The Actor is a living corporeal manifestation of the True Fae, and as such, it experiences fleshly limits. It’s only so strong, quick and smart. A faerie might play a human-like Actor, a natural animal, or some sort of monster — even a thing of stony flesh or living fire. The Actor can change shape to a degree to shift between kiths or add a new flair to his appearance, but without additional supernatural aid, The Fae maintains a core form. He can’t grow extra limbs when it suits him, but he might change the color of his eyes or body-flames.
Actors are creatures of restraint. Without its boundaries, a Kindly One can’t meaningfully interact with others. Omnipotence makes communication difficult as well. A Fae lord might appear as a thousand foot tall demon of liquid bronze, immune to all mortal attacks, but by his own standards, such a thing can scarcely be said to have happened at all. Enthroned in the full power of his nature, a True Fae can no more speak to mortals than humans can to microbes. Legends are pointless too; he always wins, or suffers a stalemate against an equally magnificent foe. That’s why he becomes an Actor. He promises the Wyrd that if he wears flesh, he’ll live by some of its rules. In exchange, he can enjoy conflict, communicate with inferiors, and even bend them to his will. He’s agreed to “play fair” at the game of power, so his form has enough solidity to beguile mortals or punish them with raw force.
The Gentry create and dispose of Actors as they see fit but many grow attached to a particular personality. Infirmity, pain, and ignorance are novel things; the struggle to overcome them is even more fascinating. Therefore, a True Fae can earn experience as a particular Actor and use them to improve the form’s traits. These benefits don’t extend to other Actors, even if they’re only variations on the Other’s favorite. Most Fae have one or two beloved manifestations that play the lead roles in their Legends, and a hundred others to satisfy fleeting fancies.
Actors who’ve been on Earth for a long time start to lose their powers. Their ties to Arcadia fade, diminishing their traits over time, making them no better than powerful changelings. Some even acquire Clarity. There are many myths about Fae who forget their true natures. Once an Actor learns the way of Clarity, she loses dynamic control over the Wyrd, and can’t switch kiths or renegotiate Contracts. She’s subject to the full weaknesses of the flesh and an earthly psyche, loses the Immortal Flesh, and is Ruled by Passion traits. If her form had fantastic traits, these shift to her mien; her worldly form becomes that of a human or animal. Long-time exiles sometimes believe they’re really changelings, normal humans, or even the animals on which their beast-Actors were based. There’s no hard and fast rule for these transformations. Some of the Others degenerate after days, but many must wait years or even centuries to lose the potent Wyrd within them.
On Earth, Actors can’t communicate with the faerie aspects they left in Arcadia. At home, the True Fae doesn’t know what happened to her Actor. Some True Fae send new manifestations in search of errant Actors, but many would rather not throw more of themselves into danger. They wait for the Actor’s return or send someone else to do the job. Changelings who dare Arcadia might be asked to perform this very task.
Losing an Actor does have one advantage, however: If the Actor’s on Earth, its Title can’t be claimed in a contest unless an attacker finds the errant manifestation and steals it back to Faerie.
An Actor is a fragment of an immortal essence, woven of Wyrd-matter and elements. This newly-formed creature is limited, but more powerful than normal creatures. All Actors possess the Immortal Flesh and Ruled by Passion traits.
Immortal Flesh - As one of the True Fae manifested in the mortal world, the Hunter can shrug off some of the lesser slings and arrows of the mundane. Bashing damage does not affect the Hunter at all, unless delivered by a cold iron bludgeon. Cold-forged iron causes aggravated damage, should someone be skilled enough to strike him with such.
Ruled by Passion - The True Fae are entities almost embodied by their passions and vices, with higher morality and self-denial little more than a whim to them. For them, passion is virtue, and the denial of passion an affectation. Their supernaturally amoral nature is reflected in an inverted ability to regain Willpower. The Hunter regains one Willpower point from indulging his Virtue, but refreshes his whole pool when satiating his Vice.
Pledge of Immortal MercyEdit
An Actor is like a limb or sense organ made of its creator’s Title, or name (if the faerie’s out of Titles). Kill the Actor and destroy the immortal’s investment. True Fae hate losing Titles. Weaker Fae would rather parley at gunpoint than let an Actor go. Thus, any Actor can offer a namebound oath in exchange for mercy. The myth that a clever mortal can force a boon from a cornered faerie is accurate — a merciful drop of truth in a sea of lies. True Fae supposedly make promises to the wind and Earth itself to avoid natural disasters — and changelings who defeat them in battle. They offer the Pledge of Immortal Mercy.
In theory, this pledge is much like the pledges changelings use themselves, but it’s more powerful than the ones changelings use. The Other vows on his name to perform one single task or abide by one restriction. In exchange, his assailants may never move to harm him, directly or by some indirect plot, until the Fae’s Actor manifestation ends.
If the True Fae disobeys his side of the agreement, he’s obliterated, as he would be for disobeying any other namebound promise. The other parties cannot disobey the conditions. The Wyrd enforces this pledge absolutely and due to the disparity in power, the True Fae has the upper hand — not that this means much. The mercy-givers must obey. The Other can freely choose to obey or die.
- Equinox Road, p. 90-92