Boggans are born of dreams of hearth and home. If roads go ever on, the goal is always the return. They derive their greatest pleasures from work and a job well done. Honest work, good company, and a regular routine are all they need. Of all the Kithain they are known for their honesty and integrity. It is said they are as honest as the dirt under their fingernails.
There’s a little bit of boggan in everyone.
Everyone likes to learn a secret, or to tell one; even the freest of spirits needs a place to return to between one journey and the next. Boggans thrive in these spaces, in the comfort of home, and the bonds between friends. Dreams of an honest day’s work and a cozy living provided by it, this kith has long enjoyed helping those who appreciate their efforts. Whether finishing a craftsman’s work at the end of a long day, completing the chores of a busy housekeeper, or bringing together unlikely friendships and romances, tales of mysterious folk helping others are the heart and soul of boggan history.
While not exactly shy, boggans work best just out of notice. Tracing their history often involves looking just behind or to the side of the spotlight, but with a sufficiently practiced eye, picking out the patterns of a boggan’s helping hand is easy. Humble creatures, they often prefer to highlight the efforts of others. They might not speak directly of their influence, but they are always eager to tell the story, and usually have it firsthand. Even if they aren’t the main character of the story, there’s usually a boggan in the room where it happened.
A Short Histroy of Boggans
The Mythic Age
From their inception, boggans were among the fae who most regularly interacted with the mortals who had dreamt them into being. As humanity shifted away from serving their dark and hungry masters, the Fomorians, boggans served to offer a new way of life. Though still one of service and hard work, rather than claiming tribute or subjugating the blossoming culture, boggans began as the embodiment of hope for a better life forged by the labor of one’s own hands. Maybe not a glamorous life, but a free one, beholden to none.
Living free from the heavy yoke of the Fomorians, humanity could move ahead and better their lives, offering what they could and finally getting something useful in return. Content to help those who needed it, boggans served as a reminder never to be as greedy as the Fomorians, withholding their help from those who began displaying the same greedy appetite as the dark fae. They patiently guided and coaxed humanity along, encouraging some behavior and stifling others that went against this new dream.
As the conflict between the Tuatha de Danaan and the Fomorians grew all-encompassing, boggans still did what they could to reach out to mortals. They fostered growing communities while regretfully abandoning those who clung to their place as servants of the Fomorians. It was a time of hard decisions and bittersweet partings, one the boggans still recall somberly on a winter holiday known as the Night of the Embers. It begins with conventional revelry around a fire, but as the night goes on, they allow the fire to die down, and the stories turn wistful and melancholy by turns. Old loves, old homes, and old labors are dutifully recalled and saluted, until the last embers die and the party ends.
The Fomorian Threat
Few Kithain stand as directly opposed to the Fomorians as boggans. Dreams of safety and stability, warmth and security, they are a quiet force that flies in the face of the chaotic and violent nature of the Fomorians and their descendants: the Thallain and the Dark-Kin.
While rarely seen in conflicts, boggans maintained encampments across the Dreaming, helping others to survive, giving their leaders hale and hearty armies in turn. Outposts between camps and hidden safehouses were maintained by boggans in wide webs across the Dreaming, providing shelter for retreating forces or spies in need of protection.
Throughout the conflict between the Fomorian and Tuathan forces, boggans drove back the forces of darkness and pain not with battalions and brigades, but stalwart faith in the dreams that birthed them.
As magic’s hold on the world waned over the course of the Sundering, the children of the Dreaming took stock, consolidated their numbers, and gradually retreated from well-populated areas of the world. As contact with mortals grew more limited and less frequent, boggans split their forces. Those who served closely under influential sidhe remained closer to fae society, smoothing over any internal conflicts within the newly consolidated groups, while those with less courtly presence led efforts to keep an eye on mortal affairs and make sure that faerie strongholds wouldn’t be discovered.
In time, mortals turned more and more to religions that spurned their old traditions, and life grew more dangerous for the fae looking to remain in contact with mortal society, driving a number of boggans to take on the Changeling Way before the Shattering. In order to maintain the relationships they had already forged, boggans especially needed protection against the Banality overtaking more and more of the world. While they ventured out to keep an eye on the mortals, they also kept a wary eye on the spread of Banality’s influence, doing their best to understand this strange new threat as well as create and keep alive a travelers’ network to spread news between friendly factions.
While humanity as whole forgot their oaths, promises, and relations with the fae, boggans did their best to preserve some kind of contact. While faith itself could be inspirational and wondrous, all too often the organized institutions that accompanied the rise of the new faiths were used as weapons against those who would not adopt new beliefs or conform to new roles. Combined with a newfound religious fear and distrust of magic influencing mortal culture, as well as the accompanying persecution of the practitioners of the old ways, living amongst mortals was a dangerous prospect.
It was even more confusing and terrifying for the first changelings born of mortal parents and many discovered their fae nature only a short time before having their lives taken for displaying strange talents or uncanny insights. Less for the benefit of the mortals that were turning against them and more for their troubled brethren, boggans frequented mortal towns seeking out any of their own kind, looking to save them from the suffocating grasp of Banality or the deadly fear of their neighbors.
The Middle Ages
A turbulent time in the history of the world, to say nothing of the legends of the Kithain, modern scholars have begun pushing back against the long-held popular notion that the Middle Ages were a time of wide-spread ignorance, superstition, and barbarity before the shining dawn of the Renaissance. Of course, any boggan could have told them so long ago, but some things it’s best for people to work out on their own.
While there certainly were horrors in those days, and the Shattering would soon cast a pall over the time in the eyes of Kithain historians, just as the Black Death did for mortal ones, the Middle Ages had their wonders as well. Boggans savored new spices from the Middle East and north Africa, admired the craftsmanship of exotic goods carried back from far-off Asia, and of course immersed themselves in mortal and Kithain courtly gossip as political intrigue blossomed across Europe and beyond. As homebodies, boggans treasured the rapidly increasing level of connection to faraway lands as a precious gift.
As Banality marched steadily on, freeholds became scarcer, causing many Kithain to flee the world in desperation, while those who remained all too often warred with each other over the precious few places left. Beyond even the Sundering, the Shattering remains the darkest time in the memory of boggans, for while the Sundering divided the mortal Realm and the Dreaming, the Shattering divided the fae themselves. Friends turned against each other and limited resources were divided by favoritism, instead of given to those who would need them most. Anyone sliding into Banality’s grip found themselves a leper among the fae, who often refused to associate with those even barely caught in its grip, for fear of losing themselves as well.
Among groups who had strongholds in the Dreaming and could still access them, leaders would pick their closest friends to hole up inside, and would frequently ask boggans to fill any additional space with the most ‘useful’ individuals. Forced to weigh and measure their companions against each other and decide their fates, a sizable number of boggans did their best to refuse, or nominated candidates who wouldn’t necessarily benefit the group so much as require them to help themselves.
Though they managed mostly only small acts of defiance against the picking and choosing of worth, boggans did their best to ensure the survival of everyone, as opposed to only a select few. As populations divided, those with the resources to survive either demanded unreasonable prices for security, or simply denied others when they had resources to spare simply to secure their own comfort, boggans did everything they could to maintain the comfort of the less fortunate. Staunch champions of the Changeling Way, they did their best to persuade others to consider the option of protecting themselves in the Autumn World, instead of desperately trying to prove their worth to those who considered them lesser.
The Sidhe Retreat
As the sidhe fled to Arcadia, the commoners they left behind galvanized in their abandonment. Though everyone left behind felt the sting of their leaders’ abdication, boggans were among those most personally affected by the mass exodus. Many considered their lords and ladies to be close companions, and were greatly disheartened by the way they tossed their most loyal and devoted aides aside in favor of self-righteous self-preservation.
In the time directly after the sidhe left, boggans found themselves thrust into the spotlight. Commoners looking for sense in the chaos turned to those who knew most about leadership, and boggans, with their natural ability with people and close proximity to the sidhe, were a natural group to turn to. While many demurred, finding more outgoing partners with whom to work, others stepped up to being leaders themselves, organizing the frantic commoners left behind. While others were furious with Houses Liam and Scathach, the boggans turned to the few sidhe who stayed behind, beseeching them to lead as they always had. A number of boggans previously pledged to other Houses converted to better serve their remaining leaders, but the majority chose instead to represent the Houses to which they had originally pledged, to better serve the Kithain who likewise preferred to retain their titles.
While the Compact between the Courts was a practical necessity in the turmoil following the loss of the gateways and trods, it was largely negotiated by boggans in the Seelie Court, usually with their closest Unseelie counterparts, the sluagh. Concerted efforts on both sides allowed the conflict to come to its indefinite suspension, allowing newly minted changelings everywhere the much-needed time to adapt to their new reality; one without the stability they had known before. While the Sundering had brought unease, the Shattering upended life as everyone had known it, leaving changelings nothing to do but pick up the scraps as best as they could and continue on.
The Black Plague
As the fae grew ever more elitist and separatist in the wake of Banality’s spread, swaths of magical populations the world over fended for themselves. As the sidhe departed and left their subjects behind, the darkness of the Autumn World only deepened for fae, changelings, and mortals alike, as the bubonic plague swept the eastern and western worlds. While largely regarded as a broken promise between mortals and the Dreaming, boggan scholars share their opinions in mere whispers, refusing — especially now, with the return of the sidhe who vanished around the time of the plague — to spread their thoughts too widely.
While the Escheat is one of the few fae agreements not backed directly by the Dreaming or enforced by Glamour, such forces occasionally act when its tenets are egregiously broken. It is an agreement between fae, after all, which in and of itself loans the oath significant power.
When the sidhe clamored through the gates first, leaving the commoners they were sworn to protect to fend for themselves and to scramble in chaos as gateways slammed shut, they abandoned their brethren to the Autumn and to Banality, violating one of the tenets only recently laid out. In the wake of their abandoning the Right of Rescue, the Black Plague struck, devastated the population, doing the worst of its damage in under a decade. Some even go so far as to theorize that the Dauntain, who also came of the widespread adoption of the Changeling Way, are an extension of the backlash, a contained chimerical side-effect of the plague that sank deep into fae souls.
The Changeling Way
Among changeling legends are tales of how boggans discovered the solution to the onslaught of Banality. Their mortal friends seemed relatively unfazed by its unrelenting march; certainly, they felt a certain chill when it came near, but not nearly as keenly as the fae. It didn’t take long for the struggling Kithain to turn to what seemed like the most obvious solution: enlist mortals to help shield themselves from the forces that wore them down.
The decision to cloak themselves in mortal flesh was not made lightly, if of necessity, and only after all of their less-invasive ideas had failed. It was an imperfect art to say the least, finding the right method for tying a fae soul to a human body, one that took a good amount of (thankfully harmless) trial and error. Finding the proper way to execute such long-lasting magic required the efforts of many working together to fuel the switch over from fae to changelings.
With their experience dealing with mortals, and their intimate knowledge of how they interacted with the fae and with magic, it was a boggan who cracked the code. Weakened as she was by Banality, it required her entire household to successfully bind her to a mortal form with ancient and long-forgotten Arts. Though the original ritual of the Changeling Way has been lost, scholars studying the process have some theories about its implementation. Some have turned to the study of Time to seek answers, and regard it as the first step to unravelling the process, as it seems to follow the rules of cantrips cast with the realm, resetting and recasting itself with every life cycle.
Once the Shattering barred all access to Arcadia, many theorize the Dreaming itself lent a helping hand, perpetuating the cycle of rebirth as each of a changeling’s lives ended; it’s a widely accepted truth that it must have acted in some way to spread the successful method of the Way across the entire population of fae in a quick and efficient manner
Households & Balefires
As balefires and freeholds slowly faded and died, pockets of fae and changelings drew closer and closer together around the few that were left. Those abandoned in ‘dead’ sections of the Autumn by closing trods could do little more than band together and hunker down wherever they could, carefully guarding what little they had left. Those abandoned by their leaders — or those in the Houses that had sidhe willing to stay behind — fortified whatever remained of their balefires, and maintained the Households as they had always been run.
Though they wouldn’t solidify for a time, those left without their leaders — or who were disgusted by their selfish ways — gathered in motleys. Wherever sidhe were absent, boggans became the organizing forces behind the first mews. These groups, created and governed by commoners alone, became the backbone for changeling society. While usually not the loudest or strongest of a group, changelings newly adopting the Way turned to boggans for their quiet confidence in the face of turmoil, looking to their experience for where to go next.
As changelings everywhere gathered in Households and the early mews, the balefires they huddled around steadied. Though diminished from their initial splendor, their persistence gave hope to the suffering population, who had already seen far too many fires gutter out in the face of Banality.
One of the largest stretches of time in changeling history, the Interregnum marks a period of tenuous hope but wide-spread uncertainty for those related to the fae. Small surges of Glamour began stabilizing the encroaching of Banality, but every time the balance seemed set to tip in Glamour’s favor, some cataclysmic event rocked the Autumn World, sending shockwaves of Banality through changeling communities everywhere. Persisting in the face of wars, depressions, imperialism, and industrialization, boggans continued to be the glue behind the changeling communities. Either working with the remaining leaders from Houses Gwydion and Liam, or heading up commoner communities (or allowing others to take that place), boggans made it their duty to protect anyone awakening in contentious times, foster the Dreamers who kept all changelings alive, and to remind everyone of the dawn that comes after the longest, darkest night.
With the Renaissance came a peculiar time for changelings the world over. While mortals were inspired more than ever, creating some of the most lasting and well-renowned pieces of art even to this day, their source of inspiration was at the time the most banal of them all: religion. Their previously most reliable source of Glamour now inverted against them, empty of anything that could sustain them. The Renaissance was a time of confusion and uncertainty that saw another consolidation of the fae population, as they drew together to fight the endless march of religion and Banality.
Boggans in this period shone behind the laborers tasked with building some of the greatest architectural achievements of the age. Not necessarily motivated by the religious fervor of the time, they nonetheless dedicated themselves to the artistry and complexity of their tasks, finding solutions and developing new techniques to support the grand cathedrals of the time. The indirect connection to religion, as well as the down-to-earth, methodical, and hands-on work of building also made a perfect hotbed for boggans and the number of projects that were completed ahead of schedule is due directly to their influence.
Changelings awakening throughout the Renaissance were especially precious to Kithain everywhere, bringing vital surges in Glamour as they left their Chrysalises. Boggans awakening in this time were quickly taken on as apprentices to master crafters (themselves usually boggans keeping a careful eye out for new changelings), allowing them an outlet for their natural inclinations and helping them avoid persecution for their ‘fantastic’ ways. In turn, the childlings often made incredible breakthroughs designing or building, quickly adopting and adapting the crafts their masters taught them.
Science & Fashion
Though they may not appear to have much in common, boggans gravitated toward both topics during the Renaissance. As science moved forward, new discoveries and methods became viable sources of inspiration, bringing small surges of Glamour into the world and allowing a number of boggans to work closely with their Dreamers. Fashion provided hands-on work and allowed boggans’ natural creativity to flourish. As fashions changed, and the wealthy adorned themselves in ever-more ornate clothing, boggans found a place to shine and flex their skills in their crafts. A bright spot in the otherwise uncertain landscape, any boggans awakening during the Tudor period especially were quickly whisked into apprenticeships as tailors and seamstresses, where they could flourish, and in turn inspire others around them.
Though they may not have known it, nearly every noble house of the time had at least one boggan on retainer to craft their decadent wardrobes. Though they would often share tips and tricks and teach each other new techniques, a number remained in playful competition with each other, seeking to be on the cutting-edge of new trends or produce the most lavish, talked-about outfits.
The blend of science and art delighted a number of changelings during the Renaissance, but the inspiration behind advances in math and science, and the determined study of such subjects as astronomy and alchemy were of most interest to boggans. While nockers to this day appreciate things like da Vinci’s journals, boggans instead keep careful libraries of debunked sciences and theories, still cherishing the time and devotion that went into their study.
Some even continue to carry out experiments, particularly toying with how their magic interacts with alchemy and its contemporary field, chemistry. Working closely with nockers — or as closely as the nockers would allow, anyway — a small group known in Kithain circles as the Philosopher's Society cropped up, seeking a way to transmute or otherwise change the properties of cold iron to render it inert. That no results have been forthcoming for centuries does not deter them; as they’re quick to point out, even a small breakthrough in this area could be revolutionary for the Kithain, and that alone makes it worth pursuing despite seemingly endless dead ends.
The Gutenberg Press
With the invention of printing presses and mass-production of literature, most boggans were torn. On one hand, it led to an increase in literacy and, ultimately, quality of life, as education became more accessible; on the other, the drop in production of such incredible items as illustrated manuscripts and careful calligraphy of hand-written books meant the few that remained were increasingly hoarded in personal collections kept by the wealthy.
Most boggans of the time appreciated the necessary labor and artistry that went into early works from printing presses — mostly careful and laborious woodblock carving — and the physical process of inking, rolling, pressing, and binding that was still necessary for production. Many grew excited with the spread of easily reproduced items of wonder, while still appreciating the innovation that went into the invention and spread of presses in the first place. The perfection of moveable type as a means of improving presses became one of the greatest innovations of the era, spear-headed by the now-famous Gutenberg. While not a boggan, every boggan knew, or knew of, someone who worked with him or knew him while he was working.
An unexpected silver lining of the Gutenberg Bibles was the loosening of the stranglehold of the church. While the texts themselves were obviously religious, their printing in a commonly known language, rather than the traditional and restrictive Latin, allowed the common folk to take their faith into their own hands. No longer needing to rely on the clergy to dictate to the masses, leading eventually to less extreme practices and the waning of persecution as time went on, allowing changelings the world over to breathe a collective sigh of relief. As printing became more wide-spread, it was also a perfect go-to for boggans, who enjoyed the quiet bustle of a printer’s workshop and the attention to detail that came with setting type for print.
