- Alternative Titles: The Storytellers Embassy, The Authors
Informal Names: Godmothers/Godfathers, Bards, Editors
I know how this story goes. A young idealist walks in with dreams to reform the system. He has to make a few compromises to get a little authority then by the time he can change anything he has become what he hates. Well, then. We'll just have to write an amendment.
It is a truth not commonly acknowledged that the world runs on stories. Reoccurring patterns and symbols are woven into the narrative of our lives. But nothing, claim the Storytellers Embassy, says that these stories must be tragedies. Pain might make for better art but happy ever after makes for better lives.
The Ambassadors to Stories make this their mission. They seek to unravel the great tapestry of stories and weave in their own amendments. They enter a tale and throw the narrative off it's tracks, hopefully to something better: Tragedy becomes comedy, the hero defeats the villain, the lovers ride off into the sunset and yes the little dog lives till the end of the story. It's not easy, it's certainly not safe but you can do it.
Marks and RequirementsEdit
If a Princess joined the Editors it's because she understood the power of stories, some studied literature while others simply read everything they could but books alone are not enough. She must also have seen how reoccurring patterns from the stories also reoccur in life, this requires a perceptive individual who has the detachment to look at her own life with a critical eye.
Upon joining the Embassy her regalia becomes as much a part of the story she is. It takes on aspects that foreshadow her role in the story and reflect her character traits. When rushing to save innocents from a Darkspawn attack she is recognisable as The Hero. When teaching a younger Princess. a critical eye will notice marks of The Wise Mentor. The only constant are hints of the Storyteller, a thick leather bound book, a pair of reading glasses perched on the nose, an ink stained quill or some other mark.
Before changing a story a Godmother must first be able to tell a story. The required Attribute is Manipulation and the skill is Expression.
What's the Story? Edit
The first skill an Editor learns is to feel the flow of the narratives around her. She gains the Merit Unseen Sense (Wyrd) [GMC 175]. The Wyrd is omnipresent, it is the connection between all things and a Secretary soon learns to block out all but the largest manifestations of this power, including changelings, True Fae, Tokens, Hedge Gates and active effects of faerie magic such as Pledges or Contracts. Talecrafting is especially noticeable. The Secretary can even try to see through the Mask with a roll of Wits + Composure – 3 vs. Wyrd + Composure. Resistance is reflexive and automatic.
Entering the TaleEdit
The easiest way to change a story is to become a character within it. By entering another person’s story the Secretary is in a privileged position to guide it the way she wishes to, or just make a complete pigs breakfast of the whole thing. To enter a story it must have one or more unfulfilled positions: If a sword can only be drawn from a stone by the rightful king, then the position of rightful king is open until someone successfully pulls the sword. Entering a story about corporate corruption would require an open position in the management hierarchy, or perhaps a well placed secretary job. To enter a story the Secretary rolls Inner Light + Manipulation + Subterfuge – Commonalty vs the highest Composure + Supernatural Advantage. The Storyteller will have to use his own judgement when measuring the dice pool of things like the Sword in the Stone; using Merlin’s attributes would be appropriate as he was the person who put it there.
This power does not change the Secretary herself, nor does it force reality to conform to her new role. It merely makes characters in the story perceive her as appropriate. The sword perceives her as the rightful king or the executives perceive her as ideal for the job. This limitation means that a badly chosen role can cause the Secretary no end of trouble. While the Privilege may make the Knights of the Round Table perceive her as a man (because the open position in the story was for a king, not a queen) people outside the story are unaffected and would certainly notice a female king or a sixteen year old corporate executive with no qualifications. Making Guinevere not notice the Secretary’s sex is too much for the Privilege. A more modern telling of the long lost heir might include a paternity test. Because of this smart Godmothers carefully choose roles appropriate to themselves and to how they wish to twist the story. (In fact this is where the name Godmother came from. The drop-in mentor is lightly bound by the narrative and has a powerful influence over the main character making it an ideal position.)
