The Autumn People by Ningyou
Goofus and Gallant Swap SoulsOriginal SA post
So I guess I'm going to take a brief detour from writing about Magical Realism NWA Fanfic to talk about something else.
So! Earlier in the thread, two things came up. First, the amazing carnival of foam swords and forsooths and overgrown children that is Changeling: the Dreaming , and its Banality system (where, you know, FUN-RUINING ADULTS and science and cars and psych meds and really the field of psychiatry in general were literally poisonous to the land and to PCs). Second, Rand Brittain's idea that the WW writers genuinely believed YO MAN DON'T TRUST ANYBODY OVER 30 and wrote from that perspective when old WoD was still a thing. These things got me thinking about the Changeling antagonist book The Autumn People , which I....sort of remembered? And so I checked it out yesterday because hahaha I have no life what else would i even *do* , and holy shit. Holy shit. You thought the rest of WoD read like it was written by disaffected twentysomethings? Large parts of this book are pretty much Adolescent Resentment: The Fuckyoudaddening.
So I think I'm going to take a break from the other book (oh god i am going to finish that fucking thing before another year and a half passes i really am okay) to treat (is that the word?) you folks to a writeup of this masterpiece.
It starts with a piece of fiction tracing the lives of a boy and a manic pixie dream girl! For some reason the style made me think of Goofus and Gallant, so I'm going to kind of run with that here.
GOOFUS spends her early childhood playing in gardens and making up fanciful stories in her head and regaling an audience of flowers and butterflies (TOTALLY HER FRIENDS BY THE WAY) with these tales.
GALLANT learns to be a meticulous woodworker from age 5 onward, and his father stresses boring stuff like "the value of hard work" and "being a provider." They bond over taking careful measurements and hammering stuff.
GOOFUS constantly sneaks out of the house "with the stealth of a night animal" as a teenager and runs around outside and runs away for good when she turns 17! Because her room is totally a prison for her and her stuffed animals and I guess the moon's kissing the mountains and she wants to watch.
GALLANT spends his adolescence working at a lumber yard and going to school, because his father was a traditionalist and taught him to be dependable. Eventually he buys a boring white station wagon and moves to California!
GOOFUS drifts through city after city, starving and stinking and eventually getting snapped up in the parking lot of a California 7-11 by a gentle giant-ish slouchy troll, an "eloquent, yet sly" thievin' pooka, and a mopey sluagh who "wore his bitterness with pride." (Oh and I guess they're the cast of Scooby-Doo, united in their love of a bright green van and couchsurfing? And they go on roadtrips because spontaneous.)
GALLANT gets a small apartment and works himself to the bone, but the hope of a raise in the future and weekend walks along the beach keep him going!
GOOFUS walks away because her friends constantly argue and being around an endlessly mopeybitter dude and an endlessly whimsical dude is exhausting. Goofus goes off to the beach and relives her childhood on a swing set and oh, if only the air could carry her away~! Because holy shit her housemates. Goofus went up and down and up and down and dreamed of paradise and went crashing down!
GALLANT totally thinks Goofus is some kind of ethereal fey princess, a one-of-a-kind jewel, and wants nothing more than to protect her from all the world's ills.
GOOFUS has her heart stolen by this non-mopey, non-whimsical dude who tends to her and scoops her up and they kiss and it's amazing!
GALLANT takes Goofus home and UGH SHE'S SO IRRESPONSIBLE AND FLIGHTY AND UNRELIABLE ISN'T IT GREAT FUCK DUDE I AM ABSOLUTELY SMITTEN I'M THE LUCKIEST BOY IN THE WARLD
"Each day was bliss. Every action I took each day was out of my love for him. I was obsessed. When I cooked a pot of rice for dinner, I thought of how wonderful our next dinner by candlelight would be. When I sorted his socks from the laundry, I thought of how they would keep his feet warm. When I washed the sheets, I couldn't stop smiling."
GOOFUS is, uh....yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah.
GALLANT tries *so* hard to make Goofus happy, but she just seems more sad and languid and uneasy and I mean what the shit he keeps buying her stuff why won't she be happy why won't she love him ugh
Ten years later, GOOFUS is just mired in ennui and ugh the *phone* and the *baby* and her husband drinks all the time and she can barely remember her friends and the flowers are no longer her friends i mean holy shit she's got the anti-green thumb
GALLANT wallows in drunken misery as he contemplates his ailing marriage. He did everything his dad told him and tried to emulate his parents' marriage and bought her stuff and provided and why can't she be happy with it UGH
GALLANT also drunkenly crushes leaves beneath his feet because fuck nature.
GOOFUS is reunited with her troll buddy who pretty much hasn't aged a day and learns the horrible truth about her life since meeting the fucking mundane she came to marry.
GALLANT wonders why Goofus won't share a bed with him anymore.
GOOFUS skulks around her picket-fence prison in the middle of the night and shamefully sneaks ice cream and spaces out in front of the TV and goes to the attic, the one place where she can remember her old life, and sobs into a shoebox full of leaves because THIS IS WHAT I SACRIFICED FOR YOU I THREW AWAY MY WINGS FOR THIS FUCKING RELATIONSHIP UGH
And that's the opening fiction.
Also, here's a fun fact that doesn't really come up in the opening fiction but still seems worth mentioning! So, in general Changeling gives you three different age categories for fae -- there are the precocious children full of wonder who can see the truths that those boring a-dults have long been blinded to (ages 3-13), magical fun-loving teens who burn bright with creativity and adventurous spirit (13-25), and the bitter, tired old folks barely staving off the cold grasp of spiritual death. You know, people in their late twenties! (no really the main rulebook says that the old ppl category starts at age 25 and most changelings' ~~faerie souls~~ don't make it past their late twenties)
The People InvolvedOriginal SA post "Dreams come easiest to us when we're young. Before we're taught the way the 'real world' is, we live in a state of grace, believing that anything is possible. As children, we take every opportunity we can to act out that unlimited possibility. As pirates or astronauts, ballerinas or ninjas, we turn cardboard boxes into spaceships, backyards into desert islands, and treehouses into armoured forts. Fantastic worlds are within our grasp, and fantastic creatures - like faeries, dragons, and monsters - seem like they're only a heartbeat away. We can go anywhere...do anything...be anyone.
Somewhere along the way, we lose that enthusiasm. We stop playing and start surviving. Life becomes a matter of getting by, and our idealism is replaced by realism. We seek stable 9-to-5 lives, live in quiet homes, and narcotize ourselves in front of flickering television sets. The world of imagination is set aside as our lives become banal. Inexorably, our passion for life mellows into the contentment of security or hardens into the bitterness of failure."
Blah blah your wanderlust is replaced by a videotape collection and a retirement plan bluh bloo welcome to the Introduction to The Autumn People .
