Changeling: The Lost - IRC RPG

A modern day Changeling the Lost role play game using an IRC format, go to the server, channel #CtL:OOC or email
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Join date : 2016-06-27

Pledges                           Empty
PostSubject: Pledges    Pledges                           Icon_minitimeTue Jun 28, 2016 2:11 am

The word-bond carries tremendous weight among the fairies, and even the renegade changelings understand the importance of one's pledge. An oath is never given lightly, a promise never casually made, for who knows when the Wyrd may entangle those words, tying them to the speaker's destiny?

Among the many secrets of the Others changelings bore with them when they fled is the understanding of how to entangle words in the Wyrd. This is more than simply a means of making sure both parties uphold their ends of an agreement, however -- the art of pledge-craft is an ancient one. Those who uphold their word with honor and forthrightness shall reap rewards of the world; those who fail to do so are punished appropriately.

Unlike the highly formalized Contracts of the fae, pledges are simple agreements made between two or more parties. The precise terms, tasks and boons for adhering to the agreement and penalties for failing to do so are outlined when the pact is made, and the changeling invests a tiny bit of his Wyrd into the agreement. The terms of the pledge can be veiled in casual language, thus binding an unsuspecting participant if the changeling is sufficiently crafty. The wording of the sample pledges provided later represent both a more open and formal pledge, and one veiled in more casual language.

Whether these pledges are between the members of a motley, the oath of vassal to liege, the pledge that ensorcells a mortal or grants a changeling access to the dreams of another, pledges define the relationship not simply among the Lost, but between an individual changeling and the rest of the world. Skilled and artistic pledge-craft is well respected among the fae, and other changelings looking for a bit of advice in the creation of oaths may approach those who demonstrate acumen in the art.

The Wyrd is the very essence of comparison and reciprocity -- the Wyrd is not truly a thing in and of itself, but is rather the relationship between all things. Relationships, community, interaction, comparison -- these are all things of the Wyrd.

It is perhaps why the Fae seem so alien to humans. They are creatures of the Wyrd and see themselves only in comparison with other things. The Fae are creatures of terrible passions and extremes, because they must be more than.

The ancient Others do not contemplate their essential nature the way humans do; the Fae never wonder what their place in the universe is. They cannot, after all, help but be intimately aware of it -- the Wyrd shows them where they stand in relation to all other things. The Mistress of Fallen Leaves is more beautiful than her mother, less kind than her daughter, more like the Autumn than the Winter and more generous than her neighbors.

These interactions -- these ways of perceiving the self only in relation to other things in the world -- frame the basis for the pledges of the fae. The pledges help solidify the interactions between disparate parts of the world, making individuals work together in unity. Selectively infusing the ties that connect all things, all people, all places and all times together, the fae are capable of creating a singular whole: The oathbound.

Changelings carried this technique with them from Arcadia. They don't recall all its uses in the lands of the Fae, but tangled memories suggest that pledges rule all manner of interactions there. Some suggest that the denizens of Faerie are not capable of acknowledging one another exists, unless they are bound up in some kind of oath together. This implies the Fae are not capable of acknowledging one another's existences -- or perhaps simply the existences of lesser entities and things in Arcadia -- unless the Fae and the thing in question are bound up in a mutual oath.

Combining Pledge Aspects

The aspects, or building blocks, of pledges are rated at three levels of power: Lesser, medial and greater. Generally speaking, the simplest of pledges has a task, boon, sanction and duration of equal power. In practice, though, this is generally a bit more complicated than that, because any given pledge may have multiple aspects.

Generally speaking, two lesser aspects combine to form a medial aspect. Likewise, a lesser and a medial aspect, or two medial aspects combine to form a greater aspect.

Types Of Pledges

Pledges are divided into the following three categories: Vows, oaths and corporals. The type of pledge determines how the pledge is invested. Normally, the typical pledge (which is a vow) is invested into the Wyrd of the changelings involved. A changeling may have a maximum number of such vows invested equal to his Wyrd rating +3. This is the not the full limit of the changeling's pledges, however; other kinds of pledges may be invested into other aspects of the changeling, from his true name to his connections to mortals and the fae.

Vows: A vow is the most basic sort of pledge-craft. The changeling simply swears to accomplish some goal or fulfill some task, outlining what is expected of the other, their rewards for adhering to their pledges and the curses they can expect for failing to do so. A vow is invested into the changeling's Wyrd.

Oaths: An oath involves not simply the declaration of an intention to perform some duty, but the pledge is sworn by one's true name, on the name of one's former True Fae captor (if known) or in the name of a higher power the changeling believes in. Failure to adhere to this oath results in an additional penalty, levied by the Wyrd, based on the nature of the oath. Oaths are actually invested in the names the oath is sworn on; see below for specifics. No name (whether personal name, Keeper's name or the name of a higher power) can bear more than one oath for any given changeling. Non-changelings do not receive any additional penalties when forswearing an oath; the pledge is bound to the name sworn on by the changeling parties only.

True Name, Obscured This oath assumes that the changeling still has a fetch that also answers to his name. Swearing an oath on his true name, the changeling invests the power of that pledge into his very name, rather than his Wyrd. Though the changeling's true name is shared by another, the changeling still have the right to swear oaths by it. Unfortunately, if he breaks this oath, he proves himself unworthy of that name in the eyes of the Wyrd, which strikes him with weakness the next time he encounters his fetch. He loses any and all resistance to the fetch's Echoes, and his Defense drops to 0 for the length of the encounter. He also receives a dice pool penalty equal to his Wyrd for the length of the encounter. These limitations last for one scene, and are activated the next time he encounters his fetch in person. The fetch automatically senses the weakness in the wayward, and knows that his chances to strike are at their best in that moment.

