Additional Backgrounds

Allies | Dross | Fame | Influence | Kinain | Trod | Ceremonial Tattoo | Royal Lineage | Orisha Bond | Golem | Prestige | Patron | Political Connections

(Enchanted, pg. 72)

You have human friends who can help you out when you are in need.  Allies are not at your beck and call, but they will do what they can to keep you out of trouble, and will even go out of their way to help as long as it is not dangerous for them to do so.  By definition, Allies have some useful abilities, influence and contacts that can benefit you.  For each point of this background you have, you have one Ally.

Allies are generally trustworthy friends who will not betray your  interests.  They may or may not know of your fae nature.  If they do know of it, they are willing to keep it a secret.  An Ally may also ask a favor of you at some point (you are supposed to be friends, after all), and you should do what you can for them or risk losing the Ally’s help next time you need it.

· One ally, of moderate influence and power.
·· Two allies, both of them of moderate power.
··· Three allies, one of them quite influential.
···· Four allies, one of them very influential.
····· Five allies, one of them extremely influential.
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(Enchanted, pp. 70-71)

You have access to a source of dross like a faerie glade, a crystal cave, a particularly eccentric antique/junk shop or even a fount.  This allows you to periodically gather dross that you can use for casting cantrips and for your Faerie Gifts rather than having to use your own limited amount of Glamour for them.

Dross can also give you a valuable edge in changeling society by giving you some ‘coin of the realm’ to exchange for favors and aid on occasion, but you will have to keep the source of your dross a well-guarded secret against the Kithain and other kinain who will desire to seize it for themselves.

The rating of the background indicates how much dross can be ‘harvested’ from the source at any given time.

· 1 point of dross available per week.
·· 2 points of dross available per week.
··· 3 points of dross available per week.
···· 4 points of dross available per week.
····· 5 points of dross available per week.
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(Enchanted, pg. 73)

You are widely known among mortals, perhaps as a famous writer, performer, or athlete.  Your fame gives you certain advantages (like preferential treatment), but it can also give you a lot of unwanted attention sometimes.   Fame gives you a great deal of pull with the media, gives you the chance to spread influence others through your work, and perhaps spread the power of Glamour a bit (although the Glamour fades the more your work is distributed).

The Storyteller may allow you to use Fame + a Social Attribute to accomplish some tasks, like convincing the maitre’d to get you a table immediately or to convince someone that he should listen to you.  Your rating in this Background is a measure of how famous you are.

Fame cannot be combined with the Feth Fiada gift the concealment of the mists precludes becoming famous, which is why few changelings achieve any great level of fame in the mortal world.  They prefer to work behind the scenes and let the mortal Dreamers take all of the credit, while they take the Glamour.  Mortals famous for their creative or artistic abilities often attract changeling muses, one of whom may become a mentor.

· You are known by a select subculture of the city you live in.
·· Your face is recognized by the majority of the people in your home city; local celebrity.
··· You are fairly famous; your name and face are known by many.
···· You are quite renowned; everyone has at least heard of you.
····· You are nationally or even internationally famous - a movie star, politician, or major athlete.
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(Enchanted, pp. 73-74)

Your influence is a measure of your political power in mortal society.  It is not unlike having a title in changeling society.  Few kinain have titles, but many of them are quite influential with other mortals, something that most Kithain tend not to bother with.

Your rating in the Influence Background is a measure of your influence and what you can accomplish in the social or political scene.  Occasionally, the Storyteller might call for a roll using Influence in place of an Ability to determine how effective you are at getting what you want out of the political machine.

A kinain does not have to be vastly influential to affect things in the mortal world for the good or ill of changelings.  Someone on a local school board can make decisions and bring about changes that can have considerable effects on the local childlings and wilders.

· Moderately influential; a factor in local politics.
·· Well-connected; a factor in city politics.
··· Position of influence in state politics.
···· Broad personal power; a factor in regional politics.
····· Vastly influential; a factor in national politics.
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(Fool's Luck, pg. 74)

Commoners aren't completely on their own; they have mortal connections, known as Kinain, to lend them a hand. Since Kinain have a touch of fae blood in them, they can sometimes use Glamour and Arts. Because Kinain aren't as susceptible to Banality, they can be helpful when dealing with bureaucrats, hospitals officials, and lawyers. A well-placed Kinain can make your freehold disappear from tax records or get an institutionalized Kithain released. Because Kinain have no fae mien, they make useful spies. They can also handle cold iron without suffering any ill effects. Of course, these people aren't slaves; they'll want help from their "special" friends, too. They may demand a bit of Glamour now and then, or ask to be taught Arts. If you Ravage or otherwise abuse them, they may exact revenge. If you want someone who has to do what you say, use the Retainer background.

