There are two types of Dauntain, the ones who know what they are facing, and the ones who don't. Oddly enough, the second type is much more dangerous because their lack of belief causes Banality to be extremely strong within them. The others believe in what they are facing, thus decreasing their resistance to changeling cantrips. However, they are knowledgeable of changeling weaknesses and often carry iron weapons.
The second group is spearheaded by psychiatrist Dr. Anton Stark. Some groups have protested the extreme measures used to eliminate the disorder he calls Quixote Syndrome, but none can deny the treatment's success rate. It should be noted that most of these doctors do not believe in the supernatural, and all are infused with an incredible amount of Banality.
Dauntain have been known to cause trods to wilt simply by passing through. High King David Ardry has decreed that these people are not to be directly approached, as the power of their Banality could destroy changelings. However, any changelings captured by them are to be rescued, if at all possible, before they are lost forever to Banality.
The first group of Dauntain is more dangerous in that its members believe in the existence of changelings, but believe them to be evil creatures who devour the force of human creativity for their own dark magics. Most of these are either survivors of a Ravaging, or someone close to them was destroyed by such. They are quite aware of the dangers such beings pose to humanity. A few of these latter Dauntain sometimes even develop a small facility with Kenning, as their belief enhances the intrinsic Glamour existing within them. They use news stories to find changelings. They look for signs of Ravaging (such as a crowd riot at a soccer game in England) and move in on the area armed with cold iron weapons, searching for the changelings responsible for the attacks. While they do not always find those responsible, they are very skilled at digging up the nearest changelings in the immediate area and "destroying" their menace. Such Dauntain are vulnerable to changeling magic, for they believe in it and are therefore less strongly influenced by Banality. In fact, some of these have surprisingly strong Glamour ratings.
On occasion, Dauntain form into small cooperative teams. These teams are extremely deadly when they locate changelings. A recently formed team is organized by Alex Hayward, a survivor of a Ravaging after an Exquisite Agony concert. The team's members, who had been the opening band for the concert, were attacked by several Ravagers as they returned to their dressing rooms. The band survived, but were somewhat changed by the experience. They researched the subject, looked for similar occurrences and deduced the nature of their enemy. They have already subjected a changeling to death by iron, and have seen evidence of changeling abilities. While this has tempered their enthusiasm a bit, they still act without mercy or apology when they find one.
In a world of twilight and shadow, some fae fall into the darkness of Winter’s night. These unfortunates have a name, a name which strikes a chill of terror into the hearts of Kithain everywhere. Tales of these creatures have been told at many a late-night gathering of fae: to childlings with wide, frightened eyes; to wilders who know they would never fall to such temptation or contretemps; and to grumps, who sometimes wonder if they are halfway there already. The lives these fallen Kithain lead are held up as examples: examples of where the times have taken us, how humanity’s imagination and our own brothers and sisters in Arcadia have failed us.
The Dauntain are Kithain who have become frozen, dead from the frostbite of Banality. For the Dauntain, the bright heritage of the Dreaming which surrounds us, fills us with possibility, is gone. But it is not to be simply Undone that they have fallen. They are destined for greater things than that, and for this we must curse them and drive them from our homes, our lands, and our people. They are among our greatest foes, for they are living avatars of that which destroys our spirits, leaving us gray, meaningless husks of banal, repetitive human life.
It is difficult to believe that one of us, a true Kithain, a Child of Wild, a living, sentient being born of true Glamour, could turn away from their heritage so completely. Yet, they do. Why? What could cause this to happen?
Could it be something we are doing? A fault in our own culture? Or is it the terms of the exile? I feel that Dauntain have simply been driven insane by the imprisonment here, on this banal mudball which no longer has any use for us or our magic. Look what this cold, sterile world has brought humanity: war, plague, famine. Governments have gone into debt over war toys while they refuse to fund schools. Children don’t even know what states or countries border their own! At the very least they could teach “here be dragons.” At least in that case, the children would have something to wonder about.
Wonder lies at the root of our problems, or rather a lack of it. The Dauntain sees no wonder in the world; they see only the cold destruction which awaits all. They welcome it, beckon to it. They lose everything of value for this, to become a part of the dying of the light, sucked into Banality like a fragile comet dragged into a black hole. All I can wonder is: what’s on the other side? Something good, I hope, because I think we’ve passed the event horizon.
