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Old 12-22-2019, 07:06 PM
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Christmas in Thorns

Game NameChristmas in Thorns
Game SystemWorld of Darkness
ThemeChristmas war story
FlavourSaving Christmas... BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY
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“”


The Gift Giver’s forces held fast; we waited and watched in quiet anticipation. Hundreds of eyes, mine included, scoured the wintry landscape trying to discern any threats through the endless snowy squalls of the arctic Thorns. Some of my comrades made use of infrared goggles or scopes, but I never bothered with such devices. Technology was notoriously unreliable in the Hedge; not that one’s senses were necessarily better. In the Thorns, even your own eyes could betray you.

The many soldiers and magical machines of the Yule Guard were poised for the violence they knew was coming. There was an energy in the air; I could feel it... almost taste the glamour of it. War sleighs hovered ominously in the darkening sky, pulled by fleets of flying reindeer clad in spiked, candy-striped barding. Elven infantrymen, armed with their trademark nutcracker rifles, formed the foremost defensive line - a wall of red and green uniforms set against the bleak whiteness of the blizzard. Toward the rear of the formation, Lady Christmas and her warrior-sorceresses prepared spells of crackling power, flanked by fae servants forged from tinsel, Christmas lights, and Yuletide wrath. I glanced around to see if I could catch a glimpse of the “Silent Night” - Santa’s elite assassins - but I knew it was pointless to try. They were only seen when they wanted to be.

All I could hear was the sound of the freezing arctic winds whipping around ice and churning the snow. Not much else, really. But then... another sound. My ears perked. It was a deep sort of rumbling. Low and pervasive, like distant thunder, but steadily growing in intensity. Something was coming. Many somethings.

My commanding officer in the Yule Guard barked her orders, and a line of poinsettia-adorned muzzles lifted to point at the blustery battlefield. All of us shifted uncomfortably in nervous expectation. Somewhere out there, in the midst of this perpetual blizzard, was the Great Naughty One himself: Krampus. The Coal Bringer. The Gift Giver’s one-time ally and now nemesis. He was out there in the whiteness, and we all knew it.

I’d never seen Krampus, but some of the older members of the Yule Guard had battled his minions in Christmases past. Most declined to discuss the experience. The Christmas Devil was said to be terrifying to behold; a true horror born of Arcadia. Even battle-hardened veterans of the Guard were known to go catatonic at the sight of Krampus in his full glory. Not surprisingly, I was less than thrilled at the idea that he may be in the vicinity.

Not long ago, Krampus made an alliance with the Army of Misfit Toys, and so incursions into Winterland were becoming more and more common. The Army had gotten bold as of late, and this recent offensive was its boldest yet. This was going to be a bloody Christmas, indeed.

The rumbling grew loud enough that the crisp white snow on the ground was now shaking. In the whiteout conditions, I couldn’t see them until they were almost directly on top of us - a savage horde of toy-horrors. We barely had time to fire our rifles. The air resounded with the report of several hundred guns firing in near unison. Undeterred, the attackers crashed into our ranks like a wave breaking against a rocky coast. The hobgoblins of the Army were misbegotten bits of discarded children’s doggerel stitched together with nightmares and pain; the kind of monsters one only finds in the Hedge. Some shambling, others rolling or crawling, and all of them giant-sized: doll heads with scratched out eyes mounted on spiders’ legs, mangled teddy bears with enormous teeth and blood-soaked fur, porcelain clowns with cracked faces and balloon animal minions. Though these descriptions might read as comical, I can assure you that face-to-face, the Army of Misfit Toys engenders a very unique kind of terror.

The fighting was particularly vicious. The battlefield flashed with streaks of lightning and explosions. The snow all around us turned red with blood and brown with hot chocolate. Catapults from our rear flank launched flaming “na-plums” at our opposition, while the war sleighs rained down ornament-ordnance and boiling hot cider from the sky. Combat carolers sung at a frantic pace, buffeting the sapient toys with sonic blasts of bone-crushing merriment. I watched as a friend of mine got his brains splattered by a large mechanical monkey with eyes of malice and crashing symbols for hands. I returned the favor by collapsing the thing’s skull with a swing of my ho-ho-homicide warhammer. I heard the din of battle all around me: the screams of the dying intermixed with maniacal laughter and fast-tempo Christmas music.

We were victorious in the end, as I knew we’d be. The Army got its stockings thoroughly stuffed, and the remaining toys that weren’t too broken to move retreated beyond the boundaries of Winterland. Lady Christmas commanded that we not give them chase. Ultimately, we never saw Krampus. Maybe he’d left the battle. Maybe he’d never been here to begin with.

