Changeling/The Hedge

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Hedge Related Rules: A Guide

The Hedge is the realm that lies between the abode of the Fae and the mortal realm. In many places - particularly in places where Western culture is dominant - the Hedge lives up to its name, appearing as a thick hedge of thorny brambles, but it may take many forms. However it appears, be it swamp or desert or jungle, the Hedge is always wild and seldom safe; its thorns tear at the mind and soul as well as the body, leaving a Changeling's memories and often identity in tatters.

Note that getting into the Hedge can be much easier then getting out.

Note that all Lost will be seen as they are in the Hedge; there is no obscuring Mask there to protect you.


The Hedge reduces inhibitions in all who enter it. The chance to lose Morality is present in any case.

  • Changelings - As long as Changelings can see some vestige of the Mortal world, Clarity degeneration works normally. As they go deeper into the Hedge and lose this 'anchor' to reality, it becomes easier to lose Clarity and all degeneration rolls are made at a 1-die penalty until they leave the Hedge. The roll for gaining a Derangement is not affected.
  • Mortals - While in the Hedge Mortal characters indulge of vices that they would normally never consider but the bill does not come due until they leave the Hedge. At that point all the Morality checks they need to make are done, and if Morality drops beneath the threshold for a specific sin, they do not have to roll against that sin.
  • Others - Vampires, Werewolves, Ferals and Mages entering the Hedge are affected by it as well, using each splat's equivalent for Morality.
  • Vampires - Humanity will affect how the Vampire sees the Hedge. High Humanity (7+) responds to the Hedge as a Mortal would in terms of psychoactive effect. A vampire with a 5-6 Humanity finds the Hedge reacting to them as it would to a low-Wyrd Changeling; the area will seem darker, the brambles thicker. A low-Humanity vampire (any vampire with Humanity 4 and under) will find that the Hedge caters to their predatory nature. Any humans in the area, or higher Humanity vampires, will find themselves herded towards the predator. The sun never reaches the Hedge through the brambles, not even at high noon, and a light mist hangs in the area. These changes are not comforting to the vampire. They are uncanny and oppressive and it is very easy to get a sense that the vampire is not the Apex predator here.
  • Werewolves and Ferals - Harmony is fairly far from mortal Morality. Werewolves and Ferals do not experience effects against Harmony in the Hedge.
  • Mages - Mages, for all their power, are still Mortal. They experience the Hedge as mortals do, and will need to check for Wisdom drops when they leave the Hedge. While in the Hedge, any magic that affects perception - the mage's own, or someone else's - are limited to a maximum dice pool equal to the Mage's Wisdom. This includes Mage Sight, Rotes designed to analyze magic, Rotes to bestow perception powers on others and even Rotes to see in the dark.

Shaping the Hedge

The Hedge responds to the thoughts of those within it, though not usually to conscious thoughts. Remember that the Hedge has a nightmare quality to it, with shifting shadows, flickers of movement caught out of the corner of one's eye, and a general feeling of oppression or ominous presence. Of being constantly watched. A traveler who runs will feel like they are being chased, even if they are not. A traveler who stops in place will have trouble moving again; the paralyzing feeling of danger, of creatures watching from 'out there in the forest' creates a sense of dread that is hard to overcome, as is the sense that one will be safe if one just stays still. This is as much as non-Changelings will ever effect the Hedge; they lack the innate connection to faerie to do more.

Changelings, Fae-Touched and ensorcelled Mortals can have a more dramatic effect, depending on Wyrd, Court and Seeming. Ensorcelled Mortals only get the moist minor of cosmetic effects, but that is more then most mortals gert.

  • Wyrd 1-2 - As far as the Changeling is concerned, the effects go as far as their eye can see. Beings that cannot see the Changeling can only detect the changes within 50 feet or so, and only for up to 10 minutes past the Changeling's passing. A skilled tracker can follow a Changeling through the Hedge, unless a more powerful Changeling enters the area and disrupts the trail. The details of the changes are up to the player, but they will be cosmetic and subtle. Someone try8ing to track the Changeling gains +1 to do so. (Example: A Fireheart singes the brambles when he touches them, and his footprints smoke.)
  • Wyrd 3-4 - The effects become more pronounced at this level. The Changeling still perciev4es the changes as affecting everything they can see, but others now detect and can see the changes within 100 feet. The changes linger for 30 minutes, and hunters gain a +2 to track the Changeling. Perceptions are beginning to be affected, and people could see things that are not really there, like a row of 'skulls' alongside the road that turn out to be o9ddly-shaped rocks. (Example: A Spring Courtier enters the Hedge and small, fragrant flowers appear aro0und her as she travels, and the ground seems more loamy, warm and inviting.)
  • Wyrd 5-6 - At this level, a Changeling begins to define the Hedge, rather then just altering it. The structure of the Hedge itself struggles against the Changeling's Wyrd for dominance. The Hedge will win out at this level, but there will be changes that are glimpsed out of the corner of one's eye. This effect will last for a scene or an hour, whichever is longer, and only begin to revert when the Changeling leaves the area. The changes extend for 500 feet around the Changeling, and trackers gain +3. (Example: An Autumn Draconic seems to consume the life of the Hedge around him, leaving it sparse and brittle. He leaves large reptilian footprints as he walks.)
  • Wyrd 7-10 - At this level, Changelings subconsciously influence the Hedge as for Wyrd 5-6, but they can also shape it by an act of will, even if they will never conquer it. Changelings with Wyrd 7 or higher can deliberately change the terrain to aid them or hinder opponents. To do this, Wyrd is rolled modified by the table on page 213 of the Corebook. If successful, the changes will last for one hour. (Example: Brambles growing to entangle a foe, puddles of water freezing solid, water welling up from beneath the surface for drinking.) Note that multiple Changelings can work together, with the Changel8ing with the highest Wyrd dominat9ing and the subtle changes from the others blending in.

