Sandman — Card Notes

One of the restless dead, a wraith, has blundered its way into Arcadia, the land of the Dreaming. The wraith is a Sandman, and it attempts to haunt your dreams, depriving you of any rest and taxing your spirit. Discard this Waylay when it’s defeated.

This is another instance of a crossover with one of the settings of the World of Darkness. Wraith: The Oblivion was the least popular of the World of Darkness lines, and, ironically, the shortest lived. Wraith was launched in 1994—a year before Changeling—and ended in 1999. Wraiths are the spirits of the dead who are still bound to something of this world and can therefore not “transcend” or leave for the hereafter. They are trapped in the Underworld until they come to peace with their death, and roam there restlessly, trying to resist the pull of Oblivion. Not a very cheery setting for a role playing game!

Wraiths feed on raw emotion or Pathos, which gives them their spiritual arts or powers (Arcanoi). Wraith society is divided into 13 Guilds, each of which excels one of these arts of the dead. The Sandmen—one of the 13 Guilds of the Wraith—are Wraith who excel at the creative use of Phantasm, the art that manipulates dreams and creates illusions. They are the dramaturgists and actors of the Wraith world, who offer entertainment in the grim cities of the dead. The Wraith handbook (page 156) describes the Sandmen like this:

Charged with artistic fervor and a love for the dramatic, the Sandmen sculpted stages of dreamstuff and performed great works in the theatres of sleep. Deathlords and Anacreons bartered for their services, and the arts of Phantasm granted considerable prestige. […] Phantasm was more than a job to them, it was a labor of love. Even today, wandering troupes of Sandmen bring their shows to Necropoli across the world, recounting tales and rumors because they love nothing better. Sandmen clothe themselves in gossamer, a faintly incandescent material borrowed from dreams. They are also distinguishable by their often over-dramatic mannerisms and bearing.

Of all the Wraith, the Sandmen are most closely linked with the fae. The Sandmen Guildbook spends considerable time on their relationship (page 37-38). I quote a few passages from that here:

Though seeming so similar in origin, vampires and wraiths share few characteristics. The opposite question arises among those who know of changelings (fae inhabiting the Earth): What do Sandmen not have in common with changelings? Both exist in a world spun from the gossamer silk of dreams. Both live for their imaginations and dread the mundane. And both enjoy sharing their inspiration and artistic appreciation with others of like mind. However, most changelings whom we encounter fear us immensely—to them we are the terrifying stuff of legends, creeping out of the afterlife from our so-called Dream Pits to haunt the changelings and their kind. A silly, but understandable myth. […]
Changelings and Sandmen are often drawn to one another by their shared interest in the imaginative capacity of dreams. Amusingly, some Seelie fae speculate that we are but a by-product of their Unseelie kin; that we are but chimera created by twisted fae imaginations. They believe that, like ours, the Unseelie power over dreams is a dark one, often twisting mortal imagination toward change and madness, away from tradition and inhibition.

To the Sandmen, the fae offer both peril and pleasurable prospects. As the Guildbook continues (page 58):

I mention all this to give my warning context: Beware the fae, so seductive to such as we! By nature we are drawn to illusion, dynamism, unspeakable beauty and mysterious allure—all the things that changelings represent. So potent is their dreaming that we, who are more susceptible than most, become lost in their fae “reality”. Sandmen slipping into their dreams (an easier process than entering those of mortals, but far more dangerous) have reported sighting their chimera (their term for mythical monsters) following them long after the changeling awakened.
Horror stories of this sort abound: Regis Finbane, the well-known Sandman actor, is said to have entered a changeling’s dream one night twenty years ago and never returned. Others who have tried to steal changelings’ souls have disappeared as well. Some say that our lost Guild brothers have become monsters in these changelings’s dreams, but no one knows for sure.

On the other hand, dangerous as they are, these fae exude almost impossible amounts of imagination and can be valuable allies in the quest for drama. Changelings are said to produce Sands [the glittering dust harvested from dreams, which Sandmen use for their craft] far richer and more various than any mortal can—and on a nightly basis. […] But you are well-advised to harvest changeling Sand carefully: just as harvesting leaves mortal dreamers listless the next day, harvesting Sand from changelings leaves them strangely weakened come morning. Prolonged harvesting can kill them—but, be sure, once they find out you’re harvesting them, you won’t continue for long.

Of all the Wraith, the Sandmen are thus the most dangerous to the fae. As a Sluagh explains (in the Changeling handbook, page 286):

There are ghosts out there who drink the dream right out of you. They’re called Sandmen, and once one sinks his claws into you, he’ll never let go until you’re drained dry. Ever have one of those mornings where you just don’t want to get out of bed, and you can’t remember your name unless it’s written on the bathroom mirror? That’s a sign a Sandman’s been at you.

Then again, if you can get a Sandman to be your friend, you’ve got it made. Think about it—you get to go make dreams! It’s hard to get started on that type of friendship, though. It’s one of those “You-got-your-chocolate-in-my-peanut-butter/You-swiped-the-creativity-that-fuels-my-existence” sort of things.

And now it turns out one of these has made its way into Arcadia—don’t ask me how!—and threatens to feed on the dreams of any fae it encounters. If you face this Waylay, you have to battle the Wraith with your willpower and pass a resolve test.

According to the Changeling handbook (page 286), a changeling who is affected by a Sandman loses Glamour “for every night of the wraith’s attention”. You could therefore argue that a Character who fails this Resolve test, should exhaust an Art if able, and may not unexhaust Arts until the Wraith is overcome again. The Character may try again each turn to overcome the Resolve test against the Wraith (which does not count as his encounter for that turn, and has no negative effect when failed). Or, if your Character is able to turn a Resolve test into a Savvy one, you could also try to convince the Wraith the dreams of another fae would be so much nicer than your own.

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Glamour Dance — Card Notes

Glamour Dance

Sprites are attracted to Glamour in your area. They have come to siphon the Glamour energy. If you’re not careful, they’ll siphon your Glamour as well, but if you can join them, you may take part in their dance to gain Glamour.

If you fail a Savvy Test with the sprites, exhaust all of your Arts, and discard any Arts that were already exhausted. If you win a Savvy Test against the sprites, you may recover any Arts you have exhausted. Discard this Waylay when it’s defeated.

This is a Waylays from They Wyld Hunt I’m fond of, because unlike most Waylays this one is not an encounter you want to avoid, but one that you want to join in!

Glamour is what dreams are made of, and thus the very foundation of the Dreaming, at the heart of which lies Arcadia. It is “the living force of the Dreaming” (Changeling, page 8). Just as this world is made of matter, the world of the Dreaming is made of Glamour, and the deeper you travel into the Dreaming, the purer the Glamour. It is best described in the first edition of the Changeling handbook (page 56): The whole being of a changeling is suffused with a magical energy called Glamour. Glamour describes the mystical, elemental power of what exists on the Other Side, in the realms of fantasy and fancy. While chimera are the “physical” embodiments of dreams and imagination, Glamour is the “power source” that fuels and animates those chimera and the Dreaming as a whole. When a changeling draws upon Glamour, she draws upon the very energy of the Dreaming. That energy can be used to alter the Dreaming or change and modlfy material reality. Changelings can use Glamour to evoke their magical arts and cast their mischievous cantrips.

Or, this is how the second edition (page 151) describes it: The stuff of dreams, the magical clay, the energy of awe, the workings of wonder, the breeze that blows the cobwebs of disbelief from our eyes—Glamour is all of these things and more. The ability to live your dreams, to perceive the true and fantastic essence of the world, abides in Glamour. Everyone can create it, even normal humans. However, only the fae have the ability to give it form, to use it, and to wield its creations as a weapon.

The Arts work by shaping or manipulating Glamour, which is why you want to join in this Glamour Dance—the dance will restore your exhausted Arts by “replenishing” your Glamour. You’ll have to charm the sprites, asking them to let you join them, because you run the risk of losing your own Arts!

Sprites are “born of fancy and delight” (Changeling, page 278). They are not malicious by nature—at worst, they are just mischievous—but you could become an unfortunate collateral casualty of their magic dance.

Pre-order promo cards

Before the release of each Arcadia sets, White Wolf produced the pre-order promo cards pictured here, which were meant to create some excitement for each Arcadia release and give retailers an idea of how many boxes they should order—not a bad idea at a time when a new collectible card game was produced every month.

I can’t remember where the The Wyld Hunt pre-order cards were included. The King Ironheart’s Madness ones were included in The Wyld Hunt packs. Though a third set, The Lion’s Den, was planned, there were no pre-order cards for that set, as far as I know. They were not included in King Ironheart’s Madness packs, which perhaps suggests that the decision to not produce the final set had by then already been made.

Naga Guardians — Card Notes

The Naga are reclusive and untrusting of strangers. To gain their trust, you must use reason to make your case. If you fail, the Merit you exhaust must be an Art if possible. Discard this Waylay when it’s defeated.

The Naga are guardians of ancient secrets and masters of the Arts. The have chosen to live far from the other fae, in the far, desolate steppes of the south-east of Middlemarch, in the wastelands around the Ruins of Srissan—the remains of a civilization none but the Naga still remember. Naga culture is often misunderstood by outsiders, and, on the rare occasion that outsiders meet Naga, this has often led to great conflict. For the Naga are strong-willed and prone to aggression—it is certainly no coincidence that the Merit Naturally Aggressive in Arcadia depicts a Naga! Their poisonous weapons are universally feared—a simple scratch from them can, if untreated, kill even the strongest warrior.

As the Naga Character cards state: We are the ancient mysteries, the strangest magics. The forgotten places are ours to roam. Do not cross us, for our humor is likely beyond your understanding.

Nevertheless, time and again adventurers of Arcadia have sought out their help, because they know more of Arcadia than anyone else—not of the current happenings in Arcadia, though, but of its history: what every other kith has forgotten, the Naga guard. But, more importantly, they know Arcadia better than anyone else, because they have an unparalleled mastery over Glamour and the Arts, which shape the very land of Arcadia. Male Nagas are born with a proclivity to Pyretics, which lets them manipulate the power of fire, which is used in benign ways to create Will-o’-the-Wisp that let them scout out terrain but is also used in combat to deadly effects (to blind the opponent, to engulf her in flame, or even to create an ally of living flame). Female Nagas, on the other hand, master Imagery, an Art which lets them create new forms (and is thus unlike Chicanery, which works only by altering the perception of others). Compared to the innate powers of their male counterparts, Imagery may seem like a fairly benign Art, but those who have been targeted by this Art in combat certainly disagree!

