Glamour Systems

Four Paths to Epiphany

Changelings require Glamour to maintain their tentative connection to the Dreaming. Without Glamour, they would quickly be lost in the Mists or, even worse, become Undone and lose all that makes them fae. They need to seek Glamour out constantly: find mortals who possess or are capable of creating it, and either inspire, plunder, or brutally and permanently rip the it away from them. A few rare Kithain are even able to tap into their mortal halves to create Glamour for themselves, without needing to steal it from someone else. The different methods of obtaining much-needed Glamour from one's self or from mortals are called epiphanies.

An epiphany is a near-overwhelming rush of sensations, ecstasy and emotions that flood into the changeling as she connects directly to the Dreaming for one brief, fleeting moment. A particularly intense epiphany can cause a changeling to switch Court affiliations or change in personality, at least temporarily.

Bedlam is always a danger for those Kithain who become greedy in their musing. If a changeling gains too much Glamour too quickly, madness can take possession as his mind retreats from mundane reality and into chimerical reality. This is why grumps sternly and repeatedly remind childlings to keep their greed for Glamour under a tight rein. Interestingly enough, childlings are able to handle more Glamour than either wilder or grumps can, perhaps because society, whether mortal or changeling, tends to let children and their imaginations have free rein.

The type of mortal who is able to generate Glamour is usually an artist or person with special creative insights. Anyone from a writer to an actress to a chef to a child with an imaginary world can create Glamour. However, not all writers, actresses, chefs or children can generate it. It takes a certain rare connection between a mortal and her dreams to create Glamour. Most people have too much Banality to tap into the Dreaming successfully. There are four widely used means to an epiphany, even though one is expressly forbidden by both Courts: the pathway of inspiration, or Reverie; the pathway of self-inspiration and creation, or Rapture; the pathway of theft, or Ravaging, which is banned by the Escheat; and the pathway of destruction, or Rhapsody.

Reverie

Reverie is considered the most noble method of gathering Glamour. A changeling spends time cultivating the Dreamer, inspiring the mortal to tap into the Dreaming and create a Glamour-filled work. Reverie is looked favorably upon by Kithain because it is sustainable, and more beneficial to the mortal in the long run.

The Seelie Court prefers Reverie to Ravaging as a means to achieving epiphany because it keeps the precious few True Dreamers in the world creating works of art, as opposed to taking the chance of draining their creativity permanently as Ravaging can do. The Unseelie tend to consider Reverie too time-consuming for too little return. Some Unseelie nobles and a few rare Unseelie commonets occasionally use Reverie as their preferred method to gain Glamour. However, the artists and art they inspire usually relates to change or a darker form of art or creation than the Seelie would choose.

Changelings who follow the pathway of Reverie to gather their Glamour are sometimes viewed as muses or patrons to the mortals they nurture. It is necessary for Kithain to study and get to know their subjects over a period of time. This communion helps the changeling understand what inspires a mortal, and how to best aid her in developing her creativity. Knowing the right words and ways to push a mortal to create ever greater wonders is the key to a long-lasting, and mutually beneficial, fount of Glamour for the Kithain. The more time and creativity the muse spends on the Dreamer, the better the Dreamer's art will be and the more Glamour she will produce.

Many muses use love as a source for inspiration, although it can be risky for both parties. Love can grow into obsession; the artist might become enraptured with the muse rather than the art. On the other hand, if the mood of the Kithain changes, perhaps to anger or jealousy, a longterm and formerly beneficial Reverie can become a bitter Ravaging, or a violent punishment through Rhapsody in a worst-case scenario. A muse experiences Reverie and gains Glamour by being exposed to the product of the Dreamer's work — whether it be a novel, poem, painting, recording, a divinely created meal or an appreciative audience. Sometimes a muse's influence is so instrumental to the work, and the work is so potent, that Glamour is received every time the creation overwhelms a new audience.

A Reverie's concrete form—a novel, poem, painting, recording — eventually becomes diluted and unable to generate more Glamour through repeated contact with mortals. A new song or play performed before a live audience may release copious amounts of Glamour, but lose much of its initial impact once it is released on CD or as a movie. Perhaps this is why the works of many great artists are kept under wraps — once they become widely distributed, they become mundane and produce no more Glamour.

Musing Thresholds

Just as there were different Muses in Greek mythology, each a patron of a particular art, so each changeling can have a specialty by which she inspires artists to create awesome works and thereby Glamour. This specialty, called a Musing Threshold, usually reflects the changeling's own tastes, and the ways in which she is inspired in life. Each player should choose a Musing Threshold for his character during character creation. A changeling shouldn't have more than one Musing Threshold. A character who begins without one can gain a specialty during play, and a character's specialty can change during the course of a chronicle.

