To aid with backgrounds, themes, and ties, we have put together some scenes that might occur along the character’s journey. You do not need to have an answer to all of these, or you may wish for some of them to be unknown to the Changeling, but they may aid in deciding what is important to your character and create some npcs to weave into the game world.
Act One: The Life I Lost
All Changelings were human before their Keepers took them. Fae politics pale in comparison to the networks of family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, petty rivalries, romances, and other connections mortal humans have. Rare is the Lost who was taken without any sort of link to other people — otherwise, why would the Fae need to make fetches?
Create one NPC from your character’s pre-Arcadia life, and place that character in the grid.
What was the most important promise you made before you were taken, and to whom did you make it?
What about a promise someone else made to you, that you still remember?
Questions to Ask:
What was your name before, and is it different now? How old were you before, and has your apparent age changed since your durance? What did you look like, and does that differ from your current Mask?
What was your family like, growing up? Are your parents still together? Divorced? Never married? Single parent household? Were you an orphan, or raised by an uncle or a grandparent?
What’s your gender, if you have one? Does it match your presentation; has it changed from before your durance? Are you okay with that? What is your sexual orientation? Have you shared it with your loved ones or not? Did you have a partner, or several, that you left behind?
What kind of education or training did you receive? What was your occupation and what did you do for income? Were you wealthy, middle class, or poor? Where did you live and where were you from? Were you owning, renting, couch surfing, or squatting? Did you have a pet? More than one?
Did you have any identifying marks, like tattoos or scars? What were your hobbies and pastimes?
Who would notice if you were gone or acting strangely?
Act Two: My Capture
Something had to get that Changeling into the Hedge in the first place. Something had to take her to Arcadia. Something had to lock her into shackles of bronze and roses, forcing her to do its bidding.
Decide how the character was stolen or seduced.
Then select or create one NPC who was involved, and place that character in the grid. This could be the character’s Keeper, her fetch, or someone else.
What promise was made to you while you were en route? Did you make deals with your kidnapper?
Did anyone follow you into the Hedge as a fae-touched, clinging to a promise you left unfulfilled?
Questions to Ask:
Did your Keeper or its agents physically drag you off, seduce you, or deceive you? Or did you go willingly? Did you offend a True Fae somehow, or break some arcane rule about which you couldn’t possibly have known?
Were you taken by a hobgoblin? Your Keeper itself? A loyalist or privateer? Did you misstep into the Hedge by accident and wander into Arcadia on your own, captured on arrival?
Where were you when it went down? Were there any witnesses? What do you remember of the journey if anything? Was it long and arduous, or over in the blink of an eye?
Act Three: In Durance Vile
A Changeling’s durance is the period of his life that shapes his biggest challenges and who he is to become. Some Changelings barely remember it except in nightmares, while others are always on the verge of a flashback or panic attack, seeing their Keeper and her knives around every corner.
Most are somewhere in between, until they increase their Wyrd enough to remember specifics more clearly. For most Lost, this trauma remains locked in the back of their minds, slipping out at moments of tension or vulnerability. The durance determines the changeling’s kith, and sometimes seeming, and may affect what court they choose to join later.
Decide what the changeling’s durance was like, answering the questions presented here. Then create or select one NPC who was involved, and place that character on the grid.
This could be the character’s Keeper, another changeling or a hobgoblin, or even another True Fae.
What did you have to promise your Keeper to avoid punishment day to day?
What promises did it make to you, only to break?
What promises did you make to your fellow captives to plan your mutual escape, and vice versa?
Questions to Ask:
How did you Keeper’s Titles manifest to you? How did it treat you? (Players can leave as many of these details to the Storyteller as they wish.)
What was the least unpleasant part of your durance? The most? What wonderful or beauteous aspect of Faerie do you miss still?
What kind of routine did you have, such as it was? Were other PCs there, or was it just you? Were you usually alone, or were others always around, if the latter, who were they?
What was the environment like? Were you mostly indoors or outdoors? Was it hot, cold, or temperate? Use descriptors that appeal to all five senses here, to make your character’s memories vivid, if lacking in coherence. What fell pacts did your Keeper make with the realm in which you were imprisoned, that you could survive it?