All I know is that, despite our success, we still paid a price. A few more friends dead or insane. I walked the battlefield to help tend to the wounded and finish off any straggling toys.

Looks like Christmas is safe another year.


—- From the journals of John “Merry FIST-mas” Corrigan, Yule Guard


This is a Christmas-themed game of Changeling: The Lost, Second Edition. Whereas traditional Changeling games usually deal with weighty issues of abuse and trauma, I intend for this game to be a more lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek affair. The players will serve as members of the “Winterland Freehold,” a changeling society modeled on the stories and legends of Santa’s village in the North Pole. Winterland is based in the Hedge (an extra-dimensional wilderness bordering the Land of Faerie) and is populated by all manner of fae creatures approximating the characters of Christmas/Yule lore. Santa Claus is a powerful, centuries old changeling who has formed magical contracts with the Christmas season, and he feeds on the Christmas cheer of others. The players are protectors of Winterland and Santa himself, keeping the Gift-Giver safe from his many enemies (everything from Krampus, to humbugs, to the Gentry). The game will draw greatly on the “ass-kicking Christmas” and “badass Santa” tropes. Think paramilitary Christmas elves, gingerbread Prometheans, and bazookas that fire naughty-seeking missiles; that’s the kind of game this will be.

This game is intended to be short term; I’m only expecting it to last a few months (although I’m not opposed to continuing the game if people are enjoying it and the concept doesn’t get too old). Looking for 4-6 players who can post once a day.







For those of you who are unfamiliar with Changeling: The Lost 2e, it’s part of the Chronicles of Darkness and uses the Storyteller System. Here’s an brief overview of the Changeling setting:

For millennia, the enigmatic Gentry (also called the True Fae) have abducted humans from this world and taken them to Arcadia, a fairyland where the Gentry’s will shapes reality. The abductees are changed into faerie creatures to play particular roles in the True Fae’s fantasies; these roles are seemings, which correspond to fairy-tale character archetypes like the big, bad wolf (Beast), the ice queen (Fairest), the miracle worker (Wizened), and so on. Changelings turn the forms and powers forced on them against their fae Keepers, and escape from Arcadia.

On the way back, each changeling had to cross the Hedge, a surreal land that separates our everyday world from Arcadia. Finally arriving back in the realm of humanity, most changelings resolve to reclaim their lives — or build new ones. They’re Lost, and it’s time to find themselves. That’s where our story begins.

Changelings face many challenges. The True Fae may have replaced them with duplicates called fetches, who have been living the Lost’s life in their absence. They must often risk trips into the Hedge, which is full of bizarre creatures and dangerous temptations. And most terrifying of all are the True Fae’s Huntsmen, heartless shapechangers sent to drag the Lost back to Arcadia.

But changelings have an advantage the Gentry will never fully understand: They are not alone. They band together in courts, communities that practice supernatural defenses against the True Fae. These courts, in turn, make up freeholds, local societies that provide and gather protection and resources to help their members. These communities can be rife with intrigue and riven with in-fighting… but in the end, those are fundamentally human behaviors which defy the Gentry in their own way.

Last edited by Shaquille Oatmeal; 01-08-2020 at 10:11 PM.
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Old 12-22-2019, 09:31 PM
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So, full disclosure, the books I have for Changeling: the Lost are first edition, so I'm sure there would be changes to mechanics. As a result, for now I'm gonna stick with concept. I wrote this one up for a game that never happened. I called her "Patchwork Sally."

Patchwork Sally's Story
I knew I was getting close when the thorns started to hurt. And I swear, that pain was what made me go on. But that's where that story ends... and I should begin at the beginning.

I think I was about fifteen. I'm not really sure. I know I had just built a rabbit trap in my father's workshop; I know it was night because my mother didn't think mechanics were a proper application of a young lady's time. I went to the forest, because if you want to test a rabbit trap you have to go where the rabbits are. But not once did it occur to me that walking around at night, when you know there are rabbit-holes, might not be the wisest idea.

I caught my foot in a rabbit-hole. I fell, down a ravine. I broke my leg, and it hurt to move. I screamed, I cried, I shouted. After a while I sang, and I prayed, and I begged. No one heard me... or so I thought. Soon I began to fear that I might die before anyone found me. I promised I'd be a good girl and stay home if only I could live and if only my leg would stop hurting. That's when the angel appeared.

I call her an angel for that's what she was. Beautiful, and fair, and winged, and shining. And she said, or maybe she sang...
Come to my domain and stay
At least a year and a day
There is no death in my domain
And never will you feel a pain.
She held out her hand as she said this. I took it, and she lifted me up. My leg hurt, and I said so. She shooshed me with a gesture, and carried me up to the other side of the ravine.