Connecting With Dreamers
Once trapped forever in the flesh and blood of mortals, changelings needed a way to adapt and regain the Glamour that maintained their existence. The way boggans tell it, they were the first ones to discover how they could use the minds of mortals in order to fuel their faerie halves. Their long history of engaging with mortals gave them plenty of insight into the way they worked, and the way the dreams of humanity had a way of shaping the chimerical space around them.
Ensconced in mortal bodies, boggans strove to maintain themselves and their collective identity. They drew together, inviting their new changeling brethren to stay with them while the Kithain worked to find their new place in the world. Wherever boggans established themselves, Kithain were welcome to stop in and stay when they needed support, advice, or simply some time around others like them. They carried bits and pieces of their lives with them, the scraps of Glamour and dross they could gather, and left what they could as way of thanks.
In time, as the Kithain made connections with mortals, they would bring their friends with them when they stopped in, and word began to spread; all manner of travelers knew they could find solace in the homes that displayed the symbol of the bumblebee.
As boggan households grew into bustling inns, more and more craftsmen found themselves drawn to a boggan’s hearth, instead of a standard inn. Aside from being welcoming, staying within a boggan household often meant their work would be appraised and appreciated, or that they would pick up a helpful hint or two during their stay. Even though their hosts demanded no payment, they would often leave pieces behind as tokens of appreciation. As they passed through the same towns and cities again and again, they would bring raw materials, finding their favorite place to stay was often where they would be struck by the most vivid inspiration.
The story goes that one night, a weary woodcarver arrived on the doorstep of just one such boggan’s home. It was a place he had visited a number of times before, enough that he had befriended the old woman that opened her home to any weary traveler. Despite the late hour, he found her awake, and before he settled in for the night, the two shared a late meal.
Despite his exhaustion, as the two talked late into the night, he found his hands itching to work. The longer they talked, the clearer his idea grew. When they finally parted, he stayed up until the early hours of dawn, feverishly coaxing the form in his head out of the wood. He managed to finish in a single night what should have taken him days, and in the morning he proudly showed off his work to the old woman.
To her surprise, it overflowed with Glamour, which still clung to him. He professed that their conversation had led him to such work, and that he had hardly ever felt as driven to create as he had that night, and so, the first Dreamer was inspired to Reverie.
Each time he returned, he created something new after they spoke. She told the story to every changeling who passed through her door, asking the piskies and the eshu to tell the tale far and wide, the sluagh to whisper it into their dark corners, the clurichauns and satyrs to proclaim it to whomever they met. It became common knowledge that mortals, after making connections with Kithain, could create the Glamour that would sustain changelings in those uncertain times.
There are few things boggans enjoy more than sharing stories and creature comforts, and as such, it’s with anguish that they watch the fall of one culture to another’s grasping hands. Upending someone’s entire life, first with conflict and then by forcing them to live in an entirely new and confusing way, cuts deep into the soul of any boggan; thus, ages of conquest are uneasy for the group as a whole. Throughout the many periods where empires extended their reach, boggans were at the forefront of preserving cultures, either digging their heels in with their mortal community to maintain their own ways, or working with the overtaken group to ensure their customs would survive, if only in furtive whispers and clandestine gatherings.
Where conquerors would take artifacts or items to keep in a personal collection, boggans would seek to return such items to their rightful owners; where mortal scholars would record their own opinions formed by observation of the community, boggans sought to understand the ‘alien’ practices of other cultures. Anthropology remains to this day a popular field of study among the more outgoing and adventurous boggans, as they strive to better relate to those around them. Preferring cultural exchange to homogenization, they enjoy respectfully learning about diverse cultures and their habits and customs. Not only does it make them a better host to a wider audience, it can also, on occasion, pull up memories from their fae soul’s earlier incarnations and reconnect them to old friends.
Indeed, the general cheerful willingness of boggans to experiment with new practices and incorporate parts of new cultures often surprises more adventurous kith such as eshu or satyrs, who assume that boggans’ homebody nature means they must also be provincial in their outlook as well. For their part, boggans simply maintain that an open door is a sign of an open mind, and their homes are more or less always open.
The Industrial Revolution
Though it had its shining moments, the industrial revolution struck terror into the hearts of Kithain everywhere. Metal objects produced easily on a massive scale brought some to hysterics, certain that humanity would manage to create and mass-produce cold iron. Though such fears proved unfounded, another more insidious threat soon emerged: the death of so-called cottage industry and the skilled individual craftsmen who comprised its labor force.
Perhaps no one felt this tragedy more closely than boggans. The kith was torn. On the one hand, factories made it possible to increase the production of necessary goods and drive down prices on certain essentials. Industry was often quite ingenious in itself, with inspired inventors creating amazing new machines and processes to deliver ever more fantastic inventions for the ease and comfort of modern life.
On the other, however, the repetitive factory work and miserable conditions that often accompanied it were abhorrent, not just maiming and killing workers but often crushing their dreams through the sheer, monotonous Banality of never-ending labor and cruelty. For boggans, they watched their dream of happy productivity warped into a nightmare, and they fought hard against it by advocating for labor laws and safety standards that protected the workers. It was a brutal and often disheartening struggle, pitting masses of laborers against wealthy owners and private armies, often including redcaps, hired to break strikes and prevent workers from organizing. Those who spoke out could be arrested, blacklisted, driven out of town, or labeled as dangerous subversives, and were routinely subjected to violence.
Boggans are nothing if not persistent, however, and pushed ceaselessly both publicly and privately for reform, not to mention acting as organizers and offering shelter and comfort for activists on the run from owners and corrupt authorities. It is a battle that many of this kith are still fighting, in fact, as the modern world has by no means become a beacon of perfect labor practices. No matter what, however, boggans will keep fighting, because beyond the politics and figures of any given moment, at the core of the labor movement is a truth that resonates deep in the collective soul of the kith: No one should ever be compelled against their will to work, and those who work should be fairly compensated and fairly treated for their labor.
It is likely to be a cause without end; merely discovering more battlegrounds and more battles to fight on them, but boggans take it in stride. They understand better than most that many things in life are not about achieving some fabled ultimate victory, but more about taking those wins you can get while doing your best to minimize the impact of the losses that inevitably stack up.
Indentured Servitude, Serfs, & Slavery
Human history is no stranger to backbreaking labor, repetitive tasks, and unpleasant but necessary jobs. Unfortunately for most of its history, and even into the present day, exploited parties do a great deal of this labor. While it’s easy to write off boggans as the patron saints of such underprivileged individuals, boggans were often at the forefront of movements to liberate those ‘owned’ by others. They also fought to improve the lifestyles of those either locked in oppressive caste systems or victims of governments that perpetually disenfranchise certain populations. Nowadays, boggans seek to be the best allies and activists they can, but usually avoid being the center of attention. Most often they organize events, finding the best avenues and most appropriate voices to convey the messages of whatever inequalities still persist.
The Women's Movement
Every kith has their causes. While boggans are known for working quietly behind the scenes when it comes to social reform, there are still causes that will get them out into the streets and protesting with a voice to make any revolutionary proud. One is the labor movement and related causes such as ending slavery and human trafficking. Just as dear to boggan hearts, however, is the cause of women’s rights.
The Kithain have a long history of pushing for women’s rights, a natural outgrowth of the tendency of changeling women to be attacked throughout history as witches and monsters because of their strange gifts and strong wills, and facing prejudice and violence as a result. The cause is especially dear to boggans, however, since they were acutely aware of the hardships and tribulations that women suffered given that their strong ties to home and hearth. While Boggans did not and still do not view these facets of life as being exclusively feminine, the mortal cultures around them are typically far less enlightened. Boggans witnessed the results of this pigeonholing firsthand and regularly pushed for reforms, not to mention saw to it that tyrants and abusers were shamed and undermined whenever possible. Even if it was unlikely that actual laws would change, they reasoned, that didn’t mean social pressure couldn’t achieve many of the same results, and failing that, there were always other ways to try to balance the scales.
As mass-organized social and political movements began to take on their modern form and importance, boggans saw their chance to finally push for genuine legal and cultural reform in the area of women’s rights. Instead of the mixed bag of freedoms that existed in many nations where boggans lived, they could push for more universal reforms and hold every country to the same standards. It was a risky and often unpopular proposition, but they could see that its time had come, so the kith collectively threw everything they had into it. Untold favors, some several lifetimes old, were cashed in, and whole networks of boggans organized and energized their fellow Kithain, their Kinain relatives, and anyone else they could recruit to the cause.
Even then, reform did not happen overnight, nor did it sweep as one great wave around the world as they might have hoped. But victories were achieved that had been unthinkable in the past, which paved the way for greater equality and further reforms down the road.
Though it surprises some who view them as, by nature, a more conservative kith, boggans tend to be staunch proponents of feminism as well. For millennia they saw all too clearly how both men and women were stifled by being restricted to the banality of set roles rather than allowed to pursue their passions, and as a result they firmly believe in legal and cultural equality so that everyone could pursue the kind of work that they were truly born to undertake.
After two world wars, compounded by the horror of nuclear devastation and the ensuing Cold War, many Kithain began to worry that the Autumn World really might be coming to an end. For the first time in history, humanity held the means to destroy itself in one horrifying exchange, and changelings could only watch in horror as the threat of nuclear holocaust warped and twisted the minds of Dreamers all over the world. Rather than give in, though, the Kithain rallied, determined to turn humanity away from the darkness that threatened to consume the world.
Boggans made their mark — perhaps too strongly, some kith scholars have noted ruefully — in the culture by working hard to promote so-called “nuclear families”. Although mortal society insisted on saddling the arrangement with increasingly outdated gender roles, the emphasis on family and togetherness was nevertheless one big way boggans pushed back against the specter of annihilation. In their eyes, recognition of family and community grounded people and reminded them that they weren’t facing the horrors of the world alone. It also served to remind decision-makers on both sides of the Cold War that the people they too often saw as implacable, inhuman monsters were really just people with families and dreams not unlike their own.
This kith also flourished in the post-war ‘can-do’ spirit found in the middle of the twentieth century, in everything from scientific innovation — you didn’t hear it from me, but punch card computers develop a lot more quickly when it only takes a third of the time to make the cards — to the explosion of handicrafts as hobbyist culture and social activity. Though the shadow of the military-industrial complex loomed over many industries and even some leisure activities throughout this period, boggans worked steadily to keep innovation and industry in the light as much as possible. They may not have been involved with the growing counter-culture as some other kiths were, but even beatniks and hippies need a place to crash, and once again boggans became the ‘den mothers’ of their more openly rebellious friends. Their support wasn’t as glamorous, perhaps, but allowed the arts to flourish and the social movements to keep going.
Return of the Sidhe
The return of the sidhe and the resulting surge in power and prominence of the noble houses was a double-edged sword for many Kithain, but few other than the trolls really understood the impact on society as well as boggans did. Sure, some sidhe had remained behind, for which boggans give them great credit and greater loyalty, but they were always relatively few in number. Which meant the reality was that trolls and boggans most often ran Kithain society, in function if not in title. Trolls took up most of the leadership, planning, and public-facing roles the sidhe had occupied, while boggans worked behind the scenes to keep communities together and run the necessary day-to-day operations that kept Dreamers dreaming and balefires burning.
So, when the sidhe returned and demanded what amounted to the restoration of everything they had left behind, boggans balked. They did their best to welcome and acknowledge these new arrivals, but there are few things that sour boggans on someone faster than that person demanding a reward they have not earned. Even when the newcomers made some appreciative noises to the trolls and the sidhe of House Scathach for keeping things up while they were away, they generally overlooked the contributions of boggans and other common kiths entirely. That would be bad enough, but it also wasn’t hard to read between the lines of what the sidhe were saying and find their true meaning: Your betters have arrived, so step aside, be quiet, and do as you’re told.
For the first time in their history, boggans were split on whether they should respect the nobility the Dreaming urged them to recognize. Some did, of course, with fervor, believing the sidhe to be saviors who heralded a new Spring, but most of the kith reserved their judgment. It simply did not sit right with them that, after centuries of labor and sacrifice and shared pain, these strangers would waltz in and take over. It made it even worse that they seemed to expect everyone to ignore the fact that they had slammed the gates of Arcadia behind them when they had fled.
Other kiths soon picked up on this unusual uncertainty and used it to fan the flames of resistance; after all, if a more conservative and loyal kith like the boggans aren’t on board with the new nobility, how great could the sidhe really be? Most boggans tried to downplay this initial reluctance, writing it off as the shock of the arrival, but it was a transparent ruse at best. Truthfully, they didn’t know what to do, and that meant upheaval was inevitable.
The Accordance War
Bring up the topic of the Accordance War, and most boggans just turn pale and sorrowful and shake their heads. Even those who didn’t live through that awful time have heard the tales from the other boggans in their circles. While this kith doesn’t lack for heart when called upon, open warfare has never set well with them. To make matters worse, the Accordance War brought back vivid and terrible memories of the chaos of the Shattering, when the fae tore each other apart. War is terrible enough on its own; when it pits family against each other that is beyond what this kindhearted kith can bear.
Boggans also found themselves in a highly uncomfortable and often untenable position as the Accordance War began; as perhaps one of the most quintessentially “commoner” of the commoner kiths, they felt obligated to speak up for the communities they had built, cherished, and shepherded during the long absence of the nobility. At the same time, the principle of goodly service runs deep in this kith, and given the natural tendency of boggans to follow the notion of “a place for everything and everything in its place” as a community-sustaining mantra, it is hard to argue against the natural leadership of the sidhe. After all, the Dreaming seemed to back their claims, and much as they might dislike the arrogance of these new arrivals that simply could not be ignored.
This meant that many boggans found themselves in the unpleasant position of arguing for commoner rights and the cause of the commoner nobility to the returning sidhe, while at the same time making a case for recognizing the status of those same exiled sidhe to skeptical or downright hostile freeholds full of scared and angry commoners. Finding the good in everyone and always seeking common ground between feuding parties are noble traits and natural talents for boggans, but as the tensions and later violence escalated, all too often this approach backfired. Boggans found themselves isolated and distrusted by both sides, and few things wound this kith more deeply than being distrusted by those they care about.
Although boggans are sometimes viewed as brown-nosers by their fellow commoners due to their general willingness to swear fealty and follow orders in the wake of the Accordance War, for boggans it’s not a question of kissing up or lacking spine. It’s simply a recognition that everything works best when the entire system is functioning at its peak capacity, and everyone is where they can do the most good. The sidhe are made to take charge, anyone who’s met one can see it, so why not acknowledge that and let them do what they do best? Besides, boggans are champions of changing systems from within, so why not bend the knee if it means being close enough to those in power to produce real change?
The New Camelot
The rise and subsequent early rule of Concordia’s own High King David Ardry ap Gwydion has turned into a lesson in both the strengths and weaknesses of this philosophy. When David first took the throne, Caliburn in hand, most boggans honestly breathed a sigh of relief. Those who didn’t like him still admitted that the young king seemed to have both a good heart and a good head on his shoulders. His early actions to mend fences and foster healing between previously warring factions certainly went a long way to win even the most reluctant boggans over, and a large number of their kith gladly swore fealty to the High King and his nobility.
For a time, it seemed like the fantasy of a true Good King who would rule wisely and well was actually coming to life. Concordia was no flawless paradise, of course, but under High King David — and with the quiet aid of quite a few boggan servants and seneschals — there were real reforms that enshrined certain commoner rights, which was no easy feat after the bitterness of the war. These changes were echoed in courts around the world, and it even seemed that his reign would have a classic love story as well, something this diehard romantic kith always celebrates.
War in Concordia & the Aftermath
The trouble with chasing a dream of Camelot, however, is that even in its own legends, Camelot always falls. Over time, David's court grew increasingly fraught with paranoia and politicking as true believers were forced out and opportunists came to the fore, and David himself disappeared for a time, only to return in grand fashion. The euphoria of his return was short-lived, however, as High King David’s response to the mounting evidence of coming Winter and discontent among his subjects has been to spend increasingly more time in freeholds, putting him both literally and figuratively out of touch with reality. This has been a source of alternating denial, sorrow, frustration, and mounting terror in the boggan community. They are watching their beloved monarch collapse, with the kingdom showing increasing signs of stress and tension as a result, but they have no idea what to do about it. Boggans excel at quiet suggestions, confidential conversations, polite proposals, and when called for, some exceedingly discrete subterfuge and sabotage, but what good are those tools when a monarch not only won’t listen but can’t even hear them through his fantasies anymore?
Since the turn of the millennium, the Kithain have felt the currents of the Dreaming changing course yet again. A time of great promise and wonder — the literal dawning of a new age — was quickly plunged into chaos and uncertainty. Fear arose as the predominant emotion of this era; whether it was fear of war, or terrorism, or plague, or environmental collapse, it seemed like terror’s icy grip only grew tighter with every news story.
Faced with dwindling Glamour and guttering balefires, boggans once again turned to the mortals they cherished to help them find a way to pull both humanity and the Kithain back from the brink, not of nuclear holocaust, but simply drowning in their own bad dreams.
Rise of the Internet
With the rise of the internet, people could connect with one another in unprecedented ways, something the internet continues to improve and refine even today. Though some entered the digital age with trepidation, for changelings of all kinds, the worldwide web brought with it a rush of Glamour. A scientific and technological breakthrough on such a scale wasn’t quite comparable to the moon landing that sparked the Resurgence, but has remained a stronger influence over time.
While the applications for business, commerce, and spread of information were impressive, it was the social aspect that most drew the attention of boggans. Touching base with friends, family, and acquaintances; finding communities; and bringing people together from across the earth was something of a minor miracle, one that boggans rejoiced in and embraced. Many quickly became leaders of digital communities, hosting fan sites, moderating forum boards, nurturing the communities and friends they found online, and making the flat white glare of a computer screen just a little warmer. To this day, they run the friendliest of gaming guilds, trendiest self-care blogs, and generate all manner of tutorials and tips, shared in every format online to foster the creativity of others.