One very fortunate effect of this power is that it helps the Secretary act according to her new role. She gets a bonus of half Inner Light when attempting to act appropriately for her character. She cannot use this bonus for entering her own or her Nakama’s story. As a basic yardstick, if entering the story asks her to do what she’d be doing anyway she gets no bonus. For the purposes of the Privilege opening a Hedge Gate is considered to be a very short story with two characters, the Hedge Gate and “the one who fulfils the Gate’s Key”. Using Entering the Tale tricks the Hedge Gate into thinking the Godmother has fulfilled its Key, just like Entering the Tale tricks everyone in a story into thinking the Godmother fills a particular role. Only Hedge Gates with a key can be opened in this fashion.
Leaving the story requires the Secretary to spend twenty four hours isolated from any of her fellow characters before spending a point of Willpower to break the connection. A Godmother automatically leaves the story at its natural conclusion.
Drawback: Just as she gets a bonus to acting in character the Princess takes a penalty of half Inner Light when attempting to act outside the bounds of the narrative. If she takes the role of a corrupt executive she has a penalty to resist the temptation of greed. If she takes the role of King Arthur she takes a penalty to not throw away Excalibur's Scabbard. If she takes a role who's supposed to die at the end of act two, well she really shouldn't have done that.
Since the Editor is almost certainly entering a story to change it she's more likely to face penalties than she is to get a bonus.
By spending a Wisp the Princess can grant another all the benefits of What's the Story? for one scene.
Drawback: Because of the omnipresent nature of the Wyrd this Unseen Sense is distracting and imposes a -(4 – Composure) penalty to Perception. Repeated use of Literacy Criticism on the same person will allow them to acclimatise and removes this penalty.
Becoming the TaleEdit
As a Consul the Editor isn't limited to assuming a role, she can become the role. When she Transforms the Princess creates a new self from threads of narrative to create a form appropriate to her role. While she still cannot create an appropriate history or documentation for her role she can fool dna tests, looks appropriate for her position to people outside the story, gets a +Inner Light bonus on appropriate Subterfuge rolls and generally fits in much better.
Because this new form is built from scraps of narrative it triggers the Unseen Sense (Wyrd). Any role that's narrative includes entering the Hedge (and since every Hedge Journey is a story an Editor may use Becoming the Tale just for this purpose) has peculiar effects. So long as the Princess is in this form her Regalia armours her against the Thorns. Rather than loosing Belief she loses Wisps as a Changeling would loose Glamour. Loosing her last Wisp will cause her Transformation to end, though being lost in the Thorns is definitely a good justification for regaining Wisps through Inner Strength. She can navigate the Hedge rolling Inner Light instead of Clarity. Finally she may be affected by Goblin Fruit in ways both positive and negative however she cannot gain either Wisps or Glamour from them.
Drawback: Assuming a form built out of faerie magic is very dangerous to one’s sense of reality. After using this power the Consul gains the Madness Condition [GMC 182]; fortunately the Condition expires (without resolving) after a full day spent without using any Privilege of the Embassy.
In addition a Princesses perceptions start to become warped by Stories. While she is such Transformed when rolling Perception roll her Wits and Composure separately.
- Both succeed or Composure succeeds: As per a normal Perception Success.
- Wits succeeds and Composure fails: The Princess gets the full accurate information but sees it through a lens of the story. The player hears the result of a normal Perception success but the Princess is given a metaphor. A drug dealer might look like some sort of humanoid mosquito representing how he sucks the life out of people. If possible theme this hallucination on the Princesses current role.
- Both fail: If under normal circumstances the Princess would simply not see something treat the results as normal, if however she would get distracted then she is likely to have been distracted by a hallucination.