True Name, Unsullied The changeling with no fetch must honor his true name above all, for it is tightly bound up now in his Wyrd and honor. Such an oath is invested into his true name, rather than his Wyrd. However, the failure to adhere to an oath sworn on a rightfully recovered true name jangles the threads of fate that tie to that name. In a sudden discordant moment, his Wyrd shatters all Wyrd-invested pledges he currently maintains, and he is penalized as though he'd voluntarily broken all of those pledges. Those who share in those pledges with him are instantly aware that he has violated an oath on his true name, and are likely to be wary dealing with him in the future -- it is a grievous thing to falsify one's own name.

The Name of the Keeper Rather than investing a pledge into his Wyrd or his own name, a changeling may invest the name of his Keeper with an oath or rather, he may invest the connection between himself and his former Keeper with the oath. Swearing an oath in the name of one's former True Fae captor is a dangerous thing. In Arcadia, changelings who swear this oath understand that if they fail to live up to their end, their master will force them to do so, at the ends of a Thorn lash, if necessary. Those changelings who gain their freedom run an even greater risk swearing by the names of their former Keepers, however; violating this oath sends an immediate chord of resonance through the Wyrd, passing through the Hedge and into the Fairest of Lands, immediately alerting the changeling's former Keeper to the whereabouts of his erstwhile servitor. The former Keeper gains a die bonus equal to the oathbreaker's Wyrd rating to all rolls that have to do with finding and recovering the changeling. This bonus does not become active immediately; the True Fae may invoke the benefit when he chooses, within the next year and a day, enjoying the bonus for one full scene. Only pledges sworn by changelings may be Name of the Keeper Oaths.

The Name of a Higher Power Regardless of what the changeling calls the Divine, he swears an oath by it and his belief in it, investing his honor with his belief. Though this may be the name of a deity or other culturally appropriate spiritual name (such as that of a spirit, ancestor or tradition), the changeling may also simply name a concept or virtue that he upholds and considers important: Honor, Faith, Justice. Such an oath is literally sworn in the name of the changeling's faith and belief, investing the pledge into that aspect of his soul, rather than his Wyrd or name. Should this oath be broken, the changeling is immediately filled with a tremendous sense of despair, losing all current Willpower points. In addition, the next time he must make a roll to avoid losing Clarity, he receives a one-die penalty to this roll -- the Fae believe in nothing and faith is a mark of mortals. The spurning of mortal faith is a trademark of the Others, and can endanger Clarity.

Corporal: A pledge sworn with a corporal involves at least one of the parties swearing on a physical symbol of some association. It might be the token of rulership carried by his freehold lord, a token that represents his affiliation with his motley. Ultimately, this can be sworn for any association the changeling bears. These corporals come in one of five varieties: Mortal emblems, seeming emblems, courtly emblems, title emblems and nemesis emblems. As with oaths, the primary use of corporals is in the investment of a pledge into something other than the changeling's Wyrd. Non-changelings do not receive any additional penalties when forswearing a corporal; the pledge is bound to the emblem sworn on by the changeling parties only. At any given time, a changeling may have only one of each kind of corporal active and invested.

Mortal Emblem The symbols of mortal associations are precious things to changelings. These are, in many ways, tangible representations of the changeling's longing to be human again. Others may consider them silly or frivolous, but they are certainly not. Mortal corporals can be nearly anything: A holy text (representing membership in a church or religious community), the lease for his apartment, a membership card for a nightclub, video rental place, country club or gym or some other similar distinctly mortal establishment. It must be something that he attends or frequents entirely out of mortal interest -- the nightclub owned by a local member of the freehold does not qualify. Rather than investing the pledge into his Wyrd or name, the changeling may invest it into his connections with the mortal world. The most powerful emblems are those representing family ties, but few Lost are brave enough to swear on something as precious as a wedding ring… given the risks. Should he break this corporal pledge, his Wyrd lashes out and works to separate him from the establishment or community. Within the next few days, events fall into place that cause him to be ejected or excluded from the organization. The video rental place closes his account, recording him as owing several hundred dollars, and the system won't allow him to open another even if he pays it. His landlord finds him in violation of an obscure part of his lease, and ejects him. The preacher from his Bible study group approaches him and suggests that he might be better served with another congregation. For anyone else, this kind of separation is of little import. But the changeling -- who invested the power of his Wyrd in his membership there -- can only watch as another connection to his lost humanity crumbles away, leaving him a stranger among mortals. This necessitates a roll to resist losing Clarity; this is a roll made with four dice, regardless of the changeling's Clarity. This roll receives a -2 dice penalty if the corporal was broken as part of the changeling's life among the fae, rather than his mortal life: Sacrificing mortal concerns in favor of fae ones is a sure path to loss of Clarity. If this pledge was broken fulfilling a Virtue, the changeling's player gains a +2 bonus to this roll; if the pledge was broken fulfilling a Vice, the roll receives a –2 dice penalty. Generally, the changeling may only have one mortal corporal active at any given time. However, if the changeling possesses a Merit such as Allies, Contacts, Resources or Status that reflects the mortal institution she is pledging by, she may elect to invest that Merit with the power of this corporal. She may select to do this only once per Merit (or once per dot in Contacts, as appropriate). Thus, the changeling has the potential to swear a mortal corporal once for each appropriate Merit, plus the "free" such slot associated with an aspect of her mortal life not associated with a Merit. Should the changeling break a pledge bound into a Merit, she not only suffers the possibility of losing Clarity, as above, but also loses the Merit entirely (or the dot in Contacts, as appropriate).