At the beginning of a story, each player can establish a goal that he intends to fulfill with his Musing Threshold to earn Glamour. It might be to coach a dancer to master a difficult move, to help a singer hit a note or to encourage a painter to complete a long-unfinished piece. Alternatively, the player doesn't have to specify a subject whom his character inspires, but that his character simply seeks to be inspirational wherever he goes during the story, and gains Glamour as a result.

See the Musing Threshold Table for examples of how changelings can specialize in motivating artistry.

System: In order to generate Glamour, the character must first know what inspires his Dreamer subject, or those whom he comes in contact with. Roll Perception + Kenning (difficulty 8); the number of successes indicates how much time the character must spend with the Dreamer in order to understand what makes him create.

1 success A year
2 successes A month
3 successes A couple of weeks
4 successes A few days
5 successes Instant connection

Once the character knows and understands his Dreamer, the player can make a roll to inspire her. The character must spend time with the Dreamer, sometimes as little as a few hours or as long as a number of weeks or even months. The more time spent musing, the more remarkable the creation.

Roll Manipulation + Empathy (difficulty 6). The number of successes rolled equals the number of Glamour points gained in the end. If the character spends extended time with the subject and is extraordinarily patient, the Storyteller may lower the difficulty of the Manipulation roll (or may raise it if the changeling rushes his Dreamer). The amount of Glamour gained might also be limited by the talent of the Dreamer; some Dreamers can create only minor works of art. If a botch is rolled, the Dreamer rejects the changeling's assistance or vision and suffers a creative block. The muse must study the mortal again (e.g., start from scratch) before he can inspire the Dreamer to create something else that can generate Glamour.

Even if the character is successful in inspiring creativity, it may be some time before the Dreamer feels the desire to create again. The Storyteller may make an appropriate Attribute + Ability roll (difficulty 6) for the Dreamer to determine the period of time that must pass before inspiration returns (compare successes rolled to the duration chart, above). The amount of time needed to create again can also be modified at the Storyteller's discretion.

Musing Threshold Table

Inspire Creativity: The character loves to inspire creativity in all those around her, especially those who hold potential to be great artists. She often strives to inspire not just one artist, but a group of artists to work together to create a mutual piece of art. Many different minds working together toward one goal can be trying at times, and the character's guiding vision unites the artists.

Create Hope: The character is an optimist of the highest sort and tries to keep hopes alive. This might involve searching for people in seemingly hopeless situations who are ready to give up. The changeling tries to come up with another solution to the problem at hand, or picks up their spirits.

Create Love: The character believes that love can make everything work out in the end, and gains strength by playing matchmaker or by resolving problems in relationships. She has the patience to listen to the laments of the heartbroken, and tries to keep couples together or to make individuals give romance one more try. As long as the subject keeps trying and believes in the changeling's advice, the musing works.

Create Calm: The character believes that possessing a calm spirit can resolve most situations, and she tries to keep people cool to help them gain insight on their situations.

Foster Trust: The character believes that the world can be a better place with a little trust and understanding. He tries to encourage people's faith in each other so that everyone can work together and achieve what they need to, or sometimes to get involved with life and people again.

Helping Those in Need: Some people are lost or need guidance to get back on their feet. People who need the character's aid include runaways who need someone to believe in, addicts trying to quit their addictions, and neglected children who need self-esteem. Helping them to stand on their own makes the character whole.

Foster Dreams: This variety of musing involves inspiring people to dream of things that they want to achieve. If they believe in their dreams and strive to get what they want, their dreams may become reality.

Rapture

Changelings possess both faerie and mortal natures. By allowing their mortal sides to be inspired — achieve Rapture — they can get in touch with the Dreaming as if they themselves were mortal Dreamers. This is a very lengthy and difficult process as it takes a lot of soul-searching and understanding of one's faerie and mortal natures, but it also has the potential for enormous gain. Rapture allows the changeling to gain Glamour from her own imagination. The moment of Rapture is one of pure and total ecstasy as the changeling connects directly to the Dreaming. The two halves of her nature are united as one for a brief and fleeting moment. Both the Seelie and Unseelie recognize that Rapture is difficult to achieve. Any Kithain who can find it is believed to have reached an ultimate height.

