Dross is a form of Glamour trapped in a physical form.
While epiphanies are used to glean Glamour from mortals, there are other ways of obtaining the substance in its many guises. The raw essence of the Dreaming sometimes gets trapped in physical form, usually through natural or magical means. This type of Glamour is known as dross. Dross is less threatening than the unbridled energy of the Dreaming. Indeed, many Kithain believe that dross should be protected even more so than the Dreaming itself because it is fragile and unique.
Dross can manifest in many natural variations: forest mushrooms, geodes, fern seeds, well-worn river stones. It is often contained in the possessions and relics of great people: John Lennon's diary, Frida Kahlo's paintbrush or palette, Abraham Lincoln's top hat, or a letter written by Emily Dickinson.
The Glamour gleaned from dross is more temporary and fleeting than that gathered from an epiphany. The power of dross is measured in points, but the fragile nature of that Glamour requires it to be used immediately one it is released. This unleashed Glamour cannot replenish a changeling's own store. An object usually contains anywhere from one to five points of Glamour, although some magnificent vessels hold 10 or more.
In order for the Glamour trapped in dross to be released, part of the item (and in many cases all of it) must be destroyed. A changeling must tear, crush, burn, devour, rip, or otherwise ruin the item permanently, unless only part of its Glamour can be released, in which case only part of the object is destroyed. Once all the dross has been released from an item, there can be no change to repair it. Ever.
Many Kithain use dross as a form of currency. The Kenning Talent enables a changeling to know exactly how much Glamour is contained in an object (on a roll against difficulty 5). Many Seelie and Unseelie believe that such treasures and mementos should be protected from greedy Kithain out for a quick fix (although the Unseelie generally hold a much more liberal view of what makes something a treasure).
Types of Dross
Dross can take the form of many different things, in varying sizes and shapes.
Dream Stones are beautiful nature objects. Although these items are named dream stones, the majority of them aren't stones at all. They might be anything from a small clump of moss from a rarely visited forest to an unusually formed crystal. They are distinguishable from their ordinary counterparts: the moss might be an unusual color, or the crystal might glow with a chimerical inner light. Dream stones are usually found around faerie glens and in hidden wilderness grottoes. They usually contain only small amounts of Glamour; from one to three points.
are items associated with a person or an event of great inspirational significance. One of Elvis' rhinestone studded jumpsuits, a pen that belonged to Mary Shelley, a moon rock from humanity's first lunar landing, or even John Belushi's bumblebee outfit could be mementos. Some mementos can contain large amounts of Glamour, some as much as 10 points. The more rare the item and the greater the person or event connected with it, the more dross it holds.
Treasures can hold as little as one or as many as 10 or more points of Glamour, depending on the significance of the item and the impact it has had on creativity. The original copy of A Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare might contain 20 points of Glamour, while a canvas painting by a new but well-respected graffiti artist might contain only two. Most treasures are guarded jealously by the Kithain. Some are made specifically to be destroyed; to release the Glamour contained within. Destroying a permanent and important treasure simply for the Glamour within earns the defiler a temporary point of Banality.
Glamour gained from destroying a chimerical beast may be used to replenish a changeling's own depleted score. However, one must consume the flesh of the beast in order to gain any benefits. Doing this repeatedly can cause side effects ranging from purgative to poisonous to Bedlam-inspiring. Chimerical items may also release Glamour when destroyed. The amount of Glamour gained by consuming a beast or breaking a chimerical object is generally proportional to the power of the creature or item.
Certain hidden places in the world have a direct connection to the Dreaming. These places, called Founts, are highly sought after. In fact, some freeholds are built upon or near these sites, where Glamour bubbles up naturally like a spring. The amount of dross gained by ingesting the Glamour-laden "water" is determined by the Storyteller, although it is usually never more than 10 points in one draught, after which the fount must be allowed to replenish itself before it can be drawn from again. Strange side effects can arise from drinking from certain founts. Anything from hallucinations, nightmares, precognition, or an attack of the giggles may result, depending on the storyteller's discretion and the location of the fount. (See also the article Ignatz for examples)
Each time a changeling uses dross in any way, their player must roll a single die to see what effect the fickle nature of the Glamour contained within the dross has on the changeling. A "one" indicates that the Glamour has some negative side effect (anything from a momentary lapse in the surrounding Mists to nightmares to gaining a temporary point of Banality). a "10" might mean that some permanent or long-term benefit is incurred (such as gaining a permanent of Glamour to loosing a permanent point of Banality). The Storyteller decides what occurs and may not even tell the player what the effects of using dross are until they exhibit themselves (in which case the Storyteller should roll the die for the player instead).