The aonides, or "muses," claim a heritage similar to the satyrs in terms of lineage. Boasting descendent from Mount Olympus itself, they insist they are the sons and daughters of Zeus, ruler of the gods, and of the Titaness Mnemosyne (or Memory). The aonides are incredibly erotic creatures and passionately love humans. Unfortunately, love and hate often exist in equal measure. "Hades hath no fury like an aonide scorned." These Denizens can be very cruel when it comes to the game of love. They flock to human creativity like moths to an open flame.
While all of the Dreaming's children need Glamour to survive, aonides seem addicted to the rush that accompanies the epiphanies they inspire. The muses plunge themselves into the artistic lives of anyone around them, craving new pieces of art or recently written songs. When the Dreamers around them aren't in the middle of creating, aonides steer conversations in the direction of art. They behave as sounding boards, critiquing the inspirational thoughts of those around them. Aonides spend much of their time Musing those with the motivation to create and Ravaging those who lack the drive to do anything with their imagination. They are also great creators in their own right. Most of them have at least a few dots in Performance and declare a specialty in one particular art form. They treat that art form like a personal totem, linking their sense of identity to the creative process. The adhene sees muses who have no artistic talents of their own, but who merely inspire these gifts in mortals, as poseurs. They nevertheless serve an important role as patrons and keepers of Glamour.
Aonides become very emotionally attached to the Dreamers they inspire. They sometimes treat their Dreamers like pets, showering them with affection, but retaining superiority over them in their own minds. Muses often assume that their Dreamers would be uninspired boors without them and sometimes overestimate their own necessity to the creative process. Dreamers that a muse influences usually believe they cannot create without him or her. When an aonide and their Dreamer part company, the Dreamer enters a creative vacuum that lasts until they get over their broken heart.
Aonides know human culture like no other Denizen. They frequented the mortal world often in the days of the Miririm, gracing mortal visionaries with their presence and inspiring them to artistic greatness. Many aonides remember the satyrs from the old days, when life involved singing, dancing, and lovemaking on the shores of the Mediterranean. Even to this day, they cannot help but immerse themselves in the heart and minds of Dreamers. They muse and Ravage with much more reverence and glee than the Kithain. A muse is nothing if they are not inspiring someone. They often form emotional attachments to their Dreamers. Such relationships may provide a catalyst for changing their Ariá. Aonides can be of either sex. Most of them are openly bisexual. Only a few prefer one gender for romantic relations. When an aonide is in love, or otherwise fixated on some person, they take human form to be with the object of their desire. The aonide usually takes on the physical appearance of someone whom the target would find most attractive. If the aonide's chosen paramour already has a lover, the muse often assumes the partner's form. They then slip in and out of their intended's life while the real lover is away, causing a good deal of confusion in the process.
Although muses trace their ancestry to ancient Greece, they take their forms from the erotic dreams of anyone from their culture. Their complexion, size, hair and eye colors vary widely, from the most pallid to the darkest, the most petite to the statuesque. Aonides tend to be attractive and, although, not all are as beautiful as they appear, they are frequently skilled in the arts of illusion. Togas and Grecian chitons serve as their most common voile. Aonides' outer appearances don't change significantly with their Ariá, though they often affect some minor changes in their clothing, hairstyle, or make-up. Aonides tend to dress tastefully, though their visage is disconcertingly arousing even in the most sedate attire. They possess a subtle grace and taste that relies on natural beauty, instead of flash. Few creatures of Dream look as human as Aonides; even in their fae mien, most can easily pass for human.
The muses are unparalleled in the pursuit of pleasure. In the Dioniae Ariá, the aonide may be carefree and carnal, craving pleasure above all other considerations, or they may be as inconsolably depressed as the most tragically inspired poet. Aonides in the first category unashamedly embrace hedonism. Those of the second type may alternately see the world as cruel and tragic. Also known as the Mneme Ariá, because of the painful memories sometimes involved, the Dioniae side of aonides pushes them to seek extremes of sensation. Aonides often assume this form when rejected by a lover or are otherwise "dumped."
Being a muse is not all high art or lovemaking. In this, the everyday mind, the aonide is most adept at dealing with the day-to-day necessities of renting gallery space, dealing with agents, or balancing the books. Since most muses' lives involve whirlwinds of passion, some actually enjoy this opportunity to be "grounded" for a while. Aonides often revert to their Araminae when threatened or hurt, using it as a barrier against their own weaknesses.
In the Apolliae, the muse promotes both love and art, attempting to take them to their highest and most abstract state. This represents true love rather than carnal desire, and the muse gives their inspiration in selfless appreciation of the great art created by such pure passions.
Birthrights & Frailty Edit
- Affinity: Actor or Scene
- Grace of Calliope: Aonides possess a talent for subtle manipulation. Even when not intentionally aware of using their guidance, the Muse is always charming, winning the hearts of everyone around them. The Grace of Calliope isn't rooted in beauty, but in the controlled use of inspiration and suggestion to manipulate the opinions and actions of others. All aonides add +2 points to either their Manipulation or Charisma (player's choice), even if it brings them above the maximum of 5. Aonides cannot botch rolls relating to Persuasion or Performance . Also, unlike most other Denizens, the muses do not suffer from the Silver Ban.