A female Naga (from King Ironheart’s Madness)

It is especially because of their mastery of the Arts that others have sought out the Nagas. Some travel to Srissan in the hope of gaining some of their power, but the strange customs of the Nagas and their unpredictable temperament—unpredictable, at least, to those with little knowledge of their ways—have made this incredibly difficult. Some who have travelled to those wastelands have not returned, though no one quite knows why: the wastelands are certainly not the most hospitable regions of Middlemarch, and it is easy to perish even before finding Srissan, but there are also rumours that the Naga occasionally devour persons who have breached their codes. Others have indeed found Srissan, only to be expelled and gained the perpetual enmity of the Naga. But most travellers were just ignored, and ultimately left the Naga capital disillusioned, neither wiser nor more powerful. What drives people to Srissan, however, are the tales of the rare individual who has been accepted by the Naga as one of their own, and was rewarded with great power and treasure. Some, it is rumoured, have even been honoured by the Naga and received not just their loyalty but also their secrets, though many who have encountered the Naga think this to be a myth.

Whilst the Naga are secretive and prefer to keep to their own, a few individuals—such as the renowned Nyya, “Mistress of Secrets”—have formed allies with other fae and live among them. For their knowledge and mastery of the Arts they are immensely honoured: they are used to cancel Arts cast by others and the more powerful Naga can even “absorb” the Arts of others, giving them temporary mastery over them. These special abilities have made such lone Naga very desired, and they are frequently offered immense riches and great protection for their services, which gives them more comfort and power than they perhaps would have found in Naga society. The downside, however, is that even these Naga remain Naga, and are thus not easily convinced to join your cause.

A male Naga (from King Ironheart’s Madness)

However, the chances of encountering a Naga away from their homeland is rare, and when you do encounter one, as in this Waylay, it is almost certainly one who guards their home from the eyes of unwanted intruders. They will block your passage and though they could easily use force, they will try in various ways to dissuade you from travelling further. You must exhaust an Art when failing this Waylay, because that is where their power lies—if reasoning fails, they will strip you of your ability to use the Arts of Arcadia.

The Naga, mythical serpents of India, were introduced in King Ironheart’s Madness. There is no reference to them in The Wyld Hunt and were also not part of the Changeling world at the time, and, to the best of my knowledge, were never introduced in any later book.

They were, however, included (as Nagah) in the world of Werewolf, as one of the many “changing breeds”. They were there introduced in 2001 in the “breedbook” Nagah, and included in the 2001 The Players’ Guide to the Changing Breeds (see pages 121-129). These works could be useful to develop ideas for playing Naga Characters in Arcadia,  there are nevertheless important differences between the Naga of Arcadia and the Nagah of Werewolf. Like the Naga, the Nagah are secretive and prone to aggression, but they are a “changing breed”, shapeshifting weresnakes. They appear like humans and keep their Nagah identity secret—even many of the other changing breeds do not know of their continued existence. They now act mostly as assassins, but were created by Gaia with a very specific purpose. As stated in Nagah (page 14): When the world was young, the Nagah were given the task of watching the other Changing Breeds, to make certain that their cousins performed their jobs fairly and well. They had no need to reward those faithful to Gaia and their duties—those that did well found reward enough. But those who betrayed their duties, who abused the trust given them—these shapeshifters were the true targets of the Nagah. For the Nagah had been given venom—and their job was to punish. The Nagah were nearly driven to extinction by the Garou, as retaliation of the assassination of a Garou leader—and now rarely reveal themselves, trying to carry out their assigned mission in the greatest secret.

The Naga of Arcadia are clearly different—the last thing they probably want to do is to police everyone else! But I think of them in somewhat similar terms as the Nagah: they are the ancient guardians of Arcadia who have lost sight of their original purpose over the centuries—perhaps when their fertile, tropic lands turned into the dry, sterile wasteland it is now. Now they just hoard their unequalled insight in and knowledge of that world, using it to grow in power rather than for the benefit of the greater good.

Road to Skyeholme — Card Notes

This road leads through the Arborian Nation. It begins in the Kingdom of Night and ends in the High King’s palace in Skyeholm. With so much traffic, one never quite knows who one might meet.

Skyeholme (or Skyeholm, as it is sometimes spelled) is the mountain stronghold of High King Ardlanth, who brought peace to Arcadia and united its principal realms. This road was once one of the main thoroughfare’s of Arcadia, linking the Ardlanth’s court with that of his principal vassal, Middlemarch. It ran westwards from Middlemarch’s capital, and met the Grey River in the Kingdom of Night, but then ran towards the north, through the Arborian Nation—the realm of the tree-people, like the Willowtree and Oak-kin—to the mountain kingdom of Ardlanth.

But now the road is scarcely used. The Darkening has fallen over Skyeholme and has frozen the High King and all his subjects to stone. King Ironheart quickly took advantage of the ensuing political chaos. He has long had ambitions to rule the entirety of Arcadia, and built Mechopolis, his industrial capital city, to rival with the palace of Skyeholme. Seizing the opportunity, he sent his Cog troops to conquer the surrounding lands. His forces have already invaded Ardenmore, and he has already conquered the easternmost outposts of the Arborian Nation, destroying its woods to fuel his industries.

Few people still venture into Skyeholme. Rumours of the Darkening have reached Middlemarch and Ardenmore, but none that have since ventured into the High King’s realm have returned.

Skyeholme and its surrounding regions and the story of Ardlanth’s fate were to be the subject of the third Arcadia set, The Lion’s Den, which was never released. We will likely never know for certain what happened at the High King’s court, what the true nature of the Darkening is, or even what Skyeholme, the Kingdom of Night, and the rest of the Arborian nation is like.

One never quite knows who one might meet. How pregnant that phrase is now!

Tsu Ocean — Card Notes

The mighty Tsu Ocean has been receding for the last two hundred years. Each year, a little more of the coastline is exposed, and a few more dispossessed Tritons venture onto the mainland.

I bet the Ocean Leagues are the least used Leagues in Arcadia. They can only be placed next to a Border or another Ocean. They have a very high Enter and Leave Trial (some even require a Might Trial of 7 to enter or leave!), and they generally don’t let you recover anything if you fail the Trial. There is only one Quest that requires you to use them (The Flower Quest, which has you travel to Orchid Isle), but apart from that you never have to travel to the Ocean. And since they seem too difficult to use, why bother? These Leagues seem pointless.

What do we know about the Tsu Ocean? It lies to the east of Ardenmore and Middlemarch, and stretches “to the edge of Arcadia”. As two Tsu Ocean Leagues state, the Ocean has been receding gradually for two centuries, bringing every year more Mer and Tritons to the shores of Ardenmore and Middlemarch. It has been the site of several battles between King Ironheart and Lord Gamine, and in the southern parts Ironheart’s military vessels still scour the seas. Though the shores are relatively safe, the Ocean can be treacherous, and underneath its gentle surface strong currents drag the inexperienced swimmer far from land. The Tsu Ocean is particularly dangerous in the South, where seafarers try to steer clear of Ironheart’s patrolling cog troops—like his Cog Dreadnoughts, “gargantuan mechanical war-boats” which are quick to see anyone else cresting the waves to be threat, or the rarer, but not less dangerous, Cog Submarines, that might be easier to disarm than to destroy. My favourite, though, is the Cog Squid: “First you see the rainbow sheen of oil rippling on the water’s surface. Then your boat shifts under you as something huge displaces the water as it passes below. Finally, the clanking tentacles snake into the air around you, and you know you have a fight on your hands.” But the Ocean itself is also more merciless in the South: its waves have broken even mighty ships and carry the flotsam and jetsam of countless vessels. Only the most experienced—or the most foolish—sail far from the relative safety of Middlemarch’s coast.

So why would you venture out into the Ocean? It does indeed not seem worth the risk. Except, of course, if you are a Mer. Or a Triton. Or a Selkie. These three kith live in the Ocean. The Mer and Triton live under the Ocean’s surface. Mer build their coral cities on the Ocean’s floor, and that is also where the warrior tribes of the Tritons normally dwell. Both have surfaced more frequently in recent decades not just because of the receding shoreline, but also to fight against King Ironheart’s mindless pollution which is literally spilling into their realms. Selkies too have joined this fight. They are residents not of the deep see but of the “continually shifting shoreline” (The Toybox p. 127), and to save their kind have taken up the fight against Ironheart, who has been stealing the sealskin of Selkie’s and thereby enslaving them.

That there are 3 kith in Arcadia with ties to the Ocean is remarkable, given that they are very rare in Changeling: The Dreaming. Selkies were only introduced in a later source book on San Francisco, Immortal Eyes: The Toybox (see page 127), but almost as an afterthought. Mer(folk) were alluded to in some places, but not as character you’d play. There were no other Ocean kith in Changeling at the time that Arcadia was published. Mer characters were introduced in The Wyld Hunt and these aquatic characters figured also prominently on the artwork of many Merits and Flaws, signalling that the Ocean might play a prominent role in this world. The other two Ocean kith—Selkies and Triton—were introduced in King Ironheart’s Madness. Mer(folk) and Triton would not appear fully in the World of Darkness until 1999, when Blood-dimmed Tides was published. This sourcebook (useable for all World of Darkness lines) deals with the oceans, and introduces Merfolk (see page 59-70) as well as Heiké Crabs (page 56), which bear a striking resemblance to Tritons.

Of course, you do not need to play with any of these aquatic Kith to venture into the Ocean. These kith may be at home in the seas and be able to breathe under water, but the other kith are not prohibited from entering into the ocean either, even from visiting the fabled coral cities of the Mer. They can swim, of course, but they are more likely to take a boat, a ship, a dingy, or a raft and sail or row or float away. Some of the Waylays actually suggest this: see Capsized, for instance.

 

There are quite a few Ocean Waylays, actually—perhaps more so than one would initially suspect. In Arcadia’s ports you might bump into Buccaneer Colony or some Pirates or Slavers who wish to ship you off to Middlemarch’s Fack Tories,  or perhaps the Old Man of the Sea. The peaceful sea’s surface might suddenly turn into a swirling Whirlpool, “sucking you into the depths”, or you might have face a typhoon (see the Waylays Hurricane and Tornado, which can be played on Ocean Leagues). Along the shores of Middlemarch you are likely to sail into Polluted Water, at places where the sludge from his industrial sites is dumped into the sea. The creatures of the Ocean are no less scary. There are the Waterrunners, “large amphibians” who run on the water’s surface, and Water Elementals, who “have been known to attack boats and siphon their occupants down into the cold embrace of the deep waves.” There are Flocks of Harpies, who are the embodiment of stormy winds. And there are the vicious Rokeas or weresharks, who are luckily not all intent to kill you—some, like Dapper Rokea, even want you to work for them.

And then there is the Passing Kraken, which makes more sense when used in a full Ocean quest: “One of the two known Krakens in the Arcadian seas is swimming in this area, unaware of the disaster resulting from its passage. The water churns violently, and one of its tentacles smashes into you, upsetting your boat and leaving you to fight the monstrous undertow of the creature’s wake.” It does seem strange that such a giant creature would swim along Arcadia’s shallow shores, but if you are far at sea it seems more realistic to have one of these nonchalantly brush past you. (I do like that they gave it a Combat value of 89 just in case someone wanted to pick a fight with it!).