Technology In the Hedge

Everything, and I do mean everything, comes back to Wyrd. Wyrd is all about myths, legends, magic. Forcing Technology to work in Wyrd-saturated areas is a feat because technology has not yet accumulated the 'weight' that Magic has with the Wyrd. Sure, it is -slowly- building up stories/legends of its own, but Magic has had centuries to become and be measured as a force. In the Deep hedge, things are all weighted to Magic, to Archetypes, to Legends.

The deeper you go into the Hedge, the less likely technology is to function. Once you're past the edges where you can still see traces of the mortal world the following applies: if the technology is simple cause/effect, such as a bow or a revolver, it works (with potential glitches; no telling when a gun might misfire or blow up). If the technology relies upon multiple internal steps or lingering chemical reactions, it does not. The best overall weapon for the deeper Hedge is likely to be the crossbow for distance, and an assortment of melee weapons for close in. Your trusty sword will not fail to function, or explode randomly.

Storytellers running p0lots in the Hedge are free to modify this for their story in any way that makes sense to the premise that Myth is the dominant force in the Deep Hedge.

Entering and Leaving the Hedge

Anyone can enter of leave the Hedge through an appropriate Gateway. Any opening, doorway, gateway or reflective surface can be used, but it requires a Changeling or other Fae being to activate it. The opening must be large enough for the Changeling or other to pass through. The Changeling touches the Gateway and spends a Glamour while making a request that the gateway should open. The gateway will then open if it can - if it has been sealed, rusted shut, or partially collapsed it make not be able to. But once open it remains open for a number of turns equal to the opening Changeling's Wyrd after it is no longer in use. It is possible to blunder into the Hedge through a Gateway left open. If you stay close to the mortal world and keep sight of your Gateway you can return easily. Leaving the Hedge is another story if you travel too deeply, losing sight of the mortal world and losing perspective. You may have to search for quite some time to find a useable Gateway to p-ass back through, and there's no telling where you;ll come out. A specialty in Survival.Hedge would come in handy in that situation.

  • Mortals and Others in the Hedge - They can follow a Changeling in, with or without the Changeling's knowledge. They can pass into the Hedge with the use of a Key. (See pages 216-217 in CtL).
  • Finding a Gateway once you're in the Hedge: This is discussed on P 218-219 pf CtL. The roll is Int+Investigation+Wyrd, modified by the conditions of the search and by how long the character has been in the Hedge. This can be done in a group using the Teamwork rules.

Getting Lost in the Hedge

  • The Hedge twists perception and regularly changes its own shape besides. For a being not native to the Hedge or Arcadia, any time you so much as turn a corner in the Hedge you're risking getting lost. 'Lost' is sort of the default status for anyone visiting the Hedge, after all.

  • Changelings can navigate the hedge with a Clarity roll; success means they manage to stay on the path and go more or less where they were intending, though they may still have to make rolls to search for hedge gates or goblin fruits or whatever once they get there. Hedge natives without Clarity scores (such as several kinds of hobgoblin) use Wits+Survival instead of Clarity for this roll.

  • If you're following someone and can keep them in sight or hold their hand, you don't need to make the roll. In this way, a whole group can walk through the hedge with just the leader making Clarity rolls, as long as nobody wanders off.

  • If you're following someone else and they leave your sight you can make a Wits+Survival tracking roll instead of Clarity to stay on their trail. If the creature you're following has a Wyrd score, you get a +1 bonus to the roll for Wyrd 1-2, +2 for 3-4, or +3 for 5 and up, as the thematic warping of the hedge to suit their mien and mantle makes it easier to see where they've been.

  • All these rolls are at -3 if you're not on at least a minor path; if you're stumbling through the thorns it's really hard to keep your bearings. A ST might grant a bonus of up to +3 if you're on a major, well-maintained trod or your destination is clearly visible in the distance even in the Hedge, like some sort of tower or beacon.

  • Finally, if you don't have a Clarity score, you're not following anyone, and you're not a hedge-native such as a hobgoblin? Mostly you get lost. You can treat it as a Clarity score of 0 and roll a chance die to get around, or just sit down and hope someone comes to rescue you before something else comes to eat you.

  • Failure on one of these rolls means you don't know where you are, can't easily see any gateways or paths back to the mortal world anymore, and probably run into danger. Dramatic Failure means you stumble off the path and into the thorns, and if you were already off the path they mean you run into something really bad, like a loyalist camp or a large pack of briarwolves. Basically? Don't wander off.