This episode we’ll be talking about The Autumn People, which gave extensive information and options about Banal antagonists for Changeling as part of White Wolf’s first annual event, 1995’s “Year of the Hunter.” It’s a short book, but densely packed with information, as well as some curious layout choices. Overall, it did its job of pushing out the boundaries of the game world, even if some of the text was left out by accident (and errata’d later), and other parts are a bit difficult to parse. Our conversation centers on the various ways that the Autumn People, Dauntain, and other Banal things are presented, and how they might be useful in a game.
One of the hallmarks of this book is how there are numerous ways to divide up the Banal antagonists (Bantagonists?): mortal vs. fae, aware vs. unaware of other fae, passive vs. active, etc. Here’s a graphic that hopefully will illustrate at least some of the many options the book introduces, which may or may not be diegetic and/or in-character; it’s hard to tell at points.
If you’re slightly baffled by this, don’t worry! We were too. Suffice to say, whatever particular spin you want to put on the Autumn Person in your chronicle, chances are this book gives it at least one label.
powers of the autumn people
There are a range of abilities that these antagonists possess. The Banal Chimera have Redes that can inflict Banality; Autumn Fae get Agendas; Dauntain get Stigmas, in addition to their (possible) retention of Arts and Realms. But then, Mundane (human) Autumn People also get little blindsiders like this:
Any time a changeling comes into direct contact with an Autumn Person, the Storyteller may decide to check and see how the character is affected. This is done by rolling the Autumn Person’s Banality against a difficulty of the character’s Glamour. Each success causes the character to gain a point of temporary Banality. The Storyteller may choose to make this roll at any time in which the character has contact with the Autumn Person; additionally, this roll may be made multiple times if the character remains within the vicinity to the Autumn Person in question, though care should be taken that it is not overdone or the character will soon be lost to Banality.
Given that Autumn People have Banalities of 8 or higher, and changelings tend to have Glamour in the 4 to 6 range, getting four or five successes on this roll is not unlikely. And that means four or five points of Banality just from bumping into (for example) an overprotective mother or restrictive librarian. No wonder changelings were seen as imploding at the slightest whiff of stasis in 1st edition.
pooka’s poetry corner
On that subject, here’s some shameless padding for the show notes in the form of a poem by Mark Strand that is, well, a little bit peculiar, but also has some nice pooka vs. librarian vibes:
by Mark Strand
Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.
The librarian does not believe what she sees.
Her eyes are sad
and she walks with her hands in her dress.
The poems are gone.
The light is dim.
The dogs are on the basement stairs and coming up.
Their eyeballs roll,
their blond legs burn like brush.
The poor librarian begins to stamp her feet and weep.
She does not understand.
When I get on my knees and lick her hand,
I am a new man.
I snarl at her and bark.
I romp with joy in the bookish dark.
And just to end this post, here’s an art piece from the book that shows an owl pooka becoming Undone, which apparently means his hair gets bleached out, his pupils and mouth go grey, and his brain gets filled up with math. Still, it’s a cool picture; there’s a lot of surprisingly good art in this book about the folks who would probably prefer to erase all creativity from existence.
Josh Hillerup (he/him) is wanted for the theft of sixteen family-size jars of applesauce from the local commissary.
Pooka G (any pronoun/they) can neither confirm nor deny their whereabouts during the hour when all of the reptile house cameras were switched off.
“Life is intrinsically boring and dangerous at the same time. At any given moment the floor may open up. Of course, it almost never does; that’s what makes it so boring.” —Edward Gorey
(psst! email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want)
(and join our Discord at https://discord.gg/SAryjXGm5j !)
(support us on Patreon! it’s now live at https://www.patreon.com/changelingthepodcast)