There were hedges at the top of the ravine, but they moved aside for her. Somehow, they didn't move aside for me... many of them snagged, and tore at my clothes, and at my skin... but I focused on the idea that my leg would not hurt once we were through. She promised... and angels keep their promises.

And it was true; she did keep her promise. The hedge hurt terribly but once we were through, my leg stopped hurting. I still couldn't walk on it - I had to crawl. But it didn't hurt. My hands and legs were scraped raw from the hedge, and from crawling to her house, but it didn't hurt.

I don't know how long I stayed there. I know my leg didn't begin to heal until I found some cloth to bind it with. I tried counting the days, but there weren't days. It was always mid-afternoon in front of the house; always dawn behind it; always dinner-time in the kitchen, always midnight in the bedroom. It was winter to the west and spring to the east. Well, assuming the house faced south. There was no other way to tell, really, what with the sun not moving. I never saw but only one compass and it always pointed at me.

I assume I stayed for a year and a day, because I can't have left otherwise; angels keep their promises. And she kept every other part of the promise. I never died. And I never felt any pain... not even when she gouged my eyes out, or dislocated my arm. Sometimes I felt pleasure; sometimes I felt nothing at all... but never pain.

It took me a week to find new eyes.

Eventually I got used to it. I stopped expecting to feel pain when I was broken. I stopped caring what it took to put myself back together. I think I forgot, for a while, that the angel hadn't said "forever" - because there certainly didn't seem to be anywhere to go.

But the others... did I mention them? Perhaps I forgot. It's no matter, if you're reading this you know about them. They found a way out. And even though I wasn't sure whether I really wanted to leave anymore... or what I wanted at all, really... I didn't want to be left behind. So I came with them.

And when I passed through the hedge, I felt pain again. Not just from the thorns... but in my leg, and in my eyes, and in all the places that she had broken. Beautiful, long-lost pain.

I'm back among the living again... and every day I do at least three things that hurt, just to make sure I'm still here. And if I ever get tired of pain, I know where to go.
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Old 12-22-2019, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by auntmousie View Post
So, full disclosure, the books I have for Changeling: the Lost are first edition, so I'm sure there would be changes to mechanics. As a result, for now I'm gonna stick with concept. I wrote this one up for a game that never happened. I called her "Patchwork Sally."
Second edition is pretty easy to learn. There are some major changes but not too many. It’s still the same game, overall. Here are some of the specific changes that were made:

- Kith is no longer tied to Seeming. You can use them in any combination. Wanna make a Fairest Hunterheart or Ogre Chatelaine? Go right ahead.

- The 2e core book only has a dozen kiths, but it also provides rules to build new kiths from scratch. Using these rules, you can essentially recreate any of the kiths from first edition.

- Cold iron now does aggravated damage to changelings.

- The Seasonal Courts have been de-emphasized. While they are still very common, other court systems are also prevalent. The 2e core book provides rules for designing new courts.

- Contracts are no longer measured in dots. There are now two kinds of Contracts: Common and Royal.

- Contracts are also organized into themed categories called “Regalia.” This is in addition to Court Contracts and Goblin Contracts.

- Clarity works differently. It’s now treated as a damage track, similar to physical damage. Clarity is expected to constantly rise and fall throughout a session. You no longer permanently lose Clarity dots if you fail a Clarity roll.

- Characters now have “touchstones.” A touchstone is a person or place that grounds your character. You “heal” Clarity damage by spending time with your touchstone.

- The Pledge system has been greatly toned down and simplified. It’s now easy to create a pledge on the fly. However, Pledges are also much less powerful. Some fans like it, while others prefer the complexity of the first edition rules.

- Oneiromancy and hedge-shaping work very differently in 2e.

- Feeding on glamour now costs the victim a point of Willpower. Furthermore, changelings are now capable of “reaping,” which involves forcefully ripping someone’s emotions from them. Replenishes all your glamour but damages your Clarity, and also harms the victim.

- Second edition introduces a new type of antagonist: the Huntsmen. These are servants of the Gentry who, as you’ve probably guessed, hunt down and capture escaped changelings. They are a much more immediate threat than the Gentry. The True Fae are now a more distant threat; less likely to get directly involved in thr mortal world. They now tend to act through their Huntsmen.

- A new minor template has been introduced: the Fae-Touched.

- Not sure how familiar you are with the revised rules used in all Chronicles of Darkness games. Changeling 2e, as with most other CoD games, has made the shift to using Tilts, Conditions, Beats, etc.

