Changelings and Banality

The Game Philosophy

I am relatively aware that there are those that feel the reading of the Banality rules that I have implemented is, in a word, harsh. So I think I need to give unpacking the rules one more try and to include my philosophy on the rules.

Changeling is a game with many themes, none of them is more important than any other really. But you can’t really tell the story of the Kithain and Gallain without the built in cosmology. All the way from The Deep Dreaming, through to the Umbra, occasionally (if the players are brave or foolish or both) the Shadowland, eventually to the Autumn World.

Banality is a quasi primordial, possibly sentient, omnipresent force in the Autumn World. The very name the Changelings describe it as, Autumn, is synonymous with Banality. It is everywhere. Every realm of existence has Banality; every Freehold’s public face, every trod that opens into the Dreaming, every Glade has Banality at it and Banality is 1000s of times worse for Changelings than it is humans. Banality has empowered Mortals with Anti Changeling powers and their very presence erodes Glamour. These so called “Autum People” start at Banality 8 and while not every Banality 8 character is an Autumn Person, you don’t give someone that Banal the opportunity to prove they are.

If you spend too much time in the Autumn World, at all, the expectation is that you will be Undone. This is one of the most likely fates for Changelings.

The only place that is free of Banality is the Deep Dreaming excepting, of course, the Banality the Changelings Bring with them. All Changelings that have undergone the Changeling Way carry a Sliver of Banality itself, the part that even if the rating is 0 is still a piece of Banality because they are physical creatures.

Within the Near and Far Dreamings you are very mechanically unlikely to come in contact with an actual source of Banality, it just isn’t an issue that comes up mechanically unless the Narrator is doing something. However, you are much more likely to use your magic and if you have any Imbalance at all, that number will grow very very quickly. Spectaculalrly quickly. Two rounds of combat quickly.

This balancing act is, thematically, the crux of Changeling. You cannot play Changeling and not expect to get temporary banality, that’s like playing a vampire and not wanting to have to feed or deal with sunlight.

In order to impress, narratively, the dangers of Banality and the inevitabilty of it; the rules as written are being enforced. Permanent Banality is likely to increase on the order of days, weeks, months if you spend time in Banal places or with Banal people. Imbalance and Nightmare, however, snowball; I’ve seen people get 2 Imbalance in a single event.

As a Narrator, I have not yet once run a plot that involved Autumn People, high banality rooms or run any situation that is not PC genereated that could conceivably put anyone up against a banality trigger. I’ve even been lax about enforcing the triggers that people should be getting because they are not part of an active quest. The Fomorian in the Ocean is a city wide quest that people will either interface with or not. But I am assuming that everyone is, to some extent or another, interfacing with it whether it’s through providing support for the communities that were Ravaged or the commoner conclaves that were attacked.

So we come to the situation where banality crops up through sandbox gameplay. The philosophy of this server is that we are explicitly not sandbox game play. Which means that if you’re in a room and a vampire walks in its because a player did it. Which means that the rules need to be spelled out.

Spending a scene in a room that has a Banlity Rating higher than your Permanent Glamour, or with a person who has a Banality Rating of 8+, requires you to acquire a point of temporary Banality. Almost all vampires have a Banality Rating of 8+. If you know that you are in a scene with a vampire, you should be losing a point of Glamour as well as taking a point of temporary Banality. If that is your last point of Glamour, you will fall into a coma and potentially be Undone. We recognise you cannot always tell what sphere someone belongs to and asking is not appropriate. So we trust to good faith here. As we do with the entire Banality system.

If you, as a Changeling, are in a scene and a vampire (or other high Banality PC) walks in, you have some choices:
Establish whether or not the scene is a daylight scene,
At the start of the scene, establish a stoplight scene
Leave the scene and telegraph that you’re doing so which invites people from the scene to relocate with you
Just take a temporary point of banality (two if you’re an Arcadian Sidhe)

Getting a temporary banality isn’t a considerable issue. The Far Dreaming is a part of the grid. You can always choose to spend time there IC. There are no hangouts, but if you’ve explored the Dreaming at all you know the way. And if you haven’t, you should probably find out who has because knowing where the various Trods are is really important information. Also you can put together descriptions for rooms that you think the far dreaming should have that are on any of the various Trods or on no Trod at all, feel free to drop them into an email.

Gaining a permanent banality isn’t a considerable issue. Talk to a Producer about running a scene for you, talk to me about it. Changelings should always be Questing. Especially if you’re a Wilder.