As I mentioned, Ironheart’s Cog Navy patrols in the South, but you will equally have to be wary of other troops. A Zip of Zeppelins might drift overhead. (You’d have to be really savvy to not be seen by them when you are in open waters! You’ll want to adjust the difficulty of this Test when using it in this setting.) Or you’ll be attacked from above by a swift Icarian Flying Skiff on their way to raid a coastal village.

There are quite a few common Waylays that can be played on Ocean Leagues, and they often have to be interpreted very differently than if they were played on land. Take Huntsman’s Snare: “You’ve triggered a huntsman’s snare. You’d best break free before the hunter returns.” As the illustration and name suggests this will generally be used on land when you are caught in a hunter’s trap, but it can be played on an Ocean League too, when you would be caught in a fisher’s net. Or take Lost! where you have become lost at sea, unable to determine where you are because there is no land in sight. Or Worn-out when you have become seasick or just sick of the sea. Each of these can be interpreted differently when set on the Ocean.

There are 5 different Tsu Ocean Leagues (3 in The Wyld Hunt, 2 in King Ironheart’s Madness), and a few special locations such as The City of Coral Ocean, the “last true home of the Mer” or The Graveyard of Ships, the site of an naval battle between Ardenmore and Middlemarch, and some important ports, such as The Shipyards and Oceanius. The Tsu Ocean Leagues are fairly common, and since they are so general they are also easily duplicated in your game. It is, therefore, not very difficult to build a significantly sized Ocean map, linking various islands and ports with each other and creating an adventure with a flavour unlike that of a normal Arcadia quest.

Arts of Arcadia

[This is the last in a series of post on the Arts in Arcadia. Read this post for context and the variant rules that are referred to below.]

In this post I list the Arts unique to Arcadia. (Or rather, they were unique to Arcadia at the time of publishing: a version of Skycraft was later included in Blood-Dimmed Tides.)

There are four such Arts: Imagery, Skycraft, Earthcraft, and The Human Art (the last two are names I made up, since they are never named). Skycraft and Earthcraft are unique to King Ironheart’s Madness. The Human Art is unique to The Wyld Hunt.

Imagery

imageryImagery is the only Art unique to Arcadia that is actually named in the rules. This was already introduced in The Wyld Hunt, but only identified in the rules for King Ironheart’s Madness, since Naga Characters (which were introduced in that same set) can either start with extra Pyretics or Imagery Arts, depending on their gender. This, and “the Human Art” mentioned below, makes me think that the creators of Arcadia had plans to work more with the types of Arts in future sets as well.

Note: I do not have copies of the first two Arts listed here, Mirror, Mirror and Chameleon, and I haven’t found any images of these online. I assume they are Imagery, but I haven’t been able to check this.

mirage

Mirror, Mirror *

You may spend a turn and consult your reflection for advice. Exhaust this Art and roll a die: 1 – You miss your next turn. 2 – The next Day you will move 1 League in the direction of your opponent’s choice. 3 – Your opponent can instantly relocate 1 of your Treasures to another League. He chooses the Treasure and the new League. 4 – You can skip 1 League the next Day. 5 – One of your Treasures of your choice is moved to your current League. 6 – You may take two Days in a row. (TWH)

Chameleon **

Exhaust this Art to adopt the mask of your surroundings. If another character or Waylay is in your League that Day, you may exhaust a Savvy Ability to hide. As long as you’re hiding you cannot be encountered by another character or a Waylay. Once you move to another League, this effect ends. (TWH)

Doppelganger ***

Exhaust this Art and a Might Ability to duplicate the opponent you’re facing. Your attributes are now the same as his. This effect lasts for 1 Test only. You may not use other Merits to affect the outcome of this Test. (TWH)

Red Herring ****

Exhaust to move one of your opponent’s Quest Treasures to another League. This must be played as your opponent is recovering the Treasure. (KIM)

Mirage *****

Exhaust as another character enters a League. That character must now pass a Might Trial difficulty 6 before they can enter that League. Mirage remains until the character succeeds or 3 Days pass, whichever comes first. (KIM)

Skycraft

skycraftSkycraft manipulates the weather, and particularly wet weather (rains, storms, etc.). These Arts are all targeting your opponent, and mostly attempt to detain him for some time. This Art is not named in Arcadia, but was later included in Blood-Dimmed Tides, where it is particularly associated with the oceans. It is described there as follows (page 80):

Since the dawn of time, mankind has made offerings to the gods before undergoing an aquatic journey of any sort. The changelings who know Skycraft protect it well, as they understand the power of this potent Art. Masters of Skycraft can control the storms that whip the seas into their frenzy, and through this, the lives of whoever may be travelling there.

The cantrips given in that book do not correspond to the Art cards of Arcadia, and the Arcadia version of Skycraft is not restricted to the oceans (see Flood). But you could make this an Art for Selkie and Mer.

There are only 3 such Arts, all in King Ironheart’s Madness  (and all are illustrated by the same artist, Andrew Kudelka). This is the least balanced set of Art cards: there are no 1, 2, or 3 point Skycraft Arts, and two 4 point Arts.

tempest

Flood ****

Exhaust to move your opponent 2 Leagues in the direction of your choice. The opponent may not be Waylaid on the new League until his next Day. (KIM)

Tempest ****

Exhaust to cause another character to miss his next 2 Days. That character may make a Might Trial difficulty 7 to attempt to negate this Art. If he passes he is unaffected. (KIM)

Storm Clouds *****

Exhaust to force another character to make a Resolve Trial difficulty 6 in order to leave their current League. Storm Clouds remain until the character succeeds or 3 Days pass, whichever comes first. (KIM)

Earthcraft

earthcraftThis Art is not named in Arcadia and has no counterpart in Changeling. I have named it Earthcraft, parallel to Skycraft, since all these Arts manipulate the earth—such as moving Leagues or changing the nature of a League. All of these appear in King Ironheart’s Madness. There are no 1, or 2 point Arts of this type.

schism

Side Track ***

Exhaust to move another character’s Base Camp to another location on the map for the duration of the Quest. The Base Camp may not be moved more than 3 Leagues in any direction, and must meet Terrain requirements as normal. (KIM)

Insight ****

Exhaust to ignore the Enter or Leave Trial on any one League. (KIM)

Earthquake ****

Exhaust to cause any one League to change its terrain type. Pick a new League card at random and replace the League you wish to change with it; Terrain requirements are ignored. Any Waylays or characters on the affected League remain there. (KIM)

Earthshape *****

Exhaust to move a League to another location on the map. The new location must meet normal terrain matching requirements. The League will remain there for 3 Days, then return to its original location. (KIM)

Schism ******

Exhaust to completely separate 1 League from the map. This League is put to the side, but is still in play. Roll a die to determine the number of days until the League rejoins the map, 1-3: 1 Day, 4-5: 2 Days, 6: 3 Days. If the character can fly, has a mount that can fly, or uses the Art Flicker Flash, he may Enter or Leave the separated League, or he may travel directly over the resulting gap in the map.

The Human Art

human-artAt the beginning of the Resurgence, when the barriers between this world and Arcadia were briefly down, Sidhe from Arcadia swapped places with human mortals (see here for more on this). These human residents of Arcadia—the “Arcadian Mortals”—gained some special powers that the fae themselves had never encountered. As explained in Dreams and Nightmares (page 59): From time to time, a changeling returns from a quest for Arcadia with tales of humans possessing incredible powers. Such stories are thought to refer to Arcadian mortals, the humans who traded places with the sidhe and developed powers to rival the abilities of true fae. Although no one can say for certain what these powers might be, clearly they would hve to be prodigious to allow mortals to hold their own against faeries in the homeland of the Kithain. As no changeling has been to Arcadia since the time of Resurgence, there’s no way to confirm or deny these rumors.

Well, in Arcadia these are first named. There are 3 Arts in The Wyld Hunt that can only be used by Human Characters (“Only Humans may take this Art” says each of these cards). I have no idea what this Art is called, and the three Arts are very different in nature, so it is difficult to give it a name other than the bland name “The Human Art”, but that is the best I can do for now 🙂 . If you have any information about this Art, please leave a comment! There are no Arts of this type in King Ironheart’s Madness.

dreamingDreaming *

Only Humans may take this Art. You may exhaust this Art and spend a Day to move 3 Leagues in any direction. You are not affected by Terrain Trials on your destination League and you completely skip the first two Leagues. (TWH)

Creativity **

Only Humans may take this Art. You may exhaust this Art and 1 Savvy Ability to change any Waylay Test you’re facing to any other Test of your choice (a Combat Waylay can be changed to a Savvy Waylay, a Resolve Waylay to a Might Waylay, etc.) You may even change a Waylay into something it could not normally be. If you do this the rating for its new Attribute will be 1. (TWH)

Wanderlust ***

Only Humans may take this Art. Exhaust this Art and 1 Resolve Ability to move any 1 Waylay to any other League in play. Normal Terrain conditions no longer apply to the Waylay being moved. (TWH)

Arts: Pyretics & Naming

[This is the fourth in a series of post on the Arts in Arcadia. Read this post for context and the variant rules that are referred to below.]

Pyretics and Naming were both introduced in the Players Guide, together with a third Art: Spirit Link. Spirit Link is an Art that lets changelings communicate with the spirit realm and is exclusive to Nunnehi, or Native American changelings, who were not (yet?) introduced in Arcadia. Pyretics and Naming, however, were included and in King Ironheart’s Madness. Pyretics (and Imagery, which I will discuss later) were closely linked with the Naga.

Pyretics

pyreticsAs its name indicates, the Art of Pyretics is the Art of the manipulation of fire. The Changeling Players Guide has very little to say about it (page 169): “Half a million years ago, mortals discovered the lure and beauty of fire. The fae have been playing with its beautiful might for considerably longer. They can control the powers of the will-o’-the-wisp and create servants of living fire. This Art uses Glamour to weave and shape flame into pleasing shapes and effects.”

There are six Pyretics Arts in Arcadia: Will-o’-the-Wisp, Willow Light, Prometheus’ Fist, Burn & Boil, Star Body, and Inferno. All of these, except Inferno, are also Changeling cantrips.

starbody

Will-o’-the-Wisp *

Exhaust this Art to create a small sentinal of fire. You can send the Will-o’-the-Wisp 1 League ahead of you (it ignores Terrain Trials). If your opponent intends to Waylay you in the League onto which the Will-o’-the-Wisp has moved he must instead Waylay the Will-o’-the-Wisp. If he plays a Waylay, it remains on the League and will affect any who move there. If he does not play a Waylay, he cannot play one if you move to that League on the following Day. (TWH)

The wording of this card is a little confusing. I take it that the Will-o’-the-Wisp will always move 1 League ahead of you, and you move into its League the next day. That means the Will-o’-the-Wisp lets your opponent know where you intend to go, but it also lets you decide what Waylays you want to face. I take it that the Will-o’-the-Wisp is defeated when it encounters a Waylay.

