- 1 Overview
- 2 What they are not
- 3 Iconic trappings
- 4 Other Trappings
- 5 Roleplaying
- 6 Sovereign Fury
- 7 Changeling Life
- 8 Inspirations
- 9 Changeling Images
- 10 Further Reading
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.
Other terms for changelings, both within the Empire and in other parts of the world, include: Elf, Fae, Feyling, Knife-ears, the Proud.
What they 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. 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.
Each lineage has an iconic trapping; in the case of the changeling it is a pair of pointed ears. These are the most common physical mark for lineaged characters but they are not a required element. If you do not have the iconic trapping, however, you must have at least one of the other physical trappings associated with the changeling lineage.
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.
In addition to pointed ears there are a number of physical trappings that mark someone as being of the changeling lineage. If you want to phys-rep one of the trappings with a slightly different technique or style to the ideas suggested here then that is absolutely fine. If you want to use different trappings to the ones listed then you should email us.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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. This quality is nowhere more obvious than in the fury that often overtakes changelings exposed to supernatural sources of fear or self-doubt.
Changelings have a 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.
Changelings can be overwhelmed by the Summer realm
Some changelings become increasingly arrogant, potentially to the point where it dominates their behaviour. 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.
The changeling boon is a potent rage that comes to the fore when an outside force attempts to make them afraid or uncertain. Any changeling who is exposed to a roleplaying effect that creates fear or doubt can respond by becoming angry instead. For example, a changeling exposed to a Druj miasma may become furious rather than succumbing to dread and uncertainty. As long as they remain angry, the other negative effects of the Druj's unique atmosphere of oppression have no effect on them. Likewise, they can endure any curse or similar effect that causes them to become afraid, or to doubt their abilities, by raging against the circumstances that have caused them to experience such an effect.
Although changelings are still mortals, they tend to be healthy and live a little longer than their neighbours (assuming they avoid accidents or malice). The oldest recorded changeling was 149 years old, but this was an exception rather than the rule. Even barring unnatural causes, few changelings live to see their 120th birthday. 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 chambers attached to the Summer realm as prisoners or guests. Over the course of the timeless days spent in the chamber, 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.
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.
Becoming a changeling
- The eternals Meraud and Barien can both offer boons to allow a character to gain the changeling lineage
- The House de Casillon can provide a goblet of honeyed apple syrup over downtime that will grant an unlineaged human the changeling lineage
People who have had previous dealings with Meraud mention his sweet golden cider, occasionally offered as a reward to those who have performed awe inspiring acts of magic. The cider can be drunk by an unlineaged human to manifest the changeling lineage as an adult, or by a changeling to further increase their trappings. The cider is brewed by the Lord of the Lake himself in an ancient, intricate pitcher using apples harvested from the Fire Mage's own orchard.
The heralds of Barien suggest that one of the rewards that can be granted as part of completing a Challenge the Iron Duke would be a dose of his elixir of the long road. The taste is a medley; blood orange, pomegranate, and mango swirl in a sweet, citrussy blend, and those who drink a full dose often manifest the changeling lineage.
House de Casillon of Spiral Castle are a Dawnish noble house made up almost exclusively of changelings. They host regular feasts at their palatial estates, and are usually eager to host Imperial citizens who wish to attend. Some visitors may be offered a goblet of their sweet apple syrup that often causes an unlineaged human to manifest changeling lineage over the course of a few days. Often this offer comes after the guest has impressed the nobles, or undertaken a quest on their behalf. Each such transformation is celebrated by the entire household - and often used as an excuse for a lavish feast.
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 Iliad 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.