Proper Etiquette — Card Notes

Proper Etiquette

You come upon a Sidhe noble and his retinue. Pay your proper respects or lost 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.)


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).



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.

Jealous Redcap — Card Notes

Jealous Redcap

Egads! A local Redcap has accused his wife of cuckolding with you. The poor Redcap is just eaten up inside with jealousy. He’s also eaten his wife up to feed his insides, and he and his Redcap pals intend to make you dessert. Discard this Waylay when it’s defeated.

Redcaps are the most vicious of the fae. If most of the fae arise from the collective dreams of mortals, redcaps spring from their nightmares. They are vulgar, violent, and truly terrifying. Other fae fear them as much as humans do. Their name derives from their headwear, a woollen cap dyed in the blood of one of their victims. It should come as no surprise that they are almost universally Unseelie.

RedcapThis Waylay, however, particularly refers to one of their strangest characteristics. They are not just violent, but also voracious eaters. They eat pretty much anything in sight. In the Redcaps Kithbook (page 31), one of the weirdest and most entertaining kithbooks, a redcap puts it like this:

What do redcaps do, you ask. Well, duh. We eat. We eat a lot. We eat everything we can get our hands on, and a few things we catch in nets and snares as well. We’ll eat stuff that’s alive, stuff that used to be alive, stuff that never was alive and stuff that might conceivably be alive in the dim and distant future, but you don’t feel like hanging around to check the results.

Now, that is not to say that we just eat everything in front of us. We’re redcaps, not vacuum cleaners. You can’t just set us to “suck a lot” and hope we’ll clear up everything in our path. I mean, come on. How stupid do we look? Yes, we eat. Yes, we’re always hungry—not, “Gee, I could go for a Chipwich right now, but it might spoil my dinner,” hungry, but rather, “I haven’t eaten in three days and I’d cut my own leg off and fry it up if I didn’t know I’d be just as hungry in an hour” sort of thing. It’s nothing we like and nothing we can control. It’s just who and what we are, and it’s always with us. We’re always empty, always needing something to fill us up. Stuffing something down the old gullet dulls that pain, at least for a little while. It’s going to come back, the same way the sun’s always going to come up in the morning, but in the meantime you can get a little peace and think straight for a bit.

The next big question is “What do redcaps eat?” The answer is “everything”. However, that’s the sort of reply that results in more nosy questions being asked, so I’m going to save you the trouble and explain it a bit more.

If you want to be technical, we’re omnivores. We eat animal matter, vegetable matter, mineral matter and now that I think about it, gray matter, too. We’re not picky, though generally when we talk about feeding someone a shit sandwich, we’re being metaphorical. All things considered, we’d rather eat something that tastes good, but in a pinch damn near anything will do. You know that story about the bunch of kids whose plane crashed and who ended up eating each other? If it had been us, there wouldn’t have been a plane left, either.

The one question that everyone is curious about but is too chicken to ask is this: Do we eat other people? (More accurately, they want to know if we eat other Kithain—screw the mundaners, even the elfiest of the lot are more worried about their own skins.)

The answer is pretty simple. Think about it. Think about the legends, and the stories, and how we got our name. Think about your worst nightmares, and the answer you really, honestly, devoutly hope isn’t true.

That’s always the right answer in the end, isn’t it? The one you don’t want to hear.

Let’s move on.

(This is then followed by 3 pages of “Eating People: The Rules”…)

This is captured in the Redcap Character card from The Wyld Hunt (a card I don’t have, so no scan, I’m afraid!), which states:

What d’ya want? To talk to me? I got no time to talk to you, get outta my way! What? You really don’t know Redcaps, do ya? Okay, I’ll show you. Gimme your hand. Mmmm. Now outta my way or I’ll eat the other one too!


Sands of Sleep — Card Notes

Sands of SleepSands of Sleep

You may discard this card when you encounter a character or a creature Waylay. This causes the target to fall into a deep sleep and cannot move [be unable to move] or be encountered for 3 Days.

A Fianna Garou equipped with the Sands of Sleep only has to exhaust it to use it, instead of discarding it.

To explain why I like this card I’ll have to give a bit of background.

I love Werewolf: The Apocalypse. A little more, I think, than I like Changeling, but maybe that is only because I have played it more. In Werewolf you play (generally) a Garou, which is, well, a werewolf, but not one as you know it. Garou were created by Gaia, the Earth Goddess, to protect herself from evil (represented by the Wyrm). They fight the pollution, corruption, and spiritual decay that is caused by the Wyrm, whilst they also fighting themselves, because they are prone to violence themselves and, often to their own dismay, far from virtuous heroes. I’ll spare you the details, but I recommend you check it out, if you are not familiar with it. The world of the Garou is immensely rich and perhaps more consistently developed than that of Changeling. (A good introduction, as always, is the free Introductory Kit).