Spontaneous Glamour

Occasionally, when a Glamour-induced work enacted (such as a breathtaking performance in a play, a virtuoso musical performance or a moving poetry reading), spontaneous Glamour is created for all who witness the accomplishment. The Storyteller decides how much Glamour was released and how much changeling witnesses can absorb. No roll or system is needed.

Some performances might infuse more Glamour into an Unseelie than into a Seelie changeling, or vice versa. The nature of the performance, whether it is dark and brooding or light and happy, makes all the difference. However, all Kithain should gain some benefit from attending such an event. Characters with Thresholds appropriate to the work of art or performance may gain additional Glamour, at the Storyteller's discretion.

In order to achieve Rapture, a changeling must make an artistic or creative breakthrough, which is no small task. The changeling chooses an art or medium in which she excels (though this is not a necessity), and comes up with a vision or an idea that she wants to fulfill before she can begin the long process of seeking Rapture.

System: When the Storyteller decides that the character has labored over her creation long enough, and is at the point of achieving Rapture, the player must make an appropriate Attribute + Ability roll (difficulty equals the character's Glamour subtracted from her Banality + 6). Difficulty can also be adjusted if the Storyteller believes that the character has devoted more than enough time, thought and passion to her creation.

The number of successes rolled equals the amount of Glamour that the character gains. If the player rolls five or more successes, the changeling gains a point of permanent Glamour, in addition to any temporary Glamour! A botch indicates a total and utter confidence-shattering failure, causing the character to gain a temporary point of Banality.

Reverie and Rapture in Specific Locations

If someone uses Reverie in one specific location, such as a Dreamer's loft or studio, or if a Kithain achieves Rapture repeatedly in the same location, the area becomes infused with Glamour. Such residue Glamour can attract other Dreamers as they try to find any inspiration they can. If a particular area becomes a haven for artists, Seelie nobles (and the occasional Unseelie noble) may declare Ravaging in those areas a punishable offense, even putting special wards on such locations to keep the Dreamers safe. A story could even be based on a motley that protects or tries to infiltrate such a locale.

Glamour-infused sites tend to attract the attention of any and all changelings; the outpouring of Glamour can't be hidden from a Kithain's natural Kenning. Unseelie tend to consider such places easy prey, and the playing fields for games of "Ravage and Run."

Ravaging

It is a simple matter to tear, wrest or rip Glamour from a mortal, and it can be as satisfying as any epiphany. Such an assault taints the epiphany with the psychic anguish of the victim, mixing pain with Glamour — a delicious meal for many Unseelie changelings.

This form of psychic rape is called Ravaging. Unfortunately, mortals don't have an infinite supply of Glamour, and they need time to replenish their creativity. If their Glamour is stolen from them, it will take much longer than usual for them to rejuvenate. Seelie tend to view Ravaging as a unnecessary evil, and they frown upon anyone who practices it. The Unseelie consider Ravaging a necessity, since Ravaging brings about change, even though it occurs through suffering and destruction. Childlings don't usually have the understanding or patience to use Reverie or Rapture as a means for epiphanies. Indeed, Unseelie childlings take perverse pleasure in Ravaging other children. They feel safe that they will only be scolded. After all, "Children will be children," the elders tutt. If a particular mortal is Ravaged repeatedly and frequently, his creativity can be extinguished permanently. Still, as many Unseelie are fond of saying, "There are always more Dreamers."

Ironically, changelings utilize their own Banality when they Ravage, which runs the risk of gaining more Banality. The Ravager floods the Dreamer with Banality, literally driving the Glamour out of her body, and the Ravager gathers it up. Occasionally, Banality is gathered up too, which is another reason why the Seelie frown on Ravaging.

System: Once the Kithain has established a relationship of sorts with the target (usually a loose friendship), the player rolls a number of dice equal to his character's Banality rating (difficulty 6). The number of successes rolled equals the number of Glamour points gained. If the Ravaging roll is botched, the character gains a permanent point of Banality as the Ravaging attempt backfires and tears into the character's psyche.

Victims of a Ravaging are unable to create or perform anything original or inspired for at least one day per Glamour point stolen. They usually sit around listlessly, feeling drained and depressed. The artist's block experienced also has unseen effects as the artist can gain a small amount of Banality. Alternatively, the artist might be left so frustrated that her connection to the Dreaming is severed forever.

Ravaging Threshold

Most changelings who Ravage use simple psychic assault to gain Glamour. However, some Kithain have exotic and perverse tastes. Ravaging Thresholds are specialized methods used by some Unseelie to spice up their Ravagings with anguish. They put extra effort into their Ravagings to make them an art form.