Willow Light **

Exhaust this Art to affect a target of your choice: a character, Ally or Waylay in your League or any adjacent League. The target subtracts 2 from their score on a Combat Test. This must be done just before the Test. (TWH)

In Changeling this cantrip’s used is more benign. From the Players Guide (page 170): “This cantrip will allow you to illuminate or cast auras of light upon objects or places. With this cantrip you can cause objects or people to glow or even cause an entire place to become lit with this phosphoresence.” In Arcadia this Art is used in combat to blind people, and thus give them a disadvantage.

Prometheus’ Fist ***

Exhaust this Art to engulf a target of your choice in flames. The target must be on your League. This is a Might 3 Combat Test. For every Resolve Ability you also exhaust, increase the Might of this attack by 1. However, additional Merits or other effects cannot increase the potency of this attack. (TWH)

The Players Guide explains (page 170): “This cantrip allows you to completely engulf an object in flame. These objects will burn with tremendous heat, but will not affect you or the object, though they will burn anything else that they come into contact with. This cantrip is often used to create flaming weapons, inflicting horrible wounds upon the victim of such an attack.” The Arcadia Art is identical to this cantrip, but the wording is misleading: you don’t actually engulf your opponent (or Waylay or Ally) in flames, but your fists (or weapon), with which you then attack him and set him on fire.

Burn & Boil ****

Exhaust to add 4 to your Might in 1 Combat Test. (KIM)

This Art is like Prometheus’ Fists, but directly engulfs your opponent in fire.

Star Body *****

Exhaust to create an ally of living flame to encounter one Waylay for you. This ally has Might 5 and Combat 5. (KIM)

From the Players Guide (page 170): “By performing this cantrip, you can transform something into living flame, keeping all its intrinsic abilities and powers intact—a cat will still be a cat, a sword will still be a sword, a person will still be able to move about and think for herself, etc. This cantrip is often used to create more formidable freehold guardians and other beasts. Anything considered part of an object or person will usually be transformed as well, such as equipments, weapons, etc. As with Prometheus’ Fists, the fire created by this cantrip does not harm the caster. The flame itself is magical, and will not ignite other objects unless a creature so transformed desires to.” In other words, you are not creating a creature of of thin air, but transforming an existing one, although maybe that works differently in Arcadia?

Inferno ******

Exhaust to defeat any 1 creature Waylay. (KIM)

Inferno has no cantrip counterpart in Changeling. Given the power of this Art, I’m inclined to make any Character other than the caster who is on the same League as the affected Waylay, to make a Might Trial of 5, and exhaust a Merit if she fails.

Naming

namingThis is a very powerful Art, that controls people and things by knowing their True Name, and should be used very sparingly. The Players Guide explains (page 171): “This is a rare Art guarded jealously among the court seers and few commoner namers of the Crystal Circle. Rumor has it that entrants into the Crystal Circle are all taught the secrets of this Art upon their joining—a rumor that august body has yet to deny or confirm. True Names hold the essence of Glamour, as well as the ability to control the soul of the being, if the namer is powerful enough. A powermongering seer could well control the flux of power within a court by injudicious use of the Naming Art. […] Beginning characters should not know the Naming Art, as it is rarely known to any but members of the Crystal Circle or high-ranking nobles.” The Crystal Circle is society of Seelie sorcerers, who guard this world from the Nightmares found in the Dreaming, and are rumoured to search for Arcadia. Members of the Crystal Circle are expected to have fully mastered one Art and be proficient in another (5 points in one, 4 points in the other) before they are admitted, and it is good rule to limit this Art to Characters who have done likewise.

The Arts’s strength do not entirely correspond to those of the cantrips in Changeling. Changeling has a different 1 point cantrip, Seek ‘n’ Spell, which is omitted in Arcadia. Runes, the 1-point Art, is a 2-point cantrip in Changeling, and all the others too are 1 point less in Arcadia, except for Reweaving, which is only a 5 point cantrip in Changeling but a 6 point Art in Arcadia. All of these, except Reweaving, are from The Wyld Hunt.

saining

Runes *

Runes can be used to create a specific Rune Ward. This Rune Ward acts as a Resolve or Might Terrain Trial difficulty 6 for anyone who wishes to enter that League. The character making the Rune may ignore the ward. To represent the Rune Ward, place this card on the warded League. Once someone passes the Trial, remove this card and the Ward from play. (THW)

As the card text indicates, Runes can be used for a much wider range of things, but are here limited to Terrain Trials. From the Players Guide (page 172): “Rune unleashes the abstract mystical power behind the symbols known as runes. You inscribe a symbol on the object you wish to enchant, in addition to the chosen Bunk. This cantrip is an enhancement to other cantrips or actions. For example: Roderic the troll wishes to use Rune to enhance the successes of attacking with his battle-axe. He inscribes the appropriate rune on the axe, acts out the Bunk, and gains three successes from the cantrip. Roderic now has three additional successes on his axe-swing.” If you limit the Art of Naming to those who have mastered other Arts (as mentioned above), you could allow for a greater use of this Art: Characters could inscribe a Rune on their weapon or armour and increase its efficacy by the number of successes rolled.

Runic Circle **

Exhaust this Art to inscribe a Runic Circle. This Circle can cancel the effect of any 1 Art another character is attempting to use. You must succeed in a Resolve Test against the other character for this Art to be successful. The targeted Art is cancelled and has no effect. This Art must be exhausted regardless of the result of the Test. (TWH)

The Players Guide explains (page 173): “This cantrip inscribes a protective circle around the target or on a charm that can be carried. The circle acts as an invisible buffer that protects against supernatural forces.”

Saining ***

You can learn the true name of any 1 character, Ally or Waylay. This gives you power over your target. You may exhaust this Art to retest any Test against that character, Ally or Waylay. – You may exhaust this Art to change a character from Seelie to Unseelie or vice versa for the duration of the game. The character will return to normal later. (TWH)

From the Players Guide (page 173): “Use of this cantrip allows the namer to find the True Name of the target. This cantrip is most often used in the Saining ritual of a newly awakened kith, but it has other, more nefarious uses. All things have a True Name, even a television or a car. Changelings who possess this ability can learn the True Name of anything the use this cantrip upon, thus giving them some control over the object or person, especially if they possess the highest level of this Art, Reweaving.” This Art is quite a bit more powerful in Arcadia than its cantrip counterpart in Changeling, and I suggest some change to the card’s text, discussed below under Reweaving.

Saining and Reweaving should be used very sparingly, and a Character should only be allowed to learn this Art after they have learned a lesser Naming Art (which they can only learn after mastering two other Arts, if you follow the above suggestion).

Reweaving ******

Discard to cause another character to change up to 4 points of their Merits to new Merits of your choice. You must replace the changed Merits with Merits of equal point value. A character may only have this Art used on them once a game. (KIM)

This is the most powerful of all the Arts. From the Players Guide (page 173): “By switching key runes in a target’s True Name, the namer can fundamentally (and permanently) change the basic nature of the target. Seelie could become Unseelie, Legacies could be changed, etc. Note that the user of this cantrip cannot make a target do something impossible (i.e., a sluagh could be made into an elegant courtier, but still unable to speak above a whisper). The True Name of the target must be known before casting this cantrip.”

Based on this, I suggest the following changes be made: to cast this, you need to first cast Saining, to find out its true name (ignore the text on Saining, but exhaust Saining). The success of Reweaving depends on how many successes you roll (based on the rules of the Players Guide):

  • 1 success: change 1 Ability of the target Character
  • 2 successes: change 2 Abilities
  • 3 successes: change the Court of the Character (from Seelie to Unseelie, or vice versa)
  • 4 successes: change 2 Abilities and up to 2 Arts
  • 5 successes or more: change all Merits

Arts: Sovereign & Wayfare

[This is the third in a series of post on the Arts in Arcadia. Read this post for context and the variant rules that are referred to below.]

Sovereign

sovereign

Sovereign is an Art closely associated with nobility, even if nobility do not use it all that often. The Art of Sovereign is used to force people of lower social standing to do their will, and is therefore particularly unpopular with commoners. From the Changeling handbook (page 183): “In ancient times, the sidhe used Sovereign to regularly enforce their noble dictates upon commoner kith. A few highly conservative (and unpopular) nobles still adhere to this custom. The Art of Sovereign forces commoners and nobles of equal or lesser rank to obey the caster’s dictates. Thus, a knight could not use Sovereign on a baron. This Art is the most widespread grievance that commoner fae have against the sidhe nobility. As such, wise nobles use this Art sparingly, lest they risk a revolt among their subjects. Traditionally, this Art was jealously guarded by the nobility, but in recent times this Art has surfaced in some commoners’ use.”

Since Sovereign is so closely linked to nobility and social rank, it would make sense to limit it to noble Characters in Arcadia. It is particularly associated with House Fionna. For more on the nobility in Arcadia see this post of mine.

There are five Sovereign Arts in Arcadia: Protocol, Dictum, Grandeur, Weaver Ward, and Geasa. These correspond exactly to the 5 Sovereign cantrips in Changeling, except that Geasa has been made a 6-point Art (from a 5-point cantrip).

weaverward

Protocol *

Exhaust to force any noble to miss their next Day. – Exhaust to force any nonnoble to exhaust 1 Savvy Ability. (TWH)

Protocal basically enforces protocol. From the Changeling book (page 184): “This cantrip allows nobles to conduct business and hold court functions without being perpetually interrupted by noisy childlings or commoners. Protocol ensures that everyone affected behaves as noble etiquette requires, although a roll is required to determine if the target(s) can fathom the dictates of the proceedings (see the sidebar). When this cantrip is cast, no one may speak out of turn, and sudden combat and tomfoolery are out of the question. Duels between persons of equal rank to settle disputes are acceptable, if the reigning noble permits it.” So, if the target is a noble, she will be forced to join the courtly rituals. If she is a commoner, she will loose her Savvy because she won’t be able to join.

