The World Behind the Mask - Changeling: the Lost
Art by Henning Ludvigsen
It could happen to anyone, at any time, really. One moment, you're living your life and the world is pretty much the same as it was the day before. Then, something entirely unexpected happens. Maybe you make the wrong deal with a stranger, or you hum a tune while walking beneath the intertwined branches of two trees, or something grabs you from the shadows in your closet. But whichever way it goes down, the end result is that you end up in a place that explains where your dreams and bloody fairy tales have come from. The magic of childhood and the wellspring of irrational, youthful fears are there, expressed in impossible beauty and terrible, alien beings. And a mad god, your Keeper, stands between you and any way out.
Most people never make it back, but for those who do, life is forever changed. You return molded by magic and capable of doing strange and fearful things. You meet other escapees who call themselves changelings, and together you see the ways that the real world and the fae world interact behind the scenes. You see the nightmares that literally feed on the unwitting, and you know that the Keepers will continue to use earth as a hunting ground unless you do something to help. And you fear the day that your Keeper will come to retrieve you because, eventually - probably when you least expect it - they will.
You can try to reclaim your old life and take your old place in the world, but you'll find that much works against you. It might start with the false person your Keeper left in your place, an automaton called a fetch who has been standing in for you while you were away. Or it could be that you are so different that your family can no longer accept you, or you them. Or it could be the way that the otherworld calls to you with mystical beauty and wonder. You can enter the zone between worlds called the Hedge, a place where you can find nearly anything. You can enter people's dreams and shape them to your own liking, or learn from them, or feed on them. You can gain the very attention of Fate by making pledges that can bring terrible consequences and rich rewards. But what you can't do for long is ignore who you've become, as much as that strange face in the mirror might make you feel lost.
Changeling: the Lost is one of my favorite games of all time, and, as far as I am concerned, one of the highest-quality releases I've seen in the last decade. It was created as a limited line of books that grew, by popular demand, to encompass more printed and PDF-only products. It is one of the few times I can say that, from the first moment I had the core book in my hands, I knew I was holding something special. And I'm going to sing its praises on this and other sites.
- Changeling: the Lost (2007), core rulebook
- The Fear-Maker's Promise (2008), a Changeling chronicle, PDF only
- Autumn Nightmares (2007), book of antagonists
- Winter Masques (2007), expanding seemings and kiths
- Rites of Spring (2008), expanded and new systems
- Lords of Summer (2008), covering courts and entitlements
- The Equinox Road (2008), focusing on the True Fae
- Night Horrors: Grim Fears (2008), a collection of specific Changeling antagonists
- The Rose-Bride's Plight (2008), a Changeling chronicle, PDF only
- Dancers in the Dusk (2009), a collection of systems and items
- Swords at Dawn (2009), further systems and items
- Ready-Made Player Characters (2009), five pregenerated Changeling characters
- Goblin Markets (2009), creating, buying and selling in the markets
- Victorian Lost: A Maze of Hedge and Smoke (2012), a historical setting book