Nerd Dice: Chapter 1 Background
Campaign: Changeling: Bellingham Chronicle Date: 20 Apr 2004
This section is to help provide a little background information for our first gaming session (chapter). Please read up on this as we may not have time to go over it before the game starts. We'll be reviewing character backgrounds and game mechanics briefly before jumping into the game.
Chapter 1 takes place (surprisingly) in the city of Bellingham. Your characters will be assembled at popular hangout Stuarts Coffee House. The story will unfold from there. If you have any questions about the info below, don't hesitate to email me or use the comment thingy to add a question here.
The following are a few non-playing characters about whom your characters would have prior knowledge.
Beebee is a little boggan childling trailing a stream of Nevers. She's precocious and nosy. Just about every Changeling has seen her around at least a few times. She likes to get in the middle of things and is very hyperactive. Some of the meaner Changelings make a sport of tricking Beebee or playing pranks on her, but she's pretty tough and resilient; she can take care of herself.
The reclusive and gloomily romantic sidhe count rules from his freehold, Arlebed Manor. Fascinated by music and arcane study, the library in his manor is renowned for the information it holds on secrets and legends. Although well-known, he spends little time with the commoners and dealing politically with other nobles. He leaves the intrigues of court life to the more vivacious and social Baroness. However, he doesn't give an inch of his power when challenged, and although effeminate in appearance, he wields his sword with deadly accuracy. You wouldn't want to cross him when he's in fighting form. However, he's prone to fall into fits of melancholy.
Tall and statuesque, Bellingham's Baroness is known for her charm and her flair for Eastern mystique. She holds court in the Chateau Chinoise, a building in the CBD that to mortals looks like an abandoned Chinese restaurant. An enchantment is in place that prevents most mortals from noticing the bustling traffic of Changlings entering and leaving the vibrant freehold. Lady Eleonor was a close friend of the Count's dreamer-- Jillian McGee, a music student at WWU. Lady Eleonor is usually accompanied by her knight, Dame Gertrudis, a taciturn and amazonianly attractive troll. Exceedingly loyal, Dame Gertrudis defends the lady with a massive chimerical broadsword called Hawthorne.
Short, blonde, and sturdy, this grump boggan serves as court herald to the Count. Friendly and easy-going, he is the most well-known member of the Count's court. His duties as a herald also require that he spends a good deal of time at the Baroness' freehold as well (which he much prefers to the gloomy and stuffy Arlebed Manor). He is as close a friend as a commoner can be with the Lady Eleonor, and also knew Jillian quite well.
Although she grew up as a street kid in the seedier parts of Seattle, Cleo has finally settled down into a cheerful and stable life as the owner of the Crossed Horns Pub. Curvaceous and friendly, this satyr loves entertaining the regulars at her pub (which is also a freehold) hidden away in the woods off Chuckanut Drive, to the south of the city. She has a weakness for being a matchmaker, but can sometimes stir up a little too much trouble with the romances (her own and others') she creates. Cleo has an intense dislike of all redcaps and refuses to allow them into the pub. She also knew Jillian-- they often crossed paths at parties in the uni scene.
Jillian is a mortal music student at Western. Before her attack she was a very talented and pretty viola player. Her musical ability was inspired to great heights by the count, who she trusted and respected as a close platonic friend. She enjoyed being on the periphery of the Changeling scene although she didn't know anything about the truth of why her friends behaved so strangely. After the Rhapsody, Jillian has dropped her classes and become despondant and dull. She is assumed by her mortal friends & family to have had a nervous breakdown.
There are a couple of significant locations you should know about before starting the game. They are:
Located in downtown Bellingham just off Holly St on the main drag, Stuarts Coffee House is often a place where commoner Changelings like to hang out. It is the quintessential funky coffee house, ideal for playing chess or reading a novel while sipping a latte or pouring a cup of tea. With old polished wood floors and mismatched Salvation Army furniture, Stuarts is naturally popular with the arty college crowd, but includes older free spirits as well. Frequent poetry readings and lively local music acts make it a favourite haunt of Changelings up for free spontaneous glamour.
Whatcom Falls Park
Whatcom Falls Park sprawls over 97 hectares near the east end of the city near the shore of Lake Whatcom. Well tended trails wind through the pines, cedars, ferns, and blackberry brambles. Further down along the creek are huge rock pools where the local teenagers like to hang out and do cannon balls from overhanging boulders.
In June of 1999 a leaky gas pipeline exploded when a boy lit a match in the park. The resulting fires and devastation created nightmare chimera and left certain sections of the park dangerous. The creepiest of these is known as the Ashtarn, a pool infused with dark glamor that appears to Changelings as a dreary grey weed-choked pond. Chimerical specters hover over the murky, still water. Will o' the Wisps glint between burnt skeletal trees and distract the unwary onto dangerous ground.
However, the cleaner untouched areas are still firmly under the Count's thumb. The old sandstone bridge near the main set of waterfalls is a frequent meeting place for both the Count and the Baronness. Behind the large set of falls near the bridge is a secret cavern that the Seelie court often uses when those gathered don't wish to be noticed by the banal. With room for over a hundred to gather, the cavern is damp, but brightly lit by torches, filled with stalactites and the glimmer of colorful crystals.