I'm not going to devote too many to this, simply because everything'll come up in more detail later in the book and there's no funny/terrible lexicon this time. Anyways! So, the opening tells us, Kithain are the lone holdouts against the oncoming tide, keeping the power of make-believe and childlike creativity and etc. alive and isn't it terrible that they're the only ones dreaming in this bleak, banal world? The book throws this at us, and then it goes on to tell us about some people who sink so far into the mundane that they KILL DREAMS OKAY
Two main types! First, there are Innocents ! Who are innocent. Because they KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO. (and what they do is KILL DREAMS UGH WHY ARE THEY SO AFRAID OF A MAGICKAL WORLD GOSH) Examples offered include teachers who take away students' comic books because comics are "dumb" "trash", out-of-touch bosses, fussy parents who want to protect their children by censoring saucyviolent books/tv, conformists, and joyless mope-mopes and boring dads and so on who suck the life and creativity out of everyone around them because SO DULL.
Second, Dauntain ! They do know a magical world exists, but they're big ol' haters who can't stop hatin' all these vivacious dreamers so they try to snuff out all the magic and joy in the world. (See, you can tell they're haters, because they had the potential to become Kithain but "trauma and sorrow" twisted them into fun-ruiners who "reject their fae nature.") Examples include...well, there's only one here, and it's ~THE GRANDFATHER OF DEPROGRAMMING IMAGINATION, A VISIONARY YET DEVIANT SCIENTIST NAMED DR. ANTON STARK~ (i'm pretty sure they've used this exact line a few times in the books and holy shit it doesn't get less weird with familiarity), a psychiatrist who decided all this whimsical fun had to end so he "brought on her childhood's end" with "psychological counseling, cold reason, and arrogant condescension." Oh, and a boatload of drugs. And institutionalisation. And he goes on to do this to others and most of them just end up catatonic. (And uh is it just me or is there some p. creepy sub-subtext here?)
Also they fucking love stepping on leaves and/or watching them fall and die (which, to be fair, i can empathise with -- I mean, have you met a leaf that wasn't a complete jerk? Every season save winter, they're all like ~~~blooms, sits there obnoxiously, falls in your coffee~~~ HA DEAL WITH IT NERD -- but even so it's kind of a weird thing to keep coming back to.)
The last part goes into mood ("tragic sorrow," unless countered with "manic creativity") and theme ("the death of creativity" ), along with some chronicle advice. See, w/r/t the Autumn People, you can run a horrifying game for doomed people and just swim in fear and misery and loss, or you can run a lighthearted game where your totally random pooka characters can freak the mundanes a bunch! (No, really, it says this.)
It reminds us, though, that the Dauntain totally aren't moustache-twirling villains who want to ruin everyone's fun because evil before going off to kick some puppies. They have motivations and beliefs! Individual ones, even! NUANCED ANTAGONISTS OKAY
Next time, Chapter One: Watching at the Window , in which the writers pander pretty blatantly to their core demographic.
Childhood's BenderOriginal SA post
"Falling asleep is something we do gradually. If letting our hearts and minds die were a sudden process, it would be easier to see it coming. Unfortunately, compromise works slowly. Watching it descend is like staring out a window at the end of the day. The shadows lengthen as the sun sets, and if our mind is occupied with other things, you don't even notice the drawing of the dark. Each step on its own seems incidental, but as it builds over time, it wears us away. It's entropy of the soul, and unless you're aware that it happens and take precautions, it inevitably arrives with the chilling beauty of the passing of seasons.
There is hope, however. The Kithain, even though they live in a different world, have dealt with as much perfidious mundanity as the rest of us. Each kith resists differently. Redcaps face down bullies on playgrounds. Trolls hold onto their honour in situations of tempting compromise. The satyrs fight boredom with revelry and celebration, and the pooka resist by pranking the most ostentatious mundanes. The sluagh, not surprisingly, are the most determined to carefully watch the tumbling of the leaves, for their acidic cynicism gives them insight into the harshest side of the real world."
I read this and all I can think of is some feral-looking thirtysomething storming onto a playground and tearing a pimply kid to bits because honour and hopes of staving off boring ol' adult stuff by basking in childlike wonderment and etc., like the last twenty minutes of some movie about goofyendearing manchildren gone horrendously wrong.
So, Chapter One: Watching at the Window ! It's mostly narration by the mopey sluagh from the opening fiction, though there's a sidebar midway through from the ~*~TOTALLY RANDOM~*~ pooka, who explains that the sluagh is really an okay guy who was smitten with the sidhe girl from the opening and when real-life romance doesn't live up to the fairytale ideal you have built up in your head it can make staving off Banality that much more difficult and OMG I PUT CARROTS IN HIS SOCKS AND UNDERWEAR DRAWER AND I LEFT HIM A SIGN SAYING FIND THE CARROTS bEcAuSe iM sO rAnDoM artpop macht frei i guess
"So you want to wage war against mundanity? Forgive me for saying so, but I believe if you're going to win, those rose-coloured glasses of yours aren't going to do you that much good. Look around you, and perhaps I can show you the world I see."
So, there were these changelings, right? And "their clique" rallied around this bright green bus -- mopeysluagh liked it because it was ~offensively~ green, and the sidhe girl from the prologue liked it "because it was bright," and they just went around having adventures and being magickal hippies in university, but then that SQUARE sidhe got MARRIED and had KIDS and moved to the SUBURBS and UGH I BET SHE'S LIKE OBSESSED WITH COUPONS AND DONNA REED AND HER HUSBAND'S ALCOHOL PROBLEM AND MAKING HER KIDS HAPPY FUCK WHAT A LOSER and where does it all begin~? why does the dreaming have to come to an end~?
This is where it starts, the book tells us, with dumb no-fun parents scolding children for being inquisitive i mean what's wrong with playing with bugs and dead cats and omg dad you say I don't have the sense to come in from the rain? You don't have the sense to come out into the rain, maaaaan. (yes this is an actual thing said in the book)
And what's worse, *they* use 'childish' as an insult. I mean, what the hell, right? All the best things in life, like comics and cartoons and games and *make-believe*, get called childish. But what *they* don't get is, everyone plays make-believe. People who wear "suits" and go to "jobs" are playing make-believe. That jerk behind the counter at McWorldofdonalds who totally looked at the sluagh like he was a freak is playing make-believe. Eeeeeeverybody plays a role , maaaaaan.
But, you know, children are really great, because they don't take things too seriously. See, those boring adults forget that digging yourself out of a mire of sadness and seriousness and regret is as easy as, uh....dancing and belching a lot. Because that's a thing children do. Except, you know, adults try to condition the childishness out of children, which is really terrible. Those mean ol' adults, telling girls to be ladylike and boys to show feelings never ever! They're probably just jealous .
Children are great, you see, unless they aren't wacky free spirits who like comics and make-believe and burping out the alphabet, in which case they're worse than the adults. See, all those so-called normal kids? They gang up and all go HEY WE'RE ALL NORMAL HIGH-FIVES FOR EVERYONE EXCEPT YOU WEIRDO and it totally made mopeysluagh's troll buddy want to hide forever.
"When a group of trolls get together away from all the people who ridicule them, they finally act proud of who they are. Until then, they're like any other kids: ashamed of who they are. That's where Banality begins. You hide, conform, or you stand tall."
In spite of this, mopeysluagh feels for the Autumn People, because they're secretly scared and envious of the Changelings, who are magical and special and really are the only people apart from small children who "realise how much possibility they have in their lives."
I'm not the first one to say this, but jesus christ Changeling has a weird outlook on education.