The Dauntain, muck like the other Autumn People, carry Banality with them as if it were a badge. They enforce the dreary reality which most humans subscribe to as if it were a religious duty, although I am certain most Dauntain are atheists. This is where their resemblance to other Autumn People ends. Where the others are like a glacier, moving slowly and surely to cover the land, the Dauntain are like blizzards, intense, brief, and extremely dangerous to those caught defenseless within them. Dauntain are usually viewed as random, destructive forces who exist only to destroy Glamour in whatever form it can be found. They have abandoned their rich history for many reasons over the years, but for some reason they still cling to threads. Some may resent the Kithain for having what they lost, others may simply hate them for being Kithain. There is no true rhyme or reason to be found by comparing one Dauntain to another. All are unique in their individual quests; even in Banality they live up to who and what they are.
I consider the Dauntain to be victims to both Bedlam and Banality. They somehow lose all intrinsic balance and become murderous madmen. This is, sadly, not an easy madness to treat. In many cases, we can cure Bedlam by exposure to Banality. In this case, though, such exposure will only make matters much worse. Many Dauntain are apparently in the grips of the third stage of Bedlam, even if they are not obviously insane. This is not, though, the same in every single instance. I have seen Dauntain who are frighteningly sane. In fact, they seem to choose this path for themselves with full knowledge of the consequences.
What Are They?
I have dedicated much of my time these past few years to learning all I can of the Dauntain. I have seen much which would chill you to the very core of your being. I have felt the icy touch of Banality reach into my heart and try to yank it out in bloody chunks. I have witnessed chimera so steeped in Banality that their presence burned like Cold Iron. I have also seen the wonder of a Dauntain brought back into the fold of her kith. It was like beholding a second Chrysalis. Sadly, this is a rare event and difficult to arrange.
I will now tell you what I’ve seen and heard. I trust you will listen and learn, so that you may avoid these same pitfalls that trapped the poor Dauntain, for they are victims of Banality.
The first reasonable question is, “What are they?” Most fae seem to expect them to be some indistinct lump of Banality out to destroy all changelings for the sheer pleasure of it. This view is wrong. Don’t be mistaken… they are dangerous. What they are not, however, is predictable. What may be a beautiful way to deal with one Dauntain may not even faze another. They are twisted reflections of our own kind… they are Kithain. I see that shocks you. Good. Sometimes we all need to be shocked. It’s cathartic.
I have seen two kinds of Dauntain. The first sort makes a conscious decision to become so. They are those who are hungry for power or revenge, who choose this path in order to satisfy a personal need. Sometimes I feel like the Dreaming has failed these folk, for if it were readily accessible, they would have less reason to abandon it. It is easy to abandon a home one doesn’t remember. The second group are those who grasp for the madness when it strikes. The onset of Bedlam is a frightening experience which comes all too often to those who are newly emerged from their Chrysalis with no guidance. Like a drowning person, they reach for any safe port in the storm to grab. This is usually their pre-Chrysalis human viewpoint. Unfortunately, this isn’t a true escape rom Bedlam. Deprived of its normal outlet, it acts instead through other means. Most often this becomes an extreme, even fanatical, hatred of all things related to the fae.
In both cases, the changelings were not consumed and Undone by the Banality which fills them because they were also saturated with Glamour. Due to various reasons, the temper of the Kithain is flawed despite this balance, and they fall. Most often, this flaw manifests as a lack of willpower. On other occasions it manifests in seemingly minor quirks and instabilities.
Both varieties are Kithain who have rejected the bright wonder of the Glamour which surrounds and infuses them, embracing instead the lifeless tones of Banality. They form a race of outscasts and find themselves truly alone. In this loneliness they strike out against that which exists only to nurture them. They seemingly exist only to destroy that which the fae find beautiful and magical, with no regard to the consequences or the damage they cause.
They are viewed as vandals in a very real sense. Whichever method they utilize, they will continue to reduce the fae and their Glamour to nothing more than gray dust. This is their only purpose; they are driven to extremes by the Banality to which they have turned. They accomplish this in many ways and in many guises. Some attempt to slay their fellow Kithain, some utilize Banality in horrible ways to destroy chimera, and some simply hide, only to lash out in fear or hatred. Some of them give no indication that they understand what they are really doing. Typically, they develop some form of symbolism around their actions which may or may not show any actual knowledge of Kithain Glamour.