The rare Unseelie boggan is the kind to wield the anonymity of the internet with laser precision, enacting their personal brand of vigilante justice on those who prefer to tear down others and torment undeserving targets. While they can’t — and don’t — deny the existence of darker places on the web, Seelie boggans do what they can to thwart or subvert the aggressive and harmful actions of others within their own communities. Many do their best to shine a light into the darkest areas, scattering their inhabitants like roaches. The favorite weapon in boggan communities is a plea to TOS violations, using explicitly stated company standards against users to get actively hurtful sites taken down and harmful members of communities banned, while keeping themselves and their friends and followers out of direct conflict.
It’s worth noting that like many modern individuals, boggans have a bit of a love/hate relationship with social media. Now that so many exchanges take place online it can be very frustrating for these observant kith when they’re unable to apply their Social Dynamics to online communities and interactions. Though a rare few seem to be adapting to this new reality; without it they feel like they’re “flying blind” in online conversations. At the same time, well, the potential for gossip and conversation is essentially limitless, and that’s often too much of a temptation to give up. With that in mind, it’s not uncommon for boggans to be the sort of people who dive into online life, spend a great deal of time in it, get overwhelmed, swear they’re going to delete the social media apps from their phone, do exactly that, and then hastily re-install the same apps a few days later after finding out they missed a juicy exchange or an epic meltdown.
Oh, reports of Honeycombr, a boggan-exclusive, invite-only private messaging app visible only to enchanted eyes are, of course, just scurrilous gossip. And if it did exist, you’ve definitely never been mentioned on it. (Well, maybe once). If it existed. Which it certainly doesn’t. That you know of, anyway. Ahem. Need an invite?
As far as boggans are concerned, one of the most exciting developments in recent history is the rise of crowdsourcing. While the actual practice of gathering a community to support someone or pull off a feat too big for a single person to accomplish is certainly not new: boggans point to everything from megalithic structures to Amish barn-raisings as proof, the jolt of fresh interest and capability it has received in recent years makes them giddy. Boggans work well as teams and have always been fans of pulling a community together to help, not to mention helping others realize their dreams, so these platforms are a natural fit for them.
There’s even talk of starting a Kithain-oriented crowdfunding service to help struggling changelings get back on their feet or fund a dream project, though it’s currently still just an idea kicking around in the boggan community. If it takes off, though, it could change both fae and mortal society in a big way. Putting money and magic and a lot of hard work together in one place, along with some of the most team-minded enchanted beings on the planet? Yeah, you’d better believe that will shake things up.
The Dark Web
On the other side of the internet coin sits the Dark Web, the criminal underbelly of the digital community. Most don’t venture here, and few boggans can even stomach the thought of it. Those who take the plunge do so as a way to protect others. Boggans sifting through the worst humanity has to offer do so most often as part of law enforcement jobs, combining their fae compulsion to comfort and protect with a mortal career that allows them to do the same. Championing the idea that Unseelie doesn’t always equal bad, it’s usually members of the darker court that are willing to wade through the unsavory offerings of the dark web in order to bust human trafficking rings, child pornography distributors, and predators of all stripes. While they rarely interact with any perpetrators, any task force with a boggan on board always has the best contacts to assess and rehabilitate victims of trafficking schemes and other crimes; usually, of course, due to other boggans in therapeutic professions.
Where We Are Now
Although the Evanescence did not begin as anyone might have hoped for, boggans refuse to give up on it just as they refused to give up in the face of every other momentous shift in Kithain history. Trolls and sidhe may have held the titles when trouble arose but boggans were the ones who actually held the community together. Just because the definition of community is shifting along with the currents of society, doesn’t mean boggans won’t stick it out and set up shop wherever it takes them.
Obviously not opposed to pursuing creative endeavors, and even profiting from using creative skills, boggans the world over stand united in staunch opposition to one increasingly common practice in a number of fields: mandatory crunch. While they aren’t strangers to losing themselves down the rabbit hole of a project, they believe that enthusiasm should drive any such endeavors, not the looming specter of unemployment or punitive action. Expecting employees to put in eighty to ninety-hour work weeks, sleep at their desks, and otherwise deprive themselves of healthy living in the name of ‘crunch time’ flies in the very face of what boggans hold most dear: comfort, relaxation, and the satisfaction of a job well done.
To a boggan, work completed under ‘crunch’ feels hollow and melancholy, especially because most often, there isn’t even the catharsis of having finished the project after such toil. They point most venomously at the video game industry, where ‘good enough’ products are shuffled off on an intended release date and frequently patched, overhauled, or otherwise fixed later. Creating so much undue stress and strife in the lives of employees just to deliver a subpar product is appalling to boggans, and any who managed to survive the surprising Banality of the industry become champions for changing the practice.
Most boggans are happier busying themselves with smaller, independent projects that allow for more creative risks than most large companies are willing to take, and usually have more humane working conditions. Nevertheless, they don’t shy from helping their brethren upturn the expectations of the larger companies, either directly or by using their portfolios as proof of concept that such practices are cruel and unnecessary. Hard work is one thing; working too hard, under duress, is another entirely, and something they simply can’t abide by.
While some Kithain search for a way back to Arcadia despite tales of its fall, and others research some eldritch rite or long-lost treasure they believe will turn back the tide of Banality and save the Autumn world, boggans as a whole have a much simpler plan: Believe in people again.
Specifically, they look at the rising tide of maker culture, DIY instructionals, handicraft sites, and other personal creative outlets and see a world where anyone can learn to make almost anything they want, and where artisans can get tips from the masters, advice from their peers, and feedback from fans all without leaving their workshop. They see the cottage industry they loved so much returning in force, reforged in digital fire, and are doing all they can to encourage it to grow in healthy and productive ways. They don’t need to dream of this world, either; it’s already taking shape, and its rise has given boggans a burst of Glamour and hopeful energy.
This cultural trend goes beyond the sale of homemade goods and the creation of video tutorials. Those are nice, but ultimately they’re just the outward expressions of what’s really going on: humanity is awakening from the sleep of relying solely on mass production and remembering its own individual creative power once more. In a world where anyone can write or draw or craft with their own two hands, find an audience to appreciate their work, as well as possibly even a means to support themselves doing it, people have mastery over their own creative destinies again and that’s worth fighting for.
Of course, boggans aren’t blind to the risks of maker culture, and some less savory members of the kith are already scheming about ways to turn it to their advantage. There are very real dangers in giving everyone the means to produce most anything their heart desires, and much as it pains them to admit it, they know it will be used for evil at times. And so boggans fight to keep it as positive as possible, because they truly believe that people are basically good by nature. Plus they believe that if goodness is fostered and encouraged, it will win out over wickedness.
Others may laugh and call them naïve or soft-hearted, tell them they’re wasting their time betting on arts and crafts to save the world, but boggans don’t mind. They know the best and oldest magic is right there in the home. Let everyone else run around hunting for glory and salvation in grand and flashy quests. After all, boggans do their best work when nobody’s watching.
Society and Culture
Boggans are the normal folk of the magical world. To others, boggans are like background characters. They’re the townsfolk who cheer when the hero arrives; the shopkeep at the store where adventurers buy their questing provisions. You see them everywhere, but you usually don’t really see them, because such folk are just part of the scenery; the background to triumph.
Boggans are among the most common kith because their dream is universal. Every time a weary jet-setter stares blearily at airport departures and thinks of her family, every time an introvert closes the door behind her and sighs with delight, every time a homesick child cries, the part of the Dreaming that fosters boggans grows stronger.
And like so many common things, boggans tend to be undervalued. What boring dreams! You could be a dream of exploration, glory, or mystery. Why be a dream of something as dull and normal as a home? As a hearth? But to travel, you must have a home to return to. To fight, you must have something worth fighting for. The very essence of mystery is bound up in its contrast to the familiar. People understand that boggans are the very essence of the common folk. They do not understand boggans are fundamental. When humanity shivered in shadows cast by the dawn of civilization, their first dreams were very simple ones. Warmth. Shelter. Enough to eat. Company they could trust. Everything else is built upon that.
Just as their dream supports all other dreams, the boggans themselves support all of changeling society. They do the basic but essential craftwork that nockers disdain. They perform the constant emotional labor of empathy. They feed everyone, from the tiniest sparrow pooka, to the most massive troll. They make the beds that weary changelings return to after long days full of adventure. They make homes.
Every refugee knows: you can’t understand how important your home is until you lose it. It is the sacred mission of every boggan to make sure their family and friends never need suffer that harsh realization.
Boggans are found throughout Kithain society, in commoner motleys and noble households and hermit cottages at the edge of the woods; they are the essential foundation that supports everything else. Their professions are innumerable, but most boggans are drawn to roles that fall into one of four categories.
There are the homemakers — boggans who take administrative positions and organize the daily affairs of a household or organization. They can manage something as large as a duchy, or as small as a café. Normal housewives and househusbands fall into this category, but also innkeepers, hotel managers, restaurant owners, and stewards of freeholds. While the places these boggans manage don’t necessarily fall into the category of ‘home’, the name endures because any place a boggan invests time and effort in tends to start feeling like a home.
There are the crafters — boggans who specialize in creating some sort of product. Expert cobblers and neighborhood bakers. They compete directly with nockers in this vocation, but the differences between the kiths are many. Boggans are more practical that nockers in their vocations, and usually more devoted to one craft rather than a dabbling in a range of interests. Also their products tend to, you know, reliably work.
There are the servants — boggans who specialize in performing services. The loyal squire to a knight errant. The personal chef who sweeps in in the wake of culinary disaster and saves Thanksgiving. The empathetic psychologist who understands you better than you understand yourself. There can be boggans in the service industry who cater to society in general, like a cleaning service or repair person. Or they can dedicate themselves to a particular person or group. Such servants, as a group, are not particularly servile, and tend to be picky about the customers/masters to whom they devote their time and effort. They, more than any other group, require gratitude and appreciation for their work and are quick to remove themselves from situations where they are taken for granted.
And lastly there are the hermits — boggans who choose solitary labor and secluded homes. The strange old woman in the woods who keeps an herb garden like a jungle and cooks the most amazing gingerbread that only the bravest children sample. The man who keeps a lighthouse lit through any storm to guide ships and dreamers safely home. Hermits tend to serve a higher purpose rather than a person. The work they dedicate themselves to can be both important and difficult to understand. They are often the most eccentric members of the kith. Many blame this on their solitude, observing that to be alone is an unnatural state for a people who empathize so easily and thrive on gossip. Hermits pay this observation no mind. They know themselves, and that is enough.
From Knitting Circles to Communes
Boggans are by nature a highly social kith, both among their own kind as well as those around them. They love to talk as they toil, and firmly believe that many hands makes light work, not to mention that the more mouths there are around the more likely you are to hear an interesting tidbit of gossip. They are also blessed by their birthright to be expert social engineers, so it’s no surprise that boggans come together to work and play in a number of different and practical configurations.
A popular form of casual motley is called a knitting circle. Groups of boggans come together to accomplish some task, but the task is really just something to occupy their hands while they do the real work: sharing gossip. Despite the name, these circles don’t necessarily involve knitting. They can just as easily focus on whittling or car repair. Younger, more tech-savvy boggans often enjoy circling up in hackerspaces to talk over half-assembled desktop computers.
Knitting circles are loose and welcoming. Members can change from week to week, and newcomers are cherished as fresh sources of news. That being said, it can be difficult for outsiders, particularly non-boggans, to understand everything that goes on in a circle. Below the surface level conversation there is a language of subtle social cues that boggans read easily due to their birthright, but can be incomprehensible to others. Half of the information exchanged in these meetings is communicated over this channel — often the more interesting half.
As complex as they can be, knitting circles are casual recreation. When a group of boggans really want to get something done, they will take on the roles of a chef and her staff. The high-stress environment of a professional kitchen is a crucible that requires discipline and coordination. Boggans emulate a kitchen staff’s formation when they want to bring the full force of their coordinated work ethic down on important matters, like warfare or home renovation.
The chef is the de facto leader of the crew. Their word is law. They assign all other responsibilities and are the final arbiter of all difficult decisions. The sous chef is the chef’s second-in-command, in charge when the chef is not around to decide. The crew itself is divided into smaller groups called lines: named for whatever responsibility or specialty they cover.
Small crews with only one line are called squads. They are still led by chefs, but come together for one very specific purpose. There are birthday squads for when boggans suddenly realize someone is having a birthday and need to whip up a celebration in short order. Flu squads visit the ill with medicine, hot drinks, and blankets and sanitize all doorknobs before they leave. Forgotten anniversary squads descend deus ex machina style with flowers, poetry, and candles to save the night from hurt feelings.
Moving on to more permanent kinds of groups, all-boggan freeholds are relatively common because they tend to cooperate and live together easily and with more stability than many other kiths. A freehold can easily have too large a population of pooka, or one more redcap than is truly comfortable, but never enough boggans. Such boggan holdings have a long history, dating back to the Shattering when refugees from broken noble houses clustered together in panic and despair and carved out new homes despite their loss.
All-boggan motleys or freeholds are often called communes. Boggans have been interested in, and in many instances instinctively manifesting, socialism long before its modern definition coalesced in the 1860s. During the Interregnum it became a commonly accepted way for many commoner outposts to organize themselves, prompting many boggans, particularly members of the Shadow Court, to respond to the Resurgence with the question: “Why exactly do we need monarchy again?”
Boggan communes work very well. They lack the common problem of certain members not pulling their weight. They often have the more unique problem of certain members infringing on the responsibilities of others. There have been known to be fights over certain busybodies doing the dishes when it wasn’t their turn.
However stable they might normally be, communes, crews, and knitting circles, are perpetually haunted by potential disaster. A cataclysmic event that can be as ruinous as a hurricane to the stability of a household. This sword of Damocles that hangs over any group that contains an excess of boggans is called a Gossip Implosion.
Gratitude is the first great unspecified payment that boggans expect for their work; it doesn’t have to be tremendous, just some acknowledgment of their efforts. However, juicy bits of gossip are definitely the second.
Boggan interest in gossip is a natural consequence of their interest in people. They understand how people tick and how groups interact, so seeing the daily drama of emotions play out is endlessly interesting. Whether taking part themselves or simply observing, boggans just can’t get enough of the details of others’ lives.
Their professions give them incidental opportunity to gather gossip. A lot of conversation happens over meals and in rooms that sharp-eared servants have many excuses to wander in and out of. And their ability to understand the nuances of social relations let them pick up more information from these conversations than other idle observes. Even Seelie gossips rarely independently check their information before excitedly reporting it to others, trusting their ability to read others as enough evidence of truth (if truth is required).
Boggans can take advantage of the “I’m just scenery” aspect of being a servant or helper to blend into be background while people around them discuss important things. This tactic works better with mortals or Prodigals, though, since the boggan reputation as gossip-mongers is widespread and so Kithain with information worth having check specifically for members of this gabbing kith before opening their mouths. Also, a boggan’s enthusiasm for eavesdropping can get in the way of their efficacy of their duties. When you’re trying to listen in on a conversation and end up leaning between the two speakers to catch every detail, plausible dependability is hard to maintain.
Seelie boggan gossip is generally well-meaning, though that does not mean it is always harmless. They tend towards positive subjects, delighting in news of births, impending marriages, promotions, courtly rumors, and birthdays. Birthdays are very particular for boggans — the one thing they are always careful to get accurate. Newly arriving boggans often receive an information dump upon arrival and it always contains a comprehensive list of the birthdays of every inhabitant; the newcomer is expected to update it with their own and the birthdays of their companions.
Stereotypes to the contrary, Unseelie boggans are not careless scandalmongers. In fact, if anything, they are sometimes more careful than their Seelie kin, although it’s less from a desire to avoid harm than a desire to use the gossip they know to get exactly what they want. Whether that means a quid pro quo exchange of information, a favor to be named later, or simply to cause problems for those they dislike, Unseelie boggans are well aware of how to use information
Boggans of both courts can also be seduced by scandal, and a really juicy secret is one thing that can cause these normally calm fae to lose their composure. Seelie boggans do try to be discreet about harmful gossip, while Unseelie boggans use it to get leverage, but everyone has difficulty resisting spreading such interesting rumors. Sluagh disdain Boggan attempts at whispering, seeing them as clumsy and obvious compared to their rarified circles, though they will still sift boggan gossip for useful information from time to time.
Most boggan communities maintain a stable economy of gossip, but sometimes dangerous incidents called Gossip Implosions can still happen, especially in crowded territories. Gossip Implosions are difficult to anticipate and tend to start small, with a few misunderstandings and hurt feelings. They end up with people gossiping about someone gossiping about someone else’s gossip, friendships ending, and open combat between pantry and scullery. Matters can escalate rapidly as dirty laundry and embarrassing secrets long withheld get dug up and put into play as different sides trade shots, and the results are devastating not just to the boggans involved but others drawn in by the rumors and gossip being shared.
It is difficult to end a Gossip Implosion because it quickly becomes impossible to discern what the actual problem is. It’s a ‘he said, she said, he said she said, she said to him, but he said to that other her’, and by the time it’s rolling everyone has forgotten the original incident, and it really doesn’t matter anymore. Wise stewards keep an eye out for snarls of confusing and emotionally hurtful gossip in their keeps and head off implosions by getting the upset parties together in a room to talk things out directly. The best, possibly only, way to stop an implosion is to catch it early.
According to kith legend, in fact, Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing was actually a true story. Every character was a boggan, except for Don Pedro, who is remembered with honor as one of the few sidhe to successfully guide a boggan Gossip Implosion to a happy conclusion. Does that mean Shakespeare was one of the fae? Well, it depends on who you ask, but according to rumor...
Most boggan traditions center on celebrating the home, building community, and getting things done. They tend to have useful, often edible, byproducts and have a prominent social aspect; while they may not be the glittering affairs of the sidhe and their courts, unless it’s a boggans-only affair, other kith know it will always be worthwhile to drop in for the good drink, great food, and even better conversation.
This kith is so essential to the functioning of other Kithain organizations that they derive most of their ideas of status from them. Even Unseelie boggans honor the notion of the nobility, recognizing knights and bowing to ladies. Though whether they truly respect those individuals is a matter to be discussed behind closed scullery doors, they still respect the title itself.