Seeming Emblem The changeling who swears on a seeming corporal swears on something symbolic to himself and his existence as a changeling, swearing an oath on his own nature. Woe to the changeling who breaks such an oath: It is tantamount to forswearing his very fae nature. Such an oathbreaker loses a point of Wyrd immediately. Generally, both parties of a seeming pledge swear on their own emblems, if they are both fae. Changelings with Wyrd 1 cannot swear this particular pledge, as they cannot invest enough of themselves into the corporal.

Courtly Emblem The changeling who swears on a courtly emblem swears on something symbolic of his association with one of the changeling Courts, investing the power of the pledge in either his Mantle Merit when swearing by his own Court or his Court Goodwill Merit, when swearing by a Court to which he is aligned. (Lack of the appropriate Mantle or Merit precludes this pledge.) Violating this pledge causes the changeling to immediately lose all his dots in Court Goodwill, or reduces his Mantle rating in half. For the next moon, members of that Court who encounter the oathbreaker immediately sense he has broken faith with that Court, and treat him accordingly.

Title Emblem A title emblem is invested into a changeling's entitlement, imbuing his connection with others of his entitlements with the power of the pledge. Violating this pledge causes the changeling to immediately lose the benefits of this entitlement, and sends a ripple of Wyrd through those of his entitlement he meets, marking him as an oathbreaker and betrayer of his entitlement. The mechanical benefits of his entitlement return when he gains a point of Wyrd, but the esteem of his fellow changelings is broken; traditionally, the entitlement peerage has the right to give the oathbreaker a task to perform -- one that upholds the ideals of the entitlement and returns him to their good graces. Such tasks are given out rarely, and never lightly. To offer an oathbreaker amnesty is to suggest that one has less respect for the creed of the entitlement as well.

Nemesis Pledge Swearing on the emblem of another changeling, however, binds that changeling as a punisher to the pledge; this role is referred to as the "nemesis" of the pledge, and the would-be nemesis must agree to this role. When the nemesis emblem is sworn, the changeling who has agreed to fulfill this function uses a Contract or other ability. The oathbreaker suffers the effects of that power, without resistance, per the pishogue sanction of a power equal to the task, below. In addition, the nemesis becomes immediately aware which party has broken the oath.

Pledge-Crafting Step-By-Step

Step One: Determine the tasks involved for each party of the pledge. Tasks are rated with a negative number that reflects how onerous the task is to complete: Lesser tasks (-1) are relatively simple to fulfill, while greater tasks (-3) are quite epic in scope.

Step Two: Determine the boons involved for each party of the pledge. Boons are rated with a positive number that reflects the benefit of the reward for holding true to one's word: Lesser boons (+1) are minor rewards, while those who hold greater boons (+3) may find their very lives changed dramatically by their possession.

Step Three: Determine the sanctions involved for each party of the pledge. Sanctions are rated with a negative number reflecting the power of the curse that befalls the oathbreaker: lesser sanctions (-1) are annoying hindrances, while the terrible punishments of greater sanctions (-3) are the stuff of legend.

Step Four: Determine the duration involved for each party of the pledge. The duration is rated with a positive number reflecting the length of time the Wyrd binds the pledge to the fate of those involved: Lesser durations (+1) exist for short time, while pledges of greater duration (+3) are bound up for at least a year and possibly longer (+3).

Step Five: The sum of each party's tasks, boons and sanctions must sum to zero when added to the duration of the pledge. This may require some adjusting of other aspects to make the expectations of each party equitable.

Step Six: Determine the invocation cost for the pledge. All pledges cost one point of Willpower to invoke, plus any additional modifiers for specific aspects.

Step Seven: Determine the type of pledge involved for the pledge as a whole; all those taking part in the pledge must be eligible to make that kind of pledge (i.e., non-changelings may not make mortal corporals), instilling the power of the pledge's Wyrd into either their own Wyrd (in the case of a vow), into a name (in the case of oaths) or into an object symbolic of their connections with others (in the case of a corporal).


The tasks of a pledge express the expectations of one or both parties to the pledge. In short, the task details what the sworn must or must not do.

Alliance: Establishing an alliance is a common use of pledges. Such pledges outline the level of support the oathbound expect from one another, with rewards and punishment appropriate to the aid provided. In many ways, alliance tasks are combined ban and endeavor tasks, both requiring and forbidding certain actions. Alliance tasks are two-way affairs; that is, all the oathtakers swear to adhere to that level of alliance with regard to one another. Pledges in which one side takes an oath to not harm the other involve ban tasks, or endeavor tasks, in which one party pledges to defend another.

Lesser -- A minor alliance is also referred to as a "peace pact." It is not actually an agreement to aid one another; it is simply a pledge to not hinder one another. The oathbound are not required to go to one another's assistance, or to prevent others from harming the other, or even tell them when they know of plans by a third party to do so. A minor alliance is a simple agreement to not hinder one another, nothing more. Thus, minor alliance tasks are considered to contribute a numerical value of (+0) when determining the balance of the pledge -- they almost never have a boon associated with them. (+0).

Medial -- A moderate alliance is likely the most typical kind of alliance. The oathbound are expected to help one another when necessary, whether that aid takes the form of sanctuary, food, money or similar offers of assistance. Oathtakers of a moderate alliance should be willing to be hurt to aid their ally, or to hurt others, but death (either inflicting or being killed oneself) is too much to expect of this oath. (-2).

Greater -- The deepest of alliances, the greater alliance is a pledge to aid one another unto even torture and death. No force should make the oathbound of a greater alliance violate their oaths, including death (though in reality, many epic betrayals of the greater alliance have come about as a result of death threats, often to loved ones). The oathbound are expected to treat one another as closer than kin, giving of their resources and assistance freely -- although those who abuse this often become social pariahs. (-3).

