Saturday, March 28, 2009

Building Hollows for Changeling

Following up from my earlier post about liking base-building rules from rpg games, here's an adaptation/expansion of the Changeling rules for Hollows.

Hollows serve as places of refuge for Changelings in the world. In some spots, the Hedge has stabilized enough to become a location held between there and the real world. Changelings who find these places can, over time, shape them to their will-- creating a safe place to retreat to away from the perils of the world. In mechanical terms, Hollows serve as bases which player characters can purchase advantages for. Usually PCs as a group can contribute to the general pool of points for a base-- then these can be spent by consensus of the Motley. Alternately, PCs may spend their points individually to buy up some things they like.

The basic rules provide some guidelines for these purchases-- I'm going to walk through those advantages, add in some new things and provide rough guidelines for play. The Wayward group began the game with a basic Hollow of modest size, with one hidden entrance. Recently Evan invested in the first dot of one of what I'll call the Hollow Tracks-- ranked advantages. He spent points on the first dot of the Security track. Points and dots accumulate, so if someone wants to increase the security further, they'd buy the second dot (5 points) and then the third dot (10 points). Ranked dots increase the effect significantly as you go up-- rank two of security is significantly better than two rank one dots would be (though you can't buy them apart). Also note that some tracks have extra advantages which can be purchased-- these stand apart from the cost for the ranked dots and affect all dots. Lastly, individual players may decide to make their own separate Hollow apart from the group, but that's a significant investment of points.

Size (1-5)
The number of dots you have in Size obviously determines how large the Hollow is. In game terms, increasing the size represents the PCs using their glamour and will to excavate and increase the Hollow. It can mean finding new areas or digging whole sections out. At Rank 0, as the group currently has-- you have a small room. Rank One gives you a second room; Rank Two makes the Hollow the size of an apartment-- three to four rooms; and Rank Three gives you an area the size of a warehouse or church, with five to seven rooms. Further ranks obviously make it larger.

Advantages for the Size Track (5 points each)
Thematics: The Hollow right now shows itself simply as a generic room. It is possible for the group to define a more specific version of the area. It could look like subway tunnels, a giant treehouse, an arboreal garden, a dark woods, a mansion, an amusement park, a museum, etc. Once chosen, that thematic remains in place. That represents the PC group finding the space that the surrounding area has solidified itself into.

Cloister: One room remains set aside from the rest. The Motley who owns the Hollow can move freely from this room to the rest of the Hollow, but generally others cannot unless invited. They can leave out to the Hedge or Real World from here, so it can't serve as a prison. You must buy an extra Door (see below) for the Cloister.

Amenities (1-5)
This represents how well-stocked the Hollow is with material comforts and luxuries. Obviously conventional real world connections cannot exist here-- so no cable, TV, internet connection, electricity, and whatnot. Instead these rating represents glamour-built objects and devices that make living here more interesting. It can also include decorations and mundane supplies, like food and so on. The book suggests living game boards, magical video machines, a pot which produces gruel when dirt is placed inside it. Various wonders can be developed.

The book has the following descriptions:
Rank One: A couple of homey touches, but otherwise quite plain
Rank Two: A comfortable Hollow with a few notable features and decent fare
Rank Three: An elaborate Hollow with quite a few clever details and an excellent supply of refreshments and diversions
Rank Four: An impressive Hollow containing abundant mundane delights and even one or two noteworthy minor magical services as well
Rank Five: A lavish dwelling with nearly every comfort of modern living as well as quite a few magical conveniences

Hollow Doors (1-5)
A Hollow begins with one door to the real world and a small accessway to the Hedge. These doors can be operated from either side. Each rank of the Hollow Track gives the Hollow an additional door-- either in the real world or through the Hedge. These doors operate both as entrances and exits. However, when created, a door can be defined as operating only in one direction-- a detail which cannot be later changed. Doors can be placed anywhere in the real world where there's a door or passageway analogue. I'm assuming that those without magical or glamour power or those unaware of the strangeness cannot simply walk through these doors without aid. That prevents the casual person from stumbling into a Changeling's Hollow. Doors must be tied to a static point in either realm which cannot be changed (with exception, see below).

Advantages for the Door Track (5 points each)
Bunk Lock
This provides a small magical lock for Door created such that another Changeling (or aware person) cannot simply barge through them. Members of the Motley (and trusted allies) can learn a small ritual-- a song, series of gestures, ritual dance or the like-- which will allow passage through the door. Note that Changelings with high Wyrd or potent magical creatures can still force their way through. As well, other methods of ingress still exist, but this advantage helps reduce the risks.

Slipstone Ritual
This may be taken one time. One door to the real world may be made mobile-- the particular door must be chosen when purchasing this advantage. Changeling still must go through rituals to move the door, over the course of the several days-- on both the Hollow and real world side (so they do have to visit it several times). During the moving ritual, the door in question ceases to function, until placed in the new location. This allows some flexibility for the Motley in securing a particular door, but requires time and energy to make the move.

Wards (1-5)
Changelings can make preparations for security, both mundane and magical. Each rank of the Wards Track gives a number of bonuses. First, each rank provides an increasing penalty to anyone attempting to find or break into the Hollow. Second, when defending the Hollow members of the Motley have initiative on intruders for a number of turns equal to the rank. Third, increased ranks reduce the likelihood that creatures from the Hedge or even True Fae can stumble across access to the Hollow from the Hedge.