Education is good in theory. Asking "why" is good. But school? School is just a *system* of *conformist rituals*, maaaaan. They don't even want you to question anything, and you can't be late or doodle or daydream or ask *why*, you're just supposed to STAY IN THEIR LITTLE BOXES and do your dumb pointless schoolwork.
And then you enter high school.
High school, the book tells us, is not all bad. Not because of learning more, or greater opportunity, mind you -- high school is good because you can "learn about cliques" and meet freaks like you, freaks who will save your life . This, the narrator tells us, is how a lot of changelings find each other. In a sea of mediocrity and conformity, they're drawn together! And then, you know, there's everyone else.
"Unfortunately, the Autumn People band together as well. For instance, some Autumn People are the paragons of so-called virtue who make the honor roll. They get showered with praise and accolades because they conform to the system. High school football heroes, cheerleaders, student body presidents - it's all so banal because the whole social framework is based around conformity."
Never let it be said that White Wolf didn't know exactly who the fuck they were selling to.
College: It's only downhill from here
So, college! College is a magical time, but it's also a time when a bunch of stuffy academics decide what you should learn. College is a test of "your ability to withstand bureaucracy." Your GPA? You actually think that's important? HEH. That's no more than the "measure of your conformity," silly. College is a mire of bureaucracy and THOSE PEOPLE telling you what's important and there's no surviving it without allies! Allies like the group from the opening fiction. Somehow, we go straight from this to a list of people who didn't make it through the spiritual minefield that is college unscathed -- "mindless sorority girls going for their MRS degrees, dorm rats who skidded through in an alcoholic haze, brooding loners who desperately tried to paint and draw and ended up with a lot of paint stains on their clothes." You know, if you had a hankering for another heaping helping of pandering to resentful alternateens.
The group from the opening fiction, though...
"For my clique, the antidote was found in our road trips. We went to SCA events in the woods and learned to fight with swords and shields. We went to Grateful Dead concerts and danced our minds out. Begging for change in Haight-Ashbury, raving with the Unseelie in Golden Gate Park, protecting Greenpeace Zodiacs from sea monsters, helping a wounded griffin in Mt. Tamilpais, egging the homes of spooky accountants in black suits -- it was one adventure after another. We had to deal with mundanity just like everyone else, but we went out and lived as well."
Fast forward to mopeysluagh living alone in a ratty apartment and subsisting on ramen and fishsticks, and all I can think of is how funny it is that the narration never mentions whether any of them actually graduated.
Fun facts about adult life
So mopeysluagh used to watch X-files, but other than that he doesn't know why he keeps that stupid thing because it totally turns people into entranced cattle, maaaaan. He totally has a 'kill your television' sticker on his TV screen and interrupts the narration to set his TV on fire because of course. (Cue Beatles lyrics.)
To be fair, mopeysluagh follows this up with a couple of
And if all else fails, you can SELL OUT. TO THE MAN. (Cue Jimi Hendrix lyrics.)
SELLING OUT. TO THE SOULLESS CORPORATE MAN.
According to mopeysluagh, corporate jobs are basically the worst parts of high school -- no palling around with ~~freaks like you~~ and skipping class to play in drainage tunnels, only busywork and CONFORMITY, MAAAAN -- cranked up to eleven.
It begins with a cautionary tale.
Mopeysluagh had a roommate! Roommate was desperate for money and he found a high-paying job. "He used to be one of the noble sidhe. Now he's in real estate. Money always has its price."
...and it's funny, 'cos I'm pretty sure there's some bit either later on in Autumn People or in one of the other books about how established Sidhe went into real estate *all the time* to snap up ~magical~ properties and turn them into freeholds? So, you know. Real estate agents are terrible! Except when you're getting no-rent dens of whimsy or w/e out of them. (If I remember correctly, the example in the book was like..."Oh, Sidhe do this all the time...EXCEPT THIS FUCKING GUY. LOOK AT THIS FUCKING GUY, SHITTING UP OUR MAGICKAL FAERIE PLAYGROUND-TO-BE WITH A "POLICE" "STATION" UGHHHH")
Anyways. Corporate jobs! Corporations are machines where people are merely COGS in THEIR NONSENSICAL MACHINE. Corporations don't want you to FEEL or think or dream or hope or talk about taboo subjects, because someone might get OFFENDED. Sometimes, they even monitor your progress with "managers." And sometimes, if you're really unlucky, they might make you wear a *suit*, "the uniform of conformity." See, wearing a suit is just another kind of make-believe, but if you wear it long enough, you become the guy in the suit .
No, not that guy in the suit.
Or the gal in the suit, but i get the feeling more and more that they're speaking to resentful adolescent boys here, so...yeah. Anyways! You become the suit, because there's no place for "your emotional feelings" in a work environment, unless they're feelings like "team spirit" and "empowerment." HEH. And it's easy to give in, because THEY make things like "financial stability" and "a place to live" and "a family" seem alluring, and the next thing you know you're telling yourself you're "empowered" BUT YOU'RE REALLY JUST SHELTERING YOURSELF FROM FEELINGS AND THE BEAUTY OF THE WORLD MAAAAAAAN~~~
But, you can avoid this terrible, Banal future! You can avoid it if you "have the right clique behind you" and keep the metaphorical fireplace burning, if you keep your imagination alive . Because, you know, they're the real freaks, "the blue-haired old ladies with their beehive hairdos and tight-pursed lips, the television evangelists who say that you're sinful, the uptight parents who label records, and all the repressed people who condemn sex and freedom."
Kiiiiiinda feeling like thanking whatever that teenage me never found this (or the Changeling corebook, for that matter) in a Borders or the one nerd store in town or something, because damn .
Anyways, mopeysluagh finds a "field guide to the Autumn People" under a carrot his wacky friend left, and that's the end of the chapter. Next time: Chapter Two: The Chill of Winter !
Intermission: Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Changeling After DarkOriginal SA post
Intermission: Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Changeling After Dark
Since I'm not quite ready for another round of the banal (haw) slog that is writing up the next chapter of Destiny's Price or Autumn People, time for an intermission!
So this last weekend, someone who hates me and wants me to suffer threw more Changeling books at me, and I want very much to share this gift with you all! More specifically, I'd like to share terrible White Wolf fuckchat with you.
Because, you know, White Wolf is kiiiinda fucking weird about sex/kink stuff. This is pretty evident in Destiny's Price, between the stuff I've talked about already and the section on how you might lead your very own campaign into a BDSM dungeon later in that book, and on skimming the Changeling books I've noticed some of the splatbooks are kind of, uh.....frankly some of them are rife with awkwardly shoehorned-in asides about the sexual mores and appetites of tabletop game characters! And I'm going to tell you alllllll about them. So, without further ado:
Kithbooks: Boggans, Eshu, Trolls, Sluaghs
So I guess Kithbook Boggan doesn't actually exist, except in the form of an unofficial online supplement! The online supplement doesn't really mention smutty stuff (other than...well, does a three-point Flaw that essentially says "you're super hirsute and don't like clothes and if you can't go naked for at least one full day in a week BANALITY WILL SLOWLY POISON YOUR SOUL OKAY" count as weird quasi-smutty stuff?) 'cos Boggans are basically the fat friend from every romcom ever.
