Friday, February 13, 2009

Contracts of Words and Roads

Great...Friday the 13th. I'll avoid posting anything with any depth of meaning. Here are drafts of a couple of new Changeling Contract sets I came up with. Rough, so probably will need some tweaking.

Words are potent symbols for reality-- a symbol built by intention. These contracts allow a Changeling to harness that meaning and intent for their own purposes. Darklings, left alone so often with only their own voice and words ringing in their mind, have this as an affinity contract.

A Hungry Mind (*)
The Changeling can read and comprehend written material much more quickly. They must be able to physically interact with and control that material-- scrolling the mouse, flipping the pages of a book. This allows them to read at a speed many times that of normal. In practical terms, they can research things at twice the normal speed.

Cost: 1 Glamour
Catch: The material being read contains no illustrations or non-textual components.

Fire is Danger (**)
The Changeling can write a text such that a particular hidden message is left for a certain person or member of a group. When they read the text, they will understand the message concealed in the text. This Contract can also be used to create a ideographic sign or marker which will convey a brief message (no more than a sentence) to a particular person or member of a group-- often used to mark safe places or leave trails.

Cost: 1 Glamour for a specific target, 2 for a class of targets or a group
Catch: The message contains a warning

Only For You (***)
When speaking to more than one person, the Changeling may shape and bend his words such that different listeners hear different things. This can be used in oratory to give a bump for targets the Changeling knows something of. More often it is used to communicate privately while still seeming to be carrying on a general situation. Oaths cannot be made using this technique.

Cost: 1 Glamour for a specific target, 2 for a class of targets or a group
Catch: The Changeling does not make any eye contact while speaking

Stuck in Throat (****)
This Contract has two forms, both of which provide a malediction on the target. It can effect the spoken word of a target, making it difficult for them to find the right word. They find themselves tongue-tied and lost. Words of magical or glamour invested power will come through, but the confusion at their situation may make it hard for them to concentrate. Social attempts will be significantly penalized. Extraordinary success may conceal the source of the problem. Failure with this contract always has a chance of bouncing the effect back on the invoker or someone they know.

The other form makes reading difficult for the target. They'll find themselves unable to concentrate, the words will blur or move for them, or headaches will throw them off.

Cost: 2 Glamour
The target believes the Changeling to be a friend.

Words Which Cut (*****)
The Changeling can invoke the power of Words to hurt another. The Changeling speaks the target's name and a striking verb (“Hurt Evan,” “Suffer Pisca”, etc). The target must be able to hear and understand the statement. This is essentially a ranged attack drawn from the glamour itself.

Cost: 2 Glamour to allow the Changeling to use the effect against a target for the duration of a scene.
Catch: The Changeling knows a real name for the target (i.e. either some secret name or, in the case of Changelings, their name from before they were taken).

A road is a path, a journey, a means to an end. They grew out of a need for ease and safety and became potent symbols in humanity's vocabulary. Contracts of the Road call upon the spirits of place to aid them in their travels. A road in this case may mean a highway, a building corridor, a walked line in the woods or the liked. The key element is that someone has built a path for the travel from one point to another. This can include animal paths if the Changeling can find them. Note that these Contracts do not function in the Hedge or Arcadia where the concept of a concrete and safe path is non-existent.

Idea borrowed from a post on the Changeling forums.

The First Step (*)
This clause gives the Changeling a rough sense-- a small glimpse of what awaits him or her at the end of this road. It can also provide a sense of the possible destinations the road leads to.

Cost: 1 Glamour
Catch: The Changeling is looking at some kind of map drawn by another person (a “You Are Here”sign, an atlas, a Google Map) which covers the area.

The Easiest Way (**)
The Changeling can find and make their way along a road more quickly. Lights stay green just a little longer, a doorway is open, boxes have been precipitously place to allow leaping over obstacles. The path the Changeling needs to follow appears instinctively in their mind. A specific destination must be known and the Changeling must begin the contract on whatever form of transport he or she will use for the duration of the journey-- on foot, on horseback, in a car, on bicycle, etc. If the Changeling changes transport or pauses for more than a few breaths, the contract will cease.

In practical terms, the Changeling can arrive significantly more quickly at his or her destination. The path may not be truly convenient (i.e. having to run through a restaurant, jogging through people's backyards) but will be quick and without damaging obstacles. An exceptional success will have the road itself bend and fold to aid the changeling, mean they can get there much faster than would seem physically possible. A significant failure means the road works against the Changeling.

Cost: 1 Glamour, plus 1 to bring along others such that they feel the path as well
Catch: The Changeling is using a stolen mode of transport (a car, shoes, bicycle)

Tangled Steps (***)
The reverse of the previous contract, the Changeling asks the road to hinder and forestall any who might be following him. Lights turn against pursuers, a crowd thickens, objects inconveniently get in the way. The Changeling does not need to know exactly who is pursuing him, only to believe that he is being pursued. How many targets can be affected depends on the Changeling's Wyrd. The Contract will end if the Changeling stops fleeing, either coming to rest or else trying to double back on his pursuit. Most of the phenomena will be mundane, but magically sensitive persons will realize what is happening eventually.

Cost: 2 Glamour, more may be needed for more targets
Catch: The Changeling has heard or seen someone has shout or direct others to catch the Changeling

Call of the Road (****)
The contract functions in two directions. First, it can be used to guide another person to the Changeling. If that person wishes to find or meet the Changeling, they will find their steps instinctively guided to them. That wish can be conscious or unconscious. Depending on the skill and power of the Changeling invoking the contract, the target may not realize their actions completely. If the target actively does not wish to go there or fears the Changeling, the Contract's power is significantly diminished and the target will resist and only adhere to the path for a short time.

This Contract can also be used by a Changeling to find someone who wishes to be found. It will show them the path and continue leading them for as long as the user keeps moving. Again, that wish may be conscious or unconscious. The Changeling must know something specific about the person they are attempting to find. The less they know, the more difficult the journey.

Cost: 2 Glamour, plus one for any unwilling target
Catch: The Changeling has a piece or part of the target's footwear.

Forking Paths (*****)
This powerful Contract allows the Changeling to cause roads and paths leading to a place to become tangled and twisted. If a person attempts to reach the destination through conventional means, the become strangely lost, lose their sense of direction, or mistake their instincts. Even the most driven will find themselves coming out of a door they just went into or seeing paths where there are none. Those approaching casually will notice nothing wrong, but those actively hunting will eventually note the strangeness of the place. Note that this does not affect Hedge travel to the location. Magically potent beings or creatures may be able to battle their way through the effect.

The Changeling invoking this contract must remain in the place he wishes to hide or else leave another appointed guardian in his place. If they leave, the contract ends. The contract generally lasts until nightfall or daybreak, but investment of distilled glamour can increase the duration. More powerful (i.e. higher Wyrd) Changelings can also increase the duration.

Cost: Depends on the size of the place so hidden. For a room-- 2 Glamour; for a shack-- 3 Glamour; for a house 4 and up.
Catch: The Changeling has a detailed model or image of the place to be hidden-- note that this catch only covers the base cost, not any additional for increasing the size or duration.

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