Dreaming: The dreaming task permits the changeling who swears it to enter into the dreams of the other oathtaker. Each pledge llowing him to guard his dreams, while a motley pledge might include the dreaming task, allowing them to safeguard one another's sleep. Likewise, a knightly oath to a lord may incorporate the dreaming task into a fealty task -- in such a case, the vassal can enter the dreams of the lord. Medial (-2).

Endeavors: Endeavor tasks are active requirements of the pledge. A pledge to perform some specific action involves the use of the endeavor task in pledge-crafting. There are three tiers of endeavors.

Lesser -- A lesser endeavor is rarely difficult to accomplish. It consists of either frequently doing something that requires hardly any time or effort at all or the performance of a single task that makes slight demands on the one so bound. Some lesser endeavors involve keeping a patch of flowers in one's yard clear of dandelion blooms or carrying a package from one part of town to another and delivering it to someone there. (-1).

Medial -- Medial endeavors take some effort to accomplish. They consist of some kind of constant activity that requires a small sacrifice of time or resources to accomplish or the performance of a difficult task (or one which may result in harm). Some medial endeavors include keeping an item safely hidden, doing some manner of tedious chore on a daily basis or carrying something either through dangerous terrain or to another city or geographic region. (-2).

Greater -- A greater endeavor can be quite epic in its requirements to accomplish. Such endeavors consist of an activity that can only be accomplished through significant attention and effort, or a single task of tremendous difficulty (or one that may result in death). Some greater endeavors include time-consuming and dangerous chores such as regular guard duty or traveling to other continents to deliver something. (-3).

Ensorcellment: The ensorcellment task may only be performed for a mortal. The changeling infuses the mortal with Glamour, lacing his soul with the weaves of Wyrd that allow him to see the world of the fae. Seemings become apparent to him, and the things of Glamour and Wyrd that changelings live with every day leap into full immediate apparency. Ensorcellment is both a task (for the changeling) and a boon (for the mortal); other tasks and boons may be paired with ensorcellment as part of pledge-crafting, but granting ensorcellment without it acting as both task and boon is impossible. When a pledge with this task takes effect, the changeling must expend one point of Glamour, in addition to any other costs associated with sealing the pledge. This expenditure actually invests the Glamour into the mortal. It remains there for as long as the pledge that ensorcells the mortal lasts. The changeling who ensorcelled the mortal may, at any time, reclaim the point of Glamour by touch. Doing so dispels the ensorcellment, however, and constitutes the violation of the pledge that ensorcells him. Medial (–2).

Fealty: The fealty pledge is a powerful and unique pledge task. Only an oath involving an acknowledged lord of a freehold may incorporate the fealty task. In this, the lord binds the one taking the oath to obey the laws of the freehold and to work according to his talents and abilities to defend the freehold in all ways. Any pledge that incorporates fealty always includes the vassalage boon and the banishment sanction. In addition, the fealty task is a task for both liege and vassal. When the lord of a freehold first participates in a fealty-tasked pledge, he must invest a dot of Willpower (though he may pay eight experience points to regain the dot). After that point, any further pledges that incorporate the fealty task are considered "invested" into this same initial expenditure, allowing the lord of the freehold to take part in many more oaths than he normally might as part of his duties. Should the lord voluntarily step down from his position, however, he recovers the dot of Willpower (or regains the eight experience points) thus invested. This is not the case if he is overthrown, however, or otherwise forced from power. This must be done as part of a ceremony where at least half of his vassals are present. Though most fealty pledges simply incorporate fealty, vassalage and banishment, some lords incorporate other pledge aspects into the oaths they demand of their vassals. Occasionally, these are universal addenda, such as the paranoid tyrant who adds the vulnerability sanction to those who betray their oaths of fealty or the civic-minded freehold that incorporates an endeavor task to spend one day of the week working to improve the lot of the homeless. More often, though, these are technically other oaths folded into the investment of the fealty pledge -- for instance, a liege may maintain a standard fealty pledge, but use a different one for those who swear to act as part of his bodyguard, incorporating additional tasks and commensurate boons and sanctions. Greater (-3).

Forbiddance: The forbiddance task outlines what the oathbound are forbidden from doing, lest they become oathbreaker. Sometimes referred to as a "ban task," the forbiddance is used in situations to prevent actions or situations from being brought about by one or both of the parties involved in the pledge.

Lesser -- A lesser forbiddance prevents the oathbound from performing some action that is simply avoided. Situations in which the opportunity to perform the action come up only rarely, and there is no difficulty in not taking that action. Agreeing to avoid entering a certain building, not consuming a certain specific food or drink or avoiding using a specific name or phrase are all examples of lesser forbiddances. (-1).

Medial -- The actions censured by a medial forbiddance are somewhat more difficult to avoid, whether because they are more common or because the oathbound is likely to desire to perform that action. Situations in which the opportunity to perform the action come up more often, and it may serve as some inconvenience to avoid that action. Never entering a particular neighborhood or using the subway, not eating a specific category of food (such as beef, wheat or citrus) or not speaking to a specific type of person (such as policemen) or about a specific topic (such as sports) are all examples of medial forbiddances. (-2).

Greater -- Greater forbiddances are truly dire, and invariably change the way an oathsworn lives her life. Situations in which the opportunity to perform the action come up frequently, and it is quite difficult to avoid taking that action. Being banished from a city or geographical region, never again touching fruit or meat and oaths of silence and chastity are all greater forbiddances. (-3).


The boon of a pledge describes the expected reward for fulfillment of the task of a pledge. These may range from a measure of Glamour to enchantment of mortal senses to small magical benefits granted not by the changelings in question per se, but by the Wyrd itself.