Boggans seldom chase noble titles. Gratitude is all well and good, but beyond that recognition is secondary to getting the job done well, and sometimes even to be avoided as a distraction. Grand titles tend to bring with them busywork and pointless distractions that only get in the way of real work, and there is a special honor to anonymity that most nobles don’t seem to understand. After all, anyone can work hard if they will be rewarded on a big stage for an adoring crowd; it takes a different type of spirit to work hard for little more than a job well done and a grateful smile.
Status within the kith is not a formal thing, but everyone has a reputation that is kept updated in the endlessly cycling network of boggan gossip. Those who regularly contribute useful labor or entertaining gossip earn regard, while others who take more than they give suffer in the eyes of their peers. Recognition in this arena is less related to the particular nature of the work being done and more related to the apparent dedication of the worker. The rumor that one is a good worker is the highest praise and will be reliably carried far and wide by kith proclivities.
Of course it can be hard to measure dedication. This occasionally leads to boggans pursuing busywork: pointless activities accomplished with the goal of looking busy rather than getting things done. Busywork is not true work as it lacks purpose, and it’s a great embarrassment to a boggan to be exposed as a busyworker. Chronic busyworkers have earned the derisive nickname of ‘blind bees’: boggans who have lost sense of purpose.
The boggan kith’s ability to empathize and natural desire to help makes them amazing at various forms of emotional labor. They are extremely good at seeing themselves in others, understanding what people are going through, and discerning how best to be supportive. They are active listeners who look at you while you talk and ask questions to let you know they’re listening before prompting you to go on. It’s a common saying that talking to a boggan will leave you feeling thoroughly listened to.
A boggan’s fuzzy ears are sharp to sighs and strange tones of voice that come after bad days and they are quick to make sure their friends know they are loved and cared for. Boggans themselves tend to appreciate and offer acts of service when being comforted, but they understand that people understand affection differently, and take pains to communicate support and love in ways that their friends will particularly understand.
A boggan’s ability to trace social dynamics make it possible to anticipate social problems with seemingly precognitive clarity; they constantly observe their constellations of friends and can’t help but notice when some stars flicker or dim. The gossip network lets them disseminate that information far and wide, letting them find ways to help if they personally are unqualified. This means that if you’re heading towards a rough time, you’re likely to come home to a troupe of boggans armed with cookies, tea, and blankets.
These skills prompt many boggans to become social workers, psychologists, school counselors, or bartenders. However they tend to avoid other professions that require shallow emotional management, such as waitressing. Few boggans last long in retail because they have trouble tolerating the current culture. The expectation of constant cheer from storefront workers strikes them as unnatural and smacks of being taken for granted.
Because of their expertise, boggans sometimes get stuck doing most of emotional labor in a relationship. They end up tiptoeing around friends with issues they can see clearly, but the friend isn’t managing well. They get into the habit of providing constant emotional support but not receiving any in return because their friends aren’t as sensitive to their needs. They wind up being the one prompting all the difficult conversations they know need to happen to maintain a relationship, and so start feeling like a nag.
Because you have to be emotionally aware to notice the value of all these things that boggans do, it’s easy for others to take boggans’ efforts for granted, which is anathema to them and one of a short list of things that gets them very upset very quickly. The problem is that because people are blind to this kind of work, they are surprised when their boggan friends are angry, or feel confused and unaccountably abandoned when suddenly the boggan won’t sit up and listen to them complain until 2 A.M.
Some boggans are burned by the oppressive and unstated demands of emotional labor and vacillate in the other direction, becoming prickly and goal-oriented, blocking out the signals they get about others’ feelings, or using them without concern or coddling. This is not a Seelie or Unseelie question, but one of appreciation. Most boggans do their best to educate their friends about the reality and importance of emotional labor. It’s not their responsibility, but when an important job needs to get done, they are collectively inclined to do it.
Boggan love is usually born of deep awareness. They’re highly emotionally intelligent by nature, and bring that to the realm of romance with quiet but immensely successful results. They are very diligent about communication and, in contrast to some more flighty and fanciful kiths, they recognize that real relationships require real work, much like anything else. Boggans enjoy some of the most stable and longest lasting romantic relationships in history, sometimes spanning multiple lifetimes. Lovers from past incarnations meet and discover they somehow know all the movements of cooking and cleaning together.
This isn’t to say that boggan romance is all work and long-term planning. While they are discreet, they are not prudish at all, and usually more than happy to accept gratitude from a well fed satyr in the form of physical favors. However their flings are clearly delineated: Boggans see them for what they are and make sure all parties involved understand what’s going on and what everyone is expecting from the dalliance.
Boggans make diligent and thoughtful lovers. They are attentive to emotions, able to skillfully navigate anything from a private rendezvous to a full-on Kithain orgy using their awareness of social dynamics. And when they have a job to do, they perform it skillfully and thoroughly, partic- ularly when that job is the pleasure of someone they adore.
Boggans tend to express and recognize affection through acts of service. It’s just how they’re wired. They tend to do things for their intended paramours, which can make it a little difficult for outsiders to discern whether a boggan has a crush or is just being a helpful as is the wont of their kith. And while, once in the relationship, Boggans are champion communicators, it can be difficult to communicate their intentions at the beginning. The challenge is one of perspective. A boggan, who reads social signals like others read road-maps, will think he’s sending very clear signals to his intended. Whereas his intended may have no idea they’re being courted at all.
More Machiavellian boggans often like to turn their skills in the realm of romance to matchmaking. Naturally they tend to be really good at it, if sometimes a little overenthusiastic. If a boggan says two people are perfect for each other, it’s not just idle speculation. It’s a very deliberate and well thought out analysis of their compatibility and social standings within the context of the larger communities. Boggans not only see these details, but often feel an obligation to act on them too.
Some matchmakers are boisterous and overt, giving advice and contriving for their intended pairings to get locked in rooms together. Other matchmakers are subtle as any sluagh. They reach out to touch the delicate web of relationships around them, gently guiding them to greater happiness (or perhaps the boggan’s greater advantage). These relationship crafters are highly sought by all freeholds because they don’t only manage lovers. They facilitate friendships, business relationships, healthy rivalries, and make everything around them better. Boggans take pride in everything they build, and some boggans build relationships, taking great pride in strong friendships and happy couples they helped bring together.
Rest & Relaxation
What is the point of working hard if you’re not working towards something? What is the point of accruing laurels if you can’t spend a lazy summer afternoon resting on them every now and then? There is a reason that “content as a boggan at a hearth” is an old phrase for describing true happiness. Boggans enjoy working, but they also enjoy the fruits of their labors.
Fruit itself is a good place to start. Apple pie. Berry tarts. Glazed pears. There’s a reason boggans tend toward generous bellies, and that’s because, as a kith, they love to eat. They have a general preference for baked goods, chocolate chip cookies being a kith favorite. They like variety, trying new recipes, tasting a bit of everything. Baking is something many boggans do to relax after other, more strenuous jobs. And when they cook, they usually share. Good food and good company is a little slice of heaven.
A lot of boggan recreation involves casual creation, often in the form of activities they perform while doing other things like talking or watching movies with friends, things they make just for fun, like interesting knitting projects, sketching, whittling, or watercolor. Many boggans would blush at the word artistry, but there’s no other definition for many of the delightful objects they craft in the name of fun. They’re also more likely to produce chimera when just fooling around with arts and crafts. Sweater voile are a particularly common byproduct of knitting boggans preparing for Christmas.
If the kith has a vice in this realm, it’s smoking. Carving and smoking pipes is a traditional and popular pastime. Now that the practice has been identified as such a health risk there is disagreement in the kith community about what to do with this form of recreation. Do they just abandon generation-old smoke-ring blowing contests and throw out exquisitely carved antique pipes? Some boggans split the difference and find non-tobacco substitutes to smoke, while more ambitious gardeners in the kith experiment with harmless but satisfying chimerical plants. Not a perfect solution, but what to do about this difficult tradition is an ongoing question.
Many boggans are avid readers as well. It’s the most comfortable way to go on an adventure, and the joy of a well-kept library is a reward as well. Their deep capacity for empathy easily lets them completely lose themselves in the perspective of the protagonist. They can put themselves’ in someone else’s shoes to understand different perspectives. They are easily entranced by good stories, part of why they happily maintain symbiotic relationships with wandering eshu — trading comfortable rest-stops for stories.
And of course there is incandescent pleasure to be had in just resting. In standing with your hands on your hips surveying a well-tilled field. In idly running your fingers over your latest wooden masterpiece while staring into the middle distance with a faint smile. The meditative contentment of just having cleaned. Resting on the couch and surveying your clean, or perhaps homily cluttered, home. Bliss. Boggans may have a hard time stopping work, but when they do, the cessation is total and thoroughly enjoyed all the more for its brevity.
The Good Fight
The most common mistake people make with boggans is underestimating them. It’s a chronic problem, though one many in the kith actively encourage. They don’t need to be known as the biggest and baddest threat in the room. Leave that to the redcaps and the trolls. If the world continuously fails to understand how dangerous super-fast, super-skilled craftsmen who are also born social manipulators can be, then the world will just continue to get sucker-punched when that kith gets angry.
From a strictly martial standpoint, boggans are frightening because of how quickly they can go from normal to battle-ready. Craftwork allows them to forge weapons almost as fast as some people draw them. They can put up instant battlements and homesteads can be made into forts in a twinkling. Boggans don’t shift to a war footing lightly, but when they do, they don’t hold back. Their trades shift down a dark road. A tailor grabs her awl and some leather and becomes an armorer. An herbalist a poisoner. A pharmacist a bomber. A creative mind can turn almost any innocent-seeming profession into a crucible of violence.
In the midst of combat, one boggan is vulnerable, but a group is a force to be reckoned with. Boggans naturally organize into crews, oriented around a head chef, and they learn to work together with terrifying rapidity, social awareness of the dynamics of the group expanding with every member to the point where complex ideas can be communicated by a single gesture or a shared glance. After minimal drilling, they can execute squad tactics with precision that shames seasoned armies. And god forbid they’re given a job to do, like sabotage.
Off the literal battlefield, unhappy boggans still have many subtler weapons at their disposal. Gossip is a big one. The cheerful, mostly positive chatter of the kith hides darker aspects that serve devastating purposes. The simplest form this retaliation takes is the local blacklist. Gossip keeps most boggans abreast of who is and who isn’t pleasant to work for, but truly problematic masters, ones known for cruelty or ingratitude, are put on the blacklist.
It’s not a formal list. It doesn’t need to be. Everyone just always keeps talking about what scum these people are, and no one within reach of the local gossip network ever serves them — or if they do, they subtly sabotage and build back-doors into their work — allowing them to be brought down later. Given that boggans contribute to almost every aspect of changeling society this can be a crippling inconvenience.
There’s a step beyond the blacklist: vengeance squads. While most boggans will just leave if unappreciated, some can become vindictive and seek revenge on those they consider criminally ungrateful. This treatment is also applied to powerful individuals who can work around being black-listed. Vengeance squads either operate socially, slandering their victim’s name all over town, or through vandalism. A group of boggans bent on destruction and armed with power tools can demolish a building or strip a beloved car to its frame in short order. However, vengeance squads will almost always target workplaces. They will very rarely stoop to damaging or attacking people in their homes.
Beyond these grim tactics there is naturally a dark underbelly to boggan gossip that few take advantage of, but the ones who do are scary. Ruthless boggans can become successful and powerful information brokers, wielding blackmail and selective truths with skillful surety to control vast networks of victims. This is not an Unseelie problem, either. Seelie boggans who are convinced they “know best” can be just as ruthless in managing a community as the sleaziest Unseelie blackmailer. Other boggans usually shun those who follow this path, but it can be difficult to stop them without getting drawn into their web.
There is also their dream to consider. Every dream has a dark side, triggered by trauma or the onset of Bedlam. It’s easier to see in other kiths. The dark side of a troll’s dedication to duty is stagnation and the fanaticism on the far side of honor. The dark side of a pooka’s flighty tricks is a degradation from play to malice and the maze of distance and mistrust that comes from living too much of the lie. But boggans are dreams of home and charity. How can those things be turned bad? It’s not as easy, boggans tend to be stable and trend hard in the Seelie direction. But when it happens, it’s disturbing.
It can take the form of an obsession with safety. Agoraphobia. The boggan refuses to leave his home and lives in terror of the outside world. He keeps his rooms meticulously clean and ordered and screams at any disturbances while he boards up the windows.
Boggans who follow charity too far can lose their sense of self. Focus too much on other people for no care for themselves, first they’ll become worn out and haggard in the conventional way. Then they’ll seem thinner and fainter. Almost transparent in bright light. They’ll stop using personal pronouns, referring to themselves in the third person. Then one day they’ll do something for someone and receive no thanks and just fade away.
Boggans can take the act of service itself too far. Remember the tale of Barthis, loyal servant to the house of a Sidhe Baroness. He cared so deeply for his mistress he locked her up in the castle dungeon, never to escape, perfectly safe in the home he made for her.
Boggans are short of stature, with thick, downy hair and a tendency toward plumpness. They often have small, bright eyes, emphasizing their large noses. Their hands are large and calloused, with agile fingers and gnarled knuckles. They often have exceptionally thick eyebrows that frame their eyes and grow wildly. Their skin is tanned and darkens and wrinkles with age. Their attire is usually simple by Kithain standards.
- Childlings: Childlings are mischievous and always running underfoot. They tend to gather wherever work is being done. They may not always be attentive while helping out, but they often learn their trades at an early age. Once the chores are done they are eager to get into mischief.
- Wilders: Wilders cannot but help to seek out adventure. Why hide under your mother's apron when there is a world to see out there? Despite their wandering ways, once they find a motley of adventurous Kithain, they stick with that group, and very little can drive them away. Of all the group, they are the most likely to worry about the wholesomeness of the food they purchase and the quality of the tobacco for their pipes.
- Grumps: Grumps often settle into permanent residences where they can putter about. This is often a place where they can support as many of the local freehold as possible. The level of comfort in this place is a prime concern for them.
The Meaning of Work
Charity is the cardinal virtue of the boggans. Not only do they work, they work often without asking for compensation. On first hearing this, some unscrupulous individuals might think this kith to be easy to take advantage of. Nothing could be further from the truth, because the one thing boggans value more highly than charity is freedom.
Boggans will not be forced into labor, nor will they force others. Slavery is anathema to them. They were one of the first communities to outlaw the practice among themselves and they still fight it wherever they find it. On a less extreme scale, boggans are vigilant for signs of exploitation. They are the instigators and the backbone of many unions and strikes throughout history. Rumor has it that it was a boggan who idly suggested the concept of a ‘weekend’ to Henry Ford in the early 1900s. Their vehemence on this subject is born of the fact that it is a violation of their dream: you cannot enjoy work if you are forced into it.
And boggans enjoy work. For this kith, it is a joyful thing to do a necessary job well. And it doesn’t seem to matter much what they’re doing. Many boggans have a preference for a particular vocation like cooking, or woodwork, or milkshake making, or fashion design. But they all share a fervent desire to do what needs doing, and do it well.
The reason that boggans derive pleasure from almost any form of work is because of their precise definition of work. Work is two things: Purpose and choice.
Purpose means that you are doing something that needs to be done. Whether you’re working to provide for your motley, support a noble house that you believe in, or just to make yourself a nice meal, you have a good reason to do what you’re doing. And that reason needs to be positive — you should be working because you want something to happen, not because you’re afraid of something happening. If you’re working because you’re afraid of starving otherwise, that’s not work in a boggan’s eyes. That’s little more than slavery, at best.
And that links in to the second aspect: Choice. Work has to be something that you choose to do. The freedom of choice is essential. If you feel pressured into work, then even if it’s the greatest job in the world, you will derive no joy from it. But if you choose to work, then any job automatically becomes the best job in the world.
This is the true meaning of work to boggans. Some of them are consciously aware of the concepts and will debate the details of the theory around cozy hearths as the most genuine of armchair philosophers. Some just understand this truth intuitively and act on it without ever really having to learn or voice it. But it is a key part of the dream that animates each and every one of them.
The Retail Resistance
Boggans really hate big box stores.
It’s not only the corporate Banality of these faceless institutions. No changeling likes that. Boggans particularly loathe these stores because they are, by the boggan work definition, little more than slavers. While the odd one might be beneficial to a community, as a rule they set themselves up as the only option in small towns, driving out all other business. Even if they didn’t tend to treat their employees abysmally, they would still be on the naughty list.
The kith feels similarly about a number of corporate retailers and wage a careful war against them. Careful because the trouble with these businesses is that they employ many people who have no other options, and using cantrips to close the stores would put a lot of below-the-poverty-line people out on the street.
Boggans fight by organizing unions, supporting local businesses, and stopping by break-rooms with home-cooked meals. House Dougal has an order called the Black Friday Squad, a guerrilla organization of boggans that gathers in crews after every Thanksgiving and deploy to department stores across the country. They re-fold clothing, pick up litter, repair displays, and buy nothing. It’s their way of supporting the workers but denying the stores their business.
Unseelie boggans have been known to brave the Banality extremes and insinuate themselves into corporate structures in order to sabotage the businesses from the inside, or at least keep their new chains far away from changeling communities.
The Banality of Debt
It may seem strange that the idea of debt is so important to a kith whose guiding principle is charity, but if you understand their definition of work, it makes perfect sense.
Being in debt means that you have lost the freedom of choice. You have to perform labor. Maybe you can have a say in the how or the when of paying off the debt, but you are bound to do it. A boggan working off a debt is not engaged in true work. It is drudgery and it wears on them, even if the debtor is well meaning.
Because of this, boggans tend to be more aware than other kiths of the danger of accepting favors and striking binding bargains. This can manifest in frugality, caution, common sense, or a homebody tendency to prefer a nice night at home rather than gallivanting about the Dreaming on adventures that often results in gambling with goblins or trading favors with the Night Queen.
