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Ravaging is one of the four ways of Epiphany that Changelings use to harvest Glamour.

OverviewEdit

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It is a simple matter to tear, wrest, or rip Glamour from a mortal, and it can be as satisfying as any epiphany. Such an assault taints the epiphany with the psychic anguish of the victims, mixing pain with the Glamour... a delicious meal for many Unseelie changelings.

This form of psychic rape is called Ravaging. Unfortunately, mortals don't have an infinite supply of Glamour and they need time to replenish their creativity. If their Glamour is stolen from them, it will take longer than usual for them to rejuvenate.

Seelie tend to view Ravaging as an unnecessary evil and they frown upon anyone who practices it. The Unseelie consider Ravaging a necessity since Ravaging brings about change, even though it occurs through suffering and destruction. Childlings don't usually have the understanding or patience to use Reverie or Rapture as a means for epiphanies. Indeed, Unseelie childlings take perverse pleasure in Ravaging other children. They feel safe that they will only be scolded. After all, "Children will be children," the elders tut.

If a particular mortal is Ravaged repeatedly and frequently, their creativity can be extinguished permanently. Still, as many Unseelie are fond of saying, "There are always more Dreamers."

Ironically, changelings utilize their own Banality when they Ravage, which runs the risk of gaining more Banality. The Ravager floods the Dreamer with Banality, literally driving the Glamour out of their body, and the Ravager gathers it up. Occasionally, Banality is gathered up too, which is another reason why the Seelie frown on the practice.

The Simple Method Edit

An Unseelie can Ravage successfully once each day without too much risk. The simplest approach for this is to allow each player to make one Ravaging roll for each day of game time. Abstracting this part of the story makes concentrating on the main plot much simpler.

If an Unseelie has “hunted” successfully that day, she shouldn’t be allowed to Ravage further without some roleplaying. In addition, flooding a changeling’s soul with too much Glamour brings her closer to madness and increases her risk of falling into Bedlam. For each successful Ravaging roll after the first, a character is brought one step closer to Bedlam. The first success will have no effect other than bestowing Glamour. The second success will take the fae immediately to the first stage of Bedlam. If the fae is already in the first stage, she stays there. If the fae successfully Ravages a third time that day, or if she successfully “hunts” within 24 hours of hitting the second stage, the full effects of Bedlam begin.

Unseelie have been known to give in to self-destructive epiphanies, and when they do, they often take innocent mortals down with them. The Shadow Court has little objection to this as long as the fae doesn’t reveal their true alliances, but Kithain who Ravage too freely are sometimes accused of belonging to the shadows.

Storytellers who like to build scenes around “hunting” are welcome to use the expanded rules listed below. To begin with, Unseelie will often have a highly developed method of Ravaging known as an Emotional Threshold. Fae don’t have to use such methods to successfully stalk their victims, but if they do, their final Ravaging roll is at a -1 difficulty.

  • Note: An Unseelie can spread chaos and despair as much as they like, but the player specifies when the character is actually attempting to Ravage. This can limit their die rolls, but doesn’t have to limit their fun. Even if the plan succeeds brilliantly, the character may only pick up a few points of Glamour, but acting out the role of a force of chaos is more important.

Psychic Assault Edit

Ravaging works like a dark pact. It gives an Unseelie power, but there must be sacrifice involved. In the crudest of these rituals, this involves destroying a mortal’s life. The practice goes back over 600 years, back to when the division between the Seelie and Unseelie Courts was clearer. In those times, Unseelie preyed upon humanity, furthering their own power by bringing about suffering and destruction. After all, such things brought about change.

In modern times, this pact has become somewhat darker. The strength of Banality has grown in the world, and spreading it more rapidly brings the onset of Endless Winter. In these final days, an Unseelie can actually gain Glamour by giving a mortal Banality. After all, most mortals find it easier to deal with winter once they’ve become acclimated to it. When Endless Winter arrives, all of the Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve will be prepared, and none of them will know the difference...or care.