Dictum **

Exhaust and enter into a Resolve Test against a non-noble character in your League or in any adjacent one. If you’re victorious you may make him move in the direction of your choice for 2 Days. (TWH)

Dictum is used to force commoners to do the biddings of nobility. The Changeling book explains (page 184): “This cantrip enforces the power of authority and command over commoners and underlings. The target is simply unable to disobey the requests of the caster, although the target is aware when Dictum is used upon him (even if he is unfamiliar with the Arts). A target under the sway of Dictum attempts to carry out the caster’s requests to the spirit and the letter, unless the request would somehow place him in immediate danger. A target couldn’t be told to attack a werewolf, but he could be asked to guard the door against werewolves, as the command does not place the target in immediate harm. This cantrip, more than any other Sovereign cantrip, is the major point of contention between commoners and nobles. Commoner kith seem to take less of an affront to a user of Grandeur (see below) than a user of Dictum. After all, most Kithain already respect and feel a certain sense of awe for the nobility, but they do not appreciate being forced to bow and scrape before every noble whim.”

Grandeur ***

For the next 2 Days, you may exhaust a Savvy Ability to make the results of any Tests you undergo a Stalemate. This exhausts Grandeur. (TWH)

This one too is rather straightforward. From the Changeling book (page 184): “Grandeur impresses upon others that element of the majesty of Arcadia that every noble and sidhe carries. It is the component of noble poise and refinement that later mortal rulers attempted (but ultimately failed) with their divine  pageants and coronations. Anyone who views a caster of Grandeur is overcome with awe; he can take no action (violent or otherwise) in the presence of the noble (even if that noble attacks the target). Holding court is not possible for a caster of Grandeur, as most of the attendees would be unable to speak.”

Weaver Ward ****

Discard to force another character into a Resolve Trial difficulty 7 when attempting to recover a Quest Treasure. As his encounter each day, that character may test again to try to defeat the Ward. Weaver Ward remains on the Treasure until defeated. (KIM)

Weaver Ward is used to create a barrier that prevents someone from entering into a certain place or obtaining a certain object. The Changeling book explains (page 185): “Use of this cantrip prevents a door or entranceway from being passed by certain persons or inanimate objects. Alternately, a caster can use Weaver Ward to insure that no one picks up or uses an object (if the cantrip is used in this manner, the caster must also possess the Realm that represents the object).” You could decide that a caster of this Art may attempt to prevent a Character to enter a particular League from a specific direction unless they pass a Resolve Trial difficulty 7, if he rolls only successes.

Geasa ******

Exhaust to enter a Resolve Test against another character. If successful, choose a League on the map that the targeted character must travel to before he may resume his Quest. As his encounter each day, the target may make a Resolve Trial difficulty 7 to dispel the effects of this Art and resume his Quest. (KIM)

For more on Geasa, see this post of mine.

Wayfare

wayfareThe Changeling book (page 186-187) states: “Wayfare is the Art of efficient travel. Originally developed by scouts and messengers, this Art has also found use in noble circles as a means to spy, because the powers at higher levels allow one to move into seemingly impossible places. For this reason, the overt use of Wayfare at higher levels is carefully watched by some nobles (and outlawed by others). At the lower end, the Art is considered more of a useful tool than a dangerous weapon. In general, commoners, noble retainers and eshu are the most likely to possess Wayfare.”

There are six Wayfare Arts in Arcadia: Hopscotch, Quicksilver, Portal Passage, Wind Runner, Flicker Flash, and Shooting Star. Shooting Star is unique to Arcadia.

portalpassage

Hopscotch *

Exhaust to skip any 1 League. You will encounter the second League. (TWH)

With Hopscotch your Character can make enormous leaps. In Changeling the cantrip can be cast on others too, including inanimate objects, so you could modify the card’s text to also allow others (Characters or Waylays) to leap into another League.

Quicksilver **

Exhaust to move 3 Leagues. If you encounter any Waylays along the way your movement stops. (TWH)

Quicksilver allows you to move immensely fast, but only for a brief moment. In Changeling this is not limited to travel, but any type of physical action, so you could modify this card to allow you to take any additional action, as an alternative to moving 3 Leagues. If you use the variant rule for Arts mentioned in the first post in this series, you could decide that the number of Leagues a Character may move depends on the number of successes rolled.

Portal Passage ***

Exhaust to instantly move from 1 League to another. The two Leagues in question must have at least 1 identical Terrain feature (Forest to Forest, Ruins to Ruins, etc.) and cannot be farther than 4 Leagues apart. Exhaust to automatically pass any Terrain Trial. This must be done before you roll. (TWH)

In Changeling this cantrip allows you to create a passage way through any wall or hedge or other barrier of a reasonable thickness. As you can see, in Arcadia, this cantrip is a lot more powerful: it creates a portal to any place similar to the one you are currently in.

Wind Runner *****

Exhaust to fly 4 Leagues. You only encounter Terrain Trials or Waylays on the League you finally enter. After moving 4 Leagues you must pass a Resolve Trial difficulty 7 or become winded and spend your next available Day Resting. If you Fail this Trial, you will encounter any Waylays on that League before you may Rest. (KIM)

Wind Runner gives you the ability to fly. If you use the variant rule for Arts mentioned in the first post in this series, you could decide that the number of Leagues a Character may move depends on the number of successes rolled. (This is only a 4-point cantrip in Changeling.)

Flicker Flash *****

Discard and make a Resolve Trial difficulty 7 to move instantly to any League you have previously visited during this game. If you fail, your Opponent may move you to a League of his/her choice. Ignore Enter and Leave Trials when using this Art. (KIM)

From the Changeling book (page 188): “This is the cantrip feared by the nobility for its ability to allow anyone to get anywhere. With Flicker Flash, the changeling can disappear and reappear anywhere in creation that she desires”. You can only use this to travel to Leagues you have previously visited, because “The caster must know, see (or scrye) or possess a part of both her target and the destination. If she cannot fulfill this limitation, there is a chance the cantrip will go awry (the Storyteller should have as much fun as she likes thinking up a really creative place to send the character!).” You could therefore allow this Art to be used to travel to an unvisited League, but if the Character casting this has less than all successes (when using the variant mentioned in the first post in this series), the opponent may choose where to place the Character—including Leagues that are added to the board for just this purpose!

(This is only a 5-point cantrip in Changeling.)

Shooting Star ******

Exhaust this art and roll a die. Move as follows: Odd: move left, Even: move right, the following number of Leagues: 1-2 = 2 Leagues, 3-4 = 3 Leagues, 5-6 = 4 Leagues. Ignore the Enter requirement for the new League and any Waylays in the old League. If this would put you off the map, then your character stays in place and the Merit remains exhausted. (KIM)

Shooting Star has no cantrip counterpart in Changeling. I have listed it here as a 6 point Art, as it says on the main side of the card, but the “Exhausted” side of the card says it is a 3 point Art.

Arts: Primal & Soothsay

[This is the second in a series of post on the Arts in Arcadia. Read this post for context and the variant rules that are referred to below.]

Primal

primal

The power of the Art of Primal is derived from inanimate nature. From Changeling (page 178): “Much of the power of changelings arises from the elemental affinity between their faerie souls and the forces of nature. In ancient times, the spirits of rocks and trees whispered their secrets to the fae who lived in the forests and groves. The ability to hear the forests’ whispers was lost by most changelings during the Shattering, remembered only by the Inanimae. One of the first things the Inanimae taught the changelings after the Shattering was how to  whisper back. The Inanimae are mostly asleep now, and the Art they taught—Primal—is rumored to be only a fraction of the wisdom the nature spirits could have imparted. As a sign of gratitude to these beings, the cantrips of Primal are named after the spirits who helped the fae relearn these connections.
Kithain often stereotype other changelings who specialize in Primal cantrips as “salt of the earth” types: simple, stolid and honest. This oversimplification often makes them the butt of pooka jokemeisters (“Hey, troll! Did you hear the one about the Willow-Whispering farmer’s daughter who….”).”

There are six Primal Arts in Arcadia: Willow-Whisper, Heather-Balm, Oakenshield, Holly Strike, Elder Form, and Renewed Vigor. These do not neatly correspond to the 5 Primal cantrips that are found in Changeling. Changeling has one cantrip that is not found in Arcadia (Eldritch Prime, a 2-point cantrip that makes one of the natural elements appear in their purest form), and 1 of its cantrips corresponds to 2 Arts in Arcadia (Heather-Balm & Holly Strike). There is no 5-point Primal Art in Arcadia.

elderform

Willow-Whisper *

Exhaust to look at any 1 adjacent League. You may also inspect any Treasure hidden there. (TWH)

Willow Whisper allows you to talk to inanimate objects, as long as it is done in whispers, which is why you can use this Art to find out the nature of a League—you can talk to its rocks and trees—or a Treasure.

Heather-Balm **

Exhaust to recover any 2 Abilities or Allies. – Exhaust to return 1 Waylay of Rating 3 or less which your opponent has defeated to your hand instead of the discard pile. (TWH)

Heather-Balm and Holly Strike are the same 4-point cantrip in Changeling, like 2 uses of the same power. One heals, the other harms. From the Changeling book (page 179-180): “This cantrip has two uses: it can either mend that which is broken, or it can break something by expanding upon tiny imperfections in the object.” Heather-Balm is the healing application of this, which is why you can use it to either heal yourself or a defeated Waylay.

Oakenshield ***

Exhaust to change any Defeat to a Stalemate. (TWH)

From Changeling (page 179): “This cantrip imbues an object or person with the solid, protective essence of oak bark. Targets of Oakenshield can resist a tremendous amount of chimerical punishment.” Casting this gives you extra Health in Changeling, and it really only makes sense to use this Art only in Might or Combat Tests or Trials (since having the protective qualities of oak bark won’t help you much when you have to talk your way out of a situation!). I suggest the text of the card be rewritten as “Exhaust to change any Combat or Might Defeat to a Stalemate.”

Holly Strike ****

Exhaust to add 3 points to your Might for 1 Combat or Might Test or Trial. (KIM)

As mentioned above, this is the flip side of Heather-Balm in Changeling: “For Holly Strike, one Health Level of damage is caused for each success earned. When this Art is used on people, weird, jagged lacerations appear on random parts of the body.” (page 180) This seems replicated in Arcadia by giving you extra strength, though this is not a very neat match.

Elder Form ******

Discard to assume the form of a Dragon for a number of Days determined by a die roll. 1-3: 1 Day, 4-5: 2 Days, 6: 3 Days. The Dragon’s attributes are Might 7 and Combat 8; Resolve and Savvy remain the same. (KIM)

Elder Form is a 5-point cantrip in Changeling, but made a 6-point Art in Arcadia, and that makes sense. This is a powerful Art! From Changeling (page 180): “This cantrip allows the caster or another target to take on the shape of something else. The new form possesses all of the Attributes and disadvantages of the new form. If the changeling turns himself into a tree, he may be taller and tougher, but he won’t be able to talk […]. If he turns himself into a stone, well, he’d better hope he’s in a scenic spot, because he’ll be seeing a lot of it in the next several centuries. While it is possible for the changeling to transform himself into the form of a mythical beast, he does not gain any magical powers from this change. A character altered by Elder-Form only gains any natural abilities that form may have, not supernatural
powers. For example, a changeling who transformed himself to appear as a vampire would have pale skin and maybe even fangs, bnthe would gain none of the special vampiric powers (such as regeneration), nor would he be susceptible to a vampire’s weaknesses (such as sunlight). The
same would be true if a changeling transformed himself into a dragon; he would have scales and claws, but he could not breathe fire.”