This won’t necessarily stop them from such gallivanting altogether, but may be the reason that you occasionally need a wizard and a whole troop of dwarves to pry a boggan out of their cozy home and into an adventure.
It must be made clear that there is a huge difference between becoming indebted and accepting responsibility. Boggans will freely swear themselves to serve houses and join motleys with none of the hesitation that they feel around the subject of debts. This is because dedicating yourself to a group or cause is a positive thing — something done willingly — not coerced. Joining one of these groups is much like joining a household, and there is nothing more natural for a boggan than that. Mutually beneficial bargains and oaths better everyone’s lives.
There are legends that tell of old scars and deeper meanings to the kith’s wariness of debt. Old stories about a time when choice was not a possibility, when their drive to work was not an inclination to help the needy, but a yoke that drove them without mercy. In a time when all dreams lived in their simplest, basest forms and boggans were little more than creatures, barely able to think of anything but toil and dressed in rags because only people wore clothes.
These are ancient tales, much in doubt and rarely told because they are a pile of painful and dangerous secrets with only one scrap of light in the pile of misery, like hope crouched at the bottom of Pandora’s box. That light is a fairy tale, known in several variations in different cultures, but most often called “The Elves and the Shoemaker.”
In the story a poor shoemaker is blessed with nighttime visitors that craft masterwork shoes out of his raw materials. After becoming prosperous off their craftsmanship, he discovers that his benefactors are naked fairies, shivering in the cold as they work. Filled with sympathy, he and his wife sewed clothes for them. On discovering the gift, the creatures dressed and vanished, never to return.
If these mythic tales are true, that story is the turning point — the first moment when these craven servants were shown gratitude. The gift of clothes was like the gift of personhood, and transformed them from servile automatons into the true ancestors of the kith. If this story is in any way true, the ancestors of boggans were slaves of debt, and charity freed them. And deep down, they have never forgotten this.
Also, worth considering, humans freed them and gave them the lives they lead now. Which might explain the kith’s age old tradition of helping and protecting the homes of humans — a tradition as old as the farmers’ tradition of putting saucers of milk out for kind fairies.
The Honor of Service
In addition to understanding work as the most personally enjoyable and fulfilling thing in the world, boggans also consider it the most honorable activity to which one can devote one’s life. The fact that the act which makes them happiest is the best possible thing for them to do from a moral standpoint is seen as closely related. A delightful chicken and egg situation that produces, in the end, a glorious fried cutlet and omelet. You can have your cake and eat it too, provided you baked that cake yourself.
This rather socialist philosophy is born of utilitarian logic. The best way to maximize happiness in the world is to enjoy yourself, and do nice things for people. Boggans have discovered the secret of joyful work, so they can enjoy the process of doing nice things for people. They look at selfish people with a certain amount of pity. If only the self-centered realized that greed isolates them, and that bottomless bucket of need they struggle to fill with money and power could be easily mended by a little loving labor for others.
It’s funny to them, and a little sad, when people seem confused about why they work so willingly and ask for so little. The goodness of their approach to life seems so obvious and elemental to them, it’s basically too simple to explain to someone who doesn’t see it.
The subject of payment, as related to honor and service, is one of much contention among boggans. Some believe that accepting payment diminishes one’s integrity and reduces the meaningfulness of work performed. Others argue that pure charity is impractical, you need money to buy raw materials, and requesting material payment prompts others to value the work they do, and that that’s an important part of encouraging gratitude.
Gratitude is of course, the greatest of all payments. It is often unstated, but absolutely required by any boggan.
While boggans do not necessarily need to be paid for their work, they absolutely must be appreciated. The fastest way to lose a boggan as a servant or friend is to start taking them for granted.
This is a reasonable requirement that can be taken to strange extremes. Taciturn nobles have lost entire households to their inability to express appreciation. Despots have stayed in power for shocking lengths of time by regularly giving speeches about how much they value the boggans in their service. As long as the sentiment is sincere, gratitude can blind a boggan to many flaws in their masters. This is related to the kith’s compulsion to help anyone in need.
Sages of the kith will say that requiring gratitude is in itself an act of further charity. Being grateful for the blessings in one’s life is the surest path to happiness, and by rewarding that quality with friendship and assistance they teach the world to be happier. Some occultists even theorize that boggans derive power from gratitude. That it sustains them, giving them their rosy complexions and feeding their portly frames, and when denied it they will become wan and frail.
Most normal boggans just say that it just sucks to work for someone who doesn’t appreciate you. So they won’t.
What is a Home?
A home is stability. The place that welcomes you back after the hurricane of the workday. The place where your glasses and book are always where you left them. A place where the worn dent where the doorknob knocks against the wall greets you like an old friend. A place full of blankets, and maybe someone to bring you cookies and tea.
A home is safety. Four walls that stand tall and firm against the dangers of the world. Family who has your back, who will fight tooth and nail and blood and bone for this space you have created and consecrated with the word home. Know that the threshold of a true home is a mystic force far more powerful than the parlor tricks of the supernatural.
A home is love. People who understand you. People who know your name and say it with that soft lilt of affection that makes you feel like your soul is being hugged. Home is a place where the presence of that love, of a thousand good mornings, of a thousand laughs, a thousand tears rolling off a thousand shoulders has sunk into the walls and stained the woodwork with the most profound sort of joy that accepts and shines out even through sadness.
Know Hestia, called Vesta. Ancient goddess, honored with lamb’s blood on the untrodden threshold of this place now called home. Know that she hid her power from the other gods so that they did not become afraid. Know that she lives on through a humble kith, that she consecrates each home they bless with their presence, and that her wrath flows through them towards whomever would dare defile this place that is most sacred.
When you stumble exhausted through the dark and the cold, all other desires fall away before one fervent need. One essential dream: a warm place to sleep.
A home is the first thing. Once you have a home, you have a safe place to dream, all other dreams are then born.
- household gods
Do you have any idea how many gods there are of the home? Hestia, Vesta, Berehynia, Gabija, Frigg, Kamui Fuchi, Zao Jun, Bes, just to name a few. Not to mention household spirits: Domovoi, Brownie, Nisse, Tomte, Tonttu, Monaciello, Cofgodas, Gashin, Lares, Lutin, Heinzelmännchen, Hob.
These lists span the globe. These lists are small samplings of a cultural bedrock shared by all cultures. Household gods were not worshiped in temples, but in homes. With shrines in rich houses and idols in poor houses. It did not matter the status. Every home was also a temple.
The sanctity of the house and home. The power of the threshold. These are ancient ideas. Changeling magic is tied to belief, desire, and dream. And the desire to be safe in one’s home is something most primal. In its shallower shapes, this magic takes the form of wards and blessings. The depths of its power is reflected in legends about monsters being unable to cross the threshold of a home simply because it is a home.
Everything Stops for Tea
From the sharing of a casual cup of tea with an afternoon visitor to the highly specialized rituals of a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, all manner of cultures rely on coming together over a cup of something warm and bonding over the experience. Whether it’s ingrained as a part of everyday life or something to be saved for a special occasion, the act of preparing and serving tea always has a note of comfort to it, a gesture of care and the invitation to speak whatever’s on one’s mind.
As casual as it can seem, everything about tea is significant to a boggan, as well as those guests who know how to look. Use of the fine china and best teapot is a mark of great respect and affection; chipped china, on the other hand, conveys a clear message that a guest isn’t wanted. Sipping tea naturally covers reactions to startling or unpleasant news, as well as allows a polite span of time to formulate a proper reply without feeling rushed. A spread of snacks indicates an invitation for a longer visit, while a simple cup means one is welcome but there’s likely work that needs attending to not long after. Even if it’s not actually tea — though that remains far and away the most popular beverage for this tradition — there’s a lot that can be learned from observing how a boggan prepares and serves it.
Boggans have known the mysterious power of gathering over a beverage for as long as they can remember, before the Changeling Way and even before the Sundering. They welcomed mortals into their circles, leading the eager ones into their homes in the Dreaming, told them to stay; and their new friends did, often returning after weeks to find that no time had passed since their leaving, or spending a single night and returning to their lives ten years later. Thus began the rumor that you should never eat or drink anything the fae offered, lest they keep you too long!
Birthrights & Frailties
It’s perhaps unsurprising that other Kithain overlook boggan capabilities as much as they overlook boggans themselves. Yet their talents go far beyond merely working quickly and being good with people, just as their frailties aren’t simply overly soft hearts.
- Affinity: Actor
Boggans enjoy nothing more than good, honest work. Their reputation for being consummate craftspeople is well earned. While unobserved, boggans can accomplish any task involving physical labor or craftsmanship in one third of the time. Other boggans can be present, but they cannot be observed by anyone else. Because of their affinity for work, Boggans can never botch a Crafts roll.
Freely offering service to those in need is an honorable act. But because honest work is fun, and because working for free is the ultimate act of choice, charitable service is elevated to an almost religious experience for most boggans. When you combine all that with acting anonymously, so that those you serve won’t even know it was you, that leads to the elevated state of awareness that lets boggans get things done so quickly. They are one with the Tao. Knitting with cosmic superstrings. Dusting really, really fast.
Boggans call this meditative state Craftwork, with a clearly audible capital “C”, so named because it expresses the kith’s mastery of the very act of work. Craftwork is one of the reasons that boggan-only groups are so common. When they really need to get stuff done, other kiths quite literally slow them down on a mystical level. Sometimes that’s a desirable thing, as other kiths offer different and valuable perspectives and it’s nice to enjoy the process of work. But when something is unpleasant or really needs to get done fast, boggans will buckle down by themselves.
There is an eternal and sometimes difficult question that chases this birthright about: what qualifies as work? The boggans’ oft discussed and intuitively understood “Meaning of Work” is a measure of what boggans themselves consider true and optimal work, but the Craftwork birthright will still kick in when a boggan is engaged in purposeless busywork, or when he is being forced into some labor against his will. So what is work? Cleaning is work. Is combing your hair work? Brushing your teeth? Building a building is work. What about building a sand castle? Is that work or play?
The way most boggans figure out whether something qualifies as work is they try doing it, and if they can do it really fast, it’s work. It’s not a completely reliable thing — nothing chimerical ever is (except possibly trolls). Sometimes whether these edge cases work just depends on what mood the Dreaming is in, or whether the boggan is putting in honest effort as opposed to trying to cheat the system, so to speak.
Boggans sometimes engage in Craftwork without meaning to, which is called involuntary Craftwork. This usually happens when they’re trying to make art, or settling down to make something for fun, then all the sudden it’s over and done with because their birthright kicked in. When you enjoy knitting, after all, it can be quite aggravating to suddenly have a pile of socks and no yarn left.
Not all boggans are created equal. Just as some people are faster than others, some boggans are quicker workers. When boggans get going Craftwork-fast the differences can be so slight as to be measured in microseconds, but it’s still noticeable enough to have spawned elaborate, boggan-centered sporting events called the Craftlympics.
The Craftlympics are casual tournaments held all over the world, usually in the spring after annual cleaning when everything is sorted and they have some free time. Events include butter churning, house painting, doing laundry (machines are cheating), and many more. Things that people have been leaving off for a while tend to get done during a Craftlympics. Previously they were recorded on an oak stump in Ireland, but nowadays there’s a website that different freeholds can sign up on to log their best times.
Sometimes Craftwork gets in the way of the boggan’s other great love: socializing. Working alone is lonely, even if you’re doing it at super speeds. And sometimes it’s sad to complete pleasant tasks too quickly. Involuntary Craftwork is generally an unpleasant experience for the boggan caught up in it. Boggan groups will go out of their way to recruit other kiths to help them trim Christmas trees or decorate gingerbread houses to make sure these lovely endeavors aren’t over in the blink of an eye. Boggan-heavy freeholds have been known to enchant mortals for the express purpose of having someone around to break speed loops. This is typically a sweet deal for the mortal involved: freeholds with enough Boggans to need this are super convenient places to live.
Craftwork produces an excess of free time. People often underestimate just how much time is saved when all your chores take a third of the normal time. This can actually lead to boredom. Boggans sometimes make the more elaborate cleaning rituals or try more complex recipes just to take more time. Did you put color coded labels on everything in the garage, including the dog? Yes I did. Is that entire ballgown hand stitched? Yes it is. Did you carve ‘contains nuts’ on the shell of every pistachio in this jar? Don’t judge me.
Boggans will judge you. That’s busywork. But it’s also part of why they’re so generous with their time. They can afford it.
Well, they can afford to be most of the time. Boggans struggle mightily with the modern corporate convention to reward competence with more work. Boggans in corporate jobs are either seen as bad workers, because they do all their work in an hour in the morning and then don’t look as busy, or they try to work up to their potential and become trapped in hamster wheels of increasing demands until their souls wither and die. The lesson here is that boggans rarely belong in offices.
Boggans are keen observers of social interactions, and their inherently unobtrusive nature allows them to witness things that might otherwise remain hidden. A successful Perception + Empathy (or Subterfuge) roll allows a boggan to puzzle out a group’s social dynamics. The difficulty can range from 5 (for a small dinner party) to 9 (for a ducal freehold). This might result in lower difficulties on future Social rolls or additional pieces of information that the player would find useful. This Birthright operates normally even when dealing with mortals and the unenchanted in social situations.
A boggan’s ability to puzzle out and understand the various aspects of any social situation is a powerful tool, often underestimated because it lacks the flashiness of many other birthrights, but even more useful for its subtlety.
Their ability to understand relationships, seemingly at a glance, is based on the kith’s profound capacity for empathy. They will never botch an Empathy roll, and that’s because of their innate skill in imagining themselves in other people’s positions. They derive this skill from a variety of sources: because of their role as servants they have a lot of opportunity to spend time with and observe people and are motivated to understand them to better serve their masters.
The gossip they enjoy is a perpetual class on social dynamics with constant professional peer review. This skill is the foundation for this birthright, their desire to help people through charitable work, and it can be used in a variety of situations. Boggans can puzzle out the relationships in a new adventuring group and figure out how they fit in. They can discern the political factions and power levels in a cutthroat court. They can figure out who is bullying who in a schoolyard, and put a stop to it. It is, unsurprisingly, extremely useful politically.
It is also the true reason many nobles choose boggans as their stewards. Sure they can clean fast, but they can also smooth all the disruptive relationships in the household and give good odds on who’s planning a seduction — or an assassination attempt. Canny nobles often take boggan advisors to meet new delegations to gain insight into the groups they’re dealing with, or on difficult diplomatic missions to ferret out weaknesses and chances for compromise. The two traits that can be used for this sort of situation, Empathy and Subterfuge, represent divergent methods of analysis, and the information derived from each approach is distinct. When examining people with Empathy a boggan will discover information about their feelings and motivations: a better understanding of them as a person. Examining them via Subterfuge reveal their secrets and facades: a better understanding of how to manipulate them. Empathy reveals what is unsaid and Subterfuge reveals what is hidden. It is a small but absolutely crucial distinction.
Understanding the social landscape is useful in itself, but often this investigation is just a precursor to action. A foundation for manipulation, so that boggans can deploy their considerable social skills to alter that landscape. There are also two approaches to be taken here. They can move surreptitiously — influencing people with off-handed comments so that the others they influence think the changes are their own ideas. Or they can smack people in the face with brute force empathy and understanding, often backed up by a helpful network of cheerful and well-meaning gossipers.
This proactive use of Empathy and Social Dynamics allows boggans to mold social situations to serve them as well as they serve others. To them, seating charts are tools of state, decorations set the tone for negotiation, and food is the ultimate peacemaker. Breaking bread is a classic way of brokering deals and boggans can whip up meals that end wars. They can also start wars with a poor appetizer delivered to a foul tempered delegate at just the right time. Despite all this power, boggans have remained shockingly underestimated as political figures. Many surreptitious Machiavelli-types consider this part of their genius.
There are a number of kith-wide social engineering projects currently going on that take advantage of this birthright. Boggans examine problems they care about, such as devaluing emotional labor, abuse of workers, and income inequality. They are working on the largest grassroots manipulation of Social Dynamics in history. They are behind movements to raise the minimum wage, companies with employees as investors, the development of credit unions, and the concept of the pluralist commonwealth.
Call of the Needy
Boggans are inherently helpful, and cannot resist offering aid when it is needed. When they encounter someone who is legitimately in need of help, the player must make a Willpower roll (difficulty 8) to resist helping them in some way. This does not apply to a sworn enemy.
A boggan struggling with crippling debt will still empty his pockets for a panhandler. A boggan with a flu and hundred degree fever will get out of bed to pick up the package you really need. A boggan will be there for you when you need a babysitter, even when they really should be searching the Dungeons of Moondrake for the lost baron.
Call of the Needy is the other side of empathy. A drive to assist others regardless of personal cost, it can be emotionally painful to resist. More than anything it represents an issue of prioritization. Boggans are driven to solve the problem in front of them. The respond powerfully, due to their great empathy, to pain they can see. That drive can make them forget other, important but distant issues that deserve their attention more.
The most common victim of this urge is their own well-being. They will sacrifice mental and physical health to satisfy this frailty. They will neglect their own goals and desires in favor of what other people want, which is poison to long term relationships from romances to business partnerships. But in addition to devastating the boggan in question, this frailty can also be a friendship-breaker, and not just with the friend who’s always in need. Quieter friends who don’t advertise their need will fall to the wayside if a boggan is forced by compulsion to focus on someone particularly needy.
Particularly needy friends who do not check their requests can suck a boggan dry of happiness and vitality, leaving a husk of a person, sometimes even Undone. The saddest part of this situation is that the friend in question usually doesn’t have malicious intent. Boggans can tell when people are trying to consciously take advantage of them. But they aren’t so sensitive to the thoughtless requests of the chronically pathetic.
Boggans are usually happy to help others, but Call of the Needy is why boggans are so invested in gratitude and wary about debt. They know what it’s like to be taken advantage of, and how easy it is to get trapped in it. They can feel their vulnerability to others’ needs, prickling against their skull like a geas, forcing them to help even against their will.