Why do some changelings go this route rather than simply dissolving in the Banality they embrace? Because the fae are expressions of mythic forces, other facets of the archetypal hero. Anything a Kithain does has a resonance. If they turn to Banality, they will not always be Undone, although that fate eventually awaits them, but they will go down in the style of fallen magicians throughout legend. It is tied into the balance of energies which make up the Dauntain; Banality drives them to annihilate wonder, curiosity, and magic whenever possible, but the Glamour allows them to utilize these forces without being destroyed by them, at least for a time.
No true fae, including the Dauntain, ever does anything in a small way. If one chooses to fall it will be a spectacularly doomed trip down, and they will take as many as possible with them.
Despite appearances, Banality is neither conscious nor malicious. It is simply the label given to the disbelief of normal humans. For changelings, any human belief has form and power. Disbelief is not “negative belief” or “anti-belief.” It is simply belief in concepts other than those which empower the fae. This is not evil, simply evolution of thought as humans outgrow their need for mythic tales and magic. Sadly, humankind may not understand what they are giving up by abandoning the sense of wonder and magic they had as children. Perhaps, in a very real sense, the future of the Kithain lies in the heart and minds of the children.
How Do They Come To Be?
This is a question which has puzzled sages for many years; what causes a perfectly normal changeling to reject the life, light, and soul of the Dreaming? Why do they allow themselves to become such monsters? How do they survive the transformation into Banality-filled shodows of their former selves?
The easiest answer is to say there are as many ways as there are Dauntain. However, it wouldn’t be fair of me to leave you hanging with such a simplistic answer. The following details several Dauntain I’ve learned of in my travels. Each one, like all other Kithain, is unique. Their story defines their existence, even in their fall. They are not a cookie-cutter foe, cast from a mold. They are (or were) Kithain and this defines their existence.
Some say that in becoming Dauntain, a faerie must face themself in a struggle for their very soul. This struggle sometimes manifests in a chimerical struggle as Banality grows within them. In some cases, the changeling may be assaulted by a chimera which strongly resembles them, but twisted in some fashion. Since this is an embodiment of the changeling’s own fears, it can often be stronger than they are and will often defeat them. This is a struggle of thoughts, ideas, and philosophies as the changeling’s Banality gains a measure of independence. Others say that this is simply ridiculous and that Dauntain are born, not made. They argue that just as there are Seelie and Unseelie, the Dauntain are simply changelings who represent Banality. They insist that the fallen are a necessary evil reminding the Kithain of the loss they all face. This is said to be a defeatist argument by many grumps, who are themselves afraid that it’s true. To be fair, I can only say that I have no evidence for or against either story.
Many believe that the Dauntain herald the coming Winter, not as a sole harbinger, but as one of any signs. Only the most optimistic generally dispute this. The most heretical of al Kithain hold the view that Dauntain are simply the next stage of changeling evolution. They claim that this is rendered obvious by the fact that the Dauntain are beginning to form their own Arts and Realms from the stuff of Banality. Given time, the Dauntain will outnumber the Kithain and will serve as a repository for their race until the Winter passes and Spring comes, bringing Glamour back to the world. The less optimistic view is that they simply herald the end of all Kithain.
There are many different ways for a star to fall as there are paths in the sky. Therefore, no two Dauntain will be exactly the same. Even so, just as those of the same kith will share similarities, there are varieties of Dauntain with more in common than not. This is not to say I can categorize every Dauntain in existence. I can, though, provide a guideline which describes the method of their madness.
The common causes of the Dauntain’s fall we call their Dooms, their dark fates. Here follow some of the Dooms I have encountered. Each has a generalized description of their origins, their outlook, how they appear to other fae, and what I believe their attitude toward other Dauntain would be. This last is merely a possible insight into their motives. I am not certain they will react this way; it simply seems most likely.
