Two years ago (wow! I really don't get out much) I posted some rules ideas for live Changeling. Then I tried to implement them and found the Changeling contracts really didn't work at all in a live setting (or most didn't). So I started again completely.
This time, players have a number of "Feats". They use up feats to perform actions. Since those numbers are low - 4-5 for the typical character, 12-15 for the most advanced - characters will spend most of their time talking which is how it should be. The original plan was that if you wanted to do something you should be able to do it, but I did build in weak defence to attacks and emotional effects. Hopefully since the results of combat will often be obvious quickly violence will be more about threats or a single punch than mob combat.
In game, players will either have one card which they tear to mark using a Feat; or they will have a keyring of cards so they can reveal an individual card before ripping it. One reason for the limitations of the feats is that they are so flexible and powerful that you don't want wacky things happening left right and centre. Players are encouraged to use their abilities imaginatively and faerie-ly.
In downtime, the abilities are used for quests and other actions. I haven't fleshed out that yet, but hopefully you can get an idea from the table below.
|Name of feat|| Represents||1 card abilities||2 card abilities||3 card abilities||Downtime|
|Spring||Seasonal contracts, mantle & goodwill||Create rain|
Emotional: learn basic desire; create object of desire
|Heal, grow plants|
Emotional: warp desire
|Animate plants (2 strength, 4 health)|
Emotional: all-consuming desire
|Summer||Seasonal contracts, mantle & goodwill||Endure heat/cold, create light|
Emotional: warp/create wrath
Reveal hidden, disguised
Emotional: cool wrath
|Mass cool wrath|
Attack* (Aggravated, beam of light)
|Flexible (Intimidation, Combat)|
|Autumn||Seasonal contracts, mantle & goodwill||Bear fruit|
Emotional: learn basic fear
|Leaf form (Flexible: Smoke, Grace)|
Emotional: Become object of fear (mass effect )
|Summon hail storm|
Mass resist fear
|Flexible (Intimidation, Hedge)|
|Winter||Seasonal contracts, mantle & goodwill||Cool temperature*|
Emotional: learn basic sorrow
Emotional: invoke sorrow, remove joy
|Summon snow storm|
|Flexible (Diplomacy, Smoke)|
|Beast [Choose animal type]|
|Contracts of the Den and of Fang and Talon||Find hidden|
|Attack (Weapon)||Shapeshift (varies)||Flexible (Hollow, Investigation, Travel)|
Bonus to Hollow and Den
|Ability, contracts of artifice & animation||Repair/break complex object (permanent)||Repair/break simple object (permanent)|
Remote operation (1 action)
|Animate object (4 strength, 2 health)|
Make one-use item
|Make one-use items, hollow|
|Ability, Contracts of Vainglory||No describable in-game effect||Diplomacy|
Bonus to contacts
|Dreams||Ability, advantages, Contracts of Dreams||Dream combat (attack and defence)|
Make a small change to a dream*
|Protect the dreams of pledged individuals|
|Elements (choose element)|
|Contracts of Elements and Communion||Defence (elemental)|
Find hidden (element)
|Flexible (Craft - element)|
|Animation (varies)||Flexible (Combat, Investigation, Craft)|
|Contracts of the Forge, various blessings||Change personal appearance (Mask and Mien)||Alter an object or digital record|
Create small object
|Create something from a desire*||Flexible (Diplomacy, Stealth)|
|Fight||Ability, advantages||Attack (Weapon)||Defence^ (Weapon)||Attack+1||Combat|
|Fortune (can target other people or objects)|
|Contracts of the Hearth & Artifice||Free boost to next action|
Next action on target is boosted
|Wild card for next action|
Next action fails
|Hedge||Knowledge, contracts of dreams||Identify Hob or hedge plant*|
Hedge combat (attack and defence)
|Hollow, travel in hedge, bonus to Contacts (goblin markets)|
|Ability, Contracts of oath and punishment||Find hidden|
|Emotional: Check for broken vows||Investigation; Combat|
|Intimidation||Ability||Emotional: Cancel any action you can intimidate against||Intimidation|
|Ability, Contracts of Stone||Attack (Weapon)|
Feat of Strength*
|Defence (tough)||Attack+1||Combat, Travel|
|Ability, Contracts of Separation||Squeeze through tight gaps, escape bindings, take unseen||Squeeze through impossible gaps, pickpocket unseen|
|Escape into thin air (after next round)||Stealth|
|Prophecy||Seer blessing, backgrounds, contracts of Omen||1 word prophecy (back only)||3 word prophecy (forward or back)||Wild|
|Ability, Contracts of Smoke||Mask trail|
Hide at a distance
|Hide in good cover|
|Hide in plain sight||Stealth|
|Wyrd||Wyrd||Cancel an emotional effect|
Hedge combat (attack and defence)
Change the hedge
Max level of any other trait (except seasonals) is Wyrd+1, +1 if affinity.
Spend feats to take an action. A starting character will have 4-5 feats and they don’t go up easily. The seasonal feats also reflect a character’s mantle to that court and have a limit of 4. Affinity feats (seemings with affinity are given in italics) have a limit of Wyrd+2, other feats have a limit of Wyrd+1. Wyrd is not limited but any level above 1 starts giving faerie like flaws to the character (of increasing strength).
Backgrounds are available, some at start, some in play:
- Contacts (area): find things out, get help
- Status (area): find things out, change things; needs maintenance
- Wealth (helps with contacts, den)
- Den (significant dwelling in mortal world; offers protection)
- Hollow (significant dwelling in hedge; offers protection and can have special features)
One-use items are what they seem, effectively giving a down-time bonus. They can be mundane items, weird gadgets, faerie tokens, goblin fruit etc. It can be generally assumed that most of these are plentiful, so only items of unusual worth are noted.
Tokens of true significance (i.e. repeated or ongoing effects) have to be quested for, and generally for a specific purpose because everything is transitory.
Any time an action is taken, it needs to be appropriate. Strength doesn’t help you fire a gun, while Element (Electricity) doesn’t help you put out fires. These suggestions are only guidelines and players are encouraged to use their actions imaginatively. All effects are assumed to last for a scene (30 minutes more-or-less) unless they are obviously instant or say otherwise.
Flexible: Acts as 1 rank of one of the listed Feats. In downtime, costs double.
Wyld: Acts as 1 rank of any non-Wyld, non-season feat. In downtime, costs triple.
Free actions: if you have multiple feats which share the same action, you can get that action without spending a feat (even if you have used some of them). You need a total of those feats equal to the level of the action+3. E.g. a character with Might 3 and Fight 1 can use the Combat (Weapon) action for free. They wouldn’t stack with Autumn because Attack (wither) is a different ability.
Raised actions: Actions with a * can be increased by adding additional card.
Free actions: Actions with a ^ don’t require a whole round, and can be used in the same round as another action.
Boosting: Any action can be boosted by spending another feat of the same type. This boost does not change the effect but counters the first card that opposes it (so a boosted attack cannot be prevented by a single Defence). An action cannot be boosted more than once, so if both the action and the opposing action are boosted, there is no effect.
Attack+1: Normally this means doing 2 damage, but it can also mean capture if the attacker has the appropriate weapon/equipment.
Health: every character can take 3 wounds before they are in a critical condition. Goblin fruit is plentiful, so generally if someone vaguely competent can get to the character, they can stop them dying. Assume a count-down of a minute. However, it requires the right contract or one-use item to actually heal a wound (otherwise they are lying around not really able to move). Four wounds kills outright. However, for the Lost death is normally preferable to capture.