The Lost Ones are the fae who, instead of fleeing to Arcadia during the Shattering or taking on the Changeling Way, locked themselves away in their freeholds to hide from the power of encroaching Banality.
The Shattering was an age of horror and cruelty. Nature itself turned on much of humanity, in the form of a miniature ice age. The Black Death decimated almost one quarter of Europe. In fear and hatred, Europe turned on itself in a paroxysm of religious intolerance. The shadow of the Inquisition loomed black over many places, especially those with a large Kithain or Prodigal presence. While the vampires reached a crucial stage in their Jyhad, Banality threatened to suffocate the fae populace. Against this backdrop, many fae fled to Arcadia, while others survived by mingling their blood with humanity's. Some, however, chose a third path. Wrapping themselves in whatever Glamour they could find, these fae walled themselves off in their freeholds, never to reemerge.
Over time, as Banality rose, the power of these former freeholds remained surprisingly constant. Indeed, they increased in power. Now, here or there, there is a place where a flower pushes its way through tarmac, or where beauty is found in the bleakest of conditions. Humanity thrives in these little paradises. They are glimmers of hope in a world turned dark. Kithain, however, must stay well clear of these Shangri-Las. This is the riddle of the Lost Ones. Their legacy is one of hope to humanity in a time that it desperately needs it, but it also is one of extreme danger to the Kithain.
Lost One freeholds are areas of great creativity for humans: the Glamour here is untainted and plentiful. When these places first appeared (around the mid-17th century), many commoners first believed that it was the sidhe returning. In a sense, it was. Many flocked to these places, in the hopes of easy Glamour. Lost One freeholds are maddeningly creative and heady places for mortals; for changelings, however, they are places of unbridled Bedlam. Reality here distorts in fun-house mirror fashion. The changeling is rapidly rendered incoherent as their deliberative functions are torn from them one by one. Sometimes this effect is instant; sometimes it takes hours. Some changelings never return from these places, disappearing off the face of the earth. Others do return, but few are ever the same.
Some changelings risk entering these freeholds to grab some "easy" Glamour. There are even some thrill seekers (mostly wilders) who make Glamour raids, just for the excitement. This practice is so dangerous that it is sometimes referred to as "running the dragon's tail." These forays are usually hit-and-run affairs, and can be exciting. Most tail-runners report that these zones are extremely challenging. Reality is distorted here (especially in the Dreaming), though not always in a bad way. The most insidious aspect of these freeholds is in their seductive nature. Although nightmare experiences occur, most are benign in demeanor (if not in nature). It is generally true that the longer a changeling risks the freehold, the less the chance there is that they will come out again.
Gaining Glamour Edit
Changelings may gain one point of Glamour every hour within these freeholds. The Glamour here is pure and so potent that it even sets off epiphanies. These epiphanies have none of the taint of those caused by Ravaging. Epiphanies set off while in a Lost One freehold are most like those encountered during a Reverie. In order to gain Glamour or set off an epiphany while in a Lost One freehold, a changeling must make a connection with one of the human dreamers who live there. Creative breakthroughs inspired in these inhabitants by the changeling is much faster than that inspired under normal circumstances. The very air seems to spark with creativity and artistic revelations occur like thunderbolts out of the blue. Most humans here are friendly and receptive to artistic overtures on the part of the changeling. To spark a Reverie the changeling must make a Charisma + Kenning roll (difficulty 7); the number of successes determines how long the changeling takes to inspire the Dreamer.
- 1 success — eight hours
- 2 successes — six hours
- 3 successes — three hours
- 4 successes — one hour
- 5 successes — instant connection
After connecting, the changeling must stay with the creator at least one hour, while they start their masterpiece (finishing it may take years). After an hour the changeling may roll Perception + Empathy (difficulty 6); the number of successes indicates the number of Glamour points gained.
Freehold Effects Edit
The drive to inspire creativity in humans is a race against time in these freeholds. The dangers here are twofold. The first is that while in the freehold, the changeling's psyche is exposed to raw Dreaming in its purest sense. The chances of going into a state of Bedlam here are great. Every hour the changeling must make a Willpower roll (starting difficulty 6). Each hour the difficulty increases by one. Once the difficulty reaches 10, the number of successes needed increases by one per hour. With the first failure, the changeling slips into the first threshold of Bedlam. Failure to make this roll in subsequent hours drives the changeling into the second and third thresholds of Bedlam. Those who reach the third threshold quickly disappear into the local Dreaming, rarely to be seen again. After reaching the first threshold, the changeling must make a Willpower roll (difficulty 6, two successes needed) in order to leave the freehold. An additional roll to leave may be made every hour, but not after the changeling is in the third stage of Bedlam. The second danger is that the changeling may be noticed by the Lost One itself.
Lost Ones Edit
Lost Ones rarely make direct contact with changelings, instead letting them slip into Bedlam on their own. Most Lost Ones no longer exist in a physical sense on the mundane plane, but reside wholly in the Dreaming. Most Lost Ones are detached from the minutiae of what occurs in their freeholds, instead bathing in the Glamour of their human dreamers. The Lost One makes a Perception + Kenning roll (starting difficulty 10, two successes needed) every hour to detect Kithain presence in its freehold. The number of successes needed, and then the difficulty, decreases by one per subsequent hour.
In the Dreaming, Lost Ones usually manifest as very potent Kithain (usually sidhe). They are extremely potent sorcerers, especially in the Arts of Chicanery, Chronos, and Dream-Craft. They, of course, have large reserves of Glamour to draw from.Additionally, they have a strong affinity for their freehold and cast all cantrips at -2 levels of difficulty. Any cantrips cast against them here are at + 2 difficulty. Lost Ones typically have all manners of chimerical servants. Lost Ones can rarely be found, unless they will it. They can cloak themselves within their freeholds, rendering themselves almost undetectable. Once the Lost One reveals itself, changelings may make a Perception + Kenning roll (difficulty 9, two successes needed) in order to track it.
Lost Ones generally mean no harm to visiting Kithain, but use Bedlam to reinforce the borders of their freeholds against Banality. Since Lost Ones are in a permanent (though highly specialized) state of Bedlam themselves, they do not consider driving others into this state to be much of a crime. Once a changeling disappears into the Dreaming here, she is watched over, and "cared for," by the Lost One, Most Lost Ones consider changelings to be their "children." (They are especially delighted by the sidhe's return.) Rescuing a friend from a Lost One is a major undertaking. Lost Ones are unable to leave their freeholds, though they may employ chimera to extend their reach beyond these borders. Due to their positive effects against Banality, Lost Ones are protected by both noble and commoner law. In rare cases, Lost Ones may make alliances with other changelings.