Changelings are touched by the realm of Summer, a realm of beauty and strength whose Eternals are potent symbols of might and majesty. They are proud, confident, individualistic people who know they are the best of the best and were born to excel at anything they turn their hands to.
Changelings prefer roles where they can take the lead or stand out. They are especially appropriate to military and political leaders, but they also make great champions and representatives for groups. Bands of changelings work well, they can regard themselves as amongst their peers and be confident of the group's abilities as a result.
The changeling lineage is intended to appeal to players who want to create proud characters who enjoy being the centre of attention. They are particularly suited to heroes: characters who lead from the front, whether bold champions who bestride the battlefield or charismatic orators taking the floor of the senate.
Changelings obviously draw on images of elves from various settings, most especially Tolkien, with characters such as Glorfindel and Fëanor. However you can also draw inspiration from deities like Thor and Marduk as well as Greek heroes such as immortal-blooded Hercules, the heroes of the Illiad and Odyssey: Hector, Paris and Achilles as well as the proud leaders Hippolyta of the Amazons, and Jason of the Argonauts. Historical figures like Alexander the Great, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I are good inspirations for individual changelings, while the Three Musketeers and Arthur's Knights of the Round Table are an excellent inspiration for a group of changelings.
Villains can also make great role models for changelings, comic book villains like Dr Doom or the Kurgen from Highlander. Any villain who likes to dominate the situation and defeat their foes by besting them rather than outwitting them possesses some of the traits of a changeling.
What changelings are not
- Fairies. Changelings include elements of traditional fae, but focus on the Tuatha-de-dannan, the lords and ladies of the fae rather than pixies, fauns, satyrs or goblins.
- Beastkin. Changelings may have the antlers of a stag or a leonine mane but these characteristics add to their human features to enhance their majesty and prowess. They are not animals; they are neither animalistic or bestial.
Elf, Fae, Feyling, Knife-ears, the Proud.
Changelings usually have ears that come to a marked point and are noticeably different to human ears, with their rounded tips. They are not the long ears of the Night Elf from Warcraft or similar.
- Fey eyes. A changeling may have exotically coloured eyes. Cosmetic contact lenses can be used to achieve this. The pupil should be the normal shape but the iris can be purple, vibrant blue or bright green.
- Spiral Markings. Changelings may develop marks on their body that resemble spirals or even intricate knotwork. These might seem to be tattoos, or birthmarks, or represent areas of raised or lowered skin.
- Primal animal elements. Changelings may have an animal element of a lion's mane, stag's antlers or a feathered brow with eagle or swan feathers. These elements suggest power and potence; they make the character look regal by turning their brow into a crown. Changelings are not cat people, ratkin or beastfolk.
- Stag's antlers. Changelings of any gender can have stag's antlers. Antlers are specifically branching horns, rather than the goat, bull or ram horns which are the mark of a Cambion.
- Leonine mane. Hair that is swept back to give the impression of a leonine mane is appropriate for any gender of changeling. A hairpiece can also be used to achieve this effect. The goal is to appear as the king of the beasts, not a cat.
- Feathered Brow. Eagle or swan feathers on the brow line. A few feathers attached to the brow or a subtle headpiece can be used to achieve this effect. The goal is to appear as the king of the birds, not a pigeon.
- Haughty demeanour. Changelings might express their prowess and confidence by keeping their back straight and their heads up, always speaking in a clear audible tone. Avoiding contractions while speaking - saying do not instead don't or can not instead of can't help to impress the authority and importance of the changeling. This cannot be your only trapping - you must have at least one physical trapping as part of your lineage.
Changeling blood influences the character of the one who possesses it. Not every changeling expresses these effects to the same degree, but characters who demonstrate these roleplaying trappings possess stronger lineage than those who do not.
- Changelings are confident. They find it difficult to entertain the idea that they could fail at tasks they set their mind to. They often assume that they are the best person for a job and that their opinions are relevant. They seek out positions of authority and responsibility within groups. They are driven to achieve a degree of personal excellence that supports their view of themselves as superior, especially as a response to any apparent failure.
- Changelings are noble and bold. Around people who treat them with respect, around their friends and loved ones, they are solicitous, agreeable and gregarious. They feel a drive to take responsibility for others, to take charge, and get things done. They are not necessarily altruistic, but they often enjoy helping people if only to demonstrate that they can.
- Changelings are vain individuals. They like to stand out, and look different and love approval, adulation, and being the centre of attention. They hate being overlooked or dismissed as one of the crowd and take pains to ensure their appearance is striking and dramatic. They use their appearance to cement their image of themselves, and encourage others to see them as powerful and strong. They seek out the best clothing, the best armour and the best weapons.
- Changelings are wrathful. When thwarted, belittled, crossed or wronged they may fly into a devastating rage. These rages are like summer storms – intense but short lived. More than one changeling has lost control of their emotions and done something that changes their life forever in the grip of a sudden rage. Any changeling who is exposed to a roleplaying effect that creates fear or doubt can respond by becoming angry instead.
- Changelings may degenerate into madness. Some changelings become increasingly arrogant to the point of egomania. They treat others as if they are lesser creatures. They believe themselves to be stronger or wiser than they actually are, and brush aside anything that disagrees with that. They expect others to give them respect or obey them without earning that respect or obedience. They can become so blunt that they offend anyone they speak to, assuming that others will listen to what they say automatically just because of who and what they are.
Although changelings are still mortals, they tend to be healthy and live a little longer than their neighbours (assuming they avoid accidents or malice). Changelings tend to remain vital and spry and keep their wits until the end of their life.
Changeling blood tends to exaggerate the traits of the individual. A delicate noble flower will be more delicate, more lithe, more subtle. The coarse labourer or warrior will be more solid. more muscular, more physical. The lineage can lie dormant in the blood for a generation or two, then rear its head without warning. Some human families have a history of producing changeling children, and if both parents are from such families, the likelihood increases.
Some changelings talk of spending time in the Realm of Summer as prisoners, guests or even consorts of Eternals. Over the course of the timeless days spent in the Realm, humans may be slowly transformed into changelings. There is a suspicion in some quarters that the food and drink of the Eternals of Summer is responsible for this change, though it is likely due to the nature of the realm itself rather than any specific element of it.
The Eternals of Summer expect their lineaged relatives to be strong and confident. A changeling will have to act the part to be taken seriously by them but they’ll treat them as an equal if they do so.
Lines of the Changelings
It is perhaps surprising given the urging of their blood to be the centre of attention, but changelings often enjoy banding together into groups where almost every member bears the mark of Summer. Changelings often feel that only others who bear their lineage are truly able to give them the validation - or rivalry - they crave.
- Some noble houses of Dawn only accept changelings into their ranks. They epitomize the Summer lineage beautifully; confidence bordering on arrogance, and a boldness bordering on brash. The de Casillon nobles Spiral Castle are a well-known example of such a group.
- The unveiled of Highguard include a fair few changelings, who cut off their ear tips, horns and manes to publicly demonstrate that they have renounced their heritage.
- Changeling wardens have a reputation as reckless monster hunters in Varushka as part of the Company of the White Stag.
- Changeling blood is a sign of good luck in Wintermark where "sharp ears" is considered a compliment.