- Adonis' Ravaging: This Birthright gives the aonides a formidable advantage in acquiring Glamour. In addition to the standard methods, aonides may steal Glamour by successfully seducing their prey. Some form of passionate embrace is required for the use of this Birthright, be it an ardent kiss or full sexual intercourse. Aonides do not automatically use this Birthright on everyone they have relations with; Adonis' Ravaging requires conscious activation. Most use it sparingly to take "just a little" when in need, but with this Birthright, an aonide can turn lust into a weapon. Aonides often use the Grace of Calliope to lure their enemies before rendering their targets Banal and useless after seducing them with Adonis' Ravaging. Once the muse has seduced the target, the player makes a contested roll of their Manipulation + Subterfuge against the target's Willpower. The aonide steals a point of temporary Glamour for every success, but cannot raise their temporary score above their permanent Glamour level.
- Arachne's Folly: Aonides cannot handle the humility of admitting that someone has more artistic talent than they do. They insist on seeing themselves as the most creative beings in the Autumn World or the Dreaming. If an aonide hears that someone is better than them at their chosen artistic focus, they challenge the "upstart" to a competition to determine who is better. The audience of the duel, whether the competition happens in a gallery or on stage, decides the winner. If the aonide loses the competition, the full wrath of the muse is brought to bear. The aonide does everything in their power to make the victorious artist's life miserable (and often that of the foolish judges as well), even to the extent of neglecting new talents. Because of this Frailty's increased effect in the Dreaming, aonides may not take the Flaw: Overconfident.
- Acheri: Unpleasant creatures. Don't stand too close to one; you might catch something.
- Fir-bholg: Nasty brutes. Let them scuttle around in the woods so they never scare our precious Dreamers.
- Fuaths: The magic and wisdom of these Dark-Kin is strong indeed; charm them, so we too may have their power at our disposal.
- Keremet: So cynical. We do not trust them with our Dreamers.
- Moirae: We remember them from the old times and our rivalry continues to this day. They see themselves as protectors of humanity and may act territorial when we inspire someone they have singled out. Be wary of them; they are not fond of us.
- Naraka: Fearsome in battle, these Denizens could be very useful. Be exceedingly respectful to them, for they posses battle skills we do not. You never know when you might need the help of a strong arm. Whatever you do, do not cross them; you will probably not live long if you do.
- Changelings: Some Kithain are useful, others just plain boorish. The sidhe could hold the key to power in the society of dreams; House Fiona seems particularly easy to seduce. We remember the satyrs, our Olympian companions of old. They remain suspicious of us, but that was so very long ago. Now they are seen as lewd rather than inspired lovers. Kithain who pose a threat, such as redcaps and their ilk, should be drained of their creative power.
- Humankind: We would be nothing without them. Love them; Muse them; revel in their imaginations, but never fear them. They are, after all, only human.
Aonides are intimately familiar with the ways of the Autumn world. Better known as muses, they claim to be the source of all creativity and emotion, and are often artists in their own right. Gorgeous beings that attach themselves easily to artists of all kinds, they bestow their ideas in any number of forms, from careful critique to sudden moments of clarity.
If particularly taken with a Dreamer, aonides have little issue taking a human form to be with them, but should the two part ways, the unfortunate mortal is left in a creative vacuum until he can overcome the loss of his love and inspiration.
Perhaps the most human of Denizens, aonides have no one set appearance. They are always beautiful, displaying all ranges of skin tone, hair and eye color, and build. Their grace and elegance are apparent no matter what they are doing, and even at their most demure can arouse passions of all kinds.
- Dioniae: Purity of sensation is what these muses crave, and they will push themselves to any extreme of it, be it pleasure, despair, or rage. Because of the depth of emotion felt here, many revert to Dioniae when abandoned.
- Araminae: Even the arts need someone to organize them, and in the Araminae are agents, gallery owners, and patrons. The Araminae is a welcome reprieve from the whirlwinds of the other Ariá, and can be a refuge for injured or exhausted muses while they lick their wounds.
- Apolliae: Pursuant of higher forms of art and emotion, the Apolliae shuns such things as desire and art made solely for profit. True love and projects of passion are their domain, and they inspire and reward them handsomely.
Birthrights & FrailtiesEdit
- Affinity: Actor or Prop
- Grace of Calliope: Even when they aren’t trying, muses are lovely and charming influences. All aonides add +2 to Charisma or Manipulation, even if it brings the Attribute above 5. They cannot botch Expression or Performance rolls, and are even exempt from the Silver Ban.
- Adonis’ Ravaging: Aonides are experts at pulling Glamour from anyone — not merely the ones they inspire. By successfully seducing a target, an aonide can steal Glamour from them with some kind of passionate display, be it an ardent kiss or actual lovemaking. This requires a Manipulation + Subterfuge roll, resisted by her target’s Willpower. The aonide gains a temporary point of Glamour for every success.
- Arachne’s Folly: Aonides cannot grasp the concept that there are more creative beings than themselves, and believe they are the most talented of all creatures, Autumn or fae. If an aonide hears of a talent superior to her own, she seeks out the artist and challenges them to a competition. If she loses, the unfortunate victor (and usually the audience) suffers the wrath of the aonide for years to come. Revenge becomes her sole focus, beyond even inspiring new talents.
- CTD. Denizens of the Dreaming, pp. 48-50.
- C20. Changeling: The Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition, p. 387.