Adroitness: The skill of one's hands may be increased by the Wyrd as a reward for holding to the terms of a pledge. In many cases, these boons are intended to grant the oathbound the ability to more fully adhere to his pledge: A sworn bodyguard's skill at arms or alertness is enhanced, while a hacker on a quest to acquire information for a changeling may find his aptitude with technology boosted. The oathsworn gains a +1 bonus to all rolls involving a single Skill (defined by the pledge) while he benefits from this boon. Lesser (+1).

Blessing: When the parties of a pledge hold to their word, the Wyrd rewards them appropriately, granting beauty, riches, skill at arms or one of many other benefits. The one thus rewarded gains one or more dots in a Merit, which persist as long as the pledge remains intact. Whether investing a mortal to act as his bodyguard, or playing faerie godmother to an orphan whose hard life has softened his heart, the changeling may grant tremendous boons to those who uphold their word. The man who serves the fae well may find himself with a bounty of money that he need never work for, and the plain woman might be made beautiful. Changelings receive blessings of diminished power when compared to mortals, however. This boon may only increase Merits that deal with the mortal world -- Merits that reflect involvement in the supernatural world (such as Court Goodwill) may not be increased by means of this boon.

Lesser -- A lesser blessing grants a one- or two-dot Merit to humans who do not possess the Merit at all, or increases an existing Merit by one dot. This will only grant a new Merit of one dot in power to a changeling or other supernatural entity, but may still increase an existing Merit by one dot. (+1).

Medial -- A medial blessing grants a three- or four-dot Merit to those who do not possess the Merit at all, or increase an existing Merit by two dots. Changelings and other supernatural beings may only gain a new Merit of two dots in power, but may still increase an existing Merit by two dots. (+2).

Greater -- A greater blessing grants a five-dot Merit to those who do not possess the Merit at all, or increase an existing Merit by three dots. Changelings and other supernaturals may only gain a new Merit of three dots in but may increase an existing Merit by three dots. (+3).

Ensorcellment: The ensorcellment boon may only be performed for a mortal. The changeling infuses the mortal with Glamour, lacing his soul with the weaves of Wyrd that allow him to see the world of the fae. Seemings become apparent to him, and the things of Glamour and Wyrd that changelings live with every day leap into full immediate apparency. Ensorcellment is both a task (for the changeling) and a boon (for the mortal); other tasks and boons may be paired with ensorcellment as part of pledge-crafting, but granting ensorcellment without it acting as both task and boon is impossible. When a pledge with this boon takes effect, the changeling must expend one point of Glamour, in addition to any other costs associated with sealing the pledge. This expenditure actually invests the Glamour into the mortal. It remains there for as long as the pledge that ensorcells the mortal lasts. The changeling who ensorcelled the mortal may, at any time, reclaim the point of Glamour by touch. Doing so dispels the ensorcellment, however, and constitutes the violation of the pledge that ensorcells him. Medial (-2).

Favor: Performing a task in exchange for a later favor of equivalent importance is a time-honored tradition. Doing so can be risky, of course. Effectively, the one who is bound to perform a favor is bound by Wyrd to perform some task of equivalent power at a later date. Favors are rated as lesser, medial and greater in power. The one who owes the favor is bound by Wyrd to grant it, so long as it is within the bounds of what is owed, when it is asked at that later date, or suffer a Curse sanction of the appropriate power, levied by the Wyrd itself. Lesser (+1), Medial (+2) or Greater (+3).

Glamour: Not every changeling has access to the reserves of Glamour that drip into the world of mortals from Arcadia. Most changelings have to make do with pacts of Glamour. Between changelings, this is something of a rare boon, for it involves the literal and immediate transfer of Glamour from one changeling to the other when the boon is invoked. Some lieges grant a one-time Glamour boon when they take fealty from a vassal, while others demand a tithe of it from their subjects on a regular basis. Glamour gained in this way is dependent on the pledge's specifics. However, no more Glamour than the lowest Wyrd rating of the changelings involved may be transferred at any one time. Alternately, this transfer may happen at intervals, one point of Glamour at a time. This transfer may not happen more often than once a week, and this boon may only transfer a number of points of Glamour equal to the highest Wyrd rating of the changelings involved over the duration of the pledge. When mortals are involved, however, things are different. The mortal need not know how to manipulate Glamour, or even know it exists. A pledge between mortal and changeling that includes the Glamour boon grants Glamour to the changeling, power tinged with the flavor of the pledge itself. In this fashion, a changeling may gain up to a single point of Glamour per day, depending on the pledge involved. As long as the pledge remains unbroken by the oathbound, the Glamour continues to flow. Note that even if a pledge's fulfillment has a physical component -- as with the shoemaker leaving a saucer of milk for the changeling in return for having all his shoes cobbled overnight -- that component is not truly the source of Glamour. The act of upholding the oath actually provides the energy, not the item. Therefore, another changeling could not get Glamour by stealing the saucer of milk left out for a friend, or could not offer the milk to another to give him Glamour, because neither the saucer nor the milk is really magical -- they are simply physical tokens representing the oath's fulfillment. Medial (+2).