Each Kithain generally goes through some fairly general steps when becoming Dauntain. It is an inversion of the archetypal Hero's Journey. The Dauntain are, however, heroes of a fashion. Often, they fight for what they believe in, what they believe to be true. Yes, this will often result in the destruction of what most Kithain hold dear. To many Dauntain, though, they are fighting an enemy they consider as vile as they themselves seem to the Kithain. They are flip sides of the same coin, but there is no way they will ever resolve the differences between them. They are driven by mutually exclusive forces and reconciliation is not in the stars. Let's embark on the Dauntain's Journey.
To begin, something must set the Dauntain-to-be apart from other Kithain. Something about life as Kithain simply doesn't sit well with them. Perhaps they cannot accept the existence of Glamour, or perhaps some strong emotion has driven them away from the beauty of Glamour and they can only find a path through the cold truth of Banality.
Kithain are not normal, banal people. Even those who turn to serve this sterile concept do so in a manner which befits a mythical being. However, the fae has rejected or been rejected by their society, or has left any chance of ever joining it. They must turn their back on the magic and beauty which makes up the life of the fae. They rebel against the life and light of Glamour, choosing instead the sterile path of Banality.
The Dauntain is in the process of becoming that which denies everything they ever were, but they don't forget. In forgetting, one is simply human. In simple denial, they remember all that befell them as Kithain. They may not believe or understand, but they do remember. This memory is what will drive them to commit the acts for which the Dauntain are feared.
At this point, the changeling will desperately seek meaning in their life. They have nowhere to go, no one to turn to. Their own mind is showing them things they don't want to know. At this point, most potential Dauntain are simply Undone, like moths in a flame.
Those who have the will to survive find direction in their lives, whether it be a philosophy, a mentor, or simple gut-level determination. Regardless of what method starts them on the path, it begins to define them as they rebuild their sense of identity around it.
Now the Dauntain must use their new self-knowledge to completely bury their Kithain nature. This is a never-ending struggle, for to truly be Dauntain, one must still be Kithain. Once this struggle ends, the Dauntain is simply one of the Autumn People.
These are the darkest hours of the Dauntain's life as their own mind conjures nightmares from the stuff of Glamour to stop the mad slide into Banality. The Dauntain must struggle mightily to drag themself from this seeming fall into sheer insanity. They must find their way through this treacherous time with their own beliefs to guide them. Of course, even their own beliefs will loose meaning as they strike out at them as well.
Finally, they will be stripped of everything which has ever given meaning to them or they will succumb and fall, becoming nothing more than a broken shadow of their former self, haunted by the shadows of their nightmares. If they succeed, they come from the fires of their own personal hell, forged into a cold iron sword poised to strike into the heart of Glamour.
Now the newly born Dauntain strides into the world, prepared to do whatever they must to destroy the stuff of Glamour. The may not understand exactly what they are doing, of the may do it with full knowledge, but neither direction really matters. What makes a difference is that they now have purpose. This purpose may be clothed in many different rationalizations. They may believe all Kithain are insane and must be cured, or they may identify them with someone who did them grievous harm in the past, and wish to kill them.
The Dauntain takes their hard-won knowledge and uses it to fight that which they once were. They must face and destroy as much as they can before they, too, are claimed by the forces they have allied themself with and finds a place among normal humanity.
Once the Dauntain has accomplished their goals, the weight of Banality upon their soul may become far too great, or often they allow Banality to unmake them. Or, perhaps, they may find another who is starting on the same path they found themself on so long ago and guide them into the ranks of the Dauntain.
Use of Arts & Cantrips
Many Dauntain still use cantrips, though often in an altered form. Each of the different Dooms have different beliefs on the use of cantrips, as discussed below.
Though most Dauntain can use cantrips, they must abide by different rules for their use. As usual, Glamour most be spent in order for the cantrip to be cast. Dauntain, however, have the option of spending a point of temporary Banality in order to not have to use a Bunk. Bunks are usually anathema to most Dauntain, and they will do almost anything to avoid them. For the purposes of casting cantrips, temporary Banality should be recorded as temporary Glamour in this case, with the initial number of temporary Banality equaling the character's permanent Banality.
See the larger article Agenda.