Last edited by Shaquille Oatmeal; 01-08-2020 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 12-23-2019, 12:21 AM
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- Not sure how familiar you are with the revised rules used in all Chronicles of Darkness games. Changeling 2e, as with most other CoD games, has made the shift to using Tilts, Conditions, Beats, etc.
Approximately "not at all." But I've got a steep learning curve.
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Old 12-23-2019, 05:09 AM
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This game concept sounds awesome...I'll see if i can find a rulebook online to read
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Old 12-23-2019, 02:31 PM
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Glad to see this made it to Games Seeking! Shaq, I've tagged this thread with [WoD] as it's currently a category intended for both the older WoD and the CoD... there just doesn't seem to be a good overall term for both, so at present World of Darkness is it. I can't edit your game request on my end, but you can update it from the Dungeon Master Control Panel under the Tools menu. (That way your forum will end up with other WoD/CoD games and anyone browsing will be able to find it easier.)

I also wish I had more time to join you! I love CtL. Best of luck!
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Old 12-23-2019, 05:53 PM
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Ooh, I'd love to join this! I must admit I don't have any of the books on me myself, but I hope that's not too much of an issue.
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Old 12-23-2019, 06:13 PM
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Ooh, I'd love to join this! I must admit I don't have any of the books on me myself, but I hope that's not too much of an issue.
Welcome aboard!

Unfortunately, Changeling 2e doesn’t seem to have any free QuickStarts. We'll arrange something.

Last edited by Aethera; 12-25-2019 at 11:33 AM. Reason: can't share copyrighted materials
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Old 12-23-2019, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by auntmousie View Post
So, full disclosure, the books I have for Changeling: the Lost are first edition, so I'm sure there would be changes to mechanics. As a result, for now I'm gonna stick with concept. I wrote this one up for a game that never happened. I called her "Patchwork Sally."

Patchwork Sally's Story
I knew I was getting close when the thorns started to hurt. And I swear, that pain was what made me go on. But that's where that story ends... and I should begin at the beginning.

I think I was about fifteen. I'm not really sure. I know I had just built a rabbit trap in my father's workshop; I know it was night because my mother didn't think mechanics were a proper application of a young lady's time. I went to the forest, because if you want to test a rabbit trap you have to go where the rabbits are. But not once did it occur to me that walking around at night, when you know there are rabbit-holes, might not be the wisest idea.

I caught my foot in a rabbit-hole. I fell, down a ravine. I broke my leg, and it hurt to move. I screamed, I cried, I shouted. After a while I sang, and I prayed, and I begged. No one heard me... or so I thought. Soon I began to fear that I might die before anyone found me. I promised I'd be a good girl and stay home if only I could live and if only my leg would stop hurting. That's when the angel appeared.

I call her an angel for that's what she was. Beautiful, and fair, and winged, and shining. And she said, or maybe she sang...
Come to my domain and stay
At least a year and a day
There is no death in my domain
And never will you feel a pain.
She held out her hand as she said this. I took it, and she lifted me up. My leg hurt, and I said so. She shooshed me with a gesture, and carried me up to the other side of the ravine.

There were hedges at the top of the ravine, but they moved aside for her. Somehow, they didn't move aside for me... many of them snagged, and tore at my clothes, and at my skin... but I focused on the idea that my leg would not hurt once we were through. She promised... and angels keep their promises.

And it was true; she did keep her promise. The hedge hurt terribly but once we were through, my leg stopped hurting. I still couldn't walk on it - I had to crawl. But it didn't hurt. My hands and legs were scraped raw from the hedge, and from crawling to her house, but it didn't hurt.

I don't know how long I stayed there. I know my leg didn't begin to heal until I found some cloth to bind it with. I tried counting the days, but there weren't days. It was always mid-afternoon in front of the house; always dawn behind it; always dinner-time in the kitchen, always midnight in the bedroom. It was winter to the west and spring to the east. Well, assuming the house faced south. There was no other way to tell, really, what with the sun not moving. I never saw but only one compass and it always pointed at me.

I assume I stayed for a year and a day, because I can't have left otherwise; angels keep their promises. And she kept every other part of the promise. I never died. And I never felt any pain... not even when she gouged my eyes out, or dislocated my arm. Sometimes I felt pleasure; sometimes I felt nothing at all... but never pain.

It took me a week to find new eyes.

Eventually I got used to it. I stopped expecting to feel pain when I was broken. I stopped caring what it took to put myself back together. I think I forgot, for a while, that the angel hadn't said "forever" - because there certainly didn't seem to be anywhere to go.