Vassalage: Those who are granted vassalage as their reward are considered members of a freehold, and gain access to the unique blessing associated with that freehold while they are within its borders. The vassalage boon can only be granted to pledges that incorporate the fealty task. Greater (+3). The word "freehold" can be used to describe anything from a ragtag cluster of tenuously allied Courtless to an elaborate feudal community headed by a Court of self-made nobility. However, a freehold that is properly reinforced by the Wyrd (usually through the work of the Great Courts) can grant a measure of power to all those who have sworn loyalty to the anointed ruler. This benefit usually takes the place of a small die modifier, a blessing to one particular activity. In order to manifest these benefits, the ruler of a freehold must be "appropriate" in a fashion that matches the Wyrd forces of fate and time. In areas where the seasonal Courts hold sway, this means the ruler must reflect the season of the area; a Summer Court changeling must govern during the Summer, passing the mantle to an Autumn courtier when Autumn comes, and so on. These blessings of vassalage are the primary motivator for the rotating seasonal Courts that have become so prominent. If a freehold's ruler loses his "divine right" (such as a Spring Queen refusing to yield the throne when Summer comes), the freehold benefits are lost. In addition, a ruler who breaks pledges of vassalage in this fashion is said to bring ill luck on his domain; a broken pledge is worse than never having sworn a pledge at all. This may be simple changeling superstition, but Wyrd makes many superstitions real. The specific benefits vary greatly from one freehold to the next, but the three following are the most common.

Fertility -- This blessing grants vassals a +1 bonus to rolls made to harvest Glamour, as the wellsprings of emotions flow freely. Loss of the blessing seems to bring a time of drought on the land, as Glamour withdraws in the wake of broken pledges.

Fortitude -- Vassals with this blessing receive a +1 bonus to all rolls made to resist Clarity degeneration; the pledge of vassalage offers support and strength. Loss of the benefit makes degeneration rolls even more difficult to endure.

Subtlety -- This blessing grants vassals a +1 bonus to all rolls that involve concealing their fae nature from others. Loss of this blessing often results in a rise in outside interference, with many potential enemies feeling drawn to the area.


The sanction of a pledge describes the punishment that lies in store for those who forswear their pledges. In the case of some oaths and corporals, there is no additional sanction, due to the seriousness of breaking those pledges. Between changelings, the sanction of a pledge must be pre-established.

However, when a pledge exists between mortal and fae, the fae sealing the pledge may simply decide to include the possibility of a sanction. Should the mortal violate the pledge, the changeling may pronounce a sanction of the appropriate power at that moment, laying a curse on the oathbreaker. Should the changeling break the pledge, however, Wyrd lashes out, leveling a sanction of the appropriate power. Generally, Fate works strangely in such instances -- when the changeling is most suffering the effects of this curse, the Wyrd arranges for the betrayed mortal to catch a glimpse of the changeling's misery, filling the mortal with the understanding that this has come about as a result of the changeling's treachery.

The duration of a sanction, unless described otherwise below, is the duration of the pledge the sanction was safeguarding. Thus, breaking a pledge that had a duration of the "moon" invokes the sanction for a full 28 days, even if the pledge was broken on the 27th day of its course. If this sanction is against a mortal, at the end of the sanction's duration, the changeling has the option of spending a point of Willpower and continuing to empower the punishment against the mortal. Doing so invests the sanction into a point of the changeling's Wyrd, though, as though it were a pledge of itself.

Banishment: Those who face the sanction of banishment must flee the domain of the lord they have betrayed, for his servants stand to gain by harming or killing the traitor. Any changeling who bears a fealty to the lord who has pronounced banishment may gain a point of Glamour for acting to harm the traitor in a scene, as long as that harm occurs within the freehold's borders. A changeling who manages to kill the oathbreaker while he is within the freehold gains an amount of Glamour equal to the oathbreaker's Wyrd. This sanction does not happen automatically -- the lord of the freehold must pronounce the sanction of banishment before a gathering of at least one-quarter of his vassals. Though other vassals do not have any way of knowing this has happened, save by word of mouth, the oathbreaker sanctioned by it immediately feels the pronouncement of banishment settle on his shoulders. In truth, banishment is the most arbitrary of the sanctions, because it can be pronounced at any time by the lord who holds the vassal's fealty -- banishment is not levied by Wyrd. However, a lord who pronounces banishment idly soon finds those willing to swear fealty to him diminishing in number. Greater (-3)

Curse: The curse sanction instills incompetence and terrible luck on the oathbreaker. A thousand little difficulties plague his everyday life. This sanction is laid the moment the pledge is broken. Curses of varying power stack; two lesser curses are equivalent to a medial curse, and three lesser curses (or two medial curses) are the equivalent of a greater curse. In such an instance, the newly potent curse lasts for the longest duration of the various stacked curses. Various blessings and powers that grant luck can work to offset these curses. The 9 again rule's ability reduces the power of the active curse by one step, while the 8 again rule's ability reduces the power of the active curse by two steps. In such instances, the character's roll does not gain the benefit of the 9 again or 8 again effect, which is expended reducing the power of the curse in that instance.

Lesser -- A lesser curse sanction negates the 10 again rule for the oathbreaker. He may not re-roll 10s to garner additional successes for the duration of the sanction. (-1).

Medial -- A medial curse sanction reduces the possibility of success; only a result of 9 or 10 on the die is treated as a success. A result of an 8 or less is a failure on the die. (-2).

Greater -- A greater curse sanction is a terrible fate; only a result of 10 on the die is treated as a success. A result of a 9 or less is a failure on the die. In addition, should a given die roll result in no successes, it is treated as a dramatic failure, though the oathbreaker may spend a point of Willpower to negate this, making it a simple failure instead. (-3).

Death: The oathbreaker invokes his death by violating the oath. As soon as the oath is broken, the betrayed party immediately loses a permanent dot of Willpower (which may be purchased back by spending eight experience points), and the traitor feels the weight of his doom settle onto his shoulders. Within a number of days equal to the Wyrd rating of the one he betrayed (one week if mortal), the Wyrd will arrange events to cause a fatal -- and often ironically appropriate -- accident to claim the life of the traitor. If he manages to convince the one he betrayed to forgive him before his doom claims him, the one he betrayed immediately recovers the lost Willpower dot (or the eight experience points), and the doom is lifted. But the forgiveness must be genuine, and uncoerced. Greater (-3).

