s, if even for an instant. The Mask may appear a few inches taller or shorter than the changeling’s true mien, or add or subtract 20 pounds or so. However, the Mask remains close to the mien’s actual size; an Ogre with the Giant Merit is clearly overlarge, even to mortal eyes.

Clothing and equipment are not generally protected by the Mask, unless they are of fae origin. A silver-skinned Darkling who wears a tattered, dirty wedding dress appears to be a pale Goth girl wearing a tattered, dirty wedding dress, and an Elemental wearing a rapier seems to be an ordinary human wearing a rapier. The most common exceptions are fae tokens, which always seem to be more mundane versions of the objects in question — a battleaxe looks more like a fire axe, or a magnificent cloak appears to be a cotton shawl. The Lost have learned the art of fashioning fine clothing from the stuff of the Hedge as well, and a costume of fine Hedgespun is a mark of status.

Anyone who is protected by the Mask can also see right through it. A changeling can see another’s fae mien, and she can see his in return. The Fae can also see through the Mask, regrettably, and some of them have learned ways to conceal their own true forms from a changeling’s eyes. Even when a changeling looks in the mirror, he sees himself as Faerie has remade him. Any changeling may spend a Glamour point to view a person or thing’s Mask instead of its true mien; this glimpse of illusion lasts for only about half a minute.

Affecting The Mask

The Mask can be temporarily strengthened against the eyes of other fae. By spending a Glamour point as a reflexive action, a changeling can fortify the Mask so that other fae cannot see his true mien without the use of some supernatural power. Even this disguise is imperfect, however. When a changeling strengthens the Mask, other fae who see his shadow see the shadow cast by his true form.

A changeling may also temporarily disrupt the Mask in a flare of Glamour, although at a dangerous cost. By expending the entirety of his current store of Glamour, whether he has one Glamour or 100, the changeling may burn away the Mask as a standard action. (This ability is an exception to the usual Wyrd-imposed limits on Glamour spent per turn.) Observers may see a strange flare of light or creeping darkness leak from the person’s skin before tearing it away and revealing this not-so-human thing standing before them. For the remainder of the scene, the changeling no longer possesses the Mask, and will appear to anyone just as he is. To raise the Mask once more, the changeling must gain at least two Glamour points, and spend one of them as if strengthening the Mask. Disrupting the Mask is a deliberate and taxing action; the Mask doesn’t fall from a character who drops to 0 Glamour by some other means, and a character with no Glamour to spend in the effort cannot drive the Mask from him. As this ability leaves the changeling temporarily helpless, and may trigger Clarity loss, the Lost are very hesitant to use the ability outside a position of total trust.

Mask

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