The most straightforward Ravaging technique is a simple psychic assault, which is easy to enact once the Unseelie has developed a relationship (of some variety) with the mortal. The actual psychic act is usually performed in private, and it ultimately has a detrimental affect on the individual. Brief social contact between the predator and the prey is all that is required. This can be as tame as an intimate conversation or as involved as an evening of wild sex. Some destructive relationships have been known to become more elaborate. Tragic love affairs, false tutelage, economic exploitation and hostile confrontations are all examples.

Ravaging Threshold Edit

Most changelings who Ravage use simple psychic assault to gain Glamour. however, some Kithain have exotic and perverse tastes. Ravaging Thresholds are specialized methods used by some Unseelie to spice up their Ravagings with anguish. They put extra effort into the Ravagings to make them an art form.

A character's Ravaging Threshold is usually based on their past, and is often the result of some emotional trauma that they suffered. The Threshold chosen is often a means to get revenge on the world.

There are two ways to incorporate Ravaging Thresholds into a story. The changeling tries to accomplish a goal through their chosen Threshold, and appropriate events are assumed to occur during downtime. A Changeling might, for example, spend time during the story frightening whatever children they can, gaining Glamour from their horrific thoughts and nightmares. No one person is the target. The second mode is more intense. It involves roleplaying an emotional scene; the player roleplaying the abuses that her character heaps on the victim.

In either case, a normal Ravaging roll is made to determine how much Glamour is gained in the story, whether throughout it or in a few particular scenes. However, if roleplaying a Ravaging is extremely compelling, the Storyteller may allow the player to forego Ravaging rolls and may award Glamour automatically.

Ravaging Thresholds Edit

  • Exhaust Creativity: The Kithain delights in exploiting others, or is contemptuous of the talents of those who are more creative than they are. The changeling employs others to create for them, but this art is ultimately corrupted, buried, or wasted. The Dreamer then burns out, wondering why they wasted time on such frivolity.
  • Destroy Hope: The changeling is fatalistic and Ravages by destroying hope. This might involve watching over someone who is in a hopeless circumstance and it ready to give up fighting. The predator talks the mortal out of taking action that would improve their life.
  • Destroy Love: The Kithain no longer has illusions of love and gains strength by preventing others from finding it or trusting in it. They typically have a repertoire of techniques for "breaking people up," such as seducing someone's significant other, providing photographic evidence of infidelity (real or fabricated), and sending flowers with a note that says "Good bye...". The Ravaging succeeds as long as the prey's attempts to fall in love fail.
  • Create Anger: The changeling prides themself on maintaining their composure and delights in driving others to anger. By wearing down an individual's self-control, they drive the target to self-destructive acts of violence.
  • Break Trust: The faerie must break the trust that exists between two people. The changeling has had their trust broken and now others must suffer as they have. The Kithain's prey ultimately trusts no one, becoming isolated from the world.
  • Exploit Dependence: The Kithain prides themself on their self-sufficiency and flaunts it by making others dependent upon them. Victims might be neglected children, teenagers supplied with a steady diet of cheap video games and bad food, or kept levers who worry about satisfying the changeling's needs. The faerie destroys anyone who becomes dependent upon them, and is fulfilled as they waste away.
  • Destroy Illusions: The character is jaded and the sight of innocence disgusts them. This type of Ravaging is often performed by childlings, who have been known to get "good kids" in trouble and spread the "truth" about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

System Edit

Once the Kithain has established a relationship of sorts with the target (usually a loose friendship), the player rolls a number of dice equal to their Banality rating (difficulty 6). The number of successes rolled equals the number of Glamour points gained. If the Ravaging roll is botched, the character gains a permanent point of Banality as the Ravaging attempt backfires and tears into their own psyche.

Victims of a Ravaging are unable to create or perform anything original or inspired for at least one day per Glamour stolen. They usually sit around listlessly, feeling drained and depressed. The artist's block experienced also has unseen effects as the artist can gain a small amount of Banality. Alternatively, the artist might be left so frustrated that their connection to the Dreaming is severed forever.

Ravaging Locations Edit

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Sometimes a clique will repeatedly stalk in the same “hunting ground,” and the effect on the people who frequent that area will in turn have an effect on the neighborhood in which they live. There are also Ravagers who can drain the Glamour from an urban area itself, increasing its decay and entropy. Regardless of which of these methods is used, either one can have drastic side effects on a location.