What I particularly like is that of all the World of Darkness games, Werewolf and Changeling are quite alike, in some ways. Both Garou and Fae fight, in their own ways, against the onslaught of some form of corruption that threatens not just this world, but also their spirit world—the Dreaming in Changeling, and the Umbra in Werewolf. But there are real connections between the two as well. Many Garou have ties to the noble houses of the Fae, and often work with them. This means it is not difficult to have a role playing campaign with both Garou and changelings, as I have participated in a few times. Good times!


There are different tribes of Garou, and of all these, the tribe of Fianna is particularly close to the fae. The Fianna tribe originated in the British Isles, and are said to descend from Danu, from whom also descended the Tuatha de Danaan, from whom all the fae are said to descend (though this is not entirely true; for more on this, see Immortal Eyes: Court of All Kings, page 25-26 and 30). Here is section from the Book of Lost Dreams (page 15) about the ties between the Fianna and Fae:

The greatest allies the Kithain have among the Garou are the Fianna. Bred primarily from Hibernian stock, the Fianna’s network of Kinfolk [their human relatives] is so intertwined with changeling blood that it has been know, though exceedingly rare, for Garou and Kithain (or at least kinain [human relatives of changelings with faerie blood]) children to be born of the same parents. The Fianna know more about fae society than any other Prodigals, with perhaps the exception of some mages. Fianna bards are often welcomed into fae freeholds, and Kithain are often in attendance at Fianna moots. This closeness of kin and attitudes have led some Kithain scholars to believe that the Fianna are the last Prodigals to leave the fold of fae to join the Garou.


It is thus no surprise that of all the Garou, it is a Fianna that is included in Arcadia. In The Wyld Hunt a Fianna (a Galliard, to be specific, who is a guardian of sacred lore) appears as a Waylay, and there is a Fianna Character in King Ironheart’s Madness. In the Changeling: The Dreaming handbook (page 284) we read that “werewolves can enter the spirit world and travel to strange spirit realms [i.e. the Umbra]. It’s rumored that some of their elders can even travel to Arcadia, although this has never been proven.” I suppose this is proven in Arcadia. The Character card for the Fianna in King Ironheart’s Madness states:

I found my way to Arcadia years ago and have lived among my fae friends enjoying the pleasures of the fur. Now the time has come to fight, and seek out my place in legend.

The Fianna Character from King Ironheart's Madness

The Fianna Character from King Ironheart’s Madness

But now, back to Sands of Sleep! This is a good example of the cross-over between the game lines of the World of Darkness. Why do Fianna Garou only have exhaust this Treasure when they use it? Because Sands of Sleep is one of their “fetishes”. A fetish is an artefact that is imbued with the power of a spirit. When making a fetish, a Garou makes a pact with the spirit, and as long as the Garou does not violate that pact, the spirit remains in the artefact. Sands of Sleep is such a fetish. From the Werewolf Players Guide (page 125):

This fetish takes the form of a small bag made from a black material and filled with a fine powder that is absorbed when it comes into contact with liquids and solids. When activated, the bag must be swung open-end-first toward the target, striking him with the “sand”. […] To create this fetish, one of the following spirit types must be bound into the bag: Sleep, Dream, Calm or Night.

Since the Garou can create fetishes, like Sands of Sleep, this Treasure is not lost when used by a Fianna, but only exhausted. Any other kith may have acquired a little pouch of this, but once they use it, they have lost it.

Boggan Gang Bangers — Card Notes

Boggan Gang Bangers

They’re small, surly, and in rebellion against Boggan tradition. If you’re having a very unlucky day, they might even pose a threat. Discard this Waylay when it’s defeated.

The humour of this Waylay is entirely lost on those who don’t know what a boggan is. Boggans are hard-working, kind, and stocky fae, that are rather unlikely to engage in random violence. This is how they are described in the Introductory Kit (page 12):

Boggans derive their greatest pleasure from work. An honest job, good company and a regular routine are all that most boggans require. They’re known throughout Kithain society for their hard work and integrity. It is said that a boggan is as honest as the dirt on his hands.