A Story About YouEdit
The Princess can now extend her power of Entering the Tale to other people. This requires an open role as always and she rolls Inner Light + Manipulation + Expression – Commonalty vs the highest Composure + Supernatural Tolerance. In this case Commonality only applies to the people in the narrative, not the person she's trying to add to it. The highest Composure + Supernatural Advantage includes both the narrative and unless he is willing the character to be.
When a Godmother forces someone into a tale it's harder for them to leave. They must isolate themselves and spend a point of Willpower like a Godmother but they must also roll Composure + Supernatural Tolerance vs the Godmother's original dicepool. As an instant action the Godmother may spend a Wisp to grant an automatic Success on the next roll. Only the godmother who pushed someone into a story may unpick their own magic in this way, but any Godmother can offer some assistance by serving as secondary Actors in the escape roll.
Weaving the TaleEdit
The Princess can bend the power of stories to her will. Like a needle she dips in and out of the narrative tapestry bringing in elements to suit her purpose. Once per game session she can twist events and fortune as she wishes. A power as dangerous as it is useful.
The first step is The Pattern. Simply put she must identify, or create, the potential for a narrative pattern in her current situation. Lets say she and her Nakama are fighting a very powerful foe, ordinarily this foe would be able to take down the entire Nakama single handedly. However the Princesses of Hearts in the Nakama has just started making a speech about how their foe has no chance because the Nakama have friendship on their side. In the stories the power of friendship can defeat impossible odds, this is something a Godmother can use.
The second step is The Hook. Having seen a potential narrative thread an editor must weave it into the story. She pays two Wisps and rolls the lowest of her Inner Light, Manipulation and Expression as an Instant Action.
- Dramatic Failure: Not only does the action fail the Editor also suffers a Cruel Twist of Fate.
- Failure: The desired effect does not happen.
- Success: The effect occurs, however the results come with a Cruel Twist of Fate.
- Exceptional Success: The effect occurs with no Cruel Twist of Fate.
So continuing our example thanks to the Godmother's nudge the fight is now going to play out according to the power of friendship. This of course does not mean they're untouchable: Their foe might give them a huge battering before a last moment surge of team spirit. In short while they will win this power won't necessarily grant a perfect victory. At worst they might just drive their foe off for a short while, that's a “win”. Still, it is better than getting soundly defeated by a stronger foe.
The final step is a Cruel Twist of Fate. Unless the Godmother scored an Exceptional Success the Storyteller should introduce a complication to the plot. The Wyrd does not like being tampered with. This Twist will never undo the effect of The Hook. The battle will be won, but maybe the Nakama only think they killed the villain and he's set to reappear when they least expect it. Their enemy might have some devious plan that required their victory, or the entire battle was a distraction.
Drawback: It's addictive. Bending the world to your whim is very very addictive. A Godmother may Weave the Tale once safely, after every time after that she must roll Resolve + Composure with an cumulative -1 penalty, up to a maximum of -5. A Failure means that she's addicted. The effects vary according to each individual but a common theme is being unable to see the world as anything but a collection of reoccurring narrative threads. “She's got a cruel stepmother and two ugly stepsisters. Of course she wants to marry the charming prince, what is a lesbian?.”
Getting clean requires going cold turkey. She must spend a number of days equal to her Manipulation + Expression in an isolated place. Somewhere serene is best but in the end isolation is isolation. During this time she may not use any of her powers from this Embassy, or any Charms that manipulate other people. It is best to avoid Charms entirely. Finally she spends one Willpower a day and rolls Resolve + Composure. Once she has Successes equal to her Manipulation + Expression her system is clean and she can start again as though she had never used this power before. Careful godmothers flush their system before getting addicted.
And yes, this power is Talecrafting (so is Entering the Tale, A Story about You and Becoming the Tale in a much more limited and safer fashion), more details along with plenty of example threads and Cruel Twists of Fate can be found in Swords at Dawn starting at page 60. Editors cannot Force the Pattern or inflict a Reversal of Fate, though they can certainly be targeted by one.