A character's Ravaging Threshold is usually based on her past, and is often the result of some emotional trauma that she suffered. The Threshold chosen is often a means to get revenge on the world. Possible Thresholds are provided in a sidebar. Inventive players and Storytellers are encouraged to come up with additional ones.

There are two ways to incorporate Ravaging Thresholds into a story. The changeling tries to accomplish a goal through his chosen Threshold, and appropriate events are assumed to occur in downtime. Achangeling might, for example, spend time during a story frightening whatever children she can, gaining Glamour from theirhorrific thoughts and dreams. No one person is the target. The second use of Ravaging Threshold is more intense. It involves roleplaying an emotional scene — the player roleplays the abuses that her character heaps on a victim.

Ravaging Thresholds

Exhaust Creativity: The character delights in exploiting others, or is contemptuous of the talents of those who are more creative than he is. He employs others to create for him, but this art is ultimately corrupted, buried or wasted. The Dreamer then burns out, wondering why he wasted his time on such frivolity.

Destroy Hope: The character is fatalistic and Ravages by destroying hope. This might involve watching over someone who is in a hopeless circumstance and is ready to give up fighting. The predator talks the mortal out of taking action that would improve her life.

Destroy Love: The character no longer has illusions of love, and gains strength from preventing others from finding it or trusting in it. She typically has a repertoire of techniques for "breaking people up," such as seducing someone's significant other, providing photographic evidence of infidelity (real or fabricated), and sending flowers with a note that says "Good-bye…." The Ravaging succeeds as long as the prey's attempts to fall in love fail.

Create Anger: The character prides herself on maintaining her composure, and delights in driving others to anger. By wearing down an individual's self-control, she drives him to self-destructive acts of violence.

Break Trust: The character must break the trust that exists between two people. The character has had his trust broken, and now others must suffer as he has. The character's prey ultimately trust no one, becoming isolated from the world.

Exploit Dependence: The character prides herself on her self-sufficiency, and she flaunts it by making others dependent upon her. Victims might be neglected children, teenagers supplied witii a steady diet of cheap video games and bad food, or kept lovers who worry about satisfying her needs. The character destroys anyone who becomes dependent upon her, and is fulfilled as they waste away.

Destroy Illusions: The character is jaded, and the sight of innocence disgusts him. This type of Ravaging is often performed by childlings, who have been known to get "good kids" in trouble and spread the "truth" about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

In either case, a normal Ravaging roll is made to determine how much Glamour is gained in the story, whether throughout it or in a few particular scenes. However, if roleplaying of a Ravaging Threshold is extremely compelling, the Storytelling may allow the player to forego Ravaging rolls and may award Glamour automatically.

Rhapsody

This is an Unseelie means of epiphany that is strictly forbidden by the Kithain. A changeling can imbue so much raw Glamour into a mortal that he burns like a Roman candle; all his creativity goes into one, final, glorious masterpiece. This is the last creation the artist or Dreamer is capable of as he is left drained forever after.

All Kithain, Seelie and Unseelie, forbid this form of epiphany because it destroys any possibility for more Glamour in the future. It also destroys the mortal's life so thoroughly that he may become an enemy of changelings subconsciously, if he survives. Many Rhapsodized mortals succumb to exhaustion, suicide or stress-related ailments. The work of art that results from Rhapsody contains copious amounts of Glamour (the item is considered to be a special form of dross — see below). When the work is destroyed, the Glamour is released.(And this is added insult to injury for the artist—not even his greatest creation is allowed to live on.)

System: One to five points of Glamour are invested into the victim. (Members of a group can each donate some Glamour to the victim, and reap shares of the Rhapsody.) The mortal makes a Manipulation + Expression roll (or another appropriate roll, difficulty 7) to create his masterpiece. A number of dice is added to this pool equal to the number of Glamour points invested by the changeling(s). For each success rolled in creating the work, a Seelie changeling gains one point of Glamour, while an Unseelie changeling gains two points when the object is destroyed. If a group donated Glamour to the Rhapsody, each contributor regains the Glamour that he invested (if there is enough to go around), and any remaining points are distributed on a point-by-point basis (single points awarded to Unseelie contributors become two points automatically). However, for every "one" rolled on a botch during the work's creation, the artist gains a point of permanent Banality, and no one gains any Glamour.

Dross

While epiphanies are used to glean Glamour from mortals, there are other ways of obtaining Glamour in its many guises. The raw essence of the Dreaming sometimes gets trapped in physical form, usually through natural or magical means. This type of Glamour is known as dross. Dross is less threatening than the unbridled energy of the Dreaming. Indeed, many Kithain believe that dross should protected even more so than the Dreaming itself, because it is fragile and unique.