Flaw: The sanction of the Flaw is a curse that is left to the Wyrd to inflict. Those establishing the oath may either swear to accept the judgment of fate, or to call a curse down on themselves should they fail to be true. Effectively, pledges that have the flaw sanction either establish a Flaw at the sealing of the pledge, or they simply call upon the Wyrd to punish them as appropriate. Phrases such as "may Fate strike me blind should I betray this oath" and "let the tongue of he who proves untrue likewise betray him" are used to choose the nature of the Flaw. The one that violates this oath receives that Flaw within a week of his betrayal. If the choice is left to the Wyrd, the Storyteller may choose the nature of the Flaw, focusing on a Flaw thematically appropriate to the pledge broken: An oath to remain silent may actually cause the oathbreaker to gain the Mute Flaw, while a pledge that is broken because the oathbreaker was seduced may result in a Deformity Flaw, to prevent anyone from wanting to seduce him again. The oathbreaker gains this Flaw permanently. Medial (-2).

Pishogue: Some changelings prefer to take revenge for broken pledges immediately, and with their own power. Such oathtakers prefer the pishogue sanction, allowing them to weave the powers of their Contracts into the pledge. Such powers sit over the heads of those in the pledge like the sword of Damocles, waiting for a violation of trust to strike. The Contract is activated as the pledge is sealed, requiring a minimum expenditure of one point of Glamour. Should the pledge be broken, the sanction takes effect, and the Contract lashes out and strikes the traitor, who does not gain any resistance roll or passive defense -- choosing to violate the pact is the same as giving permission for the pishogue to strike, in the eyes of the Wyrd. In addition, the one who wove the pishogue immediately knows that the pact is broken.

Lesser -- A lesser pishogue is a one- to two-dot Contract. These are minor inconveniences and punishments, levied for the least of offenses. (-1).

Medial -- A medial pishogue involves the activation of a three- or four-dot Contract. Alternately, weaving two activations of a lesser pishogue into one sanction is considered a medial pishogue; the two activations must be paid for separately, at a minimum of one point of Glamour apiece. (-2).

Greater -- A greater pishogue levies terrible powers on the head of an oathbreaker, typically that of a five-dot Contract. Alternately, weaving multiple activations of lesser pishogues into one whole may result in a greater pishogue: Three lesser pishogues, a lesser and a medial pishogue or two medial pishogues are the equivalent of a greater pishogue. (-3).

Poisoning of Boon: The poisoning of the boon works by not simply stripping the oathbreaker of the benefits he enjoyed from the pledge, but by reversing them. The exact nature of this sanction depends on the boon being poisoned:

Adroitness -- The Skill granted by the pledge not only goes away but inflicts an additional –1 die penalty to all rolls with that Skill for the duration of the sanction. Lesser (-1).

Blessing -- The blessing sours. Not only do the bonus points go away with the violation of the pledge, but the rating of the Merit originally blessed drops by a similar amount for the duration of the sanction. The oathbreaker receives terrible misfortune for a while. If this drops the rating of the Merit to below what is necessary to use the Merit (such as dropping Striking Looks to one dot or lower), a minor penalty comes along with it; those rolls that the Merit once assisted are now treated as though they were under the effects of the lesser curse sanction. Thus, an eroded Danger Sense gains that penalty to rolls to avoid ambushes, an eroded Fighting Style suffers anytime Brawl or Weaponry (as appropriate) are employed and an eroded Striking Looks receives the penalty to all rolls that Striking Looks normally benefits. The precise nature of this curse is based on the Storyteller's preferences, as long as the result is appropriately thematic to the oath broken, with just the right touch of irony. The business man who idly enters into a deal with a changeling only to find the money come rolling in is a fool who then ignores his obligation to his "good neighbor"; not only does the money stop simply appearing, but his fat bank accounts suddenly run dry and the money in his wallet and home safe turn into autumn leaves, as dried and crackly as his fortunes. The poisoning of a blessing is of a power equal to the blessing it once granted. Lesser (-1), Medial (-2) or Greater (-3), based on original blessing.

Ensorcellment -- The poisoning of an ensorcellment is terrible, indeed. The mortal continues to perceive the things of the fae world, as normal. However, they take on a terrible aspect, feeding upon his own fears and insecurities. Changelings of even the most innocent miens become terrible, sinister monsters to him, and the truly fearful of the fae are sanity-shattering horrors. In addition, he suffers from terrible nightmares, his dreams poisoned by his oathbreaking. For each week that a mortal suffers a poisoned ensorcellment, he must make a Resolve + Composure roll, at a penalty of -1 die per week of poisoned ensorcellment. Failing this roll inflicts an appropriate derangement on the mortal. In addition, when he encounters the things and entities of Glamour, he must make a Resolve + Composure roll, at the same penalty, or react in great terror. Some may collapse into gibbering catatonia, while others flee blindly, heedless of dangers before them. Medial (-2).

Favor -- The poisoning of a favor simply reverses the roles of debtor and owed, enforced by the Wyrd. Failing to perform a stated task in return for an unstated debt twists about; the oathbreaker then owes the one betrayed an unstated task, collectible at any time. Lesser (-1), Medial (-2) or Greater (-3), based on original favor.

Glamour -- When a boon of Glamour is poisoned, there is always the loss. In the case of a deal between the fae, the normal exchange is reversed -- the would-be recipient instead loses a similar amount of Glamour, which is rendered to the one betrayed. If this is the result of a deal between mortal and fae, the fae simply loses a point of Glamour when he would have normally gained it. Medial (-2). Poisoning of the boon may not be applied to the vassalage boon. However, there are tales of a freehold's blessing being poisoned if the ruler goes awry.