Obviously, Dauntain do not recover Glamour in the usual way. They can glean Glamour from artists and Dreamers, though this takes the form of a peculiar form of Ravaging known as Rending. In order to Rend Glamour from a Dreamer, the Dauntain must simply identify an individual as a Dreamer. This done, the Dauntain must engage in conversation or some form of communication with the individual. During the conversation, they must proceed to cause the person to disparage their own works or self-worth. This can be done by making critical statements and just generally verbally abusing the hapless sot. This process most often leave the Dreamer completely exhausted and with strong feelings of self-doubt. Many have even been driven to suicide after having been Rent. It should be noted that Rending is just as effective on changelings as it is on Dreamers.
In order for the Dauntain to regain temporary Banality, they must cause Banality in another, and not necessarily a Dreamer. This is known as Tedium. It can be accomplished in generally the same manner as Rending, though with more of an intent on causing the individual to feel hopeless about the world rather than themself. Examples of Tedium might be to expound upon the number of deaths caused in a given war, to discuss the current poverty and homeless situation, or any number of other horrors which afflict the World of Darkness. Any other act which causes another to gain Banality is also effective.
- Rending: In order to determine if an individual is a Dreamer, the Dauntain may roll Kenning + Perception (difficulty 6). Once a Dreamer has been identified, the Dauntain may attempt a Rending by rolling their current Banality (difficulty 7). The number of successes indicates the number of Glamour gained. Any character so Rent is at risk of Gaining Banality from the experience. The victim automatically gains a many points of temporary Banality as points of Glamour gained by the Render. They may resist this by rolling Willpower (difficulty 6). Each success reduces the temporary Banality gained by one. In addition, Banality caused in this manner may be used to restore lost temporary Banality as well.
- Tedium: When attempting to gain temporary Banality through Tedium, the character must roll their Banality (difficulty 6). Each success causes both the Dauntain and victim to gain one temporary Banality point (The victim may resist with Willpower as with Rending).
For more on these powers of the Dauntain, see the article Stigma.
Like the Kithain, most Dauntain are very individualistic. While many may seem similar to the Kithain, each one has a reason for turning to the banal path. Each has found their own way to betray all that they stood for as fae, and this is rarely similar to another Dauntain's view.
Many choose simply to ignore their brethren and do their work alone, even attacking other Dauntain at times. Others actively seek out those like themselves, generally in the search for servants or allies. Many though, such as the Lost and Typhoids, are not even aware of the existence of other Dauntain. If they knew, they might even try to destroy them as well.
A Dauntain's willingness to cooperate should be based on their reasons for being Dauntain and current circumstances. Alliances may shift, dissolve and reform at any time, often without warning. They are rarely sane by Kithain standards, and as such, should not be readily comprehensible to the fae. If they are, the reason for their quest should chill the fae to their very bones and cause them to fear for their very existence.
Neither Court openly supports any known Dauntain. Such Banality-ridden creatures are destroyed whenever possible. Some, though, whisper of unwholesome alliances between the Unseelie and the Dauntain, though most dismiss these as nothing more than rumors.
The Seelie Court
Those of the Seelie Court will have nothing to do with the Dauntain. There are some kind-hearted (some would say foolish) individuals who seek out these lost members of Kithain society in an attempt to heal them and bring them back to the Glamour they have forsaken. Still, High King David's policies concerning the Dauntain are quite clear
High King David's Proclamation on the Dauntain
"Do not approach a known Dauntain if you can avoid it; their auras damage our lives and magic. They possibly even infect us with the Banality they carry within themselves like a dark poison. Some even say they are immune to cold iron. If you should encounter one, take word immediately to the local nobility, for it is their duty to rid their realms of such beings. If you attract a Dauntain's attention, you may lead him to the rest of us.
"If he poses an immediate threat to you, and you are uncertain whether you can best him, strive to escape and contact those you feel can. If you and your oathcircle are capable of conquering him, do so. Do not, under any circumstances, lead him to a freehold or glade while he is tracking you.
"These creatures seem to possess an uncanny ability to scent us out. Keep that in mind if you encounter someone you suspect of being Dauntain. Under no circumstances attempt to explain your nature to him; he will not believe you. Worse, his disbelief may burn, even kill. In most cases, he will simply cause you to retreat and forget for a time, but those who are more fully infused with the taint of Banality can do much more."
The Unbroken Circle
The Unseelie Court
The Unseelie tend to follow King David's edicts. However, there are those who skirt the edges of Banality in their rather unethical practices. I refer to the Ravagers, for which the Unseelie are infamous. It is suspected that many regular ravagers may in fact be Dauntain, or in league with them. But then, many things are said of the Unseelie.
