I’ve made little secret about my love of the RPG Changeling: the Dreaming. As I mentioned, my Changeling character, Skittle, is my favorite character I’ve ever played. Every once in a while, my friend Whitt, the GM, makes noise about possibly getting back to the campaign, and, when he does, I get all giddy.
Recently, he’s gone one step further, speaking to other potential players and asking me questions about setting up an Obsidian Portal site for the campaign. As a result, I’ve begun to take a few further steps myself. I want to re-immerse myself in the Changeling experience. I want to recapture the feelings I had when we played the game ten some odd years ago.
Break Out the Books
The most obvious first step has been to read through my actual Changeling: the Dreaming books. Other than some fluff, I’ve bypassed reading the original rulebook. I’ve read the revised rulebook and the Player’s Guide, and I’m starting to pick through individual books for other bits and pieces. I was always the one pulling out crazy rules like the Dolorous Stroke and Calling On the Dragon’s Ire. So I’m making it a point to review the rules and prepare to be the one who pulls out the craziness again.
I’m also considering reading some literature. I may pull out some Charles De Lint…it’s certainly very apropos. I have Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks, Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin, and the Borderlands anthologies. There are even some official Changeling novels and an anthology. But I’m more thinking I may read some books like Kenneth Graeme’s The Golden Age and Dream Days and Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine. These are books that, for me, capture the feeling of wonder and terror that comes with childhood. This is a way to get that amazing feel back, and to remind myself a little bit of what it is to be a kid. Even though a couple of years are going to have passed in the campaign, Skittle, my character, will still be 12, on the verge of passing from Childling to Wilder.
I had high-hopes for the Lost Girl series. It seems like it’s practically Changeling the series. But I couldn’t get past the acting and the writing, which, in my opinion, aren’t really up to snuff. So for media that sparks my Changeling vibe, I’ll be looking into movies.
I recently re-watched Pan’s Labyrinth, and I was blown away not only by what a great film it is, but also by what a Changeling film it is. It could very easily be a story about a Childling Sidhe’s Chrysalis. And it’s not hard to spot other possible Kithain characters besides the main character and the obvious satyr. The creepy man with the feast in front of him could be some terrible chimera created from a Redcap’s nightmares, and the heroic resistance fighter Mercedes could be a interpreted as a boggan warrior (yes, they could exist.)
I may break out Hellboy II: The Golden Army, as well. Between the Goblin Market, the troll, the sidhe, and so many other touches, it definitely has a strong Changeling feel to it. I guess Guillermo Del Toro just has a kind of Changeling vibe he projects into his films.
It’s interesting to look back on which movies the game designers themselves thought were important for the game. Movies like Labyrinth seem a little too heavy-handed. I’d rather cite a movie like Chocolat, Amelie, or The 7 Faces of Dr. Lao.
I want to move things along to get our Changeling game underway, so I’m offering to help in small ways. I’ve been discussing the game with our potential players, helping them get their character concepts set up. I still have the original set of questions Whitt gave the original players to help us flesh out details about our characters. I’m typing up that list of questions for the others, to help them get their characters set in their minds.
Since I’m experienced with the system, I’m also assisting Whitt in getting an Obsidian Portal campaign set up. I also have some of the most copious notes on the campaign, so I intend to help get the campaign’s wiki set up. This will let me relive some of the moments from the old campaign and to share some of the fun times we had with our new players.
To Sum Up
I don’t have just one strategy to get into the right mindset for our game. I’m doing a lot of things to get excited, and I’m hoping the excitement I’m feeling will rub off on the others. I’m nervous, obviously, because this is a game I feel very strongly about, and I’m concerned that things will be too different 10 years later.
Hey, if nothing else, it’ll be another story about characters I love.
Do you have any advice for me to get ready for my game? Are there any books or movies you think will help inspire me? Let us all know.