What was the last straw that prompted you to brave an escape attempt? How many such attempts did you make before you succeeded? Did you escape during the Great Conflict or Fall?
How did you acquire your seeming and your kith (if you have one)?
Act Four: My Escape
Some part of the enslaved Changeling felt the call back to the mortal world. Perhaps it was the memory of his spouse’s laughter, or the warmth in his chest when he held his child for the first time. Or it might be a petty vendetta against a co-worker left unsettled, or his jealousy that someone else might be lying with his lover. Not all human memories are noble or loving, and that’s not the point. Memories of the mortal world are the Changeling’s key to getting out of Faerie.
“What was strong enough to bring the character back?” is the paramount question for this section. Even if the player skips the other questions in this act, he should know the answer to this one. It’s a good indication of the Changeling’s priorities later in the chronicle.
Decide how the character escaped or was rescued, answering the questions presented here. Then create or select one character who was involved, and place that character on the grid. This could be a helpful hobgoblin to whom he now owes a debt, a fae-touched who came to free him, a rival he defeated to win his freedom, a dupe he used and left behind, or someone else.
Who witnessed your escape and promised not to tell or promised they would? Who came with you, swearing never to leave your side; who stayed behind but vowed to find you again someday? What debts do you owe for your freedom?
Questions to Ask:
What was strong enough to bring you back?
Did you sneak out? Fight your way out? Make a bet or play a game with your Keeper for high stakes? Or maybe you didn’t want to leave; were you let go or thrown out instead?
Did anyone else come with you? Did you have to leave anyone else behind?
What do you remember of your journey back? What were you searching for on your way through the Thorns, and what dangers did you face? How did you overcome them?
Act Five: The Great Conflict
Three months ago, Changelings all over the land found themselves confused, lost, unable to remember what was going on or why they were standing here in a forest clearing, dressed in a tabard, wielding a sword. Those that had luck or wit on their side fled through the thorns and emerged into the real world. There was a sense of relief, a feeling that something momentous had happened and they were part of it but nothing more. Some reached for crowns that were gone, others found their gear and mantles nothing more than sticks and leaves.
Where were you when the Great War Ended? Then create or select one character who was involved, and place that character on the grid.
Did you make a promise to those you found in the immediate aftermath, or upon the Wyrd at this moment?
Questions to Ask:
Where were you when the Great Conflict ended? Who were you with? Did you bond with these people in the absence of others?
Do you feel happy that you achieved something momentous or terrified you cannot remember the past few years of your life? Do you have the strength to rebuild once more? What costs do you imagine are yet to unfold? Is your memory worth the price?
Act Six: Home, But Not
The great tragedy of a Changeling’s life is that she is forever displaced from what she used to know. A fetch takes her place, and her family moves on. Any encounter with former friends and loved ones results in confusion and that is the best-case scenario. The Lost may tumble out of the Hedge thousands of miles away from their hometowns.
They may emerge, gasping, 20 years after, or before, they were abducted, though only an hour passed in Faerie.
For a newly freed slave, this is a punch in the gut. Where do they belong? Will they ever belong anywhere? Decide where and when (in Kent) the character ended up back in the mortal world, answering the questions presented here. Then create one NPC who was there, or whom the character sought out or ran into first, and place that character in the grid.
What promise did your fetch break to someone you love? What promise did they uphold that you could not, or never did? Or, if you don’t have a fetch, what promise to you did someone else break while you were gone? What promise did you break by your absence?
Is there a fae-touched waiting for you somewhere, or still trapped in fae realms looking for you?
Questions to Ask:
Who did you seek first, and did you find them? Are they still alive? Do they remember you? If you did not find them first, who did you find instead?
Where is your fetch? How are they betraying you when you first encounter them? Or do you even have one?
Did you deal with them right away, or are they still out there? How has your fetch lived your life in your absence?
Do they know you exist, and that they are not human? Where and when did you emerge from the Hedge?
What time have you lost, or are you displaced in it? Did you end up far from home, or was home staring you in the face as soon as you got back?