Advantages for the Wards Track (varies)
Traps (varies)
Changeling in the Motley may come up with a specific hidden trap or dangerous circumstance should intrusion occur. This cannot be activated accidentally by members of the Motley or anyone they have brought deliberately to the Hollow. Generally this will be a five-point advantage, but more potent effects might cost more.

Arsenal (5 points)
This advantage means that a weapon, improvised or actual will always be at hand freely for any member of the Motley. It can be that something always manages to fall their way-- or that every room has a box of loose knives. Such things do not come to hand for any intruders-- they don't see them immediately or the box lid comes shut in combat.

Archive/Library (1+)
Your Motley maintains, within their Hollow, a collection of useful information that can help with natural and supernatural research. Whether it’s in the form of a musty collection of occult tomes, a talking skull with several lifetimes of information at hand or a Glamour-powered computer network, the archive includes reference materials that can help changelings learn about the world . The archive also offers insight into supernatural and occult topics that mortals cannot comprehend. In both fields of knowledge — mundane research and occult lore — this collection relates to one or more fields of specialization.

Each rank in this advantage represents a field of study or area of knowledge in which your Motley has a wealth of tomes or computer files (or perhaps a supernatural resource) and from which they may draw information. If an Archive is Rank Three, Ranks might be assigned to computer operating systems, medieval history and goblin fruits, respectively. Topics can include arcane lore that most people don’t know about or that has been forgotten since antiquity, as well as fae lore that humanity has never known.

Archive costs a little different than other parts of the Hollow. The first ten areas of research cost 5 points each. After that they cost ten points each.

Workshop (1-5)
Your character maintains, within her Hollow, a variety of equipment and tools that can help with the creation of natural and supernatural items. Whether in the form of a forge with metallurgy tools, an artist’s loft, a laboratory filled with beakers and crucibles or an orchard outfitted with the best gardening tools, your character’s Hollow has been outfitted with precisely the right things she needs to have on hand to create.

Your Motley may not have more ranks in Workshop than in Size. Each rank gives the characters equipment and supplies for one particular craft area, plus an additional area for the first rank. Two ranks might give the group bonuses for Blacksmithing, Weaving and Goblin Fruit Farming. This gives a +1 bump for working in that area. Note that Token Making cannot be taken by itself as an area. Because of the diverse nature of tokens, each falls under a particular craft area, so a Biting Grotesque would be under Sculpting, while a Blood Pennon would be under Sewing.

Scrapyard (1-5)
This represents all of the assorted crip-crap and junk the Motley has accumulated. It assumes that Changelings regularly gather things from places they visit which eventually make their way back to the Hollow. Say, for example, if they went through a dead changeling's house, and hunted around for valuable and interesting things. Essentially the Scrapyard track can be used to support arguments about things the character's have or can lay their hands on easily. If for example, you needed a gift for someone quickly, you could hunt through to find something rather than having to travel out. Or if you needed a particular sticker or fuse circuit, you could use this to justify why you have it readily available. The higher the Rank in Scrapyard, the rarer and more interesting the things you've accumulated. The Gm reserves the right to veto “quest” items or the like from being hidden among the piles.


  1. Thanks for the new info!

    I see how the laboratory/workshop would be great for Pisca and Sarah.

    I also really like the scrapyard. Maybe we can trade things with Lean and Hungry Mike. As an Ogre I wouldn't mind getting my hands dirty doing some dumpster diving around school.

    The library would work well with Pisca's new research skills.

    If we can get amenities up to rank three then I guess it doesn't matter too much if Chapel Hall is a bit spartan.

    Thanks again for the clarification. I would like to build up our hollow more.

  2. It's all delicious. Sarah would definitely like the Cloistered Room advantage so that, when she finally gets Hours to rank 5, she'd have a place to bring someone outside the Motley to heal up faster without compromising the Hollow itself.

    For workshops, Sarah would only NEED alchemy. Pisca's endeavors hit a few more areas. And I know Annie likes the fine arts. Evan was talking about picking up a trade skill too--tho it's something I think he's working on. He'd need Workshop AND archive for that. Personally, I think Toy would make a great parfumer (isn't that the word?) Her smell-o-pedia would make it easy for her.

    Lesse, archive(s) that Sarah would be glad to have--alchemy, healing definitely. General use archives: pledges, Wayward, fairy tales...

    And yet, it all pales next to Thematic. What the heck is our Hollow going to be?

  3. thematic - yeah... good question
    Coffee Shop with griddle and a circular corner booth?
    Soda shoppe with ice cream dispenser and lots of toppings dispensers
    An imposing wood paneled room with 5 large imposing desks? with inkwells?


  4. If you think about it as what the largest area would be, cohesively--you'd want a thematic that has space for all sorts of different rooms/areas.

    For instance, a Myst-style island--with a house with odd rooms and grounds with a hedge maze and gardens and then other odd features. Opening up new areas would be solving the puzzles.

    Or ruins of some sort--maybe requiring excavation or exploration and then repair. All sorts of features could be discovered, depending on the type of ruins.

    Or a warren of rooms in a mansion that never ends...or a 1920s version of downtown Wayward..or Marlowe Academy but made of living forest instead of brick and concrete...

    Just not a hospital.

  5. The Nosferatu merits could also be theoretically co-opted for Changeling. Labrynth, in particular, would be quite fitting if you changed the fluff.

    1. I had no idea- I hadn't picked up any of the new vampire stuff. I will hunt around and check those out. Thanks for the heads up.