Eshu are "seductive in an exotic way," also they break a lot of hearts because people just don't get that they have ~~the wanderlust~~. That's about it, though.
Trolls are stoic secret romantics (OMG YOU DONT EVEN KNOW SOMETIMES THEY CRY BECAUSE FLOWERS WILT), practically sexless in how they're described.
Much like myself, Sluaghs love tea and asexual moping.
There's a full page of this stuff, starting with way too many about how Nockers are ugly and ill-tempered and Nocker marriages resemble endlessly-bickering Jewish couples who stay together for ages because HAW HAW MARRIAGE = FAERIE TITHE TAX SHELTER and also because goshhhh of course they love each other why would you think otherwise? And they get divorced early and often, or they're ~*~*~polyamorous~*~*~, it's written kind of unclear.
And then it's on to a bunch of Nockers' very own conventional wisdom about having sex with members of other kiths because this is an invaluable resource for any campaign i mean why *wouldn't* you want this
In no particular order:
Trolls are "too" "big" if "you" "know" what the narrator "means" (wiiiiiiink) (this means they have terrifyingly large veiny blue horse dongs)
Eshu are too whimsical and wanderlusty to get regular-lusty
Boggans are who cares i mean tiny helpful house gnomes aren't sexy to whoever wrote this and/or to whatever they imagined Changeling's core demographic to be
Sidhe have to be manipulated into fuckin' BUT REALLY THE BEST WAY is to make them fuck you as payment for your amazing inventions 'cos they'll act all aghast but eventually acquiesce!! but you should be careful because if you have sex with them you will fall in love with them and turn obsessive and lovesick for months.
Satyrs are huuuuuge sluts (ahahaha you think i'm paraphrasing but NOPE this is what they actually say) and Nockers totally film porn of them with their fantastical Dreaming-cameras and sometimes it's illegal because of those fun-ruining Sidhe and Boggans
Redcaps = scary hardcore sadomasochism all day erryday
Sluagh = "spooky Goth stuff" all day erryday
Pooka are almost universally boneriffic and here have a bunch of mildly creepy gushing about cat/skunk ladies and most of them will totally friendzone Nockers and it's BULLSHIT HRNGH but sometimes they're magickal porn stars and you can totally get yr fuck on with them because they're not SNOBS like the SIDHE UGH
"Although rapists exist among the Kithain, especially among ravaging Unseelie, most faeries agree that this is a heinous crime and do not condone it."
Welcome to three pages of fuckchat and rapechat and a segment about the feasibility of a sparrow pushing out a live human child.
Anyways, let me back up a bit! So, the book tells us, changelings come from a magical land where HIV/AIDS and other STIs never existed. While the book tells us that Kithain can fear contracting STIs just the same as boring old humans, it goes on to tell us that the vast majority of changelings don't "suffer a moralistic approach to any kind of sex," maaaaaaaan. Anybody who says sex is for makin' babies or that you should abstain 'til marriage or anything? They're capital-b Banal , gosh. Also I guess Pooka and changelings in general "abhor any kind of restrictions on love" (any at all!) and some Pooka are gay because bonobos exist and also because "some animals don't even have a sex, but are androgynous, both male and female in one body."
So this is a thing to start off with!
Very very very few changelings moralize about sex at all ever.
"Most" changelings think rape and child molestation are bad, the latter because victims lose their childhood innocence and often become banality-ridden, sexphobic, homophobic mundanes.
From here there's a smooth segue into two pages of animalperson fuckchat.
See, the book tells us that pookas' animal types inform their sexual proclivities and "romantic habits." Sometimes, they even end up in heat!
....buuuuut this doesn't mean you have to spend half a session listening to some charmer in your gaming group as they lovingly describe humping everything in sight, no! Sometimes being in heat means falling madly in love, pursuing somebody, and then discarding them after you've gotten your fuck on. It's totally a thing that comes easy to pooka, too, because they "often reek of sexuality!" Even if they're outwardly shy, they inevitably turn into animalistic sexpots in bed! also they aren't much for longterm relationships because eww commitment, except they are 'cos many of them "have a proclivity to settle down and raise children," and it's totally not Banal or anything because ????fuckyou
Before they get to that point, though, there's courting to be done, and Pooka courtship as described in the book is...it's a thing. See, sometimes they see catching some cutie as a "game or a battle to be won" and they try to seduce by "[imposing] their dominance," and sometimes they "[discard] social ritual" in favor of a "more direct expression of desire and need!" Sometimes they stalk their prospective sweetie because animals, sometimes they ~woo with words and caressing touches~!
oh god i read this again and all i can think of is creepyaggressive PUAs in fedoras and dalmatian footy pyjamas and TBQH IT'S NOT A VERY PLEASANT MENTAL IMAGE
Also i guess some species naturally lend themselves to "the male taking the dominant role and the female taking the submissive role" or vice versa and sometimes a pooka's human life just reinforces this but y'know unlike those stuffy closed-minded humans pooka are totally open-minded about gender roles and stuff because the animal kingdom
Oh, right, speaking of all that....
"Many Pooka want to be dominated, enjoy the pain, and get off on submission."
See, not all Pooka are cutesy wacky fuzzballs, because some of them have "the urge to bite and claw, the desire to take without asking, [and] the taste for blood" and just adore "bondage, sado-masochism, and a variety of other practices which most of society would consider offensive." (Like, I don't know, like rape .) Other changelings totally don't judge, though, so long as it's not
Oh oh oh and did I mention one of the major NPCs written up in the book is a "sexy, sensual" and tiny and vaguely Asian-looking because of course spiderlady dominatrix who likes bondage and biting and scratching and also turning everyone she gets involved with into a psychologically broken heap of human wreckage? (Again, their words, not mine. )
More later (including the Satyr Kithbook, which gets into fuckchat by page twelve .)
Oh, and a sparrow pooka definitely can't give birth in sparrow form. You know, if y'all were wondering.
The Chill of WinterOriginal SA post
So before the mess of hospital trips and HEART RENDING ANXIETY that was last month, I had unexpected ~encounters~ with people who still unironically like old Changeling in the year of our lord twenty fourteen (spoiler: theeeeey are p. weird and that's probably all i should say about that), and I am choosing to take this as a ~~sign~~ that the universe wants me to finish writing about this horrid garbage fire of a sourcebook.
Wyld dreamers, burning bright
Losing ground, failing light
Stormclouds gather, spirit's blight
No more Glamour; endless night
nothing like a small elven child in a BRIGHT GREEN JUMPSUIT to remind us that this was written in the 90s holy shit
So! Chapter Two: The Chill of Winter . Lots of bad art, an exotic wanderlusty eshu named Carolan Walks-Far narrating (seriously HIS SURNAME IS LITERALLY "WALKS FAR" THAT'S HOW YOU CAN TELL HE'S GOT THE WANDERLUST ok), and a lot of words about Banality.
You see, Banality is lots of things!
Banality is people wanting realism in stories, because wanting too much realism "restricts creativity to an incredible extent" and SACRIFICES A GOOD STORY TO THE DICTATES OF BANALITY OKAY
Banality is "filling the universe with sterile truths" and "stripping the meaning from myth and magic." (Magic, you see, is ~creativity~.)
Banality is...not actually 'science, full stop!' (Waaaaaaait. Nuance, in Changeling?)