· One Kinain
·· Three Kinain
··· Five Kinain
···· Seven Kinain
····· Nine Kinain
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(Nobles: The Shining Host, pp. 74-75)

You possess access to a trod that leads to other earthly destinations, or even to destinations, or even to destinations within the Dreaming. Trods are usually situated within freeholds, but not all freeholds have trods. Your trod may be situated in your freehold (if you have the Holdings Background), or it may stand on its own. Trods do not necessarily correspond in power tot he freehold in which they are situated. It is possible to have an immensely powerful trod within a minor freehold (or vice versa). Trods are tied to the cycles of nature (seasons, movement of the planets, etc.) and are only accessible at certain times. The player and the Storyteller should decide at which times the character's trod may be opened.

A trod that is open one half of the total time in a year may only be accessible at night, or on even numbered days, or from Beltaine to Samhain. Several very powerful trods, such as the one at Tara-Nar exceed the scale listed below.

The Legendary Silvers Gate trod was was rumored to lead everywhere. Any trod purchased with this Background is assumed to be relatively safe for the changeling at both ends (it doesn't lead to the Nightmare Realms, etc.). The only exception are trods which lead to the Deep Dreaming, which cannot be predicted.

Please note that mere ownership of a trod does not necessarily grant the ability to open it.

· 1 local destination, accessible one forth of the time.
·· 1 local destination, accessible half the time; or 2-3 local destinations, available one fourth of the time; or 1 local destination, accessible all the time.
··· 2-3 Local destinations and one regional destination accessible half the time; or 2-3 local destinations, one regional destination, and one Near Dreaming Destination, accessible one fourth of the time, or 2-3 local destinations, accessible all the time.
···· 4-5 local destinations, two regional, one national (e.g., Concordia) and two Near Dreaming destinations, accessible half the time; or 4-5 local destinations, two regional, one national, one Near Dreaming, one Far Dreaming, accessible one fourth of the time; of 2-3 local destinations and one regional destination available all the time; or 2-3 local destinations, one regional destination and one Near Dreaming destination, accessible half of the time.
····· 4-5 local destinations, 3-4 regional, two national, two Near Dreaming, one Deep Dreaming, accessible half the time; or 4-5 local destinations, 4-5 regional, four national, two Near Dreaming, two Far Dreaming, one Deep Dreaming (maybe as far as Arcadia Gate), accessible one fourth of the time; or 2-3 local destinations, one regional destination, and one Near Dreaming Destination, accessible all the time.
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Ceremonial Tattoo
(Kithbook: Eshu, pp. 82-84)

Elegbara all tend to travel light. Anything that's not worn or easily carried is simply a burden to them, and most Treasures become troublesome to keep track of as the eshu travel. Yet sometimes a magical trinket is needed to turn the tide in battle or pull off a particularly clever trick. So the Elegbara reached into their tribal heritage and created tattoos infused with Glamour, making fairly inconspicuous Treasures that would be handy when their wearers needed them.

Over the centuries this process has become scarce as its practitioners die out and take the secret of the mystical ingredients and rituals for fashioning these tattoos with them. There are still a few Elegbara wise in the ways of this ancient magic, and those fortunate enough to receive such unique blessings bear them with great pride. As a rule, the tattoos are never bestowed on outsiders. Rarely, if someone proves herself a faithful ally through times of serious trial and hardship on several occasions, this honor is bestowed.

Ceremonial tattoos are designed according to the rules for the regular Treasure Background, including point cost, but with a few notable alterations:

- Each tattoo must be purchased separately, and characters my never have more tattoos than their permanent Glamour rating.

- Players and Storytellers should remember that each tattoo counts against the number of Treasures a character is exposed to for the purposes of entering Bedlam. Those who wish to heavily adorn themselves had best be well grounded in mundane reality or risk falling quickly into madness from the feel of Glamour constantly dancing across their skin.

- Tattoos are subject to the normal guidelines surrounding costs and activation requirements of Treasures. Typical activation rituals include dancing, gesturing, washing or rubbing it with a particular substance, and calling out the name or symbol it represents. Though designed to be useful, tattoos must still appease the capricious demands of Glamour before granting their power.

- Tattoos are generally limited to Arts that affect the bearer alone or that provide some form of self-defense. Those with more powerful or far-reaching effects typically may have much more difficult activation stipulations, and some powers simply may not be appropriate to transcribe into tattoo form. The Storyteller must use discretion.
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Royal Lineage
(Kithbook: Eshu, pg. 84)

Similar to the Title Background, Royal Lineages represent an Elegbara's inherited social status and standing. It can prove quite useful in having a voice in tribal affairs or petitioning elders for advice or favors. While their sidhe counterparts expect their status to carry over into other arenas in life, pragmatic Elegbara prefer to judge an individual based on personal merit rather than on who his parents happened to be. Thus, most of their nobles do not automatically demand special treatment according to their rank, although wise Elegbara still grant the powerful some deference, if only to avoid their wrath.

