Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Changeling: Implications of the Word "Queen"

I ran Changeling: The Dreaming 20th  the other night. First session is here.

So now it's Wednesday morning (in-game, I mean). Krysa is at work, Zulkis is in the freehold, Thaia is asleep (late night with her actor friends) and Ambrose is stripping copper wiring from an abandoned building. Sander, the satyr who wasn't there last time, is working as well, scouting a location for an event (he works for a party planner).

Ambrose has a couple of buddies who are garbage men, and they're doing their rounds that morning. Sander notes the garbage truck coming down the street, and sees the two men walk down the alley by the building as if they've seen something. His interest piqued, he follows them.

Meanwhile, Bexley (one of the garage men) calls Ambrose. "Found something weird," he says. "We'll send you a picture." And indeed he does, just as Sander slips into the alley and sees what they're seeing: Corpses of rats, torn in half, and then used to write something on the alley wall. It's an alphabet that neither Ambrose nor Sander understand right away.

The garbage men see Sander and recognize him as a satyr (they're both Kinain, so they can see his fae mien). They take off, but Sander is looking at this, now, and Ambrose is already on the way, by way of Thaia's place. Sander contacts Zulkis and Krysa, and Krysa is, understandably, pissed.

The motley convenes at the alley and studies it a bit. Sander figures whatever did this was big and strong - they grabbed the rats and twisted them in half. A troll, maybe? Thaia and Zulkis look at the lettering and interpret it as a warning or a challenge, but Thaia looks a little deeper (by Unleashing Soothsay) and realizes it's more an acknowledgement of a challenge, like "you threw the gauntlet, we picked it up." This would seem to point to Rista the Rat-thing, whom the characters kind of humiliated the other night.

Krysa is pretty furious at all this. She calls up her rats (well, the rats are still following her) and talks to them. She learns that the rats were baited and lured here, and the rats smell "cat-rat" in a bolthole in the wall. A shapeshifter, maybe like Rista? Rista wasn't big enough to do this, but maybe she had help. Zulkis thinks on this, (and uses Kenning) and comes up with the feeling of death, and a flavor of Glamour he hasn't seen before.

The characters fall back to a coffee shop to think about this. Thaia reads tea leaves (using Soothsay) and sees a hammer - the symbol of House Dougal. Count Maldiset, the ranking sidhe in the city, is House Dougal, and he's not a fan of the democratic way this Duchy is run. But would he work with Thallain? And why target Krysa? The changelings figure they need someone more well-versed in Soothsay than Thaia to wrangle this, and Ambrose and Krysa know a guy - a boggan street salesman named Dosan.

They track down Dosan, and he agrees to do some casting on their behalf. He casts a Soothsay cantrip, and then explains what he's found - Krysa is the Rat-Queen. Whether she meant to or not, she got the Dreaming's attention with her Unleashing, and she now matters in a big way (lots of rats in NYC!). How that all ties in with the political situation, Dosan can't say, but he advises the motley to figure out what they know already, maybe that'll help. They thank him (and Ambrose trades him the copper wire for a pocket watch, while Thaia asks to come back and learn some Soothsay), and they fall back to the freehold to chat.

Zulkis points out that he was a noble before Maldiset ordered him to murder a man named Michael Hecton, a city councilman. Krysa's heard of this; Hecton was angling to sell off the old subway stops (like the one the characters use), and then he was run down by a car. But Zulkis says a sidhe named Ulsa was responsible for this, and Maldiset ultimately made the call. Ambrose, too, has some dirt on Maldiset.

But neither of them think Maldiset would knowingly work with the Thallain; he's Seelie, after all. There must be another player involved, and it isn't someone the characters know.

They decide that since the Parliament of Dreams is meeting tomorrow, they'll go and observe. Maybe there, they'll find some answers.