Don't worry, it actually ends up being a pretty dumb kind of nuance.
See, according to Bardy McWanderlust, science in itself was just a *fountain* of Glamour, back when technology was first invented (YEP), because it was "the first truly new concept in millenia." But the fae, already wounded 'cos most people were "no longer satisfied to accept a supernatural explanation for all they saw" (and if they were, we're told, most of the time they'd only accept "oh God/Satan/
did it"), couldn't gorge themselves because the scientists of the time didn't believe in faeries and didn't
to. In fact, their lack of belief poisoned the well, causing the Glamour drawn from Science Stuff to actively harm changelings! However, not all scientists are bad! See...
Scientists willing and able to accept, even welcome, concepts and theories outside of those they are taught tend to be less banal than those who try to explain all they see with a limited set of rules. Indeed, any rules are ultimately constraining and may lead to a general increase of Banality among those who adhere to them.
Yep. So...doctors bad, "This mom discovered one weird trick, doctors HATE HER" good.
Science provided humanity with explanations for all the little things once ascribed to the supernatural. Diseases were not curses, they were simply microbes. Bad weather was not caused by wrathful gods, but by the way the wind blew, the climate, the season, and numerous other factors. Suddenly, everyone came to view the workings of the world in the same way. Very few were willing to contradict "known facts," and this too gave way to more Banality.
So basically the fae withered away because people DIDN'T NEED FAE ANYMORE OKAY I SEE HOW IT IS and were no longer willing to accept A WIZARD DID IT as a reasonable explanation for natural phenomena. This only got worse from the Renaissance - which was apparently a big Banality fiesta because "building upon scientific foundations" and "expanding old views" - onward, and culminated in the sidhe going back to Arcadia.
Fast forward to the moon landing, which inspired so many wacky Martian fever dreams that the resulting flood of Glamour reopened the road to Arcadia...until the space program lost momentum, which meant lots of Banality again. (THANKS NASA)
The arrival of Winter is a time feared, hated, and often ignored in hopes it will go away. Many Kithain are aware that when Winter arrives, their lives, their fears, everything they know and hold dear will be stripped from them, leaving only a barren, gray landscape for the humans to celebrate their dry science.
Many Kithain hold the belief that Winter will herald the end of all meaning in the world; an Armageddon of the soul which will annihilate all creativity and magic remaining in the universe, leaving nothing to inspire or change. This loss will not be a bang, but a whimper. We will gradually wake in our beds, with no memory of who and what we are. Finally, the last of us will be gone and there will be no memory of our passing, as Banality steals even that.
Is...is that a thing? Is that a thing that happens when you turn thirty?
The narrator goes on to talk about alternate theories about Winter - some changelings think they'll all just go back to Arcadia, and some think it'll mean humans ~maturing~ and ~discovering their true potential~ and eventually inviting the fae back and having alllll sorts of things to teach the fae - before moving onto Dauntain not-magic and banal chimera.
See....Dauntain have magic, just like regular changelings! Sort of. Whereas ordinarily Banal people just make it hard to do Magic Stuff around them, Dauntain have the magic power of LITERALLY KILLING CREATIVITY OK and straight up suppressing magic with subversions of the bog-standard changeling powers. In fact, we're told, they're so no-fun that half the time they don't even realise they're using these powers!
More on that later, because Walksalot McMandolin shifts gears to talk about chimera. Banal chimera exist! They exist, even if an imaginary creature powered by the skepticism of no-fun grownups who don't believe in imaginary creatures and etc. doesn't make a whole lot of sense, and they have a short shelf life, which is good, but they're sneaky and terrible and have an insatiable appetite for Glamour, which is bad. There are two kinds of banal chimera - forgotten imaginary friends and monsters under the bed and the like, and literal walking embodiments of nerve-wracking anxiety over the impending Whimsypocalypse.
Now, are you saying to yourself, "Golly, I sure would love to see some examples?" Wellllll you're in luck because there's a picture of Frylock after he let himself go for a few years and a frankly kinda batshit story.
god damnit meatwad what are you even doing, evil frylock rasped
Once upon a time, there was a little Seelie princess with an imaginary friend she absolutely adored. She loved her imaginary friend so *much* that she cut her finger and swore a blood oath of undying friendship and love to him! They were just inseparable and had all sorts of wacky childhood adventures, and then she grew into a teenager and made friends her age and sort of ignored him, and BREAKING HER BLOOD OATH in this fashion absolutely ruined him, turning him into Dark Frylock. Dark Frylock wanted to TEACH CHILDREN A LESSON ABOUT PROMISES, so he drove all of her friends to hate each other, appearing to her and being all YEP THAT WAS ME OK BYE afterwards. Now, Olds invoke the spectre of Dark Frylock to teach childlings to take promises seriously, but Dark Frylock still exists and occasionally pops up to punish anyone who looks to him like they might break a promise. (read: literally anyone )
After that, we get a blurb about a dragon made of ice and also cold iron (sort of) and born from the ill will of HATERS who wanted to destroy the faerie kingdom of ""Miami!"" It literally has no purpose other than killing fae, destroying their homes, and destroying every bit of Glamour it touches, because it is a hater. Now, abandoned imaginary friends can be rehabilitated if someone's willing to take them in and give them enough attention, but haters like the dragon? They can't be reasoned with, only destroyed by a sufficiently strong-willed and whimsytastic changeling , perhaps Crystal Warrior Ke$ha ? .
Finally, we get a bit on the Undoing, along with some more really unfortunate art.
The worst fate of all, being turned into bad ska album liner art.
So! First, the mechanics of Undoing. When you have more Banality than Glamour, you have to roll Glamour every day you aren't ~touched by glamour~, and failure means gradual memory loss until somebody jars you out of it with Whimsy Stuff. When you have more permanent Banality than permanent Glamour+Willpower, you risk permanently becoming a ~mundane~ unless you spend (B - G) days per week in a freehold (though, if you spend too much time in a freehold you risk going Full Whimsy and losing your grip on reality ) and rack up temporary Banality each week you don't do this (unless you're on a ~quest~ to reduce your Banality). When you hit 10 permanent Banality...you get a day for each point of permanent Glamour and Willpower, and if you don't reduce your Banality in that time, your ~faerie soul~ dies forever.
You can also willingly retreat into being a boring normal person with vague feelings of everything being off for ????however long to avoid Banality or chimerical harm, but you only get one chance to return from this unless other fae show up and whimsy you into reviving.
So, Banality is terrifying to fae because number one, it's quietly
losing your faeness instead of having a big heroic demise where you go out bravely fighting a dragon or w/e, and number two...
When I come upon a changeling who has been Undone, it is far more painful for me than seeing a dead companion.
Imagine, if you will, meeting an old, dear friend; a friend with whom you have shared many a story, joke, or drink. Your friend not only fails to recognise you, but remembers nothing of your common past. It would be a terrible loss, and not only for those who see the result. What would it be like to simply cease to exist? It isn't exactly a comforting thought, yet this is what we risk merely by living.
you don't understand ok mom growing up is worse than literally dying
Now, the narrator tells us, this fading-away is a slow, gradual process! Signs of the whole thing are pretty obvious if you're paying attention, and it can be averted! Buuuuuut most changelings don't notice or don't care and talk about the undone like they either don't exist or went on vacation forever for fear that thinking or talking about their dead make-believe homies will "infect them with banality" because of course they do , and so in many cases...well, y'know.