As the name of this Background indicates, one's rank is generally inherited. It is occasionally possible to advance in rank by performing some great service to the Tribe (securing your descendants a higher place of glory), or to lose rank by getting caught performing acts that dishonor your nobler and wiser ancestors. Most Elegbara remain in the same station throughout life, however, and are content with any role that falls upon them.

Due to their ancient feud with the sidhe and the contempt that the Shining Host instilled in the other Kithain regarding the titles of the Elegbara, this Background generally does not apply outside of Africa, the Middle East, or parts of India. Anywhere else, the character is treated as no different from any other "commoner," no matter how royal his blood may be. Needless to say, this continuing disrespect is a sore point with the Elegbara, who draw much of their own contempt for the sidhe from this long-standing practice of ignoring their rightful titles. The exception to this are the oba, who remain nobles for the purposes of the Realm used in cantrip casting no matter where they are.

In their ancestral homelands or within a court whose ruling noble has specifically proclaimed their titles valid, the Elegbara is considered a noble in every sense of the word, including requiring the Lofty Noble Realm for cantrips to be successfully cast against them. All oba receive a free dot of this Background during character creation, and most take at least one or two more.

· Basic: A low-level (though often aspiring) functionary, you do as you're told.
·· Minor: You have a specific role, such as warrior or builder, and are trusted with it.
··· Useful: A vizier or shaman with perhaps a small ancestral estate, your voice carries some weight.
···· Significant: A sultan or lesser chieftain, you often have somewhat substantial lands outside of your own, as well as a strong say in Tribal affairs.
····· Incredible: A grand caliph, shah, or chieftain of a large tribe, your lands are considerable, and your influence in the Tribe is overwhelming.
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Orisha Bond 
(Kithbook: Eshu, pp. 84-85)

While it is not exactly common among the Elegbara, there are those in the Tribe who feel a particularly strong bond with the orishas, such that they are able to gain a measure of their power in return for an extra amount of loyalty and service. Elegbara raised among the nunnehi or the more remote native tribes of their ancestral homelands are the most likely to develop such a powerful connection, though no few oba show a gift for it as well. This Background reflects a character who has just such a bond, be it with one of the orishas, a voodoo loa, a tribal totem of their native culture or similar higher power.

In game terms, this Background is handled the same as the Totem Background with one major alteration. Elegbara cannot use their bond to cross into the Umbra as nunnehi do, but instead can enter (or return from) their patron's home realm in the Dreaming and travel elsewhere from there. The systems for crossing over are the same, including bringing passengers along, and can provide a resourceful eshu with an excellent starting point for many fascinating trips into the depths of the Far or Deep Dreaming. Such powerful spirits as orishas or totems dislike having their homes used like revolving doors, however, so prudent Elegbara restrict such visits to times of great necessity, lest their patron revoke the privilege entirely.

Players should start with the orishas featured in this book, then work with their Storytellers to come up with the statistics for other orishas, keeping an eye on game balance. What is acceptable as a patron for this Background is something natural as well as something with the weight of tradition behind it. Animals, plants, elements, orishas, honored ancestors and the like are acceptable, but modern conceits such as computers, technology, or figures from pop culture are out of the question. An eshu may follow Lightning, for example, because of its natural connotations, but not Electricity, because that implies its technological uses.

Each orisha or totem has a certain cost in Background points. The higher the cost, the more powerful the patron and the more potent gifts it confers on its followers. However, such spirits also demand an accordingly higher amount of respect and devotion from their followers as well. These benefits are conferred largely through game mechanics, typically an increase in an Attribute or free levels in an Ability, while the requirements are expressed as Bans, prohibitions that must be obeyed. In no case will a totem cost more than 5 Background points.

As always, use common sense and game balance when deciding what benefits and drawbacks a particular totem offers. The bond is ultimately a very personal one, and so there is no true right or wrong even between followers of the same orisha. However, players who attempt to abuse this Background for some free dots on their character sheet should be smacked down hard, or else the cultural value and mystique of this Background is lost.
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(Kithbook: Nockers, pg. 55)

You command the services of a loyal golem. Unless you have the Infusion cantrips (Animantis and Gilgul), you likely did not create the golem yourself, but inherited it (probably as a family heirloom). You must determine the specifics of the golem, such as appearance and personality. Golems usually look like '50s science-fiction movie and pulp-fiction robots, suits of armor, mechanicals animals, or "traditional" clay humanoids. Some childlings have experimented with streamlined models, patterned after robots found in Japanese anime.