Renewed Vigor ******

Discard to recover all exhausted Merits. You may only use this Art once per Quest. (KIM)

This very powerful Primal Art has no cantrip counterpart in Changeling.

Soothsay

soothsay

Divination and prediction is what Soothsay is all about. This Art deals with Dán, the fae concept of Fate. The Changeling book explains (page 180): “Dán is like an immense, complex, shifting tapestry, too complicated for most to fathom. All beings, whether mortal, fae or Prodigal, have the threads of their fates caught up within this tapestry. […] This Art is for thinkers and contemplative Kithain. As such, changelings who specialize in Soothsay can often be found as seers and advisors to nobles. Most Kithain have widely differing views of those fae skilled in the Art of Soothsay. Nobles find them useful for court intrigue, and commoners are wary of their knowledge. In general, they are accorded much respect.”

There are 5 Soothsay Arts in Arcadia: Fair Fortune, Boil & Bubble, Tattletale, Augury, and Fate Fire. As detailed below, these correspond to those found in Changeling, though several are renamed.

fatefire

Fair Fortune *

Exhaust to add 1 to a Character or Creature Waylay’s score in any 1 Test. This must be done just before the Test. (TWH)

This and the following Art (Boil & Bubble) don’t appear in Changeling, at least not under that name. But they both correspond to the 2-point cantrip Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair. This is described as follows (page 181): “With this cantrip, the caster can more actively affect the target’s Dán. She can curse the target with misfortune, or she can throw a ray of good fortune into a target’s path. In either case, the change is not usually major; the target’s situation usually only affects elements not already decided one  way or another. Powerful enemies will not suddenly die, but with a bit of good luck, the target may find a piece of information that changes her enemy’s mind about her, or (with bad luck) the target’s closest ally suddenly decides she is not trustworthy and joins the enemy camp. Whatever happens, the change is usually unexpected.”

Fair Fortune is then the good side of this: you give good fortune to a Character or a Waylay. Boil & Bubble, as the name suggests, is the bad side of this: the target gets some misfortune.

Boil and Bubble **

Exhaust to force another character to immediately retest a Victory. (TWH)

See the comment above. Just a brief note on the name: the corresponding cantrip in Changeling is, as mentioned, Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair. This is a clear reference to Macbeth: “Fair is foul, and foul is fair: / Hover through the fog and filthy air.” (Act 1, Scene 1). The name of this Art is derived from the same play: in Act 4 the witches say:

For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
[All:] Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Tattletale ***

Exhaust to look at any 4 Leagues in play. You may also inspect any Treasures located in those Leagues. (TWH)

From the Changeling book (page 182): “This cantrip provides a way to scrye through an object that is familiar to the caster. With Tattletale, the changeling can see anything that is within the immediate vicinity of the object.” Though in Changeling it is mostly used to observe relatively small areas, it is said that “there is no limit to the casting’s range”, so 4 Leagues are not exceptional.

This Art can quite easily be used with the dice-roll variant mentioned in the first post in this series. You could decide that if only less than half of your dice are successes, you can look at only 2 Leagues; if half or more, you can look at 4 Leagues.

Augury ****

Exhaust to look at 3 Waylays in your Opponent’s hand. Your opponent must now play these 3 Waylays before he/she may play any others. (KIM)

Augury gives a glimpse of a person’s Dán. From the Changeling book (page 182): “No one knows whether the caster of Augury engineers the future event, or the caster’s own Dan is at work as a moment in the future unravels backward in time, planting a kernel in the Augury of the intrepid caster. It is for this reason that Soothsayers treat Augury with kid gloves.”

Fate Fire *****

Exhaust to increase the score or difficulty of another character’s next Test or Trial by 3. – Exhaust to decrease the score or difficulty of your next Test or Trial by 3. (KIM)

This Art simplifies the cantrip of the same name enormously. This cantrip is a more powerful version of Augury, and is described as follows (page 13): “Many people have little contact with their Dán; this is why the concept is so elusive. The day of reckoning does not usually arrive for a while. Casters of Fate Fire can speed up the process and bring a person’s fate to manifest sooner for good or ill, depending upon the balance. The caster has no control over the outcome.”

This is probably not what you would have thought when reading the Art card, but once you know the background, you can see it is essentially the same Art/cantrip.

Proper Etiquette — Card Notes

Proper Etiquette

You come upon a Sidhe noble and his retinue. Pay your proper respects or lose face. Discard this Waylay when it’s defeated. If you are a noble you gain +1 Savvy for this Test.

Arcadia’s society is very hierarchical, and feudal. There are two types of people: commoners and nobles, “the shining hosts”, who rule over them. The nobles themselves have a hierarchy, with the king and queen at the top, and then, in descending hierarchical order below them the dukes/duchesses, counts/countesses, barons/baronesses, knights, and squires (who are, technically, not nobles, but serve knights, who are, and are basically in training to become knights).

Nobles are also organised in Houses. There are 13 main noble Houses, who are generally ruled by Sidhe, but other kith can be part of those Houses too. Six of these Houses are Seelie (House Beaumayn, House Dougal, House Eiluned, House Fiona, House Gwydion, and House Liam), six are Unseelie (House Aesin, House Ailil, House Balor, House Daireann, House Leanhaun, and House Varich), and the thirteenth House does not side with either Court (House Scathach). For reasons that are unclear, five Houses were banished from Arcadia during the Resurgence: House Beaumayn (Seelie), House Aesin, House Daireann, House Varich (all Unseelie), and the indifferent House Scathach. The only Houses that are mentioned by name on Arcadia cards are House Liam and House Fiona (both Seelie Houses). The other six that remained in Arcadia are never mentioned (but maybe some of them would have been included in The Lion’s Den, the third set that was never released?). If you are interested in learning a whole lot more about these Houses (in changeling society), look at these books: Noblesse Oblige: The Book of Houses, Pour L’Amour et Liberte: The Book of Houses 2, The Book of Lost Houses: The Second Coming, and Nobles: The Shining Host.

In the World of Darkness, the fae uphold the Escheat, a code of law that was created shortly after this world was cut off from the Dreaming, during the Sundering. The Escheat tried to uphold the traditions of Arcadia and also to ensure the survival of the fae in the banal World of Darkness. The Escheat stipulates six rights. The first of this is the Right of Demesne, which the Changeling rule book defines as follows:

A lord is the king of his domain. He is the judge and jury over all crimes, large and small. His word is law. A noble expects obedience from his vassals and respect from all others. In return, a noble respects those lords superior to him.

Though commoners are often critical of nobles and the noble houses, most fae don’t have a problem with the hierarchical structure of fae society in general. The courts are generally known to be fair, and nobles are aware of their duties towards society as a whole. This is from Nobles: The Shining Host (page 33):

Being a king isn’t all perks and reserved hitching posts. Implicit in the Right of Demesne is the nobility’s responsibilities to its subjects. There are few nobles (commoner or sidhe, Seelie or Unseelie) who do not take their responsibilities seriously. A noble who does not care for her subjects risks a nasty rebellion, but there is more to it than this. From the time that they are childlings, nobles are instructed that it is their sacred duty to protect their subjects and to treat them justly. The nobility of the Kithain have a far better record in this department than most human (or Prodigal) leaders. Many nobles even have a romanticized view of “the common changeling” and have been known to disguise themselves to go among them. (It is considered poor form for a commoner to recognize his liege when she is so disguised.)

Despite the nobility’s good intentions, noblesse oblige is a proprietary instinct. Many commoners rightly resent the nobility’s paternalistic and patronizing ways. In general, the nobility looks at commoners as beloved, but unruly and somewhat backward, children. It is not that the nobility underestimates the commoners (there are many scholarly treatises on “low commoner cunning”), but few consider them equals. Sidhe nobles extend this judgment to the commoner nobles.

Things do go wrong, of course, and Arcadia tells that story. There are plenty of nobles who act inappropriately: in The Wyld Hunt we have Duke Bane and his son Sir Wrathgar, as well as Lord Gamine’s regent, Bernard Assjack; in King Ironheart’s Madness we have King Ironheart himself. Each of them is hungry for power, and corrupted by that hunger.

So, when you encounter a noble, you are expected to show them the proper respect. If you know how to behave yourself in their company, you’ll manage to get out of the encounter unscathed, but it is probably unlikely that you made a good impression on them if you were a commoner, since you are likely just an uncultured commoner in their eyes. If you are noble, you are more familiar with the ways of the court, and so you are at an advantage. There are a few ways in which your Character can be of nobility in Arcadia. If you are a sidhe, you are automatically noble. As that Character card states:

You are a member of the nobility. This privilege can never be revoked. It is our way to rule, for none are as fit for leadership as we. To look upon our kind is to see wonder and perfection. Our love is limitless, yet so is our hatred when it is earned. Look to us if you wish to understand life, for we are life.

A female Sidhe

A female Sidhe (from The Wyld Hunt)

It isn’t difficult to see why commoners often think nobles—and especially sidhe—are stuck up! I like how that mood is captured in the artwork of Mark Jackson on this card. Other kith can also be noble, if they belong to one of the noble houses. In The Wyld Hunt there are two Advantage cards that do this: Fealty to House Fionna and Fealty to House Liam. The Treasure Fancy Pants (a card I love!) allows you to be a noble for a day. (Noble Characters are entirely absent from the King Ironheart’s Madness set, for some reason.)

fealty

Arts: Chicanery & Legerdemain

This is the first in a series of post on the Arts in Arcadia. Each post will deal with two Arts. Read this post for context and the variant rules that are referred to below. The asterisks after each Art indicate its cost/difficulty in Arcadia.

Chicanery

chicaneryChicanery is the Art of deception. This Art changes the perception of the person on whom a cantrip of this type is cast. It illusions them and can manipulate them emotionally. It is a common Art, found mostly among commoners, and generally rare among nobles, especially Sidhe, who look down on it as a rather vulgar Art, unbefitting nobility.