Dross can manifest in many natural variations — forest mushrooms, geodes, fern seeds, well-worn river stones. Dross is often contained in the possessions and relics of great people: John Lennon's diary, Picasso's paintbrush or palette, Abraham Lincoln's top hat, or a letter written by either Lewis Carroll or Dr. Seuss. The Glamour gleaned from dross is more fleeting and temporary than that gathered from an epiphany. The power of dross is measured in points, but the fragile nature of that Glamour requires it to be used immediately once it is released. The Glamour unleashed from dross cannot replenish a changeling's own store. An object usually contains anywhere from one to five Glamour points, although some magnificent vessels hold 10 points or more.

In order for the Glamour trapped in dross to be released, part of the item (and in many cases all of it) must be destroyed. A changeling must tear, crush, bum, devour, rip or otherwise ruin the item permanently, unless only part of its Glamour can be released, in which case only part of the object is destroyed. Once all the dross has been released from an item, there can be no chance to repair it. Ever. Many Kithain use dross as a form of currency. The Kenning Talent enables a changeling to know exactly how much Glamour is contained in an object (on a roll against difficulty 5). Many Seelie and Unseelie believe that such treasures and mementos should be protected from greedy Kithain out for a quick fix (although the Unseelie generally hold a much more liberal view of what makes something a treasure).

Types of Dross

Dross can take the form of many different things, in varying sizes and shapes. The following is a list of sample items.

Dream Stones: Dream stones are beautiful natural objects. Although these items are named dream stones, the majority of them aren't stones at all — they might be anything from a small clump of moss from a rarely visited forest to an unusually formed crystal. Dreamstones are distinguishable from their ordinary counterparts — the moss might be an unusual color, or the crystal might glow with a chimerical inner light. Dream stones are usually found around faerie glens and in hidden wilderness grottos. Dream stones usually contain only small amounts of Glamour, from one to three points.

Mementos: Mementos are items associated with a person or an event of great inspirational significance. One of Elvis' rhinestone-studded jumpsuits, a pen that belonged to H. P. Lovecraft, a moon rock from mankind's first lunar landing, or even John Belushi's bumblebee outfit could be mementos. Mementos can contain large amounts of Glamour, some as much as 10 points. The more rare the item and the greater the person or event connected with it, the more dross it holds.

Treasures: Treasures can hold as little as one or as many as 10 points of Glamour, depending on the significance of the item and the impact it has had on creativity. The original copy of A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare might contain more than 20 points of Glamour, while a canvas painting by a new but well-respected graffiti artist might contain only two. Most treasures are guarded zealously by the Kithain. Some treasures are made specifically to be destroyed, to release the Glamour contained within. Destroying a permanent and important treasure simply for the Glamour within earns the defiler a temporary point of Banality.

Chimera: Glamour gained from destroying a chimerical beast may be used to replenish a changeling's own depleted score. However, one must consume the flesh of the beast in order to gain any benefits. Doing this repeatedly can cause side effects ranging from purgative to poisonous to Bedlam-inspiring. Chimerical items may also release Glamour when destroyed. The amount of Glamour gained by consuming a beast or breaking a chimerical object is generally proportional to the power of the creature or item.

Founts: Certain hidden places in the world have a direct connection to the Dreaming. These places, called founts, are highly sought after. In fact, some freeholds are built upon or near these sites, where Glamour bubbles up naturally like a spring. The amount of dross gained by ingesting the Glamour-laden "water" is determined by the Storyteller, although it is usually never more than 10 points in one draught, after which the fount must be allowed to replenish itself before it can be drawn from again. Strange side effects can arise from drinking from certain founts. Anything from hallucinations, nightmares, precognirion or an attack of the giggles may result, depending on the Storyteller's discretion and the location of the fount.

Using Dross

Each time a changeling uses dross in any way, her player must roll a single die to see what affect the fickle nature of the Glamour contained within the dross has on the changeling. A "one" indicates that the Glamour has some negative side effect (anything from a momentary lapse in the surrounding Mists to nightmares to gaining a temporary point of Banality). A "10" might mean that some permanent or long-term benefit is incurred (such as gaining a permanent point of Glamour to losing a permanent point of Banality). The Storyteller decides what occurs and may not even tell a player what the effects of using dross are until they exhibit themselves (in which case the Storyteller should roll the die for the player).