Ravaging an urban location involves slowly destroying it. If you do this correctly, you contribute to a number of factors: the crime rate begins to rise, vandalism is more common, destructive drug use and the drug rate escalates, the amount of trash proliferates, the police response rate goes down, and so on. Ravagers who despoil urban locations (that is, those who use the Scene Realm) can try to directly increase the occurrence of such events. They’ll make up whatever rationale is necessary to justify vandalism, crime, and anarchy.

Ravaging more than three people a week in the same neighborhood will also start to have an effect on that locale. How much the Storyteller wants to play this up is a judgment call, but it will be compounded by Ravagers who are despoiling the area directly. Insidious Shadow Court cliques will actually Ravage a neighborhood to strike at the influential individuals or occult forces that own or manipulate the area. If a rich fat-cat is making a fortune off the supermarket down the street where he’s jacked up all the prices, for instance, he needs a few robberies to force him out of business. Maybe someone else will sell their goods cheaper next time. If a Ventrue vampire is gaining influence by controlling the local businesses, hurting the neighborhood indirectly harms the undead crimelord controlling it.

Even more insidious cliques will encourage supernatural activity this way. If an Unseelie sluagh wants to help restore a wraith haunt, spreading a little entropy will encourage the spirits of entropy to come back. The consequences may be a little different from what the group expected, but that’s a chance that has to be taken in some circumstances. Unseelie value chaos, but the side effects of such tactics are not easily controlled.

  • Note: If the Ravaging in a neighborhood is getting out of control, other supernatural races may be able to tell that something magical is going on. Mages with Entropy Sight, wraiths with Deathsight, Malkavians with Auspex, and the Silent Striders with Spirit Sight are all good candidates. None of them, however, will find it terribly obvious that pissed-off Unseelie changelings are the culprits. The easiest way to stop Unseelie is to catch them red-handed raising hell in your part of town.

Ravage & Run Edit

If someone uses Reverie regularly in a specific location, such as a Dreamer's loft or studio, or if a Kithain achieve Rapture repeatedly in the same location, the area may become infused with Glamour. Such residual Glamour can attract other Dreamers as they try to find any inspiration they can.

If a particular area becomes a haven for artists, Seelie nobles (and the occasional Unseelie noble) may declare Ravaging in the areas a punishable offense, even putting special wards on such locations to keep Dreamers safe. Many motleys form to protect or infiltrate such locales.

Glamour-infused sites tend to attract the attention of any and all changelings; the outpouring of Glamour can't be hidden from a Kithain's natural Kenning. Unseelie tend to consider such places easy prey, and the playing fields for games of "Ravage and Run."

Storytelling Ravaging Edit

The Ravaging roll doesn’t have to take more than a few minutes of game time, but there are several ways to expand upon these opportunities as parts of a chronicle. The first is to have a cast of mortals who are frequently visited by the Unseelie. Members of the clique have both positive and negative influences on the lives of these people. They pay the most immediate price for the crusade that the Unseelie lead.

If a character has the Dreamer Background, the player may choose to describe a few of these regular victims during character creation. They don’t have to be artists; any mortal will do. Visits with these individuals become ongoing subplots. Over the course of a chronicle, particularly sadistic players may watch these mortals’ lives degrade. The esteem of the Ravager improves, but her victim pays the price. Squeamish players may prefer, however, to just go off and “hunt” immediately after a session, and consider the details of how they do it irrelevant.

Characters who are on the move don’t have the luxury of being able to visit the same mortals repeatedly. If this is the case, the Storyteller may have to weave a few more “Ravaging scenes” into each session. The player and Storyteller briefly describe transactions in which the character interacts with a mortal to the mortal’s detriment. If this becomes tedious or tiresome, then this is easily abstracted into a dice roll each session, but the Storyteller always has the prerogative of throwing in a Ravaging scene when she feels the pacing of the story requires it.

References Edit

  1. CTD: Changeling: The Dreaming Second Edition, pp. 214-215.
  2. CTD. The Shadow Court, pp. 88-90.
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