In Arcadia there are 6 Chicanery Arts: Fuddle, Veiled Eyes, Fugue, Haunted Heart, Captive Heart, and Charm (the last one is not found in Changeling). The value of these cantrips are changed in Arcadia, however. Veiled Eyes is a 2-point cantrip in Changeling, but a 4-point Art in ArcadiaFugue is a 3-point cantrip, but a 2-point Art; and Haunted Heart is a 4-point cantrip, but only a 3-point Art.

charm

Fuddle *

Exhaust this Art to choose the Merit your opponent will exhaust when he loses a Test. You must exhaust this Art immediately after the target character loses his Test. (TWH)

Here is how the Changeling book describes the cantrip with this name (page 172): “Fuddle allows the caster to alter a target’s perceptions. Proper use of this Art can be difficult, however, since it cannot create something from nothing—there must always be some basis for the deception the caster wishes to create. In a sense the caster is limited by the target’s perceptions. A target who is blind and deaf cannot be made to suddenly see and hear the ocean, for instance, but she might fooled into smelling the tang of the salty sea air. Fuddle relies upon already existing factors to deceive the senses, and cannot  completely negate a sense or create a sensation.”

This is one of the cantrips that changed the most in Arcadia. Since Chicanery deals with deception, you could argue that the opponent who is affected by this Art is deceived in a particular way by the Waylay he encountered which therefore forces him to discard a very specific Merit.

Fugue **

Exhaust to make a character exhaust 2 Merits instead of 1 when he/she loses a Test. The player may choose which 2 Merits are exhausted. You must exhaust this Art immediately after the target character loses his/her Test. – Exhaust to make another character immediately exhaust 1 Merit of your choice. The Merit that is being forced into exhaustion generates no effect. (TWH)

From the Changeling handbook (page 173): “While Fuddle allows a changeling to alter a person’s  perceptions, Fugue lies within the province of memory. With Fugue, the changeling may remove or steal whole chapters of a person’s life and beliefs, or home in on one salient detail, such as themoment the target bumped into him while walking down the street. Fugue can never add anything to an individual’s memory, and its effects are rarely permanent.”

For an alternative use of Fugue, see below under Phantom Shadow.

Haunted Heart ***

Exhaust to change a Waylay that another character is facing to a Waylay of a different type. For example, you may change a Might to a Savvy Waylay, or a Resolve to a Combat Waylay. This Art must be used before any Tests are made. (TWH)

From the Changeling handbook (page 173): “The caster of Haunted Heart can control and fan the emotions of her target. She can evoke any type of feeling she wants: fear, envy, love, gaiety, sadness, etc. This cantrip can cause a target to feel anything he is capable of feeling, even if he has never experienced the desired emotion before.”

Veiled Eyes ****

Exhaust to avoid a Waylay for 2 Days. The Waylay remains on the League and must be encountered if the character [i.e. your character] stays on the League past the second Day. (TWH)

As the Changeling book (page 172) explains: “As its name implies, Veiled Eyes muddles a target’s senses into ignoring anything the caster desires. The cantrip does not turn an object invisible, but rather convinces the observer that the object is not really worth his notice. Veiled Eyes would not cause a store to vanish from plain sight, but it would convince passersby that the store sold nothing of interest to them, causing them to ignore it. People cloaked with Veiled Eyes are merely ignored.”

Therefore, in Arcadia this Art lets you avoid a Waylay for 2 Days. This is a perfect example of how the number of successes you roll can affect the way the Art is used in Arcadia. In Changeling “the obscurement lasts for one turn per success” (page 172), so if you could modify the way this Art works in Arcadia: if you roll only a single success, you can avoid the Waylay for a single day/turn, if you roll 3 successes, you can do so for 3 days.

Captive Heart *****

Exhaust to enter a Resolve Test against another character. If successful you may force that character to either Rest without recovery, or move 1 League in the direction of your choice. (KIM)

Captive Heart is similar to Haunted Heart, but more powerful. “Whereas Haunted Heart controls the emotions, Captive Heart has greater magnitude. The target of Captive Heart becomes pliant to the caster’s commands; his personality can be completely changed with a few words. Use of this cantrip allows the changeling to change broad or narrow facets of a person’s behaviour.” (Changeling page 174)

If you use the dice-rolling rules mentioned in the first post in this series, you could add other actions (besides resting or moving). If you roll only successes, you could make your opponent leave a Treasure on her current League, or force them to take a particular Test in their next encounter, irrespective of what Waylay (or Character) they encounter—a Combat Test, for example, if you make them a more violent character.

Charm ******

Exhaust to redirect a creature Waylay towards another character. The Waylay moves 1 League per Day towards that character. If the Waylay re-encounters the caster of this Art, the caster must face it in a Resolve Test. If the Waylay wins this Test, it will attack the caster again. Waylays with no Resolve score are treated as Resolve 1 for this Test. (KIM)

This Art has no cantrip counterpart in Changeling.

Legerdemain

legerdemainLegerdemain (French for “light of hand”) is the Art of slight-of-hand and illusion, similar to the illusion tricks of stage magicians, but with an important difference. “Originally based on illusions and “stage magic,” Legerdemain transcends such parlor tricks, allowing a changeling to affect physical reality. Changelings who are the entertainers in Kithain society (jesters, clowns, pooka, etc.) generally specialize in this Art. While this is also considered a commoner Art, a user of Legerdemain is not as suspect as with Chicanery. […] While many of the effects of Legerdemain duplicate Chicanery, use of this Art differs in that it creates a substantial illusion that is visible to all changelings and enchanted beings rather than altering a single individual’s perception.” (Changeling page 175)

There are 5 Legerdemain Arts in Arcadia: Gimmix, Ensnare, Effigy, Mooch, and Phantom Shadows. (Gimmix and Ensare are flipped in the hierarchy, in Changeling). Unique to this Art is that many of the Legerdemain Arts affect Treasures, as well as Characters.

mooch

Ensnare *

Exhaust to enter into a Resolve Test against another character’s Resolve. If you are victorious, your opponent is rooted firmly in place and may not move during his/her next Day. (TWH)

From the Changeling book (page 175): “This cantrip has two major uses: the changeling can cause
a large object to move about quickly, or she can entangle an opponent with any scenery at hand, such as roots, old tires, tripwires, etc. If the changeling is attempting to trip an individual, any vines, rope or other small objects suddenly move to trip and bind the intended target. If no such objects exist, the target believes that there are, tripping over his own feet and becoming bound by chimerical vines or rope.”

Gimmix **

Exhaust to enter into a Resolve Test against another character’s Might. If you are victorious, you may move then 1 League in any legal direction, no Terrain Trials necessary. (TWH)

The cantrip Gimmix is basically a form of telekinesis, that lets you “move, twist, throw, lift, and crush things” (Changeling page 175). In Arcadia you can only use it to move another person, but you could let it move a Treasure an opponent has into a particular direction, or exhaust a Treasure, if you roll only successes (if you use dice rolls), since it requires a little more skill to move something smaller.

Effigy ***

Exhaust to create a copy of any Treasure. The Effigy card can then be exchanged with an existing Treasure in another character’s possession. You must be in the same League and win a Savvy Test against the targeted character. The exchanged Effigy cannot be used again this game. If the targeted character ever defeats you in any Test, he/she may reclaim his/her original Treasure. (TWH)

This is how Effigy is expalined in Changeling (page 176): “This cantrip creates a duplicate of an object or person that the changeling can see and touch. The copy has all the features of the item that could be seen and felt. An Effigy of a book is tangible, and if the original were open when copied, the Effigy would be open to the same page and have the same writing  on the page. The copying of the Effigy is only skin-deep, however, so none of the internal qualities of the original are transferable. The Effigy-book may be open to the same page as the original, but a person couldn’t close it or read other parts.”

The Arcadia version of the Art may seem stronger, but isn’t actually. It just adds another step to it. It too creates a non-functional copy, but you then exchange that with the real Treasure, fooling your opponent’s Character in thinking she still owns her Treasure. The card does not make this overly clear, but your opponent does lose their Treasure (hence the line “he/she may reclaim his/her original Treasure“). This is why you need to be in the same League as your opponent, and you need to win a Savvy Test, to see whether you can actually fool her into this.

Mooch ****

Exhaust to recover one of your opponent’s Quest Treasures; this counts as your encounter for the Day. You must be on the same League as the Treasure to Mooch it. Your opponent may recover the Treasure by defeating you in a Test of his/her choice; both characters must be on the same League for this Test unless your opponent has a Merit or ability that allows him/her to encounter you from somewhere else. (KIM)

In Changeling (page 177) Mooch lets you move an object instantenously, and is a cantrip that is often used for pickpocketing: “The changeling can instantaneously move things from one place to another. A favorite of pickpockets, Mooch can remove a trinket from a mark’s pouch and replace it in the caster’s own. The cantrip only works if the caster can see the object, or he has seen it within the past minute.” The use of it in Arcadia is straightforward.

Phantom Shadows *****

Exhaust to force another character to encounter a Combat Waylay with a Combat Rating of 5. If the character is defeated by the Waylay, the character may move on, but the Shadows follow him and he may not Rest until the Shadows are defeated. Phantom Shadows must be played when the opponent’s character first enters the League, instead of as an actual Waylay. (KIM)

This is a very powerful Art. The (long) description of this cantrip in Changeling (page 177-178) suggests an interesting variations on the use of this Art: “This cantrip is the true art of illusion creation. Whereas Effigy creates an unmoving copy, Phantom Shadows creates original illusions and engenders them with sentience. The created illusion can be of any subject the caster desires and is difficult to differentiate from the real thing […]. The Phantom Shadow intrinsically knows what its caster wants
and carries out her wishes; however, if the caster forgets (or is made to forget as with Fugue) the existence of the Phantom Shadow, the casting essentially becomes a free-willed, uncontrolled chimera and acts on its own whims.”

So, if the opponent who is affected by Phantom Shadow has the Chicanery Art Fugue (discussed above) and casts this on you, you could lose control over the Phantom Shadow (instead of exhausting any Merits). If your opponent then passes a Savvy Trial against the Phantom Shadow (who has a Savvy of 2), the Phantom Shadow will then affect any Character of your opponent’s choice.

Arts: Introduction

Dark Yeoman commented that her comparative study of character creation in Changeling and Arcadia is “mostly academic” and will maybe “not have a great effect on the way you play Arcadia”.

Well, I disagree. 🙂 The reason I disagree with that statement has to do with the Arts. The best part of her excellent comparative study are the parallels she draws between the Arts of both worlds, and I think that deserves a separate post (or a series of posts, if I get around to it!), because I think it got buried in a lot of technical stuff that is indeed maybe more academic. (If you haven’t read Dark Yeoman’s post, please do. It is very much worth reading!)

In this and future posts I’ll talk more about the Arts, and give some variant rules on how to use them with greater flexibility in Arcadia. Those variant rules are mostly found at the end of this post.

art

As Dark Yeoman points out in the above mentioned post, the Arts in Arcadia match the Arts of Changeling, and perhaps more so than the simple use of the Changeling Arts icons on the Arcadia Arts cards indicates. To recap, each Art card in Arcadia displays an icon in the left border, which indicates what type of Art this is. In Changeling there are 9 main types of Arts, which use the following icons:

arts-icons

new-arts

Arcadia has a few more, as Dark Yeoman notes in that post, but we will come back to those later. (Arcadia also doesn’t have Spirit Link Arts).