Generally, if an Unseelie can direct a Dauntain to where it can cause enough harm to be a nuisance (although they will do their best to avoid slaying another Kithain... usually), the will do so.
The Shadow Court
Some Unseelie are believed to actively encourage the use of Banality to their own advantage. In actuality, the relationship between the Shadow Court and Banality goes back as far as faerie history. The Unseelie have traditionally been associated with the colder, darker seasons, when the sun sets sooner and the nights are longer.
In elder days, the two Courts held to an agreement which was ancient even then. Under this agreement, the Seelie Court would take the crown of the fae in mock battle in spring, and hold it through the summer. When autumn arrived, another battle would be waged; this time the Unseelie would take the crown through the autumn and winter months. This went on for centuries. In fact, it did not stop until after the sidhe retreated to the Dreaming.
It is very interesting the we, as a whole, consider the darker seasons to relate to Banality, and the brighter seasons to Glamour. Why is this? Where do the roots in this association lie? Is there some relationship between the Unseelie and Banality? The Seelie and Glamour? I find this difficult to accept, as the Unseelie embody many aspects of Glamour just as the Seelie do.
Now, I have seen a few things which have made me extremely curious towards the nature of the Dauntain, as well as some of the Unseelie. I cannot truly explain what they are simply because I cannot put my finger on it. To explain: Last year on Samhain, I attended an Unseelie celebration. Sometime during the night, I drifted near a group of Kithain engaged in a quietly heated discussion. One turned to me and commanded the I leave. The strength of his sovereignty and my own state of inebriation left me little will to resist. However, I cannot shake the feeling that at least one of those Kithain felt wrong. He didn't feel like a Dauntain, but... It's probably silly rambling. I did imbibe a little too much at the time and it's probably all my imagination. But even so...
If what I perceived is true, the implications are great: if a cabal of Dauntain have infiltrated Kithain society, how can we be safe from their depredations? Especially if they hide in our midst?
Since I don't want to present the Dauntain as monsters who sally forth to slay their enemies with blades of cold iron (although there are those who do this), I will present the methods of two I've observed during my travels.
The first was a homeless woman who seemed harmless enough at first, although my curiosity was roused as to why she in particular attracted my attention. This in mind, I kenned her, and determined she was Kithain, although it was deeply surpassed. I had an odd feeling about her, so I followed and watched. She would stop, pick something of interest up, and then move on. On occasion, she would leave one lying about for someone to pick up. Usually, they were taken by human artists or other Kithain. By this time, I was feeling somewhat drained, as if I'd been using cantrips fairly constantly, or had visited some remarkably dull human institution, like a hospital or police station. Upon further investigation, I discovered that she had an 'aura' of Banality around her, and that the items themselves could somehow Ravage those who carried them. This was the first time I had seen Banality used in a cantrip. She had somehow made the items attractive to those with high Glamour, and infused them with the ability to drain it. I suspect she was a nocker before she lost herself, although I never had the opportunity to determine for certain.
The second was a sidhe businessman who had invested in real estate. He'd decided to purchase the land on which a particularly powerful glade was located. This is not unusual; it's likely that much of the property upon which freeholds and glades are situated is owned by Kithain. In this case, though, the sidhe arranged to have the land "developed." Perhaps he was going to build a police station there: a certain way to destroy the Glamour held by the glade. The Kithain who cared this glade home certainly objected and did that they could to stop him. Had they failed, the glade would have been destroyed.
Note that in neither case did the Dauntain directly attack their respective targets. They rarely engage in direct combat because it is often fruitless and always risky. This is not to say that none choose such methods, simply that such warriors are thankfully rare.
- Alex Hayward
- Anton Stark
- Brand, the Burning Wrath
- Cadmium Redd
- Cheryl O'Neill
- Cyprian Ryder
- Dennis Barker
- Diana Blandel
- Don Haxton
- Joseph Chapman
- Joseph van Nocenti III
- Julio Vargas
- Karen Croyd
- Lhandren, Lord of Foulness
- Lloyd Morgenstern
- Ms. Blackjack
- Raymond Blackwater
- Signe Henderson
- Sylva, the Passive
- Terrence Devereaux