This virtue includes a need to help others. Boggan homebodies are known for their hospitality, and few can refuse to help a traveler in need. Young boggans often take to the road to seek out those in need of help, even when this makes them seem like troublesome meddlers. Seelie boggans display altruism out of compassion and the goodness of their hearts. Unseelie boggans are drawn to the needy out of opportunistic desire. Regardless of Court, this kith’s philosophy of noble service glorifies helping others. Status among their kind is measured by the number of people they have “helped.” Beneficiaries who abuse boggan favors are cut off quickly.

There is another reason why boggans interact with others: They are notorious gossips. The secrets they just “happen to overhear” are considered just reward for their hard work. Seelie boggans insist that they gather this information out of simple curiosity. Unseelie tuck their information away to be produced on “special occasions.” Whether motivated by altruism or greed, boggans have managed to turn a vice into an art form.

Despite this weakness, boggans are deservedly proud of their reputation as hard workers. Some have been known to work themselves to death to do a job correctly. Questioning the quality of a boggan’s work is a sure way to send one into a rage. Though no one has actually seen an angry boggan stamp herself to death, some boggans are said to have done it.

It is in a boggan’s blood to do good and be honest, and the idea of a boggan youth becoming a “gang banger” is a bit incongruous, to say the least! (Notice the artwork, though: they wear red bandanas, in an attempt to be mistaken for redcaps, the most reviled and vicious of all fae—more about them in a later post). Hence the text on the card: “They’re small, surly, and in rebellion against Boggan tradition.  If you’re having a very unlucky day, they might even pose a threat.” Still, their Combat score is 3, which is not nothing!

Oathfriend — Card Notes

OathfriendOaths are not taken lightly in fae society. For a Seelie person, breaking an oath is one of the worst transgressions imaginable. As the Seelie Code states, “Never forget a debt: […] An oath of friendship should be answered with a corresponding oath. Never refuse to aid anyone to whom you are indebted.” But Unseelie do not take oaths likely either, and oaths are as common in the Unseelie Court as they are in the Seelie Court. The Changeling rulebook stresses the importance of oaths in fae culture (page 79):

Oaths are sacred vows that bind Kithain to one another in certain specified relationships or else obligate the swearer to undertake quests or journeys, fill certain roles, honor specified rights or refrain from certain actions. Some oaths bind one Kithain to another for eternity; others last for shorter periods of time. […] The whole of Kithain society helps to enforce oaths, but, more importantly, the weight of the Dreaming lends binding authority to these solemn vows.

The wording of oaths is very important, because it weaves Glamour into the bond that is formed by its speaking. Breaking an oath is not done lightly, for the consequences (usually specified at the time the oath is taken) assert themselves as soon as the oath is forsworn. In addition to any innate penalties, oathbreakers are shunned by Seelie and most Unseelie fae alike. A changeling’s sworn word is her greatest gift, and those fortunate enough to receive an oath-backed promise of loyalty or love consider themselves blessed by the Dreaming. Oaths define a changeling’s personal honor and respect. Spoken oaths are the foundation of noble society, and any who break an oath defy the values of their society and forego their right to remain a part of it.

Fae that have sworn oaths are bound together by an oathbond. Oaths can be taken between two individuals, but a group of individuals can also be bound by a common oath, forming an oathcircle. Oathcircles can be “informal”, but can also be sanctioned by a Court and thereby become official.

I find this Waylay, Oathfriend, a little strange. The text on the card doesn’t make any sense. It is a Savvy Waylay, and if you fail the Test, you lose a turn. In other words, if you can talk or charm your way out of it, you can ignore your this friend who is in need. You ignore a person with whom you have an oathbond and just get on with your life. This goes against the very idea of an oath of friendship! Why would you be penalised for upholding your oath?

So here is what I propose to do instead with this Waylay. If you encounter this Waylay, you have two choices: you help your friend, and you lose a turn, or you ignore your oathfriend, but then you have to exhaust up to 2 Arts, and you have get a -1 on all test and trials for the rest of the game (-2 if you are a Troll; see below).

This is a great card to bring storytelling into your Arcadia game, not just because this Waylay hints at a background story of your Character, but also because not all kith see oaths alike. For example, Boggans live to help others, but rarely swear oaths (I know that there is no Boggan Character card in Arcadia, but it is still interesting! :)). Sluagh may seem like the sort of kith that would not do so either, but they do help those that have helped them, and will invariably return kindness and respect. Trolls are dutiful and value honour (which is probably why the illustration on the card depicts a Troll). The Troll Character card in The Wyld Hunt states:

There is nothing so important to us as honor. The very strength of our bodies springs from the pure diamond hardness of our spirits, from our unbreakable loyalty, from our relentless resolve. Our very lives exist only to satisfy our oaths.