Mind you, some changelings actively go looking for ~lost~ fae, and when someone does come back from the brink there's a big party because ~rebirth~, but Carlos McNotascientist tells us that forgetting and coming back too many times can undermine others' confidence in them, especially if they have any kind of responsibilities.
There's one last bit about how your faerie bffs are your best allies if you start slipping away and oathcircles save make-believe lives okay , and i'm just going to leave things here because oh my god this has been straight up draining to write (banality at work?????).
Next time: A
Field Guide to the Autumn People
. (ahaha you might think i'm being sarcastic but guess who it's narrated by)
Gathering LeavesOriginal SA post
Hi, i'm ningyou and I'm a masochist not just in the sexy way but also in the monotonous self-loathing way.
Why is this relevant? Why is this good for you ? WELLLLLLLL GUESS WHAT. This means that I'm doing another chapter of this book without a months-long wait to recharge! Soooooo without further ado let's move on to Chapter Three: Gathering Leaves .
We start off with more IC narration this time, this chapter framed as...
For your entertainment and elucidation
Runcible Pooka-Nose's Field Guide to the Autumn People, Volume 1
Compiled, Researched, and Written by Runcible Pooka-Nose, Fuzzy Scholar, Troubadour Poet, and Pooka-at-Large (At the Behest of His Most Illustrious Fuzziness, The Grand Pooka)
Also the opening bit is written in what looks like a cross between Papyrus and that cheesy faux-Celtic font every ~Irish pub~ ever uses so that just adds to the whole thing. Changeling, everyone!
Anyways, Rumspringa McWhimsy starts out with a bit about how humans have a weird fascination with fae, and they come up with all sorts of superstitions about fae that are not only wrong but ~mundane~, as mundane as those mundanes are! Breaking eggs to dispel glamours, getting Nockers to leave homes by leaving a suit out...those silly mundies just don't understand changelings.
Of course, this isn't a one-way street, and Ranchero McFastcasual has been watching humans too! Most of them are boooooring, and some of them - the Autumn People - are dangerously boring, but Rammingspeed McEuphemism is on the case .
Human-watching is a dangerous activity; in fact, they consider it against the law in some situations. The safest place to do it is in a heavily populated area. If you watch carefully, you may see the Autumn People at work. They hide from us, but watching the most herdlike of humans, the Autumn People, can become an enthralling activity. Sit down on a park bench with a nice cold drink and a pair of binoculars, and you'll see what I mean.
Let us away to the shopping mall! To the bus stop, the video arcade, and the bingo parlor! Grab your bag of carrots, tuck your ears under your hat, and come with me! The Sleepers await!
White font on blinding red background. That was not pleasant.
So! There are three types of Autumn People, we're told.
1. Mundanes who are SO DULL OH MY GOD and have been so thoroughly conditioned to believe magic isn't real that it becomes harder to use magic around them.
2. Changelings who are so afraid of GOIN' ON A TRIP TO WHIMSYTOWN (it's like flavortown except the guy fieri analogue is so much worse like who wouldn't retreat into themselves) that they never break through their not-cocoon and unconsciously develop Banal not-magic that suppresses Glamour and makes everything around them more Banal
They hold onto their false reason and misperceptions for the sake of their own sanity. The Dauntain know of the existence of magic, and they actively seek it out and destroy it. The soldiers of Autumn, however, usually have only partial knowledge of the Kithain. Many of them act out of fear, striking out at a world they only partly understand. To them, the changelings are dangerous lunatics, menaces to the world, or reminders of their own failure.
See? Just like Rummy Mcfaestalicious said. Haters .
Aaaaand we're back to OOC narration for the most part.
It starts with a surprisingly not-dumb point: all sorts of supernatural wackiness can go on in WW games, especially multigenre games, but often humans get left by the wayside, and people forget that even the WoD is humans' world, if only by dint of numbers. It strains suspension of disbelief when there are too many supernatural whatever in a city, Changeling is meant as a relatively low-powered game anyways and lends itself to "mellower play" than, say, Werewolf, and having bog-standard hyoomans around makes strange characters even stranger by contrast.
The Kithain are the guardians of creativity and imagination, and by eliciting it from the mortals around them, they keep the spirit of the Mythic Age alive. Through Reverie and Ravaging, mortals are a source of Glamour, but because of Banality, they are a troublesome nuisance. The Storyteller can choose from several methods of how to integrate them in a chronicle.
Okay, refresher here: Reverie is ~cultivating~ a human 'til they boil over with Glamour by playing muse. Ravaging is straight up mind rape .
(Fun fact! Looking this up to doublecheck terms i found out that people have made LARP rules for Ravaging and thinking of that playing out irl is kiiiiiiiinda making my skin crawl.)
Anyways, after this bit, there's a bunch of words about mortals as allies! Because, you know, they're def not hyoomans but sometimes changelings need things like "medical aid, research assistance, and even police protection," because they're stuck in mostly-human bodies in humanville for the foreseeable future. Smart fae look for human friends, but keep them in the dark. Most of the time. Sometimes, super super low-Banality mortals frolic right into the Dreaming on their way back from a Radical Art-in or w/e! This is okay, though, because Banality makes their memories fog right up afterwards. Also, sometimes Reverie'd humans find out what's really being done to them and sometimes there's a benefit to
Kithain treasure these companions dearly, for human friends and lovers can bring a sense of objectivity to their lives that many fae lack. It can work the other way as well - a mortal caught up in faerie politics can become ensnared in romantic involvement.
Hi i'm ningyou the horrible turboqueer puppetgirl English major and "ensnared in romantic involvement" makes me wince. WHO TALKS LIKE THIS
Insightful children have also been known to cross into the Dreaming quite easily. Their innocence protects them from harm, and childlings are always eager to come to their aid if necessary. Storytellers, musicians, enchanted glades, and even ghostly allies have been known to make this possible. If Lewis Carroll hadn't been in the right field of flowers when he told stories to his young friend Alice, maybe Alice in Wonderland wouldn't have been written...
uhhhhhhhh okay dude
Mortals become sympathetic once they attain the proper frame of mind.
Read: low permanent Banality. Humans with 3 Banality (the low end for small children with active imaginations, and starting Banality for ｒ ｅ ａ ｌ ｔ ｅ ｅ ｎ ｆ ａ ｅ) or lower start having hallucinations of chimera, and changelings ooze ~mystery~ or discomfort to them because of course they do. Humans with 1 Banality (starting Banality for Childlings ) can straight up see fae miens, but need an Occult roll to understand what they're seeing. It's difficult to get a human's Banality so low, we're told, but there are ways! Ways like "prolonged exposure to the supernatural" and "just saying screw it and feeding them faerie food and drink." You have to be careful with whimsy-roofieing, though, because this can bring their Banality down to zero, and 0 Banality humans can't leave the Dreaming if they don't get exposed to enough Banality (and if I remember right, the Dreaming reacts violently to banal stuff? Sooooooo.)
But, hey. No use crying over spilt ~mundanes~, right?
