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Changeling: The Lost
Publisher: White Wolf
by Chris L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/25/2016 20:31:08

This review is of FIRST EDITION CtL, not the upcoming (as of Aug 2016) second edition compatible with the God Machine Chronicles/Chronicles of Darkness.

Changeling is a game about stolen lives and beautiful madness, as the tagline says, but it actually supports a surprisingly broad array of moods. One game might be silly, with clockwork doll-girls and an ogrish professor. Another might be rooted in gore horror, with a cannibal chef on the loose. You could run a modern day retelling of legends of old, wherein a hero must go on an epic quest through desert kingdoms of dream to save the soul of his firstborn, which was stolen by trickery. My year-long chronicle focused more on the arcane nature of the Wyrd, the promise-binding source of fae power with a fickle and unknowable consciousness. All of these are equally valid tales in the CtL framework.

One thing that sets apart CtL from many other Chronicles settings is the uniqueness of its primary antagonists: the True Fae. True Fae are far more powerful than most antagonists in the World of Darkness. They make deals with elements of reality (and nether-reality) which give them superpowers, for crying out loud. They are literally made of the Wyrd, and are one with their domains. As such, the idea that each Changeling somehow "escapes" from his or her Keeper pulls players in from the start: they didn't escape. They were set free. They just don't know why, yet.

The Pledge system is pleasantly overpowered in CtL 1E. It's a great callback to fairy tales of yore that giving one's word--or more severely, promising on one's true name--makes a sprite vulnerable, but also empowered.

That said, I'm not that hyped for second edition. It's reworked the setting and mechanics to de-emphasize "promises" and bring up "the Story" in its place, celebrating fae as manifestations of legend. As someone who really got into CtL from imagining a bunch of good and evil Rumpelstilzkins roaming about, trying to hide their true names and morals such that they couldn't be used against them, I'm just a bit disappointed in those choices.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Changeling: The Lost
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