Call of the Needy, though inconvenient and at times damaging, is an important part of boggans for what it truly represents. It is the extreme end of their inherent drive to give. A charitable impulse of such force that it must be reined in with discipline in order to preserve the health and sanity of the bearer. But in struggling against that enslaving force inside their head, the boggans become the best in themselves.
This constant slight irritation at the back of their minds is what keeps boggans from resting by the fire with a pipe and book. It’s what keeps them going out into the dark to soup kitchens and dark forests. The calls to adventure that lure these homebodies out onto the field of battle are made out of a pure desire to help someone. This frailty is the extreme end of the fundamental thing that makes boggans such good people.
A last thing to be aware of when considering the Call of the Needy is the meaning of the term “sworn enemy.” There are obvious cases: an enemy in a war is a sworn enemy or a villain who has tried to poison your Duke. But is a rival cook a sworn enemy? How about if she’s a really, really, really big jerk? The Dreaming is, as always, the last arbiter of what an enemy is, but a general rule of thumb is that the less trust there is between and individual and a boggan, the less likely Call of the Needy is to trigger. Trust is the fundamental ingredient that makes friends, and it’s not hate or loathing, but lack of trust that most easily identifies enemies. At least as far as this frailty is concerned.
Even when dealing with a clearly untrustworthy and formally oathsworn enemy, hiccups do happen. Boggans have saved enemy combatants about to teeter off the edge of the wet cliff they’re dueling on. Boggans have slipped extra ingredients to sworn rivals so that they have a fighting chance to compete at Craftlympics contests. Boggans have smuggled food to imprisoned despots. Those hiccups, bursts of pure charity in a situation barren of such care, can be the seeds that grow into friendship and healing.
Opinions & Stereotypes
For such a soft-spoken and unobtrusive group, boggans have strong opinions that aren’t always readily apparent from their genial nature. Boggans have perfected the art of friendly civility, preferring to kill with kindness than show outright aggression. Of course, they have tempers just like anyone else, but prefer to take their anger out in a number of ways more frustrating than harmful. Anyone that’s part of a boggan’s gossip circle knows just how passive-aggressive this ‘harmless’ kith can be, and just how much the wrong word in the right ear can affect whomever has earned their ire.
While boggans are always willing to assume the best in anyone and offer third and even fourth chances, once someone has landed on their bad side, she learns just how much boggans influence the world around them. Never as conspicuous as the sidhe who tend to hold lofty titles, or as eager to enact change as the commoner firebrands who rally against them, boggans still quietly move politics along with their careful game of he-said-she-said, spreading gossip and doling out rumors with remarkably effective foresight and acuity.
Far and away, boggans lean toward the Seelie Court. They prefer to help others and offer support wherever it’s needed, finding pleasure in humble tasks others overlook or disdain. They don’t ask much, if anything, in return; they can sense the appreciation in every smile and contented sigh, and measure their success in how many people they can help. Seelie boggans are consummate hosts or houseguests, always leaving things cleaner than they found them, making sure no one could conceive of going hungry, and that the hearth is always lit to greet anyone returning home. They exude comfort and coziness, easily anticipating the needs of others and striving to meet them. Quite happy to simply make others happy, they rarely make requests, let alone demands, remaining content to improve everything around for their own enjoyment.
Unseelie boggans still thoroughly enjoy such tasks as housekeeping and crafting, yet take a more pragmatic view. Nothing comes free from those boggans in the Unseelie Court; they believe firmly that you get what you pay for. Unseelie boggans run some of the most luxurious boarding houses and make the most beautiful furniture and instruments; they also understand that a smile won’t pay for anything they need to live comfortably, and as such, take their natural inclinations and use them to turn a profit. Their gossip is often more scandalous and shared more widely; when an Unseelie boggan gossips, she seeks to stir the pot and make waves that will return more juicy tidbits to her.
Though she may show her face in freeholds run by nobles from time to time and pay lip service to the social structures around her, an Unseelie boggan is more at home in a freehold run by commoners, where she doesn’t have to answer to any nobles and isn’t expected to jump to service every time someone asks. On the surface, they are just as welcoming as anyone else, and genuinely do enjoy helping others. Their affiliation with the Unseelie Court means they tend to have a more jaded world view and don’t appreciate being underestimated or walked all over on the assumption that all they want is to help others and never ask for anything in return.
Most Unseelie boggans have limited knowledge of the Shadow Court. Their largely Seelie nature makes members of the Shadow Court wary of even the most Unseelie boggans, and their preference for mediation and talk over action makes them sub-par foot soldiers for the Court’s causes. If they ever have any exposure to members of the Court, Seelie boggans do their best to act as mediators, trying to find the root of the problems the Shadow Court cites and negotiate ways to improve them; Unseelie are more willing to take the position of go-between and use it to spy on court politics, and perhaps establish places for themselves when the dust clears.
Being largely a Seelie kith, boggans are some of the staunchest proponents of the Escheat, adhering strictly to the Rights laid out in it. Unseelie boggans, by contrast, prefer to see these laws as malleable, and are often highly skilled in escaping consequences and justifying their actions as lawful. Of course, if talk fails, they can always resort to blackmail — gossips know the juiciest secrets, after all — and boggans love to listen in on conversations they shouldn’t. The most ardent Unseelie boggans still see the basic sense in rules of the Escheat, however, even if they feel it shouldn’t always apply to them in particular, and prefer to bend these rules rather than outright break them.
Or to put it another way, both Seelie and Unseelie boggans will typically abide by the Escheat, with Seelie boggans doing it because it’s the right thing, while Unseelie boggans may apply more self-serving interpretations or seek some quid pro quo in exchange for ‘favors’ like rescuing others or helping keep Kithain society hidden from mortal eyes.
The Right to Demesne
Seelie boggans are happy to support the nobles who rule over a domain. They act as mediators in heated conflicts, serve as advisors or voices of the people, and make sure the most pertinent information reaches the ears it needs to reach. Quiet types, they don’t necessarily aspire to become nobles themselves, preferring to serve in their own unobtrusive ways and remaining the soft-spoken figures at the edges of a room, providing comfort to weary souls, and using their own inconspicuous natures to learn everything they can in the meantime.
Unseelie boggans love to insinuate themselves into rival domains, acting as spies against the nobles to whom they swear fealty. They use their abilities to stir things up instead of fostering peace and comfort, riling up the populace and fanning the flames of volatile situations. While they also enjoy spreading information, instead of offering it to helpful hands, they bring it to those who will retaliate without thinking. They don’t often seek to uproot or take down established rulers, but keeping them distracted with the clamoring of their people allows these boggans to pursue their own desires with less interference.
The Right to Dream
All boggans carefully protect and care for their Dreamers, quietly making themselves a part of their lives. Seelie boggans prefer to inspire their Dreamers to improve their lives on their own, and are willing to be the catalyst that sparks a move toward better things. Their drive and work ethic only grows stronger when Glamour is wanting, and they defend their Dreamers to the best of their abilities.
Unseelie boggans are also likely to have a small group of Dreamers they hold close, but if they find themselves strapped for Glamour rather than hunker down and foster these Dreamers, those in the Unseelie Court are more likely to lash out and find another Dreamer to Ravage in order to get a fix.
The Right of Ignorance
Seelie boggans are most likely to adhere to this Right most strictly. The risk inherent in humanity discovering the truth about changelings is too dire for her, and it’s a rare mortal who will intrigue her enough to be shown the truth of her dual existence. Once she has opened that mortal’s eyes, though, they will remain open unless someone else acts to close them.
Unseelie boggans are far more likely to indulge in short-term experiences. They are the boggans who believe any dull life can be improved by even momentary exposure to the truly magical, and though a mortal will forget about his experience once no longer enchanted, he will still be forever changed. Not all changelings agree, but Unseelie boggans insist it’s merely their own brand of hospitality.
The Right of Rescue
There are no boggans who would even entertain arguments against this Right. Seelie and Unseelie alike feel the grinding march of Banality’s approach, and their compulsion to care for others means they will never turn away any soul in need of rescue, and will do everything in their power to help. (Whether or not such rescue comes with strings attached is really the only point of contention.) Seelie boggans are more likely to try and save any chimera they come across, but Unseelie boggans are only interested in lesser chimera if they can also benefit from saving it.
The Right of Safe Haven
Seelie boggans are always willing to provide refuge to the weary traveler, and fight fiercely to provide for all in the freeholds in which they reside. Unseelie boggans are likely to seek some kind of recompense for hosting wanderers in their safe havens, but are still among the most willing to welcome those in need.
The Right of Life
Boggans as a whole avoid outright violence and hostility, and rarely, if ever, defy this Right, even when acting in self-defense. Harming others goes against everything boggans stand for and enjoy. They spend enough time caring for others in mourning to ever consider forcing it upon others.
Agreeable and easygoing folk, boggans can find the good in nearly everyone. Most of their relationships with their cousins are friendly ones, though they place their trust more carefully than their goodwill. Willing to overlook the general reputation a kith carries (even if they’re even more willing to continue spreading it to others), boggans will offer refuge to anyone who seeks it. Some of the unlikeliest friendships start with an unanticipated stay as a boggan’s guest, and their endless generosity, open hearts, and quiet, yet unshakable loyalty, make them excellent companions.
- Clurichaun: Clurichauns are generally welcome among boggans, though the latter are significantly quieter on the whole. The rambunctious nature of clurichauns is entertaining in small doses, but some boggans, especially those of advanced mortal age, can tire quickly while in the company of such rowdy fellows. Leave it to a clurichaun to find the limits of a boggan’s seemingly endless patience; leave it to the same one to also deliver a heartfelt and meaningful (if still slightly overwhelming) apology. With similar abilities to read people quickly and accurately, boggans and clurichauns function well together as long as they make concerted efforts to accommodate the others’ personality quirks. Those who have managed it often stay tight friends and excellent housemates, while those who can’t reconcile their wildly differing energy levels tolerate each other in their own ways. For the boggan, this often means simply fading into a corner and waiting until the clurichaun is gone, much in the way a cozy housecat would rather hide from an overenthusiastic puppy than entertain him.
- Eshu: Boggans find eshu to be welcome entertainers and lively distractions from their daily routine. Knowing these enigmatic figures rarely stay put for long, boggans are more enthusiastic about hosting eshu than almost any other kith. Though an eshu’s stay is almost always brief, boggans are willing to make her as comfortable as possible for however long she chooses to linger. For their part, eshu appreciate a captive audience and the deep well of hospitality and support that boggans offer. Boggans enjoy stories and gossip as much as the next person, and a friendship between members of these kiths often revolves around trading stories; the eshu sharing news from afar and the boggan offering local threads for the eshu to chase down in pursuit of her own tales. If an eshu disrespects or insults a boggan, he can expect that he will be featured in her gossip circles for weeks to come, and the memory of his slight will linger long after he’s gone.
- Nockers: Boggans and nockers exist on opposite sides of a field: where boggans are acutely aware of the social dynamics around them, nockers often have difficulty puzzling out such arbitrary things as ‘feelings’. While boggans can find the work and company of nockers to be fascinating, it’s rare that the nocker feels the same, and rarely does he feel shy about sharing such an opinion. Thus, boggans often admire this kith and their inventions from afar, or help in ways the nocker is unaware of. Nockers with boggan companions find their workplaces are often kept immaculate, and can’t always figure out why things get so messy when their friend isn’t around. Boggans can be wounded by the brusque manner of nockers, and can get bored with conversations that revolve solely around whatever project has captured the nocker’s attention, but even if the two kiths don’t have much in common, they share a mutual respect as far as work ethic is concerned.
- Piskies: Piskies and boggans have a unique relationship. While boggans are more capable than most at identifying a piskie no matter the face she wears, they are also most likely to notice when a piskie pockets something that isn’t hers. The enthusiasm piskies display over any of their momentary fascinations are a delight for boggans to witness, especially as they sometimes gravitate toward hobbies that boggans themselves enjoy. While they often feel the need to take careful stock of their more valuable belongings, boggans also thoroughly enjoy teaching eager piskies anything and everything about whatever task the piskie is looking to learn. While boggans regard piskies as immature and flighty — and don’t appreciate their habit of appropriating things that aren’t theirs — they are still unlikely to turn away any piskies in need. They know that piskies have hearts of gold and value their ability to blend in and help others.
- Pooka: Boggans are of two minds regarding pooka. While they can appreciate the usually good-natured hijinks that follow pooka everywhere, this kith’s reputation for lying and its aversion to meaningful work chafes on boggan’s hard-working souls. While they find pooka entertaining, always good for a laugh and a fun time, they know when things get difficult or require elbow grease, pooka are far more likely to be fair-weather friends. Far from immune to the jokes and japes of this kith, pooka often find a boggan to be the perfect straight man for their routines, but for their kindness and good natures, boggans are lucky enough to rarely find themselves on the receiving end of a pooka’s nastier tricks. They, of all the kiths, know how much faster a lie travels than a truth, and being the gossips they are, boggans have ample opportunity to share unflattering opinions.
- Redcaps: Redcaps have perhaps the singular distinction of being the only kith boggans find wholly unpleasant. Redcaps are loud, disruptive, and messy; they like to intimidate and call out as weakness anything they don’t appreciate. What’s more, they’ll destroy just about anything, no matter how precious or valuable! With their gnashing teeth, their need to disturb and revile, and their disregard for any and all kiths but their own, redcaps present few redeeming features even for the saintliest boggans. Those that can stomach their company often do find something far beneath the surface that hints at a promising sense of loyalty and willingness to suffer for those they care about, but given how redcaps actively drive away other kiths and spurn friendships outside their corby, it takes a truly patient and steadfast boggan (with an iron will and stronger stomach) to look past the ghoulish garishness they present to the world.
- Satyrs: Consummate party-goers and revelers, satyrs bring good times wherever they go, and love the quiet interludes boggans provide in their hectic lives. Despite outward differences, satyrs and boggans often make excellent friends, and on some occasions boggans have even integrated themselves into a satyr’s tragos, happy to share a full larder and an appreciation for art with a group. Literature collectors and crafters often have close ties with satyrs, who enjoy all manner of art and celebrate it whenever possible. Though boggans might often prefer the quieter, introspective, artistic sides of satyrs, many also enjoy attending the occasional wild evening hosted by members of this kith. The chance to let her hair down and play the guest instead of the host, for once, is a welcome reprieve; of course, she’s just as likely to linger after the party is done, and help to clean things up before she leaves.
- Selkies: Few relationships are more bittersweet than one with a selkie. Though half a selkie’s heart and soul constantly ache for something, it’s not usually within a boggan’s power to help, and this torments his caretaking sensibilities in turn. Setting their inability to aid her aside, boggans are happy to do whatever else they can for this quiet and romantic kith. Much like eshu, they are acutely aware that selkie companions won’t linger long; at least with the former, they tend to return to hearths that welcome them. Selkies, ever like the sea that calls to them, are more mercurial, and boggans are well aware they may only ever see them once before they vanish forever on a new adventure. Those who live near bodies of water have greater luck encountering selkie friends more than once, but still know there may come a day when the sea calls too strongly for the selkie to return to land.
- Sidhe: Boggans try to reserve judgment of the sidhe. They understand the troubles the sidhe faced when returning from Arcadia, and can appreciate the work they’ve put in to rebuilding the empires they ruled before the Shattering. Boggans have put all they can into trying to get these sidhe to adjust to the modern world, and what’s more to understand that it has moved on without them. While they appreciate hard work, boggans respect work with purpose; trying to tear down the structures built in their absence just to rebuild what was there before is an exercise in futility, and most boggans are saddened by the narrow-minded views and short-sightedness of their once-great leaders. They remain hopeful that the sidhe will find or make a suitable place for themselves again, but keep a wary eye out as they watch this kith’s efforts to belong on Earth. The sidhe who stayed on earth, like those of House Scathach, have more respect from the boggan community than nearly any other kith. Leading as best they could after the Shattering, they made tremendous personal sacrifices to remain with their people in the Autumn World. Considering their efforts and all they gave up for their people, boggans are happy to serve under them. They view these sidhe as honorable and steady, willing to work side by side with their subjects and change with the times as necessary. Boggans favor those who elected to become changelings like the rest of the kiths and fight to preserve the communities they are a part of. No boggan will argue with the such a sidhe’s assertion that they have earned their place as rulers, and especially more so than those who fled and expected to come back to either ashes or open arms.
- Sluagh: Boggans appreciate peace and quiet and keeping busy, and appreciate the sluagh for their vast collections of knowledge and quiet temperaments. Boggans know people, sluagh know things, and working together the two can discover all sorts of very beneficial arrangements. When sluagh leave their quiet havens to spend time with other changelings, boggans are all too happy to stay by their sides; they can easily sense when the sluagh is uncomfortable or overwhelmed and can whisk them out of unpleasant situations without leaving any hurt feelings. Befriending a sluagh also usually means a gold mine of information for the boggan, as sluagh collect all manner of literature, from shopping lists to discarded love letters and everything in between. As long as the stream of information flows both ways, boggans and sluagh share long and lasting friendships, but sluagh sometimes get prickly when they feel things aren’t mutual. This is especially true for sluagh who serve as advisors for the Unseelie Court, and are unwilling to give up more than they feel they receive; though it’s less likely to lead to a tumultuous argument as a jab here or there to bring the unbalance to light and prompt its correction.
- Trolls: Boggans appreciate the duty-bound and honorable trolls and the quiet intelligence they bring to the courts, as well as their tireless efforts to protect their fellow Kithain from more direct threats. While some find trolls boring or easily manipulated by the oaths they must keep at all costs, boggans respect their devotion to the ones they swear to. It helps that trolls are often quite appreciative of the efforts boggans make to serve or aid others, and are happy to host or board with a boggan, protecting her in exchange for the range of comforts afforded to them by the kith’s nature. Boggans in turn, are perfectly happy to have a troll nearby, though they rarely appreciate an Unseelie troll’s tendency for grudges and rages. They won’t turn them away, but often have rules that forbid them to bring their aggressive tendencies into the peace of the boggan’s home.
