No, not the C20 one that came out in 2019; we’re taking a look at the 1st edition Player’s Guide from… year unclear. (We think it’s 1997? But there’s an ad for Hunter: the Reckoning in the back, so who knows.) As WoD Player’s Guides go, the Changeling one has a lot of your standard fare: Merits and Flaws before those became standard in the corebook, additional Traits, new kewl powers. But this book also stands out for its full introduction of the Nunnehi after their brief appearance in Rage Across Appalachia (see episode 10), its thorough treatment of the nine core kiths, and some insightful short essays into the roleplaying experience from a player’s perspective. It also feature a full-on errata section of material that got dropped from The Autumn People, because these were the heady days when deadlines were tight and editing was a luxury. In short, this book really packs a lot into its just-shy-of-200 pages. Let’s have a look at some tidbits, shall we?
Changeling: the Dreaming art is often kind of a mixed bag, but especially as we approach the end of 1st Edition and its full-color books, it’s nice to see some truly gorgeous examples in these page. The splash pages at the start of each chapter by Mark Jackson are especially fab, as in these examples:
Thematic and evocative! There are also some pretty groovy portraits associated with each kith by Adam Rex, such as this redcap who’s charging out of the page, knuckle spikes bared, but who still has some sensible heels and hefty socks for battle:
And then there are these troll ladies. We’re not entirely sure what’s going on with them, but we include them as a reminder that no book’s assortment of art will be perfect, and it is only through contrast that we learn to truly appreciate the pieces we really adore:
We report, you decide!
Aside from established terms like a corby of redcaps and a tragos of satyrs, some suggestions for what to call a group of each kith:
- a nosiness or industry of boggans
- a rowdiness of clurichaun
- an intrigue of eshu
- an agitation or complaint of nockers
- a suspicion of piskies
- a veracity or certainty of pooka
- a nibble of redcaps
- an excitement of satyrs
- a sleeking of selkies
- an insufferability or pomp of sidhe
- an unsettlement of sluagh
- a bravado of trolls
Suggestions for others welcome!
more nunnehi research
We gave some advice and shared some links last time we discussed the Nunnehi, in the Rage Across Appalachia episode. Following up on that, here are some more links that you might find useful for delving into the mythic background of the Indigenous kiths of Concordia:
- May-may-gway-shi: http://www.native-languages.org/memegwesi.htm
- Rock Giants: http://www.native-languages.org/stonecoat.htm and possibly references to the Gahonga in this book from 1922
- Nanehi: http://www.native-languages.org/morelegends/nunnehi.htm
- Yunwi Amai’yine’hi: not much, but there’s a reference in section 78 of James Mooney’s 1900 work, Myths of the Cherokee
- Yunwi Tsundsi: http://www.native-languages.org/morelegends/yunwi-tsunsdi.htm
- Canotili: http://www.native-languages.org/morelegends/canotila.htm
- Tunghat: unclear; it seems as though the name and “gamekeeper” concept might be taken from Yup’ik ritual (see for example https://www.penn.museum/sites/bulletin/1907/)
- Kachinas: http://www.native-languages.org/kachinas.htm and http://americanindianoriginals.com/kachina-doll-glossary.html
- Surems: https://parentseyes.arizona.edu/node/506
- Water Babies: http://www.native-languages.org/water-babies.htm
- Nümüzo’ho: references and tales in this collection
- Pu’gwis: mentioned on http://www.native-languages.org/kwakiutl-legends.htm; note that the -s at the end is not a plural!
- Inuas: less anthropomorphized than in the game; the concept of inua is apparently more abstract in Inuit lore, as outlined in this book from the Smithsonian on artwork that deals with the subject
As always, it’s important to be aware that one’s own research might be flawed, and that digging around on the internet can’t fully substitute for thorough academic books and/or talking with an actual expert on the topic. It’s also worth noting that digging around for information on the folklore behind these kiths turned up, among other things, sites that claimed to give background to the myths that was directly quoted from the Player’s Guide (to the point of talking about “fae mien”). Doing background research is not easy! While you might not need to dive all the way down on these legends for the sake of a game session, you should still be ready to spend more time than you think you will need to try and separate what seems authentic from what seems like the random (even if reasonably informed) invention of someone online.
Josh Hillerup (any pronoun)‘s weapon of choice: frog-venom-tipped lawn darts.
Pooka G (any pronoun/they)‘s armor of choice: wadded-up back issues of Utne Reader tied with heavy-duty rubberbands.
Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth
Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep...
—John Milton, Paradise Lost, IV.675–676
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