When a Troll breaks an oath, they lose their strength and become sick (hence the -2 penalty). Trolls also do not like oaths to be broken. This is the Changeling rulebook again (page 105): “This trust must extend both ways; if a troll’s trust is betrayed, he will be filled with anger, and must roll Willpower (difficulty 8) to avoid becoming violent.” So if this oathfriend of yours is a Troll, you could add more to this Waylay: you have to pass the Savvy Test (I suggest you raise this Waylay to a Savvy of at least 4)  to pacify the friend you abandoned, or engage in a Combat Test with him (probably with a Combat value of at least 4).

Favored by Ali’i — Card Notes

Favored by Ali'iFavored by Ali'i

Exhaust Ali’i to unexhaust up to 6 points of Arts

Who is this Ali’i?

Well, Ali’i is not a person. It is a type of fae. Like the Kokua, the Ali’i are Menehune, a group of fae that are associated with the South Pacific Islands, and particularly Hawai’i. The Kokua are warriors, but the Ali’i are the nobles, the equivalent of the Sidhe among the “Western” fae. Here is how they are described in Immortal Eyes: Shadows on the Hill (page 130):

Like the sidhe, ali’i are born to rule. Unlike the sidhe, they rarely let this go to their heads. They are fair and wise rulers, realizing fully the circle of life and the contributions of commoners. […] The ali’i are the bearers of the Menehune’s Glamour, which they call mana. Instead of balefire, ceremonies and feasts during the yearly Makahiki games [during the annual harvest festival] invest the ali’i with Glamour, which they apportion to the people throughout the year until the next Makahiki.

In other words, when the Ali’i favour you, you are able to recover a lot of Arts, because the Ali’i award Glamour, which the Arts depend on.

Blade of Cold Iron — Card Notes

Blade of Cold IronBlade of Cold Iron

Blade of Cold Iron — Weapon
* Against Cogs or Mechorgs, this weapon adds 2 to your score in any Combat Test. Against all other opponents, the blade adds 3 to your score in any Combat Test. If you win a Combat Test against another character, they must exhaust 2 Merits.
* Whenever the Blade of Cold Iron is unexhausted, all of your Arts stay exhausted and unusable. All characters except Humans and Renegade Cogs must also roll a Might Trial difficulty 6 any time the blade is used in a Combat Test. If the character fails this Trial, the Blade is exhausted.
A character may not normally benefit from more than one weapon at a time.

I remember when I got this card. It was in the second Story Pack of King Ironheart’s Madness that I opened. I immediately loved this card, and this expansions. This expansion was going to be a whole lot different from the relatively idyllic world of The Wyld Hunt. Cold Iron? In Arcadia?

Cold iron is wrought iron. The Changeling: The Dreaming book (p. 247) explains: “Cold iron is what we know as wrought iron. The best way to think about cold iron is not as a thing, but as a process, a very low-tech process. It must be produced from iron ore over a charcoal fire. The resulting lump of black-gray material can then be forged (hammered) into useful shapes.”

Cold iron repels fae, and wounds them unlike any weapon. This is because cold iron leads to Banality, the power of disbelief and doubt that destroys the Dreaming, which is made of Glamour. A weapon made of cold iron therefore does not just cause physical harm to a changeling, but also harms his chimerical nature, his dream nature that mortals can’t perceive. Cold iron is officially banned from the society of changelings, though some fae do use it, as defence against other fae.

Finding cold iron in Arcadia is quite a surprise, therefore, because it is a substance that destroys Glamour, the very stuff that the world of Arcadia is made of.

This is why the Blade of Cold Iron does double damage to your opponent, and why you can’t wield the Blade—if you can wield it at all!—and use any Arts.

It is no coincidence that the Blade of Cold Iron is part of King Ironheart’s Madness (and not The Wyld Hunt). There is another reference to cold iron in this set. Have a look at the League card for Kelwrath’s Volcano:

Kelwrath's Volcano

Kelwrath's Volcano

“Kelwrath’s Volcano is the secret source of the Cold Iron used to bring the Cog Armies of Middlemarch to life.” In other words, King Ironheart’s cogs are not just mechanical creatures, but creatures imbued with cold iron (which is used to “bring them to life”!). This is why they have the power to cause so much havoc on the fae of Arcadia. And this is also King Ironheart’s madness! He is mad not just because of his megalomaniac plans, but also because he uses cold iron to achieve those plans, probably not quite aware that what he uses to accomplish his aims will kill him too!