The natural habit of boggans to favor the Seelie Court means they gravitate largely toward the Seelie Houses. However, just as Unseelie boggans exist, so do those who prefer the beliefs of any given House, even if it appears to goes against their Court. If a boggan believes she can do good with the help of a House, she will find a way to feel welcome among its members, knowing they will come to accept her in time. While most boggans don’t aspire to be the ones running the show, they are popular and sought after as advisors, household staff, and even spies, as their ability to blend into any situation and learn all manner of secrets implies.
The stalwart protectors of the Dreaming don’t always see many boggans in their number. While even Seelie boggans can see the purpose behind what this House stands for, their methods aren’t always something boggans condone. The House Flaw is one that only rare boggans suffer from. From the outside looking in, most consider it unfortunate that the sidhe who make up the majority of this House feel so diminished by their mortal bodies. While they are certainly an affectation taken on out of necessity, most boggans don’t feel particularly disconnected from their hosts, and certainly don’t believe needing to protect themselves from Banality diminishes them in any way. As such, their advice to the nobles often glosses over this discomfort, or dismisses it entirely.
Unseelie boggans are more likely to join ranks with Aesin, especially any that are treated unfairly by nobles of other Houses or written off as useless beyond menial tasks. As only jaded or ambitious boggans are likely to turn to the Unseelie Court in the first place, the Unseelie House of Aesin is a welcome place for those looking to serve a noble purpose, perhaps to spite those who underestimated them in the first place.
- Boon: The company of animals suits boggans well, and the ability to speak to less common creatures mean they regularly extend their notion of care and hospitality to nearby wildlife, as well as travelers. Boggans of House Aesin prefer to dwell near nature preserves to protect their borders and the animals within.
- Flaw: The Aesin view of humans is precisely why many boggans don’t feel entirely at home in the House. Those that do fall in line the House Aesin don’t appreciate being relegated to the same roles as mortals solely because they enjoy and excel at tasks typically given to servants.
- Exile: Boggans are happy to take their place as advisors and mediators to serve their purpose and restore fae society. Any boggan in House Aesin has the ear of the Virtue Council.
As with many of the Unseelie Houses, the number of boggans in House Ailil is directly proportionate to the number of Unseelie boggans. While they don’t make up much of the population, the rare boggan that ties herself to House Ailil is frighteningly effective in her post. She can rise quickly through the ranks, but avoids being the person at the very top of the pile; why wear a target when there’s always someone else who wants to draw fire?
Seelie boggans abhor the way House Ailil twists their natural hospitality and intuition into something to be used purely for selfish gain. Though they respect the House’s adherence to their oaths, their narrow-mindedness drives all but the most Unseelie away. Those who do join House Ailil are usually sent out as spies, taking advantage of the exceedingly rare intersection of this kith and House, and the boggan’s natural ability to go unnoticed while noticing everything. Boggan agents who pledge to this House often prove subtle but astoundingly capable members, as their drive for perfection helps them craft airtight oaths and perfect political traps.
- Boon: Boggans outside of this House can never quite pin any scandal on its members, no matter how they try. Those within it revel in their gossip never coming back to haunt them, watching as the egg intended for them lands on other faces.
- Flaw: While their uncanny insight into other’s emotions makes it easy for them to deliver a properly crushing final word, those who do fall to the Ailil flaw have a difficult time coming back from the ‘loss’. Boggans outside of the House also have a grand time playing on this Flaw, knowing just the way to needle members of House Ailil into losing their composure and leaving them sputtering for a snappy comeback.
- Exile: Boggans cast a wary eye at all of House Ailil; they don’t deny they were exiled for rising against the rulers in Arcadia, and still to this day seek to place themselves at the top of the political pyramid. They serve only themselves — what will become of everyone else should they succeed?
Even Unseelie boggans avoid House Balor. The harsh and brutal members of the House sniff out and destroy anything they consider to be weakness, and few, if any, value the creature comforts and small kindnesses boggans are most comfortable providing. Boggans don’t trust Fomorian influence of any kind, even turning their backs on their Thallain cousins, and those changelings who welcome such association can’t be up to any good.
For all their dislike of the Blooded, any boggans living in a community where they are common finds a nearly endless source of information to spread as they desire. Boggans may not consider House Balor trustworthy, but they know the House consists of more than bullies and sycophants, and just because they don’t often show their faces in courtly gatherings doesn’t mean they aren’t moving pieces behind the scenes. It’s the quiet nature of such a loud group that catches boggans’ attentions, as they seek the motives behind such strange and obviously confused individuals. Their close ties to Shadow Court do nothing to assuage the deeply rooted suspicions boggans carry.
- Boon: It’s deeply unsettling to nearly everyone that the Blooded can shake off even the effects of cold iron, betraying their twisted roots. Their willingness to cross any and every line is something that makes a boggan’s skin crawl.
- Flaw: The outward manifestation of House Balor’s past ties is even more discomfiting than their abilities. Boggans instinctively avoid anyone with the hallmarks of attachment to this House, relying on their ability to go unnoticed when forced to share spaces with them.
- Exile: The wrong side of history is an unwelcoming place. House Balor’s desire to strangle Arcadia and command all the Glamour of the Autumn World deeply unsettles most boggans, who faithfully served the sidhe. While they don’t live in fear of the day that House Balor reigns, boggans certainly keep a wary eye on their machinations and dutifully report everything they learn to those they serve.
Boggans in House Beaumayn aren’t exactly rare, but as the Dark Stars hunt down Thallain, it isn’t always their first choice. Those who do join House Beaumayn tend to take the role of lore keepers, stockpiling information in elaborate libraries. They meticulously maintain any artifacts collected by other members of the House and record the details of the Thallain discovered and taken down by the Dark Stars. Though it’s not unheard of for childling or wilder boggans to hunt down Thallain or other dark creatures, their calmer natures mean they’re better suited for studying the intricacies of the Shadow Court or guiding their fellow housemates by helping them interpret their visions when they aren’t clear.
- Boon: Boggans in House Beaumayn tend not to be as active in the field as other kiths, but their insight into social matters means their ability to parse out the prophecies is uncanny. A boggan can attempt not only to understand the visions she receives herself, but may attempt to discern the meaning behind visions other members of the House share with her.
- Flaw: Beaumayn boggans prefer to remain safely within their homesteads for a number of reasons, but chief among them is the insulation it gives them against the Shadow Court and Thallain that seek to harry and harass them at every turn. Even those with an interest in more active roles soon learn the comfort and safety of a well-protected home.
- Exile: The tale of House Beaumayn’s imprisonment isn’t lost on its members. In addition to keeping close eyes out for Thallain and Shadow Court, the House carefully polices itself for signs of whatever strange corruption seized Duke Geremin. Boggans are among the most vigilant at this task, able to pick up on changes in personality far more quickly than others, and alert others of any house member in danger of losing her way.
While they once would have been happy to join the house of hospitality, the dark turn in House Daireann's nature after the Shattering makes kind-hearted boggans wince. Such a lovely and lively group they had once been, now twisted almost beyond recognition by their leader’s grief. To have a general law of a house is one thing, but the Hosts have such a strict, codified regime — and how can anyone truly be comfortable if they fear their host?
Still, more “traditional” Unseelie boggans flock to this House, where their talents are in demand and services are fairly compensated. They frequently prefer to be ‘paid’ in rumors and information, gleefully passing the gossip and secrets along once the guest has ended their stay. Of course, any unfortunates who truly insult her learn exactly what it means to cross their most gracious caretakers. She’s rarely involved directly in the inevitable payback, but she knows precisely who to tell to ensure her inconsiderate guest learns her lesson.
- Boon: At least it’s easier for them to take care of others; pity it’s also easy enough to for them to ‘correct’ bad behavior. The Unseelie boggans are absolutely the most attentive and generous hosts in the House, and for all the luxuries they offer, they naturally charge the highest prices.
- Flaw: While boggans usually feel no compulsion to help those who are most abhorrent to them, those of this House learn to grit their teeth and smile while the ones they hate impose upon them. At the very least, the Unseelie reason, they will get something out of it in the end.
- Exile: Who would go so far as to sully their names further by adding lies? Truly, for all their warm appearances, this house runs deep as a viper pit, and certainly exceeds it in venom. The truth will out, or so the saying goes, and everyone is eager to see what kind of secret may have sealed Daireann’s fate outside of Arcadia.
Despite its nominal alignment with the Unseelie Court, the newly-arrived House Danaan has attracted boggan childlings and wilders with surprising frequency. Though not everyone vetted by the Pathfinders joins the House, a not-inconsiderable number of more open-minded boggans do eventually take to the pathways leading away from the Autumn World. They seek homes in new places, or to find new tales to bring back to their less-adventurous friends. While the overwhelming curiosity of childling and wilder boggans drives them to explore, the grumps of this house prefer to maintain the strongholds and keep precise records of the places discovered by their fellow wanderers.
Despite most of House Danaan seeking ever to find new places ever further from everything they know, boggans stand out as those who venture out with the goal of finding something new to tell the stories of to those who stay behind.
- Boon: What better knack to have than always knowing the way home! And what better way to learn all sorts of new and wonderful things than talking to those who know best. The boggan’s natural ability to parse social norms also means she finds this boon particularly effective.
- Flaw: The reason boggans return to home so often relates particularly to the House Danaan flaw. They don’t enjoy grasping at straws for simple information, finding it uniquely annoying as it undermines their hospitality. What kind of host can’t remember the names of her most favorite guests — or if she put the kettle on or not for their arrival? It’s frustrating to no end, and so Danaan boggans keep journals to help them remember, and to allow them to refresh their memories when they leave to explore. Despite all their precautions, however, something always seems to slip through the cracks.
As a rule, boggans find members of House Dougal to be pleasant, upstanding folk. They heartily appreciate the Smith’s beliefs about hard work and their honest, open ways. Supporting and encouraging Dreamers is paramount to boggans as well, who similarly adore the recent DIY movement and humanity’s renewed appreciation in things made with their own two hands. Some are driven away by the way members of House Dougal constantly seek to ‘perfect’ themselves with artificial replacements, while others appreciate the artistry that goes into each and every piece, considering every high-ranking member of the House a living work of art.
Those boggans who busy themselves with crafting are drawn to this house above all others, where they can learn their trade and share their expertise with other talented hands. They, of course, always have impeccable workshops — and those who work closely with them might also find theirs well-kept as well.
- Boon: Losing himself in his work comes easily to a boggan, and they are well-suited to taking all advantage of House Dougal’s boon. Boggan wilders know most intimately the quiet frenzy that is absolute focus on a project, and exactly how calming or exciting such an experience can be, while grumps are masters of knowing exactly when to put in the extra effort to really make this boon pay off.
- Flaw: Why not show your work off everywhere you go? Even those commoner boggans without titles of their own appreciate the artistry that goes into the intricate replacements the nobles wear, but they remain keenly aware of how alienating replacing too much of yourself can be. It creates a rare conundrum for boggans, as even they find it difficult to relate to those who have replaced too much of themselves. Nonetheless, they do everything they can to accommodate their more alien friends.
- Exile: To be cast out simply because of an interest in technology? The shoe seem to be on the other foot now, as those re-entering the Autumn World from Arcadia need to learn to fit in amongst greater technological feats than they could have ever imagined. House Dougal will be there to show them the way, just as they always have been.
Despite their sometimes inscrutable Court allegiance, House Eiluned is home to a number of scholarly boggans. They explore all manner of secrets, and encourage other Sorcerers to do the same; the naturally curious boggans spend their lives uncovering secrets, whether they really mean to or not, and fit in well among the magically gifted Eiluned. The collections of grumps often hold useful secrets known to but the few who choose to spend the time investigating their libraries.
All boggans have a knack for learning things about other people, and are happy to use that information to improve unfair situations; however, boggans of House Eiluned learn over time to play their cards closer to the chest and be a little more discerning with whom they share the secrets they learn. Unseelie boggans of House Eiluned are absolute masters at using information as currency, and the House’s accepted Seelie alignment makes it easy for them to hide in plain sight.
- Boon: Boggans discover the boon of House Eiluned as an extension of their natural capabilities, or otherwise simply being exposed to so much magic and so many secrets of the Dreaming. Their habit of collecting a library of magical tomes makes it plain why they might have an easier time identifying magical effects otherwise.
- Flaw: Naturally curious, boggans fall almost more quickly than other members of the House to their Flaw. They love to learn every little thing about the people they interact with, and always have an excuse as to why they’re getting involved.
- Exile: Secrets are secrets are secrets, and by now, nobody really knows the truth. Talk about all the rumors you want, but there’s really no way to say what might have happened or didn’t.
The passionate House Fiona has its fair share of epicurean boggan members, who thoroughly enjoy indulging in their passions and sharing them with others. Boggans of Hose Fiona have the best food and drink, the coziest of homes where everything is lush and decadent, and, of course, the most torrid and complicated love-lives. They don’t so much live in the lap of luxury as become it themselves, throwing themselves into everything they enjoy with relish and abandon. The homes of Fiona boggans are rarely, if ever, empty, always hosting parties and at least two or three long-term guests.
With their penchant for ill-fated romance, boggans in particular take after Fiona herself and welcome mortals and prodigals into their homes, enchanting them more often than not to offer them the best of everything. Like the rest of their House, they do nothing halfway. If her heart isn’t it, expect nothing to be done, but capture her interest for even a moment, and a Lion will follow anyone to the ends of the earth and beyond.
- Boon: What’s to be afraid of when everything is so lovely... or when you’re too drunk to notice any danger? Boggans of this House tend to become more outgoing over time, emboldened by their House ties and able to laugh in the face of nearly all danger. Those used to more cautious, moderate boggans are quite astonished to meet these rowdy rebels, a fact such members gladly use to their advantage.
- Flaw: Especially in wilders, who are already perfectionists at heart, boggans fall easily to the House flaw and its habit of leading to obsession. While their preferences don’t always lean to more dangerous habits, the bravado and devotion of the Lions means that they very nearly can’t turn down a challenge of any kind. To win flawlessly despite all circumstances is a tough demand for such a modest kith.
- Exile: Standing in solidarity is of course how House Fiona stands where it is now. What other reason could there be? They support those they love absolutely, in sickness and in health, to death do we part. Anything less simply won’t do.
A House of those who consider themselves duty-bound to lead, Gwydion is a solid choice for those who want to help the people by steering the hand of those in charge. Boggans in House Gwydion make excellent seneschals and advisors, especially in those fiefdoms where the nobles are more receptive to giving a voice to their people and allowing their participation in courtly affairs. Those boggans who greeted the sidhe after the Resurgence and offered to help them acclimate to the reality of the changes that occurred in their absence are among the most trusted by both nobles and commoners.
Acting as go-betweens when necessary, they are among the most capable at enacting change from the ground up, and they always seem to know the most effective means to implement new policies or petition for change.
- Boon: The boon of House Gwydion becomes exceptionally useful for boggans, who can already parse social scenes with astounding accuracy. Advisors and commoners alike use their boon in a number of shrewd ways, sometimes letting lies go ‘undetected’ and waiting for the proper turn to make a power play. They are, after all, still a house of politics.
- Flaw: What’s the use in getting mad? Everyone knows it’s so much better to get even. Even boggans have tempers, and while managing to cross one is no easy task, rest assured they will exact their revenge with just as much prejudice as anyone else in the House. Knowing the best way to provide someone comfort also means they are acutely aware of how to spread discomfort, though boggans often do their best to hide the darker side of their kind and caring nature.
- Exile: House Gwydion has its pride and doesn’t appreciate when it’s challenged; that said, they also have their obligations, and will always see them through. Under the old ways or the new, they do their best to serve and protect their people. If that means the time for change is at hand, they will do their best.
As ardent supporters of many creative communities, there are perhaps a surprising number of boggans in House Leanhaun, despite its Unseelie allegiance. Those who understand the inner workings and goals of the House often attempt to subvert their more insidious schemes, giving voice to those messages the rest of the House might prefer to remain silent. Unseelie boggans are entirely at home among the Muses, carefully picking and choosing who to inspire and who to quietly bury, though they are often also happy to tip those scales the other way in exchange for suitable compensation.
While Seelie boggans are the respectable ‘face’ of the House to the rest of fae society, their Unseelie brethren are among the major movers and shakers of the House, carefully guiding and gauging the perception and reactions of society, pinpointing the apex of their Dreamers’ careers and quietly detaching before becoming collateral in the inevitable crash. Although they are more likely to help soften the blow of a fall from grace, they always make sure they can extricate themselves from the situation, or at least arrange things in a way that ensures a more dignified end to their careers in the spotlight.
- Boon: All part of being a good friend! Of course they know what you want, how you want it, and when; they know the right words to lift you up when you need it and bring you back down if you fly too high. They know the words that will crush your spirit, too, but it’s alright. You won’t hear those. Not directly.
- Flaw: A boggan without her Dreamers and guests is nothing, and so they feel the flaw of House Leanhaun keenly while also remaining somewhat insulated from it. Isolation from their Dreamers and lack of Glamour is tortuous, especially as they have a habit of housing those they’ve inspired, making the inevitable loss that much harder.
- Exile: Though they tend not to admit it aloud, House Leanhaun firmly believes they weren’t exiled — they merely saw what was coming and avoided it. If that means they should lead now, having had a head start, so be it.
Despite its checkered history and relatively small holdings, a small but dedicated group of boggans steadfastly pledge themselves to House Liam. Much like their founder, they believe Glamour can come from any source. Any source of reprieve and comfort does wonders for the soul, and even if such sources don’t do much to produce Glamour directly, a weary soul won’t be able to do so on its own. Boggans in House Liam appreciate the world mortals have built, and seek to foster their unique perspectives and beliefs. They rarely take a strong hand in inspiring mortals, preferring to watch what they come up with on their own, satisfying themselves with providing comfort to those weary souls who need it and protecting mortals from the more predatory aspects of fae society.