Playing fantastic creatures is easy. We can all imagine how simple life would be if we had magical powers or superhuman abilities. In this game, however, you must play a normal person in a normal world. You must protect yourself from the world of imagination by playing someone who is perfectly ordinary. We all know how easy it is to kill a vampire or roam the earth as an undead zombie. This, however, is nothing compared to filling out a tax form or getting car insurance.
-Gunter Haagen-Daaz, from the Introduction to Black Dog Game Factory's Human: The Protagonist
Expect White Wolf to not be ridiculously unsubtle once, shame on them. Expect White Wolf to not be ridiculously unsubtle twice, shame on me.
...actually I guess that could use some explaining. Side note! Black Dog Game Factory was the actual IRL imprint for ~adult~ books (and by adult I mean ridiculous grimdark goreporn like Freak Legion: a Guide to Fomori and the fucking *spectres* book for Wraith , most memorable for art of vivisected flapper-dommes and this ....whateveritis ), but it was also the Not White Wolf You Guise Honest analogue in the WoD.
It was also also a subsidiary of Pentex, a company that was basically a Captain Planet villain with none of the nuance. (So of course it's a major oWerewolf antagonist.) Pentex pretty much existed solely to ruin the environment and blah blah wyrm blah bloo WEEOOOWEEOOO LITERALLY EVERYTHING WE SELL IS TAINTED IN SOME WAY AND CORRUPTS ALL WHO TOUCH IT
So seeing that in this book surely doesn't make my eyes roll so far up that they're now in the ceiling. Noooo. I-I mean, gosh, why would it? (STILL TYPING THO let me tell you i have excellent muscle memory)
Heart-rending tragedy and the onset of insanity have their places in the game, but a comedic approach to mundanes is easier and more entertaining. Although the fae seem unusual, most humans are even stranger from a faerie point of view. Any encounter with mundanes can bring the possibility of adventure. Freaking the mundanes is always a delightful way to spend an afternoon. In the bizarre instance of your chronicle becoming too serious, setting up a few strawmen as opposition in your stories is an excellent way to restore the confidence of your heroes.
Gosh, what whimsy-drenched alternateen in tyool 1995 doesn't wait oh my god they're serious this isn't IC at all and they're dead serious
A bunch of templates follow, and I am just going to post them here because holy shit there is so much going on here
OMG FUCK YOU YOURE NOT THE BOSS OF ME MOM dot jpeg
...okay, child safety harnesses are kind of weird and child beauty pageants are p gross (albeit for reasons other than THIS EXOTIC SPECIES CALLED "MOM" MADE ME WEAR AN OVERLY FUSSY DRESS GODDDDD), but holy shit . Like maybe it's just me, but some of this reads as misogynistic as the FUK U MOM YOU GROUNDED ME NOW ILL PUT YOU IN THE GROUND stuff in the first chapter. There are some Good Moms who are ~friends to childlings everywhere~, but these moms have the gall to use strollers and put their kids in warm clothing and carry band-aids and kleenex in their purses and call other kids cute and fret over unaccompanied children or kids in abusive homes and look exhausted and worry . And not just that! They "establish vantage points" over anywhere "where kids might potentially have fun." Horrible, right?
Oh god which alternate-universe Walter is this is there a hidden season of Fringe where everyone but Other Other Evil Lady Walter is teens and the whole thing's framed as a changeling/mage crossover larp and no one talks about it because it is utterly uncomfortable to watch
So...librarians who bother shelving books in some kind of order and don't want children and/or adult-shaped children ~getting into hijinks~ and making a ton of noise are "like a Venus Flytrap, constructing an exotic deception to snare the unwary and teach them 'proper values.' " These librarians haaaaaaate "imaginative children's books and enlightening fairy tales," and keep the shelves "pure of dangerous ideas that someone else might deem inoffensive to mysterious third parties who are apparently too frightened to speak for themselves."
You can just hear the writer going HHHHHEH TAKE THAT CHRISTIANS (and shouldn't it be 'deem offensive?')
Real talk though have these people ever met a librarian?
There's a bit more about how ~females of the species~ dress (dude you've been talking about nothing but ~females~ here) and hoarders infiltrating libraries in the guise of "normal, efficient librarians" to "discredit the profession," and then some wacky anecdote about Unseelie childlings MAKING A NO-FUN LIBRARIAN WHO TOOK AWAY BOOKS 'COS THEY WERE "INAPPROPRIATE" FOR "CHILDREN" PAY by luring her to the children's section after everyone else was gone and terrorizing her until she collapsed so she'd reshelve the books. (Because, uh....somehow? That lowered her Banality and made her see the light.)
Y-yeah, haha, that's...that's hilarious?
GOD GRANDMA I DON'T CARE ABOUT YR STAMP COLLECTION dot jpeg
Again, they're only talking about ~females~ here. Less resentful than the last two, but more...UGH HOW DARE A-DULTS BE INTERESTED IN THINGS I DON'T LIKE LIKE IF YOUR EYES WERE OPEN LIKE ME YOU'D HAVE LESS ~MUNDANE~ HOBBIES HOW DARE THEY TALK TO ME FUK U GRANDMAAAAA
Aaaand here's the one explicitly male template. It's some kind of weird mashup of college bro stereotypes and nerds/otaku/whatever with bad hygiene (because people who buy The Autumn People in complete earnestness have room to look down on other nerds sure okay).
Bros who drink beer (gasp!) and say stuff like DUUUUUUDE BEER BABES (double gasp!), people who are super into Vampire and suck the fun out of everything, and fat smelly dads who wear collared shirts. Let it not be said that the writers didn't know exactly who their audience was.
meanwhile that 'being ensorcelled or w/e and convinced you're a sentient flower being chased by hungry rabbits' thing would be -- what's the word? "extremely my shit" yeah that's it -- if LITERALLY ANYONE OTHER THAN RUMPLESTILTSKIN MCSKIRMISH were saying it.
so businesspeople are literally subhuman disease on legs except for the ones who do wacky fun stuff outside of work like dancing to 80s music and drinking cheap beer (wait i thought drinking beer was bad???) *they're* nearly-human ok got it
also the narrator can't decide if THOSE SOULLESS CORPORATE DRONES WHO DEFINE THEIR IDENTITY BY THEIR JOB TITLES AND DON'T CARE WHOSE LIVES THEY DESTROY FOR SOULLESS PROFITS are nonspecific animals or bees in a hive endlessly, mindlessly doing Bee Stuff or cockroaches worshipping a pile of shit
oh my god this is fight club with bunny-eared mallgoths and faerie princesses
either that or my old housemates wrote this (see, you prolly think i'm joking! you'd think that. buuuuuut my wife and i spent last May in a ~freegan anarchist collective house~ because of reasons and it was...welllll let's just say that reading this book is making me wince a lot not just because the writing is awful but also because evoking ~~memories~~.)
Meanwhile, this one has the worst IC bit apart from the librarian one.
"Now about this children's book you've written," the suit said. "I think we can increase the sales of your book by using some creative marketing. When you've been in marketing as long as I have, you realise the potential of cross-selling. In exchange for a small percentage of your profits, this line of children's clothing our company has designed is practically free advertising for your book!"
