Changeling: The Lost

Changeling was the 2007 game for White Wolf’s World of Darkness. It was, I gather, a rather larger hit than the publishers expected, which is always nice when it happens. This is a contrast to their last attempt at Changelings. Changeling: The Dreaming could be (slightly unfairly) described as “hippies fight librarians”. Changeling: The Lost is, rather, “abuse survivors try to rebuild some kind of life”. Rather darker, and much more effective as a game.

The player characters are people who were abducted by the fairies, and then managed to escape. Fairies are not nice, so their experiences in Arcadia were dreadful, and transformed them into something no longer entirely human. What’s worse, in most cases their abductors left fetches behind in their places, so that their family and friends do not even realise that they were gone. They normally find themselves near the place from which they were abducted, as it is their desire for home, family, or a particular person that allows them to get out of Arcadia. However, home is no longer their home, so they have to create a new life.

The background is good, and there are a lot of nice mechanical touches. For example, the supernatural powers of the Changelings are based on contracts made with the world, and each contract has a catch, which allows the Changeling to use it at no cost if she performs some appropriate action. This is a good way to get players to have their characters do suitable things, as well as reinforcing the mood. In all, this is a very good game, with flashes of inspiration setting off the solid work around them.

It seems to be best suited to fairly long, open-ended campaigns, unlike Promethean, which would work best in a chronicle with a fixed goal (becoming human). This is why I’ll probably never play it; I don’t have time for multiple long-term campaigns, and I’d rather play Mage, or Ars Magica. However, if I was playing a WoD chronicle, I’d definitely want to work the Changelings in. The ideas are too good to waste.

Posted in Books, Roleplaying.

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