Even more so than usual, boggans of House Liam have the most humbly comforting homes, which they offer to anyone in need. Their mortal companions are some of their closest friends, and they seek to do everything they can to improve the lives of those creative individuals they find.
- Boon: House Liam exists to stave off the bleak forces of the Autumn World, to ensure everyone is comfortable and cared for and enjoying themselves. They take seriously their ability to reduce the strain on others, and help them keep themselves just a little while longer.
- Flaw: Nothing is without a price, and House Liam pays up front. It’s a small price, all told, but a meaningful one.
- Exile: Forever fascinated with mortals, this House has long been comfortable in the mortal world. They are always willing to help those less at home, much to the chagrin of those who drove them out.
Very few boggans choose to throw in with the Grey Walkers. The lives of those in House Scathach are solitary, militaristic, and nomadic, which put them at odds with most everything boggans enjoy. While they have no particular interest in joining up with the House, boggans still appreciate the duties they have chosen for themselves, and members of the nominally Seelie house always have a bed waiting in any boggan’s home, where they may find a hot meal and a good night’s sleep before continuing on their everlasting journey. Their quiet natures make them oddities among changeling culture, and as such, boggans love to poke and prod them for stories of any kind.
Little is known about their House, as they prefer not to hold lands or participate in politics, so anyone in House Scathach who finds herself in the company of a boggan is likely to face their full force of their curiosity, in addition to their hospitality.
- Boon: Stealth is a boon, indeed, but hardly useful if all it’s good for is fighting.
- Flaw: While boggans don’t agree that ‘they were there, so they did it’ is the best way to determine guilt, they know the rumors. They may not be the best company, but that’s no reason to turn them away outright.
- Exile: It’s hardly surprising that the House reviled by most of Kithain society has little interest in Arcadia in the first place.
If there was ever a house full of busybodies, no doubt all Kithain society would expect boggans to be at its center; yet no one is particularly surprised most boggans studiously avoid House Varich. Even boggans who favor the Unseelie Court aren’t usually so jaded as to join their number; they are, almost by definition, warm and inviting individuals, where the Weavers are cold and distant, trusting hardly anyone but themselves. Where boggans analyze and interpret to understand and accommodate, Weavers do so to subjugate and ‘win’ any given interaction, making even small talk a battle and the most trusting souls wary of dealing with them. Boggans, who generally aid any and all without ulterior motives, have a way of stymieing Weavers; where is the satisfaction in a game when your opponent wants you to win? More often than not, their bitter hearts aren’t sure what to do with a boggan’s open-heartedness and warmth, and as such, they tend to avoid the kith as a whole.
On the rare occasion that an Unseelie boggan feels House Varich is the lot for him, he is often the most detached and calculating member of the group, able to predict other’s motives and methods with alarming accuracy and manipulate even the most shrewd and savvy politicians. Boggans driven to join the Weavers have suffered some kind of tremendous loss or breach of trust, enough so to fundamentally alter their view of the world and their role in it.
- Boon: While knowing everything in advance is perhaps useful, boggans find it rather boring. Having all the answers defeats the purpose of curiosity.
- Flaw: Boggans mourn the loss of love perhaps more than its own members do. From where else does compassion flow?
- Exile: If House Varich is to be believed, they orchestrated everything to work in their favor. Of course, the House would likely say that about absolutely everything.
Like most changelings, boggans are happy to harbor and help friendly chimera. Many keep some form of chimerical pet or another, and usually spoil and cater to their companion’s whims. Boggans have no preference between sentient and non-sentient, animate and inanimate. Any and all are welcome in a boggan’s homes and collections; these can range from appearing as the most mundane to the most fantastic, comprised of whatever has come into her possession over time.
When it comes to Nightmare chimera, boggans hope to redeem them whenever possible. Boggans offer homes to the feral chimera they come across, and quietly aid cryptids when they can. Nervosa are a mixed bag, depending on their origin, but most boggans would rather avoid such aggressive creatures as urban legends and nocnitsa.
As the world shrank and contact with the once-mysterious Gallain became more regular, boggans flourished in their roles as peacekeepers and advisors. Nobles dealing with unfamiliar cultures like to bring a boggan along, to help parse out customs and convey intentions properly between two potentially clashing cultures. Their uncanny insight allows them to pick up on many things others would miss or misunderstand, making them valuable diplomatic envoys.
Of course, not all things that are alien to the Kithain are friendly. Encountering creatures they have no ability to help is always hard on a boggan, but such cases do arise, especially outside the kiths they are familiar with. Regardless, any creature that shows something other than outright hostility is one that could benefit from a boggan’s presence, and until they are driven away they will do their best to comfort and comprehend whatever oddities they come across.
Rare and solitary, Inanimae settle about their anchors and watch over the Near Dreaming. Old stories passed down now and again tell of the times before the Sundering and Shattering, when such spirits were abundant; newer tales tell of increasing interaction between Inanimae and changelings. Boggans of either Court will protect Anchors if the Inanimae within appreciates their help, regardless of the Court to which the Inanimae belongs. Collecting and spreading information as they do means most boggans have a vague idea of the different Phyla of the Inanimae, and their sedentary, patient outlook meshes well with these thoughtful, ponderous Gallain.
- Glomes: Steadfast and wise, these fellow collectors of knowledge have so much to share. Pity they’re so knowledgeable on only one subject, at the expense of any others!
- Kuberas: They think very highly of themselves, but they hear even more than we do. If you can find one willing to talk, they’ll give you the juiciest gossip, but they’ll likely want something in return.
- Ondines: A little selkie, a little sluagh, and little bit of boggan. They miss the water, study the mortals, and love to talk about anything but themselves.
- Parosemes: Flighty as the wind and pranksters at heart. They’re too caught up in their own little squabbles to look far outside.
- Solimonds: Passionate and honorable folk, but as likely to burn you as the heat they come from.
- Mannikins: Though numerous, they’re almost entirely inscrutable. Be careful what you say and do where one might hear you; they listen far more than they share.
Even changelings who live near areas where the Nunnehi are numerous typically know little and understand less about these Gallain. They are proud, protective folk, but for a long time their declining numbers and increasingly limited homelands meant that their interactions with changelings were severely limited, and heavily colored by the history of their mortal kin. With the recent resurgence in their numbers and activism concerning rights of Native Americans, some contact has been restored, but typically remains terse at best, after such a long history of being brushed aside and disrespected by newcomers into their lands. Those boggans in positions of power have tried to ease tensions and broker a more peaceful relationship between the Nunnehi and nearby freeholds, but changing the minds of the imperious sidhe is not something that even they will accomplish overnight.
The Hsien are mysterious and cryptic cousins to changelings, though boggans never quite understand why the Hsien claim to be entirely separate from fae culture. The cultural differences between changelings and the Hsien are so great that even boggans have a difficult time understanding them, though it’s not an impossible task, and a challenge that more adventurous and diplomatic boggans relish. Among the Gallain, Hsien are the ones with whom boggans share the most common ground. In their search for purpose, they strive to help everyone who needs it and anything that could benefit from their aid, not unlike boggans themselves. Still, most Kithain only know of the Hsien through tales and rumors, and establishment of formal relations has been slow.
Though their origins bear some similarity to Hsien, the lifestyles and cycles of the Menehune of Hawai’i are closer to those of the Kithain, a connection boggans are happy to capitalize on. Given the prevalence of the tourism and hospitality industries on the islands, boggans are found in surprising number in Hawai’i, which first put them at odds with the reclusive Menehune but has since led to closer ties as they cooperate to provide for a mutually agreeable future. Boggans who are familiar with the Menehune find them lovely companions, happy with the pure and meaningful lives they lead. The Menehune in turn enjoy those changelings who are eager to believe in the existence of these Hawaiian kith and help them gather Glamour however they need.
There are few more common threats among mortals than Autumn People, and being the open-hearted creators and caretakers they are, nearly all boggans have encountered an Autumn Person at one time or another. A guest in a boggan’s bed and breakfast who sneered at the lovingly hand-crafted furniture that decorates the front porch; a high-powered CEO who scolded his children that they didn’t want to grow up to be like their nanny; the newest member of a book club who dismisses any works she deems not ‘serious’ enough. All of these and more can work their special harm on the fae, and because recognizing Autumn People isn’t always easy to do right away, boggans are among those most susceptible to their terrifyingly Banal judgments.
A boggan’s ability to find real magic in the simple and mundane goes directly against everything an Autumn Person believes. Somehow, the notion that chores might be enjoyable or beneficial to anyone is more an affront to the Autumn Person’s senses than flagrant belief in such fantastical things as dragons and faeries. Though many try, most boggans come to understand quickly that there is no saving the Autumn People; they are too far gone to learn anything of magic anymore. Boggans will, however, do everything they can to foster the creativity of anyone cursed with the presence of an Autumn Person in her life.
Though they were once long-forgotten, changelings are becoming ever more aware of the Nightmare kiths that trickled in over time, before the floodgates opened after the Evanescence. Even the warm and welcoming boggans feel nothing but disdain and disgust for these warped reflections of the Dreaming, and seek to avoid them at all costs. Nothing is so abhorrent as the Thallain’s desire to destroy everything built by the Tuatha and bring the world back into the chaos of the Fomorian Dream. The comfort of home and the peace of mind that comes from having a safe haven is paramount to boggans, and they can’t imagine a world in which they’ve been destroyed by these Nightmare creatures.
- Boggarts: Boggans loathe their Thallain cousins, and can identify boggarts at a glance. If boggans are the warmth of a cozy fire, boggarts are the shock of being dropped in Arctic waters. As the two kiths are hard for others to tell apart, boggarts can do a lot of damage to the reputation of boggans, which causes their Kithain cousins no end of frustration and grief. This loathing also stems from the boggarts’ mastery of manipulation, which has dragged many a boggan into a boggart’s schemes, fearing the consequences if they don’t go along with what is demanded of them. In contrast to the modest dignity of boggans, nothing is too far or too shameless for a boggart, and they frequently threaten loved ones and Dreamers to get their way. Their slipshod methods and nasty ways grate on everything a boggan is, and bring out unprecedented levels of hatred and vitriol in such ordinarily pleasant folks.
Not many boggans have experience with Dark-Kin, or Denizens, the creatures that elected to flee further into the Dreaming as the Sundering ripped it from the Autumn World. Nothing about the Denizens are familiar, from their lack of adherence to the Courts to their ever-shifting and mercurial personalities. Boggans have the easiest time identifying that, as any given Denizen have multiple states that affect not only their personalities, but even their appearances. While some appear to be benign and even friendly, others are destructive and aggressive, and so it is best to tread carefully, as the Adhene have the capability to exhibit both extremes within a remarkably brief period of time.
Dauntain are among the most tragic figures for boggans to encounter. Their hearts go out to these creatures so twisted and apparently abandoned by the Dreaming, but even the consummate caretakers know better than to interact with these broken individuals. On very rare occasions, one will retain enough of themselves to seek a way to one day become whole again, but as subjects of such pervasive fear in Kithain society, even the most coherent of Dauntain will have a hard time finding help. The Lost, the Cursed, and the Apostates are among those who are easier to deal with, but the less obvious their Brand, the more insidious their actions. Even boggans cannot stand the Dauntain’s use of Ruin, and cannot fathom why any creature of the Dreaming would want so badly to destroy the Glamour that maintains their lives. Some stories exist of the softest-hearted boggans successfully rescuing lost and confused Dauntain from their terrible fate, but in reality, such tales typically end in tragedy.
While boggans tend to remain most active within their local court and Kithain communities, their open doors and hearts mean they can find themselves involved with more exotic beings as well, sometimes quite by accident. As best they can, boggans seek to accommodate and lift the spirits of everyone they meet, regardless of background or nature. Of course, they still seek to protect themselves, and therefore approach interactions with their Prodigal cousins with a measure of caution.
With their insidious plans, callous selfishness, and perpetual in-fighting, vampires are among the Prodigals that boggans seek most to avoid. Even the most Seelie fae can recognize abusive behavior, and to serve under a vampire or choose to host one only means slow, painful death in one form or another. If they don’t literally drain their hosts to the point of death, their mere presence is widely believed to be among the most Banal of things, sucking the warmth and cheer from a room with their deceptively quiet, looming presence. Their hearts are as cold as their skin, and they always seek to subjugate and manipulate everyone into furthering their own schemes.
Unseelie boggans are wary of interacting with vampires for just that reason; they have no desire to be a patsy in someone else’s scheme, and if they do involve a vampire in their plans, they make very sure to leave no trail back to themselves in the process.
Perhaps the most frustrating thing for boggans is that they’d be perfectly willing to help, if vampires would just ask nicely.
If the pooka are to be believed and werewolves are close cousins to changelings, they are to be treated in the same way that the other kiths are. Boggans are more than willing to engage with friendly werewolf packs, often helping broker peace treaties over disputed territories or smoothing out old tensions before they can erupt. Shifters seem to them to be a peculiar but effective combination of pooka and trolls: like the pooka, they use their animal affinity and changing form to best suit whatever trials they face, yet they fight for noble causes and protect those around them, much like trolls.
Of course, pushing a werewolf too far means they fly into an uncontrollable rage — and their tempers are worse than any other’s. While they don’t appreciate the risks entailed in dealing with such intense aggression, boggans are willing to put this concern in the back of their minds for short dealings with these volatile Prodigals.
Boggans find mages unpredictable and — peculiarly for them — a very hard group to read. While changelings and mortals vary wildly in personalities and temperaments, mages run the gamut from wellsprings of raw Glamour to walking fields of Banality. They are even more mercurial than the water-loving selkies and more unreachable than the most aloof sidhe. True to their nature, boggans will offer help if they run across mages in need, but are acutely aware of the warnings that mages have the potential to drain all of the Glamour out of changelings and freeholds. Boggans have generous hearts, but they are ultimately practical people, and mages can exist without drawing on Glamour. Unseelie boggans especially will close ranks when they feel a mage has overstayed their welcome, but even those in the Seelie Court will defend their own over helping an outsider if the mage poses a serious threat to the supply of Glamour. When dealing with mages directly, boggans are most content to do what they do best; go quietly about their business and wait for useful pieces of information to come their way.
Wraiths and boggans have an unusual history. Without the natural ability of the sluagh to perceive ghosts, boggans have no means of seeking out wraiths to help them, yet at the same time their habits of crafting and cleaning give them a high chance of interacting with a wraith’s Fetters, their homebody nature means they often know of local Haunts, and their social tendencies can bring them into contact with Passions. As boggans tend to be cheery folk, wraiths may hang around them, unnoticed, and feed on the positive emotions they foster in those nearby.
Even if she cannot directly perceive a wraith, a boggan’s intuitive nature makes it easy for her to sense areas where Spectres dwell, as their dark natures negatively impact everything around them, and make them uncomfortable for such a generally cozy kith. When boggans and wraiths do interact, there’s a good chance for them to form tight relationships, with the boggan protecting one or more of the wraith’s Fetters or Passions, while the wraith’s inherent lack of Banality provides insulation for the boggan.
Boggans don’t often have dealing with the more common Prodigals, and even more rarely so with those that have all but fallen into myth. However, being the curious folk they are, boggans may run into such strange things every now and then. Tales of mummies and demons come to boggans mostly through the stories of eshu, or old tomes kept by the sidhe in their libraries. Unseelie boggans may know some member of House Balor, who can tell more detailed stories, but Seelie boggans prefer to avoid such dark acquaintances, and take all their tales with a grain of salt.
Mummies are sources of great rumors and stories, especially when heard from the Sidhe who once, long ago, may have had direct experiences with these Prodigals. Eshu legend tells that mummies were once mortals who have since merged with the Dreaming, and now serve the sidhe in an effort to harness their chimerical powers. Their role in preserving balance and ability to heal others means that any mummy who encounters a boggan is likely to have a fast friend.
Demons, on the other hand, are a force most boggans would be perfectly happy never once encountering. Their largely Seelie tendencies and kind hearts make these violent creatures especially abhorrent, the moreso because demons take advantage of exactly those qualities whenever possible. While boggans usually seek to help everyone they encounter, demons are an absolute exception; they twist words and intentions and seek to subjugate everyone they encounter, and can’t be trusted.
When it comes to hunters, boggans find a double-edged sword. While they destroy real risks in the world, they can also pose a threat to Dreamers and chimera. Therefore all hunters are approached with caution, and carefully steered away from harmless changelings communities.
The most dangerous of mortals for all changelings are Autumn People, those who carry Banality within them and spread it wherever they go. Boggans have no love for these people, but do have pity. Most know better than to interact with such harbingers of Banality, but more than one has been Undone in a misplaced attempt to help.
Faces in the Firelight
- Alysoun, the Wife of Bath
- Aunt Finny
- Benjamin Armitage
- Cedric Longelbow
- Charles Fizzlewig
- Chucky D
- Clara Sterling
- Densloe Maddingsley
- Devin Twelvefinger
- Dorrie Donaldson
- Douglas Bender
- Old Finney
- Flora Sinclair
- Frankie James
- Garrett Grady
- Gilda Hazlitt
- Gloria McAlley
- Greg Gannaway
- Gwilym Pugh
- Hammond (CTD)
- Henning Henningson
- Josef the Worthy
- Kent Maxwell
- Lairdie Cordwell
- Lauren McCrae
- Lady Legre
- Leona Villiard
- Lili Saltpeter
- Margaret and Brian Murphy
- Mic Tanner
- Mother Cobbins
- Murfred Trueaim
- Mr. Quigley
- Dame Oona Kinane
- Petra (CTD)
- Duchess Prya ap Dougal
- Rosie (Boggan)
- Seumas of Clann Wrath and his sons, Hugh and Rory
- Spat Thomconk
- Thomas of Boothby
Odds & Ends
- CTD. Kithbook: Boggans.
- CTD. Changeling: The Dreaming Second Edition, pp. 88-89.
- CTD. Changeling Players Guide, pp. 60-63.
- CTD. Changeling: The Dreaming 20th Anniversary Edition, pp. 88-89.