"Oh yes!" his flunky added. We'll make Mr. Bunny's Happy Day a classic in no time! We'll increase his visibility on the Recognizability Index, streamline his appearance based on user surveys, and take a few of the more objectionable passages out. And look at the lovely prototypes we have of the jackets!"
"And the lining is made of real rabbit fur!" The suit continued. "Now, shall we discuss this over lunch? I'm dying for a bite," he said.
So I bit him. What can I say? The classics always work.
Because it's totes hilar and sO rAnDuM to *literally bite someone* for talking at you in corporatespeak about merchandising and focus-testing and w/e, right? And totally a thing a children's book author would do, right? They don't even like money. Why, they live in adorable cottages made out of imagination-stuff and fill their bellies with satisfied warmfuzzies and childlike joy.~
Thankfully, that's the end of the chapter. Chapter 4: The One About the Haters coming...sometime. I don't know. I need to detox from this awful book.
i'm not actually a masochist ok
Intermission: Let's Have a Bad Art Party (with our friends, the Autumn People story NPCs)Original SA post
Intermission: Let's Have a Bad Art Party (with our friends, the Autumn People story NPCs)
I know it's low-hanging fruit, but oh my god there is some weird, unfortunate art in this book.
Meanwhile, I skimmed through the rest of the book as a refresher and holy *shit* the Dauntain NPCs are....something. Since this is both pretty WELP and fairly quick to do (and lmao i'm not going to do anything more exciting with my afternoon than catching up on Arrow) ((YOU NERDS SHOULD WATCH ARROW it is a Good Show)), I'm going to write up a bit on ~Famous Autumn People~ featured in the back of the book.
1. The first Dauntain -- like, not just first in the book, LITERALLY the first Dauntain -- who was a kind and just sidhe prince brought low 'cos dude was terrified of becoming an Old (which, you know, makes sense... I mean COME ON this is Changeling, the game of CHILDLIKE WHIMSY UBER ALLES where being in your mid-to-late-twenties makes you a gnarled old crone.) He tried and tried, starting with Magic Stuff and going on quests for the Fountain of Youth or w/e and moving on to Glamour-raping his way into staying youngish like he was the lost Jackson sibling, Erzsébetoya, and eventually staved off aging by becoming some kind of weird Tremere ghoul/Dauntain crossover.
This both caused the land he was ruling over to wither and die and turned him into a super-Banal SUPER HATER who will "Ravage any humans or Kithain within arm's reach" and has ~corruption~-themed Thaumaturgy paths and Dominate 2 because of course he does.
2. A thirteen-year-old runaway who... hoo-boy. First night on the street, she starts having super vivid nightmares that "threaten to tear away her sanity." This first time, she wakes up and sees some horrible creature leering at her but it disappears suddenly. The dreams keep coming every night, only stopping when she turns them into ~art~. Eventually, she comes to San Francisco and is ~drawn~ to a Cool Older Kid who knows where the Cool Stuff is and loves her art.
Then she gets magical super-migraines that don't let her draw for a few days, which brings back the nightmares, and so when the migraines finally *stop* she has to draw a ton (how is she getting all these drawing supplies anyways????) to not have horrifying dreams all the time.
One night, she wakes up to find out that the person who has been doing this since literally her first night on the street was Cool Older Kid Rob, who...followed her to San Francisco to terrorize and mind-rape her in her sleep over and over again? So she hits him in the head with a flashlight, he runs away, she got taken in by CPS and stuck in a foster home, and she grows up some and eventually becomes a police officer for self-serving reasons like "trying to deal with trauma" and "wanting to stop ~magickal~ child rapists." ("She wasn't in this to serve and protect, except to protect herself. She was in it to control her own destiny and destroy those who would bring nightmares.")
Long story short, she runs into Cool Older Kid Rob on her first day, beats him comatose with Magic Fists, and comes back to her partner all OH LOL HE GOT AWAY afterwards. :v
However, the encounter had done something for her resolve. She knew she could identify the monsters like Rob, those who would rape a young girl's mind for dreams. So she decided to hunt them down and make them pay for their crimes. She hasn't considered that not all of these beings would do such a thing or not. She believes they are monsters who invade minds and destroy sanity for the sheer pleasure of it.
#notallmien (SORRY i couldn't think of a better way of making that joke)
Anyways, the book goes on to say that she got promoted! She has used her position to get her faesecution on both during and after work, and she happened upon the Toybox (~magickal coffeeshop~ full of The Good Fae; UM EXCUSE ME WE DON'T SERVE "COFFEE" HERE WE ONLY SERVE WHIMSY AND GLAMOUR), which she plans to raid on a pretext before hunting down all the coffeeshop patrons and murdering them.
3. The littlest Redcap , who was "just one of those children who attracted abuse" from literally everyone in his life and only survived by retreating into daydreams. He went through Fae Puberty, it was nice and heartening, some of the fae-students at his school took him in, everything was happy except for the whole "going through actual puberty and being an insecure, paralysed wreck riddled with self-doubt because of a childhood rife with constant abuse" thing. And then...
The arrival of Reyna, a fox pooka, did little to help. She tormented Brand mercilessly, seemingly poking fun at his every fault and playing the cruelest jokes she could think of. In truth, she wasn't treating him any differently than anyone else. She'd just emerged from her Chrysalis and was simply enjoying herself. One night, after a particularly harrowing joke involving some baling wire, matchsticks, a pickup truck, and a Wayfare cantrip, Brand snapped. His Unseelie Legacy surged to the fore and he completely lost his temper. When he came to his senses, Reyna lay dead at his feet.
Gosh, why couldn't that no-fun s a d t e e n take a joke she's an equal-opportunit--oh. OH.
And then he ate her and found out he really really liked it.
And then he went straight from this to eating a Sluagh he didn't like and from *that* to sadism and serial cannibalism (seriously the book says he has gobbled up over a hundred other fae) because he's afraid that every changeling he meets is out to ~torment~ him and has to GET THEM FIRST.
God, Changeling fucking looooooooves their "loss of innocence in childhood = RUINED FOREVER but also PREJUDICED LIKE YOU KNOW LIKE RACISM EXCEPT AGAINST ART STUDENTS/GOSH YOU ONLY DISLIKE X B/C YOURE DAMAGED " tropes.
4. A spoiled teen with overbearing parents who went off to do fae stuff with her new fae friends because UGH MOOOOOOOM. She tried really hard to do Fae Stuff, but "she could do nothing right, and eventually no one was willing to deal with her on her own terms," so she left her not-coterie to live on her own and went through a depression spiral that culminated in her going catatonic and getting committed. This led to her using unconscious not-magic to psychically feel around and then mind-rape every other patient there.
Meanwhile, as she withdrew even more, this s a d t e e n's mind-rape powers evolve (like a pokemon! Like the worst Pokemon.) into draining the Glamour and will and everything from anyone who comes near her like a great sucking hole of You're No Fun At Parties God Why Can't You Stop Talking About Your Sadbrains! She is such a downer that she can literally Undo people by proximity , leading the local Whimsy King to declare that no fae can visit the institution where she is except maybe to kill her.
God, it's like the world's worst wink-nudge fable written for 90s teens.
Okay maybe this is less quick than I thought. More later.