Friday, May 26, 2017


by Beckjann
An infant vanishes from its crib. An open window, a full moon, a misplaced horseshoe. 
Left behind in its place is a hungry, squalling, sickly thing. A void lingers behind its eyes, its tongue is incapable of speech. Unless it is very lucky, it will die in a few months, perhaps a year or two. An unmarked grave, whispered confessions to the village priest.
The Fairest are dying. Their children are rare enough, and nearly all of them lack any spark of life. Magically inert, minds impossible to parse by man or Folk alike. Their own bodies reject themselves. The Fairest trade these fading infants for healthy human children – wish for a wish, tooth for a tooth, child for a child. They care nothing for their own sickly offspring, and delight in the chaos it causes the apes.
The stolen children are swept down under the hills and shaped in the image of the Fairest. They are no longer human, but they are not true kin to the Folk.
Attribute Modifiers: Changelings receive +2 to an attribute of the player’s choice, and + 1 to another. Player choice may be substituted with random rolls.
Size, Speed, Age: Changelings are Medium, with Speed 30. They cannot die of old age, and retain a vague youthfulness to them.
Languages: Changelings speak and read Elvish. They have a 70% chance of speaking either Elemental or Draconic (player’s choice), and a 25% chance of speaking common.
Background Skills: Changelings do not take a normal background. Instead, they receive proficiency in Nature, Deception, and the Elf Pipes (can be used to cast Charm Person 1/day, roll under CHA)
Fair Parentage: Changelings have advantage against magical charms, and cannot be put to sleep through magical means.
Sociopathic: Changelings mirror their masters’ morals. They lack empathy for other beings, and act according to their own whims and for their own ends: others are tools to be used or amusements to observe. Gain advantage on Deception, Persuasion, and Intimidation rolls to manipulate other people for your personal gain (this may overlap with the party’s gain.)
Bound to their Lord: When children are snatched up from their cribs and taken to the halls of the Lords and Ladies, they are bound from that moment of passage to their lord and all the servants of that court. Most will be taken as a retainer by a lower member of the court, but those who show promise will be granted their Lord’s authority to act as representative in the mortal world.
Unearthly Form: Long years in the Courts transform the human child into something other, something that straddles the line between human and faerie. This comes with physical changes as well as those to mind and soul. All changelings will possess the following.
  • An emblem of their lord or lady – clothing jewelry, heraldry.
  • Dogs will react poorly. Cats will treat as an equal.
  • 1-in-10 chance of the sign of patronage manifesting bodily.
  • 6-in-10 chance of albinism.
  • 4-in-10 chance of horns or antlers.
  • 5-in-10 chance of red hair (3-in-10 if albino).
  • 7-in-10 chance of catlike eyes.
  • 5-in-10 chance of a third eyelid
  • 1-in-20 chance of ignoring all of the above – hairless, grey skin, small mouth and nose, large, black eyes.


  1. What I learned while writing this: The origin of changeling folklore is a rather horrific piece of human history, and a good way to make you feel awful.

    1. Damn right. Imagine that you're an illiterate peasant, you or your wife having giving birth. It wails like a banshee or maybe it doesn't cry at all - "babies are supposed to cry, aren't they?" Maybe a birthmark eventually grows into a tumorous mass. Maybe at the age of 10, they become a misshapen giant when the pituitary gland suffers some error but nobody in the world has any understanding of the sciences.

      More disturbing, I wonder how many parents put their own child out into the woods, in fear of the 'monster' it might become.

  2. I like the whole elves as a dying race of reluctant adopters thing. I wonder if its a contentious issue in their culture.

    1. There was already one major war over it, which ended in a stalemate. The other Folk (who are generally either friendly or indifferent to mankind) are doing a lot better for themselves.