But the others... did I mention them? Perhaps I forgot. It's no matter, if you're reading this you know about them. They found a way out. And even though I wasn't sure whether I really wanted to leave anymore... or what I wanted at all, really... I didn't want to be left behind. So I came with them.

And when I passed through the hedge, I felt pain again. Not just from the thorns... but in my leg, and in my eyes, and in all the places that she had broken. Beautiful, long-lost pain.

I'm back among the living again... and every day I do at least three things that hurt, just to make sure I'm still here. And if I ever get tired of pain, I know where to go.

I like the concept for Patchwork Sally. If you can work her in as a resident of Winterland, then by all means do so.

Once the game gets approved, Iíll post an overview of Winterland and info about the courts.
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Old 12-23-2019, 10:46 PM
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I was thinking about that. Winterland sounds like it's back across the Hedge, and I don't think that's somewhere she would be eager to go ... unless, of course, she stayed up late one Christmas and Santa made her an offer she can't refuse.

My original concept was that she's a bizarre sort of medic, patching fellow Changelings up with whatever is at hand ... a useful skill if one's armies include toys, snow golems, and the like.
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Old 12-24-2019, 01:29 PM
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Once the game gets approved, Iíll post an overview of Winterland and info about the courts.
For the record, game forums don't get created until there's been enough interest posted to make the game viable. (The number of games advertised vastly outweighs the games that actually happen.) For a game we don't see often (CtL), we'd probably let you get started with fewer apps, but probably not until you have at least two solid "accepted" apps and a few others to fill out a group. Once you have two players you're sure of, you can edit them into the game request (Tools > DM Control Panel > edit) in the "accepted players" field, and the game approval mods will make the forum.

Let me know if you have any questions!
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Old 12-27-2019, 10:53 PM
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Let me know if this fits your expectations.

left-aligned image
Jack Frost
Elemental Snowskin of the Winter Court

Name: Jack Frost
Seeming:Elemental
Court: Winter
Kith: Snowskin

Backstory: Its sometimes hard to remember the warmth, the old way, what I was before. I can't say I miss it, or at least how it ended. I grew up like most kids in the outskirts of a small European town, not much distinction to speak of from what I remember. There were expectations of me, simple ones, I was to take over the family business when I came to age. I can't even recall what the business was but I don't remember resenting it, it was just... expected. Then the unexpected happened, war. They conscripted us all into duty and before I knew it I was on the front lines leading a group of soldiers who were probably a few years younger than me and I was just about a kid myself. They sent us out to the eastern front sent us on some sort of special mission and then we were cut off. One by one my men fell but I pushed on and before I knew it I was alone cut off from everyone who didn't want me to die. I was pinned down and trapped with nothing left of hope. I was filled with sadness and alone and that was when I saw a pair of black boots and a large red suit that whisked me off to Arcadia.

Now my world is much different, much colder. I am a snowskin afterall. You want a White Christmas? Well who do you think makes that happen? Jack Frost is who and I do a damn good job of it. I've been helping Kringle protect this winter celebration since before I can remember. Something about my military experience making me a good fit for facing Krampus' minions. All I know is that there is beauty in the cold, the silence that comes with it. A sort of purity that encapsulates the snow, no two things being a like, everything having its individual place to exist and giving in to a strange synergy that makes it all work. Krampus brings fire and brimstone and all the pain and suffering that comes with it. I have sworn to stand against that tide and do whatever is necessary to protect the Yuletide.
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Last edited by Avner; 12-28-2019 at 12:12 AM.
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Old 12-28-2019, 01:35 PM
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@Avner

The Jack Frost concept will work great with the setting. Welcome aboard.

I plan to post information about Winterland in the next few days. The seasonal courts all exist in Winterland but with a few alterations. Winter Court (which is Santa’s court), for instance, is not really focused on sorrow anymore. Hopefully that doesn’t affect your character concept.

Last edited by Shaquille Oatmeal; 12-28-2019 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 12-29-2019, 12:51 AM
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I’m definitely flexible and figured the Winter court made the most sense but was sorta hoping it would be adapted to blend in better with the theme of this game so that should work out nicely
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"Let's bring the dwarf... as my friend Grindo always used to say it isn't a party without a dwarf! Oh and that scary old man... not sure why you're here, pretty sure you will probably die, but I also don't think you understand a word of what I'm saying so lets do this!
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  #15  
Old 12-29-2019, 09:08 PM
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Nikolas Nikolas is offline
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Nikolas Nikolas Nikolas Nikolas Nikolas Nikolas
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I'm thinking of a ragdoll playmate. I'm only familiar with 1e, so I might need insight.
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