Sunday, May 22, 2011

Contracts of Uniform: Changeling the Lost

I thought I'd showcase one of the Contract sets we wrote up and use for the Changeling the Lost campaign. This one focuses on the idea of the Changeling putting on a role. The mechanics below are from the homebrew system we're using to play Changeling, but I'm sure those could be easily adapted to the originally nWoD mechanics.

Contracts of Uniform

Social; Affinity: Wizened

A uniform is the oldest of mundane transformations; it remains among the most powerful, instantly communicating role, affiliation, skills, responsibilities, and entitlements to those of even passing familiarity with the costume. The Wizened possess a particular affinity to these Contracts, having given over their selves to role and duty in order to survive their durance. The catches are very duty-driven and structured by the nature of Uniform itself (which takes itself very seriously). While the Contracts can be used for masquerading, they are generally more useful for improving performance over the long haul for those uniformed as a given profession or affiliation.

Note that Uniform is stodgy--it is slow to accept elements as uniform for professions or roles that are individualistic in nature. Those attempting to use the uniform of an Artist, for example, need to either acquire a signature piece of clothing from an established artist or to establish themselves over a number of years in order to use their own "look" as uniform. Similarly, Junior League or other social groups that are identified more by a shared socio-economic status and uniform adoption of certain fashions can be infiltrated by the Contracts, but typically require acquiring something from an established member and paying the greater Glamour costs for a period until the Changeling has established themselves as a member.

Unlike many other Contracts, the default length of a Contract of Uniform may be either dawn/dusk, dusk/dawn or a given shift if the Uniform is related to a profession.

Wear it Well (•) (role)

The given uniform fits perfectly, as if tailored for the Changeling spending the glamour. Alternately this contract may be invoked to make the uniform appear spotless and in good repair. Both uses may be applied to the uniform, but the Catch will only negate the Glamour cost for one use in a given dusk/dawn or shift cycle. A Changeling whose Durance has transformed their mien to a uniform never pay Glamour for this Contract.

Cost: 1 Glamour

Catch: The uniform has been assigned to the Changeling as part of their duties.

Uniformity (••) (affiliation)

The most powerful quality of any uniform is that it identifies the wearer as a member of a designated group. This contract smooths over any problems with the Changeling's individuality, giving them the ability to understand and speak the jargon (not the language--if the group is speaking a different language, the Changeling will need more help than this contract) of the group and extending an aura of familiarity between group and the Changeling. If Changeling's mask differs well outside norm of group, cost is double in order to alter Changeling's appearance to eliminate differences in expectations: gender, gradations or types of beauty (or lack thereof), relative appearance of fitness, youth, age, ethnicity, etc. Double the cost again if the group is not one that wears at least some standard variations of a uniform--a name badge, corporate logo casualwear or a letter jacket do qualify as uniform--everyone dressed in Abercrombie & Fitch does NOT.

Cost: 1 Glamour (x2 for alterations to appearance) (x2 for non-uniformed group)

Catch: This is the first time interacting with the group for the Changeling--and the group DOES wear a uniform.

Complete the Look (•••) (responsibilities)

With only a piece of a given uniform--hat, shoes, shirt, badge--the Changeling can choose to appear as if dressed in the complete uniform. Double costs if uniform comes with standard issue equipment like gun or tool belt with tools and Changeling expects them to be usable rather than just ornamental. Changeling must have seen complete uniform at some point.

Cost: 2 Glamour (x2 for functional conjurations)

Catch: Changeling is inserting themself into a dangerous or hectic situation in order to quell panic or restore order.

This Means Something (••••) (skills)

For Changelings who have made the Contracts of Uniforms, nothing is more valuable than experience in carrying off the effect. Both the Changeling's experience with the duties associated with the uniform and the experience of a previous wearer of some piece of the uniform determine the strength of the effects of this Contract. For this reason, old uniform pieces once worn by veterans of any given group are extremely valuable to the Changeling who wishes to possess an expertise beyond their own experience. However, a Changeling who invests any amount of time in a role can use this contract to quickly become impeccable in representing the role of the uniform.

Essentially, every 7 years of experience (sum of the Changeling's and that of the veteran who once wore some part of the uniform) translate to

...minimum: Knowledge: (role, affiliation, skills, responsibilities, and entitlements)

...minimum (1): 1 associated Skill that the Changeling does not currently possess (chosen)

...minimum (+1 bump): Advantage: Intuition-- (gives bumps on deciding which course of action to take next)

Hence a Changeling who has never worked as a security guard but who puts on badge once owned by a twenty-five year veteran of the profession will have Knowledge: Security Guard, 3 skills to call upon that they did not otherwise have and a +3 to make the correct decision on how to proceed as a Security Guard. This is typically sufficient for faking it. (The first use of that Intuition: Security Guard should probably be employed on deciding which 3 skills are going to help you most...)

A Changeling who is wearing their own uniform is always getting an additional effect to add to their own experience--and has the given bumps on making decisions and additional skills beyond those they've already mastered. Experience with similar duties can carry over (i.e. experience as a Nurse will partially add to the sum if the Changeling takes to masquerading as a Doctor).

A Changeling may also use this contract to determine the value (for the purposes of this contract) of any number of uniform elements they can touch within a dawn/dusk or dusk/dawn cycle. The Glamour expenditure for this use may never be by discounted by a Catch.

Cost: 3 Glamour

Catch: Changeling is wearing complete uniform, has used at least one other Contract of Uniforms at full Glamour cost within the last 12 hours and has not worn any other uniform than this one within those 12 hours--alternately, the Changeling's mien is the Uniform being enhanced.

The Uniform Makes the Man (•••••) (entitlements)

Uniform does not give it's gifts away easily. Only the most advanced Contract automatically confers the full trust and and access to entitlements appropriate to the Uniform. The Changeling becomes that which she wears—it is extremely difficult to convince anyone otherwise, especially because people tend to react to the sense of familiarity as "I've seen this here before--I know it.". Identification and security issues are very likely to be put aside. Changeling has full access to whatever areas, information or gatherings that the most trusted of the group are allowed, provided that access is controlled by people--electronics are a good deal less impressed. However, it is fairly easy to get someone to bypass those measures for you, since you are clearly supposed to be there.

Cost: 2 Glamour

Catch: Changeling is gaining revenge on or tricking those who wear the same Uniform but have not paid proper respect to the duties and responsibilities of the Uniform


  1. Nice work on this contract! Is this the one that ties in with the Clothes Whore kith?

  2. yes- I'd tie those together. This originally came out of some discussion about the idea of Wizened as being from professions or roles, but having affinity contracts which focused on one of those roles (artificers, makers). We wanted something that would address the question of role as a concept, and the idea of the uniform fit that. I imagine a Fairest and a Wizened would see this contract set very differently.