A loyal golem is a close ally that will aid you whenever you call on it. The power of the creature relates to the level of the Background -- a small, wind-up toy with no offensive capabilities is a minor chimera. A fully outfitted battle golem is a very powerful chimera for a beginning character to command. Very powerful golems may even exceed this scale. See Changeling: Second Edition for rules on creating chimerical companions.

Sentient golems are highly valued among nockers, so much so that abusing them is a violation of the kith's ethics. Instances of golem mistreatment are punishable by the local Bes Din, and truly horrific crime may go before the Grand Bes Din as an example to nockers everywhere.

· A conversational piece. (8 Attribute points.)
·· A minor golem. (15 Attribute points.)
··· A useful golem. (22 Attribute points.)
···· A golem of significant power (29 Attribute points.)
····· A very powerful golem. (36 Attribute points.)
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(Shadow Court, pg. 76)

The Shadow Court doesn't recognize titles, but it is possible to gain Prestige within the court. Trying to hold on to power for too long is seen as asking for trouble, but stepping down occasionally is often taken as a gesture of humility. A courtier will probably not know who is more than one or two levels above her station, but she'd be foolish to exploit anyone below her.

Prestige will not last longer than one year; if a changeling doesn't get promoted at Samhain, he'll lose at least one level of Prestige for the next year. In fact, since the court is always changing, there is no guarantee that this Prestige will last beyond the first few sessions. It is, thought, the level of expertise you naturally gravitate toward. Consider it your reputation.

· - Condemned: You are fully entrenched in the court. Although you've had your chance to return to your former life, you've forsaken it. You're eligible to learn the Dark Arts, and when dealing with fae who have property or power, they'll usually defer to you as a representative of your clique. If you don't have this background, you're just running with a clique until you're recognize and Condemned by an Instigator or turn Seelie again. If you don't (or can't) take this during character creation, your Storyteller may award your character this first background point after you've been accepted and condemned or after you've (hopefully) survived your first Samhain.

·· - Guardian: Within your territory, you watch over an important location. This might be a freehold, a city block, or a place of economic importance. Perhaps you own a gun store or a basement large enough to cook up some chemicals. No one messes with your turf, and you keep cliques well-equipped.

··· - Pretender: You hold a title within the Seelie or Unseelie Court, at least that of a knight or squire. This gives you one dot in Title as well, but your position is a tenuous one. If it ever gets out that you're in the shadows, you're done for, but because you're so valuable, jammers and anarchists generally will not mess with you. Your goal, of course, is to use the information you have to bring down those who are "above you" in station within the other courts.

···· - Mastermind: Not everyone who plots and schemes has this background., but Instigators come to you more often than your compatriots. You belong to a secret society of at least a few others, and you trade favors freely. Through your connections, you also have an automatic three dots in Resources You also receive regular correspondence from others; at the beginning of each session, the storyteller will have a few choice bits of dirt for you.

····· - Instigator: You recruit others into the Shadow Court, although you cannot condemn them without the level-five Contempt Art: Condemnation. You're slowly learning more about the more hidden secrets of the court. Representatives from (at least) two cliques also fill you in regularly on their activities. When you gather at least five Kithain in one place, any Perception-based roll to interpret your ceremonies is at a difficulty of +3. As you get more proficient, your talents will improve.

If capture, you'll take your own life to avoid divulging secrets. If you fail to do this, other courtiers will either rescue you or take your life anyway. (Have a nice afterlife.) As an added bonus, you have the assistance of at least two masterminds. Unfortunately, there are always Instigators more powerful than you.

Give the cliques who consult with you a lot of slack. You do not rule them. If, for a moment, you think you do, the backlash is going to get nasty.
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(Nobles: the Shining Host, pg. 74)

You have a noble patron, who may aid you in times of need. In return you are expected to render him service. This is more than the usual vassal/liege relationship, however, because your patron favors you above most of his other vassals. (You may be a friend or a relative.)

· Knight/Lady
·· Baron/Baroness
··· Count/Countess
···· Duke/Duchess
····· King/Queen
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Polical Connections
(Nobles: the Shining Host, pg. 74)

This background is not the same as the Title Background. it is, instead, power within the Kithain's body politic. The majority of it is through the Parliament of Dreams, though it may be in other venues (at the Storyteller's discretion). Characters with this Background wield the power to build coalitions, move Parliamentary policy and shape the laws that govern Concordia. This power is not as great as that wielded by many nobles, since the Parliament is only a moderately powerful, deliberative institution. It is a democratic institution, though, and enjoys a good deal of popular support. Characters with this Background represent a well established and officially recognized freehold. Motley freeholds (called "mews") are also permitted in the Parliament, but they carry considerably less weight.

· You represent a very small freehold (or a medium-sized mew).
·· You represent a small freehold (or a large mew).
··· You represent a medium-size freehold (or a huge mew).
···· You represent a large freehold.
····· You represent a huge freehold (or group of freeholds).
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