Vulnerability: The sanction of vulnerability is terrible, stripping the defenses of the one punished. Traditionally, an oathbreaker who receives the vulnerability sanction is also assumed to have incurred the righteous wrath of the one he betrayed. Thus, even between members of a freehold normally forbidden to enact violence upon one another, the one betrayed is permitted to seek his vengeance -- if the oathbreaker desired continued protection from him, it is generally agreed that he would have kept his oath. There are two kinds of vulnerability sanctions: the vulnerability to Glamour and the vulnerability to violence.

Glamour -- When the sanction of vulnerability to Glamour is laid, the one punished loses his normal resistances to the Contracts and other powers of the one he betrayed. The oathbreaker may not make opposed rolls against such powers, and none of his Resistance Attributes passively apply to any dice rolls made to activate such powers upon him. Likewise, his Defense is considered a 0 for the purposes of being targeted by Contracts and similar Wyrd-based Abilities, but not against normal attacks. This does not apply to all power uses -- this penalty only comes into play when the betrayed party uses such Abilities against the oathbreaker. Medial (-2).

Violence -- The sanction of vulnerability to violence leaves the oathbreaker open to terrible violence. Against physical attacks made by the one the oathbreaker betrayed, the oathbreaker has a Defense of 0 for the duration of the sanction. In addition, the righteous attacks of the betrayed negate any Contracts or other Wyrd-based powers that grant some kind of bonus to Defense or armor against his attacks. Only physical, worn armor grants any kind of bonus. Medial (-2).


The duration of a pledge details the length of time the pledge remains in effect. Most of these are cyclical adjudications of time, rather than something measured in hours.

Day: The pledge that lasts a day is a simple thing, often casually sworn at a whim. The terms of a pledge sworn for a day last for 24 hours. Lesser (+1).

Week: The pledge that lasts a week is among the most common of pledges -- such oaths last for precisely seven days, to the hour. Lesser (+1).

Moon: A pledge sworn for a moon lasts 28 days, the turning of a single lunar month. Such pledges are the most common of the vows that changelings consider serious -- the dedication of an oath for a full turning of the moon is usually understood to mean that those involved in the pledge take the oath quite seriously. Medial (+2).

Season: Traditionally, swearing a pledge for a season is performed at a solstice or equinox event of some kind. When a pledge is made for a season outside of one of these astronomical events, the pledge is understood to stand in effect for precisely 89 days, or one-quarter of a normal year. In freeholds where a different ruler holds power over each of the seasons, oaths of fealty are generally made for a season. Medial (+2).

Year and a day: Swearing the year-and-a-day pledge binds the word of those participating for 366 days exactly. The wording is an ancient necessity of the Wyrd -- it is said that those who swear an oath for only a single year risk the oath coming unfrayed in those years where the time-keeping of men did not agree with the passage of time in the world around them: intercalary, or "leap" years. Swearing for a year and a day alleviates this difficulty. Greater (+3).

Decade: The decade oath lasts for 10 years and 10 days precisely. It is rare to find oaths sworn for this duration -- they are usually pledges of tremendous importance and power. Most changelings prefer to simply swear pledges on a yearly basis or so; agreeing to swear an oath for more than a year reflects great dedication. Greater (+3).

Lifelong: A lifelong oath lasts until the death of one of the oathbound. Lifelong oaths usually achieve some measure of nearly legendary repute in changeling society; those whose dedication runs deep enough to dedicate themselves to a pledge for the rest of their lives are seen as simultaneously somewhat foolish and noteworthy. Swearing a lifelong oath requires the expenditure of a permanent dot of Willpower from one of the oathtakers in addition to any other invocation expenditures. Greater (+3).

Generational: It is almost unheard-of for a pledge to be sworn on a generational basis. When this is done, the pledge stays in effect for the lifetime of the oathbound. But even with death, this pledge is not released, for the onus of the responsibility passes on with the next generation -- the children of the oathtakers are themselves bound up to fulfill these oaths as well. This may not necessarily be the physical children of the oathtakers; in changeling society, this is most often an heir acknowledged before the rulers of a freehold. Though this is a greater duration, one of the oathtakers must spend a permanent dot of Willpower (in addition to any other invocation expenditures) in order to use this duration, and both must be in agreement. The oath lasts for a number of generations equal to the Wyrd of the oathtaker that spent the Willpower. Greater (+3).

Eternity: It is said that the Others possess the ability to bind up pledges for all eternity, forcing those so bound to adhere to their words even after their bodies have given up life, or into subsequent incarnations. This power is well and truly beyond any known changeling, and even the most puissant of great Fae lords are capable of invoking it only rarely. Unknown.

Sealing The Pledge

Once the pledge is spoken and the parties involved agree, one party -- generally the one who proposed and formulated the oath -- spends any Willpower necessary to bind the oath. For a moment, the hearts of those involved flutter, as though on the edge of panic. The oathbound feel, for just a moment, tied into a grander web of connections than most individuals understand exists and then the feeling fades.

Those watching with the means to perceive auras see red bands settle into the aura of those who share in the bond. When oathbound are within line of sight of one another, tiny red threads of Fate connect the bands to one another.

Adding Another To A Pledge

It is possible to add an additional participant to a pledge once it has already been sealed. This is a simple matter of gathering all the participants who are party to the pledge, and "swearing in" the new party. All the participants must spend a point of Willpower at that juncture to add the newcomer to the pledge, while the newcomer spends the normal invocation cost for the pledge.

The exception to this rule is the fealty task for a pledge, which allows only one participant in the pledge -- the lord of the freehold -- to add others to the same oath. This is a unique property of the fealty task, however.
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