The Art cards in Arcadia are really cantrips or spells. The Arts are the different types of fae magic. Each cantrip is a spell that is of a specific type of magic or Art.

The way cantrips work in Changeling is complex. Too complex, really. To cast as cantrip there are 7 steps (and that is not even considering the 2-pages of “Advanced Cantrip Rules”)! I do not propose to follow this in Arcadia, but I do give some optional rules below that are very loosely based on/inspired by this.

When you create a character in Changeling, you don’t select the Arts you know willy nilly. They should match the rest of your Character’s characteristics. Here is a relevant section from the example given in the Changeling handbook (page 125) to explain the process of Character creation (Angie is the sample player; Emma her Character):

Angie thoroughly reads all the Arts and Realms descriptions before she begins to allocate points to them. Once done, she begins with Emma’s Arts, immediately putting two points in Primal due to her athleticism and Primal’s connection with the body and other things physical. The next choice comes less easily, but in the end, Angie decides to give Emma one point in Wayfare, another Art that somehow seems related to physical movement.

So choose your Arts carefully. Choose those that match the rest of your Character’s Abilities, and specialise in one Art, before selecting others (see the variant rules below). Often Arts are also associated with particular types of persons, with commoners, with nobility, or even with specific kith. I encourage you to pay attention to these guidelines as well (and will mention them in subsequent posts).

In Changeling each Art has cantrips of varying difficulties, ranging from 1 to 5. As mentioned, the Arts in Arcadia often correspond closely to the cantrips of Changeling, and their difficulty is expressed in Arcadia by their cost, ranging from 1 to 6. The Arts with a difficult/cost of 1 to 3 are found in The Wyld Hunt, whereas the Arts with a difficult of 4 or higher are only found in King Ironheart’s Madness. In other words, there is a good reason the Merits in King Ironheart’s Madness cost more than those in The Wyld Hunt!

arts-twh

Arts are great, because they make Arcadia a more fun and challenging game. Without them you do little more than moving and facing Waylays each turn, but with Arts you can do more unpredictable things, and challenge your opponent directly, rather than through a Waylay.

For this reason, I’ve been thinking of and experimenting with ways to make Arts more prominent in Arcadia. We now have two basic variant rules when it comes to Arts:

  • Every Character needs at least 1 Art.
  • When you take a 5 or 6-point Art (during Character creation or when you gain more experience points) you can automatically also take 1 Art of the same type that costs less than half the value of the greater Art you’ve chosen. This lesser Art does not count towards your Merit cost. So, if you pick Captive Heart, a 5-point Chicanery Art, you can also take Fugue (2 points), since this is also a Chicanery Art, and you’ll still have 5 points of Merits to spend (in the King Ironheart’s Madness rules), since Fugue does not cost you anything.

These two rules are obviously meant to encourage players to use Arts, but also encourage them to take more powerful Arts. A 6 point Art doesn’t let you choose a lot of other Merits, and so you might not be quick to take it. but if that 6 point Art comes with another (free) 2 or 3 point Art, this becomes a more compelling choice. With the increased number of Arts, cards like Favored by Ali’i become a lot more useful (and are particularly recommended for Kokua.

Obviously, this also means that we do mix Merits from The Wyld Hunt with those from King Ironheart’s Madness. Dark Yeoman thinks this doesn’t go so well, but my experience/experimentation tells me otherwise. (To clarify: since we don’t live in the same country now, we very rarely play with each other, and all the rules she posts are those that she has been using with the people she plays with. When she talks of “we”/”ours” that generally does not include me and the people I’ve recently been playing with).

The way we mix Merits from both sets is as follows:

  • You get 10 points of Merits for Character creation, and can choose freely between Merits from both sets.
  • You can’t take only Merits from The Wyld Hunt. You need at least as many points of Merits from King Ironheart’s Madness as you have of The Wyld Hunt.
  • One major Flaw is selected by your opponent, as in Dark Yeoman’s House Rules, but those points do not give you more Merit points (so a 5 point Flaw does not give you 5 points extra Merits). But you can also choose to take only 1 minor Enemy Flaw (of 1 point), and this does allow you get 1 extra Merit point.

These two rules ensure that your Character cannot get too powerful. The Merits from both sets also complement each other nicely. Abilities from The Wyld Hunt, for example, always need to be exhausted to take effect, and generally only give you 1 extra point, whereas those from King Ironheart’s Madness give you a fixed increase in Might/Savvy/Resolve/Combat and don’t require to be exhausted (but do not take effect when exhausted).

art

We’ve also been experimenting with one rule that makes Arts dependent on dice rolls:

  • Whenever you would normally use an Art, you make a roll with 10-sided dice. The number of dice you roll is twice the number of unexhausted Arts you have (so if you have 2 unexhausted Arts, you roll 4 dice, if you have only 1 you roll 2 dice, etc.). If you roll at least 1 number equal to or higher than the cost of the Art, the Art is cast successfully, and you must exhaust it. If all your dice rolls are less than the Art cost, the attempt to cast the Art fails, and the Art remains unexhausted.
  • Any 1 you roll negates a success (i.e. a roll higher than the cost of the Art), as in the “standard” 10-sided dice variant rules. If you roll more 1s than successes you mess up badly. You are unable to use the Art, but have to exhaust it nonetheless.
  • For some Arts you can add a success rate: depending on how many successes you roll, the Art will be more or less successful. For example, Quicksilver, a 2 point Wayfare Art, lets you move 3 Leagues, but if you roll only a single success, you can only move 1 League. I will note which Arts I think would lend themselves to this in future posts.
  • Optional: you could also add a penalty to the dice roll if you are using the Art to affect a Character, Waylay, League, or Treasure that is is separated from your Character by more than 2 Leagues. For each League after 2, you have to roll 1 higher (so with a 3-point Art, you will have to roll a 4 or higher if you want to affect something or someone who is 3 Leagues away from your Character).

We’ve only played a few games so far with these dice rolls, and we like them, but will have to test this a bit more. The reason we like them is that they both make it a little more difficult to use Arts (which offset the advantage of having extra (lesser) Arts), but also forces you to have a bit more strategy, because the more Arts you use the fewer dice you will be able to roll (so you may want to wait casting that lesser Art, if you soon want to cast that greater one).

All this (and especially the degrees of successes) may seem to make what was very simple hopelessly complicated, but it isn’t that difficult, really, once you take into consideration what the Art really does, aside from the “technical” aspect of moving a League or having to undergo a Might Trial, etc. Once you understand why your opponent has to undergo a Might Trial, it isn’t so difficult to remember what you could do to him when you roll only successes. But all this will probably (hopefully!) make more sense once I begin talking about each individual Art, in future posts.

Geasa — Card Notes

Geasa Geasa Exhausted

Exhaust to enter a Resolve Test against another character. If successful, choose a League on the map that the targeted character must travel to before he may resume his Quest. As his encounter each day, the target may make a Resolve Trial difficulty 7 to dispel the effects of this Art and resume his Quest.

Geasa is the plural of Geas (or geis, pronounced gesh), which Wikipedia defines as “an idiosyncratic taboo, whether of obligation or prohibition, similar to being under a vow or spell.” Like many of the Arts in Arcadia, this one corresponds to a cantrip or spell found in Changeling. This is a cantrip of the Art of Sovereign, as the icon on the above card indicates (see more on this in this post of darkyeoman).

sovereign

Sovereign

With the Art of Sovereign one can control other people. Other Arts in Arcadia of this type are Protocol (in The Wyld Hunt), which forces any other person to follow nobles’ etiquette; Dictum (also in The Wyld Hunt), which forces a commoner to obey the commands of the noble caster; and Weaver Ward (in King Ironheart’s Madness), which prevents someone from entering a particular place or (as it is used in Arcadia) from acquiring a certain object. As several of these examples illustrate, the Art of Sovereign was long a well-guarded power of the nobility, who used it to control commoners, though some commoners have learned something of this Art too, to the dismay of the noble houses. (Keeping this in mind, you could decide that only noble Characters should be allowed to use Sovereign Arts in Arcadia, or come up with good story how a commoner might have learned this Art).

The Changeling rule book (page 185-186) describes Geasa, a cantrip of the Art of Sovereign, as follows:

When this cantrip is used, the power of Glamour is employed to direct a person upon a task or quest. This quest must be fulfilled to the letter, or the target suffers some kind of curse (designated at the time of casting). The target need not know what lies in store for him if he fails to complete the Geas, but the anxiety of knowing can be worse than the punishment.

The other use of this cantrip, called Ban, forbids a target from doing something or engaging in a specified activity. The most common use of this cantrip is the exile-Ban, which forces the target to leave a specified area and never return (or suffer the effect of the curse). A Ban can also be a forswearing of a  certain activity, such as smoking, killing another changeling, etc. Certain forsworn quests and oaths are Geasa of a sort, and need no caster to initiate (the oathtaker’s will and desire are initiating the cantrip). […]

A Geas can be long-term (“Fight injustice whenever you face it.”) or short-term (“No one may move  until I finish singing my ballad.”). The extent and power of the Geas (and the curse) are only limited by  the number of successes at the time of casting.

Keeping this last point in mind, if you use 10-side dice for Tests and Trials, you can decide that the power of the geas depends on the success of the Resolve Test against your opponent: for every success above your opponent’s, you add 1 to Resolve Trial he needs to make to be released from it.

There is another type of Geas in Arcadia. As mentioned in this quote, oaths are “Geasa of a sort”. One of the oaths discussed in Changeling is “The Oath of the Accepted Burden”. This is how it is described (on page 211):

Lay down your burden, that I might take it up. The road is long, and I swear I shall bear it for you, until all roads end. I shall [the actual task is named here], else may the road cease to lay beneath my feet.

Superficially similar to a geas, this oath is a promise to perform a certain deed. The nature of the deed itself is irrelevant; it could be anything from a kiss to retrieving the still-beating heart of an enemy. This oath is always made to another, and is made to verify that a task that he desires will be performed. When these words are spoken, a Willpower point is gained by both the oathmaker and the one to whom the promise is made. If the oath is not kept, each loses two Willpower points.

Sounds familiar? Here is Pilgrim’s Burden, a Waylay from The Wyld Hunt:

Pilgrim's Burden

Have you ever wondered why you would even think of continuing to lug that burden onwards when it becomes inconvenient? Why can’t you just leave it behind? It is because when you fail the Savvy Test, you have taken the Oath of the Accepted Burden, and now are forced to complete the pilgrim on behalf of the person you encountered. Oaths are not taken lightly, as we have seen, and you lose Glamour when you break one. But since this oath is a bit like a geas, it is not easy to break to begin with.